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The 'McCain Girl' T-Shirt


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#1 Agrimorfee

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:09 AM

This story fascinated me.

As the media keeps gushing on about how America has finally adopted tolerance as the great virtue, and that we're all united now, let's consider the Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment.

Catherine Vogt, 14, is an Illinois 8th grader, the daughter of a liberal mom and a conservative dad. She wanted to conduct an experiment in political tolerance and diversity of opinion at her school in the liberal suburb of Oak Park.

She noticed that fellow students at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for president. His campaign kept preaching "inclusion," and she decided to see how included she could be.

So just before the election, Catherine consulted with her history teacher, then bravely wore a unique T-shirt to school and recorded the comments of teachers and students in her journal. The T-shirt bore the simple yet quite subversive words drawn with a red marker:

"McCain Girl."

"I was just really curious how they'd react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters," Catherine told us. "I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be."

Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain's name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.

"People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn't be wearing it," Catherine said.

Then it got worse.

"One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed," Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.

But students weren't the only ones surprised that she wore a shirt supporting McCain.

"In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain," Catherine said.

If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college.

"Later, that teacher found out about the experiment and said she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said," Catherine said.

One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs.

"He said, 'You should be crucifixed.' It was kind of funny because, I was like, don't you mean 'crucified?' " Catherine said.

Other entries in her notebook involved suggestions by classmates that she be "burned with her shirt on" for "being a filthy-rich Republican."

Some said that because she supported McCain, by extension she supported a plan by deranged skinheads to kill Obama before the election. And I thought such politicized logic was confined to American newsrooms. Yet Catherine refused to argue with her peers. She didn't want to jeopardize her experiment.

"I couldn't show people really what it was for. I really kind of wanted to laugh because they had no idea what I was doing," she said.

Only a few times did anyone say anything remotely positive about her McCain shirt. One girl pulled her aside in a corner, out of earshot of other students, and whispered, "I really like your shirt."

That's when you know America is truly supportive of diversity of opinion, when children must whisper for fear of being ostracized, heckled and crucifixed.

The next day, in part 2 of The Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment, she wore another T-shirt, this one with "Obama Girl" written in blue. And an amazing thing happened.

Catherine wasn't very stupid anymore. She grew brains.

"People liked my shirt. They said things like my brain had come back, and I had put the right shirt on today," Catherine said.



John Kass Bio | E-mail | Recent columns

Some students accused her of playing both sides.

"A lot of people liked it. But some people told me I was a flip-flopper," she said. "They said, 'You can't make up your mind. You can't wear a McCain shirt one day and an Obama shirt the next day.' "

But she sure did, and she turned her journal into a report for her history teacher, earning Catherine extra credit. We asked the teacher, Norma Cassin-Pountney, whether it was ironic that Catherine would be subject to such intolerance from pro-Obama supporters in a community that prides itself on its liberal outlook.

"That's what we discussed," Cassin-Pountney said about the debate in the classroom when the experiment was revealed. "I said, here you are, promoting this person [Obama] that believes we are all equal and included, and look what you've done? The students were kind of like, 'Oh, yeah.' I think they got it."

Catherine never told us which candidate she would have voted for if she weren't an 8th grader. But she said she learned what it was like to be in the minority.

"Just being on the outside, how it felt, it was not fun at all," she said.

Don't ever feel as if you must conform, Catherine. Being on the outside isn't so bad. Trust me

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#2 Duff.

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:17 AM

John Kass should get a Pulitzer for uncovering the exclusionary tactics of middle school children.

No, it'll be stupid, and we're already doing something stupid.
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#3 Henrietta

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:19 AM

This just in: Little kids are pricks.

I have a problem with this part, though. One girl pulled her aside in a corner, out of earshot of other students, and whispered, "I really like your shirt." That's when you know America is truly supportive of diversity of opinion, when children must whisper for fear of being ostracized, heckled and crucifixed. Not all opinions are created equal and not all opinions should be met with tolerance.

#4 Sid Hartha

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:25 AM

John Kass.

I stopped reading the Tribune when the paper endorsed Bush in 2004, but that asswipe is reason enough to never go back. God, that reads just like every shitty piece he's ever written. He's like a politicized version of Bob Greene.

#5 M_Rots

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:27 AM

This just in: Little kids are pricks.

Not all opinions are created equal and not all opinions should be met with tolerance.


Of course they should. Except for this one. And everything Montana says. And Sausage. And Vivian. And... hmmm.

You might have a point.

#6 farawaysoclose

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:30 AM

Good story. But not particularly surprising considering how hateful middle school kids are. Either way, that girl has balls.

#7 Agrimorfee

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:37 AM

Whether or not you agree with Kass (I only recently read his stuff, and, yup, he's brainlessly anti-Obama), I think it was great how he pointed this out...how much supposedly "grownup" ideals really do trickle down to our youth, and what kind of examples we older folks have been giving them for politeness and intellectual discourse.

"Is everyone on here just an act sometimes?"--Hummingbird

Read all of my stupid song parodies here. Latest song improved/ruined: "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Alice Cooper.

