Original materials -
Copyright © 2016-17 by Gary Bachlund All international rights
"I'll admit that
writing doesn't always come, but I'm totally against walking around looking
at the sky when you're experiencing a block, waiting for inspiration to
strike you. Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov didn't like each other and
agreed on very few things, but they were of one opinion on this: you had to
write constantly. If you can't write a major work, write minor trifles. If
you can't write at all, orchestrate something."
Minor trifles delight as well
feasts broad spread.
The grandest is not all there is;
one's daily bread.
Give us daily bread this day
For this is how a life lives on
and how that
I go I went
I go I went
I bend and bent
and time is now ticked by
I am I was
and this because
what's negotiable was I.
Thus was now is
for fool and whiz
are neither I deny
for I am naught
what I had ought
as life goes on to die.
"After much discussion, debate,
and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is
post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting
circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping
public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’ The
script was provided by a guest writer, the cultural commentator Neil
Midgley." In "Word of the Year 2016 is..." by Oxford Dictionaries, 2016.
on a spit,
Addendum of What's Left:
"...prominent representatives of the centre-left prepared the ground
for the post-politics of 'post-truth'. The irony is that some of
their closest relatives have been the first casualties of its
further realisation. 'Post-truth' is the latest step in a logic
long established in the history of ideas, and previously expressed
in the cultural turn led by middle-class professionals. Instead of
blaming populism for enacting what we set in motion, it would be
better to acknowledge our own shameful part in it." In "The
surprising origins of 'post-truth' – and how it was spawned by the
liberal left," by Andrew Calcutt, The Conversation, 18 November
of Fake News and Biased Sources: " 'The No. 1
skill that kids are going to need in this 21st century is media
literacy and the power of discernment,' said Stephen Balkam, founder
and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute. 'What is real and
what is not real? What is reputable and what is not reputable? And
the willingness to go deep and not just read a headline.' For
students, it’s apparently an uphill learning battle. They’re
often taught in schools how to comprehend a written passage but less
frequently how to judge the source of the information presented
before them, Breakstone said. And because technology evolves
quickly, the teaching materials about news literacy haven’t kept up."
In "Students duped by fake news and biased sources, Stanford study
finds," by Queenie Wong, Mercury News, 22 November 2016.
of Amplification of Assertions and Suppression of Inconvenient
Facts: "Bader pointed out that most of the
anti-minority 'hate crimes' and 'hate incidents' cited by SPLC do
not legally constitute hate crimes, and many involve
constitutionally protected speech. 'It is simply ridiculous that
SPLC treats 'build the wall' as hate rhetoric,' he said. The center
counted people mentioning 'build the wall' as 467 incidents of hate.
'Alas, these days the SPLC is mainly a fundraising machine,'
said Gail Heriot, a US Commission on Civil Rights member who voted
against Friday’s resolution. 'The more it can persuade its donors
that hate groups have penetrated every nook and cranny of American
society, the more money it can raise. Now it wants us to believe
that the election has unleashed unprecedented waves of hatred and
violence among schoolchildren. Let’s stop and take a deep breath
before we assume that’s true. The SPLC has no credibility with
anyone — on the left or the right — who is familiar with its
methods.' While there no doubt are legitimate reports of hate
crimes against minorities — and even one is too many — hyping such
incidents recklessly fans the flames of anxiety among such
communities. And suppressing reports of crimes against Trump
supporters gives a one-sided and misleading view of post-election
discord." In "Report buried Trump-related 'hate crimes' against
white kids," by Paul Sperry, New Post Post, 5 December 2016.
of Orwell's Premonition: "Rolled
all-into-one; the Google and media conglomerate initiatives, the EU
parliamentary cadence against Russia, the NATO expansionism, this
new EU propaganda arm, and the western world’s old order exercise a
massive control. If George Orwell could imagine it, the elites
have set it in place. Standing back, viewing the policies and
rhetoric mimicked continually, we can see the real game behind.
Power, the continuation of it, is the ultimate goal, and it would
not surprise me to discover Google was a formulate entity of power
all along. The urban legend that such Internet monopolies as
Microsoft, Google, Amazon and the rest just 'happen' seems less
likely day by day. The 'Fake Story' parroted from the White House to
Whitehall and from the Bundeskanzlerin is a figment of the same
imagination that said Google will 'Do no evil'. At least this is the
view of a few millions. Me and scores of other dissenters are not
'faking', these corporate-government strategies, deals, and laws are
dangerous. This is what the 'free press' was originally tasked
with." In "The 'Godfather’s' Address to the EU: An 'Offer That
Cannot Be Refused'," by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook, 6 December
of a BBC Admission of False Reporting: "Nearly
six months later, the BBC’s editorial complaints unit has now
concluded that the item was unfair. According to the unit, the
BBC reporter 'did not give due weight to public statements by
successive popes or the efforts made on the instructions of Pius XII
to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution, and perpetuated a view which
is at odds with the balance of evidence.' Pope Pius XII, who was the
pontiff during World War II, has been accused of silent acquiescence
to the Holocaust, most famously by a 1999 book, Hitler’s Pope, which
sparked a major controversy among historians. Its author, John
Cornwell, has since backed down on some of his claims." In "The
BBC conceded it was false to describe the Church as being 'silent'
in the face of Nazism," By Dan Hitchens, Catholic Herald, 9
of the Press of Post-truth Meeting Plain Truth: "To
hear Obama wax poetic about ‘the politics of hope’ and ‘how ordinary
Americans can steer change’ feels deeply perverse coming from a
figure that has institutionalized a vast, unaccountable permanent
warfare state. In the face of Obama’s global covert assassinate
program, his numerous secret wars without congressional approval, a
mass electronic surveillance capability unprecedented in history,
the speeches reveal themselves as little more than banal platitudes
and vapid sloganeering. As the sun sets on Obama’s presidency, to
say the press has given him a pass is a grand understatement.
Some outlets have occasionally run criticism of Obama’s drone
policies or inconvenient relationship with Saudi Arabia. Other
voices invert reality altogether, chastising Obama for his
reluctance to militarily engage Syria, despite the US dropping over
12,000 bombs on the country in 2016 alone." In "Obama’s
Achievement was Whitewashing Permanent Warfare with Eloquence,"
Nile Bowie, New Eastern Outlook, 17 January 2017.
Consider some truths about
- no doubt about it
"It doesn’t take much at all
for a white person to be considered good. As long as they avoid
killing someone themselves, no one is going to demand anything else of
them. Whites don’t need to do anything decent for anyone, especially not
people outside of their own family, and yet, everyone will assume that
they are good people. Even when whites do undeniably harmful things,
American culture explains it away. This is why our society subjects
impressive people of color to dehumanization that a white person who
behaves despicably doesn’t encounter." In "Low Standards for Whites.
That’s What’s Killing Us." by Koritha Mitchell, KorithaMitchhell.com, 10
Marx was white, oh yes he was,
And Lenin too was white.
Babeuf was white, and this because
Of French apartheid.
Lest one forget a little fact,
Engels was Caucasian light,
And helped white old Karl
To read, research and write.
