Saturday, April 21, 2007

Excess... and what it says about us

Limo BABY!
Originally uploaded by dtewfik.
When I was in high school, many of my friends were much more financially well off than I was. My father, an Episcopal priest, was certainly stretching to have me attend boarding school, but the education was important to both my mother and father. On of the things that struck me about where I went to school was that even though some of my peers were flithy rich, they didn't flaunt it or talk about it. People were accepted for their character and their abilities, not what they owned.

Certainly, this wasn't true of the times; the school I attended up through the 8th grade was one where the culture was one of excess and a flaunting of wealth and prestige. I didn't like it.

I was very interested to hear about the position that Laura Gauld, the head of the Hyde School in Woodstock, CT. She's put the kibosh on prom excess.

From a recent statement from the School:
Woodstock Head of School Laura Gauld is making a statement about “the culture of excess” this spring. She has decided that all prom goers— seniors, their dates, and faculty—will go to the prom on a single bus this year.

Abolishing the stretch limousines and Hummers from the Hyde School parking lot is a controversial measure. Says Gauld, “This is a step to fight the culture of entitlement and conspicuous consumption that America’s youth are drowning in. Everywhere we turn there is a pecking order within the system of achievement and talents that puts someone ahead because they spent more money than someone else. While it might be unspoken, there is a system of evaluation that adults are passing down to their kids based on the achievement culture, rather than that person’s humanity.”

Gauld goes on to say, “Prom is a rite of passage that is becoming important as many rites and rituals of adulthood are losing their meaning in this day and age. What is the prom really about? At Hyde School, we don’t believe it is about spending thousands of dollars on big flashy cars and dresses. We think that it has something to do with spending time with the people who celebrate your growth as a person. It is a time to have fun and enjoy the hard work that has gone into the senior year at Hyde School, not to outdo someone with icons of affluence.”
That's a great start... next question: How do we get rid of icons of affluence and the culture of entitlement and signs of conspicuous consumption for the remainder of 364 days of the year?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excess at Hyde School? Try excessive methodology inherited from Synanon, excessive verbal castration in seminars and school meetings for one's "deficient character," excessive pressures put on the parents for money and recruiting effort the likes of which have surely been honed via perusal of the LGATs... This place is a cult, make no mistake about it!