Getting Pulled Over; A Teachable Moment

Last week, while driving in Ketchum, Idaho, I was pulled over for speeding (driving 36 mph in a 25-mph zone.) The traffic stop proceeded along expected lines: the police car switched on its flashing red and blue lights as it sidled up behind me, I pulled over to the side of the road, the policemanContinue reading “Getting Pulled Over; A Teachable Moment”

On Bad Memories And Moving On

A few weeks ago, while stumbling around on Facebook, I found an old ‘acquaintance’ of mine: a man who, over thirty years ago, went to the same boarding school as I did. I poked around further; his page was not guarded by his privacy settings from snoops like me. On it, I found a groupContinue reading “On Bad Memories And Moving On”

Prisons And Boarding Schools: The Informer Phenomenon

I’ve made note here, on this blog, on some interesting similarities between prisons and boarding schools: the discipline, the regulation of time, the uniforms, the social dynamics. Yet another similarity may be found in the ubiquity of informers: moles, spies, double-agents, leakers, snitches–call them what you will–conduits for the passage for information to administrative andContinue reading “Prisons And Boarding Schools: The Informer Phenomenon”

School Discipline And Socialization For The Carceral State

Schools are a buffer zone, artfully, strategically, placed between zones of dysfunction–the homes of ‘broken’ families, populated by the wrong ethnicity and racial category, which produce criminality and social pathology–and the rest of society. Here, a net may be cast, trawling through the swarms of schoolchildren, catching the bad, the misbehaved, the unrepentant repeat offendersContinue reading “School Discipline And Socialization For The Carceral State”

Our Police, Keeping Our World Safe From Young Black Women

The next time a video link passes you by on social media stop and take a closer look. Chances are, the dysfunction implicated in it can be traced back to one cause, and one cause alone: teenaged black women. And the police of this nation are on the case, keeping us safe by any meansContinue reading “Our Police, Keeping Our World Safe From Young Black Women”

‘Orange Is The New Black’ And Boarding Schools

As I make my way through the second season of Orange Is The New Black, Netflix’s original series based on Piper Kerman‘s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison about her experiences at FCI Danbury, a minimum-security federal prison, I’m struck again by how much of the prison experience remindsContinue reading “‘Orange Is The New Black’ And Boarding Schools”

Falling Off the Wagon

I had a bad week. Starting Friday April 18th, my brain went on the blink. In the following nine days, I only blogged twice (instead of my usual daily schedule), went to the gym only three times (instead of my scheduled seven times), read no books, and only entered into minor bouts of editing. IContinue reading “Falling Off the Wagon”

The Campus Bell, From School to College

When I began school, I passed into another zone of discipline. The most prominent marker of that regime of control was not the corporeal form of the stern schoolmaster but rather, the sounds of a bell ringing. It was the aural code that dominated the next twelve years of my life, slicing up the schoolContinue reading “The Campus Bell, From School to College”

School as Preparatory Space for the Workplace

During the course of an essay on Keith Moon and the pleasures of drumming (‘The Fun Stuff‘, The New Yorker, 29 November 2010)┬áJames Wood writes: Georges Bataille has some haunting words about how the workplace is the scene of our domestication and repression: it is where we are forced to put away our Dionysianism. TheContinue reading “School as Preparatory Space for the Workplace”

Of Prefects and Punishment Drills

In my ninth and tenth grades, I attended boarding school in India. Like many boarding schools of its type, it incorporated the disciplinary mechanism of the prefect: senior schoolboys placed in charge of those junior to them, armed with the rule book, and cricket bats and hockey sticks with which to hand out six ofContinue reading “Of Prefects and Punishment Drills”