 

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#8 MattW

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:42 AM

Garbage. So if this girl does this experiment in a St. Louis suburb that leans right and gets mocked and intimidated for her Obama shirt, then it's less hypocritical because Republicans don't preach tolerance? I'm just annoyed because I know my dad is going to bring this up this weekend.

#9 Agrimorfee

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:45 AM

Garbage.
So if this girl does this experiment in a St. Louis suburb that leans right and gets mocked and intimidated for her Obama shirt, then it's less hypocritical because Republicans don't preach tolerance?


Are you getting that angle from the article? :unsure: I don't see that anywhere, in spite of Kass's known politics.

"Is everyone on here just an act sometimes?"--Hummingbird

Read all of my stupid song parodies here. Latest song improved/ruined: "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Alice Cooper.

 

Download all of my alleged music free through the remainder of May at www.soundclick.com/agrimorfee

 

Also jabbering about music and movies at www.rateyourmusic.com


#10 Duff.

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:04 PM

Sure ain't doing much to make you think otherwise.

No, it'll be stupid, and we're already doing something stupid.
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#11 MattW

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:04 PM

Of course I'm getting that angle.

As the media keeps gushing on about how America has finally adopted tolerance as the great virtue, and that we're all united now, let's consider the Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment.



Basically there's nothing surprising about her observational 'finding' in this experiment. But if she does this in any town in which the political balance leans one way or the other, this will happen. The only thing this story has for it is that the Obama campaign symbolizes tolerance. Kass wrote this column to expose a hypocrisy in the left, which undoubtedly exists. But the ironic element is that the basis of the left's hypocrisy is their imperfect attempt at tolerance, Kass mocks the basis of that pretense.

I personally think hypocrisy is a cliche and an impotent argument in the first place that breeds cynicism. While the symbolism is threatened here, at least the symbolism existed in the first place. Kass wouldn't have that story if the girl was doing this in a right wing area because there would be nothing but cynicism to confirm.

#12 Henrietta

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:07 PM

OTM, MattW.

#13 Johnny Feathers

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:09 PM

Garbage.
So if this girl does this experiment in a St. Louis suburb that leans right and gets mocked and intimidated for her Obama shirt, then it's less hypocritical because Republicans don't preach tolerance?


Are you getting that angle from the article? :unsure: I don't see that anywhere, in spite of Kass's known politics.


It is kind of implied. "You Obama supporters preach tolerance and inclusion, but look at how intolerant you are!" As if the only reason to talk about this is the fact that Obama supporters are supposedly all about tolerance.

Edit: Yeah, everyone beat me to this one.
Khaaaaan!!!!

#14 JeffTweedysFatStomach

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:22 PM

Setting the bias of the journalist aside, you have to admit this is a pretty cool project for some 8th grader to come up with.

#15 Montana

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:25 PM

John Kass is a bloated, red faced moron.
Every Sunday morning I wake up
I see you by your dresser doing your make-up
Fluttering a Chinese fan in a Knoxville fashion
All last night you tossed and turned
Your body was hotter than the night Richmond burned
You say you had a bad nightmare about tractor trailers crashing
- The Felice Brothers

#16 Duff.

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:55 PM

Setting the bias of the journalist aside, you have to admit this is a pretty cool project for some 8th grader to come up with.


No complaints there. Exposing the hipocracy at her own school, and that's cool. The problem comes when this guy tries to bring it to the bigger picture and it just doesn't translate in a real way.

No, it'll be stupid, and we're already doing something stupid.
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#17 Henrietta

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:09 PM

Those poor, oppressed pro-McCain students.

Controversial words spoken by kids on a school bus have some Madison County parents concerned.

Matthew Whoolery and his wife aren't blaming the school district for what happened on the bus but they do think all parents need to be careful about what they say and teach their children.

Whoolery and his wife couldn't believe it when their second and third graders got off the bus last week and told them what other students were saying.

"They just hadn't heard anything like this before," said Whoolery. "They were chanting on the bus, 'Assassinate Obama. Assassinate Obama.' Then adding in a name sometimes of a classmate on the bus, 'Assassinate Obama and Kate.'"


http://www.2news.tv/...l/34274374.html

#18 Duff.

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:10 PM

You see? Children are inherently evil regardless of political party.

No, it'll be stupid, and we're already doing something stupid.
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#19 Jimmy TKB

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:28 PM

Ya know, and I thought Boise, Idaho would be such an enlightened place to live! Man, I like the idea of having less people around, but I shudder to think of being surrounded by red-stater nutbars, even if they are a mile away. Gotta get me a city vibe in a country space. Far northern Mississippi, maybe? Sorry, just thinking out loud here. Edit: The girl is brave and deserves her extra credit, the mean students and their parents are sad, Kass should stick to City Hall scandals and leave the social interest stories alone. Also, Kass is a stupid lump of partisan shit.

#20 Elemeno P.T.

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:36 PM

Ya know, and I thought Boise, Idaho would be such an enlightened place to live!

Boise actually gets a bad rap because it's in Idaho. The city of Boise actually voted Obama, albeit by a slim margin.
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