More education “r” us

My child came home yesterday with yet another spelling worksheet that contained a misspelling. But that’s not why I’m writing. She also came home with a math worksheet containing complicated problems she’d gotten wrong, and it was clear that the teacher had never bothered to enlighten her about the isues in that worksheet (I did), but that’s not why I’m writing.

I’m writing because of what I though was an amusing math problem in the Houghton Mifflin math worksheet. As you know, HM is very, very, very committed to textbooks that reflect an America that the school boards want to see. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that the core material in these worksheets has remained unchanged for decades. So I’m equally certain that one of the problems, as originally written, read “Tony’s Deli prepared 52 sandwiches. The sandwiches were either ham or turkey.” Then, someone at HM thought, “Goodness, that stereotypes Italians as deli owners, and it doesn’t represent the rich multicultural fabric that is America. Either will prevent us from selling textbooks to California, Texas and New York. We’d better change it.”

So, as this moment in time, the problem begins “Yusif’s Deli prepared 52 sandwiches. The sandwiches were either ham or turkey.” Now, it is possible, of course, that Yusif is a Christian Arab, but do you really think that’s what the HM editor had in mind? No, I think in the editor’s mind, the vast multi-culti panorama was meant to include a Muslim. And the editor was completely ignorant of the fact that the likelihood of a Muslim even looking at a pig product package is so unlikely that the question as written becomes a huge multi-culti joke.

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  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    The multiculturalists have the lowest understanding of multiple cultures that I have ever seen, including the native Americans, Japanese, and white settlers when they were all fighting each other.

    People back in the age of death and destruction, had the excuse of no time or resources to learn. People now, have no such excuse.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Easy math problem by the way. Just say 52 sandwiches were all turkey, and if the teacher marks it wrong, lecture the teacher on multicultural understanding, about Yusif and pigs.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    That’s hilarious……

    Maybe HM knows something we don’t – and they have halal ham these days! Right.

    Although, when I was in third grade (BARELY into the second half of the last century), I argued with a teacher who said that all bacon was pork……which I knew wasn’t true because my Dad always bought BEEF bacon at the Jewish deli in SF!

  • greg

    All of us take for granted that Book possesses spectacular abilities to infer a great deal of information from modest source material. Even so, I wonder if the publisher, who receives Book’s scorn, wasn’t so much cravenly adhering to the fawning multiculturalism that Book despises, as perhaps, paying tribute to a real-world person, his real-world deli and his inspiring example of multicultural amiability:

    “When you go to Yusif’s Grocery & Restaurant,” Bukshpan continued, speaking about a Phoenix deli, “you’ll see that Yusif does business with the Jewish community. He even carries products from Israel.” Others in the community, he said, “are much more extreme. Some Jewish people, or Muslims, when you talk about this musical dialogue, they don’t want to get involved.”

    http://www.interculturaljourneys.com/press/press.htm

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Yeah, Greg, but does he handle pork? By the way, there are many Arabs living in Israel, and they also buy Israeli products. When they come here, they like to buy them too.

    By the way, doesn’t it strike you as sad that your Yusif in Phoenix is viewed as something out of the ordinary because he actually does business with Jews? When I grew up in America, that wasn’t considered special. That was just considered American.

  • greg

    Apparently it’s a lesson you could learn from.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Snide, but unintelligible and ill-informed, Greg. I deal equally with all members of my community. I use this blog to take on those who don’t. And I also use this blog to point out the fatuous ignorance of those charged with the task of educating our children.

  • greg

    *sigh* if only such nobility of purpose was coupled with, you know, the odd Google search.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Let’s have a vote. Who wants Bookworm to spend the time she spends on Greg, on more posts?

    Who wants Bookworm to respond to greg’s posts?

    I vote for the former (almost said the latter by mistake).

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    *sigh* if only such self-assured snideness was based on a Google search that had anything to do with, you know, handling pork products. But not to complain, your consistent inability to support your snideness with any relevant evidence is always entertaining.

