Monday June 11th 2018
Sag Harbor NY 11963
Dear Mr. Vernon,
Five students sacrificed their Saturday for whatever it was they did wrong. In their story you are the enemy (along with their parents.) The old man keeping them from enjoying their Saturday, making them sit with all those kids they didn't like; and on top of that you were an asshole who continuously belittled them. I have a strange point of view on your character-- probably because you remind me of my grandfather, in a strange way. My grandfather was a history teacher, but he was also like Bender when he was in high school. He even dropped out (more like kicked out) and got his GED. In my eyes, I think you are more like these kids than you believe. I think you are like my Grandfather; only my grandfather isn’t an asshole like you. Now, I know Im writing to you in the year 2018, while these events accrued 34 years ago; but I grew up watching this movie --so now you shall read my point of view. Let’s break this down; shall we.
Well, Well, I want to congratulate you for being a grade A “Dick” (excuse me--Rich). In the first few seconds of you walking into the library, one can tell you want to be dominant over these kids. This is evident in your body language, and when you pull the chair away from Bender, you know that he doesn't care for you and therefore must show that you are tougher than he. You also show that you could give a fuck less about the kids (or so it seems.) When queeny miss Claire asks you a question, you roll your eyes and continue telling the kids what it is they will be doing for the next 8 hours--completely ignoring her question.
You may not be in the movie a lot (as the movie is truly bases on the kids) but you have an important roll of showing how adults treat teenagers. That is they belittle high school kids thinking they don't know what is going on in their worlds. Shit, you literally make them write an essay telling you who they think they are. What the fuck kind of essay is that. The funniest part of it all is that the main reason for your part is to show adults don't know what they are doing either. You’re one big hypocrisy. You ask them to write this essay but you don't even know who YOU are! There is even a point where you ask Carl (the janitor) what he wanted to be when he grew up. This is a continuous pattern for you. Carl even says it (in a way).
“Come on Vern the kids haven't changed, you have. You took a teaching position because you thought it would be fun right? Thought you could have summer vacations off? Then you found out it was actually work, and that really bummed you out.”
You are as lost as those kids and you are taking it out on them.
Here’s the thing though, as much as you are this massive “Dick”, I believe somewhere deep down you don't want to be. (bear with me.) When Bender takes the screw out of the door (“screws fall out all the time the world’s an imperfect place.”) you come charging in trying to figure this out while knowing it was Bender. You then proceed to make a fool of yourself and Bender continues to point this out. Rage is beginning to build up; you even pull Andrew into your antics and when that fails, you blame him because you don't want to look wrong. (insecure much?) At this point you are so full of rage you take it out on Bender instead of letting it go.It ends with you giving him 2 months of Saturday detention. As you leave the library, and the door closes behind you, you hear Bender shout “FUCK YOU!”. Now this key moment changed my view point on you. You can see the clarity settle in on your face as the rage depletes. Most people I think took this look as you were upset that you are now stuck for 2 months as well. But I don't think that; I think you were upset with your rage. Later as I’ve said before, you have a scene with Carl (the janitor) where Carl believes you care what these kids think of you.
“These kids turned on me, They think I’m a big fucking joke.”
“Come’ on, listen Vern if you were 16 what would you think of you?”
“Hey Carl, you think i give one rats ass what these kids think of me?”
“Yes i do.”
This moment after yelling at Bender completely coincides with this conversation, because you do care what they think of you and your face showed that. You realized you were wrong (as much as Bender was too) . You don't want to harp on this kid because I believe you were once Bender (like my grandfather). The bad boy turned teacher who wants to help the kids but in the end is only making it worse. (My Grandfather wasn't like this as a teacher; just have to point that out. But he did hate the Benders of the school. Which is ironic because he was Bender.)
At First it’s almost as if you want to “save” Bender, but then your rage takes another turn. Bender trying to keep the rest of the group safe, sacrifices himself to your wrath knowing he can handle anything that comes his way. But I don't think he or I expected what happened next. You threatened him. “I’m gonna knock your dick in the dirt.”It’s as if you just gave up. You realized in your world there was no saving this kid. Yet you couldn't have been more wrong. You decided in that moment that it was over for Bender that he didn't have the privilege to be treated well even in detention. You thought he was too far gone for anyone to save, yet he just saved all those kids from your rage. Bender is smarter than you, or I. He knew that all you cared about was your reputation, and he played on it.
Vernon, your rage blinds you from the truth and I believe that rage is built off the fact that you don't know who you are. You are jealous of these kids who have their whole lives ahead of them. You continue to make examples out of them and belittle them so they know they are nothing but kids; when in fact they are much more than that. John Hughes did a fantastic job with your character. He showed the pure darkness that you are but left this ray of light that you could build off of to understand why you turned black. There is a scene missing from the movie because Molly Ringwald made John take it out. It’s where you stare at a female teacher who is swimming naked in the pool. But I do agree it is unnecessary for the movie, as we have seen your dark side enough. However,, I think this scene, if it would have been kept in the movie, added to my point that you are more like Bender then you are willing to admit. Since Bender (though you don't know) does the same thing (kinda) to Claire, only he puts his head in-between her legs (kinda worse but you get my point.)
You aren't a bad guy Mr. Vernon, but like you tried to make these kids do, you need to write an essay telling yourself who you think you are.