If one were to take the following article at face value, which one most definitely shouldn’t.

One of gym classes’ most common games is being used as a tool of “oppression,” according to a team of Canadian researchers.

We suppose we could stop right there. “Canadian researchers?” Sounds about as impressive as “French Strategic Geniuses”, “German Comedians” and “British Master Chefs.” But what fun would that be?

Dodgeball in phys-ed classes teaches students to dehumanize and harm their peers, professors from three Canadian universities said in a presentation this week at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver. A paper on the subject is set to appear in the journal European Physical Education Review.

Thus, once again, firmly establishing the value of Canadian universities (although ours aren’t one whit better these days), “the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences”, as well as the journal “European Physical Education Review”, said value being impossible to measure with even the most precise instruments known to mankind.

It is, however, quite useful when calibrating said instruments for zero.

“When you’re setting up the environment for students to learn, and you introduce the idea that it’s OK to slam the ball at whomever you like, even if it’s with a soft ball, the intention is there,”

The intention to dehumanize and harm? If only we’d known. All these years we’ve wasted trying to come up with more vicious and ingenious ways of dehumanizing and destroying our opponents, and it turns out that the perfect answer was something we’d known since we were in elementary school: A soft ball. Damn.

Joy Butler, a professor who studies pedagogy and curriculum development at University of British Columbia, said in a phone interview.

A scold named “Joy?” Who said G-d doesn’t have a sense of humor? Joy, we appreciate your efforts in studying pedagogy, we’re sure your intentions are the best, but you’ve yet to show any signs of understanding the subject. Perhaps a career in the waste disposal business might be more suitable? You could start by binning yourself.

“When students think it’s OK because they’re being told it’s OK to do that, what do they learn?

That it’s OK to do that? We know, just a quick guess on our part.

People say [dodgeball] is being used as an outlet for aggression or catharsis. I suspect that this is where they’re learning that.

It’d be so much better if they’d use mass murder as an outlet, wouldn’t it?

“[Physical education class] should be an arena where teachers are helping [students] control their aggression and move on instead of expressing themselves through anger.”

Assuming, of course, which seems to be something “intellectuals” like yourself do a lot of, that the students are “angry” when they’re playing dodgeball and are “expressing” that “anger” every time they, in an undoubtedly imperialistic, dehumanizing way, we’re sure, attempt to win the game by throwing the ball.

Researchers set out to interview middle-school-age students about broader questions in physical education courses, but kept hearing the same thing from certain students: They hated dodgeball.

This just in: Some students don’t like some things. Holy jumping Jehosaphat! We have to DO something! Elsewhere, “certain students” hate math and “certain other students” hate English Lit.

Perhaps because they suck at it. Perhaps they might want to try to get better at it? Or maybe they just ought to come to grips with the fact that there will always be things that they don’t like? Nah, too radical and dehumanizing, we’re sure. We can practically smell the oppressive nature of those statements.

Interviewers dug deeper, asking students why, then plotted the answers against political theorist Iris Marion Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression,” an article published in her 1990 book “Justice and the Politics of Difference.”

Young argues oppression’s faces are:

– Exploitation: Using other people’s labors to benefit for oneself.

Are we to understand that dodgeball involves sitting around not throwing the ball, thereby winning the game? Because that’s one hell of a strange version of dodgeball with which His Majesty is wholly unfamiliar.

– Marginalization: Relegating a group of lower standing to the edge of society.

Translation: In a two team competition, one team loses. Horrifying, we know. Also pretty much the entire point of “competition.” What we don’t remember is how the losing team immediately got relegated to a caste of untouchables, pushed to the edge of society and shunned forevermore, although that would certainly have motivated His Majesty to put a bit more effort into it when playing.

– Powerlessness: Those relegated have a lack autonomy.

Yep. We shoved them into lockers, locked the doors and left them there until next week’s game. Certainly did its bit to diminish the congestion in overfilled classrooms, we must admit.–

Cultural imperialism: Establishing the rules and customs of the ruling class as the norm.

Did we mention that they also got ostracized from our culture? Mainly the culture of “having a pulse”, which is what being stuffed in a locker for a week without food and water will do to you.

– Violence: Members of a group of lower standing know they may be subject to random, unprovoked attacks.

