Friday, March 6, 2015

Inappropriate....?



Kate Carter, superintendent of schools confirmed on March 4 2015 that David Olio, an English teacher at South Windsor High School, CT was suspended.  The suspension stems from his reading of  the Allen Ginsberg poem "My Master" in class recently.







For starters, take a few minutes and read the poem in it's entirety so that we can all know what is at the center of the controversy.

Please Master
Please master can I touch your cheek
please master can I kneel at your feet
please master can I loosen your blue pants
please master can I gaze at your golden haired belly
please master can I gently take down your shorts
please master can I have your thighs bare to my eyes
please master can I take off your clothes below your chair
please master can I kiss your ankles and soul
please master can I touch lips to your muscle hairless thigh
please master can I lay my ear pressed to your stomach
please master can I wrap my arms around your white ass
please master can I lick your groin curled with soft blond fur
please master can I touch my tongue to your rosy asshole
please master may I pass my face to your balls
please master, please look into my eyes,
please master order me down on the floor,
please master tell me to lick your thick shaft
please master put your rough hands on my bald hairy skull
please master press my mouth to your prick-heart
please master press my face into your belly, pull me slowly strong thumbed
till your dumb hardness fills my throat to the base
till I swallow and taste your delicate flesh-hot prick barrel veined Please
Master push my shoulders away and stare into my eye, & make me bend over the table
please master grab my thighs and lift my ass to your waist
please master your rough hand's stroke on my neck your palm down my backside
please master push me up, my feet on chairs, till my hole feels the breath of your spit and your thumb stroke
please master make me say Please Master Fuck me now Please
Master grease my balls and hairmouth with sweet vaselines
please master stroke your shaft with white creams
please master touch your cock head to my wrinkled self-hole
please master push it in gently, your elbows enwrapped around my breast
your arms passing down to my belly, my penis you touch w/ your little fingers
please master shove it in me a little, a little, a little,
please master sink your droor thing down my behind
& please master make me wiggle my rear to eat up the prick trunk
till my asshalfs cuddle your thighs, my back bent over
till I'm alone sticking out your sword stuck throbbing in me
please master pull out and slowly roll into the bottom
please master lunge it again, and withdraw to the tip
please please master fuck me again with your self, please fuck me Please
Master drive it down till it hurts me the softness the
Softness please master make love to my ass, give body to center & fuck me for good like a girl,
tenderly clasp me please master I take me to thee,
& drive in my belly your selfsame sweet heat-rood
your fingered in solitude Denver or Brooklyn or fucked in a maiden in Paris carlots
please master drive me thy vehicle, body of love drops, sweat fuck
body of tenderness, Give me your dog fuck faster
please master make me go moan on the table
Go moan O please master do fuck me like that
in your rhythm thrill-plunge and pull-back bounce & push down
till I loosen my asshole a dog on the table yelping with terror delight to be loved
Please master call me a dog, an ass beast, a wet asshole
& fuck me more violent, my eyes hid with your palms round my skull
& plunge down in a brutal hard lash thru soft drip-fish
& throb thru five seconds to spurt out your semen heat
over & over, bamming it in while I cry out your name I do love you
please Master.


- May 1968


Allen Ginsberg  ( June 3 1926-April 5 1997) was an American poet who opposed sexual repression, militarism and economic materialism.  He is best known for his poem "Howl" in which he denounces what he perceives to be destruction that is caused in the US by conformity and capitalism.  Ginsberg moved to San Francisco in 1954 and met his lifelong partner Peter Orlovsky there.

He was very outspoken about many subjects that were considered taboo for the time including homosexuality, the anti war movement, obscenity laws, gay rights drug use and the government's global illegal drug dealing.  His poem "Howl" was immediately banned after it was published in 1956 for being obscene but after he won in court, it went on to be the most read poem in the century and was translated into twenty two languages.

His style of poetry was unique and has come to be known as Ginsbergian and was heavily influenced by Romanticism, Modernism, jazz music and his Buddhist and Jewish religions.  He was influenced the most by the free verse style of Walt Whitman as well as having many common subject matters such as the importance of the erotic experience, betrayal of democracy and the spiritual quest for truth in everyday experience.

There have been many who have stated that it is outrageous that a poem like this was assigned to be read by such innocent high school students but there has been little said about the context in which the poem fit the classroom.  The teacher, David Olio has since been placed on administrative leave with pay while the incident is being investigated.  Olio has two bachelor's degrees from Central Connecticut University where he also received his teaching degree from and a Master's in English from Trinity College and has taught at South Windsor High School since 1996.  I doubt that he randomly chose this poem as a reading assignment without a very good reason.

I do not believe that it is highly inappropriate for that poem to be read by high school students.  First we have to remember that this is an AP English class and these students are deemed ready to handle classwork that is beyond the regular high school level.  They are basically challenged to work on a college level in the class and if they score well on the AP test on completion, they receive college credit for that class.  These "innocent" students are taking a class with college material...... the same material that in less than seven months, they will suddenly be old enough to handle.

