Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Rolling Stone Reaches Final Settlement After Botched UVA Rape Story

Rolling Stone magazine, the legacy music and culture publication spanning 50 years, has reached its final settlement stemming from the infamous 2014 “A Rape on Campus” article that subsequently ended up mostly unsubstantiated.

The article centered on an alleged gang rape of a freshman girl named “Jackie” by fraternity brothers at the University of Virginia. The article was later retracted after multiple aspects of Jackie’s story appeared inconsistent or entirely contrived.

The magazine settled a defamation lawsuit Wednesday, brought by members of the Alpha chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the alleged rape took took place. The fraternity’s claims were initially dismissed by a federal judge, but the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear the case in September. Instead of going forward, the two parties agreed to a settlement.

Wednesday marked the third settlement in the aftermath of the article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. The first settlement went to the University of Virginia’s former associate dean, Nicole Eramo, because Erdely wrote that Nicole “silenced” and “discouraged” Jackie from reporting her alleged rape. Eramo received $3 million in court, but eventually settled with the magazine after an appeal was granted.

Phi Kappa Psi’s Virginia chapter also received a $1.65 million settlement in June, a significant drop in the $25 million in damages that was initially sought.

The third and final settlement comes at an interesting time for Rolling Stone. On the same day the settlement was announced, the magazine disclosed that cofounder Jann Wenner was selling his stake to Jay Penske, the owner of Variety magazine and Penske Media. The deal reportedly valued Rolling Stone at $100 million.


What is an example of American culture being dumbed down?

Susan Bertolino, Lecturer of Instruction in Intellectual Heritage, former classroom teacher, gives her answer

I have several examples, as I teach college undergraduates, plus I used to teach in public schools. I deal with it daily, and please know I am not some highbrow elitist.

In general, reading has become a lost art. Those of us who still read constantly are seen as geeks or just weird. Reading is not perceived as an enjoyable activity.

Why don’t people like to read? The elementary education experience takes all the fun out of it. You have to memorize quotes, study certain words, go into literature circles with bullies that taunt you. Then you get wrong answers if your view doesn’t correspond with the answer book.

Huh? Reading is about interpretation. Yes, give the students tools on reading to learn. Teach them what is a metaphor, symbolism, round characters, flat characters, plot versus story. Test them on that, and if they get it wrong, they need to learn the terms. Don’t mark an answer wrong because a reader may think Katniss from The Hunger Games is annoying. Don’t mark an answer wrong because a student decides that Voldemort does not epitomize evil as much as privilege and selfishness. Let people see characters and stories as they appear to them. Interpretation isn’t fun when there is only one answer. Grrrr!

Look hard for a bookstore in America. Borders no longer exists. Most independent bookstores got swallowed up by Barnes and Noble, which is as much a trinket store selling Starbucks lattes as it is a bookstore. Once people spent hours in bookstores, getting lost in all the beautiful covers and peaceful atmosphere, looking at books the way some people adore paintings.

Now bookstores are agitating and one cannot find a comfortable seat just to look at the books. It isn’t peaceful, nor is the bookstore an escape from the daily grind. I used to live at bookstores. I graded papers at Borders or local independent bookstores. No one cared. I always bought things, and I brought other people into the store. Now we don’t have many stores and the few that exist with new books are just not enjoyable.

We are swamped with visual media. I watch certain television shows like Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. However, it is now conceivable to watch a television show or a movie on the phone, on the computer, or on a tablet all the time. Watching seems easier than reading, and it gets people out of their head for a while, but they also lose the ability to distinguish what is going on in a written text.

Eventually, they have trouble following basic storylines in television and movies. If a person cannot follow an episode of Game of Thrones, then how will they do when someone assigns them Homer in college? Oh, I know, they will look at the wiki or Spark Notes. That brings me to my next point…

When asked to read, it is about shoveling information into the brain, not interpretation. Students ask: what do I need to know? Which quotes matter? What is the story? Tell me what happened. If I refuse, they go to Spark Notes or another online source. Sure, some do it because they can’t be bothered to read, but others are terrified of flunking an exam, so they want data, not dreams.

Their elementary education taught them to memorize for some test in the spring that is all important to the school. Students have been habituated into knowing, not thinking. Then they get someone like me in their lives who will fire the question back at them: Okay, what did happen? Why do you think the character chose to react this way? They panic. They did the reading, but they don’t know how to answer these questions.


Australia: NSW teachers behind homosexual "education"

We were told during the same sex marriage postal survey that the issue had nothing to do with what our children were being taught in schools and that concerns about the expansion of the Safe Schools Program and promotion of gender theory were red herrings.

However no less than 24 hours after the passing of same sex marriage into law op-ed pieces appeared online claiming that the next cause the movement should champion is LGBT inclusive education in schools.

What many people weren’t aware of during the postal survey was that many teachers and education unions support the yes campaign. The most prominent supporter was the Australian Education Union which represents school teachers at both primary and secondary level and is the largest union in the education sector.

State governments can remove Safe Schools type programs and ban the teaching of gender theory, but they cannot stop activist teachers from inserting their political agenda into the everyday classroom. This something that parents should be aware of as teachers’ political agendas are not exactly hidden.

The latest display of their agenda is that the New South Wales Teachers Federation wants to have a float in the 2018 Sydney Mardi Gras which has been the case in previous years. The organisers of the Mardi Gras appropriately declined with the official reason being that next year being the 40th anniversary of the parade they are already over their float capacity and can’t approve all applications.

Despite the inappropriateness of the teachers marching in what is a blatant political event not to mention contains explicit sexualised content the New South Wales Teachers Federation is not taking no for an answer. They have launched a petition on to pressure the Mardi Gras to accept their application. So far it has gained 1800 signatures.

Parents should be deeply concerned about any teachers marching in such a parade and what it means for the education of their children. If teachers believe that the Mardi Gras is an event they should participate in a public capacity, then what does it mean for how they approach their job in the classroom?

Developments such as this certainly point to the fact that more radical aspects of the LGBT agenda are being pushed after the legislation of same sex marriage especially to our youth by the people we entrust with their education. Teachers should be sticking to the three Rs and if they want to be politically active do it in their own time and not in a capacity as an educator.


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