Ktismatics

14 March 2008

And in Local News…

Filed under: Culture, Reflections — ktismatics @ 4:41 am

‘Fight club’ busted at Fairview High

Officers: As many as 60 students gathered to watch street brawls

A group of Fairview High School students is suspected of organizing an after-school “fight club” that involved at least 12 students and as many as 60 spectators.

Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said Thursday that 10 Fairview students, all boys, have been ticketed on suspicion of public brawling. Police think they were part of a club of friends that regularly met near the South Boulder Recreation Center for public “street fighting.”

“Apparently, they were gathering in the field after school hours … where they were engaging in fights,” Huntley said. “They see this as sort of a recreational, spectator-type sport where they just wanted to go out and fight.”

Huntley said police started receiving calls about the fights in February but were never able to catch anyone in the act — until a female Fairview teacher broke up one of the fights March 6, which resulted in two teens being ticketed.

After the students were questioned by Fairview administrators, a police investigation led to eight more tickets being issued Thursday to students connected to the club, Huntley said. Police expect to ticket two more students they think were involved sometime today, she said.

“First and foremost, we’re concerned about injuries to kids,” Huntley said. “This was not supervised wrestling or boxing. … This was basically street-fighting for fun.”

All of the boys allegedly connected to the club range in age from 15 to 17, Huntley said. Their names are being withheld because they are minors, she said.

Boulder Valley School District spokesman Briggs Gamblin said school officials are working with police to investigate the club, which he said violates district policies against fighting even though the brawls took place off school property.

“The administrators are working to figure out who’s involved and how to stop it,” Gamblin said. “The feeling is there’s several others they need to find.”

Fairview Principal Donald Stensrud said he has taken some disciplinary actions against the students who have been cited, but he did not disclose details because of confidentiality rules. He said suspensions are a possibility.

“It’s a blood sport,” Stensrud said. “It is so antithetical to what we want our young men and women to do, and what we teach them to do.”

He said an assistant principal at the school searched online sites including MySpace, YouTube and Facebook for video evidence of the fights but did not find anything.

Stensrud said school administrators will work with counselors, psychologists and sociologists to come up with an appropriate way to talk with the students who were spectators at the fights and all Fairview students about how to make better choices than cheering on a fight.

“I think we’re going to figure out what to do as a building and how to address this,” Stensrud said.

Stensrud sent an e-mail to Fairview parents Thursday explaining the situation and calling for parents to talk with their children about the fights.

“I assure you that FHS administrators, faculty and staff are working along with the Boulder police and our school resource officer to identify those students involved — especially those students responsible for organizing this very high-risk activity,” Stensrud wrote. “I am asking that you discuss this issue with your student and urge (him or her) to come forward if she or he has any information that will help us bring this behavior to a halt.”

The two Fairview students ticketed for the March 6 fight have Boulder Municipal Court appearances scheduled Tuesday. The other eight cited so far are due to appear in court March 25.

The citations carry a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of 90 days in jail.

The spectators did not break any laws by watching the fights, according to police.

Advertisements

30 Comments »

  1. “It’s a blood sport,” Stensrud said. “It is so antithetical to what we want our young men and women to do, and what we teach them to do.”

    Stensrud said school administrators will work with counselors, psychologists and sociologists to come up with an appropriate way to talk with the students who were spectators at the fights and all Fairview students about how to make better choices than cheering on a fight.

    The above sounds typical: limp-wristed baby sitters trying to keep “our young men and women” soft and pliable. Interesting how parents and school administration will support and cheer a student’s decision to do whatever they want sexually, but when it comes to a rather innocent fight club these same champions of human liberty are beside themselves. I think it is a bit of a humorous double standard! Students are adults with their own right to make their own sexual decisions, but if they want to blow off a bit of steam by punching each other around a bit, then all of a sudden these same “adults” turn into “our young mean and women” who need to be protected from their violent impulses!

    This also raises an issue that we have touched on a bit before, which is where violent impulses come from and what are appropriate expressions of violence. I have said before that I am not ipso facto against war b/c it appears as though violence is a necessary form of conflict resolution.

    Like

    Comment by Nietzsche — 14 March 2008 @ 5:45 am

  2. Okay,

    Sorry about the Nietzsche name tag. That was leftover from a previous joke….although, I suppose given what I said it was appropriate!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 14 March 2008 @ 5:46 am

  3. “The above sounds typical: limp-wristed baby sitters trying to keep “our young men and women” soft and pliable.”

    Here are the comments so far this morning on the local newspaper’s website:

    Posted by dhs on March 13, 2008 at 9:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is, you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. …

    Posted by lidarman on March 13, 2008 at 9:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    Yep…they screwed those rules up…such amateurs…oh wait, high schoolers…

    Posted by tplboulder on March 13, 2008 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    What’s wrong with this, after all, the school’s FIGHT song urges all to “FIGHT on you Knights…”. I suppose it will have to be changed to “CHEER on you Knights…”, assuming cheering isn’t outlawed by city regulations…

    Posted by vincentvega on March 13, 2008 at 9:44 p.m.
    (This comment was removed by the site staff.)

