Are You Worthy?

I recently saw a news spot on TV regarding the high costs of a college education – costs which seem to be spiraling higher and higher as each state budget gets cut more and more.  The premise of this discussion was “is a college education worth it anymore”.

The “expert” commentator ( I forget which think tank he represented) made the statement that it wasn’t, except for those entering fields such as engineering, accounting, and some of the other direct-to-cash fields.

In other words, don’t worry about literature, history, arts, or any diploma that doesn’t come immediately wrapped in a pay envelope.  Maybe we should carry this a bit further and start asking questions about “is an elementary school education worth it?”

If the only purpose of education is to provide a direct path to the cubicle, so we can get a car loan, a mortgage, and start consuming, then why not just eliminate ALL the fluff and get right down to what our corporate overlords want.

Most of the business books I’ve read have been written at about the 8th grade level, so reading can stop there.  You’ll really only need enough language skills to parrot what your boss says and reply to emails without too many misspellings.

As for math, we can wrap accounting and statistics into a package so that by the time they are sophomores in high school students can get their Six Sigma Black Belt and be up to speed on process control, flowcharts, and all that.

No need for art or music, since you’ll just be spending the rest of your life looking at beige carpeting and wallpaper, and listening to whatever is piped into the conference room.

This way, by the time you are about 15 years old, you can be out there earning your way, with all the skills that our business “leaders” say they need in good employees.

And you’ll work cheap, because you’re probably still living at home and don’t have too many expenses other than video games and the occasional movie.

The part that scares me the most about this scenario is that I think there are certain people I could mention this plan to that wouldn’t see the sarcasm.  And a lot of them are in corner offices.

Because the last thing they want are a lot of squishy-headed liberal arts types thinking for themselves and being able to communicate the things they come up with to others.

Then how the hell are we gonna control ’em?

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Not Worth The Paper It’s Printed On

The little bit of news I care about I tend to get online.  I check the local newspaper website, of which I’m only allowed to see the “non-premium” content, like most newspapers these days.

I had a chance while waiting for someone yesterday to read an actual physical newspaper, and found I ain’t missing much.

In addition to the appendix and the platypus, there are two other things whose continued existence I don’t understand.  A printed daily paper, and the local TV evening newscast.

I know there are a lot of people who decry the loss of the printed page, and back when there was some level of professional journalism practiced, they have a point.  But I find the same sloppily written stories in print I find online.  And I find them two days later.

My local newscasters still like to put out “teasers” on stories to keep you viewing to the end of their boring broadcast.  The bulk of their content is pulled from online.  Do they really expect me to sit patiently for them to reveal something to me that has been viral on Youtube for a week?

If you tune into CSPAN or public television you’ll see a lot of boring round-table discussions on “the state of journalism today” and the “role of the newspaper”.  Usually these are peopled with laid-off journalists and professors who are trying to keep their name alive so they can sell the book they wrote – boring books on past events that nobody cares about anymore.

I’m not sure why the electron killed journalism.  Because it’s not the delivery method that constitutes reporting and good writing.  I have reason to believe that interesting stories were told on papyrus.  TV didn’t kill the newspapers.  Successful newspapers adapted to deliver more in-depth coverage than television sound bites could deliver.

But with the greatest communications tools in the history of mankind at our disposal, suddenly we are supposed to feel sorry for the established media.  Instead, it should be a journalist’s heyday.

Because what you are NOT going to hear on those boring round-table discussions is “we didn’t get it.  We had a monopoly on information, and expense accounts, and we were comfy.”  It is the gatekeeper role that has become obsolete.

Which to me, is exciting.  I think the only thing more exciting is seeing the established “entertainment”  industry going through the same disruption.

It’s a good time to be alive!