Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Glossy Garbage

© 2008 Stan Spire

Junk mail. And the junkiest is another propaganda publication from the college where I played the game and graduated with a useless degree.

Useless degree? Why, a college education guarantees a good job, higher wages! A four-year degree is gold.

Actually it’s crap if all the colleges are pumping out too many graduates for too few jobs. During one economic slump when I needed a job, any job, I was told by an employment counselor to omit listing my BA from any applications.

“You’re not being hired,” she told me, “because you look overqualified with your college degree.”

But you’re never see any stories like that in a college alumni magazine. After all, the alumni magazine wants to maintain the illusion how great college is, how successful ALL graduates are.

I hated that college. It was built right next to an immense lake, meaning that winters were insufferable. If the wind didn’t knock you down and break a leg, the frosty gales would bite any exposed skin. A snowstorm would roll in off the lake, completely burying your car in a dune of white powder.

But skim through the slick pages of the alumni magazine. Not one winter shot. Nothing but sunny day scenes taken during the non-winter months: September and May. Anything between those two months was artic hell.

Obviously, if most people knew what winter was like at that college, they would’ve chosen another institution of higher learning in New York State.

Not that would make any difference outside of the weather. The NY university system always talks about excellence, but I didn’t notice any excellence at the colleges I attended. At best I encountered mediocrity, especially with writing courses. I learned more on my own than listening to a college hack. After all, if such an instructor was so talented, how come he hadn’t been published beyond some obscure literary magazine with twenty subscribers? (The nineteen other subscribers were teaching hacks whose work was also accepted by said magazine.) That’s why I consider a college alumni magazine as nothing more than a slick lie printed on slick paper.

Flip through the pages and marvel at all the successful people who landed good jobs and are getting married, big weddings. Look who’s on the cover: that guy on network TeeVee, a celebrity who made it big because of his college education.

But what about the graduate those who didn’t make it, who never became a mass media celeb, who didn’t publish a major book or become CEO of a major company? Think about those stories when you peruse any glossy propaganda promulgated from a college desperate for fresh meat to grind through its machine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Take it Back? You Don’t Have It

© 2008 Stan Spire

What a load of bullshit.

TeeVee snooze news, boring coverage of the Iowa presidential primaries. One candidate spews crap about how the people have to take back their democracy.

Some Americans feel that along the way they lost control of their government. After all, they’ve been told that the people, not their government, run things.

That’s been a lie from Day One. The Elite – the fortunate ones with wealth and influence – have always called the shots. The American Revolution was basically about a bunch of well-to-do landowners trying to keep control of their turf. They needed the common people to help them fight off British. And the stupified fell for it, the “all men are created equal” spiel.

And the stupes are still falling for it. A politician proclaims, “We have to take back our government.” Cheers, applause, grateful drooling.

Ever look at a sample of the US citizenship test? Immigrants who pass that exam know more about this country’s power structure than people who have spent all their lives here. I’d like to see native-born Americans take the test. How many of them would correctly answer this question: “What kind of government does the United States have?”

If you answer “A democracy,” you’re clueless and should be deported. When you perfunctorily join in the Pledge of Allegiance, do you utter, “for the Democracy for which it stands?”

The US is a republic. And a wide range of governmental systems can be described as republics, including dictatorships.

But most Americans think they live in a democracy because the pols keep saying it like it’s really true. If we really lived in a democracy, Al Gore would have been president back in 2000 because he won the popular vote. A democracy shouldn’t have a rigged system like the Electoral College.

So don’t listen to someone bloviating about taking back your democratic government. You don’t have one.

If you want to push for change, demand more control over the political process. A good place to start is to get rid of the Electoral College. A democracy means one person, one vote, no bullshit.