Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another View From The Couch

As I watch the world flash in front of my eyes via television I continue to be astonished by virtually everything that I see. From my perch I am beginning to grasp why the world is in such poor shape, because what I see is a vast throng of people who seem unable to think for themselves but instead are being led about by their nose – or should I say nose rings. Mostly these are the youth of America who are determined to express themselves and demonstrate their uniqueness by being like everyone else trying to be unique. You see these folks every where, with the obligatory tattoo(s), body piercing(s), or my very favorite – black nail polish. Wow – Gee Whiz – how original. But these are mostly kids or immature young adults and so I guess this is somewhat understandable but what about all of those unshaven guys that are popping up everywhere? Are these guys expressing themselves and if so how? It looks like a simple case of laziness translated into poor personal hygiene and an inability to think or act independently.

However, it isn’t just the sameness and lack of independence that I see presented to me, but the truly alarming shallowness of what I see. In fact just last night I heard the announcer selling a new TV show describe it as being “extraordinarily and deeply superficial”. I gave him stars for honesty but I somehow doubt his target audience reacted negatively to this announcement, not because they were repelled by it but because they didn’t know the meaning of superficial. You doubt this? Have you recently read anything written by a high school or college graduate? Let me provide you some examples of responses offered by college students.

The Industrial revolution was slow at first due to the lack of factories. European nations had the raw materials to start and(sic) industrial revolution, but they did not have the knowledge to start a revolution and thus were retarded. – I’m sure this response made some high school teacher race to his/her union steward and demand to know what is wrong with this answer. How about this one:

The Russian Revolution of 1905 began about 1907. Unfortunately the Czar was easily influenced by flutterers. The Triple Alliance faced NATO. This too was produced by Bismarck who worked for Caesar at the time. Certainly this student seems to be a victim of poor spelling at the very least and totally confused chronologically at worst, but who is responsible for this the student for failing to learn? The teacher for failing to teach? Or the school administration for allowing this student to graduate from high school and then enter college. Who is minding the store? You must wonder what is being taught in school these days or more importantly is anything being taught. If I hear some idiot say “I seen it” one more time I may throw a brick through my TV or even assault the person. I can see the headline now – “Student violently assaulted by insane grammarian”. At the very least we can conclude that verb conjugation isn’t currently being taught.

While flipping through the channels I came across an series of interviews with young skinheads. These were mostly young men between the ages of 16 and 21 with the obligatory shaved heads, tattoos, and attitudes who were being led by young men in their 30’s who were certainly old enough to know better. These boys could be described as disaffected or life’s losers but listening to them you quickly realize they have virtually no real understanding of the world, their environment, or what is happening. They explain that they are victims of “affirmative action” because all jobs go to minorities and besides the entire economy is moving into a service economy. These glib answers roll off of their tongue like rote responses but clearly they have no idea as what a service economy is or what globalization is, or what is happening to all of those factory jobs that they thought they should have. They blame “affirmative action” without actually being able to connect that to their plight. They fail to grasp that there is a very low demand for unskilled labor and that jobs go those with skills. Instead of an education they got tattoos and seem unable to connect the dots between their decisions and their current situation. It is easier to blame some external force or group than to look in the mirror.

The morning news brought the stunning revelation that unions might actually be a drag on the Michigan economy. This little gem of logic was offered with a sense of surprise and discovery, which is not surprising since Michigan is not only heavily unionized but it is virtually a neo-socialist state. Between the teachers union, the UAW, and the gaggle of other unions, there is a sense of entitlement that is pervasive. These unions were intended to protect the worker from exploitation but have resulted in oppressing the employer. Unions can no longer control the supply of unskilled labor because that type of labor is now available on a global scale. The unions set uncompetitive labor rates and the result is fewer jobs. This connection between their unrealistic expectations and the globalization of the labor market seem to be beyond their comprehension. They appear on TV and in the newspapers blaming the Republicans, the politicians, executives, illegal aliens, and for all I know aliens from outer space for their plight. They believe they have a “right” to a high paying job that expects them to screw two parts together. More than that, even those that are still employed are aghast at the prospect of actually having to pay some portion of their healthcare. They feel they have a “right” to free healthcare and benefits. They seem unable to grasp that nothing in life is free and that if they aren’t paying for their benefits someone somewhere is paying.

Of course television isn’t a complete wasteland, from time to time something pops up that you won’t see anywhere else. It seems that the accepted scientific fact that a meteor killed off the dinosaurs has come into question. Naturally the entire scientific community is up in arms over this but unfortunately some very awkward fossils have turned up. Adding to the problem is the realization that the fossil record for the Cretaceous shows a steady decline in dinosaurs over several million years. The conclusion is that the lush vegetation needed by the dinosaurs was disappearing and the dinosaurs were dying out naturally. The meteor(s) did not kill off the Dinosaurs but may have been the final nail. Even without the meteor(s) the dinosaurs would have gone extinct. Of course this will probably not cause any changes to the true believers in science who still believe in Evolution and other scientific dogmas.

So the couch is a wonderful perch from which to view the world. Right now I am off to buy some of those marvelous drugs that have what seem like some very challenging side-effects.

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