My first brush with this one happened yesterday, and it will take many, many mental showers before I feel anywhere close to ethically clean again.
Here's how it went down: in a shortened academic day, students spend 40 minutes at a assembly listening to a super-fast talking guy from the Hearst Corporation who flies through a crash-course in selling magazine subscriptions. Central to the spiel are two things
- If every student can sell just three magazine subscriptions the school will be able to buy an electronic marquee instead of the old plastic-letter model we currently have;
- Students who sell a certain number of magazine subscriptions will be eligible for fabulous prizes, such as a dinky little radio besparkled with shiny multi-colored lights, and a mp3 player (again, besparkled with shiny, multi-colored lights). Brightly-colored objects are evidently a central marketing focus of the Hearst Corporation, magazine-shilling division. Yellow-journalist de luxe William Randolph Hearst would be oh so proud.
- Doubtlessly miss AYP forever
- suffer the irreversible loss of a student body increasingly unable to handle a school that doesn't have announcements such as "Band Concert Friday; No School 9/2" in blazing LCD letters visible from three miles away.
In a 14-year plus career of watching time-wasting, ethically-challenged assemblies, I can't think of one that quite matched the depressive power of the Magazine Salesman Fundraising Assembly. True, any assembly termed a "pep rally" comes close, but for sheer misguided capitalism and pointlessness, the magazine salesman fundraising assembly is without peer.
I have to go take another one of those mental showers now.