    Posted by mtndude08 on March 13, 2008 at 9:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    Take away the “fight club” and you they will seek other ways to pass time. Hiring out prostitutes, spray painting dogs pink, mailing pot using the BVSD letterhead, harassing bears with water hoses, and playing in garage bands.

    Posted by lidarman on March 13, 2008 at 10:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

    Posted by mtndude08 on March 13, 2008 at 9:57 p.m.
    Take away the “fight club” and you they will seek other ways to pass time. Hiring out prostitutes, spray painting dogs pink, mailing pot using the BVSD letterhead, harassing bears with water hoses, and playing in garage bands.”
    Or they could be like us an just post on Daily Camera replies.

    Posted by The_Belfrey on March 13, 2008 at 10:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    Kids have an uncanny knack for subverting The Man. Fight Club will soon be replaced with Dye Club, and neighborhood pets will soon be turning up in a variety of unnatural hues.

    Posted by boulderperson1 on March 13, 2008 at 10:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    Kids, what’s the matter with kids today?

    Posted by buffs_buzz on March 13, 2008 at 11:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    Ticketed on suspicion of public brawling. They make it sound so bad. It’s just kids being kids.

    Posted by andrusj on March 13, 2008 at 11:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    FAIRVIEW IS SO LAME

    Posted by Yabastardya on March 13, 2008 at 11:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    You’re not supposed to have spectators at Fight Club… if you’re new, you must fight!

    Posted by sobocous on March 13, 2008 at 11:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)
    Where do I sign up to get my ass kicked? Oh, wait a minute, I work in the credit markets. I’m getting my ass kicked every day.

    Posted by geneloehrlein on March 14, 2008 at 6:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)
    Let the kids fight already-give them knives to make it more interesting.

    Posted by markc on March 14, 2008 at 6:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)
    I bet the recruiters are just drooling to talk to these kids. This could give them some fresh meat that they don’t need to train to be killers.

    Posted by seriously on March 14, 2008 at 6:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)
    did the principal REALLY say “gosh, golly”?

    Posted by dont on March 14, 2008 at 6:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)
    Results of the “War on Boys”.

    Posted by wiseone on March 14, 2008 at 7:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)
    sobocous-
    Great post. Started my day off with a laugh!
    : )

    Posted by boulderhippie on March 14, 2008 at 7:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)
    these kids are poor victims of the no score soccer generation. Stop the violence! Let the goals count!
    No Goals – No Peace.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 6:48 am

  4. “Interesting how parents and school administration will support and cheer a student’s decision to do whatever they want sexually,”

    Obviously you’re not the parent of a teenager.

    “our young mean and women”

    Nice Freudian slip, Nietzsche.

    “where violent impulses come from and what are appropriate expressions of violence.”

    Wouldn’t you deem it likely that this fight club came about as an imitation of the movie? Not to deny that violent impulses are there, but the expression is cinematic, a reenactment of a performance. That 60 kids were watching suggests the theatricality of it — as opposed to the ethos of privacy in the movie (which I haven’t seen).

    “Sorry about the Nietzsche name tag. That was leftover from a previous joke”

    Nice Freudian slip, Erdman.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 6:49 am

  5. Here’s the email we received last night as parents of a Fairview High School student:

    Subject: Important Parent Update

    Dear FHS Community,

    There will likely be a “9 Wants to Know” story on 9NEWS tonight (3/13) regarding a fight club organized by and involving a small group of Fairview High School (FHS) students that has been taking place off school grounds near the South Boulder Recreation Center.

    Recently, there was a fight outside the Rec Center involving two FHS students in this club that was broken up by a FHS teacher. That teacher contacted the school main office and administrators and building security went to the center to respond to this fight. The students involved in the incident were detained and then escorted back to FHS. Because of a separate Boulder Police Department investigation of the incident, the two students were cited by police officers.

    As FHS continues to conduct its investigation, I am sorry to inform you that more students appear to be involved in this unsanctioned club than just the two students involved in this recent fight. Obviously, fight clubs are not the type of behavior that you or I expect or think appropriate for a safe and healthy school community.

    I assure you that FHS administrators, faculty and staff are working along with the Boulder police and our school resource officer to identify those students involved – especially those students responsible for organizing this very high-risk activity that violates Boulder Valley School District and FHS policies as well as state laws and municipal ordinances. I am asking that you discuss this issue with your student and urge he/she to come forward if she or he has any information that will help us bring this behavior to a halt.

    I will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.

    Don
    Donald Stensrud, Principal
    Fairview High School

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 6:55 am

  6. Ktismatics: Wouldn’t you deem it likely that this fight club came about as an imitation of the movie? Not to deny that violent impulses are there, but the expression is cinematic, a reenactment of a performance. That 60 kids were watching suggests the theatricality of it — as opposed to the ethos of privacy in the movie (which I haven’t seen).

    As a correction, in Fight Club the fights have spectators, the commenter misspoke when he implied that they are private fights. Everyone in Fight Club watches and cheers as two fighters battle it out. In some cases, the fighting is a form of bonding, with the two bloodied fighters embracing after the fight.

    You should really watch the movie. I also suggest watching with the commentary of Edward Norton. He makes some interesting comments about the social shift from what he calls “the 60’s culture of our parents” to the new paradigm introduced by Fight Club.

