Archive for May 14th, 2008

Parental Choice

So anyway. The grammar behind ‘parental choice’ (not to be confused with the grammar schools behind ‘parental choice’). Is it the same as the grammar behind ‘consumer choice’? I think not. Because ‘consumer choice’, if it means anything, must involve choice between the objects the consumer can consume. Not even the most rabid of neo-liberal ideologues would ever say something like ‘we want to see the consumer able to choose from a wider range of names for his dog’, unless we reach a point in the future where you have to pay to choose from a set list of names in order to be able to give your dog a name and you have some sort of totalitarian panopticon in operation under which calling your dog anything other than the designated name is punished.

Parental choice, then, if we follow the example of consumer choice, means a choice between the objects the parent can parent. So true parental choice would at least have to involve some form of choice between children, and may even extend to a choice not confined to the parenting of children, but to the parenting of other things too: animals, pokemons, trees, sea monkeys, and so on and so forth. Let us ignore the potential extension of choice for now and stick with the choice between children. It seems to me that adhering to true parental choice in this regard this provides an easy solution to the grammar school lobby/association for quality education problem concerning academic selection. By concentrating on parental choice, it is a matter for the parent not to choose the right school for the child, but the right child for the school. So school places would be allocated by lottery to parents, and through consultation of ‘child information packs’ provided by the Department of Education, they would choose whichever child available in the local catchment area best fits the school admissions criteria.

Flawless, even if I do say so myself.

Steady Growth in Growth Decreases

Shorter David McWilliams: women like heels and that’s like an arms race because of evolution which is why Irish people are building bigger kitchens with exotic fish but it’s all because stuff was going cheap and now it isn’t because everyone wants it and before you know it we’ll all be singing It’s a Fine Life from Oliver!. Today’s special is engine-smoked Hazlitt in a Dutch Gold reduction.

Collectively Speaking, I’m Divided on This

In an otherwise insightful piece on Nuala O’Faolain I read this:

When a radio interview with her lifelong friend, the broadcaster, Marian Finucane, was aired in Ireland in April, the country suffered a collective existential crisis.

No it didn’t, unless I’m living in a different country, which is possible, I suppose.

Wednesday shows 100% day-on-day increase in posts

Yes, I know, damned lies and all that. But this headline:

700% rise in cocaine users seeking initial treatment

is bigging things up a little. Imagine if the headline said:

342 sought treatment for cocaine use

Which is what in fact happened. Not very exciting, is it?

To The Fore

The Huffington Post:

As violence in Iraq continues — clashes today left 11 dead and 19 injured — President Bush has for the first time revealed the great sacrifice he’s made for the sake of our soldiers: he’s given up golf.

Some soldiers didn’t notice.

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May 2008