People are buying it, but should you be selling it?

Early in my career I had the opportunity to teach sixth grade for two years. I wouldn't choose to do it again, but some of my favorite memories are from those two years. I think of those students, and what they taught me, often. This is a short reflection on one of those lessons.

A few students my first year were big fans of the WWF (now the WWE). I grew up watching the same stuff, but by this point I was no longer a fan. So I raised the question. Should one watch such things? I wasn't judging. I wasn't talking about outlawing or labeling or regulating or anything like that. I was trying to get them to think critically about what might be worth watching — and what might not be. I wanted them to think about the personal decision involved. We had some interesting discussions about it but in the end my students thought the answer was simple — dude is making money, right?

It became a recurring theme throughout the year. We discussed several other examples as they came up, and in every case most students felt the same way. I can’t speak for the whole class, of course, but the more outspoken ones felt that if someone was making money doing it, it was okay. Judging by the comments and laughter from the others, most of the class agreed — or at least were not entirely sure how to explain their disagreement. Which is very similar to the position in which I found myself — then and now.

Back then it was easy to dismiss my discomfort as youthful idealism or something, but more than twenty years later and I still wonder about it.

Is the fact that someone will pay for it reason enough to sell it?

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