Uncle Adolf and Old post-Tsar Joe
Were Hitler and Stalin bright,
Because they considered well
Their privilege was white?
Derrida and Foucault
Post-modernly were white
In their French enlightenment,
Philosophically so lite.
Hollande, Merkel and Trudeau
Today they're governing white.
Putin and Sweden's feminists
Play this hand of sleight?
Robert of the Senate Byrd
Was once KKK upright,
And Al Gore, the senior,
Was a segregationist's delight.
Clinton, Sanders, Durbin,
Pelosi and Schumer quite
Hold aloft white features
With Americanizing might.
Michael Moore is quite bright
And large among the lily white;
Meryl Streep acts brilliantly
As a very whitest knight.
Leftists, liberals, progressives too
Are sometimes so contrite,
Labeling white folks racist
With their racist peals of right.
One understands the pap
An English professor might
Write about such whiteness
In the glare of her small spotlight.
Showed half himself as quite
Black in public spectacle,
But his other half is white.
White as just condemnation
Is a trendy sort of rite
In the height of folly's fiddling
With whatever it is to be white.
One can judge the gamers' game
Which plays as erudite
Is aging to decrepitude
In its guttering candlelight.
Race, all race, and all the time
Is not all racial plight,
When race as social construct
Teeters as birthright.
White Lincoln toppled slavery
And schools oped through Ike the white,
And oh so many examples
Prove goodness can be white...
...and black and all the colors
With which one paints polite
That race runs now on empty
In the racists' racist fight.
Revisiting a Statement: "It doesn’t take much at all
for a white person to be considered good."
Portraits in Shades of White Noise
[ 1 ]
of Moral Claims and Reparations: "The moral
claim persists because the brutality and stolen labor of slavery, and
the grim years of Jim Crow segregation that followed, have left a legacy
of lost wealth and opportunity. Such legacy continues to burden
African-Americans today. A quarter of our nation’s African-Americans
live in poverty. The tough part of making the case for reparations is
not showing that past racial crimes burden the present. No fair-minded
person denies this. The question is who should pay for them? The sad
truth is that the harms of slavery and Jim Crow are greater than the
wealth they created. Moreover, the primary beneficiaries of those
systems are now gone. Payments will have to come from taxpayers, who
have no culpability for those past crimes and little, if any, of the
benefit. The case for repair would be based on the federal
government’s traditional role of helping people in need, which has
inspired social welfare programs like the New Deal, the Great Society
and the 9/11 Victim Compensation fund. In those cases, there is no need
to show culpability by the government to make a compelling case for
doing something positive." In "Who Would Pay for Reparations, and Why?"
by Alfred L. Brophy, New York Times, 9 June 2014.
[ 2 ]
of Academia Working Against Whiteness: "Paul Dionne,
Inclusive Success Coordinator for Beloit College’s Office for Academic
Diversity and Inclusiveness, gave a speech entitled, 'Working Against
Whiteness' as part of a 'Love Made Public' lecture series. The lecture
series started during the fall, but resumed this semester. To help
define 'whiteness,' Dionne instructed the student attendees to chant
'imperialist, capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy,' a phrase
originating from feminist and self-avowed socialist bell hooks, who
spells her name with all lowercase letters. 'Working against
whiteness for me is interrogating myself and who I am and where I come
from and all of my privileges,' said the school administrator, according
to an audio file of the event obtained by The Daily Caller News
Foundation." In "University Admin: ‘Whiteness’ Goes Against
Christianity," by Rob Shimshock, Daily Caller, 21 March 2017.
[ 3 ]
of White Noise: "In discrete time, white noise is a
discrete signal whose samples are regarded as a sequence of serially
uncorrelated random variables with zero mean and finite variance; a
single realization of white noise is a random shock. Depending on the
context, one may also require that the samples be independent and have
identical probability distribution (in other words i.i.d. is the
simplest representative of the white noise). In particular, if each
sample has a normal distribution with zero mean, the signal is said to
be Gaussian white noise." In "White Noise," Wikipedia article, n.
[ 4 ]
of Non-White Noise Being Blackish: "Rachel Dolezal,
former president of the NAACP of Spokane, Washington, was 'outed' for
being White and apparently lying. That aside, the question remains:
can a person feel like or identify as another race in a way similar to
taking on a new gender identity? Our Census Bureau seems to think that’s
sufficient. The U.S. Census Bureau website states: 'The Census
Bureau collects racial data in accordance with guidelines provided by
the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and these data are based
on self-identification. The racial categories included in the census
questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized
in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically,
anthropologically, or genetically'." In "Being Blackish: Race and
Self-Identification," Mirah Riben, Huffington Post, 23 June 2015.
[ 5 ]
Consider the game of
White is black
and the odd argument, complete with addenda and footnotes that Everything's about my colored skin
(or sadly, Why racism works)
[ 1 ]
While the selection of "portraits in shades of white noise"
is editorial, one can construct such a gallery to include
other "whites" seen as opposing the ideological Left with
its roots in socialist theory, such as America's Trump,
Britain's May, France's Le Pen, Germany's Petry and more,
based solely on the editorial attempt to identify by
association. Ultimately, attempts to sully by racial
accusation will fail, as one can find opposing voices in all
group identities based on the so-called democratic virtues
of race, religion, creed, gender and national origin.
That a voice from academia in the United States asserts 1)
racial identity as causality, 2) racial identity as
value-laden, and 3) racial identity as, in some instances,
dehumanizing is sadly amusing. It is a voice asserting
as above. For this, the editorial link from a white Marx
through the white French post-modernists through to those
who would apply deconstruction to much comes to its fumbling
Change for Many Reasons
As to fluidity of self-identification as regards race
categorization, one reads: "Previous research
on people’s racial self-identification has found that they
may change categories for many reasons, said demographer
Sharon Lee of the University of Victoria in Canada, at the
population conference. The question mode—whether people are
asked in person, on a paper form, on the phone or
online—makes a difference. Some people may change their
category after they find out they had an ancestor of a
different race, she said. Or they may decide there are
benefits (such as priority in college admissions) to
including themselves in a certain group. Some
category-changers were children in 2000 whose race was
filled in by their parents, but by 2010 were old enough to
choose for themselves, which may account for some of the
change. Children in some groups in 2000—for example, white
and black—were especially likely to be recorded in a
different category in 2010, Liebler said. (Although she
did not mention President Barack Obama, he chose to check
only 'black' on his 2010 census form, even though his mother
was white and father black.)." In "Millions of Americans
changed their racial or ethnic identity from one census to
the next," by D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center, 5 May 2014.
When all is potentially fluid and all is social
construction, then indeed race itself is proven social
construction. That is the point. When skin color was a
signal of human value in the proponents of slavery, then
fluidly moved to the rationale for the advocates of Jim Crow
laws and segregationists, and now to such arguments as found
above, one finds all little more than racist assertion
across a swath of history and across many nations and
One should not forget, in the real struggle of mankind
exists. "Whiteness," whatever and however this might be
defined from the time of the segregationist Democrats of the
United States known once as Dixiecrats (two are pictured
above) until now, is not some single cause of slavery, a
phenomenon found over thousands of years of human history.
