Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Information PooperHighway

These days you open up emails left and right - each one of them sharing some disgustingly pared down pieces of "wisdom", telling you to pass the numbered list on to people who you think would agree or find it funny.

WHY? Will someone please tell me why? I really don't think these things are doing much at all, other than clogging our fucking inboxes and giving lame bloggers like me a reason to get grouchy. I mean, I'm all for those emails that are supposed to do good things (like politically angled ones, things that ask you to donate, or even petitions... even if they just end up doing nothing, they make me feel slightly worthy of decent karmic retribution) - but the fucking lists upon lists of horribly un-funny stuff... please spare me. PLEASE. All they do is remind me of how horrible office jobs are, and how many hours some employees waste emailing, reading crappy emails and having watercooler discussions as a result. Yes. I know... the Queen of All Procrastinators, Miss Nelson, professing to hate email "time wasters"... quite comical... but this one I received today just put me over the edge. In all honesty, I think I don't like it because of the very last line (which totally reveals the type of person who wrote it), but I just can't deal with the bad grammar and the vague references.

Shit. What am I saying? I'm all for generalizations, stereotyping and exaggeration when it makes a good story or embellishes gossip - but when the "information" that gets passed around the internet is trying to profess some sort of moral correctness - don't you think it should at least be grounded with at least one fact or statistic?

Here goes with the email:

>Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To
>anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice.
>Bill Gates gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not
>and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically
>correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of
>reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.
>Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
>Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will
>expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about
>Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You
>won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
>Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
>Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
>Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it
>Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine
>about your mistakes, learn from them.
>Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are
>now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes
>and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So
>before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's
>generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
>Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but
>life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and
>they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer.
>This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
>Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off
>and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do
>that on your own time.
>Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually
>have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
>Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
>If you agree, pass it on.
> If you can read this - Thank a teacher!
>If you are reading it in English -Thank a soldier!!

Seriously. The more I read it, the more annoyed I get. And I even agree with "Rules" 1 and 5... maybe 11 too, but why is it a Rule anyway? As for Rule 10, if you think TV is real life, we already know you have some serious problems - I don't think that the spoiled kids that have grown up with a progressive education that stresses self-esteem and a non-competitive environment (i.e.-no failing grades, etc.) would have trouble coping with the fact that characters on TV don't seem to have jobs.

Rule #7 is completely ridiculous. Completely. What's the rule? That you should de-louse your closet because you are a big, peace loving hippie whose parents loved you so much that you turned out to be a good person ?

Not all of life's skills need to be taught or learned at school, and not all of us need to win and lose or be given failing grades in order to replicate situations in "the real world". Some of us are lucky enough to have parents and family members who have tought us about the highs and lows of winning and losing, and the importance of trying hard in the face of adversity. There's plenty to learn from real life experiences, even if your school doesn't give out F's. I'm living proof that an education based in self-esteem and second, third and fourth chances with grades doesn't create a weak person without a sense of reality. And you know what? I do know that Bill Gates himself went to a groovy, oopy-goopy, self-esteem based private school growing up (you want the link? so really, it's tremendously silly for him to say that he comes from a generation with no concept of reality.

My point here? This incredible technology - this zeitgeist we are experiencing/participating in - makes some of us feel so goddamn powerful, and really, at the end of the day, these words are all just a bunch of fucking zeros and ones sloshing around in a broadband cyber-sewer.

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