Part 1—Precocious little 15: On the front page of yesterday's New York Times, Jack Healy profiled the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
He focused on the problems with which they're dealing in the wake of the recent mass shooting at their large public school. Online, the headines above his report suggest what those problems may be:
Outspoken and Precocious, Florida Students Struggle With Loss When the Cameras Turn OffAs if by rule of law, the headlines say the kids are precocious. But at the start of his report, Healy went straight to the problems they face:
Even as they raise millions of dollars and plan nationwide rallies to stop gun violence, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School struggle with nightmares.
HEALY (2/26/18): After a gunman turned their high school into a sprawling crime scene last week, three freshman friends leapt into the student movement for tougher gun laws. They rode a bus to the State Capitol and chased down lawmakers. They vowed to march on Washington. They shouted and waved signs saying “Protect Kids” and “Stop Killing the Future.”In his report, Healy attempts to chronicle the problems facing these three students and their three thousand schoolmates.
But at night, in the blackness that recalls the dark classroom where she hid as a gunman murdered her classmates, Samara Barrack, 15, cannot stop thinking about that afternoon, when she fled through a blood-covered hallway. Samantha Deitsch, also 15, grieves a friend from journalism class. Aria Siccone, 14, who walked past the bodies of students from her last-period study hall, feels nothing sometimes. Just numbness.
“I keep having flashbacks,” Samara said. “There’s times I want to cry and can’t. There’s times I want to have fun and am hysterical.”
This is the reality that confronts students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the cameras turn off and the day’s rallies are over. They have won praise for their strength and eloquence on the world’s stage. But even as they raise millions of dollars and plan nationwide rallies, parse the details of assault-weapons laws and spar with politicians and conservative critics, the young survivors of the massacre are struggling with the loss of their friends and educators, and the nightmares that flood back in moments of stillness.
How accurate is Healy's portrait? We can't answer that question. But the three students with whom Healy starts are 15, 15 and 14 years old. Under the circumstances, it's almost obscene to be going around blabbing that they're "precocious."
Can we talk? The biggest problem these students confront is the relentless failure of elite adult authorities in their failing society. These failures include the noxious idea that these students, being "outspoken and precocious," strong and eloquent, are somehow supposed to solve the problem which came to their school that day.
Did we mention the fact that the three freshmen Healy cites are 14 or 15 years old? In what universe does it make sense to imagine that they will possess the "strength and eloquence" with which to address the sprawling societal problems which lay behind this latest disastrous event?
High school freshmen, aged 14, shouldn't be asked to be so "strong and eloquent." And yet, there was Dahlia Lithwick, one week later, writing that horribly accurate essay in Slate.
In her horribly accurate essay, Lithwick said that these teenagers are more capable then her own highly privileged adult cohort—an elite cohort which has failed us mightily for the past how many years.
Lithwick was certainly right about the astounding uselessness of the endlessly compromised, endlessly useless, self-dealing cohort around her. But it has been obscene to see people from that cohort pander and fawn to a bunch of kids, burdening them with the task of fixing the Lithwick cohort's failures and "mistakes."
Who the heck is Dahlia Lithwick? For starters, we'll assume that she is one of the world's nicest people. We'd be very be surprised if she isn't.
That said, she's also utterly useless, especially when you consider her pedigree and her access to lofty platforms. In saying this, we don't mean to single her out. This uselessness characterizes decades of self-dealing from various lofty cohorts and elite guilds.
It's time for them all to go. But then, that's been true for decades.
By way of illustration, who is Dahlia Lithwick? She hails from our neighbor to the north. In the ways these things are measured, she's vastly succeeded down here. The leading authority on her life tells us these things about her:
Dahlia Lithwick is a writer and journalist. Lithwick is currently a contributing editor at Newsweek and senior editor at Slate. She primarily writes about law and politics in the United States. She writes "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" and has covered the Microsoft trial and other legal issues for Slate.It's our impression that Lithwick's no longer at Newsweek. Still, in the way these things are measured, that's lofty stuff!
Lithwick was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian citizen. She moved to the U.S. to study at Yale University, where she received a B.A. in English in 1990. As a student at Yale, she debated on the American Parliamentary Debate Association circuit as a member of the Yale Debate Association. In 1990, she and her debate partner at the time, Austan Goolsbee, were runners up for the national Team of the Year.
She went on to study law at Stanford University, where she received her J.D. in 1996. She then clerked for Judge Procter Hug on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Goolsbee, her debate partner, went on to become "the youngest member of the cabinet of President Barack Obama." (In recent years, he's been a frequent, perfectly sensible guest on the Hannity program, on Fox.)
Judged by grasping, upper-end norms, Lithwick's history was lofty, at least through the Stanford years. Sadly, it's been downhill from there.
"She was a regular guest on The Al Franken Show," the leading authority goes on to say, "and has been a guest columnist for The New York Times Op-Ed page."
Franken was apparently grabbing women's asses at the time in question. The failures of the New York Times are legion, although, by law, these deeply destructive, serial failures can't be discussed by people of Lithwick's pedigree and place.
Lithwick is maybe 48. The people Healy describes in his report are 14, 15 and 15.
It's obscene to think that people so young are supposed to solve our society's problems, one of the largest of which is the presence of people from Lithwick's class on endless upper-end platforms. But Lithwick came close to handing them that assignment in her all-time silly Slate essay, which was sillily headlined like this:
POLITICSThe student teachers! In this latest silly, romanticized novel, the kids were behaving fearlessly! Yesterday, Healy said, "Hold on! Not so fast!"
The Student Teachers
The teenagers from Stoneman Douglas are fearlessly reimagining how to effect change in the Trump era.
By DAHLIA LITHWICK
Let's give credit where due. In her silly piece for Slate, Lithwick acknowledged the failure of her well-bred leadership crowd over the past many years. "These kids aren’t naïve," she naïvely wrote. "They are just better at this than we are." Here's the unhelpful, buck-passing way she chose to end her column:
LITHWICK (2/22/18): The kids of Stoneman Douglas really don’t much care what this president thinks, or what the NRA thinks, or even what we in the media think. The central mistake we have made this past week is trying to understand how this vast army of eloquent, purposeful, and clear-eyed students has been all-but-invisible to us until now. The better lesson we can take from them is that, thankfully, we have been almost entirely invisible to them. They are unconstrained by our norms and unmoved by our plight, and not really all that interested in our corny media tropes about childhood, suffering, and power. Good for them. It’s about time.This was the latest romanticized tale. Over the past ten days or so, many useless adult elites have been insipidly mouthing it.
We don't have the slightest doubt that Dahlia Lithwick, perhaps 48, is one of the world's nicest people. She's also part of a self-dealing "liberal"/mainstream elite which has persistently failed those kids, their parents and everyone else over the past thirty years. They've relentlessly failed to cut to the chase, to go where the rubber meets theroad.
On the day of this latest mass shooting, several deputy sheriffs crouched behind cars in the parking lot, apparently as the shooting continued. Useless elites have been hiding behind those precocious kids from that latest gruesome day forward.
Tomorrow: Hiding behind Emma Gonzalez, who's only 17