Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Pause

I will not be able to write any substantial blogs for a few months because I am trying to finish my dissertation and graduate, but here are a few things to ponder until I get back to all of you:

1. What might we make of the current trend of falsity? Some basic examples of this include plastic surgery, airbrushing, fake tans, and hair extensions. Other, more elaborate examples, include trolling, The Colbert Report, and ironic websites which purport to be right wing, for example, but which are actually making fun of the people they claim to be. It is the second group of examples I find most fascinating. It takes a very keen eye and mind to recognize what is actually going on, what information can be trusted, who is actually being honest about who he/she is. Why have we become so twisted and tricky about information? Is this useful?

2. I've been hearing that the "recession" has been over for several years now, yet more than half of my students in a recent class raised their hands when I asked how many of them had recently been unemployed or underemployed. Is there anyone who will finally admit that we have been in a depression for decades?

3. Vincent and I have refused to work in education positions where we have to rank students or needlessly test them, we have refused to invest our money in corporations who take part in practices that pretty much enslave people in other countries (no 401Ks here), and we have still managed to eat and write and look somewhat stylish doing it (and we continually watch South Park's episode on SMUG, to guard against that, too, 'kay). Are there other people who have managed to avoid Wall Street or other immoral workplaces and not end up on the actual street? I'd like to know who you are.

4. Finally, for those of us who do have employment right now, we often work all the time, even if we are at home, we have to continually check email, have our phone on in case something comes up - our schedules are not set, we are always thinking of work, even if we are not in the workplace. We have many different tasks to accomplish because our employers are unable to hire the right number of people for the jobs that need to be done. Much of our work goes unpaid, therefore, if we do get vacation time, we cannot afford to get away from the concrete and steel. This phenomenon does not allow us to have leisure time. I'm reading Paul Shepard right now and he, and other scholars he draws from, claim that leisure time is what allowed humans to evolve. We had time to imagine, contemplate, play, process and develop new ideas. I am helping a group of high school seniors write essays that hopefully will show how dynamic they are to scholarship committees and I was horrified to learn that they have no leisure time, I imagine because they are working with me and other tutors during all their free time. What can we do to ensure that we all have time to let our minds and bodies wander? Perhaps that is the only way to come up with solutions to some important problems. I find this extremely important.

That said, I will go back to my constant work. :) Wish me luck!