In today’s Tennessean, it’s reported that schools in Clarksville have fitted their school buses with “BusRadio”. Said to have a calming effect on the children, it plays music, public service announcements and (the didn’t list this one in the article, I went to their website) sponsorships.
Drivers report happier, calmer children and a quieter ride. Isn’t that great?
At first blush. I mean it certainly beats blaring rock music that jangles the souls of 1st graders.
This has such an Orwellian feel to it though. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a huge radio fan. As is my family.
But this sounds a little too much like a state-sponsored thought control. Here’s why I think that:
1. What ever happened to silence? I know, I know, You’re not going to find it on a school bus. But I am concerned over a culture that doesn’t allow for silence and solitude. Kids have precious little, if any at all, time to think and dream dreams. All their thinking is done for them and spoon fed. And God forbid if they engage in anything relational like conversation.
2. Those PSA’s? (Public Service Announcements.) Well, those just irritate the heck out of me. Signs such as, “Wash your hands for good health” and “Talk to your kids about drugs” are insulting to my intelligence and they should be to yours too. On the bus I would imagine the messages will be more like, “Don’t beat up your fellow student” or “Don’t hang upside down out the bus window.” I am a firm believer in the ability of the human spirit to rise to the standard and when the standards are completely moronic…well, there you have it.
3. And finally, the sponsorships. Yeah, the part the Tennessean didn’t include in their warm fuzzy story. Couple this with the other Tennessean school district who is selling ad space on their bus to raise revenue and you can really have a great marketing machine! (I hope you hear my sarcasm.)
But I do appreciate the genius behind all this. Calm the kids down, speak idiotic messages to them to reinforce their inability to think for themselves, and then sell the little darlings more crap. Sheer brilliance.
It’s a Brave New World out there!