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Petty tyrants at Georgia high school want to ban girl from graduation for making a science joke

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:40 EDT

Oh high school graduation time. The kids are all excited and the parents are wavering between proud and anxious and everyone is so involved in the whole process that no one can spare a minute to pity the petty tyrants that infest every high school, who are losing yet another crop of kids to control and bully. These folks, who react poorly to their own waning youth by trying to suck the fun out of being young for teenagers, can be found both in administration and in the classrooms. Are they all people who work in public schools? No. But every public school has them. And every year, these petty tyrants watch another group of kids they’ve been able to push around for four years slide away from them.

The pain it must cause them, waking up on graduation day and realizing that tomorrow, they have no more control.  No more punishing them for having fun. No more enforcing of arbitrary dress codes. No more lectures about how they’re rotting their brains with the smart phones and the hip-hop and the TV shows. But before that day comes, the petty tyrants will make one last power grab. They will try to make graduation as unfun as possible, and, of course, scour the earth looking for unauthorized pleasures taken by the students that can now be punished by yanking graduation away from them. You kids think you can just make your jokes and have your laughs, just because school is ending? The petty tyrants will show you who still holds the cards. Grandma will not be seeing you walk across the stage at graduation! How do you like them apples?

The award for this year’s petty tyrant graduation-related temper tantrum goes to the school officials at Mundy’s Mill High School in Clayton County, Georgia. The senior class vice-president, who was tapped to give a speech at graduation, is being threatened with a ban from her high school graduation for using this as her yearbook quote:

paris gray


You are probably not as up on your periodic tables as Gray is, but if you change all those element names to their chemical symbols, it reads “BaCK ThAt AsS UP.”

There is no purpose to banning her from graduation for this prank besides vengeance because Gray had some unauthorized fun. Full stop. Anyone involved in punishing a high school girl for a harmless joke that involves the chemical elements is someone whose prudery and hatred for the young has distorted their soul until they are dead inside. How hateful. How sad. The joke is cute. It’s good she paid attention in chemistry. Leave it alone, assholes.

In addition, I will point out that backing one’s ass up is a fine way to use your ass. In fact, it’s probably the second most common task asses are put to, besides sitting on them. Ideally, you really should spend more time backing your ass up and less time sitting on it, for health reasons. So not only is this a nerdy science joke of the sort schools should be celebrating, it’s just good advice for living.

Luckily, Gray’s mom is supportive of her. “My first reaction was, you are such a nerd,” she said. Yes. God forbid.

The Orange Couch Does Mad Men: S7E6, “The Strategy”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, May 19, 2014 9:45 EDT

So this is the most optimistic episode of Mad Men, possibly ever, right? As Marc and I discuss in the video, the entire episode was about the breakdown of the “traditional” nuclear family. Which was always more an aspirational ideal more than a “tradition”, per se, as is made evident by the fact that Peggy finds herself feeling inadequate compared to the housewives without noticing that those housewives are not actually achieving the ideal of…


Guns: So many people obsessing over a tool so few will ever use

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, May 16, 2014 13:55 EDT

Loud. Expensive. Useless. On a recent episode of the show Louie, there’s a hilarious scene where Louie is playing poker with his comedian buddies, and they start trying to outdo each other with masturbation jokes. At one point, Jim announces that he uses both a vibrator and a dildo to…


Trailer for new sitcom Selfie causes feelings of rage, despair, and constipation

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:49 EDT

Okay, this isn’t the most earth-shattering thing in the world, but this is so upsetting. I am a fan of both John Cho and Karen Gillan’s, and so I’m devastated to see that they’re going to star in an ABC sitcom called Selfie, based on Pygmalion, that looks unbelievably sexist and…


It’s not the secular world that’s hyper-sexual

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 11:38 EDT

I need to document that ass. For Jesus.  By now, I have to imagine regular readers have seen this story posted at the blog of Hännah Ettinger, who was raised in the Quiverfull movement and is now an outspoken critic of Christian patriarchy. (Her family has since left the cult and,…


The new Pope believes in demon possession. This is a problem.

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 11:20 EDT

I touched on this briefly in a Slate post, but I want to dig in and talk about it some more. Anthony Faiola has an alarming piece up at the Washington Post about how the small but devout exorcist community within the Catholic church is getting a huge boost from…


The Orange Couch does Mad Men: S7E5, “The Runaways”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, May 12, 2014 9:45 EDT

This week’s episode was incredibly dense in its themes and allusions. Including this, which our intrepid publisher Roxanne Cooper dug up and sent me: Starting at 1:37. Clearly, Stanley Kubrick is the muse of this season. Eagle eyes who catch more allusions to Kubrick always welcome! In The Orange Couch,…


Will Monica Lewinsky matter?

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:33 EDT

Digby has a post castigating people who think that the return of Monica Lewinsky isn’t going to matter, and I find her reasoning quite persuasive. The Lewinsky scandal was seen at the time through the lens of the unprecedented partisan attacks of the previous five years and the total abdication…


Is Shape magazine misleading readers about what dramatic weight loss looks like?

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 16:08 EDT

Losing a bunch of weight does not necessarily make your stomach flat.  Brooke Birmingham’s website Brooke: Not On A Diet is crashing, and it’s no wonder. She must be getting slammed by traffic after this amazing expose she published on her website regarding her refusal to work with Shape magazine…


Atheists need to put the Christian right on the spot, ask them if they really think we’re less American

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 11:27 EDT

One of the reasons it’s important for atheists to organize and make themselves more visible is that it’s probably one of the best weapons against bullshit like the Supreme Court coughed up yesterday, allowing explicitly Christian prayer to open legislative sessions. Ian Millhiser explains why it’s so dangerous: Town of…