[ 2 ]
The complexity of
arguments and multiplicity of views as regards reparations
for American blacks is a Gordian knot, which perhaps
suggests the ultimate solution.
Another New Times opinion notes: "If there were a
real consensus on how to turn black America around, there
could be some logic in heightening the effort with vast
influxes of cash – and over the virulent objection of a good
segment of the nation’s taxpayers. But we’re not at that
point of consensus. Instead, while there is serious
catharsis in this new reparations discussion, there is no
practical goal beyond catharsis itself." In "No
Consensus on Need or Possible Results of Reparations, by
John McWhorter, New York Times, 14 January 2015. One
might view the call from Professor Mitchell above as part of
a larger social catharsis.
Weakness of the Argument
Another view is found: "The weakness of the
reparations argument is not that we shouldn't talk about
racial classes, that African-Americans are not a racial
class, or that it cannot be true that one class of people
owes another class of people something. We already
accept all of these propositions in many other contexts. The
questions are whether reparations would actually do anything
substantial to solve the problems they claim to solve,
whether the costs they impose on those who would have to pay
them are justifiable or reasonable, whether there is any
conceivable political likelihood that they will ever happen,
or whether the effort to obtain them will lead to
undesirable side effects that outweigh whatever benefits
they promise." In "Cutting through the nonsense," Economist,
27 May 2014.
The coloring of the argument that "one class of people owes
another class of people something" is Marxist, and can be
traced further back to Gracchus Babeuf, an earlier French
socialist pictured in the
"white noise" portrait above. The complexity is that
post-modern, deconstructionist academics see so many classes
of people, oppressed by some power structure, that weeding
out one class from another, much less answering the question
of "who should pay" is that Gordian knot.
Were the competing claims to involve capital punishment of
incarceration for criminal guilt rather than claims for
money, the arguments would become clearer. Like the class of
kulaks among the peasants who were judged guilty in the
beginnings of Bolshevik tyranny in the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, a failed state for economic reasons,
history is replete with one "class" attacking another
"class," with results worth historical understanding. But
reparations as a hydra of arguments cannot deal with
adjudicate criminal guilt, and suffices with arguments
through civil penalties. But for whom?
But for whom?
From whom? To whom?
As with so much of "class" oppression and "class" redress
today, the conversation ends always for the adjudicated
"oppressor" as "pay" and for the adjudicated member of an
"oppressed class" as "pay me." It reduces down to money,
as one watches the phenomenon overtake so many avenues of
The human phenomenon can be simplified as the many who would
seek their "freebies" from others by any and arguments
- nature's tale.
The argument from Brophy above notes: "...the
primary beneficiaries of those systems are now gone.
Payments will have to come from taxpayers, who have no
culpability for those past crimes and little, if any, of the
Other "past crimes" which spawn a class worthy of
reparations: American-Indian tribes, Japanese-Americans
interred during WWII, the victims of the Viet Nam war, and
all this is expected to be sorted out when some
Doctor Oppression comes to call
[ 3 ] The
quote is from a white male, for so does he seem to identify himself.
Bell Hooks, who spells her name in lower case letters which
do not replicate herein, was referenced in the phrase to
describe American society as an "imperialist, capitalist,
white supremacist patriarchy." Given the last
eight years of Obama serving as president, the "white
supremacist" nation's voters have seemed to have another,
less white supremacist
That women are represented is high office suggests the
"patriarchy" withers anyway. That the empire of the United
States has not actually conquered and annexed more land
suggests that "imperialist" better describes China's
annexation of Tibet. As to the adjective "capitalist," those
usually using the word as a pejorative root their thought in
the very white and patriarchal lineage from Babeuf to Marx
and Engels to Lenin and beyond. Might one conclude the
political sympathies of those who rage against capitalism as
socialist? Marxist? Revolutionary? An
Inclusive Success Coordinator for Beloit College’s Office
for Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness?
In the Upper 20
Percent of Income and Still Oppressed While Being Guilty of
A simple search for Beloit College salary information within
the public record yields this: "Professor Salary,
Average Effective Annual Salary: $104,062" As a
contrast, the median income in Wisconsin, $55,638
according to state records. Thus one learns that complaining
about the "capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy" in a
university pays about double the average citizen. Nice work
if you can get it. Most can't, which justifies a conclusion
that such university academics in the upper crust of society
are more oppressors than oppressed. Given so many university
academics are public employees, this simply shows the nature
Another report suggests a professorial salary at Beloit in
2015 was $103,608. ("Beloit College: Faculty &
Salaries," American School Search, n. d.) The average for
all faculty was seen as approximately $84,000.
However one looks at such numbers against the average
taxpayer in the state, the academic teaching that American
society is an "imperialist, capitalist,
white supremacist patriarchy."
Given the last eight years of Obama serving as president,
the "white supremacist" nation's voters have seem chosen a
black patriarch over a white matriarch (Clinton ran against
him in the primaries). So much for the chanted mantra of
As to other public access database information one finds
this: "Mitchell, Koritha, Associate Professor,
English, Columbus campus, Annual base pay $99,000." (Cleveland.com
public access database.) As comparison, the median
income in Wisconsin is $51,075. Thus,
the "society [ which ]subjects
impressive people of color to dehumanization" is
dehumanizing Professor Mitchell by paying her twice the income of the
average Ohioan. Again, nice work of "dehumanization," if you can get it.
Work If You Can Get It -- and Most Cannot
Bell Hooks, cited above, as author using a pen name opined that a "...shift
that will undoubtedly emerge as the struggle to end sexual
oppression progresses will be decreased obsession with
sexuality...sexuality will no longer have the importance
attributed to it in a society that uses sexuality for the
express purposes of maintaining gender inequality, male
domination, consumerism, and the sexual frustration and
unhappiness that deflect attention away from the need to make a social revolution." In "Feminist Theory: From
Margin to Center,". Cambridge, 2000. Bell Hooks was
born Gloria Jean Watkins in 1952, and chose the pseudonym
for publishing. An institute housed by Berea College
promotes her work, with thirty-plus books, lectures and
public appearances as
well as gigs as visiting professor in other institutions.
All in all, quite oppressed in a most bourgeois way.
Only decades after the above quote was written, American
campuses are torn by an overflowing and variable protest
over sexual issues, including the
wondrous deconstruction which now justifies fluidity in
sexual orientation and gender identification, not to mention
race. Hooks' "decreased obsession with sexuality" is as yet
not shown to be true. Quite the opposite.
Hooks' stated "need to make a social revolution," as with
the many revolutions which Babeuf and the many white males
who underpin such thinking urged, is awaiting such leadership
as the academically exalted, postmodern Doctor Oppression comes to call
While the world awaits this next revolution, many academics
are doing quite well, far more than the average Joe in any
given locale. It is informative to note the taxpayer is never
deemed to be among the approved oppressed classes as defined
by our oppressed upper crust. And yet these
are well-paid (many in the upper five percent of all
citizens) and surround themselves with like-minded
revolutionaries, in meetings, seminars, institutes and press
conferences to declare "oppression!" From a
Babeuf would be
scandalized that the nouveau academic bourgeoisie is so
bourgeois. C'est vrai!
