Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

Archive for June 2010

The Ivory Tower of Shit

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Today we’re going to talk about education, that’s right, education. You may or may not be aware but I have a community college diploma and am on my way to getting a university degree. But to be completely frank both systems don’t add up to much more than the paper they’re written on. Being the cynic I am I can only truly appreciate something when using it to criticize another item. When I was in college I thought there was nothing dumber than it. And now that I’m in university I can’t rap my mind around what all the hoopla is about.

I have an advanced (whatever the fuck that means) diploma in ‘Journalism: Print & Broadcast’ from the somewhat respectable, and hardly known outside the Hamilton Mountain, Mohawk College. And what does two years of courses, assignments and residency add up to – one point above shit. Because, lets get real, who the hell is hiring journalists? They’re not like tradesmen, technicians or those with an education in business or marketing that are always needed. However I have only my self to blame for studying what I did. I don’t much regret spending two years of my life and the incredibly over-priced tuition/ancillary fees to attend that program. The parties were sick and the people were great.

The problem with community college is that program coordinators are given the power to hire instructors as they choose. Some of these individuals may have no training as a teacher what so ever and also leave much to be desired in the area of social skills. Furthermore many don’t take their jobs very seriously. This apathy is the consequence of a college instructor’s only real value: their experience in the industry. Many individual course instructors are people that have worked in the field being studied. Unfortunately those that do cannot necessarily teach as well. And just like the students in the class, so many of the instructors are more concerned with putting something on their resume than the actual curriculum.

The area of lecturer inexperience is something that is shared between college and university. Professors may have a PhD (and in some cases don’t even possess this title) but they are certainly capable of not be able to convey ideas to a crowd of people. In fact, some are god-awful at it. And again, professors are often more concerned with their research and not their lecturing or marking.

The real shit part about university is the lack of social and workplace experience it offers. All that is required from the student in an individual social sciences’ course is to write at most 15 pages of double spaced drivel on god-knows-what and complete a maximum of 2 tests on the course material. What does that teach us about life or the work place? Shit. There are not many jobs that only require producing an academic paper every 4 months (outside of academia of course). And let’s face it: research papers, in all their eccentric and unnecessary glory,  are possibly the stupidest things to exist next to compact disc packaging.

College, on the other hand, gives students the experience of writing the odd paper but also having a schedule to adhere by and being responsible for smaller and more frequent assignments that mimic the activity of an actual workplace. While in university you may (or may not) know how to write a 20-page thesis but not have the faintest idea of how to produce a simple 50-word memo.

It is not only the weight that is given to essays alone at university but also a paper’s individual vagueness and absurdity that is problematic. It could be easily said that no one knows how to write a proper paper. I am entering my third year of undergrad studies with a good standing grade point average and besides knowing how to cite and use spell-check I have no further understanding of what makes a good essay. I have continually read the “comments section” of my supposedly marked paper and it is quite arguable that if I put my thumb over the grade the review could reflect anything from a C+ to an A. Shockingly this is all that is provided as far as marking is concerned in university – no rubric, no addition or subtraction of actual marks, no individual weight given to certain areas and no proper assessment of mistakes or “good points” beyond the word count and bibliography. This is sad and paradoxical. If universities are such prestigious institutions and hold essays in such high regard why do they provide less of explanation for the marking of papers than Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert do in their 2 thumbs down review of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls? The marking that teaching assistants are required to do is about equal to a short movie review blurb.

I suppose I will never complain about a grade I receive above an A-, however if you decide that my paper is not fantastic than I’d like to be enlightened on how marks are categorically deducted for improper citation or a weak title.

When I come out of university I will have two things: a piece of paper that says I have an honours degree in political science and the knowledge that incompetency and ignorance exists in the most respectable and hierarchical of organizations. In fact, it can be assumed through the education I have, or have not, received that bullshit is rife and relevant in almost every aspect of society.


The Hardest Thing About Being Me

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Today we’re going to talk about facial hair, that’s right, facial hair. For roughly 18 months I have had a beard of varying bushiness. What amazes me most is people’s amazement towards my unkemptness. It is as if I am living in a society of adolescent boys who can’t wait to grow hair on their sacks so they can officially call themselves men. Most adult males are at least somewhat capable of growing a decent beard. Although not all men grow lengthy hair on their faces some do. Since I have had my beard I have garnered a great deal of unwarranted and at times annoying attention. Firstly, I encounter many young, at least nearly clean-cut, men (some of my good friends among them) that choose to live vicariously through the hair on my face. Also, although I expected to be the subject of many taunts, jibes, and jokes because of my beard I did not anticipate such a lack of comical and derogatory diversity.

If my beard is even vaguely mentioned in conversation there is at least one bloke who, not usually for the first time (or the last), suggests various ridiculous ways I should design or groom my facial hair. I’ve heard it all – from out-of-style chinstraps, to handlebar mustaches, to a dyed-white Santa Clause beard. Many of my acquaintances assume that just because I don’t shave my face I would not mind looking like a jackass as well.  Because I have a beard does not necessarily designate me to trim a goatee or mustache solely for people’s amusement. As mentioned, many men can go grow facial hair so if you want to look like Captain Morgan or Johnny Depp than you fucking doing it yourself, you facial hair pussy! I have a life to live and I don’t want to walk around looking like a Pirate – I am hopeful that there may be women willing to have intercourse with me under certain circumstances. The principle to this sub-issue is that I am not going to look anymore like a pathetic loser just so my chums can have few laughs. You wouldn’t want to walk around looking like you should be wearing a puffy shirt and neither would I, you dumb shits!

The above observation moves me to assume that many young men see facial hair as something that would be completely objectionable to the fairer sex. This is a rather unwarranted and considerably arbitrary point-of-view. Men with beards have intercourse all the time and clean-cut boys are completely capable of being homosexuals or masturbating more times than they would care to admit. The fact of the matter is that my sexual contact rates have neither risen nor fallen since I grew my beard during the Christmas Season of ’08.  And the individuals who seem to aggressively assume that hair on one’s face is the poon-genocide could easily have a miniscule roster of intercourse partners.

As stated in conjunction with not shaving are often certain quips and comments about one’s facial hair. Furthermore with a tanned olive complexion I am willing to entertain certain racist comparisons to jihadist terrorists and taxicab drivers. However, the level of Islamophobic wisecracks is severely disproportional to a whole slew of potential beard jokes that have already been made famous by the multi-talented comedic genius & winner of Most Difficult Last Name To Spell Award: Zach Galifianakis. I have yet to even once be called a pedophile or hear any allusions to having sex with a child – this is disappointing. Not even a fisherman joke. I’ve only once been called “Serpico” and I don’t recall anyone asking me if I’m a movie director. These are the types of jokes I would make if I were making fun of people that look like myself. Unfortunately, 9/11 changed everything. Before those planes crashed into the World Trade Centre men with hair on their faces lived in the woods and cut down trees for a living, now all they do is strap bombs to themselves and blow up school children. The sad thing is it’s the humour that suffers most.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my discourse on the hair on my face. Hopefully the next time you see a guy with a beard you won’t automatically assume he’ll have trouble at the airport; maybe he kidnapped a child and has had her in his basement for 15 years or he could just be a drug addict. And maybe, just maybe, that bearded young man is just like you – a lame underachiever who has thoughts of getting his dick sucked every 3-5 minutes even though he hasn’t received fellatio since high school and came quicker than a pit-bull on a poodle when he did.

Written by shanedantimo

June 14, 2010 at 1:33 am