Vera Theisen, St. Joseph
It was impressive to read about Kennedy Community School’s recent walkathon and the large amount of money collected for school programs. It shows students, administrators and teachers worked very hard to make the event a success. And they created a good fundraising model for other schools to follow.
But my admiration for the event comes to an abrupt stop at the pie-in-the-face throwing. Is this supposed to be funny and entertaining? Well, in my view it isn’t.
True, in this country there’s a long tradition of pie throwing both in the political world and in movies, starting in the 1930s with Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges. It may have been funny then, when “slapstick” comedy was popular and people enjoyed a quick, easy and cheap prank. But today? I don’t think so.
Pie-throwing is quite a degrading and unkind act both for the doers (the students who volunteered) and for the willing “victims” (the teachers). It’s hard to imagine what it must feel like to have one’s breath momentarily cut off by the messy pie ingredients and to be gasping for air. And what a waste of food; the pies could be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. Or there could be a “pie walk,” similar to cake walks at summer fairs.
The teachers showed real humility and a willingness to help when they volunteered for the event and that’s admirable. The haircuts seemed like a cooperative effort all enjoyed. But there are more creative ways for teachers to get involved: why not run a 5K on the school grounds, be quizzed by students on history and geography, take part in a challenging spelling bee or race in gunny sacks?
By choosing pie-in-the-face throwing and considering it funny, we’re teaching our kids to passively accept some of the worst and less inspiring aspects of our cultural history, instead of highlighting the many that are positive and affirming.