Sunday, February 23, 2014

Badass Is As Badass Doesn't Do

The Arbiter of Badassery His Own Self

I must be a slow learner. Back in August I called out the national Badass Teacher's Club because none of them wanted to join me up at University of Buffalo for an Obama mic check. In my china shop bull-like diplomatic style I said some unpleasant things about their membership's serious lack of badasses. Before long I got a message on Facebook from a friend who warned me that their guru Mark Naison was dyspeptic and suffering from a case of the vapors over my remarks. Within the hour I found myself banned from the Badass Teachers Association. So called.

So I probably went about my business as I tend to do, ever the human Irish Setter poking my nose into things and thinking everything is cool. Somewhere in my rambles I stumbled across New York BATS group that struck me as more accommodating and less heavy handed than the one I'd been booted from.  And so it was. I decorated their wall with countless memes poking fun at ed reformers, hapless political hacks, NYSED, the Governor, King, Tisch and Grumpy Old Bob Bennett. I'd post my blog posts there too for the sake of making my contributions to the cause on two fronts and unless I am completely deluded I was a welcome addition to the group.

That all took a dump today when Herr Naison posted an imperious little blurb he introduced as a "heads up." The message was that starting immediately NY BATS was going to launch a prisoner education initiative There was to be no discussion as the powers that be  -- Naison and his shadowy inner circle? -- had discussed it and it was a done deal. He suggested anyone who didn't agree should find another group. Well, I guess when your ancestors come from County Cork you are not bloody likely to swallow a load of shite like this one and, true to my DNA, I didn't. 

I wasn't so much against any program to educate our incarcerated New York  brothers and sisters as much as I was objecting to the top down tone and the Cuomoesque use of the "my way or the highway" card in a group claiming to be a bunch of liberal, Eugene Debs worshipping progressives. What did me in though was the fact that I was voicing a non party approved opinion that directly challenged Dear Leader Naison. First I noticed one of my posts was missing. Then I saw the comments removed from under another post. Within an hour I was no longer a member of the New York Bad Ass Teacher's Association.  In Mark Naison's world Badass is what he says it is, when he says it, how he says it, where he says it and nothing else. Tightass, yes. Badass, no. 


  1. Anyone who calls themselves a Badass is by definition not a Badass.

    An utterly tone-deaf and cringeworthy name... And being so quick to censor validates every raving by the Limbaughs of the world.

    1. So true. Reminding me of Game of Thrones when old man Lannister tells the boy king any king who has to keep reminding people he is king is no king. Apparently these purges of the opposition, or better yet, perceived opposition in Saddham like style are the norm at the national BATS club as well.

  2. This is why I'm not much of an organization joiner.

    I remember George Carlin saying he didn't like joining organizations because they make you wear uniforms and armbands and they have marching songs and all kinds of stuff that if you're not on board with, well, it's a problem.

    I always reserve the right to feel the way I want to about every single issue and I cannot belong to any club or organization that says, "Nahh, you can't think on your own, you have to think the way we do."

    Hell, I grew up an Irish Catholic, I know all about having shit shoved down my throat that I want nothing to do with!

    1. Aye a good Irish Catholic. Is there any other kind? I tend not to join these things myself for the same reasons. The pol pottishness came outta nowhere it seems. Amusing lesson.

  3. I have never understood what the Badass Teachers actually do, except feel cool by calling themselves 'Badass'. Since teachers aren't exactly noted for being 'badass' and many, many teachers are uninformed about the educational issues of the day, the only reason to be a member of the Badass Teachers is to say that you are a member of the Badass Teachers. I have never gotten what they actually accomplish. I am waiting for some action as a solid union. Nothing yet. There are so many issues swirling around, so little response. Our unions have been collaborating with the corporate privatizers and political miscreants for so long that there is no message or strength. Today, Ravitch noted that the "NEA has announced a new partnership with the Gates-funded Teach Plus, which advocates for the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers. " Can't wait for Scott Walker to become President. We will have no unions at all. But, we'll most likely be giving him union funding because he is the "lesser of two evils" or some such nonsense. Badass? My A$$. Baaa Baaaa..........

    1. What do they accomplish, Isabella?

      Well, on a practical level, they accomplish nothing at all, since they only exist in the Zuckerberg-sphere, where their poses can be usefully data-mined by advertisers interested in those things.

