Saturday, January 06, 2007

Welcome To Oprah University! (Boys Need Not Apply)

Welcome To Oprah University! (Boys Need Not Apply)

3:38 PM 01/03/2007 Wed

JOHANNASBURG - As predicted in my essay back in Oct of 2006 ("Oprah: A Case Study of Neptune in the 10th, muminspeaks.blogspot.com, Oct 2006 entry), Oprah Winfrey's name did indeed appear in the headlines this month, with what she considers to be a lifetime event - the grand opening of her school for girls in South Africa. Oprah fans and the like will know well O's exploits in SAFR, among which were plans begun six years ago, to build a school specifically for disadvantaged girls. The school's opening was attended by none other than former president Nelson Mandela, along with other notable African American celebs, such as Spike Lee, Mariah Carey and Maya Angelou. 450 girls were finally chosen from over several thousand, the cost for the school ran about 40 million dollars (which O put up herself) and is slated to include the higher grades in the near future.

The school is said to be state-of-the-art, with a campus emcompassing some 28 buildings per O's specifications, including a reading room with a fireplace, a yoga studio and a sort of ampitheater designed to teach the girls in public speaking.

Consistent with what we've come to expect when Pluto by transit or Solar Arc comes to the MC, Oprah said that this is a major event in her life, one that not only took six years in the making, but one that she says she drew from her own life; she said that her dream was to make it possible for poor and disadvantaged girls to able to live their dreams. Without question, this is a great development in the post-Apartheid era of South Africa. But before the cheering starts, this story serves as a sort of prima facia example of just how "egalitarian" feminists like O really are. We are often told things like such people are interested in the equality of everyone, yet this example clearly shows, that "all" of the abject poor of the shanty towns like Soweto isn't the major criteria - being a girl is. Although this morning's report on the BBC's "News Hour" (heard locally on WHYY, the Philly NPR affiliate) took careful pains to point out that SAFR's boys are in need of help too, there could be plans afoot to see to it that they get the kind of "re-education" only Pol Pot and Chairman Mao would be proud of. Seriously, I kid, but hopefully you get my point - the idea is to see to it that South Africa's boys, if they are to be included in this grand scheme, are "socially engineered" to conform to the sensibilities of the likes of Oprah and her ilk, not truly taught to be fully functioning human beings in the World of Tommorrow.

We can also add, turning now to Oprah's horoscope (Jan 29 1954 4.30AM CST Kosciusko MS; Placidus 29 Sag 41, Rodden), that it speaks to a considerable interest in and success with, education: Sagittarius rises, with Jupiter, one of the three Education Planets of Western Astrology (Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus), placed in Mercury's Sign Gemini; Mercury in Aquarius is trine this Jupiter placement and rules the 9th House of Higher Education. Mercury is square Mars and opposed Pluto, and while under normal circumstances a stressed out 9th House and/or 9th ruler would portend difficulties with education, we can say in this case that it was not so. Note MC=Mercury/Jupiter, Uranus=Jupiter/Pluto, the latter three of these planets also in declinational aspect.

On top of this, please note that Oprah has, according to her ACG map, the Sun and Venus on the MC line going right through South Africa; her Saturn line goes right through Johannasburg. Hmm. And, when we overlay Oprah's chart onto that of South Africa itself (May 31 1961 12AM EET, Pretoria SAFR; Placidus 8 Pis 47, Campion) the resultant synastry is striking - O's Moon conjuncts the MC, opposes the Sun, square Pluto and square the Asc, while her Asc trines Venus; her Jupiter opposes the SAFR Moon, and much more. Clearly, these are contacts suggesting a major interest and involvement with the girls of SAFR and as well, having to do with education (note that SAFR's Moon in Sagittarius in the 10th, Venus in Aries, O's own chart specfics in this regard, etc.).

In places around the world like South Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. - there is a great push to get girls into school - while the boys fall further and further behind. Afterall, like the Oprah School for Girls shows, such things are Cause-Celebres. But here in the USA, it is a documented fact that boys are more likely to be suspended from school, to be disciplined more often, to have more difficulty with curricula, to be demoralized and put off from the school experience, to dropout of school, to commit suicide more often, to be placed in "special ed", to be prescribed Ritalin and other mind-altering drugs in order to "behave" and more. It is also a known fact that at present, more women than men are enrolled in college, and this is very important since it is also a fact that such women are not likely to "marry down" or otherwise be interested in the local plumber, meat packer, house painter or landscaper (unless you're a White blue-collar guy, ala "Something New"; Oprah fans know what I'm talking about).