Proven in the black and white of
their press and publications and documented by annoying
public records showing them so well off. Are
people of color" in Mitchell's parlance oppressed while
earning twice the median income for a state in which they
live and work?
Let one review that so many academic anti-capitalists rake
in more than the median income of their locale.
reason enough to be skeptical of their pretense. And yet, in
time and under some specific circumstances,
I Shall Believe the Socialist
But not these.
[ 4 ] The rhyme
reflecting on the racial chatter in academia in the moment
is "White noise." White noise as a physical
phenomenon is used in a variety of ways, even to the
"capitalist exploitation" of it in manufacturing and selling
at a profit white noise generators touted to aid in sleep.
As to Gauss who is the namesake of Gaussian white noise, one reads: "Johann Carl Friedrich
Gauss (/ɡaʊs/; German: Gauß, pronounced [ɡaʊs]; Latin:
Gauss) (30 April 1777 Braunschweig – 23 February 1855
Göttingen) was a German mathematician who contributed
significantly to many fields, including number theory,
algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry,
geodesy, geophysics, mechanics, electrostatics, astronomy,
matrix theory, and optics." In "Carl Friedrich Gauss,"
Wikipedia article, n. d.
As one considers this giant in so many scientific
disciplines, one might do well to contrast such as he with
the many postmodernist, deconstructionists and their
"contributions" to any field other than socio-political
roiling and "revolution." It turns out the most
revolutionary of men -- a generic term -- are those who have
advanced hard sciences, technology and engineering, for such
revolutions have had a lasting effect on the world, while
the socio-political revolutions' white noise has advanced
and retreated like the shifting tides, in their many "serially
uncorrelated random variables."
One's revolution, it seems, is not another's, and all the
causes gathered together create a white noise as one cancels
another out, leaving continual background noise across
[ 5 ] If a
Huffington Post author can assert "being blackish," the
question of verbiage and meaning leaps to the front.
The tale of Dolezal is curious, given that "whiteness" and
"being blackish" have been asserted in the public debate.
One reads: "Her new memoir, 'In Full Color: Finding My
Place in a Black and White World,' details her journey from
a poor white girl in Montana to what she refers to as a 'woke
soul sista' working in Washington. Dolezal, who
pretended to be a black woman for years before her parents
outed her as white in 2015, writes that she realized early
on in life that she needed to free her inner blackness,
in the memoir obtained by the Daily Mail." In "Rachel
Dolezal details her journey to becoming 'woke soul sista' in
new memoir about race," by Minyvonne Burke, New York Daily
News, 24 March 2017.
One may take note that in almost no case in the moment, is
race defined clearly. As a concept employed in law in the
United States, it has changed from era to era, and now there
are inclusions for a variety of racial self-identifications
in the census, but additionally assertion that race itself
is fluid, as when someone "outed... as white" frees "her
inner blackness." So what does the terminology mean? Almost
everything and therefore almost nothing.
and Being Blackish?
When someone who could identify as a member of one race
identifies as another, a proven phenomenon according to
those who assert social construction as a basis for
identities, then racial
fluidity crashes against racial -- I assert racist --
terminology itself. The goal is not to more closely define
taxonomic words, but rather to muddy the waters with
socio-political fireworks, most usually to support the end
games of more invasive government and redistribution of
Fluidity and Changing Self-Identification
As to further insight into race fluidity, one reads: "Using
anonymized data for 162 million Americans who responded to
census surveys in 2000 and 2010, researchers at the
University of Minnesota and the Census Bureau concluded that
self-identified race and ethnicity are fluid concepts for
millions of Americans. If the data set were nationally
representative, researchers said, then the figure would
translate to roughly 8% of Americans self-identifying
differently over time. But such conclusions are difficult to
draw: if a certain racial group, for example, responded less
frequently to the 2010 Census than in 2000, that group would
be underrepresented." In "10 Million Americans Switched
Their Race or Ethnicity for the Census," by Jack Linshi,
Time Magazine, 7 August 2014.
Therefore among the "social constructs" deconstructing even
the deconstruction of American society, one finds
"switching" of race and ethnicity a reality. With
"whiteness" and "blackish" being asserted, one waits for
greater fluidity, with new races asserted much as new gender
identities have been asserted. See the addenda and
- a eunuch's cluck,
while considering what such rapid growth in
is Already the Constant
The Time article notes further: " 'If social
science evidence is correct, people are constantly
experiencing and negotiating their racial and ethnic
identities in interactions with people and institutions, and
in personal, local, national, and historical context,'
the study said. 'Perhaps it is not surprising that people
change responses and instead it is surprising that so many
are consistent in their race and Hispanic origin reports to
the Census Bureau'."
Thus one response to various sorts of political arguments is
simply to morph -- to self-identify away per the various,
historically "white" arguments as those of Derrida and
Foucault, deconstructing one's self into just another
oppressed class, even should it be an oppressed class which
seeks to oppress by accusations of "oppressor!"
When shots of
rise to fever pitch, deconstructing even class and therefore
class guilt will become another incarnation of a
long-standing human phenomenon, as
People walk away
I might look silly in what I
but I'll wear it anyway.
I might sound really rather dumb
but still I'll have my say.
I might and then I just might not
do this, think that or then
When time is passed along with me,
still want to try again.
I might, when might makes me right,
opt to be quite impolite.
'07 and then 4
"Barack Obama has only four
years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa
scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned
only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating
climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will
have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added. Soaring
carbon emissions are already causing ice-cap melting and threaten to
trigger global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions
of weather patterns in the near future. 'We cannot afford to put off
change any longer,' said Hansen. 'We have to get on a new path within
this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to
set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead'."
In "President 'has four years to save Earth'," by Robin McKie, Observer
UK, 18 January 2009.
It was '07 and then 4
on Armageddon's watch;
and '17's now more -
the blurb is now a blotch.
4 was all, so urgent, stark,
when '09 heard its roar.
'17 makes new its mark
following millennia before.
Only 4 was cried aloud
and more are now gone by,
so the knowing Armageddon crowd
must see its end comes nigh.
Nigh for what? Now there's the rub
as saviors come to go;
was the 4 perhaps a
Prevailing winds will show.
It was '07 and then 4
in recalling numbering words,
and numbers now pour
like nightmare-crowing birds.
Only 4 years only now
is past, is spent away;
only 4 you must allow
is now grown old and gray.
Only 4 in old '09
is over; time has passed
into '17, 8 past whine
as time speeds by so fast.
Prophets come and prophets go
as history will show;
who will warm himself
by a failed Armageddon's glow?
"When in Paradise Lost Milton’s
Satan stood in the pit of hell and raged at heaven, he was merely a
trifle miffed compared to how I felt that day. I felt totally alone,
with the world receding from me in every direction and you could have
used my anger to weld steel." In "Terry Pratchett: I'm slipping away a
bit at a time... and all I can do is watch it happen," by Terry
Pratchett, Mail Online, 7 October 2008.