It was actually quite a bit worse than that. For one thing, there was nothing “random” about our throws. Oh no. Each oppressive, dehumanizing throw of the ball was done very much deliberately. Such MONSTERS we were. Granted, we have to protest against the “unprovoked” bit. Unless our memory fails us, we’re fairly certain that we were always provoked to throw the ball by somebody just having thrown it in our general direction.

Those matched up with some of the underlying messages students communicated to researchers, Butler said.

“I think of the little girl who is running to the back to avoid being targeted,” Butler said. “What is she learning in that class? Avoidance?”

Also sometimes known as “tactics.” We know. Horrid. Should be outlawed. Just think how scarred for life that little girl must have been by learning how to avoid being hit in the face by a ball! The HUMANITY!

Researchers observed the more athletic and authoritative students in the class established rules and practices without input from other students, including creating their own teams, which allowed them to gang up on other students.

We sense that a certain Ms. Butler may have always been picked last back in school. We can’t imagine why. We’d have stuffed her in the locker ourself.

“The message is that it’s OK to hurt or dehumanize the ‘other,’ ” Butler said.

Not the message we got from dodgeball. Mainly because neither of those things ever happened.

It IS, however, the message that we’re beginning to hear whispered inside our mind the more we read this drivel.

“The competition is about annihilating one’s opponent,

Sometimes also referred to as “winning”, for those less hyperbolically inclined than histrionic basket cases like Ms. “No-Joy” Butler.

Unless she’s seriously suggesting that a common feature of dodgeball is for players being hit by a soft object to completely discorporate on impact which, quite frankly, we’re not sure any longer that she’s NOT suggesting.

and the true definition of competition is between two evenly matched teams.

We’re certainly grateful that we’ve finally learned the “true” definition of a common word that we’ve known since we were too young to grow facial hair. Sounds like a fun definition too. Must be a hoot to watch matches between all of those perfectly evenly matched teams, spending hours upon hours coming up with a tie in every single game. Because if anybody were to win, then they wouldn’t be “evenly matched”, would they?

You absolute floor mop.

Well, kids stack their teams, and they really enjoy beating the other team. What’s the enjoyment of that?”

What is, indeed, the enjoyment of winning? The winning bit?

We understand now. Her question is actually an honest one. She is genuinely baffled by this whole concept of “winning” and how anybody could enjoy it, having never won or even been good at anything her entire, joyless existence.

We suppose we should feel sorry for professor No Joy and we would, honestly, if we were capable of that particular emotion.

Unfortunately we’re not.

When Butler in a focus group asked a class to create a brand new game – the only requirements were that it involved a ball and two goals and that the entire class had to form a consensus about the rules – the same group of students split off to develop a game without consulting peers. She said that showed the culture established by dodgeball spills into other activities in physical education.

No. It shows what mankind has known for millennia, namely that in any group of people tasked with something, some will start solving the task, some will sit around and wait for the first group to get done and the rest will be off to see where the liquor is hidden.

That’s troubling, she said, because many Canadian schools are making great strides to improve phys-ed classes. Administrators are taking solid steps to reverse the trend of girls dropping out of P.E. classes.

How about this revolutionary suggestion: Make P.E. non-optional. There. Solved it for you. Well, WE didn’t, somebody else did centuries ago, because that’s how it was when we were young. The only way of getting out of P.E. when His Majesty was a bairn was to show up for class with one or more limbs missing. Or to not show up at all on account of one’s funeral being scheduled for that same afternoon.

More courses focus on health, wellness and fitness, and not just sports.

Ah, endless yoga classes and tofu cook-offs. How… please kill us now. The sheer amount of fun is too much to bear!

Gym classes are largely centered around games, she said, which is can be great, but can also exclude students with different strengths.

Much like everything else in life, come to think of it. Not very many blind people with great careers in aviation, for instance. Surely something must be done about that as well.

“If one thing were to come out of this it would be for P.E. teachers to look at their curriculums and look for balance,” she said. “And that could mean dropping games and including other activities: outdoor education, fitness, gymnastics, aquatics.”

To Butler, it also means getting rid of dodgeball.

Sure. Let’s “balance” P.E. by eliminating one side of it. Much like how we create “diversity” by getting rid of anybody who disagrees. Now that we think about it, all Hitler was doing, from a “progressive” point of view, was to promote diversity in the ethnic makeup of Germany by getting rid of anybody who wasn’t an Aryan.

They never change, do they?


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By Emperor Misha I

Ruler of all I survey -- and then some.

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