The poem is definitely graphic but it was no more graphic that a lot of material that youth today can find, see, read or hear from their friends.  I never understood why adults would push to ban certain books from the school systems.  Heck, I pull up those lists and try to figure out which books I have not read yet and make it a point to read them.  This poem was presented in class with an instructor who could explain and discuss the merits or importance of such a work.  No one yet has explained what the context was.  Was it used in a discussion about obscenity, gay rights, a discussion of the differences and similarities of gay love or the differences between what is deemed pornographic and what is not.

The students involved should not be looked upon as innocent 17 and 18 year olds who were suddenly exposed to something so graphic and obscene that they will be damaged by it.  The students could be anywhere between 16 to 19 year old students that are more than capable of discussing college level material with the guidance of a teacher who has taught for decades.  David Olio received a PAC Recognition Award in 2009 for teaching his students to "think critically about the world around them in order to better understand the world and themselves."  The reaction to the reading on Please Master in class serves to subvert that very award by immediately showing that a student can better understand themselves but if they are gay, they had better keep it hidden.

I believe that studying the poem, it's assignment as a reading lesson and the reaction others have taken would be an excellent lesson to teach as well.  Instead of reading material that sparks controversy, it seems that people still believe that the schools should be spoon feeding whatever train of thought is acceptable at the moment.  I want to believe that if a student in that class objected to the poem and it's contents, Olio would encourage the discussion of why they felt it objectionable.  That is learning to think on your own and setting a student up for succeeding in the future.  Banning a book or any kind of material just because you find it objectionable does nothing to teach someone else how to think on their own.  I can attest to the fact that my reading many of the commonly banned books when I was very young and reading them again when I was more mature has done nothing to damage or traumatize me.

It has allowed me to read a book and look for the different layers meaning within it, analyze why some feel it is objectionable and be able to place the book in the context of the times it was written in or the time it is set in.  I know that there are dozens of books that I have read over the years that my parents would have objected to my reading, many that I read in high school as assignments as well.  They never told me not to read them and I am sure that if I were in high school now, they would rather I actually be reading a book instead of reading half the things available today on the internet and believing that it was the truth.


The fact that the school has reacted as they have has already treated the reading of this poem as something dirty and offensive before there has been any public discussion of the merits of the classroom work associated with it.  I do wonder how many who have shouted their outrage have actually read the entire poem or listened to Ginsberg read the poem?  I would hope that they have at least done that before they screamed their outrage and demanded that Olio be disciplined.




http://www.shigeku.org/xlib/lingshidao/waiwen/ginsberg.htm

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/chb-erotic-poetry-queer-sex-and-high-school-english/

http://web.mit.edu/gcws/pdf/2012ConfPublication/Papers/Drafts/VanEngen.pdf

http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/03/high-school-teacher-gets-paid-leave-for-assigning-raunchy-gay-sex-poem/

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/03/south-windsor-high-school-english-teacher-suspended-after-exposing-students-to-inappropriate-poem/

http://www.journalinquirer.com/page_one/ginsberg-poem-was-at-center-of-ap-teacher-s-suspension/article_0cdce05e-c1d0-11e4-bf27-43ae7f222f02.html

http://www.courant.com/community/south-windsor/hc-south-windsor-teacher-suspended-0304-20150304-story.html

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top100

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWxl-HvwjJs&has_verified=1&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DjWxl-HvwjJs%26oref%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.youtube.com%252Fwatch%253Fv%253DjWxl-HvwjJs%26has_verified%3D1&has_verified=1

https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5892855771721005413#editor/target=post;postID=2093878095405413214;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=link


Update May 12 2015:


David Olio, who had been facing possible termination for his sharing of the Allen Ginsberg poem "Please Master" had chosen to resign from teaching at the South Windsor High School.  His resignation will be effective for the 2015-2016 school year and he will remain on administrative leave until then.

It has been reported that this decision is a mutual agreement between all the parties involved and was reached so the parents, staff and students will not continue to be distracted from learning.  Carter stated that the reading of the poem was inappropriate for a high school classroom and Olio was irresponsible for  reading it.  She went on to state that he did not give the students or parents any chance to to have a choice in not being subjected to it's sexual and violent content.  Carter added that some of the students were minors and a few had complained to her about being emotionally upset by the content of the poem.

Many have lost sight of the facts though......... this was an advanced placement class that in effect is studying at a college level.  In several months they will be attending colleges so the class can not be compared to what would be presented in a traditional high school class.  As for the emotional trauma......... have we really become a nation of cry babies?  There is far too much available on the media and social sites that reading this one poem in a classroom situation where it can be discussed can not be more damaging than what young people seek out on their own daily.

I have read the poem, read the arguments about it's reading and it has been stated that the poem was brought to class to be read by a student in response to the question of bringing poems that they wanted to share.  My response is that because of the uproar about this particular poem, it should have been read and discussed.  Students have read the Fifty Shades of Grey series and they know about homosexuality.... why not discuss something in the same genre in a college level classroom.  They might just discover why it was so "emotionally disturbing" in a safe and sane environment.

Sadly, it looks as though the mob mentality and cry babies have forced an excellent teacher from opening doors and minds in the future.




http://www.courant.com/community/south-windsor/hc-south-windsor-olio-teacher-resignation-20150512-story.html


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