The end is coming, all prophets
As heard for thousands of years;
The "end" placards serve each day
To gin up end days' fears.
The end is
near and is at hand,
gray each signing guy;
The end is oh
so near and nigh,
Not ever, no
never a worldly lie.
The world recedes for everyone,
As happened, and happens and will;
Such is our biodegradable state,
Our unavoidable mortality bill,
payable, when and where
come to call.
heaven from the pit of hell?
the point, after all?
The end is coming, the prophets said,
Having said so, yea, for years.
The "end is coming" signs speak loud,
And yet nothing interferes.
The end is
coming. Ponder this
And live well
diminish. Time ticks off.
We're all going to meet our ends,
Of this much we should be sure.
For some it's a sentence dour and
And for some its a loony lure.
For some it's just what it is,
For others it's just the same,
For whatever it is comes to be,
It's man's unavoidable aim.
of All Kinds of Ends:
"From catastrophic climate change to black holes and
robot wars, here are 10 apocalyptic visions that could end the world
as we know it… Global warming, Gamma ray burst, Pandemic, Robot
ascension, Black hole, Global war, Magnetic reversal, Supervolcano,
Alien invasion, Asteroid impact," In "Apocalypse now? Ten of the
greatest threats that could wipe out all life on Earth," by Matt Roper,
Mirror UK, 29 September 2015.
[ 1 ]
of Newer End Time: "Since the development of the
concept of deep time in the 18th century and the calculation of the
estimated age of the Earth, scientific discourse about end times has
centered on the ultimate fate of the universe. Theories have included
the Big Rip, Big Crunch, Big Bounce, and Big Freeze (Heat Death)."
In "End time," Wikipedia article, n. d.
of a Familiar Pattern: " 'There's a feedback loop
of noise and bias to the downside within the professional
investing/trading/media world. Every single time we have a downturn,
people go to the narrative of the the worst-case scenario,' said
Zachary Karabell, head of global strategy at Envestnet. 'It's a familiar
pattern'." In "What happened to the world coming to an end?" by Jeff
Cox, CNBC, 7 March 2016.
Addendum of Thinking in Narrative: "As soon as we are
old enough to want to understand what is happening around us, we begin
to live in a world of stories. We think in narrative. We do it so
automatically that we don't think we do it. And we have told ourselves
stories vast enough to live in." In "The globe: the science of Discworld
II," by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, First Anchor Books,
2002 p. 340.
[ 2 ]
I prefer a vital God
1 ] Amusingly, before
listing "scary things," Roper noted:
"Doom-mongers predicted a massive asteroid would slam into
Earth some time last week." But one might
have time to wait for an
Today this urge is rooted in many kinds of soil, and
The Privileges of Intellectuals
2 ] This
assertion that "we think in
narrative" may interpret Pratchett's end of life quote which
we read above. Contemplating life "slipping
away a bit at a time..." with the very personal response
"and all I can do is watch it happen," is to lose
hold on a
narrative which can bring hope rather than despair. Faith is
tested, as the grip on a positive narrative fails. One
response can be to hold fast to a narrative of comfort.
Those narratives which assert a nihilistic "end" challenge
at the minimum while bringing no "story vast enough to live
in," even at the end of life.
Pratchett with his co-authors write: "Science alone is
not The Answer. Science too has its myths. We have
shown you some of them, or at least we believe to be some of
them. The misuse of anthropic reasoning is a clear example,
as in the case of carbon resonance, but argued with no
thought for the fudge-factor of the red giant. The ideal of
the scientific method is often not realized. Its usual
statement is an oversimplication in any case, but the basic
worldview captures the essence. Think critically about what
you are told. Do not accept the word of authority
unthinkingly. Science is not a belief system: no belief
system instructs you to question the system itself. Science
Given the use of capitalization in Pratchett's other work,
"The Answer" becomes worth notice. What then is The Answer?
Pratchett with his co-authors continue: "The most
dangerous myths and ideologies, today, are the ones that
have not yet been destroyed by the rising ape. They
strut their stuff on the world's stage, causing grief and
havoc -- and the tragedy is that it's to no purpose. Most of
it doesn't matter." Myths are stories, so failing to destroy
a story deemed "dangerous" is assigned as the guilt of "the
The vocabulary dallies in storytelling itself, for theories
are not facts. Nevertheless, the authors challenge: "We
need to invent the right stories. The ones we've got
have brought us a long way. Plenty of creatures are
intelligent, but only one tells stories. That's us, Pan
The authors expand: "The anthropologists got it
wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens ('wise man').
In any case it's an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say,
wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality,
we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee."
I don't agree with
being a chimpanzee per se, but it's a question of words and
storytelling after all. Much depends on the stories one
tells one's self about one's self.
As to storytelling and the invention of names, the generic
names for man have multiplied -- like rabbits -- over the
years. One reads of Homo absconditus, Homo adorans, Homo
aestheticus, Homo amans, Homo animalis, Homo avarus, Homo
combinans, Homo contaminatus, Homo creator, Homo degeneratus,
Homo demens, Homo deus, Homo discens, Homo domesticus, Homo
duplex, Homo economicus, Homo educandus, Homo ethicus, Homo
excentricus, Homo faber, Homo ferox, Homo generosus, Homo
geographicus, Homo grammaticus, Homo humanus, Homo imitans,
Homo inermis, Homo ignorans, Homo investigans, Homo laborans,
Homo logicus, Homo loquens, Homo loquax, Homo ludens, Homo
mendax, Homo metaphysicus, Homo necans, Homo neophilus, Homo
neophobus, Homo patiens, Homo pictor, Homo poetica, Homo
religiosus, Homo ridens, Homo reciprocans, Homo sanguinis,
Homo sciens, Homo sentimentalis, Homo socius, Homo
sociologicus, Homo technologicus, and Homo viator. Mensch
and Übermensch. Even chimpanzees are finding themselves
dropped into the genus as Homo paniscus, Homo sylvestris, or
So Pratchett, the storyteller who told stories about small
gods, seems to have adopted a story late in life. One reads:
"he said: 'It is just possible that once you have got past
all the gods that we have created with big beards and many
human traits, just beyond all that, on the other side of
physics, they just may be the ordered structure from which
everything flows. That is both a kind of philosophy and
totally useless - it doesn't take you anywhere. But it fills
a hole'." In "Terry Pratchett hints he may have found
God," by Rob Davies, Telegraph UK, 8 June 2008.
A storytelling chimpanzee, in one parlance, fills "a hole."
In what? In "the right stories," as one seems to have been
absent and in its absence aggravated the reality of "the
"I'm certainly not a man of faith, but as I was rushing
down the stairs one day... it was very strange. I suddenly
knew that everything was okay, that what I was doing was
right, and I didn't know why."
Accepting not knowing why can be a comfort. Another
high-profile atheist became a deist at "the end," seemingly
infuriating those not at their ends.
