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


 

'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
   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?

 

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.

 

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 .

 


 

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.