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
'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
ss 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.
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
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.