Kevin Myers: Undisciplined young males are vile. It's why society created such a taboo about the ghastly alliance of schools and home
It's always a sign of pathetic decrepitude, impotence and imminent senility for older people to complain about the younger generation. Young people today are no worse than they've ever been. Though I'm not too enamoured of their parents, I don't really blame them either: it's their parents who are at fault. They didn't instil in their own children an utter and abject terror of schools complaining to parents. For quite clearly, as the end of year school pranks get more and more serious -- no doubt with plane-hijackings and witch-burnings to come before the young people have exhausted their sense of humour -- in matters of school discipline, parents are clearly taking their children's side. Presumably, they're doing this because their own parents -- the grandparents -- broke the ancient contract between schools, parents and children.
This contract ran as follows. Whatever happened in school stayed in school. Whatever happened at home stayed at home. The idea of a school calling in one's parents because of some disciplinary problem was like some ghastly educational Hitler-Stalin pact. Such a humiliation is nearly the nadir of shame, which actually very few people have ever seen. I, however, have. It was irresistibly and irrevocably achieved at my school by the boy in skintight togs who, in front of hundreds of parents, including his own, got a thunderously massive erection while standing alone on the starting block for the 100 yards butterfly.
That calamity aside, the sense of shame that your parents had been called in for discussions about your conduct would, once upon a time, be enough to make you abscond and join the Khmer Rouge. And then there was the small matter of one's father. It's one thing to face the anger of a headmaster: quite another to endure an incandescent paternal wrath that could lay waste to entire cities, and before which even Chancellor Bismarck would have swooned in fear. Running nip and tuck with that in the horror stakes was the disappointment of one's mother. Two emotions: blind terror and crushing guilt. By God, them's the horses to keep a lad on the straight and narrow.
But to judge from what's going on in schools today, there are no such equine incentives to discipline. In one school, pupils hijacked a classroom for a rave, and abusive remarks about teachers were posted on Facebook. Sexual insults about teachers were bandied about in another school. Instead of the culprits being flogged by the headmaster and boiled in oil by their fathers, the parents are now complaining about the "excessive" disciplinary response the schools have taken, which was a mere suspension of some pupils and expulsion of the worst. And actually, the parents' response is just fine, because there's no real problem here: if a school doesn't protect its teachers, soon there'll be no school. No problem.
What else has been going on? A boy is kidnapped in the street, stripped, covered in shaving foam and tied to a pole in a girls' school. (Who owned the kidnap car? Did the driver have a licence? Has he been charged with a criminal offence?) In another school, naked teenage boys ran across a soccer pitch in public. And so on. This is precisely what you can expect from young males. It's why they make good soldiers. It's also why Abraham invented the patriarchy, to control them; not -- as feminists maintain -- to control women. Undisciplined young males are nasty, bullying, aggressive, destructive and vile. That's why society created such a taboo about schools and home uniting in a ghastly and humiliating alliance against a wayward boy. It's to encourage good behaviour.
But that very effective taboo is gone. So too other are taboos. The idea, for example, of a mother driving you to school in her pyjamas properly belongs to some deep and terrible nightmare, from which mental recovery would have been quite impossible for any healthy boy. Firstly, only cissies were driven to school. Everyone else walked or caught the bus. Secondly, for your mother to publicly appear in her night attire would be as ludicrous as her breastfeeding you in the playground during the mid-morning break, before cheerfully inviting your mates to tuck in.
Yet I'm told that the modern mother routinely drives her children to school, if the foregoing verb adequately encompasses the concept of her sitting behind the steering wheel of a car while it is in motion without paying too much attention to what the vehicle is actually doing. Worse still, some mothers perform this feat while wearing pyjamas. Incredibly, it is apparently also normal for the children of such deranged and delinquent mothers NOT to silently get out of the car, walk into the classroom and eviscerate themselves with a blunt compass, in blind and bitter shame.
Frankly, any woman who drives her children to school in nightwear is capable of anything: fornication at half-time under the goalposts with the school's entire first 15, plus the lad with the oranges, no doubt while she helpfully holds the plate over his head, would be the least of it. So, I'm not remotely surprised at what's going in our schools. Yes: I blame the grandparents.