One reads of Antony Flew: "In 2007 a book outlining
his reasons for changing his position, "There is a God:
How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind"
was written by Flew in collaboration with Roy Abraham
Varghese. The book (and Flew's conversion itself) has been
the subject of controversy, following an article in The New
York Times Magazine alleging that Flew's intellect had
declined, and that the book was primarily the work of
Varghese; Flew himself specifically denied this, stating
that the book represented his views, and he acknowledged
that due to his age Varghese had done most of the actual
work of writing the book." In "Antony Flew," Wikipedia
article, n. d.
A story among stories, we revisit these words:
told ourselves stories vast enough to live in." And "to die
in." One may reflect, in Pratchett's words, "it fills a
It is worth considering.
O so very
O so very
yes it was
I saw me
near that spot.
It's surely not
what I'd caught.
Yes and no less
was scrawled the
Look out the back
of one I,
who'd seen naught.
O so wary,
know it was;
life had seen
what was wrought.
Not what we say
" 'I speak on my own behalf, I am worried about what I
have done and what I should have done. If our actions were correct,
we would not be in this situation today, but I believe all of us, all
officials, past and present, should apologise to the people. This
[apology] is even more necessary for those who wear the clerical cloth'.
In the last years of his life, Ardebili seemed to have finally realised
the harms done to religion itself by mixing it with politics. 'If this
revolution is lost, as well as all the opportunities that will be lost
for the people, the reputation and credibility of the Shia clergy will
be lost too. Our actions and shortcomings have nothing to do with the
enlightened religion of Islam and the school of Shia, but nevertheless
that's not how people will make their judgements, if they see us do evil
they will blame the religion itself'." In "When the Henchman Weeps – The
Ayatollah who Apologised for his Role in the Revolution," by Potkin
Azarmehr, Kayhan London, 23 November 2016.
It's not what we say
but what we do
that gives it all away.
It's not just the words
but dreadful acts
that conclusions undergirds.
It's not in the texts
but what lashes out
that tells and well connects.
It's not the verbose
but the murderous acts;
nothing else comes close.
It's not just the prose
but how we prance
as words into acts transpose.
It's not what we've said
but what we've done
which to this sad world has led.
Addendum of What's Looming:
"Horrifyingly, although home to only 5% of the world’s population, in
2014 the Arab world accounted for 45% of the world’s terrorism, 68% of
its battle-related deaths, 47% of its internally displaced and 58% of
its refugees. War not only kills and maims, but destroys vital
infrastructure accelerating the disintegration. The Arab youth
population (aged 15-29) numbers 105m and is growing fast, but
unemployment, poverty and marginalisation are all growing faster. The
youth unemployment rate, at 30%, stands at more than twice the world’s
average of 14%. Almost half of young Arab women looking for jobs fail to
find them (against a global average of 16%). Yet governance remains
firmly the domain of an often hereditary elite." In "Another Arab
awakening is looming, warns a UN report," Economist, 29 November 2016.
Consider the Ayatollah's apology in light of varying
views in mere words on
The religion of peace
|Wall, fence, border, gate
Serve to separate;
Tear then down? Much will fail
At a rapid rate.
|Wall, fence, border, gate,
Criticized of late,
Clearly all of these entail
Safety in some state.
|Wall, fence, border, gate?
Quickly turns oh so stale
When failings correlate.
|Wall, fence, border, gate?
Who'd have none of late?
Thieves will cheer and hail
As thefts accumulate.
|Wall? Fence? Border? Gate?
Passwords? Locks checkmate?
Open all and much will fail,
As idiocies celebrate.
|Wall, fence, border, gate?
All these, advocate,
As their builders' countervail
Protests to their fate.
Addendum of a Mexican Fence:
"Mexicans are calling for the border wall to keep out
Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans fleeing violence in their own
countries. They complain 'hordes' of immigrants pass through on their
way to the United States -who are then simply deported back to Mexico rather
than their home countries by the US. Central American migrants are left
stuck in border cities with Mexican officials unable to afford to send them
back to their own countries, according to an article by one of the largest
newspapers in the border state of Tamaulipas, El Mańana, titled: 'Yes to the
Border Wall … but in Mexico's South'." In "Now Mexico wants to build a
border wall with Central America to keep out illegal immigrants from El
Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala," by Hannah Parry, Daily Mail, 15 September
[ 1 ]
Addendum of a Hungarian Fence:
"Hungary is planning to build a second fence on its southern border with
Serbia to keep out any major new wave of refugees, Prime Minister Viktor
Orban announced. A 500km barrier - a razor-wire fence - was built last year
along Hungary's border with Serbia and Croatia after the country witnessed
an increase of refugees moving up from the Balkans towards northern Europe."
In "Hungary to build second border fence to stop refugees," Al Jazeera, 26
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Saudi Arabia's Great
Wall: "The border zone now includes five layers of
fencing with watch towers, night-vision cameras and radar cameras. Riyadh
also sent an extra 30,000 troops to the area. It is not the only fence
with which Saudi Arabia has chosen to surround itself. Despite the
difficulty of access to westerners, the country is relatively open to fellow
Muslim nations, particularly during the Haj season when pilgrims from across
the world come to Mecca and Medina." In "Revealed: Saudi Arabia's 'Great
Wall' to keep out Isil," by Richard Spencer, Telegraph UK, 14 January 2015.
Addendum of Iran's Pakistani
Fence: "Iran's building, completing the fence on its
border with Pakistan to keep out terrorists." In "Iran Completing Fence
On Its Border With Pakistan To Keep Out Terrorists," IRNA, Organization of
Asia-Pacific News Agencies, 13 March 2013.
Addendum for the Bulgarian Fence:
"...a tour of a high wire fence along the Bulgaria Turkey
border by Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban and his Bulgarian
counterpart, Boyko Borissov. 'The future of Europe is decided not in
Brussels, but where we stand,' said Orban, reported Bulgarian media outlet
novinite.com." In "Hard and virtual borders await migrants to EU," by
Nikolaj Nielsen, EU Observer, 15 September 2016.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of the Kashmiri Line of
Control: "The Line of Control, a de-facto border
between the two countries separating Kashmir, is one of the most heavily
militarised frontiers in the world and the incident has sparked fears of
a military escalation. The incident has come at a time when
Indian-administered, Muslim-majority Kashmir is already in the midst of some
of the worst unrest seen in years." In "Kashmir attack: What's behind the
deadliest militant raid in years?" BBC, 19 September 2016.
Addendum of Turkey's Massive
Wall: "Turkey’s Housing Development Administration
has begun construction of the remaining 700 kilometers of a massive wall
designed to seal its 900-kilometer border with Syria. The first 200
kilometer-long length of the wall has already gone out to tender, and is to
be built by the country’s Defense Ministry, together with the governors’
offices of the neighboring provinces. It is expected that the remaining
section of the 'security wall' will be completed within the next five
months, Housing Development Administration director Ergün Turan told the
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News." In "Turkey Builds Huge Security Wall Along Its
Syrian Border," by Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, 5 October 2016.
of Turkey's Fence: "Turkey, which has taken in almost 3
million Syrian refugees in recent years, has sealed off its borders
in the wake of the spring 2016 refugee deal with the European Union. Syrians
who seek to enter Turkey via airplane or ship from a third country, such as
Lebanon or Jordan, require a visa, but officials only rarely issue them. And
the overland route is blocked." In "The Death Strip at the
Turkish-Syrian Border," by Riham Alkousaa and Maximilian Popp, Spiegel
Online, 7 December 2016.
