Headmaster’s Thoughts – July 2006

A sign of age is that you are reading a book and about a quarter way through, you suddenly realize that you have read it before. It’s embarrassing! It has happened to me a few times. But that is minor compared to watching a television program, not something I do that often, and realizing a quarter way through that you have seen it before. That is mortifying!

Yet there doesn’t seem to be much new on television. Given the choices, you have to exclude things that you won’t watch. I know that I will not watch any “celebrity” oriented TV. I am just not interested in Paris Hilton. Nor do I like so-called debate shows where there is more shouting and interrupting than we would allow in the seventh grade. I like the news, but after twenty minutes they are repeating themselves. So there is a natural limit there. I like funny and clever shows. I like good drama. I like great music. I guess I am in for re-runs. “Six Feet Under” has ended, in one of my previous “thoughts” I indicated that I didn’t think “Saturday Night Live” was watchable any more, “House” has ended, “Boston Legal” has ended, and “The Sopranos” are not what “The Sopranos” used to be. It is a desert for us old folks.

Perhaps the problem is that I am not the demographic that the television moguls have decided they want to appeal to. I don’t understand this. I know our students have a lot of pocket money, but I think I have more. Surely my age group is as good at consuming as the kids that television moguls say they cater to; after all, how many luxury cars can our eleventh grade buy?

I never really trust statistics. I am told that the average child watches more television than they spend time in school. I don’t honestly believe this. Maybe I am being naïve, but school starts at 8.30am and ends at 3.15pm, and even I can do the math. Why, the kids would have to be up until….midnight? Impossible!

As you probably know, Ice T has been at York Prep for the last three months, teaching some seventh and eighth graders to rap. He was terrific! A real teacher, in every sense. This program is going to be aired on VH1 in October. I think it will appeal to me. It will be funny, dramatic, have good music (well, new music anyway), and our students will be featured in a positive light.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on those TV moguls. I take the above all back.

Ronald P. Stewart, Headmaster
E-mail: rstewart@yorkprep.org

“Headmaster’s Thoughts” for previous months are archived in the section In the News. You may access additional months by clicking Headmaster’s Thoughts Archives on the same page.