Sorry, obsolete excellence requires a little story. Please bear with me:

In 1997, a small cold war broke out at Minnetonka High School, in Minnetonka, Minnesota, my high school. A new principal had been hired that fall, replacing the much beloved Dr. Zook. He had come from a much smaller school, and did not seem to be used to the size of the student body he now lorded over.

Together with the vice-principal, a stodgy, bow tie-wearing, former math teacher (who retired a few years later under mysterious circumstances), he began to enact sweeping reforms of school policy, cracking down (pre-Columbine, mind you) on students in the hall after passing-time, etc. Reforms which, interestingly enough, could only be un-made by a vote at one of the school council's monthly meetings.

This meant that there were a lot of strange, arbitrary rules cropping up, and nobody could do a thing about it.

He also attacked the teachers, claiming that their methods were hardly state-of-the-art. He wrote a memo, destined to haunt him, possibly until the end of his days. In that memo he spoke these fabled words:

"The Minnetonka school system has long been known for providing excellence in education, however this excellence is rapidly growing obsolete."

The lines had been drawn: Administration on one side, Students and teachers on the other.

The teachers rallied under their new banner of Obsolete Excellence, personified, so they claimed, by great thinkers like R. Buckminster Fuller. They made buttons. I still have mine. Many students, such as myself, joined them, some cells pushing more outlandish antiquated ideas that teachers couldn't safely touch, such as Aether/Ether, or Flat Earth Theory.

Obsolete excellence, n.

1. Something that was held as true for a good amount of time by a good amount of people, only later to be proven wrong.

2. Something once considered useful or indispensable that now functions only to generate nostalgia.

3. Something never possessing of, but ideally thought of as having, either of these qualities.

see also: steampunk

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