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NBC’s The Filter: School Strippers, A Controversial Scholarship, & More

I was on NBC’s The Filter on Wednesday night.
As usual, we talked very speedily about a list of interesting issues:

1. The first and the silliest had to do with a giant kerfuffle involving a couple of seniors at Paramount High School, both of them guys, who, when they were onstage for a school event, suddenly decided to doff their clothes and dance about in their undies, or what turned out to be Speedos, to the delight of fellow students. When the video of said dance turned up on YouTube and got a zillion hits (it’s since been taken down), then the school board freaked out and began disciplining the stripping boys and the adults who were present but did not intervene. Three students were suspended for a couple of days. One school administrator was put on administrative leave. A teacher resigned and there is an ongoing “investigation” about the incident. An overreaction? Y’think?

2. The second topic was also school related. Santa Ana College will dedicate a scholarship for undocumented immigrant students in memory of 27-year-old immigration activist named Tam Ngoc Tran who was killed in a car crash. Tran was an outstanding young woman by anybody’s standards. She graduated from UCLA and was headed to Brown to get her doctorate, was an activist for the Dream Act (she testified before Congress). But she was in the US illegally. The child of Vietnamese parents, she was brought to this country at age six.

I thought the scholarship was a fine idea for reasons that I articulate on camera. As you will see, however, my co-commenter, Megan Barth, who works and blogs at, was not in the least enthusiastic.

3. Topic three was expungement. The Filter producers liked Wednesday’s post on WLA so decided that it merited further discussion. And so discuss it we did.

But then came a perfectly appalling moment in the show.

It seems that, on Wednesday, MSNBC ran a list of questions that would be new Americans are asked on their citizenship exams. Wouldn’t it be fun……Fred Roggin and the show’s producers thought….if we asked Megan and Celeste a few of those questions.

So they did. With no advance warning. On live television.

Now please understand that while I have as wide a base of knowledge in certain areas as the next person, maybe even wider than the next person in some areas, I am not the person you want on your team for trivial pursuit. Really. I would be your last draft choice.

Charades are fairly okay with me, as long as the answers involve only movies and books (and as long as said charades are not on, you know, live television).

But, back me into a corner on something that requires a quick one-word factual answer, and my brain is likely to lock all the doors, pull every blind, arm the burglar alarm and decline to come out, no matter how much I plead with it.

I also hate games.

“It’ll be fun!” said Fred.

(Whenever anybody says, “it’ll be fun,” you know for sure that it’ll be anything but.)

In any case, here’s the video of our “fun” Citizenship game.


  • I also hate trivial pursuit and any such “fun games,” as do many creative people. Conversely many uncreative people love to shine by memorizing facts. Maybe you can try your own “game” on Fred, next time. What was he thinking? (He looks a little too gleeful about the results!) If it was to prove how difficult citizenship questions can be, it’s not fair, since applicants can prep for it.

  • I think perhaps Celeste needs a little immersion therapy watching Jeopardy 🙂

  • With respect, Celeste, you should be kicking yourself for missing the start of the preamble!

    sbl, I’m a creative person who manages to keep a lot of facts in his head, but only because I’ve always enjoyed reading. Memory gets a bad rap. It has helped me in learning three languages in my lifetime, filled my head full of anecdotes that, at the risk of seeming immodest, has helped make me a fairly good conversationalist.

    Just recently I was able to give a grieving friend a comforting memory from 36 years ago about his father who had jut passed away. Don’t knock memory, it’s been a good friend!

  • not MEMORY, but memorizing facts, can be mental clutter and counter to creativity and their thought processes…e.g., the people who do best on the Literature AP tests are often NOT writers (especially very good ones) but those who can recite lines and dates and so on about writers/ poets and their work: anyway it’s my experience as is the converse.

    MEMORY, as in things that happened to YOU via experience, is an entirely different matter, triggered by very different psychological processes. (Which I DON’T remember offhand from my psyche classes – because such study wasn’t associated with anything involving the senses or emotions – EXCEPT that personal experiences associated with EMOTIONS like your knowing someone’s father, memories of which doubtless conjure up sensory associations, are a very different and special thing.)

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