    When you see it, you will have a better idea where I am coming from and the paradigm shifting that is involved. I don’t think you will agree with me or the movie, but I think seeing the movie will advance the debate and discussion.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 14 March 2008 @ 8:06 am

  7. Obviously, fight clubs are not the type of behavior that you or I expect or think appropriate for a safe and healthy school community.

    Sixties peace culture! It’s so much of the suburbia “keep our kids safe” stuff that annoys me. I usually speak out against the Christian version of this (keep our kids in Christian schools and Sunday schools and youth groups and church camps, etc.), but it is really a nation-wide mentality that place comfort and complacency as the highest virtue in life.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 14 March 2008 @ 8:09 am

  8. I’ve bumped Fight Club to the top of my Netflix queue, so hopefully next week some time I’ll get to see it and be prepared to discuss it further. Your remarks about it, Erdman, remind me of a couple other movies. History of Violence by Cronenberg addresses the aggressive instinct from an evolutionary perspective: the aggressors were the ones who survived to pass on their genes, so it’s no surprise that we find violent instincts arising in us.

    Fight club presumably isn’t premised on interpersonal conflict — as you note, fighting is also a source of bonding. One could argue that the fighting constitutes sublimation of latent homosexual urges — maybe the movie makes this point, I’ll have to wait and see. But the description of the movie suggests that the fights are more a way of expressing nihilistic rage at being trapped in a pointless socio-economic system.

    Which is what brings the other movie to mind: Mon Oncle d’Amerique, by Alain Resnais. At one point in the film we hear from a behavioral psychologist conducting experiments on rats. He demonstrates how, by electrifying the floor of a rat’s cage without providing a way of escape, the rat soon acquires “learned helplessness” — he stops trying to avoid the shock, even when the experimenter eventually installs a mechanism the rat can use to turn off the charge. These rats develop ulcers, tics and other psychosomatic disorders that persist after the experiment is terminated. On the other hand, when the experimenter put two rats in the electified cage, every time the floor got electrified the rats would fight with each other. As soon as the shock stopped they stopped fighting. These rats didn’t develop physiological symptoms of stress — they seemed perfectly healthy and lively after the experiments concluded. So here we have fighting as an adaptive physiological response to unavoidable environmental stress.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 9:10 am

  9. The response of the principal to this event is one of the main reasons I’m reluctant to do psychology among high schoolers. He promotes appropriateness, safety, healthy behavior etc. while ignoring the meaning of what’s happening. I’m sure the psychologists will teach rational-emotive ways of resolving disputes and diffusing stress; Meanwhile it’s the school itself that generates a lot of the stress, and this top-down management of desire is probably what drives fight club in the first place.

    On the other hand, I am intrigued to see that cinematic reality is penetrating the real world, like the Videodrome signal. And I’d also say that fight club kicks ass on real gang warfare.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 9:17 am

  10. Very insightful comments.

    Interesting about the rats. This triggers my mind to the Smashing Pumpkins song, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, with a chorus line that goes,
    “despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”

    here is the rest of the song:

    the world is a vampire, sent to drain
    secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
    and what do I get, for my pain
    betrayed desires, and a piece of the game
    even though I know-I suppose I’ll show
    all my cool and cold-like old job

    despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
    despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
    someone will say what is lost can never be saved
    despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

    now I’m naked, nothing but an animal
    but can you fake it, for just one more show
    and what do you want, I want change
    and what have you got
    when you feel the same
    even though I know-I suppose I’ll show
    all my cool and cold-like old job

    tell me I’m the only one
    tell me there’s no other one
    jesus was an only son yeah
    tell me I’m the chosen one
    jesus was an only son for you

    and I still believe that I cannot be saved
    and I still believe that I cannot be saved
    and I still believe that I cannot be saved
    and I still believe that I cannot be saved

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 14 March 2008 @ 9:59 am

  11. The youtube video is quite interesting. It shows a group of labor slaves engaged in various activities that range from fighting amongst themselves to standing around and watching the band play.

    The band Hawthorne Heights recently (2007) covered the song (see their myspace page). Is there a part of the populace embracing the early nineties grunge anti-estab. culture?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 14 March 2008 @ 10:12 am

  12. Thanks for apropos lyrics and video, Erdman. I of course hearken back to the days when Street Fighting Man was anthemic for expressing the frustrated rebellious urge, before the Stones became an embarrassing self-parody. So if anti-estab culture is merely a fashion statement, it’s a pretty persistent one. The question is this: if most middle class people, young and not-so-young (myself included), have developed learned helplessness as a result of futile efforts to escape the relatively mild yet nearly continuous shocks administered by the seemingly totalizing social structure, would we recognize a way out if we saw it, or a way to turn off the shock machine, or a way of raging effectively against the machine?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 11:34 am

  13. Here are the updated comments from the newspaper website (identifiers removed for conserving space):

    Wait, let me get this straight.. you can get ticketed for “suspicion” of public brawling. Not out and out public brawling mind you.. but suspicion of. I can’t wait until the jack booted thugs come to ticket people for suspicion of free thought.

