Friday, September 9, 2016

Governor's Mystery Letter Solved

Florida teachers dragged themselves to work Thursday morning to find this letter in their mailbox: 

Many teachers were outraged by this missive, primarily because it was insulting and condescending, written in the style of a mildly gifted 3rd grader.

Others were stunned by the document's faulty logic, or lack of logic period. The author seems not to have been trained in that critical discipline. 

For example, he begins his second paragraph by calling the exam "an important assessment," but he gives us no reason to believe it is important. He says the student's performance was made possible by the student's "hard work and the outstanding efforts of [his] teachers," but many students need no work at all to pass these exams, and those who need it rarely give it, and many teachers will freely admit they don't waste valuable teaching time by making "outstanding efforts" to help students pass an exam of dubious value.

"Scott" (more on the quotation marks later) uses parallel structure to equate "success" with a "great job." Is that how we measure the success of a high-school education? And how do we determine what makes a job great? Money? Personal fulfillment? Service to others? "Great," by the way, is a lame, vague, abstract modifier, and "Scott" uses it to modify both education and job.

So I agree that Scott's letter is a silly, patronizing piece of political pandering, an unctuous, sycophantic kiss-up addressed to teenagers, who are the first among us to detect such slop.

But now it gets complicated. Some of the more erudite and intrepid members of the Starknotes staff have learned, through rigorous research, that the letter was actually written by Dark Lord Voldescott. And it was written in Parseltongue, not English. And the translator, Sir Snuffy Herponaphile, deliberately transformed it into the slimy document above.

Why was it necessary for the translator to twist Voldescott's words? Simple. After Hurricane Hermine, Voldescott's staff convinced him to put on a cap, roll up his sleeves and appear to be helping voters whose yards were cluttered with tree limbs. The staff then promptly called one of the more gullible local TV tabloids (i.e., "news" teams) and set up a swell photo opp.

BUT . . . Voldescott unwittingly stepped under a rotting limb just as it was obeying gravity's demand that it head earthward, was knocked unconscious, and while in this state, enjoyed an awakening not far removed from the one St. Paul experienced when he was knocked off his ass on the way to Damascus.

So while in this enlightened condition, he wrote the aforementioned mishandled letter. Starknotes has acquired a copy of it and had it translated by a Parseltongue scholar from Bithlo. Here it is:


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