Friday, November 4, 2011

IOZ Puppylander response log

(Response to IOZ's brouhaha over one puppylander's suggestion that high school and college differ primarily in terms of socialization.)

In summary of the above, puppylander suggests that having experienced Americana high school as the final stage of formal education leaves one frozen in time, in comparison to those who have experienced "higher" education. Brouhaha ensues as he is accused of being an educational elitist. Puppylander uses the metaphor "immature" to describe the HS-only mindset, which term does contain an inherent value judgment.

Generalized American "high school" is awful; in its own way, perhaps more awful than generalized American college. Both institutions exist to transfer monetized labor from workers toward enforced state educations. In the case of high school, primarily state-run institutions transfer funds toward technology and publishing companies, where the enforcement is mandatory and the marketing so deeply embedded it's rarely questioned. Neoliberal lala-demo-exceptionalist history, useful for docile citizens of all castes, prances alongside state-subsidized remedial math- and science-prep for the next generation of weapons and consumer products designers. The "free" nature of the no-adult-legal-rights holding pens makes it, much like colonialism, a selling point for endless intervention. Those who emerge from it, and who swallow its necessary survival lessons, along with those it implicitly and insidiously teaches, are quite often molded into an unfortunate shape. As "immature," perhaps, as puppylander suggests.

By contrast, college's non-mandatory selling point is a refinement of the adult-legal-rights-possessing in-duh-vidual into an even more productive citizen, with even more resources to cite in support of demo-exceptionalism. The major difference with regards puppylander's point, however, is the socialization aspect. While being an adult in America is much like being a traditionally-raised or -schooled child, in the sense of constrained movement, violent enforcement of atrocious mores, and authority not possibly caring less about pain and misfortune, college teaches increasingly-sophisticated, out-in-the-open repression of horrors, leaving the underlying vulgarity of situation an unpleasant reminder best left in K-12.

That, in a way, is more terrifying than the honest brutality of childhood and inmate-run youth prisons. However, high school (and the rest of K-12) remains, literally, more "immature" than college, in the way that Michele Bachmann is less mature than Barack Obama. Yes, they are both terrible; yes, they are insane, and Obama is likely more dangerous.

This does not mean that Michele Bachmann, or the average product of American high school education, is not also insane and dangerous. Puppylander thereby retains an acceptable point, which could have been better refined to avoid offending the concept of not going to college--but then, that same refinement would be the very mature behavior he suggested college taught. The tragic irony is that he clearly should've paid more attention in PoliSci 412, or better yet, Advanced Trial Advocacy.

In the interest of balancing the scales, and while nonetheless retaining utter contempt for Americana's perfect ivory towers and their resultant Eichmanns, this one will find a value in puppylander's underlying point about post-K-12 socializing. The tempering of intrasocial violence preached to often-newly-christened "legal adults" at college stands in contrast to K-12 violence. Consider, as an extreme anecdotal example, Aaron McKinney. Neoliberal voters and their college are scarier in the long run than neoconservative voters and their high school, but calling a fire hot and dangerous is not, in and of itself, wholly wrong.


  1. Follow-up log to the same:

    "Immaturity" was an appropriate evaluation toward the generalized by-product (or at least, intended by-product) of American high school. While understanding the source of the tribal offense, "immaturity" remains appropriate; by the same token, it would be appropriate to term American bachelors of the sciences and arts (or acquirers of whatever other degrees) as immature in a different way, in whatever pejorative sense one wishes to use.

    Returning to the point of "it's still understandable that they took offense," the particular tribal way of taking offense, as demonstrated in this dogpile thread, smacked of too much Anglo college-time. I.e., they read your article, then immediately began citing all the sources it didn't cover, as though every viewpoint ever expressed should be critiqued for not being an additional one thousand pages long. So, yes: you could have chosen better words, but it seems that the hair-trigger group response is to immediately opportunize the slightest hint of "non-college bashing."

    Which, in all fairness, is fair, given current cultural context. But in another way, isn't fair. Just have fun with it!

    As this one views with high indignation the Anglo ivory tower, and its associated pomp and circumstance, this one is perfectly able to join the critique of your original post without enjoying the resulting groupthink.

    And, as aforementioned, the most enjoyable irony here is the largely academic form which the critiques took. It might as well have been scripted on CNN, in tandem with appropriate shots of you driving your Porsche home from work, cutting off a day-laborer and laughing into your bluetooth.

    In closing, IOZ, if you ARE Paris, can this one get a date? Or at least a few hundred thou? Promise, this one'll make it worth your while!

  2. More follow-up, to Mr. Crow, who speaketh: "Curious division, puppylander (lated amended to indicate this one). What makes the replies "academic"? That they don't conform to your idea of how people without college educations should reply?"

    One of the stronger western academic traditions--established to the point of mandatory requirement in any respectable publication, speech, or casual hallway encounter--is to demonstrate intellectual superiority through fitting one's own work into an imaginary framework of predestined human development that draws all its elements from a supportive tradition. The inevitable "problem" this spawns, in any resulting interactions or evaluations, is that no work can possibly be connected in all ways to every single human activity done before, nor can every work devote the space to disavow everything bad that has come before (or been published concurrently). When acting as a critic, then, the western academic demonstrates intellectual merit by pointing out how any given work failed to connect itself to Text ZKXSI 6.432 and Social Meme 400989-B, and is therefore an imperfect work. Much discussion ensues about why no one connected it to Kevin Bacon, during which everyone involved can show intelligence for dropping other names that the work did not cite, or demonstrate political correctness by saying things in the vein of, "Yes, but what about the massacre of the Inuit in the pelt riots of 1412?"

    That context being the background, Mr. Crow, the dogpile on puppylander was academic in that, for the non-infinite words he used in his original point to speculate about a nascent idea, he was criticized for not giving sufficient allowance to a large variety of memes regarding western class division and college attendance. To start it off, IOZ was interesting, appropriate and correct for bringing the subject up and wailing about it--said wailing being why these ones are all here--but as the conversation developed, it evolved into a group condemnation of puppylander having said explicitly something he did not say explicitly.