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01 March 2005

trouble in Mandatory Childhood Innocence Land


Hmmm ... I mentioned down below that SWMBO recalls that her Girl Scout Oath was very much like the Oath of the Young Men of Athens, so I thought I'd find the Girl Scout Oath and post it here, as a civic, youth-supportive gesture. I Googled "Girl Scout Oath," and boy, am I sorry. There are fistfights and Harsh Language and threats and accusations of all sorts of awful mean-spirited stuff over this Oath going on as we speak all over America. Being a Girl Scout these days is very Fox News and US Supreme Court and lawyers and protesters and lawsuits.

I also had trouble precisely nailing down the Girl Scout Oath. One seemingly credible site says it's:

"On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times and to live by the Girl Scout Law."

But another site disputes this:

... remember the Girl Scout oath: "Get the money before you give them the cookies!"

Anyway, I'd thought it was just the Boy Scouts in a lot of hot political and sexual and legal trouble the last few years. Girl Scouts have jumped right in there with the Boy Scouts, or been dragged in. It's actually a very interesting national controversy, and not all of it is entirely symbolic, certain important principles seem authentically to be at stake. It has been perceived by some parents that the Girl Scouts have weenied down from strict ideas about religion, sexuality and patriotism, and a lot of parents are withdrawing their daughters from GS and enrolling them in a Christian-oriented rival group, American Heritage Girls.

(This is One Slick Website! Color me impressed! If you're a 12-year-old girl and you click here, you're probably going to need professional deprogramming.)

Imagine: A group squarer than Girl Scouts. The mind boggles.

The controversy is very sexual right there smack-dab in the Age of Mandatory Innocence, and involves whether GS should or should not expose girls to messages about tolerance of non-hetero lifestyles and families, and a similar hot button about abortion and Planned Parenthood messages. The first or fiercest anti-GS revolt seems to have happened in Texas.


I had seemed to recall that maybe 15 years ago, the Girl Scouts changed their traditional oath, they deleted the old requirement that a Girl Scout promises always to be cheerful. Times have changed, the world has moved on, and little girls ought no longer be burdened with the sexist gender obligation of always having a big Pollyanna smile for everyone, even on bad hair days, or for people they detest. So prepare for the World of the Future, featuring Surly Girl Scouts. She helps you cross the street, and then tells you to cram it, geezer.

Nothing in this Googling that looks like the Oath of the Young Men of Athens to me, but SWMBO is always right.

I was dishonorably discharged from the Cub Scouts. Something about a dispute over a woman, some kind of fight in the basement of a Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland. It was a long time ago.

I have a friend, he moved to a farming community, he wanted to fit in and be civically useful, he had a stepson, so he became a Boy Scout troop leader. He knew a lot of other flatlander city folk who'd moved to the hilltown, and he started hitting them all up for their young male children, to recruit them. He got Scouts -- but he noticed that all his Jewish friends were just saying, "Oh, that's very interesting, Mike, we'll get back to you." And they never got back to him.

I finally had to very timidly and gently break it to him. When Jewish parents see hundreds of little boys all dressed alike in the same quasi-military uniform, marching along, singing a song, they think of the Hitler Youth, the HitlerJungend or HJ.

For a swell lampoon of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, most of it written shortly after World War II, there are the "Walt Disney Comics and Stories" duck stories by the brilliant artist Carl Barks. Huey, Dewey and Louie belong to the Junior Woodchucks, and their despised rivals are Daisy's nieces, who belong to The Little Chicadees. Ordinarily, H, D & L are bright, clever, independent ducklings, but in their Junior Woodchucks uniforms, they succumb to a hypnotic mob mentality and live only to follow the orders of their adult troop leaders and other super-braided generalissimi higher up the Junior Woodchucks chain of command, to the death.

All useful human knowledge is contained in The Junior Woodchucks Handbook, which is about the size of the Manhattan Phone Book, including the Yellow Pages.

