just went through 50 years on a time machine. While
the planet whirled, stars moved in their courses, the seasons came
and went, we were obsessed with an abstract noun: “kommunism!!”
Then one day it went away. Poof. Ha. Made you look.
the dumbest guy on earth. I have no credentials at all.
There’s no reason you should believe anything I say. After
all, I’m not pretty or rich or tall, not published, not on
TV. Big hair? Feggiddaboudit. Wait. “Feggiddaboudit?”
That’s a meme.
Even a dull
little nobody in Fort Wayne Indiana knows this: never before
in human history have we been able to press out so many cookie-cutter
people. We all catch the same memes and dream the same dreams. Cookie-cutter
real comes out of a cathode ray tube.
The trees are
brown sticks whirring by our passenger window. The ocean
is that big wet thing on Baywatch. The galaxies pass silently unseen
over the shingles of our drywall box. But Sk8tr Boi is real. Grind
an ollie on our adult gestalt. Whassup widdat?
After I popped
out of my pod at the cubefarm like a bad seed, I decided
to do this: listen to young people— older folk-- people who
go to a university because they think there’s something real
out there that might not be on TV. And you know what?
I was mistaken.
Most people go to a university to get their ticket punched so they
can get a better job so they can get more money and buy an even
bigger drywall box and cathode ray tube. Live to shop to live: will
it ever end? Yes it will. Here’s why:
Even an Indiana
cob-roller with no Economics degree like me knows that
30% growth in “earnings” is NOT SUSTAINABLE. It takes
no special tricks or gift of geophysics to guess the planet is not
filled with petroleum. And then what?
Well then, me
bucko, it all comes a-cathartin down on our toiny heads.
Then we’ll want to march and carry torches and have a war
on something. Some of us here in faculty-student-research land are
quite concerned. But what can we do?
We can build
awareness of the memetic cookie-cutter. You get that first
dream job at MergeCo, and they ask you to facilitate detail-oriented
team-player market-focused entrepreneurial vision strategies by
multitasking in today’s competitive environment to create
What does that
mean? What does it REALLY mean? What if Linguistics professors
up at Oxvard who know all that can be knowed told you that “create
shareholder value,” roughly translated into Standard American
English, means, “eat your children?” Can you write a
Sedition? Socialism? Not at all. This is simply a thought
exercise. Better thinkers make better writers. Better writers make
better employees. If “common sense” were all that “common,”
it wouldn’t be an oxymoron. Isn’t that ironic?
what we’re trying to do here: teach writing. Teach
the writing of modest proposals. If in the process of process-based
writing, we throw in some handy tools like “irony” or
“critical thinking,” all the better to build the required
an added perk, we can perceive a better world.