Monday, February 25, 2008

School Stuff

Hello everyone!

School has been keeping me pretty busy lately, so I haven't been able to do much blogging. I realize it probably doesn't take long to read my posts, but in case you weren't aware, it takes much longer to write one of these than it does to read them. Unless you're a really, really, really slow reader.

The other day, one of my professors asked the class if we remembered the fall of the Berlin Wall. I raised my hand, and then looked around and saw there were about four total hands up in the air--out of a class of 125. Granted, not everyone was there, but still. I quickly did some math in my head and realized it was almost 19 years ago. that means that most of the people in my class were in diapers. Some weren't even born yet!

I'm old. How did this happen?

Today, I received an interesting email in my school email account. It was from another student, and it was sent to all Political Science majors, as far as I can tell. Here it is:
UO Student Body,

Do you think the current student body is apathetic? Why or Why not?

If you could please respond to the question your comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

UO Undergraduate...
and interested student
I was intrigued. I meant to respond with a quick message, but I got a bit excited and wrote a big response. Here it is:
The student body is most definitely apathetic.

But it's not their (our) fault. We've been programmed this way for all our lives. Through public schools, mass media, and even our parents we've been conditioned to accept and do whatever we're told and not question it. The media, especially, tells us what is important, how to dress, what to buy, and of course, what to think. Above all, we're told our ideas are silly and inconsequential unless someone can make money out of it, and that it's important to not be original and instead conform, unless you count buying an ipod in pink instead of white as being original.

Our capitalistic society perpetuates this apathy because it's completely built around consumerism, not on what people actually want or need. We're supposed to devote our energy to buying a bunch of pretty much useless things, all under the promise that it will make us happier, more rounded people. Of course, it doesn't work that way, but that doesn't stop us from trying. And once we buy all this crap, we still have an empty feeling inside--but don't worry, we can just buy something else to make us as happy as the people on the commercials.

But consuming can never make us as happy as the people on TV because they're not real people, not even the ones on reality shows. Speaking of reality shows, could their popularity make it any more obvious that we're screaming for something tangible and real in our lives? But our lives are for the most part not real, and we know it even if we don't want to admit it. And who cares about something that isn't real?

Also, why should people care about anything when their worth as a human is defined in economic terms? People are no longer people--they're consumers, they no longer live in communities--they live in market areas.

As for us students, we certainly haven't been given much to look forward to. We've got a decimated environment, a huge debt, a real threat of nuclear annihilation, and a health-care system that puts its energy into patenting chemical drug treatments for ailments instead of finding cures. And if we're lucky, we can spend 40+ hours staring at a computer screen in a cubicle to get our two weeks paid vacation maxing out our credit cards at Disney-hell while aggressively and desperately trying to cram as much so-called fun as possible into 14 days before we have to go back to our lives for another year.

Look at the companies that are going to be at the UO job fair: Frito Lay? Target? Geico insurance? Fred Meyer? Hell, Enterprise car rental was named one of the 50 best places to launch a career! How depressing is that? Don't you think it's hard to care if you know what's in store for you is to be an assistant manager at Fred Meyer and have to deal with some pissed-off old lady yelling at you on a Thursday night because your store doesn't have some piece of crap in her size or in a different color?

Our political leaders aren't much better. The state legislature just approved using $200 million of taxpayers' funds to build a new building so men can play a ball game, never mind that the old building worked fine. This is going to enrich our lives how? Try getting them to give $200 million for a new art museum or state park, or even for an after-school childcare program or homeless shelter. You'd be lucky to get $200. With priorities like that, can you blame people for being apathetic?

Oh yeah, if you question any of this, you'll be labeled as disruptive, a troublemaker, or a terrorist. You can even be tased or tortured for no reason--and most people won't care. Some will even cheer it on.

The worst thing about it is that people sometimes take apathy to the extreme, and then they start entertaining notions about going on a shooting rage or flying an airplane into a building. If you don't care about yourself or anything else, what's the big deal if you destroy it?

Anyway, good luck with whatever you're working on. I hope you get lots of responses--but I somehow doubt it. Apathy, you know.


PS: If this sounds cynical, it's important to realize that not only is apathy a product of society, but that society is also the way it is specifically because of apathy. It's a vicious cycle. If you figure out how to break it, let me know.
I know this sounds depressing, but I do have good news, too. I got my first shipment of the Gourmet Cheese of the Month club last week! I promise I'll give a full report right here on Rob Dow's World once I've tasted it all. Stay tuned!




Anonymous Greg said...

You are a terrorist. I would expand that but I just don't care enough.

Actually, I agree 100% with everything you said.

Fuck the system! Fuck the system!-System of a Down

11:50 AM, February 26, 2008  
Blogger Rob said...

Hello Greg!

You agree 100% with everything I said? Great idea--you can't go wrong with that!

I think you should send half your paycheck to me each time you get one. Don't you agree?

1:26 PM, February 27, 2008  

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