      But it is an effective vehicle for their megalomaniacal "Great Leader."

      Ever notice on his blog posts the wildly disproportionate use of first person pronouns and possessives? Behind the Lefty veneer, it mostly seems to be "I, me, mine."

      I had promised myself that I would say nothing about this group, since there are well-meaning people involved in it, but too many voices I trust have had run-ins with him/them, and it always follows the same pattern. Better to try to minimize the damage they'll inevitably cause now, rather than later.

      Teachers, parents and other real reformers will come to regret giving this self-seeker so much prominence.

  4. I have to concur with Michael's assessment of the situation. I have heard from no fewer than 5 others who've shared their own horror stories of dealing with this pathological professor of Oz. I watched his meandering line of shit while trying to fend off a handful of pissed off teachers in another FB group and it was pathetic to hear his endless stream of rationalizations and half hearted apologies and quarter hearted mea cuplas. He was joined by his back up Orcs after taking a pummeling from two or three guys. The greek chorus of his lackeys was the stuff of Jonestown or Spahn Ranch. All you really need to do is get to know this dude a little and leaving is the only option that makes sense. And as Michael points out, outside the Zuckerverse this crew doesn't even exist.

  5. I had but one ugly but revealing interaction with the Dear Leader, which is one more than I would ever care to have. This happened when I discovered that, without my knowledge or consent, I had somehow been signed up to be as a member of his embarrassing “association.” I say embarrassing not merely because of its adolescent name but for the adolescent tone and content of the seemingly endless Facebook messages I was receiving, all of them self- congratulatory, many of them by or about the Dear Leader.

    The more I read the more the “association” smelt to me like some kind of sad cult and the more I came to see the Dear Leader as using the suffering and degradation of my fellow teachers that I was witnessing on a daily basis as a platform to build a political power base for himself. There was something in the tone of this non-teacher’s endless Face book gas-bagging that I found repugnant. In fact, much. I recall reading one in which the Dear Leader swiped a rhetorical trope from Fox News and wrote something along the lines of . “Some say that we ( his “association” ) are the conscience of the union.” As a union rep serving many years on the front lines in NYC dealing with psycho principal after psycho principal, I found this sentiment and many like it to be way, way beyond self serving.

    At any rate, when, to my disgust, I finally went to the website and discovered my name was associated with this person and his cult, I wrote to somebody there demanding it be removed and threatening legal action if it were not done immediately. Within a minute, there was the Dear Leader himself on my Face Book page, playing the tough guy hero, insinuating that I was bullying a woman and on like that. For the next 10 minutes or so I foolishly attempted to have a conversation with the Dear Leader, an exercise in futility and one I shall never repeat. Suffice to say, Dear Leader’s attempts to manipulate the conversation were as ceaseless as his paranoid questions: was I a spy for charter schools? Did I work for de Blasio? And so on.

    At one point this alleged Leftist actually asked me, “ Are you significant?” In the world I come from, it is understood that all people are significant. All. I expect such a line of questioning from members of the far right if not out right fascists. At another point this complete stranger called me a liar.

    A liar.

    I do not recall being treated with such contempt in all my life. Ever. It was as if he were addressing a lesser form of being. At any rate, the conversation more than confirmed my worst suspicions about the Dear Leader and his “association.” I stand with Michael. In the end, nothing good can come of anything built on Face book, bombast and oceanic ego, whatever the alleged intentions. Character is indeed destiny

    And now, back to work.


    1. Great Leader?

      Dear Leader?

      Let's compromise and agree on Great Dear Leader !

    2. No. In the true spirit of great dear leader I submit that we call him Dear great leader and I am not going to back down on this. Anyone who has a problem with this I suggest needs to find another blog. (scrambling my research orcs now to begin an investigation/research of all the above commenters) Honestly I haven't had this much fun in my own comments section ever. Thanks for the support and input. Solidarity and Sanity in 2014

    3. I hereby banish you from your own blog!

  6. OK, Sean, since I am not "significant," I will accede to your demands.

    Please don't ban me from your site !

  7. Mark can't help it. It's in his nature. I have spent almost 1000 hours with him and never been so attacked and defamed, just for having a heartbeat and being on the same team. I know, it makes no sense. It's like this clip. Exactly. We should all get that scorpion off our backs before we try to cross the river together.