Collected Poetry

VOLUME THIRTEEN  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2016-17  by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

"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."

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

 

Minor trifles

Minor trifles delight as well
            as major feasts broad spread.
The grandest is not all there is;
            one kneads one's daily bread.

 
Give us daily bread this day
            bred from simplest things,
For this is how a life lives on
            and how that lifetime sings.


 

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.


 

Post-truth

"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.

 

Roast truth
on a spit,
charred and
crisp and
hot.

Most truth?
Counterfeit,
offhand,
newsstand
fraught.

Post-truth,
they admit
it's planned,
fact-panned
rot.

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 2016.

 

 Addendum 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.

 

 Addendum 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.

 

 Addendum 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 2016.

 

 Addendum 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 December 2016.

 

 Addendum 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 The Truth - no doubt about it


 

White Noise

"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 July 2016.

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.

Post-presidential Barry
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.

 

Envoi 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 ]

 

 Addendum 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 ]

 

 Addendum 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 ]

 

 Addendum 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. d.    [ 4 ]

 

 Addendum 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)

 

NOTES

 

[ 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 Post-truth 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 end game.

 

 Categories 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 cultures.

          One should not forget, in the real struggle of mankind historically Modern Slavery 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.

 

 The 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, specifically Free Money as one watches the phenomenon overtake so many avenues of modern life.

          The human phenomenon can be simplified as the many who would seek their "freebies" from others by any and arguments available. Consider Free bees - 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 benefit."

          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 .

          Or not.

 

[ 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 I 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 view.

          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 Oppressing

 

          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 of Politics .

          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 protest.

          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.

 

 Nice 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 .

 

 Taxation as Oppression?

 

          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 publicly-promoted revolutionaries 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 safe distance....

          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 "impressive 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.

          This is 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: Carolus Fridericus 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 society.

 

[ 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.

 

 Whiteness 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 wealth.

 

 Racial 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 footnotes to Hen Party - a eunuch's cluck, while considering what such rapid growth in "self-identification" classes.

 

 Change 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 Gimme 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

I might look silly in what I chose,
                    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.
I might.


 

'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 flub?
   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?

 

Consider:   Apocalypse sometime


 

The End

"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 say,
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,
            So grouses 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,
            Due and payable, when and where
            The auditors come to call.
            Rage at heaven from the pit of hell?
            But what's 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 accordingly.
            Days diminish. Time ticks off.
            Words too fail, wordlessly.

 

We're all going to meet our ends,

Of this much we should be sure.

For some it's a sentence dour and grim

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.

 

   

 

Addendum 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 ]

 

   

 

Addendum 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.

 

      

 

 Addendum 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 ]

 

Consider this:   I prefer a vital God 

 

NOTES

 

[ 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 Apocalypse sometime .

          Today this urge is rooted in many kinds of soil, and especially in 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 does."

          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 rising ape."

          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 narrans.

          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 Homo arboreus.

           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 end."
           Pratchett observed:  "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: "we have told ourselves stories vast enough to live in." And "to die in." One may reflect, in Pratchett's words, "it fills a hole."

           It is worth considering.

           The end.

 


 

O so very

O so very
yes it was
I saw me
near that spot.
It's surely not
certainly
someone grasped
what I'd caught.
Yes and no less
constant, see,
was scrawled the
impish plot.
Look out the back
of one I,
blindly lost
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

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?
Consternation great
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 2016.    [ 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 August 2016.    [ 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.

 

 Addendum 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.

 

 Addendum 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.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   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 2016.

          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?

 

[ 2 ]   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'."

 

[ 3 ]  "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.

 

 


 

Tan Drums

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.


 

Plenty

There's plenty to see,
    so why not look?
        There's plenty to learn
            from an unread book.
                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.
            There's plenteousness
        which awaits your grasp
    if but your rigidity
you'd unclasp.


 

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 ]

 

 

 

 Addendum 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 2011.   [ 2 ]

 

 

 

 Addendum 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 June 2012.

 

NOTES

 

[ 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.

 

 A 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 themselves cannot."

          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 Fa Queue  - 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.

 

 Borrowing Trouble

 

          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.

 

 Colleges 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.

 

 Remarkable Incompetency

 

          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 anxieties aplenty.

          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

I saw that which was ugly;
            someone said to never judge.
I saw something meaningless;
            on meaning I would not budge.
I saw something beautiful,
            and was lectured for my sin.
I saw someone try to rule
            my thoughts which lay within.
I saw something moving
            behind scenes, darkened, grim;
I saw and I turned away
            on more than just a whim.
I saw something and I thought
            a judgment 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.