Friday, September 11, 2009

YOU LIE! When is this over? Can I go to the Bathroom?

The connection was just too perfect his morning. Today Planet Money had a short story on the economics of misbehaving in school (here). They report on how on the first day of New York City School a principle gives a big welcome speech to the whole school. In the middle of it a student raises his hand , this wasn’t supposed to be a question and answer time. The student shouts out “when is this going to be over?” The story goes on to talk about how students use cost-benefit to decide to missbehave. The cost being punished, the benefit being the popular kid by sending a signal you are brave and aren’t scared of authority figures.

This reminded me of a scene from the 4th season of the Wire, where a kid does the same thing at an assembly, but instead yells “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Not 10 minutes after the kids misbehaving story on NPR they talked about Rep. Joe Wilson shouting “YOU LIE” at the President.

I wonder if the signal Rep. Wilson would have sent would have been different if he shouted “When is this over?” or maybe even “Can I go to the Bathroom?”

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