Friday, May 31, 2013

SKOOL - Another parody

I saw the best minds of new generations destroyed by educrats, stressing, hysterical, testing

Who wandered the halls of academe in half-baked comprehension, looking for an easy A

Who drifted through dingy lecture halls, into seminar rooms with peeling paint, and sat on cracked fiberglass chairs to sleep with one eye open, flickering between the blackboard and a glowing screen

Who essayed nebulous analysis, amorphous, hazy, dim, scribbling through the ambiguous, shapeless, obscure channels of their reasoning, to
turn in vague, chaotic murk in five-paragraph form.

Who cried for practice questions, “give us practice questions!” and used the practice questions to learn to do the practice questions and no other

Who could not, would not, see a pattern, any pattern beyond the cookie cutter application of one technique to one situation.

Who understood only the test, the movement of black dots from bubble heads to bubble sheets, a great, wide, vast Skinnerian conditioning experiment, and learned which buttons to press to release the reward pellet, that small, dry kibble of grades accumulated for participation, for rough drafts, for worksheets, for giving the prof what he wants

Who took out loans and hocked their souls to Moloch, Moloch in student aid, Moloch in the banks, Moloch of tuition and loans

Who learned to use the only power they had, the power of the consumer, the power of the customer, secure in the warm blanket of the customer’s God-granted always-rightness

Who threatened the beast in its life-blood, in the flow of the almighty dollar from the loan office to the tuition coffer, pausing only briefly along the way at the Apple Store and Starbucks for a skinny latte

Who gave feedback and evaluations with the inchoate sense of loss, of disappointment, of something somehow having failed them, and lashed out at the nearest convenient target - the only target visible through the glare of a thousand smartphone screens

Who came face to face with standards, with failure, with difficulty and challenge, and balked and quailed at their own human ordinariness, and looked back longingly at carefree days of sheltered gradeschool, where mere sentience had garnered them accolades and trophies

Who fell back horrified before the soaring pinnacles of knowledge yet unknown to them, its ocean breadth and boundless depth, the accumulation of lifetimes to a store of wisdom, understanding, reason, daring them in their puny youth to master even a corner of it.

Who retreated into stress, into OCD and depression, and sought refuge in the reruns on TVtropolis, and its illusory safe harbor away from deadlines, papers, and tests

Who passed anyway, and graduated and crossed a stage and were forgotten with the rest

Who wandered forth into the maw of the beast, of Moloch, holding their sheepskins before them as talismanic shields, sadder but no wiser, poorer but no richer, seeking to redeem the false promise of the middle class, mistaking their grades for knowledge, and falling, falling at the feet of the beast.


  1. Magnificent! (and sadly true). It's enough to make one nostalgic for students who truly tuned in, turned on, and/or dropped out. That presumably got a bit scary at times for the proffies (even in my day, one of my classmates dropped dead on a street corner of a heart attack apparently induced by cocaine -- the '80s rich kid's equivalent of Red Bull), but at least some of them were searching for something bigger than a job.

    Actually, some of mine are, too. After nearly a decade of recession (or whatever we're calling it this week), some of them want not just to earn money, but to change the world. Of course they want to do it yesterday, by posting something on facebook and/or creating/participating in a sporting event, while someone else is putting roof over their head and food in their hands (they don't use tables much), and are often too busy to complete my assignments because they're too busy with such activities, but hey, it's something.

  2. I've sent an email about it already which has gone unanswered, but I hate the new page design. It's remarkably ugly, and the background even has artifacting in it. I know the mods like the page to look professional, and you've gone the other way with it.

    I have many years of design experience and I can tell you whoever did this has not.

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. ^ Can't tell if real or parody.

    2. Hi Prickly. The page design changes fairly often. Sometimes its remarkably ugly. I got your email!

    3. I agree with Prickly Prof. Also, why is it so hard to get a post accepted to the page? I've sent in two and they've been rejected for publication. Here's a sample of it:

      "The Hammer Stings!"

      My least favorite student SNOWFLAKE STEVIE, tried to run the plagiarism dodge on me last week. He turned in a complete essay copied from Wikipedia. (Wikipedia sux, can I get a holla!)

      I googled the essay, because I suspected foul snowflake shenanigans, and found it.

      I printed out his copy and mine and confronted him with it.

      "Duh," is all he said.

      The hammer stings, doesn't it, I said to the snowflake.

      And I watched him melt!!

    4. When the page design is remarkably ugly, I assume that someone (probably Cal) decided to come up with the ugliest design possible, just to see what reactions would ensue. Apparently, this method of baiting those who believe the page consistently aspires to be "professional" (rather than consistently inconsistent in as many ways as possible) works.

      Well, either that, or Strelnikov took over again (though actually the map of Moscow -- or was it Leningrad? -- in the background was kind of nice, and the hammer and sickle didn't blend too badly with the usual CM graphics).

      I have some Mexican-silver pickle forks (inherited from a grandparent; I don't buy such things) with a handle design not unlike the little silhouette currently in the masthead, which I assume is meant in this case to evoke our Utah home.

    5. The icon in the title has changed a couple of times this morning.

      As to the comments, you know, I ran RYS for more than three years, and the mail over there was about 10X what it is here - according to Fab and Les. So I got used to complaints about the look.

      But it is still amazing to me that people bitch about any change of design. I don't consciously bait folks, but I will occasionally take the page down to a very basic look while I'm messing with a new background (called ruggas, by the way) or header.

      I do love the new "Arvo" font which is in the posts. It's not been available to Blogger users very long, and I'd be curious if it's as readable as others we've used, often Arial or Verdana.

    6. I like "Arvo" (and noticed it as new, though I didn't know its name), but I'm a fan of serif fonts in general.

    7. @ Contingent Cassandra -- re: yer comment about the masthead-thingy... I assume you were referring to the (now disappeared) western silhouette w/ the cactus? Saguaros are only found in portions of the Sonoran desert, so in the USA, saguaros are only found in Arizona and a patch of California. You won't find them north of the Mogollon Rim.

      /Native 'Zoner Rant

    8. True evidence that this is a club where outsiders are not welcome. Not one comment about my post above.

      And it's okay if I HATE the blog design. If it looks like shit, you should be able to take it.

      I don't see any cactus. Who said there a cactus anywhere?

    9. Mindbender, there was a silhouette of a golf club in the header for a while, too, and they of course are everywhere!

      Is the compound still in Utah, anyway? I'd think that with the various restraining orders and wifi theft, that they'll have moved on already.

    10. @Mindbender: thanks for the info. If you dropped me out of a plane (with parachute) anywhere west of the Mississippi River, I'm afraid it would take a human-made sign (preferably with six-foot-high "Welcome to [fill in well-known place name]" letters for me to get my bearings. Geographical features, vegetation, etc. wouldn't help much. Of course, I'm not sure I'd do all that much better in the eastern part of the country, but there's a better chance of my being able to place myself within a state or two.

      @Hammer: that's a pretty good paraphrase of a common subgenre of posts on this site, but if I were handing it back to a student, it would have "more detail here, please" written multiple times in the margin. It's the infinite variety of ways in which snowflakes manage to be snowflakes (and we attempt, with greater or lesser success, to melt them) that makes our ongoing skirmishes amusing; otherwise, the whole thing is just depressing.

    11. *giggle* The hammer is my penis. -Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

  3. I agree with the rest. This is terrific!

  4. I vote POW. This is BRILLIANT. Thank you!!

    1. Agreed. And I asked the tweetiedomo to share it on Twitter.

  5. I love this post! Thank you for such insight!

    And I love whatever design the people who run this blog for no pay damn well feel like putting up.

  6. "from bubble heads to bubble sheets"--yes! This made my day!

  7. I love you Rosencrantz. I love you Guildenstern. Andor that is all.

  8. "Who . . . . used the practice questions to learn to do the practice questions and no other. . . . and learned which buttons to press to release the reward pellet, that small, dry kibble of grades"

    Brilliant. I hope you're collecting these for a novel.