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A look at that infamous New York Times editorial on gyrating middle schoolers.
By Susan Edelman. Teachers had ordered the refreshments for an after-school tutoring program. The snacks never arrived. It was 4 p. Two girls and five boys, aged 11 to 14, surrounded Misaud and pummeled his face with fists. The stunned Misaud said he went inside to the report the mugging, and left. They sat under a tree on school grounds, munching on their booty. The brazen robbery by baby-faced bandits has touched off a war on Staten Island, where neighbors and business owners are demanding that the city Department of Education do something about the fight-plagued school — one of the most dangerous in the city.
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When any opinion piece begins with confessing that the author is worried about sounding like a prig, I steel myself for one of those onslaughts of enlightened hand-wringing that has become the meat and potatoes of opinion pages across the land. Reading Lawrence Downes' description of attending a talent show at his daughter's Long Island middle school, where groups of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls gyrated their way through re-created music videos replete with writhing on the floor and simulated lap dancing in "tiny skirts or tight shorts, with bare bellies, rouged cheeks and glittery eyes," I felt myself cringing. When the crowd of parents and families broke out into loud applause, Downes discovered he was alone in his horror. Our girls are bratz, not slutz, they would argue, comfortable in the existence of a distinction. Of course, it's hard to know what any of these applauding parents would argue. Each family picks its battles differently -- and in ways that often surprise the parents. I certainly was surprised when I gave up buying any clothes for my 4-year-old that weren't pink, frilly and the very epitome of vapid femininity.
The scene is a middle school auditorium, where girls in teams of three or four are bopping to pop songs at a student talent show. Not bopping, actually, but doing elaborately choreographed re-creations of music videos, in tiny skirts or tight shorts, with bare bellies, rouged cheeks and glittery eyes. They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out and in and out again. Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto.