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"Glen M. Johnson" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 1 Jun 1998 15:40:00 -0400
text/plain (55 lines)
The School Board
St. Petersburg, Missouri

Dear Sirs/Mesdames,

Recently I attended the convocation marking the end of the school year
at St. Petersburg Elementary School. I always look forward to this
event. How edifying it is to see our youth in an atmosphere where
education and civility are valued, in times when many youngsters, it
seems, would rather run off on a steamboat or something.

Alas, my anticipation at this event turned to discomfort, then distress,
then disgust, then horror. A significant portion of those present at the
convocation saw fit to turn it into a forum for sarcastic laughter! A
young boy who “flubbed his lines” was mocked! Young ladies reciting
inspirational verse had to put up with snickering! Finally, the
schoolmaster was made the victim of a crude practical joke involving a

And now I understand that a local so-called “journalist,” Mr. Mark
Twain, has written an account of this sorry occasion and intends to make
it public!

I enjoy humor as much as anyone. But humor should never be directed at
serious matters. It should never attack individuals. It should never be

I mean, that young boy was obviously very nervous, and laughing at him
only make things worse. He will probably be scarred for life.  Then,
some “educated” people may think that the poems read by the young ladies
aren’t “sophisticated” enough for their jaded tastes, but those poems
were deeply meaningful to the young ladies who were reading them. And
the schoolmaster! Yes, perhaps he can be a bit self-important. But he’s
a sincere public servant who has devoted his life to helping children.
He’s a man of principle who devotes many of his spare minutes to the
study of medical textbooks he keeps in his desk. How anyone could be so
vicious as to laugh at his discomfort, well it’s beyond me.

And what shall I say about that poor innocent cat!

I’ve been thinking about returning to school to study to be a teacher.
(I'm told that I truly have the attitudes of a schoolmaster or
schoolmarm.) But if this is any indication of how people are treated in
the academic milieu, well, I’ll just have to look for other employment.

I do not understand how people, and “educated” people at that, can be so
juvenile, so mean-spirited, so just plan horrid! What is our nation
coming to? What’s next? Will teachers start assigning the cruel juvenile
“satire” of Mr. Twain as "literature"?


L’Oreal Skittish-Trembly
East St. Petersburg