"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Monday, November 01, 2021

Well, it appears I've been kicked off Twitter, so I guess it's goodbye micro-blogging and hello again macro blogging -- or as we used to call it just blogging. 

I know I was naughty because I matched an unresasonable and unrealistic and horrible belief with a similar one of my own. 

A Missouri congressional candidate named Mark McCloskey - you can find him by googling 'congressional candidate, rape, incest, 13-yeaer-old" said that he "believed" 13--year-old rape and incest victims should not be allowed to have abortions.

I tweeted that I "believed" that someone should set Mark McCloskey on fire and put it out with a shovel, clearly hyperbole and a joke. I don't really think you could put that kind of fire out with a shovel. 

But the important message that got lost was that we all believe different things. Which is fine. McCloskey believes that society should not protect 13-year-old rape and incest victims. I believe society should not protect arseholes who don't think we need to protect 13-year-old rape and incest victims, so obviously we are both equally wrong here and I should not be allowed at Twitter account while he should. 

Fuck Twitter, I'm back to mega blogging


what is an education for?

I'm a big fan of Larry Wilmore and the Nightly Show, but tonight they totally pissed me off, mostly by punching me repeatedly in an old wound.
Mind you, the dumb crack about whether Canadian Studies was "B.A. or bs" didn't help -- but my complaint is more philosphical.
The topic of the show was "Is college worth it?"
There was discussion of how the cost of post-secondary education has skyrocketed, especially at big name schools in the USA. There was talk of the enormous level of debt many students have to take on, talk of how much more degree-holders earn over a lifetime, talk of how if you weren't going to be an academic superstar that being a plumber was a good job, too, probably better than being an underemployed arts graduate. There was extensive discussion of how attending a big name school purchased you a network of connected fellow alumni for life.
The entire show was focused on measuring the value of a university or college education in the United States on the basis of financial return on financial investment. A straight up cash transaction.

What there wasn't any discussion of the value of actual education, the value of learning something, the value to society of focusing study on something that might not have a direct economic effect. Y'know, expanding the human race's knowledge of itself and the world around it.

I have a confession to make that will not surprise but may disappoint my parents, who paid a lot of money for me to attend university.

I didn't go to university to get a job, I went to get an education.

I wasn't the only on there doing that, but I'm pretty sure I was in the minority, even in the arts faculty.

I remember the people who went to university to get jobs. They were the ones who asked questions like "Is this going to be on the exam?"  or "do I have to do all the reading to pass the course?"

Now, I don't want to make it sound like I'm some kind of academic purist here, hell I flunked out in my third year thru a combination of depression, beer and distraction when I first went to school. I did go back and finish my degree though, and while it was partially to improve my chances of landing a job (no one wants to hire someone who didn't finish what they started) I also wanted to get the degree for its own sake. A university degree doesn't mean you are smarter than anyone without one, it means you have been trained to think in a systematic way. It means you have managed to navigate a reasonably complicated bureaucratic institution. It means you can read and write and think in full sentences. It means you have some kind of capacity for critical thinking and awareness of the scientific method and basic logic.
Bottom line: Possession of a university degree should, but does not always, mean that you have proven you are not a complete dumbass. You may not know literature, but you have a degree in biology. You may not know anything about higher maths, but you've proven to smart people that your are not a complete ignoramus about European History or French Poetry or cellular biology. Maybe you don't get Shakespeare but you do get particle physics or mechanical engineering or any of a huge number of things that merit organized formal study from anthropology to  zoology.

And that is why people should go to university. If you want to train for a job that pays well, if your main priority in pursuing post-secondary education is finding job and making money --do not got to university, go to a vocational school. Become a plumber, an auto mechanic, a