Addendum of Thailand and Malaysia
Agreeing on a Border Wall: "The leaders of
Thailand and Malaysia agreed on Friday to boost security cooperation and
consider building a border wall to combat transnational crime and smuggling,
an idea that appears to be gaining popularity elsewhere in the world.
People- trafficking and the smuggling of contraband, including drugs and
petrol, have flourished along the Thai-Malay border for years until a
crackdown by Thai officials on human traffickers caused some of the routes
to shut down last year. Analysts say separatist insurgents operating in
Thailand’s deep south use Malaysia as a base to launch and plan their
attacks." In "Thailand and Malaysia discuss building border wall to enhance
security and curb trafficking," South China Morning Post, 10 September 2016.
of Israel's Security Fence: "In Israel, the security fence
has done an effective job of keeping Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists
outside of Israeli communities, and the fence built to keep African illegal
infiltrators from coming into Israel through the Sinai Desert does its job
as well – and other countries are learning from Israel's success. The
latest is Hungary which, although it does not have the problem of terrorists
sneaking over the border to carry out terror attacks in Hungarian
supermarkets and coffee shops, is building 13 foot (4 meter) high fence
anyway – to keep job-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Albania
and other third world countries out." In "Good Enough for the EU: Hungary to
Build Anti-Migrant 'Wall'," by Yaakov Levi, Arutz Sheva, 17 June 2015.
Addendum of the Theater of It:
" 'The one thing all these walls have in common is that
their main function is theatre,' said Marcello Di Cintio, author of
'Walls: Travels Along the Barricades'. You can't dismiss that illusion, it's
important to people, but they provide the sense of security, not real
security.' The limits of their effectiveness are visible everywhere - not
least, with the migrants and refugees sitting on top of the fence along the
border with Morocco and the small Spanish enclave of Mellila, on the North
African coast. Even the fearsome Berlin Wall with its trigger-happy sentries
still leaked thousands of refugees even in its most forbidding years." In
"World of walls: How 65 countries have erected fences on their borders –
four times as many as when the Berlin Wall was toppled – as governments
try to hold back the tide of migrants," by Simon Tomlinson, Mail Online,
21 August 2015.
] While a defensible
border between the United States and Mexico is deemed wrong in
much election year debate, the calls in Mexico for a southern
border fence between Mexico and Central America continue, making
a reality there.
One reads: "Few politicians have made public speeches
about such matters. But Deputy Foreign Minister Gerónimo
Gutiérrez recently acknowledged that Mexico's immigration laws
were 'tougher than those being contemplated by the United
States,' where the authorities caught 1.5 million people
illegally crossing the Mexican border last year. He spoke before
a congressional panel to discuss 'Mexico in the Face of the
Migratory Phenomenon'." In "Mexico Worries About Its Own
Southern Border," by Ginger Thompson, New York Times, 18 June
Additionally, one reads: "According to the head of customs
for Mexico’s tax administration, Raul Diaz, the Mexican border
state of Chiapas is constructing a wall along the country’s
southern border with Guatemala, along the river Suchiate which
divides the countries. Diaz says the purpose of the wall is
to prevent the passage of contraband, but admits, 'It could also
prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants'." In "Mexico
Building Fence… on Its Southern Border," Fox, 23 September 2010.
As one moves from demarcated debate to a next debate, the
imposition of double standards abound. This is particularly true
for politicians, almost all of whom live behind defensible
gates. There is much irony in this, is there not?
] European Union
apparatchiks complain of Hungary: " 'Anyone, like Hungary,
who builds fences against war refugees or breaches press freedom
and the independence of the justice system should be
temporarily, or if needed forever, excluded from the EU'."
In "EU should expel Hungary for mistreating migrants, Luxembourg
minister says," by Madeline Chambers and Marton Dunai, Reuters,
13 September 2016.
The reply was unequivocal: "Hungarian Foreign Minister
Peter Szijjarto said his country had defended Europe throughout
its history, and described his Luxembourg colleague as
'condescending, uppity, and frustrated'."
] "Wall, fence, border, gate?
serve sometimes opposing principles: to keep some in, and to
keep some out. One reads of Bulgaria: "Less than two
decades after the painstaking removal of a massive border fence
designed to keep people in, Bulgarian authorities are just as
painstakingly building a new fence along the rugged Turkish
border, this time to keep people out. Faced with a surge of
refugees from the Middle East and North Africa — and the risk
that they include jihadis intent on terrorist attacks — Europe
is bolstering its defenses on many fronts, including this
formerly Communist country, which little more than a
quarter-century ago was more concerned with stanching the
outbound flow of its own citizens to freedom. For the past 16
months, Bulgaria has been carrying out a plan that would sound
familiar to anyone along the United States-Mexico frontier: more
border officers, new surveillance equipment and the first
20-mile section of its border fence, which was finished in
September." In "Bulgaria Puts Up a New Wall, but This One
Keeps People Out," by Rick Lyman, New York Times, 5 April 2015.
Kids parade their Tan Drums
As is the way of things
Which beat and burst and bust
When life delivers stings.
The Tan Drums' bleating oh so loud
Are of our Terrible Toos.
When not getting their own way,
They loudly scream the blues.
The Tan Drums seem so numerous
With amplifications' glare,
Hogging some cameras' tiny lens
With their Tan Drums angry blare.
Who will choose to die in the streets
As professional tests predict?
Violent protests most break out
As Tan Drums so depict.
Putsch your faith in Tan Drums' beat
Because they will it so.
This is today and every day
As was in time not long ago.
There's plenty to see,
so why not look?
There's plenty to learn
There's that to be gleaned
by hook and crook.
There's that next twist
in the ambling brook.
There's much surprise
after thought things shook.
There's tasty novelty
from the cleverest cook.
which awaits your grasp
if but your rigidity
It's nuts to be a student
It's nuts to be a student
faced with debts' arrears,
And nuts to be a student
with pronoun errors as fears,
And nuts to be a student
when told that fiction's fact,
And nuts to be a student
when questioning's attacked,
And nuts to be a student
as anxiety floods the schools,
And nuts to be a student
with arbitrary, changing rules,
And nuts to be a student
where standards burn like flags,
And nuts to be a student,
when lectures are just nags,
And nuts to be a student
when sheepskins' prices rise,
And nuts to be a student
when so distant seems the prize.
Therefore in the current milieu,
What's to say? Just nuts to you?
