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Author Topic: Question for Americans  (Read 4429 times)
Starmongoose
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« on: April 25, 2010, 08:20:39 PM »

I think I know the answer already, but I'll ask anyway.

"Jocks"

In any, ANY American film,TV show, Cartoon, Music Video which spends longer than 5 seconds in a High School one of these Jock characters pop up, without fail. These people are portrayed as teenage versions of the Devil himself, with cheerleaders as their evil minions. Seriously, is High School over there really a mini-warzone or something?

It may be unfair to even ask this question as of course there are stereotypes the media just love to use over and over again, but I've seen it so much, for so long I've just got to ask. Is High School over there really a dog-eat-dog world.

My High School experience, was painfully boring, if someone got in a fight people would talk about it for MONTHS - life is that slow in Scotland. I still meet people who come up to me six years later and bring up the time I got in a fight with someone.

As an avid Twitter user, when shows like Glee make it to the trending topics I usually see comments such as "OMG It's so true" when referring the hardship of High School life. If my everyday life was filled with people putting me in lockers, throwing drinks at me and generaly just trying to ruin my life - I would have committed suicide long, long ago.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 09:10:14 PM »

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when shows like Glee

Oh by. Glee. That's set in Lima, Ohio.

Guess where I'm from?

Now, there's a few major school systems in Lima, and Glee's not really based on any of them since the writer just liked the name. St. Gerards, St. Charles, and Lima Central Catholic are the major private catholic schools, although I have no idea how major St. Gerards is. Shawnee is where I went and I'll talk about that in a bit. Then you have Lima City Schools, which Glee is, if anything, based on.

You also have the other school districts like Bath, Elida, Perry, etc. although they're not really in Lima PROPER, and then you have Apollo Career Center which is... a vocational school. Anyway.

Shawnee. We had "jocks" at Shawnee in some nominal sense of "people that played football." In terms of "athletic people that were dicks," that... sort of wore off about halfway through freshman year. The football players were all really nice, although not, generally, the best students (fair number were in AP classes, though). Band kids were respected members of the school community and were generally in sports OTHER than football (since band season and football season sort of, you know, overlapped).

Um... Bullying wasn't a huge problem. The only time I remember someone getting bullied is like... one time this one kid got punched by about nine other dudes at the same time though I think everyone was in accordance that he was a douchebag and deserved it.

So, yeah. Nothing was anywhere near like what you saw on TV. Freshmens were dumbasses but whatever. Most of the obnoxious bitchiness is in middle school anyway.

NOW! The city schools were probably worse since the kids that came in mid-year generally commented that Shawnee was a lot nicer. Still don't imagine it was at all like what you saw on TV though.

Also I know that the nearby Celina school system is pretty much shit.

Anyway, specific to Glee, from the few episodes of it I saw:

* I'm pretty sure there's some gay people on the show. There are hardly any gay people in Lima and the ones that are wouldn't dare be open about it. Yeah specifically this thing from Wikipedia: "Buoyed on by his success, Kurt comes out to his father, who tells him he knew all along and loves him just the same." That doesn't happen here.
* The black and white students seemed to get along okay in the show. In reality, Lima's racist as fuck. Like, to the extent that if a cop shoots someone, as long as they're black the cop'll probably get off just fine.
* Lima doesn't have anything near the population to support something like William McKinley highschool.
* If there WAS a glee club anywhere in Lima, I doubt anyone would join it, and if they did, they'd probably get beaten to death because being in a glee club means you're gay or something.
* Didn't seem to be NEARLY enough weed consumption going on for it to be Lima.
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Ryos
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2010, 09:30:25 PM »

I'm not going into the specifics, but whoever said high school is the best days of your life never made it to college.  And I'm sure glad college was better because high school was a living hell.  

The jocks were mostly pretty reasonable in my school though.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2010, 09:48:31 PM »

College would've been more fun if Strickland hadn't been raping Ohio's education system up the ass for the past four years.

And then Bush was raping it up the ass before that.

Basically my university doesn't have any funding and none of the profs give a shit about anything.

Anyway, highschool was nice. I pretty much coasted by without putting much effort into anything and still graduated with a 3.91 GPA. I pretty much did the same thing in college and my grade definitely suffered for it. Only getting a 3.81 now. It might've been higher if I was majoring in something I actually cared about. I think I want to be a farmer.

A boner farmer.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 09:57:43 PM by MeshGearFox » Logged

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Starmongoose
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2010, 09:56:38 PM »

I'm glad you took the Glee reference and ran with it. I'm also glad to hear that not all jocks are the personification of evil and general dickishness.

I actually had a better time in High School than I did at College, something to be said about being with people you have known since you were 3 every day. Though I was by no means of the imagination, "popular" although, thinking back I don't think anyone was actully popular. There was no person in which you fainted at the sight of their awesomeness.

Everyone just kind of...got along. Even the bullies were fine most of the time simply because whether you liked it or not you had a lot in common with each other.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2010, 10:01:49 PM »

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Though I was by no means of the imagination, "popular" although, thinking back I don't think anyone was actully popular.

Yeah, that's pretty much it. And again, the bullies here were actually pretty nice. You just didn't want to annoy them.

Also I'm not a chick and they're generally worse with that stuff anyway so who knows.
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2010, 10:16:20 PM »

The jocks at my school used to talk about the anime they watched and most of the non-football sports team members were in some for of AP "for college credit" course line.  Our Valedictorian was the Tennis team star, and most of the people immediately below him were in Lacrosse or Soccer.

It was actually more common for Freshmen to attempt to bully upperclassmen because they were assholes then it was for any of the upperclassmen to do, well, anything.