  • kevin

    I would like to offer an interesting anecdote (and it really does tie in with the main point.) I was on a flight to Saudi in the 90’s and the significant majority of the passengers (many of whom were Saudi men and women) were wearing western clothes and drinking alcohol. The flight attendant made an announcement when we actually crossed into Saudi airspace, at which time alcohol was no longer served and the Saudi women would put on their Abayas and a Boshiyas. It was at this point that I suddenly realized that Allah is blind outside Islamic borders. Incidentally, this process was repeated in reverse on the way back. The tie-in (remember, I promised) is that Yusif might just actually eat ham since Allah apparently can’t see him.

    Also the answer to the math problem is that the northbound ham sandwiches and the southbound turkey sandwiches will pass each other in Oklahoma City at approximately 2:34am.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Great story and comment Kevin! Greg, just to be clear, you would be wrong with ot without a relevant Google citation. Could a Muslim deli serve pork products? Of course. If nothing else, the owner could hire non-Muslims to serve such products. But is it culturally insensitive for a textbook writer, obviously ignorant of the Muslim religion, to assume a Muslim deli serves pork products without even recognizing the potential problem? Of course it is, and that is the only point that Bookworm was making in her usual clever and humorous manner. Why you would mistake one question for the other is rather beyond me but, as I say, it is entertaining.

  • greg

    Top-down thinking relies on twisting particulars to conform with a preconceived vision. For an example of such, see Book’s essay on Houghton Mifflin’s use of Yusif’s Deli to illustrate a math word problem, which Book claims — based no evidence whatsoever — is an impossible fabrication constructed only to support a multicultural theme, an editorial directive that Book excoriates.

    Fact is, neither Book nor I know how Yusif came to appear in Houghton Mifflin’s book.

    Still, a simple Google search reveals the error in Book’s central assertion that the Yusif character could never exist. He does. As does his deli, although his deli menu remains unknown to us.

    Nonetheless, a second simple Google search reveals that there ARE Middle Eastern delis that serve ham sandwiches, so what’s left to Book’s over-the-top speculation? Nothing. Book’s argument evaporates into thin air, which is the danger you run into when you speculate wildly without supporting evidence — A habit of thought that children (including those raised in politically conservative households) should be inculcated against.

  • greg

    Oh and Don Q, Kevin’s story also suggests that cultural insensitivity is a far more elastic concept than your tender conservative biases would care to admit. Which is to say that you and Book are the only ones who are adverse to within-culture forbearance and diversity and the reflection of it, whether the reflection is seen in aircraft or children’s text books. The insensitively is all in your head.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Your point bewilders me, Greg. I’m not saying Muslims don’t own delis. I’m not saying Muslims won’t serve Jews at their delis. I love good Arab food, and used to be a regular at my local Arab deli (that was before it became extraordinary, as illustrated by your Phoenix article) for Arabs actually to sell food to Jews. I’m just saying that the likelihood of Muslim even touching ham to make a sandwich is extremely small, making very large the likelihood that the math problem in question was created without thought to satisfy an ethnic name quota — and I introduced by hyperlink an article showing that HM is heavily invested in meeting just such quotas.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Greg, I was responding to your comment 13. I don’t understand your comment 14. Please explain.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Let me try my hand at transpositioning.

    Top-down thinking relies on twisting particulars to conform with a preconceived vision.

    He thinks you’re tunnel visioned and blind, Book.

    For an example of such, see Book’s essay on Houghton Mifflin’s use of Yusif’s Deli to illustrate a math word problem, which Book claims — based no evidence whatsoever — is an impossible fabrication constructed only to support a multicultural theme, an editorial directive that Book excoriates.

    He says, you make up strawmen and then knock them down, Bookworm.

    Fact is, neither Book nor I know how Yusif came to appear in Houghton Mifflin’s book.

    Nobody knows the facts so you are wrong and he is right.

    Still, a simple Google search reveals the error in Book’s central assertion that the Yusif character could never exist. He does. As does his deli, although his deli menu remains unknown to us.

    *Pass on this.*

    Book’s argument evaporates into thin air, which is the danger you run into when you speculate wildly without supporting evidence — A habit of thought that children (including those raised in politically conservative households) should be inculcated against.

    He thinks too many children are being raised by conservative parents without adequate commissar support.

    Oh and Don Q, Kevin’s story also suggests that cultural insensitivity is a far more elastic concept than your tender conservative biases would care to admit.