Addendum of the Price:
"Through diplomas, increasingly inflated grades and
the drumbeat of college self-promotion, these students had been told
they had received a great education. The fact that the typical
student spent three times as much time socializing and recreating in
college as studying and going to class didn’t change that belief. Nor
did unsteady employment outcomes and, for the large majority of those
surveyed, continued financial dependence on their parents. Students who
were interviewed in depth by Mr. Arum and Ms. Roksa put great stock in
collegiate social experiences that often came at the expense of academic
work, emphasizing the value of the personal relationships they built."
In "The Economic Price of Colleges’ Failures," by Kevin Carey, New York
Times, 2 September 2014.
[ 1 ]
of Costing Too Much: "College costs too much, both
for students and for society as a whole. This year, according to the
College Board, average published in-state tuition and fee plus
room/board charges exceed $17,000 at four-year public institutions, a 6%
increase from only one year earlier. In 2009, spending by Americans for
post-secondary education totaled $461 billion, an amount 42% greater
than in 2000, after accounting for inflation. This $461 billion is the
equivalent of 3.3% of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and an
amount greater than the total GDP of countries such as Sweden, Norway
and Portugal. The public is taking notice." In "Why does college
cost so much?" by Richard Vedder and Matthew Denhart, CNN, 2 December
[ 2 ]
of Collegiate-related Anxieties: "Ohio State has
seen a 43% jump in the past five years in the number of students
being treated at the university’s counseling center. At the University
of Central Florida in Orlando, the increase has been about 12% each
year over the past decade. At the University of Michigan in Ann
Arbor, demand for counseling-center services has increased by 36% in
the last seven years. Nationwide, 17% of college students were
diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the past year, and
13.9% were diagnosed with or treated for depression, according to a
spring 2016 survey of 95,761 students by the American College Health
Association. That is up from 11.6% for anxiety and 10.7% for depression
in the spring 2011 survey." In "Students Flood College Mental-Health
Centers," by Andrea Petersen, Wall Street Journal, 10 October 2016.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of Assessing Adult
Literacy: "Researchers administered the National
Assessment of Adult Literacy to collect the data, which revealed that
over 75% of 2- year college students and 50% of 4-year college students
are incapable of completing everyday tasks. These tasks range from
straightforward to complex, and fall into three categories: reading
comprehension, critical thinking and analysis, and practical
mathematics. Most participants easily carried out simple activities such
as utilizing a map or consulting a nutrition label. The latter category
–which includes calculating restaurant tips, utility bills, order
totals, and supply costs – yielded more surprising results. About 20% of
students in 4-year schools demonstrated only basic mathematical ability,
while a steeper 30% of community college students could not progress
past elementary arithmetic." In "Study Finds College Students
Remarkably Incompetent," by Stefi Morisi, New Forum for Lawyers, 21
[ 1 ] The NYT article
notes that the eventual workplace -- sometimes called the
college of hard knocks -- will sort out what colleges and
universities simply have not.
Fundamental Failure in the Higher Education Market
One reads from that article: "...within the large population of
college graduates, those who were poorly taught are paying
an economic price. Because they didn’t acquire vital
critical thinking skills, they’re less likely to get a job
and more likely to lose the jobs they get than students who
received a good education. Yet those same students
continue to believe they got a great education, even after
two years of struggle. This suggests a fundamental
failure in the higher education market — while employers
can tell the difference between those who learned in college
and those who were left academically adrift, the students
As one mulls over enormous tuition costs in reference to not
"acquiring critical thinking skills," the obvious question
is one of asking for what a student is paying, if not the
acquisition of critical thinking skills. But one sees in the
day how easy it has become for students to take their
appointed place in line, at the
- there's no debating you
[ 2 ] One should take
notice of the details as "college costs too much" in order
to better understand. Watching tuition rise dramatically and
heeding the business wisdom that personnel costs are so
often the largest cost, one may survey those academic elite
who are being supported by "too much." Consider the
remuneration details as
Doctor Oppression comes to call
In addition to an overpaid academic elite, measured against
media incomes in every state, uninformed students sign debt
instruments without fully understanding the implications.
One reads: "In their paper, titled 'Accounting
for the Rise in College Tuition,'ť the two maintain that
the combined effect of all policy and nonpolicy factors that
they studied generate a $6,300 increase in yearly net
tuition. Whereas average net tuition stood at $5,700 in
1987, today it is about $11,000, their study states." In
"2 Econ Professors Cite Student Borrowing as Contributor to
Rising Tuition," by Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse Issues in
Higher Education, 12 April 2016.
Don't Teach Caveat Emptor
Caveat emptor is not among subjects taught to the academic
underclass -- most students.
Until now, most students have been blissfully unaware, as
one reads: "The Collegiate Learning Assessment is just
what it sounds like: a test that measures critical thinking,
analytic reasoning, and communications skills in college
students. Several years ago, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa
reported that most students didn't improve much on this test
after four years of college, and a full third didn't improve
at all. Now they've written a follow-up, which concludes,
unsurprisingly, that students with high CLA scores do better
in the job market than students with low scores." In "Colleges
Don't Teach Much, but College Students Don't Know It,"
by Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, 4 September 2014.
[ 3 ] The leap in anxieties
is logical, considering the rapid rise in tuition, swift
proliferation of new and often seemingly arbitrary speech
and behavior rules, mixed in with a lowering of job
prospects upon graduation.
Even retraining after college becomes a necessity for
potential employers. One reads: "NBC News reported
that Fortune 500 companies shell out $3 billion annually to
train employees in 'basic English.' Sending workers to
'remedial business writing classes' was common practice at
Valor, a former telecommunications company that merged in
2006. Finney and Baldi view the recent study as a
profound glimpse into the weaknesses of higher education.
Both hope that data will inspire government and university
officials to raise graduation requirements and make
intellectual rigor the new standard." In "Study Finds
College Students Remarkably Incompetent," by Stefi Morisi,
New Forum for Lawyers, 21 June 2012.
Conflating phrases above, "remarkably incompetent" graduates
who "don't know" of their incompetence is the stuff of
Sadly, there are many options besides the pursuit of
Degrees on the wall
These are not taught in colleges and universities for the
most part, and for the most obvious of reasons. The thought
of competition shakes the modern, almost mythic foundation
of modern American academia, its scions and sages -- money
and lots of it for the few, with debt for the many.
I saw that which was ugly;
to never judge.
I saw something meaningless;
on meaning I
would not budge.
I saw something beautiful,
lectured for my sin.
I saw someone try to rule
which lay within.
I saw something moving
scenes, darkened, grim;
I saw and I turned away
on more than
just a whim.
I saw something and I thought
would be apt.
I saw and spoke of what I thought
and thus my
path was mapped.
One plus one equals cat
|One plus one equals cat,
And if you're fine with that,
Cat plus hat sums up a pipe
As a scrawny sort of fat.
|Two subtracts from up,
When splashed into its cup,
As two at three will snipe
When together they would sup.
|Three will argue four;
Windows are shown the door.
Five will fife to earn its stripe
As drums the beating roar.
|Sixes and sevens are at
When complexity falls flat,
Past eight counts nine who gripe
That ten is racket's bat.
|Won plus one will lose
Ignoring history's muse.
One will wait until what's ripe
Pervades the evening's news.