The Jimi Hendrix district

Jimi Hendrix is the role model in San Francisco public schools, report Chronicle columnists Philip Matier and Andrew Ross.

“Remember the first time you heard Jimi Hendrix?” reads the cover of the district’s new 51-page education guide. “Our plan is as transformational now as his music was then!”

. . .  a portrait of the ’60s rocker – looking somewhat pensive, somber and perhaps stoned – graces the cover and every page of the manual.

The book also comes with a Hendrix poster and Hendrix-emblazoned canvas bag, which were handed out to a couple hundred administrators at Superintendent Carlos Garcia’s back-to-school confab in September.

Not everyone, however, is in tune with the campaign, given that the songwriter-guitarist died after overdosing on prescription drugs and alcohol at the age of 27.

Perhaps the superintendent was in a Purple Haze when he decided to spend the district’s limited funds on the just-like-Jimi campaign.

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  1. L. C. Burgundy says:

    Early April Fool’s? Please?

  2. I hope so.

    Look, I’m 40 – probably as old if not older than many/most of the employees this was designed to reach – and I have no memories of him. I have no relation to his music. I don’t care if it’s seen as “transformational” or not.

    Is this just another case of Baby Boomers assuming the universe revolves around them, and that no generation before or after them can possible be as awesome as they, or even UNDERSTAND their awesomeness?

    What about Bill Gates as a “transformational” role model? Or is he too evil? Or Mother Teresa? Or is she too religious, and the abortion-opposition thing gets in the way?

    Really, I know I’m just a snotty gen-xer, but Jimi Hendrix mostly makes me think of a guy who OD’d and died. Not exactly the role model I’d choose…

  3. Jimi Hendrix huh? Some school disctricts really set the bar high for themselves.

    Hall Monitor

  4. I’m a 50-something, and I don’t have any contemporary memories of Hendrix at all. During his lifetime, he was barely on the radar in the US until around 1968 and he was dead a couple of years later. How much airplay did Hendrix ever get anyway?

  5. Soapbox0916 says:

    If this did not involve school funds, I would not have a problem with this actually. I was nearly born on the day that he died so that when I look up the biggest news events of the week I was born, his death is almost always ranked as the biggest news event. Hmmm, maybe those that are little bit younger like in their 30s were more influenced by him, or maybe its just those of us who are blues fan. Musically he is one of the biggest influences on me and for years, he was ranked as the number 1 guitar player on all of the guitar players lists I recall growing up. For the kids I knew while growing up, his influence was similiar to the impact that I have seen Kurt Cobain have on teens nowsdays. I don’t like the idea of involving school funds for this, but I have to admit that Hendrix was hugely popular AFTER his death with my peers and me.

  6. Judge Crater says:

    Wonder if the school district paid for the the image rights?

  7. sad, banal and sad.

  8. Wonder what the person who dreamed up this idea was smoking…

  9. Hmmm…a 50-page education guide is just like a Jimi Hendrix song…this must be someone who really hates that music…

  10. Barry Garelick says:

    I’m a ? and the Mysterians fan myself (96 Tears, ca 1966), and never had any use for Hendrix.

  11. Jim Hash says:

    I’m 56 and the music of Jimi Hendrix was a part of my youth. I STILL listen to Jimi’s tunes and enjoy them nearly as much now as I did when I was a teenager. In fact, I still own several of his vinyl records including his first album “Are You Experienced”. In my opinion, he was one of the world’s greatest guitar players.

    Having said that, Jimi Hendrix doesn’t need to be in an academic setting. Period. But nothing that occurs in San Francisco surprises me. Those folks might as well be from another planet or perhaps they’re still at Woodstock and no one’s been able to shake them out of their drug induced state long enough to tell them the concert ended 40 years ago.

  12. The sad thing is that it took more than one person for this to have happened, therefore the whole administration must’ve lit one up during the meeting. If they’re not careful, they’ll end up like Mr. Hendrix……

  13. But that same district just refused to continue their USMC-related JROTC program.

    Sure seems to me that their priorities are backwards.

  14. Richard Aubrey says:

    Kurt Cobain and Lew Puller, Jr. killed themselves the same month.
    Who gets the ink?
    Right. That tells you something.

  15. Judge Crater says:

    Isn’t having a Jimi Hendrix themed education program in 2009 something like having a Glen Miller Ed program in 1983?

  16. I’m 55 and Hendrix was dead before I first heard of him. If this superintendent is even old enough to remember Hendrix, he forgot how Hendrix died, and didn’t bother to do any research.

    There’s a story I’ve often heard, that around 1950 some educators decided to promote an all-American hero to school boys. The 19th Century historical figure they picked was the Mississippi riverman Mike Fink. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother to do much research. Any schoolkid who knew how to use the card catalog at a good public library could easily find out that Fink was a drunken brawler who abused his wife and accidentally shot his best friend. What a great role model! The educators hastily switched to Davie Crockett.

  17. Physics Teacher says:

    What about Bill Gates as a “transformational” role model? Or is he too evil?

    Yes, he is evil. He got to where he is by exploiting the general ignorance of computing and by squashing ideas that didn’t improve his market share.

    People may think that the “blue screen of death”, unending reboots, and constant virus threats are inevitable. They’re purely a result of Bill’s incredible greed.

    Oh, and the guy’s a dropout. Somme role model for education. (please don’t tell me that he had nothing to learn from his professors)

  18. Um, I wonder how many teenagers would remember Kurt Cobain?