(Or reed, or rite, or mulltiplie)

by Nicole Chardenet


"Good morning, class."

"Good morning, Mrs. Hogtied."

"All right, let's get started, shall we? We have a busy day ahead of us. We have a lot of material to cover. But first, to comply with the Buchanan Compulsory Religious Petition Act of 1996, let's begin with our morning prayer. Since this is the Santerians' turn this week, Consuela and Miguel will lead the class and sacrifice a chicken to one of the Seven Orishas."

"You have long owned homage, Powerful Mother, Capable Mother, Mother who hides children, Mother of the house, of bottom-most water, Queen of Water. Yemaya is the owner of rivers! Praise Her name! Blessed be!"


"Thank you, children, you may sit down. And please clean up the blood and feathers immediately. Thank you. Now, let's begin with Classic American Literature. Yesterday I assigned you the first two chapters of Huckleberry Finn as homework. Charlene, will you please begin by reading the first page out loud?"

"No, ma'am."

"Pardon, Charlene?"

"I said `No ma'am,' Mrs. Hogtied. I will not read the first page out loud."

"And why is that?"

"Because I find this book personally offensive. All the characters call Jim a `nigger'. That is a highly insulting word to my people."

"Charlene, this book was written by Mark Twain, an ardent opponent of slavery. It's considered to be an outstanding and courageous statement against racism in modern times."

"I don't care what the critics say, Mrs. Hogtied. I refuse to read this book. Almost every page contains the word `nigger' at least once, some very often. It will damage my self-esteem to read it, and I refuse. I know my rights!"

"Charlene, that's ridiculous."

"You can't make me read this, Mrs. Hogtied!"


"I'll sue!"

"Oh, very well then. Class, we'll discuss American literature at another time. Pull out your science books and let's pick up where we left off yesterday."

"Mrs. Hogtied?"

"Yes, Bobby?"

"I object to this month's science lesson. Evolutionary theory is against my religious beliefs."

"Are you a conservative Christian, Bobby?"

"No, I'm a Scientologist. We believe that the Earth was populated 75 million years ago by an evil galactic warlord named Xenu who solved the overpopulation problem by chaining all the surplus people in the Universe to a volcano on Earth and dropping hydrogen bombs on them. Their spirits then became the Thetans, evil and negative energies which attach themselves to human beings and create all sorts of problems."

<Sigh>. "All right then, so be it."

"...Then the Romulan Army, led by Darth Vader, battled `Q' and Flash Gordon and a squadron of Morlocks on the Planet of the Apes where they were all taken over by Pod People..."

"Thank you, Bobby, I get the picture."

"...And transformed into mega-dinozoids by the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Then Will Robinson was killed by Klaatu when he tried to stew some Triffids to save his family from starvation on..."

"That's enough, Bobby! You've made your point! Enough is enough, remember, you led the prayers all last week!"

"Mrs. Hogtied, can we do art class now?"

"An excellent idea, Sammy. Now everyone take out your lesson books and let's begin with the nineteenth-century French Impressionists."

"Mrs. Hogtied?"


"Why aren't there more women artists represented in our textbooks?"

"I don't know, I didn't write them."

"Are they trying to tell us only male artists had any talent? Are we to believe that only Grandma Moses and Georgia O'Keeffe are the only female artists worth mentioning today?"

"Mrs. Hogtied, I want to learn about Robert Mapplethorpe!"

"Yeah. Right. Maybe in another incarnation! All right, forget the bloody art class already! Take out your history books! Turn to page 47 and study the discussion questions. And just SHUT UP!"

<Violently waving hand in the air>


"Yes, Running Deer?"

"Ma'am, this history book is patently false."

"Patently false? Would you care to explain that?"

"Yes ma'am, I would. I object to the revisionist history contained therein. The white imperialist racist explorers came to this land, destroyed all our native peoples, stole our land, raped our women, slaughtered our children and placed the few of us remaining on tiny little reservations. And they are portrayed as heroes in this book."

"All right, screw the history lesson. Anyone care to learn a little Spanish?"

"Why are we learning Spanish, Mrs. Hogtied? Why not Italian? After all, our city is populated with so many Italians. Why isn't Italian offered in the foreign languages curriculum?"


"All right, that's it for today, class. Tomorrow come prepared for an algebra test. It's going to be a LONG one! Maybe even an essay test! But that's ALL we're covering tomorrow! Algebra! Just cold, hard, remorseless, non-cultural numbers! All day! After all, we've got so little to accomplish and so much time to do it!"

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