I actually regard cynicism as one of the most corrosive and dangerous emotions, especially when it comes to education and politics. I've spent too much of my professional life around seeing teachers destroy their self respect and any chance of real improvement in what they achieve through using cynicism to undermine any new attempt to improve the outcomes for the pupils they are responsible for.
You know the sort of thing. We've seen it all before. It'll never work. Oh, it's just the latest fad. Not with kids like these. Not with parents like these. Idle consultants/inspectors/advisers who couldn't teach to save their lives. You'll see, blackboards and chalk and talk will be the next fashion. And so on. And so on.
But... just occasionally, I come across a cynical comment that really makes me smile with pleasure because it so deftly demolishes some enormous centre of grandiose self importance, or some utterly undeserving icon of international adulation.
I don't usually spend time reading the readers' comments on Ha'aretz' talkboards. Too much predictable ranting and raving. But today, there's a real gem in comment no. 21, from a commenter called Meni, in response to a routine anti-Israel article by Amira Hass, their renowned correspondent who actually lives in Ramallah. As it happened, since I spent some time responding to the comments of an Adloyada reader of my previous post who called Amira a saint, the tenor of the article to which this comment was a response was already on my mind.
Meni's cynical comment "The Amira School of Journalism" captures perfectly Amira Hass' journalistic approach and Ha'aretz' role in fearlessly publishing her:
How to write an article:
A. Find topic (ie cell phones).
B. Identify heroic, persecuted victims (Palestinians).
C. Identify cruel, heartless, bloodthirsty and shrewd oppressors (Zionist entities).
D. (A)/(C - B)
E. If author is part of C, but supports B, any article about topic A in regards to C - B will generate attention due to readers who support B thinking "what a brave lady" and readers who support C thinking "what a terrible lady".
F. Rinse and repeat, and pay for groceries and rent using proceeds.