Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well, this doesn't look good Regarding this story making various blog rounds about a couple of parents who had their child taken into protective custody for giving the kid and alcoholic beverage:
If you watch much television, you've probably heard of a product called Mike's Hard Lemonade.

And if you ask Christopher Ratte and his wife how they lost custody of their 7-year-old son, the short version is that nobody in the Ratte family watches much television.

The way police and child protection workers figure it, Ratte should have known that what a Comerica Park vendor handed over when Ratte ordered a lemonade for his boy three Saturdays ago contained alcohol, and Ratte's ignorance justified placing young Leo in foster care until his dad got up to speed on the commercial beverage industry.

Even if, in hindsight, that decision seems a bit, um, idiotic.

Ratte is a tenured professor of classical archaeology at the University of Michigan, which means that, on a given day, he's more likely to be excavating ancient burial sites in Turkey than watching "Dancing with the Stars" - or even the History Channel, for that matter.

No comment on the actual merits of the whole imbroglio. But PLEASE, my fellow academicians, pay some attention to popular culture! Force yourself to watch one hour of MTV per week so you can at least know that when someone wants to "chop it up with you" they're not discussing vegetable preparation.

About 15 years ago I took a class on Rome and the (quite older) professor asked the class for the name of a currently popular musical group and someone suggested Guns 'n Roses. "Guns And Roses? Well, all right. I'll trust that if you say there is a group of this name that there actually is." Kind of quaintly humorous, but lawdy it feeds the stereotype.

OTOH, it might look weirder to have your 50-something prof actually know what Panic! At The Disco is. . . . .

Blogging note: Kind of light posting for this week as I am in the final throes of a paper preparation and have an all-day conference tomorrow (Wed).