Donald's rival for Daisy's hand is the worthless slugabed layabout Gladstone Gander -- unfortunately for Donald, also the luckiest bird in Duckburg. Gladstone doesn't work, he doesn't have to. He falls in a mud puddle and comes up with a lost diamond ring in his beak. Gladstone belongs to a wonderful group of like-minded free spirits who are always off picnicking in the country, The Idle Dandies.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

I had seemed to recall that maybe 15 years ago, the Girl Scouts changed their traditional oath, they deleted the old requirement that a Girl Scout promises always to be cheerful. Times have changed, the world has moved on, and little girls ought no longer be burdened with the sexist gender obligation of always having a big Pollyanna smile for everyone, even on bad hair days, or for people they detest. So prepare for the World of the Future, featuring Surly Girl Scouts. She helps you cross the street, and then tells you to cram it, geezer.I thought that I should defend the girlscouts honor (sorta) by noting that the boyscouts also required their little soldiers to be cheerful as cheerful can be. It's true, the boyscout motto is "be prepared", but few but an x boyscout (guilty) probably remembers the boyscout oath. "on my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to god and my country, to obey the scout law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." Anybody out there wondering, yes, I did do that from memory, and yes, it is right. If I was reading this, I'd be wonder what exactly the heck that has to do with being cheerful. Note the "obey the scout law" part. The scout law is:

a Scout is trustworthy
a Scout is loyal
a Scout is helpful
a Scout is friendly
a Scout is courteous
a Scout is kind
a Scout is obedient
a Scout is cheerfula Scout is thrifty
a Scout is brave
a Scout is clean
a Scout is reverant

That I had to look up. It seems a sign of the times that being cheerful was required. boyscouts have clung to that I think. Who knows really. I can honestly say that I've probably broken all of those laws at one time or another. c'est la vie.

now brought to you with 75% fewer capitals

23:59  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

And I for my part wish to state that I did not intend to beast on the Scouts. Probably my longest-running and most dependable friend was (is?) an Eagle Scout. If you are sitting naked at the North Pole and you can get this guy on your cell phone, and he says he will be there to rescue you in 1 hour 41 minutes, you can hang up and light up a Lucky and relax. He Will Be There.

As for Girl Scouts -- I would generalize and say that those Girl Scouts I knew and kept in contact with, they reflected character and trustworthiness better than your average human. Scouting on Vleeptron is quite popular and very much resembles Earth Scouts, though the really popular groups are the Junior Woodchucks and the Little Chicadees.

Are you sure it's "awake" and not "alert"? I thought I recalled "alert."

Me and a pal were watching one of those grotesque WWII documentaries on TV once and suddenly he pointed and said, "Oh, yeah, the Hitler Youth, I was in that."

Long pregnant silence in the room.

"Look," he says, "I was six, I thought the uniforms were nifty, and everybody was in it." A few years later, the war ended, his mom married an American soldier, and he came to the USA.

Jimmy Stewart and former President Ford used to do a TV commercial for the Boy Scouts, both wearing their uniforms. Ford was okay with me as Republican presidents go -- I was sure relieved to see him in the White House after Nixon -- but if Jimmy Stewart was a Boy Scout, the Boy Scouts are okay, too. Anybody who can make "Vertigo," "Flight of the Phoenix" and "Anatomy of a Murder" clearly has big brains, talent, character, dependability, etc. "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" kicks ass too.

I hope the Boy Scouts get over their sex and atheism things. Their adult leadership are losing them a lot of support, and a lot of kids are gonna suffer 'cause of it.

01:41  
Blogger Mike said...

Pretty sure that it was awake, but it could have been alert too.

Oh, btw, I have a present for you. :)

01:50  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Hmmm, okay, I have reviewed the Scout Law, and I am pleased to report that I am all those things, except thrifty and clean, and I suspect not everyone would validate me as reverent.

Someone who met Ramanujan, the great Indian mystic self-taught mathematician, described him as "not overclean."

Watch the Vleeptron blog for another important and famous Code of Behavior for Youth.

01:53  

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