    Something about Muslims being sensitive to the US culture or something. Or aircraft sensitivty of Muslims.

    Which is to say that you and Book are the only ones who are adverse to within-culture forbearance and diversity and the reflection of it, whether the reflection is seen in aircraft or children’s text books.

    you are against cultural quotas, Book. *big surprise* Greg agrees with the math book quotas, and this quota creates sensitivity and forbearance in his eyes.

    The insensitively is all in your head.

    You Book are insensitive, the math book is sensitive as well as the airlines. *but not the airlines that booted the Imams*

  • greg

    You actually supplied two hyperlinks, one of them supporting your contention that “the likelihood of Muslim even touching ham to make a sandwich is extremely small.”

    What I point out is that your dramatic hyperlink (and your associated assumption) doesn’t reflect a Law of Muslim Behavior — as evidenced by the existence of Middle Eastern delis that do serve ham sandwiches, as well as by the Saudi consumption of alcohol abroad. If they can live with their behaviors, so can we and so can a child’s text book.

    If anything, the counter-expected example of a Middle Eastern deli serving ham should soothe your inflamed sensibilities that became agitated when you thought HM was just pandering to multicultural dictates.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Don’t take it personally, DQ and Book. I think Greg got picked on when he was a kid. Never got over it.

  • greg

    Actually, Book’s harping scorn of all that comes upon her path indicates the pathology you attribute to me, Danny.

  • Lulu

    This exchange is a bit silly. Greg, I am not sure of your point except to prove Bookworm wrong, intolerant, and infer that she is insufficiently enlightened, or certainly less so than enlightened folks like you who see a plethora of Moslems selling ham sandwiches in their delis and restaurants. Even if some presumably secular Moslems do trade in pork products, you will have to admit the numbers must be small, don’t you think?

    Still, in Minneapolis Moslem cabbies recently protested, refusing to carry passengers who were carrying an (unopened) bottle of wine. One example, but many others can be easily found of the reluctance of pious Moslems to deal with forbidden products. Your point- that Moslems are more tolerant than Bookie? That her laughing at silly PC quotas is bigoted? Much ado about nothing.

  • greg

    My point exactly, Lulu, thank you. The gesticulations Book tortures us with in her original post are nothing but laughable — the frothy imaginings arising from the stewing of a conservative brain.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Hi Danny, I never take anything Greg says personally, I just consider the source.

    Greg, no one could objectively read Bookworm’s original post and find in that post “inflamed sensibilities.” No objective person could read this blog every day and see her as “heaping scorn of all that comes upon her path.” It’s all in your own head, man. If you don’t see the humor in her comment and in the texbook entry, that’s your problem, not hers. If you don’t think that a textbook entry that says, in effect, “Yusif violated his religious principles” is culturally insensitive then, well, that’s your problem, too.

    As usual, your answer was a day late and a dollar short. I’d already explained why you would still be wrong if a Google search found Muslim delis serving ham (see comment 12) and you blissfully ignored that in your reply (see comment 13).

    And, of course, as you usually do, you set up silly strawmen just to knock them down. Neither Book or I ever said that such a deli could not exist. In fact, if you go back to the original comment, Bookworm acknowledges that Yusif might not be Muslim at all. I suggested that it was culturally insensitive to put such a deli in the textbook and Bookworm suggested it probably (note — not certainly, but probably) was done by someone who had no intention of being insensitive but simply didn’t know any better. None of the three of us knows for sure, but Book’s explanation makes a lot more sense, and seems a lot more likely, than yours.

    Lulu is right, of course, that your objection is much ado about nothing but it is amusing the lengths you will go to in your efforts to stereotype Bookworm and me, and distort what we are saying.

    Hey, whatever floats you boat, but wouldn’t you like, just once, to make an honest argument that answers what Book and I actually say, rather than distorting it? Of course, it’s easy to stereotype and distort and much harder to deal in real issues, isn’t it?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    The point Greg makes badly is that Bookworm/DQ is wrong that Muslims touch pork on an exceedingly narrow and minor basis of probability. To support Greg’s contentions, he busts out the mega death weapon called Muslim delis serving pork. How this has anything to do with actual Muslims touching actual Pork, is left to the reader’s diverse and fictional imagination.

    To greg, he isn’t distorting DQ’s position. To Greg, Greg is telling the absolute truth to the unbelievers. There is no distortion involved.

  • JJ

    Well, I don’t know about the stewing of the conservative brain, or, for that matter, the efficacy of having stew for brains, Greg, but I do know there’s something to it.

    Probably the greatest Muslim fighter of all time on the British northwest frontier was a colonel by the name of Gordon (not the later general) in the British army about a century and a quarter ago. He was one of the very few who never seemed to have any problems in his district.

    When he asked why, he explained his simple method. He slaughtered a pig in plain sight of everyone, hung it up and collected its blood in a vat, and ostentatiously had his men dunk their bullets in the blood.

    Like magic: no problem with Islamic rebels. They knew they’d be shot with bullets that had been dipped in pig blood, and would therefore not be admitted to Paradise. No oasis, no 72 raisins – nothing.

    Now, it is, I suppose entirely possible that the local Islamic population in the Kush in 1885 didn’t know Islamic law regarding Muslim behavior, either – but of one thing they were sure: they didn’t want their last act on earth to be the act of being pierced by a pig-soaked bullet.

    Call me silly, but I’ll assume there was a reason.

  • greg

    Don Q works terribly hard to disparage my “silly” posts. But you’d think that if his ciritique had so much merit, he’d not have to advance it with such word for wordy word passion.

    Sadly, he and Book author an Enlightenment-free attack on western society, and they think this makes them special.

  • greg

    Oh Don Q, of all the posters who have contributed to this thread, you’re the only one who’s found himself chuckling at Book’s inimitably wit, just an observation, there, bud.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Greg, the only guy trying to obfuscate the issue with wordy words, is you. I know exactly why you are using complex words on purpose, in order to cram a sentence with so many clever (to you) vocabulary that you think it leaves every other unenlightened peon in the dust, stunned and out.

    You make yourself to be quite clever, but the rather ostentatious predilection of yours for wasteful cornucopias is so very boorish of you. If you seek the heights of passionate wherewithal, you might just need a heart go with thy perception. Find something fruitful and actually multiply, this malignant stagnancy and retributive simplicity pulls at my hand with the force of the Ten Thousand. Find some mercy in your blackened heart of hearts, to come up with a better conundrum. For yourself, at least. Whether you use connotations or denotations by which to express thy heart’s true desire, matters not in the end. All that matters is that you actually speak truth to power. Only through the light of the universe will you ever know the enchantment of the forgiving goddess, greg.

    It is INIMITABLE wit, you witless layabout. You cross guard, knight of the post poseur extraordinare, get something of your own design without the mangling diatribe of thy seekless mandibles.

    One wonders if Greg really thinks DQ is alone on this forlorn hope.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Greg, having no answers you are reduced to complaining about the number of words I use? I’d expect more than that, even from you. In case you haven’t notice, the Enlightenment hasn’t had much effect on Muslim’s views on pork. Talk to them about the Enlightenment.

    As for Bookworm’s wit, I’ll let others comment on that. I enjoy her wit, but, heck, I laugh out loud at some of your posts, too.

  • Zhombre

    I laugh out loud at some of Greg’s posts too but not because he’s trying to be amusing.

  • kevin

    Greg-

    “Kevin’s story also suggests that cultural insensitivity is a far more elastic concept than your tender conservative biases would care to admit.”

    Just callin’ ‘em like I sees ‘em but feel free to smugly wallow in your superior cultural sensitivity–you’re such a better person than I. BTW, your witty barbs have nearly broken my skin, I may have to buy some Bactine if this continues on much longer.

  • kevin

    Greg-

    One more thing, I find Bookworm’s repartee to your hackneyed liberal talking points to be quite amusing.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Apparently there’s a lot that Allah doesn’t see outside Muslim countries….I knew a plastic surgeon who made a LOT of money recreating (the appearance of) virginity for young women who had been getting an education and working in this country for a few years, but who were headed back to “mullah-land” to be married, and didn’t really want to be stoned on the day after their wedding night…….

    Talk about a seller’s market!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Another reason to hate and kill Westerners. Fake virgins, with the real ones in heaven after a successful sui operation.