Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Monday, January 06, 2014

It's an Election Year: Popularity Counts

As the mid-year election cycle begins here in 2014, it's important to note that polls are designed to measure the pulse of the country. Of course, there is always a degree of error when any pollster, let alone the folks at Gallup, try to measure the mood, but many times the numbers dob't lie. In an end-of-the-year message, Harry Reid opined that Congress was less popular than "cockroaches." Well, the Gallup polls of late did not included cockroaches, metamorphosized or not, but we were presented with some relatively startling numbers when comparing Congress to other well-known professionals.
Just to give an idea of the respondents and their outlook, 45% of them said their tax rate was "just about right." Sixty percent indicated that they would save rather than spend, and a majority admitted to eating vegetables at least four times in the last week...salt of the earth-type folks. That gives you an idea of who the respondents in the latest poll were.
Those polled were asked how they rated the ethics of Congress when compared with other  professionals with regard to "high or very high ethics."
Now, the numbers:
Nurses received the highest percentage when 80% indicated that nurses had high or very high ethical standards.
Grade school teachers were rated at 70% for their ethics.
Then, the bottom falls out...

Television reporters were seen as ethical by 22% of those polled.
Lawyers rated 20% approval for their principled behavior.

Car salesmen were accorded a mere 9% rating for ethics.
Congressional approval finally weighed in at 8% favorability for their ethics, and
Lobbyists came, unsurprisingly, in last, garnering a mere 6% of those responding indicating high or very high ethics.

It's going to be a long election cycle.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Is Attractiveness Really That Important?

A recently-released report by researchers Rachel Gordon and Robert Crosnoe suggests that  being attractive was not only a benefit in the social world but in the educational world as well. They posit that physically attractive youngsters are seen as more intelligent, have better personalities, and have greater potential for future success...according to their teachers! Yes! The very people who are entrusted to guide them through all the hormone-driven formative years are thought to generally based their assessments on physical attractiveness! Wow! While I certainly hope this is not the norm, I can understand how such an impression might form. Youngsters who are used to being told about their positive appearance are far more likely to be confident than those who are routinely ignored...or worse: described in unflattering terms at home, on the playground, and, possibly, in the classroom.
It is definitely true that our society places a high priority on attractiveness and adhering to "norms."
When I try to discuss with my students what it's like to be any sort of minority, I must admit that it's hard since I've always been male, white, tall, and reasonably smart (mostly smart-assed, some would say with very little irony). Yet, I see students every day who struggle to fit...or cover up inadequacies with outlandish behavior and/or clothing/hair body art styles.
I do not have any sort of answer...I know that as a physical educator, I tried to teach specifically toward the less-gifted performers...with the realization that they needed me to accept and encourage them while the gifted athletic types didn't need me at all. Somehow, we all made it together.