Additionally, it is a fact that the vast majority of the country's teachers are women (usually, but not always, White), which in a sane world would raise real questions as to whether such a thing could have anything to do with the difficulties boys face in this regard, as well as the modern day schooling experience (and we can note here, that a few intrepid education scholars have suggested that the current education model, including tests and curricula, are such that they more easily fit the aptitudes that tend to be found more on the female side of the ledger); boys, accross the racial and socioeconomic spectrum, are and have been falling behind the girls over the past few decades.

Over the course of the past generation, here Stateside and around the world, we have seen the decline of the all-boys academy; indeed, to the minds of most of the world's feminists, such institutions are the bastions of the all-dreaded "patriarchy" that must be eliminated at all costs. This just didn't go for educational facilities that catered to the development of young boys, but to other male institutions, like the Boy and Cub Scouts and military schools like VMI and The Citadel. Bryn Mawr, Rosemont and Wellsley are hot colleges for women; one is hardpressed to come up with an all-male equivalent worth its salt in our time.

The current feminist-assisted conventional wisdom states that boys are inherently more problematic than are girls and thus need to be "worked on", to be "socialized/civilized" in order to be more suitable for the Brave New World. Yet, anyone who actually has male children knows well, that some things rarely if ever change. The issue isn't to try to make boys into girls, but to find productive outlets for hardwired male aptitudes and behaviors, unashamedly, as unashamedly as Oprah put her school for girls together in SAFR.

But, the sad truth is, trying to mount a counter-offensive to save the minds (and literally, lives) of boys is at best a hardsell to politicians, celebs and pundits alike, let alone the average person in society; all that "consciousness raising" over the past four decades has really done a job on the public, in true "Old Jedi Mindtrick" fashion. Although the murder rates in American Big Cities is again on the rise, although other forms of wayward male behavior is making itself manifest, and although the girls like those Oprah intends to help will be the most educated and priviliged the world has ever known, there is scant interest or will to even try to address any of it on the boy's side of the room.

Just as Oprah draws from her own experience to give birth to her school, I can draw on a few of my own in this regard - I was completely TURNED OFF from school, so much so that the very thought of going back is anathema to me. I was subjected to completely indifferent, incompetent, culturally deficient teachers (who, for the most part, happened to have been female and White) who not only didn't have a clue, but also didn't give a damn to make learning anything worthwhile or relevant to me or my classmates. Like most Black boys, I was "tracked", placed into the Trades on the assumption that I didn't have the wherewithall to go on to higher education. To this day I cannot recall who my High School Counselor was because I never met him/her(!), and the only reason why things didnt turn out for the worst for me was because in my final year of a hellish public school experience, I happened to have a Black man who was my Psychology teacher. A Moorehouse man, this teacher took a great risk to teach us a subject that really made a difference to our world. It was the ONLY class in 12 years of "schooling" that I EVER got an "A" in, and actually was the reason why I didn't drop out altogether. Unfortunately, it didn't last - he was ousted by his own colleagues (who just happened to also be Black), too fearful they were of his rocking the administrative boat. Most folks know that there are a lot of bad teachers in the public school systems, the very same systems that form the basis upon which prisons are built - and we all know where the vast majority of inner-city, Black and Hispanic males wind up by or before their 30th birthday.

Yet, there continues to be strong resistance to even the suggestion that possibly, just maybe, all boys schools could be of help to such at-risk youth. For example, in the waning days of 2005, as my hometown Philly was inching closer to a homicide rate of 380 with 1600 wounded (and 406 dead in 2006!), city officials vigourously wringed their hands in trying to find a solution. Several of them said that they would be open to bringing the all-boys schools back - which was all that was needed to bring the Local Feminist Lobby down from their perch out on the Main Line. Within nanoseconds of the proposal being outed, these activist-ideologues vehemently opposed the idea, even for the public schools, arguing that to even think of such an idea is to set the Women's Movement back several decades. Being appropriately shamed for broaching such a retrograde topic, the city fathers scurried back into the dark corners of City Hall, tail between legs, and pretended that they had something else to do that was more important.

Of course, these ladies reserve the right to send THEIR DAUGHTERS to all-girls schools, from kindergarten through grad school-all while avoiding the certain purgatory so many boys will almost certainly face.

As interested readers know well, I have my issues with Oprah - yet, I salute her for doing something most celebs these days dare not even think about - she puts her money where her mouth is. Every dime that funded the new school for girls in SAFR came out of Oprah's purse, something that deserves a heck of a lot of credit, and for the record, I truly wish her and her new school well. But with transit Saturn sitting on her Pluto in the 8th House of Debts, and transit Neptune sitting on her Mercury in the 2nd House of Personal Finances, it will be interesting indeed to see if this school of hers will go on to pay for itself in the months and years to come.

In the meantime, it would really be great if the real issues concerning boys, both here and abroad, got as much attention. Afterall, it IS about "equality" - right?

Hmm...

Salaam,
Mu

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