Friday, March 12, 2010
Brain damage is good for you…
Of course, when I was a boy there was no such thing as sats â€“ standardised tests of children at ceratin stages of their school careers. But there was the eleven plus examination which weeded out snotty grammar school children from grubby secondary modern children. When they dropped this divisive and discriminatory examination in all but a few independent schools it was with great relief to all parents except those who were snotty in all regards and felt it was their privilege. The pressure was fearsome. I was lent a gold Parker pen by my father, as if this magic implement would turn an ugly duckling of an exam paper into a swan. The nib was scratchy and I was impeded by its progress across the paper but I didnâ€™t dare tell him afterwards.
One of the post-war myths among those of us who were trying to transcend our inauspicious beginnings and go to grammar school, was that a girl in Newcastle had had her head run over by a bus , following which she became a genius. I am not sure how many of my peers considered this unique therapy to please their despairing parents but I am reminded of it as I see on Sky News that a man who had a cerebral haemorrhage has been changed into a poet and a painter as a consequence of the blood letting. It seems as though there are short cuts to better brain output, then. Perhaps we could adopt the approach announced today in skin cancer treatment. Eighty per cent guarantee of a cure. A cream is put over the tumorous growth and then a sticking plaster to cover it. The cancerous cells gobble up the cream. Three hours later a charge is released which turns the cream into a potent killer and the tumour dies, leaving the healthy cells to grow again. No scarring.
We should do the same with our kids. Instead of sats, that long term inhibitor of flowering creativity and self-assurance, we should put cream on their skulls, wait three hours and then charge it up. All the dumb cells would die, leaving the healthy ones to propagate. A bit like the old vinegar and brown paper cure for Jack in the nursery rhyme, Jack and Jill.
The trouble is that everyone would then have kids bordering on genius and those that have always relished their childrenâ€™s dominance in exams and the wold of work, afterwards, would bring in a law to protect their interests. You canâ€™t win in class warfare if you belong to the underclasses.