But then again I am told that my area is pretty non-standard in that regard.


My co-worker went to school near Denver, CO and his HS was a living hell.

So to answer your question more directly; no, Highschools in the US are not as universally horrible as TV makes them out to be, but it depends on the area.  The US is an awfully big place, and you can't really generalize about the whole thing because of that fact.
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kyuusei
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 12:15:20 AM »

College >>> high school >>>>>>>>>> junior high. Minus the being broke part. :P

HS was alright for me. Got better/more fun near the end. The worst was actually junior high/middle school. I moved a lot though, so I never had the same classmates 'all my life' ... probably 6 years at the very most. Junior/middle was shit, but I was also in a shitty area and holy rampant drugs (far beyond just pot) Batman. My HS was only two grades though.

But I'm in Canada so what do I know. :P
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 09:54:38 AM »

Starmongoose:

It's a cop-out answer, but every situation is different.  At my high school, the closest thing we had to a "jock" were the soccer players.  They were the cliche womanizing douche bags often depicted in TV/movies, etc.  I was friends with a lotta athletes, and not all of them were gamers, etc.  What it all boils down to is most people all over the world like to simplify their surroundings so it's easier to understand and deal with.  What you see is a watered down version of what's actually going on.  I'm sure for the super-awkward-mega-nerd life in high school can seem a lot like surviving in the wild, but I think for most people it's not at all like how the entertainment industry portrays it.  Also have to keep in mind how Hollywood et al. have always used the archetypical "jock."  Not everyone watching primetime sitcoms wants to see "real life."  It's much more boring.  Maybe like Scotland.  :P
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Starmongoose
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 11:42:14 AM »

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It's a cop-out answer, but every situation is different.

It's okay, I was expecting a such an answer even before I posted the question. I'm more wondering about why it's so common, I mean, if it was every other movie or tv show I would be like, well, it's obviously not really  like that and this is just for convenience. But almost EVERYTHING set in a highschool has these characters. It was more of a question of how widely accurate this was. You are always going to get assholes, but to be one of these football players it seems like you have to take a test to prove how evil and twisted you can be.
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Gen Eric Gui
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2010, 11:59:51 AM »

Well, if that's all you're looking for, I can answer that easy.  Those archetypes show up all the time because they're archetypes and they're what people expect.  As a whole, TV viewers don't like things that are different, which is why every single popular TV Sitcom since the time immaterial has had the same plotlines over and over again.  Most people enjoy those archetypes because it makes them comfortable, and that's a lot more important to them then seeing something new or interesting that might test the boundaries of their minds.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2010, 01:26:53 PM »

Are archetypes/stereotypes based on some aspects of American culture?  Yes, and I think that's what I think Starmongoose is trying to get at the heart of.  Athletics is highly emphasized in the average American school system.  It's pretty backwards when art and music programs get cut, yet sports teams do not.  Yeah, I understand that athletic events bring a larger draw of people and thus more money into the school, but still...  In more rural areas, the high school football (that's American football, 'natch) is *the* place to be on a Friday night.  Because football players have that kind of star power in their towns and are physically larger than most other kids, many have that "alpha male" mentality. 

Of course, every person is deeper than their archetype.  I knew cheerleaders who were friendly honor students and not stuck-up vapid mean girls.  I knew athletes who gave me helpful pointers in the weight room rather than push the bar down on my chest when I attempted a bench press.  That being said, there were jocks and mean girls who would pick on people lower on the social totem pole than they were.  Bullying and people copping an "I'm better than you!" attitude (if even for superficial reasons) is universal in any school anywhere in the world.  It just manifests itself differently depending on the country or culture.  Bullying in Japan is a different animal than bullying in the US.

But the point is that at those teenage ages, we're still trying to make sense of the world and thus people get compartmentalized into archetypes like the jocks, nerds, mean girls, burnouts, etc.  I used to call myself a "social sidewinder" in high school (I took that from a song by the band Love/Hate) because I didn't fit into any clique or archetype.  Of course, everyone knew who I was because of that.  What is Neal?  He's just... Neal. 

I think the TV show with the most honest portrayal of American high school life was My So-Called Life. 
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Starmongoose
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2010, 01:39:46 PM »

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Bullying in Japan is a different animal than bullying in the US.

That reminds me of watching this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XX30-Ez8xg
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2010, 04:15:07 PM »

Controversial statement:

This isn't universal, but I tend to think that people that complain about how miserable highschool was for them and how mean all the teachers/students/whatever were have some sort of victimization complex.

That's not to say there aren't real cases of abuse from peers. It's just that, you know, furries.
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2010, 05:12:45 PM »

When my mom was growing up, she was told that "if you can survive American high school, you can survive anything."  She grew up in Scandinavia.

Anyway, I can't say the jocks were the problem in my school (as much as I'd like to) because it was really the rednecks, who were often jocks too.  The hockey players were almost always cool, and the football players had a wide range of good and evil.

My friends and I weren't part of any group until we became the skateboarders.  We always got along with everyone, but the gangster rap kids?  Most of them were easy to get along with, but the football players all printed "grub patrol" shirts and harassed them constantly.  

Then there were the extremely poor kids... quiet and polite, sometimes smelly, sometimes ugly... they never hurt anyone, but they always got picked on.

I would say high school is exactly how it is portrayed in the media, and I was lucky to have not gotten it as bad as some others did.  I graduated 8 years ago so I don't know what kids are like these days.

edit: I forgot to mention, a kid moved away for 5 years, and moved back for highschool.  It got out that he was bisexual, and within a week he was no longer at our school.  People refused to shower in phy-ed, made anti-gay jokes constantly... rural Wisconsin, the complete opposite of liberal Madison.
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