You Shan't Go To The Ball, Pimentella

How quickly the oppressed become the oppressors

"Save the life of my child, cried the desperate mother. Oh what's becoming of the children? People asking each other."

There. Just broke one of the rules of journalism by starting with a quote (Simon & Garfunkel), but blogging isn't journalism, so it's okay, and the lyric's used to illustrate the hand-wringing which accompanies the annual school ball season. Why is this new? School balls have always been a problem since Rindacella slopped her dripper. In my day, oh, about 42 years ago, we were puking up blackberry nip or some other unmentionable liquor, and drugs were freely available. Some of my contemporaries died of overdoses. They killed themselves, drunk, in car crashes. They jumped off roofs.

Michael Fay chundered into pot plants at the Majestic Cabaret under the spinning mirrored ball. But these things didn't made it into the media because a) parents were possibly pissed too and didn't know and/or b) they weren't recorded on cellphones and passed on to reporters.

I don't wish to make light of the tragedy and broken hearts in Auckland.

But it does seem to have ricocheted into a news item for St Patrick's College in Wellington, which was last week accused of homophobia. Malcolm Pimental reckoned he was being discriminated against because he's gay, and can't take another "queer" boy, former St Pat's pupil Keith Labad, to the ball. They're not "dating", but nonetheless want to partner each other to the ball. But school rules state no former pupils may attend, nor may boys from other schools.

Rector Father Paul Martin says there would be no problem if two boys who still attend the school want to go to the ball together. But the rules state no boys who don't attend the school may attend. Girls can, but not boys. At a stretch, I suppose you could call it sexist. But homophobic?

Well, Malcolm and Keith seemed to think it was, so they did what all aggrieved kids do these days and set up a Facebook page to have a good snivel and wipe their noses on their sleeves. Having got lots of you know, like, awesome dude, that totally sucks dude, we're with you dude, they were thinking of going to the Human Rights Commission, before finally taking the page down late last week, congratulating themselves on having "sparked a public debate and brought the wide-spread issue of homophobic ball policies to national attention".

To trot out another quote, this time from Helen Clark: "Diddums".

These little cry babies start a battle, then get Nanny State to fight it for them.

How quickly the oppressed become the oppressors. Let's see if they succeed in their quest to force the school to change its rules, just because they decide life's not fair and they have a little tantrum.

If they don't like the school rules they signed up to, tacitly or not, they should either leave, or get on with their work. Is this not what schools are for? And this is a Catholic school, for heaven's sakes, I'm amazed the rector's even allowing two boys to squire each other. They should be grateful for small mercies – life's not fair, deal with it.

"The kids got no respect for the law today and blah blah blah": Simon & Garfunkel.