    I noticed that one comment “was removed by the site staff”. I hate to see such control-freak censorship. I like to read all the posts, even the stupid over-the-top ones. I would censor only profanity by programming the application to reject posts containing unacceptable words. It’s kind of fun watching posters’ ingenuity in using symbols to help their unacceptable words slide past the auto censor. Most people have a strong distrust for censors. Undefined, unspecific and unaccountable censorship is impolitic. I dislike it more than I dislike jerk posters.

    If this were sponsored by a Karate or boxing Club it would be an applauded after school activity like PAL used to be. but when the kid organize it on their own it becomes illegal? Sounds fishy to me.

    Adolescent males have aggression. In Boulder, overt aggression is not tolerated. So how does the school propose to address this fighting. By squashing it! Does this make the aggression go away? No. It only creates more. I agree that we should give these kids a supervised boxing or martial arts class. Give them an outlet for their aggression. In case any of the extremely intelligent boulderites missed the point of the movie Fight Club, the main character was fighting an internal struggle. Perhaps that is what these kids are doing. They go to the best school, have intense pressures academically and socially, drug use is rife at Fairview, and we expect them to fall into line like lemmings? Please.

    ‘Fight Club’, Eliot’s prostitute, Paris Freed, Whoopi and the View, all distractions. While mainstream media creates illusions, the gov’t steps on our throats by opening our mail, suspending habeas corpus, stealing private lands, banning books like “America Deceived” from Amazon, conducting warrantless wiretaps and starting wars for a foriegn gov’t.
    Impeach them all and end this madness.
    Final link (until Google Books bends to pressure and drops the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_

    Boulder, such a lovely town almost as wacked as SF or Berkley… So the freaks that run the show can propose a law designed to prevent cats from killing vermin rodents and birds that would otherwise pass on their bad survival genes, followed by a $1000.00 fine for a woman attempting to gather funds for breast cancer support. Why don’t you all focus on YOUR family morals and get out of others faces. boulder is pathetic. I’m embarrassed that I live in he same state. Won’t be long before the world will think of Colorado as another california or vermont full of looney left wing nuts…

    This was an ‘after school’ activity – who the hell are Fairview administrators to think they have any say of what students do off school grounds and after school hours? Authoritarian pricks. Now, this is a strange and sick activity to get involved with, but it’s not up to school ‘officials’ to have any say in the matter.

    The people at Fairview, the Police, and the media are all blowing this out of proportion. All we would do is see who wanted to fight, there was no forcing people to fight or peer pressure to fight. You only fought if you really wanted to. All the news stations have their facts wrong. This ticket is not a $1,000 fine with 90 days in jail. It is a maximum of $250. Dispersing this fight club without providing us an alternative will only make more clubs like this appear, only in other places. I believe that the combination of an alternative sanctioned fight club, and education about fighting and a slap on the wrist are more appropriate than our suspension, ticketing, and statewide news exploitation.

    And don’t ask why someone would do something as “terrible” as fight club. Really, it is not as bad as you think. It’s just guys having fun. This isn’t an organized betting club or anything like that, it is just for fun. If you think we are sick, realize that we aren’t using knives or guns. This isn’t some gang like the police and Fairview wish it was so they can be credited with the bust of an “underground fight club”. If we were really doing something where we thought we would end up on the news, nobody would ever hear of it. This is just some kids having fun.

    One word: Marines.

    boulderperson1
    “Kids, what’s the matter with kids today?” None of them are getting a butt whoopin at home! They have no discipline.

    Reader11722,
    Ohh, sure spoiled rich kids beating each other up is the President’s fault? how about the parent’s fault for not raising their children properly and with a sense of right and wrong instead of anything goes as long as you don’t get caught.
    As for it being the same as being a karate class, I highly doubt they were smart enough to wear protective gear. There are plenty of alternatives to learn martial arts properly and under supervision in Boulder from Krav Maga ( http://www.coloradokravmaga.com ) to Capoeira ( http://www.capoeiradenver.com )

    These boys are just doing what boys used to do in the “olden golden days.” These days, they can’t even play on the playground. What are they supposed to do with all the energy they have? Fantasize about what they can do with all the energy? Let’s emasculate all of them. Just my opinion.

    According to the principal:
    “It is so antithetical to what we want our young men and women to do, and what we teach them to do.”
    Yeah, you want to make sure that “No Child is Left Behind”; you do that by dragging the bright & gifted down to the level of the lowest common denominator; without your knowledge, you are doing the government’s work in, not helping them become doctors, engineers, scientists; you are creating a generation of ignorant, apathetic fast food workers. You are putting them all in lockstep with rules & policies that make them fearful of & subservient to the government. You teach them what YOU want them to know about their government, so they have no idea as to what their TRUE rights are, how the government works & its actual limits. You effeminize them with your “Day of Silence” agendas. You make them all feel “warm & fuzzy” and make sure they know that “everyone’s a winner”.
    These teenagers, these young men may not KNOW that their lives are being manipulated, but they certainly FEEL it. To NOT do what they’re doing is counter to nature in the males of ALL species. At least they’re not killing one another; not doing what street gangs do. The article says that they are “friends”. What are you afraid of? That they might “bond”? That they may become “brothers”? What would happen then? Are you afraid that they might “rise up” against a government that doesn’t truly have their best interest at heart; that they might actually want to CHANGE THINGS?
    If these young men were fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq, you would applaud them (as well they should be). It’s just amazing how a change in geography and a change in “governmental approval” makes fighting acceptable.

    We did this when I was in High School too. It too was broken up by adults. Never made the news though. Why is this in the news at all? Kids will be kids and Darwin will do the rest. Get over it.

    Exactly who are we hurting by doing this? Are we giving pretty south boulder a reputation as an area of violence and street gangs? And 54B20 i do krav maga in north boulder. That isn’t anything like what we are interested in. If the school would instead of punish all of us, make a school sanctioned fight club, the problem would be solved. But instead of doing that, they are pissing off the majority of the sophomore males at Fairview and are creating other fight clubs that will go to other places to fight.

    It’s interesting to me that people have such support for kids hurting one another and such malice for schools doing their best to intervene. I teach in an urban middle school, and what happens off of school grounds often comes to a head on school grounds, whether it be outside or inside of the building. Part of our public duty (which many feel we are grossly overpaid for) is to watch out for the safety of the children and to care for their wellbeing. If a child tells you about something that is going on at home, whether it be neglect or abuse, we are legally bound to report that — it is no matter that the molester or abuser is not molesting or abusing on school grounds. These children who are fighting deserve to be penalized for their behavior. It is savage, animalistic, and most of all, DANGEROUS. Children can DIE from fighting. It is ridiculous and ignorant to stand up and say that they have every right to do so; they’re not pit bulls, they’re children.

    The schools need MMA programs. (mixed martial arts) I trained in tae kwon do in my adolescence – I wish I knew about the grappling aspect. Give them a way to train and fight with some rules and protection. And thinking you can remove the need from those types of males is like thinking to keep women from loving shopping. Make it a sport and they will become athletes instead of hoodlums. Far better way to vent than drinking, drugging, dying, etc. IMO

    You have to be kidding…the school is going to punish someone, for activities outside of school? HOGWASH! So what’s next… if I was in high school and got a speeding ticket , would I receive a suspension? Total bull.
    Suspected ? so they are ticketed without definite proof? what happened to innocent …until proven guilty- sounds like it’s the other way around. It has come full circle.
    P.S.- I am in no way a fan of the ACLU- I would encourage EVERYONE TO WATCH BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters on you tube- this video has seriously kept me out of so much trouble! Watch it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqMjMPlXz

    I’m a teacher up in Clear Creek and the kids have shared that they have their version of a “Fight Club” up here – I would never “bust” them though…they’re all friends…they’re bonding and laughing about it afterwards. No one gets seriously hurt.
    But – the thing is – young people have no “coming of age ceremony” – we’ve lost our respective “cultures” by trying to “acculturate” everyone. We should take a clue from our original Native culture – the young men used to be able to “count coup” and be praised for becoming a young warrior – what do they have now? A lot of my students sign up to go to Iraq to “prove themselves” – so it’s o.k. for these guys to shoot Iraquis, but not fist fight one another? There are no ceremonies for boys to become men (or for girls to become women) and this is the way the kids are trying to figure it out. Leave them ALONE.

    The questions are these (in my mind):
    1. Who is going to pay if a kid gets seriously injured? Them? Their parents? If the kids are fully responsible for all injuries, I say let them at it (though I highly doubt that’s the case). And, let’s suppose a kid gets really hurt – fatally even (and people knew about this) do you think fingers wouldn’t get pointed at the school and whomever knew, regardless of whether its on school grounds? Its called community folks.
    2. Why were they fighting with up to 60 onlookers in a public spot? One has to question that decision. Surely they knew it would be reported to someone.
    3. Why is fighting in a public place, where up to 60 people are watching, bad for society? Well, I don’t want my 6 year old seeing that as an acceptable activity. If you want to kick someone’s rear-end, get into mixed martial arts fighting. You can do plenty of damage in a safe environment and learn some real techniques.

    I understand that you think it is dangerous, but these news stations are blowing it way out of proportion. It is not as bad as you think, we aren’t doing it to see who can knock the other out first, it is just a bunch of guys messing around. Fairview High School, the Boulder Police, and some of you citizens are treating this like we are fighting to the death and that fighting is terrible. The reason this is such big news is because it involves young men, who are considered crazy and dangerous by most of the older generations. The reason we are suspended and are receiving tickets on such a joke of a charge is because the school and the police are trying to flex their muscle as they have nothing better to do because all of boulder is rich white people.

    You don’t understand that we weren’t fighting to the point that anyone could get seriously injured. We were not on school grounds, and the school had no idea until the police got involved so i doubt that fingers would be pointed at the school, this wasn’t a fight to the death match so i doubt your little 6 year old that wears baby gap and designer clothes would be too scarred by it, and the reason there were so many onlookers is because it is entertaining. We are pressuring the school to provide us with an after school boxing league which would curb the formation of new fight clubs, but they have yet to do anything. We think fighting is fun, but we do have other sports going on and we really dont want to pay 200 dollars a month to go train and learn proper techniques.

    Skierdudejohn–This is the most articulate post I’ve read on the DC forums in a very long time. I have news for this town, this is not a new phenomenon. We had “Fight Club” as seniors at Fairview in the 1990s, only we went to Taco Bell to fight college kids. What’s the difference? Why is the school involved at all, proximity? I know kids that sprayed fraternity teeth with sprinkler heads on the hill in the “good ol’ days.” I’d say evolution has made fighting safer.
    Let the law handle it and keep your meddling administrative meat hooks and busybody noses to school business. Fighting and adolescent boys go together like Fairview High School and grade inflation.

    High Schoolers: Bored? Nothing to do? Try reading, and doing your homework. You could learn something better than how to slug, punch and incapacitate your fellow fighters. Oh, I forgot, you don’t read newspapers. There is a butt to kick, and friends to hurt.

    In my day, being ticketed for “public brawling” would be a mark of honor and reason enough to go down to the pub and get drunk!!

    No i do not read liberal biased press such as the Daily Camera, because I am republican, and I know that saying that word is a terrible thing to do in Boulder.

    Sounds like a socialist state to me,the kids are property of the school district and raising your kids,Why don’t they just teach them instead.No wonder more people are home schooling.As for the fight club,should be organized and supervized,kids are immature and should be trained in discipline and respect no matter what their skill level.Everyone’s skill contributes to team.The weak should always Be respected and have there place in the team.

    Coming soon to CBS-TV Primetime: Cage Fighting. (really)

    Its so funny how this is being blow so out of proportion and how people are defending the newspaper when they blatantly lied about the situation. No one has gotten seriously hurt. It is friends fighting because we want to. There is no deeper meaning behind this.
    Firstly, the fines are a maximum of $250 and no time in jail.
    Secondly, way more than 60 people watched these fights. It was up to 120 people at times. How could the administration miss hundreds of students streaming out of the student center at once?
    Good job Donald…and Sandy…. and Butterfield.. and other assorted busters
    Mr. Stensrud repeatedly talked to students about sponsoring this event if a teacher was present. So how is he so suprised and shocked?

    I think the key here is to remember that sissy high school fights don’t really constitute fights. These kids are probably wusses who listen to “emo” and cry when hit.

    If you do a quick search on youtube you will see that this kind of “fight club” goes on in almost every city in America. Personally, I think it is harmless.

    I am perplexed.I know I am from a generation that is anathema to most of the world of education in this day and age.I cannot speak for the rest of my generation but I can give you my take. My best friend all through high school was Johnny. Johnny and I got into a serious fight when we were in grade school. Yes, I said GRADE SCHOOL. After the principal and the gym teacher pulled us apart and the school nurse patched us up we became the best of friends. Does that always happen? NO!!!! Is it a possibility? YES!!!
    Today Johnny and I are in our 40’s. If Johnny called today and told me he needed me I would be there in an instant. Why? We are friends because we were allowed to work out our differences in a manner that was adequate to us at the time. These people who want to imasculate young men are the same ones who believe we can negotiate with terrorist. I have been there and seen these people face to face. We need allof the young men willing to fight that we can find. They are coming and they need to be stopped. Let these kids have their fun and work things out. They will be adults soon enough. And the world will not miraculously become peaceful when George Bush leaves the White House…..LEAVE THEM BE!!!!!!!!!

    we aren’t trying to be tough we are just messing around. We don’t try to gain creds or something by fighting, it is just something that is fun that we do. I listen to rap and I think emos are a joke.

    The Movie and Music culture dictate violence as entertainment. Football is the number one condoned blood sport for young males. So the Fairview principal has his head up in the attic. He teaches violence just like the rest of us. Sports is violence: War is violence. The news is violence. This newspaper is violence. High school is violence. We are thee violent society. Our children are us. Thanks for keeping Boulder in the international news Fairview.
    Here is what real news is and the future if we don’t kill ourselves first:
    http://www.worldnewschannel1.com/index.p

    THANK YOU SgtmacRetAZ for your service!!!! You’re a very wise man.

    This whole thing is ridiculous.

    No of them beat the crap out of each other. “Fighting” in schools has been going on for years, whether it’s all out brawls or just playful punching. Ever play “two for flinching” or the “circle game?” Clearly not.
    I’m sure that full on insulting these kids and telling them they’re uneducated really helps the situation. Because educated people NEVER fight, right?
    I don’t understand why all of these people are causing such a ruckus about high school boys playfully hitting each other but have no problem with sending them to go shoot other people across the seas.

    if you outlaw fighting…then only outlaws will fight.

    I blame the movie NEVER BACK DOWN

    Testosterone-junkie latents letting off steam.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  14. so i thought the movie, fight club, although carrying off the veneer of radicalism, ends up going horribly wrong. but that is neither here nor there.

    i saw movie the other day that ends with Tommy Lee Jones raising an upside down American flag…in the movie this was supposed to represent a hopeless situation of such proportions that only some kind external intervention could ward off self destruction.

    Now i don’t know what made me think of that. It certainly isn’t the fact that kids between 15-17 are gathering to watch and participate in fights. Growing up and schooling in Johannesburg, fights were ritualized affairs – an offense is recorded, the time and venue is agreed upon which was usually after school in the ‘zoombars’ (a piece of ground between a mine dump and the back school fence), the information spreads through the biopolitical body of the high school, bell rings and we rush out making predictions on how it would turn out. of course there is always the occasional nut who stabs someone, or a coward who solicits outside intervention. So, having often recorded offense, i certainly don’t have a problem with teenage organized brawling. this kind of fighting, besides being a rush, for me, helped me understand the beautiful bond that can grow between fear and action. but that aside, the reason i think i thought about the flag, apart from some of the comments, is that even this fundermental right of passage is modeled on an image of something from a movie.

    Like

    Comment by dionysusstoned — 14 March 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  15. that is rite of passage

    Like

    Comment by dionysusstoned — 14 March 2008 @ 5:21 pm

  16. Yes DS, I suspect most of the crucial moments in American life are now mediated by movie and television sensibilities. I’d suggest to the students that in light of police harassment they move the fight club somewhere near a mine dump, but there isn’t one near enough to the school.

    Some of the commenters on the newspaper website suggested that, if the fights are stopped, the boys might start dying animals strange colors instead. This calls for explanation: The other day a woman was ticketed for cruelty to her poodle Cici, by virtue of her having dyed it pink. It turned out that the woman raises money for breast cancer research, and she uses the dog to draw attention so that she can engage people in conversation about her charitable work. However, former employees of the beauty shop where the alleged dying took place contend that the woman has dyed other animals various colors, thereby throwing a cloud of suspicion over the self-proclaimed do-gooder’s motive. The city attorney is deciding whether to fine and/or jail the woman. I should also point out that, a few years ago, the city council decreed that pet “owners” would henceforth be referred to as pet “guardians.”

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 March 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  17. When I was young an naive in high school, I semi-organized one of those things. Although, a Wal-Mart parking lot was where a lot of things unfolded.

    Like

    Comment by Seyfried — 14 March 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  18. No shit. Were you and your thug pals inspired by the movie? Tell us more. Also, the Wal-Mart parking lot seems perfect for making a statement about suburban anomie and nihilism — were you involved in scouting locations, Seyfried?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 15 March 2008 @ 5:55 am

  19. “this kind of fighting, besides being a rush, for me, helped me understand the beautiful bond that can grow between fear and action.”

    Would you say, DS, that this experience helped shape your political sensibilities?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 15 March 2008 @ 6:40 am

  20. The appeal of Fight Club – the film, not the book – to high schoolers is that it’s really just about the fighting; when the film attempts to marry a few anti-capitalist themes in the last half-hour, they’re just ambiguous enough, just as half-baked, just as referential as we could have handled…kids walked out of the film being pissed off at something (“Well…femininity breeds consumer dissent because….err…let’s fucking fight!”). And it felt good because the simultaneous erection caused by Brad Pitt was sustained through various moments of intellectual-pandering (probably the same wayward film-mourning Dionysus mentioned).

    So what did we do? Kids hit the health-stories (…but I thought “self-improvement is masturbation!”) – we got bulked up for a summer and occasionally a few of us would emulate key scenes and beatdowns, eventually culminating in pissing off a rival high school to “fight us” amidst the synagogue of Capitalism.

    So, yeah, it was more of the suburban anomie, ennui – our Great War, Durden, was re-envisioning La Avventura – than anything. But all of that didn’t matter because Krispy Kreme nurtured us post-brawl.

    Like

    Comment by Seyfried — 15 March 2008 @ 8:27 am

  21. —Would you say, DS, that this experience helped shape your political sensibilities?—

    What are you talking about? my politics don’t makes sense, or not enough to qualify being called anything so constituted as a sensibility? Its more a make it up as you go affair.

    But if you asking how i got so fucked up, i got to say its my dad’s fault. see, when i was a kid the old man would tease me about one day having to go into the ‘bush’, meaning i would need to becomes part of the armed struggle against the then apartheid state…’fight for liberation’, not that i really had a clear conception of what that meant then. Playing into me fear of insects he would tell me how i was “going to have to eat ants and locusts to survive”…shit like that…basically my screwed ups father’s middle crises mythology of what it means to be tough. But it was playful, and he would allow me to tag along with him to rallies and the like…and its all stuff i remember very fondly. Anyway, if the idea had initially frightened me, by the time i was 12 it was really all i could think about. When i got suspended from school in 1988, believing my life would be over (at least as i knew it) if i told my dad, i made my way to the border with the intention of joining the military wing of the ANC. luckily the border patrol caught me walking along the fence looking for a place to cross (i had no idea what i was doing). thinking i was just some crazy kid with a backpack and thirty rand, they called my dad _ who was really cool about it and still teases me on occasion about my failed career in the military. Then things changed…and i did too. but you never really grow out of who you were.

    anyway, i suspect my politics shaped my approach to organized brawling.

    Like

    Comment by dionysusstoned — 15 March 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  22. In light of this event I sent an email to my daughter’s English teacher. In it I excerpted my email to the gifted parents, the part where I defend pessimism by citing Philip Dick, E.A. Poe, etc. as examples. Then I say this:

    I received no response to this apologetic for pessimism, which of course reinforced my own pessimism. But now with this fight club thing and the school’s official response I see another little glimmer. I haven’t seen Fight Club the movie, but almost certainly the organizers of the club have. The idea as I understand it is that the fighters find themselves squeezed by the bland tyranny of middle class American life and discover a nihilistic outlet for expressing their rage. This is preeminently J.G. Ballard territory, expressing a longstanding and widespread sense of bourgeois dissatisfaction. Boulder seems like a breeding ground for Ballardian sensibilities, despite — or rather because of — the affluence and achievement orientation of the environment.

    So the question is this: as a psychologist, can I present myself as a resource to kids without pushing the rational-emotive, optimistic, managerial, achievement-oriented party line that the parents and school administrators want reinforced? I’m less interested in suppressing phenomena like fight club, and more interested in exploring what they mean, both to the school culture and to the kids who are attracted to this outlaw venue. Again, I’m not a huge optimist, so maybe fight club is one of the better outlets available, but at least it would be worth exploring from outside the authority structures of school and parents. And of course not just fight club, but all sorts of other manifestations of having the sense that there’s nothing different and interesting to do with one’s life. I’d say mine is more of a literary or cinematic approach to psychology rather than a managerial one.

    I don’t know if you resonate with any of this, or whether you have occasion to see glimpses of repressed creativity and frustration from your students, but if any of this interests you or you have any thoughts about it, I’d like to talk with you for a bit. Is there a time during or after school, maybe next week, that I could stop by? Or if I’m barking up the wrong tree, I won’t feel offended if you’d just as soon pass. Please let me know either way.

    I sent this early Friday afternoon; no response yet.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 15 March 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  23. DS, your childhood sounds just like mine. No, just kidding. Shit like you experienced sounds like the sort of authenticity the American middle class kids have no contact with but wish they did. What border were you trying to cross? Did the ANC have their HQ outside of SA when they were a “terrorist organization”? Despite your father’s macho tactics it’s cool he let you come along to political rallies. It must be strange to have a father who expects you to take a militant political stance — a different sort of pressure from most middle class kids’ experience of their parents’ political (non)commitments.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 15 March 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  24. I’m in sort of a rush, Ktis, but with that “email” you much need to see Funny Games (1997).

    Like

    Comment by Seyfried — 15 March 2008 @ 11:44 pm

  25. The other day I added The Seventh Continent by Haneke to the Netflix queue. Another Ballardian traveler, Haneke, by the sound of it. Dejan too has spoken highly of Funny Games, suggesting that the movie opens up still another dimension to postmodern parodic space.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 16 March 2008 @ 5:43 am

  26. —sounds like the sort of authenticity the American middle class kids have no contact with but wish they did.—

    well… it was also the product of particular romanticized notions of ‘armed struggle’ and ‘the fight for liberation’

    —What border were you trying to cross? Did the ANC have their HQ outside of SA when they were a “terrorist organization”?—

    The Botswana border. The ANC had offices there…but the main office was in Lusaka (Zambia)

    —It must be strange to have a father who expects you to take a militant political stance — a different sort of pressure from most middle class kids’ experience of their parents’ political (non)commitments—

    ja, it would have been. the thing is, my dad thinks i’m a crazy anarchist…and we fight all the time about politics. Like i said, things changed. In fact, we even found ourselves on different sides of the same battle in the post apartheid period. When i was at university, working on a campaign to resist the noeliberal restructuring of the university, my father, who was then the deputy dean of the medical school, was part of the administration. Now i know he was himself critical of some stuff that was happening, but ‘democracy’ tempered my dad’s politics, and he tends to be driven now by ideas like ‘self sacrifice for the greater good’, and the tasks of building ‘non-racial democratic institutions’…that never escape the horizon of nation and state. but in his own way, he is proud of the stuff i do, as i am of the stuff he does.

    Like

    Comment by dionysusstoned — 16 March 2008 @ 6:04 am

  27. 5 days ago I emailed the high school English teacher (see above). This morning I sent him a follow-up: “Never mind then.”

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 March 2008 @ 9:39 am

  28. So here’s the teacher’s response, a couple hours after my follow-up:

    “Thank you for your insightful commentary. I’m intrigued, but I’m also swamped with grading and planning. I was waiting for the break to give you a more thoughtful response, but I guess this will have to do. The truth is that I don’t really know how to respond. Both optimism and pessimism have their place. At the heart of a town like Boulder is the avoidance of truth. Our kids crave honesty, and this community prizes the image of perfection over almost everything else. I believe that this unhealthy perspective begins to infect our souls. At the same time, life is a grand celebration. I try to focus my attention on those individuals who ground themselves in truth (both the beautiful and the ugly). I’m sorry that I don’t have time for a more considered response, but please believe me when I tell you that I appreciate and agree with many of your concerns.”

    Oh well, I didn’t really have anything in particular in mind. So I said this in reply: “Thanks for getting back. I don’t really have any sort of intervention in mind, but I too would like to see a little more authenticity in public discourse and in the way people live their lives as well. I hope you enjoy your break — only two days left!”

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 March 2008 @ 11:52 am

  29. Passive aggressive?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 19 March 2008 @ 1:12 pm

  30. Hard to say; probably just another overworked teacher. His emphasis on truth immediately reminded me of you — I wonder what he has in mind.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 March 2008 @ 1:14 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: