Montessori Makes the “Meh List”

Meh ListSo, the New York Times Magazine has this thing called The One-Page Magazine which runs a feature called “The Meh List: Not Hot, Not Not, Just Meh.”  (“Meh”, Wikipedia tells us for those of us without teenagers in our lives, is “an interjection used as an expression of indifference or boredom.”)  Today’s list:

  1. Unsalted trail mix
  2. “ . . . is in talks with Yahoo”
  3. CNN ratings jokes
  4. Closure
  5. Dandelion greens
  6. Montessori schools (emphasis added)

Oh boy, are they going to get some letters! (

You can see the kind of thing it is: started in 2011, it’s meant to be a weekly hit list of the bland—snarky, cheeky, and pitched to the in-crowd. Previous “Meh-listers” include Brita filters, the Seattle Mariners, and recently—and controversially!—pizza.  Here’s a “visual encyclopedia” of 126 entries if you want to get the sense.  Of course the list itself has made the list: did you think you were the first person to think of that?

But what does it mean to make the list? For its creator, Adam Sternbergh, the list was meant

to celebrate all those things in life that exist at the top of the fat middle of the bell curve of taste: neither adored nor reviled, but, simply, meh.

Elsewhere in the magazine, it’s been described as: boring, mediocre, just not interesting – overgood, but rarely great; fine, but seldom badall that is beneath our regard, a corrective to hype, excitement or outrage over things that are ultimately unimportant, unworthy of being discussed. Really, the list’s tagline says it best: neither hot nor not.

Now I know there’s nothing to be gained by getting all worked up about how we are so not meh!, but still: How could they get us so wrong?  Montessori is rarely boring, occasionally mediocre, always interesting.  It’s good, often great, and sometimes quite bad. “Beneath our regard,” “ultimately unimportant,” and “unworthy of being discusses are unbelievably condescending to childhood, but whatever.  And Montessori is definitely hot.

But that’s not really the point—the point is that they got us at all.  If only Montessori were as widespread and uncontroversial as Sierra Mist, elliptical machines, and pizza!  To be mocked as irrelevant by the style-setters of the New York Times Magazine is to have arrived in the cultural consciousness in a way no amount of advertising can ever acheive.  It might not be too much to say we’ve started to go viral.

3 responses to “Montessori Makes the “Meh List”

  1. “Meh” eh? Hmmmm…..I am wondering if we should make a video in response to the article so they can see just how creative and passionate the Montessori crowd really is!!

    I’m not sure where people are getting these lack luster opinions of the Montessori method. Seriously. I’m baffled by the fact that parents want so much for their kids to be “different/independent/socially responsible/authentic/purposeful, etc……” and yet, we continue to send them into the halls of academia crossing our fingers and often times turning a deaf ear to what is REALLY going on inside those walls and then we wonder what happened to our children. Where did they go? Why are they not thriving??!!

    Let’s add in the kids with learning challenges too! Talk about a train wreck that is going to happen in a few years when these kids start becoming adults and all the support services they have had in a traditional school setting are then over with…..this is enough for me to lose my fear of standing in the town square shouting at the top of my lungs that it does. not. have. to. be. this. way! Personal experience and research/study on my own part has lead me to a total GOLD MINE of answers and practical everyday life skills for my own children.

    IMHO, I believe that there needs to be a very focused and very strategic public awareness push as to what Montessori can truly offer a VARIETY of families and for that matter, remind everyone that children DO. GROW. UP. They grow up with the collective results of their experiences – if these experiences are of the “meh” sort, then you are probably going to get “meh” results.

    I for one, expect a whole lot more for my learning challenged boys (10 and 8). I expect them to evolve into the purposeful men that they were created to be and I also expect them to give back to the world in a mindful, creative and passionate manner that suites them. I expect them to live up to their own unique potential, and the way that I see that happening is the Montessori way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The New York Times is meh.


  3. Pingback: The “Meh” List | Montessori Mentality

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