Been travelling. In my unforgivable bourgeois naivete, I did not realize that the TSA's incredible regulations on liquids extended to wine, ye gods. I thought it was just for soap and open water bottles and shit! The fascists just stole a pinot auxerrois from Luxembourg and a real Baux de Provence! I shall be several days in mourning.
Friday, November 04, 2011
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
so it's easy to think of brooks as an idiot, but i think he's sorta onto something. at least he's sniffing at it, even if he doesn't know what it is.
the difference between h.s. and college isn't so much the educational content as it is the socialization. can't quite put my finger on it since i've only been turning the idea in my head for a little while this morning.
i'm thinking (anecdotally) about the relationship between me (b.a., j.d.) with my mother in law (h.s., i think). thinking also about the relationship between my sister-in-law (b.a., maybe an m.s.?) and her mother-in-law-to-be (h.s.) similar cases.
there are just certain "immature" behaviors that don't really make sense to me. for example, my m-i-l has this need to be "queen bee". it's something i remember from h.s., but evaporated in college. i hypothesize that, when you've only had a h.s. education, there are certain things (like "acceptable" behaviors) that are sorta frozen in time--hence "immature".
anyway, just a thought.
-puppylander in our own comments
Oy and double-oy, to paraphrase a great American. I hope puppylander, who is a regular commenter here, won't be offended that we are offended by this ridiculousness. Anecdotally I'm thinking about the relationship between Barack Obama, B.A., J.D. and Pakistan which is full of certain sociopathically homicidal behaviors that don't really make sense to me, for example, swarms of killer robots murdering civilians and children left and right. I conclude that this has to do with the socialization one receives as a jurisdoctor.
I like to imagine that even as he wrote, our commenter was shaking his head in quiet disapproval at some big black lady screaming at a cop. What do they ever hope to accomplish acting like that? What he calls maturity and acceptable behavior, I call a learned culture of undue deference and self-subjugation. If I may again undertake a little paraphrasis, college is a slave mentality. Yes of course David Brooks is onto something; he understands that education exists to mold the free mind into an employable jelly mold. It strips and sandpapers your brain; you are a chair to be refinished, upon which time the Vikram Pandits of the world will sit their asses down upon you motherfuckers.
So it may be that your mother-in-law buzzes around because she never took Intro to Psychopathy and Principles of a Con; it may also be that the elder women in an extended kinship grouping are simply recapitulating a few hundred thousand years of genetic and cultural behavioral norms. The idea that the completely weird behaviors one picks up in the pursuit of a late-modern system of institutionalized mind control represent a sort of ordinary and baseline human maturity is, ahem, exactly what they want you to believe. But in reality the long view down your nose at your social inferiors is no different from the long gaze of a billionaire banker from his trading-floor aerie onto the massed rabble on the grass below.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
I know I am not the first to point out that David Brooks is the only man in America who could fail to find a Red Lobster in exurban Pennsylvania, a territory that he mistakes for rural America, but as the Patented Son-of-a-1-percenter and a scion of poverty county, PA, I'm obliged to offer a bit of sour correction.
Then there is what you might call Red Inequality. This is the kind experienced in Scranton, Des Moines, Naperville, Macon, Fresno, and almost everywhere else. In these places, the crucial inequality is not between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent.Are there no investment offices in Scranton? No hospitals? No law offices? Small cities and towns may lack media conglomerates and sports franchises, but they do have cardiologists and attorneys and prosperous home builders. The literal top 1% of income earners in the US starts around $380K, but the top 5% starts at just over a buck-fiddy, well within the earning range of your average kuntry doctur. Anyway, Brooks reminds us that without a collegducation, most of us schmoes lack the opportunity to ascend into the upper echelons of our society's unquestionable inequality; why, with wider book learning, every mere blacksmith's son may seek to achieve his earldom before his true betters chop off his fucking head. This is easy to make fun of, but it's really one of the saddest conceits of our time. Bachelors degrees are like TVs and cell phones--even poor people have 'em!, much to the chagrin of our high-wage media moralists. The idea that giving every single soul a sheepskin will immensely enrich its earthly passage so completely misunderstands the valuation of commodities that it could only have been dreamed up by a capitalist. Oy vey--if every hillbilly in Texas were sitting on his own oil well, then no one gets rich. Universal college education can only ever recapitulate universal high school by becoming utterly worthless; if the 99% Tumblr is any indication, it's already occurred even with only, what, a quarter of the population actually receiving (I will not say earning) a 4-year degree? Next up, masters; doctorate. A lifetime of contemplative retreat in order to qualify as a candidate for an unpaid janitorial internship!
The sneering aristocratic mien is a really charming affect on a man who purports to have wandered out into countryside to commune with the Real People. They fuck, divorce, breed like rabbits, and their table manners are atrocious! And what do the evangelicals of the American university experience imagine their college educated civilization will actually look like. Is every living person to be a civil engineer or an MD? Can a society composed entirely of pharmacists prosper? Can a nation in which every man and woman is a CPA survive?