Does The Oscar Malfunction Reflect Something Bigger?


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The thought occurred to me this morning that the Oscar breakdown may – just may – reflect the erosion of American educational standards.

I read just yesterday that British public schools imparted classical language and higher math skills to elite children as a means of instilling into them an appreciation for and competency in managing detail. After all, the presumption was that many of these young people would end up as civil servants in remote Asian and African backwaters managing the affairs of the British Empire, largely on their own, in many cases.

Few of us are products of a classical education, but I can recall elements of my Alabama public school education that emphasized attention to detail – the endless drills in cursive writing come to mind.

The more I deal with servers at restaurants and fast-food entities, the more it seems to me that younger generations are losing this reverence for and competency in managing detail. Case in point, I stop off every Sunday morning at my local Burger King and specifically request coffee with two Splendas and a cream. For the last few weeks, I have invariably  ended up with a paper sack loaded with three or four containers of cream and 7 or 8 sugar packets.

Perhaps apathy more than declining educational standards is driving this. I don’ t know.


About Jim Langcuster

A Southern late-Baby Boomer whose post-retirement focus is on building a post-racial, post-Confederate Southern regional identity. If the election of 2016 underscored one thing, it is that this country is intractably divided and that radical devolution of power to localities and states is the only way to save the American Union.
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