T Nation

Teachers Not Allowed to Rock


#1

Thomas G. wanted to be a school teacher in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
During his traineeship, however, the school director googled his name and found out he's into death metal.
And that his band, "Debauchery", features some nice clips right on the front page

(the vids were taken down, but on rocktube you can still find this jewel:
http://www.rocktube.us/g1nhT1gydVl/Debauchery___Warmachine_18er__IM_18_.html
apart from the cool song it feature some nice footage on female friendship)

In disgust, she made him quit and told him he can apply for work after he abstained for at least three years from this filth (even going so far and calling him "mentally ill").

How would you have decided?
It's a public school, and just like in the US, such a teacher must be neutral, a role model etc.
Would you be OK for to have him teach your kids (assuming they visit a public school, of course)?
He was applying for History, Ethics and Politics btw.


#2

Yes, I would most definitely give him a chance, in part for the lulz and partly because I do not want my kids to learn about life from someone who is afraid to live it.


#3

If he does not have a criminal record, is knowledgable about the subject material, and otherwise qualified to teach, I would be unafraid to have him teach my theoretical children.

In part for the lulz.

But I can totally see how an administrator would decline to hire him, seeing him as too risky. I think it might be a plus at a private school, though.


#4

Of course teachers are allowed to rock. But they are public servants, which in Germany comes with special legal restrictions and limitations with regards to a number of rights regarding political activity, freedom of movement etc.

I've had a look at the clip and it's blatantly pornographic, which in itself would probably constitute a breach of professional conduct - especially as it's easily accessed, which under German law is already pretty questionable. According to the source below, he has produced a number of videos depicting specifically sexual violence against women.

But that was not the original complaint about him, as the (German) newspaper article describes. He was initially reprimanded essentially for a lack of professional guidance to his (ethics!) class with regards to highschool massacres in the light of the Winnenden case. Research into his off duty activities completed the picture.

http://www.stuttgarter-zeitung.de/stz/page/2479651_0_9223_-hegelgymnasium-gewaltsongs-kosten-schulkarriere.html

May he be a good teacher with baggage like this? That is doubtful at best. Did he help himself by standing by his art? No. I would not want him to teach ethics to my hypothetical children. He may be a great guy in private, but his art would make any stance on violence and dignity of women (as protected by the German basix law) questionable - which seriously questions his professionality as an ehtics teacher.

I think their decision is quite lenient, given that he isn't banned forever, but is allowed essentially a cooling down period of three years.

Makkun


#5

Wow. Wasn't quite expecting THAT in the video. Pretty good with the sound off. Not so much with that "music" playing. So, essentially the guy is a pornographer, since that's his video and its entirely porn. Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem


#6

So you say 'they are of course allowed to rock', but then I'm confused about your concept of rock when the aforementioned video just seems "blatantly pornographic" .
Strange, since it's so okay to praise the Stones today or Bowie or Iggy Pop, which could as well be described as giant poster boys for all sorts of drugs. But then, they're artists and we adore the art, not the person, right?
Same with the violence: A depiction of a blooddrenched metalmaid getting busy with another vixen might be considered offensive by some, still, it is art. ANd if he can seperate his art from his teaching, he should be allowed to work.

Regarding the Winnenden argument (big german school suicide-shooter tragedy) -
He seemed to very much care about stating a neutral opinion (ie you can't blame for instance, FPS games for some kids to go postal).
( http://www.welt.de/kultur/musik/article7468195/Death-Metal-Saenger-darf-nicht-mehr-unterrichten.html )
It just wasn't what his superiors wanted to hear from him.
Add the fact his art seemed deviant to them - adios cool teach!


#7

let's be honest, if a kid can cruise around the net to his website unattended, they already know more then you about anal, cunnilingus et al.
So what's the problem again?

p.s. the music's not bad either!


#8

No, it is deviant. It being art just makes it deviant art. Yes, they have every right to fire him over it.


#9

The Stones or Iggy Pop are not teachers - and not public servants under German law either. And the video is pornographic by German legal standards. And I don't idolise anyone for their drug use. So - no, not right.

I don't doubt that its art (I specifically wrote that it's art) - but it's not for him to judge whether he separates it, it's for the people he's responsible to - his pupils/students and his school. His school made a decision, erring rather on the side of caution - that's their job. They did it. If he stands behind his art, he shouldn't have a problem with that.

I don't blame FPS games for kids going 'postal' - that's not the issue. But if I were the supervisor, I would blame him for his allegedly 'neutral' stance on it. It's what his superiors cannot accept from him - there is no 'neutral stance' to be displayed in an ethics class on a major violent crime like a school massacre. That's unprofessional, and he's got to live with the consequences. Nothing cool so far about this teacher. Good riddance.

Makkun


#10

I don't see what the problem is. They had high quality production standards on that video. It's not like they did a caviar scene at the end. So what's the problem?


#11

I just want to point out that Makkuns reaction is distinctly German, and no real Austrian would ever hold such a position.

There is nothing wrong with either stance, but as an Austrian, not even a libertarian, just an Austrian I recoil in horror when I read his last 2-3 posts.

We might not have mastered much, but we know when to look the other way.

This Teutonic, "the law is the law" is an alien concept to someone raised in the streets of Vienna.

Germans are weird.


#12

I'm glad that my cultural idiosyncracies entertain you. :wink:

I'm not even very bothered with regards to the teacher and his art - but to turn this into 'the evil establishment denies cool teacher harmless fun' is imho a misinterpretation to which I have trouble looking away from.

And ... the law is of course the law - he could have chosen a less regulated profession.

Makkun


#13

Shoot straight: if your kids could be taught in art class by Hansruedi Giger, by G.Brom or by (a freshly resurrected) Otto Dix, you'd want the school to fire them, because they were considered deviant (maybe still are) ?

As long as the artist keeps his deviant ideas and arts from the children (which he did, of course), he should be ok to work.


#14

No, you wrote it's blatant pornography. It cannot be both. Porn is for sale, produced with the intent to arouse the viewer.
A teacher shouldn't be banned because of his art. Especially since every loon without the slightest shred of talent for kids is allowed these days.

So it's unprofessional to refuse to give an answer where experts disagree? That means you'd be okay if an economics teacher would just blame america for the world recession, and not explain various point of views.
He stance wasn't "pro/ok with violence" if that is your problem. He simply refused to depict FPS Games as a scapegoat.


#15

If you read my first post - just look above - you will see that besides I use actually both terms. I say it's 'blatantly pornographic' (you can't argue with that really) and I refer to his 'art'. Of course art can be pornographic (Henry Miller anyone?), it can be both and his is. That's not a big deal.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to have a Referendar - basically a teacher on probation before getting full public servant status - be scrutinised if he's sending such mixed signals - the privacy argument goes out of the window if you publish your private activities on the internet and sell your art. And, yes, a teacher can be banned for his art - sure, it's a question whether his constitutionally secured right of expression (which, as a German public servant is legally limited) is being deemed more important than the breach of regulations he may have committed by producing and distributing it. He's obviously free to challenge that in court.

Sure it's acceptable to weigh arguments in a discussion in an ethics class. But if he takes the fact that minors consume FPS illegally under age, and that (wrongly imho) they are blamed in the public debate as a contributing factor for violent behaviour, and thinks he can remain balanced and neutral (which in principle is a worthy endeavour), while at the same time publishing violent and pornographic artistic content (not privately, but on the internet) - it is perfectly legitimate to question his judgement.

Makkun


#16

If they knew how some things sounded in German they would probably not post them.

When I translate "deviant art", I cringe.


#17

Gene Simmons was a elementary school teacher before doing Kiss fulltime. I work with plenty of people that call themselves Christians and are considered good people yet say some of the nastiest things to the kids. They also have zero teaching ability. If the guy was in a band singing about pedophilia then yes, but not if it was just some death metal band.