I’m a loser and I’m not what I appear to be / What have I done to deserve such a fate / I realize I have left it too late / And so it’s true, pride comes before a fall / I’m telling you so that you won’t lose all — John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I’m a Loser, 1964.
At the risk of repeating myself — something at which I’m quite good — the reason why the 1938 cartoon “Porky In Wackyland” is my favorite is because it has proven to be remarkably prescient.
83 years ago director Bob Clampett and writer Warren Foster created a seven and-one half minute affirmation of Dr. Sigmund Freud’s declaration that humor arises from breaking taboos, an observation voiced by historian Steve Schneider in his 1988 book That’s All, Folks! The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Clampett and Foster broke more societal norms than Bill Hicks on a dexedrine tear. Wackyland was a place so surreal that it could melt Salvatore Dali’s mustache.
It’s not really a fun place. Wackyland is quite scary, even by the laws of cartoon physics. In contemporary terms, the best corollary I can think of is the state of Florida.
To illustrate this point, I offer you the thousands of reports from our legitimate news media ever since the 2000 election, the one where their hanging chads led the Supreme Court to give, quite randomly, the presidential election to George W. Bush. Their present governor, the remarkably dangerous and morally obscene dictator Ron DeSantis who is gifted by Cult Leader and Presidential Loser Trump with new kneepads each week, is one of the most disgusting bigots of our current political class. If you think about that for a minute, that’s one hell of an achievement.
So it should come as no surprise that one of their public high schools has banned that tiny line in girls’ yearbook photographs that might indicate said girls were wearing a bra. I believe that line is referred to on The CW as “cleavage.”
WTF, you might ask? Yup. It’s true. At least 80 photos in the new Bartram Trail High School (just south of Jacksonville) were altered to eliminate any indication that these students had naturally maturing bodies. These alterations were made without the consent of the photographees or their parents. None of these particular students were male, but to be fair high school yearbook photos rarely include tight crotch shots… of male students.
Adrian Bartlett, the mother of a student whose visage was subject to the school’s reactionary computer molestation, told The St. Augustine Record her daughter’s picture was edited in her chest area to add more shirt coverage. “It sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies, and I think that’s a horrible message to send out to these young girls that are going through these changes.”
The school says these photos did not follow the policies dictated by their dress code. The parents of these girls say this is not the case in the least, and of course, the easily produced “before” photos stand as evidence to this point. Many of these censored portraits are quite easy to identify as the Photoshopping job often was done poorly and recklessly.
Not to mention needlessly. Their website states “all individual student pictures must be consistent with the St. Johns County School District Student Code of Conduct or may be digitally adjusted.” However, as noted, many parents do not believe those photos were in any such violation. Evidently, nowhere in their Code (which, in and of itself, is quite discriminatory) does it suggest teenage girls who possess bodies common to teenage girls must wear hazmat suits.
This is a new high bar in body shaming, done by people who obviously believe that teenage girls’ bodies are indeed shameful. If, young lady, you are not a slut your high school seems quite likely to show the world you are. Natural cleavage is bad and must be exorcised, at least at Bartram Trail High School in St. John’s Florida, where Principal Chris Phelps can be reached at (904) 547-8340.
If cleavage were to be forbidden in Florida, their tourism business would be destroyed. It is a deeply hypocritical moral Wackyland down there.
As for those of you who are saying to yourself “Well, sure, Mike, but it’s Florida and, like you said, they’re kinda weird!” I ask you this: if you really think this is happening only in Florida, check your local newspapers. If you’ve still got any. Check back around – oh, you know, prom time.