May 1, 2016

Slice of PIE: How CHS Is Like DS9 much is Deep Space Nine like my high school?

We both have a Commander – ours is called a Principal. DS9 actually HAD a school, and Sisko’s son, Jake was a student there. In his spare time, Jake also became friends with a Ferengi named Nog and there were several episodes involving the school, as well as one of its teachers, Keiko O’Brien, wife of the Chief Engineer, Miles O’Brien. The school was integral to several story lines.

So in what other ways is my school like DS9?

Perhaps the next most obvious way is the diversity of the school and how students and staff interact. This is, like on the show, where most of the drama comes from. Cross-cultural understanding, or rather MISunderstanding, drives half of the conflicts we see in the office. The other half is interpersonal engagement that has nothing to do with cultures and everything to do with the stubbornness of the Human condition.
Examples, you ask?

Hmmm, examples are always helpful in lending evidence to a thesis or, as in this case, answering a question.

An example from my “student counseling”, then.

The leader of the Hispanic Culture group, a counselor at the school, abruptly left the school when he husband got a much better job in another state. As the counselor hired to temporarily fill her position, I was de facto, the leader of the Hispanic Culture group. I started my tenure by meeting with the group the first time and, holding out my arms, said, “I am obviously an old white guy. I know nothing of Hispanic, Latino, or Mexican culture. Teach me.”

Apparently that was exactly what I was supposed to say. The KIDS took ME under their wings and proceeded to educate me. It was a fascinating and glorious time!

Then came Cinco de Mayo.

A couple of the kids in the group hung a Mexican flag in the foyer of the building. An administrator told them to take it down. They got very upset. Who did they come to in order to solve the problem? I’ll give you ten guesses.

Got it in one, I’ll bet.

Let me educate you, then. Do you know the significance of Cinco de Mayo? It is emphatically NOT Mexican Independence Day (that’s September 16). It began…well, it began with the American Civil War, led to the French support of the Confederacy by Napoleon III, and sprang into the invasion of Mexico, which was to be the toehold of an expansionist French Empire. England and Spain had both sent small forces to collect taxes from the Mexican government, Napoleon sent an invasion force of over 5000 or his best soldiers. When they attacked, Napoleon was busy deciding who he would send to be Emperor of his new land. Once that was decided, he would fully back the South against the North...The Mexican defeat of the superior French forces took place on May 5, 1862.

I deescalated the situation by agreeing to drape the Mexican flag over my door…which was vetoed by another counselor as “not appropriate”. So I thumbtacked the flag NEXT to my office door. The parties were appeased and a crisis averted.

So, you have two major world powers (the US and Mexico) contending over a minor place (my school and students) in order to gain precedence over each other and join in a civil war to get rid of a THIRD major power (The District).

DS9 orbited the small, relatively weak world of Bajor. Recovering from an occupation by a Quadrant Power (the Cardassian Empire), it had become a fulcrum from which the Federation…

Hmmm. Let’s back up: It began with the Bajoran revolt against Cardassia, led by the Bajoran underground which was supported by the Federation Council, which led to the Cardassian withdrawal and the Federation takeover. The Founders of the Dominion, another superpower from the other side of the wormhole, sent an invasion force of their best soldiers – the Jem’Hadar. When they attacked, the Founders were busy deciding who they would send to be Emperor of their new land. Once that was decided, they would fully back the Cardassians against the Federation…

See? My high school is just like DS9.

The upshot here is that I should be mining the exploits of the teachers and staff there and using the incidents and conflicts to extend my reach as a writer. Which I will now do, because when I began this article, I thought the comparison was minor – and I now realize that there are a heckuvalot more parallels than I expected. In fact, I have an idea bubbling around in my thick head and I think I need to write it down before I forget it!

Anyone else see parallels?

No comments: