Junior High Lives of Others


If you objected to high school students getting spied on in their homes by school district-issued webcams, maybe junior high students under nonstop cam surveillance on school grounds by a tubby administrator with a chinbeard (but no chin) will be the charm:


This video is from the PBS documentary digital_nation, co-hosted by the tirelessly tiresome Stollian scold Douglas Rushkoff, but this segment presents the in-school panopticon in a fairly positive light.

It's just to get you ready for prison.

I'm creeped out by the obvious glee with which Beardy McBeardsworth describes his prey at a Bronx junior high school in almost exactly the same tones you hear from Air Force flacks narrating thermal footage of hits on insurgents. But I must acknowledge that the concept of school as a place where the rights of students are severely curtailed dates back at least to my own schooling during King Philip's War, was recently upheld by the Supreme Court in the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case, and seems to enjoy broad popular support. For the majority of Americans alive today, the function of school has always been to break you for a workplace where you will meet obstruction and indignity every day, be subject to every type of invasive surveillance, and generally, as even that greatest of working stiffs Jerry Langford put it, "have idiots plaguing your life."

Two pieces of advice: Don't google "clifford stoll," as the first page returns multiple trojan-upload pages. But definitely click on the "Stollian" link above, for 17+ minutes of Cliff Stoll showing off Klein bottles, measuring the speed of light using the wave equation, and generally being a brilliant mensch.