Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Economic Grudge

I'm starting to get concerned. I mean, I know I'm getting older and everything, but my students are really... young. And I don't mean just chronologically young, although they are seeming, for my commuter university, to be more and more traditional (read: 18).

This semester in particular, they are just so... uninteresting! And I know I have no art students this semester, so that dampens things a titch, but still, there are usually a handful of the regular looking kids who have some spunk and dynamism. But no. This new crop of kids seems to have NO breadth of life experience, nothing to say, and no particularly obvious desire to grow, broaden, or mature. They have no spirit - no rebellion in them. Geez. They are SO white-bread bland. Seriously!

Is it the educational system? Are we just blandifying everyone? Is it too much passive receptiveness to tv, and other media? Is it too much State Fair food? Is it their parents? Who ARE their parents anyway? Are they THAT much more conservative? Is it Indiana? Is it the red-state-ness? What has benumbed our teenagers?! And why are they so dang complacent about it?!

Also: they are pitifully read. Meaning, they haven't read ANYTHING worthwhile in school. Or on their own, either. Except maybe _Harry Potter_. Their knowledge base is just frighteningly narrow.

The other day, we were reading a Billy Collins poem that contained an allusion to that old saying about angels dancing on the head of a pin. You know it, right? How many?

Well, these kids had NEVER heard that before, in any context whatsoever. THEN, when I tried to compare it (as a philosophical question) to the tree-falling-in-forest-does-it-make-a-sound dealie, they had never heard of that EITHER!!! What the...?! Why don't they know these? Total blank stares. No clue.

So there's that, and then there are these, like, 24 year old moms with three little kids I keep seeing at the playgrounds who chat about homeschooling, using ridiculously poor grammar in the process, mind you, who then climb into their GIANT SUVs and tool home to their ginormous McMansions in the brand new beige neighborhoods in the exclusive suburbs on the North side. What is with these Nascar-loving, mega-church attending, sketchily-educated, red-state conservative, ludicrously YOUNG couples? HOW do they have so much freaking MONEY? Where are they working? Well, the women aren't working, so what the freak are the sole bread-winner men doing that they are making enough money to finance the elephantine automobiles and brand new 4 bedroom houses? Is there some secret network that is financing the growth and abundance of these people?

I seriously do not get it. My husband and I are riDIculously super-educated, and we are originally from nice, upper-middle class, professional homes (I'm ignoring the dysfunction for a moment because it's irrelevant to this discussion), but we can BARELY make ends meet. We live in a teeny little house in a marginal neighborhood, and sometimes it's a struggle to get gas, milk, and bread. I know I don't work, but NEITHER DO THOSE BE-PERMED, HOMESCHOOLING WOMEN! AND THEY CAN'T EVEN SPEAK PROPERLY!!!

What is going on? And it's not just us. My well-educated brothers and their wives are in only a slightly larger boat than we are, and it's because both spouses work.

I see my bland, uninspired students and the WAY young, narrow-minded, beige neighborhood McMansionites as somehow related. But I'm not sure how. I don't have all the pieces yet.

I think it's some kind of vast, bland-wing conspiracy.


Blogger yucaree said...

hi grudge girl! since you were kind enough to read my blog, i've come to read yours ... and i love this post because it's SO true! i don't live in indiana, but there seems to be something really wrong with a lot of people who have money; i really see it around where i live in southern california.

my husband and i are well-educated but we just seem to be getting by as well. i'd love to give my kid more opportunities but i know i won't be able to. i guess i just have to get creative and expose him to as much as possible for as little money as possible.

as a side note, i see that you read a lot of the same children's lit (including picture books) as i do. i definitely like seeing other "grown ups" who are into kids lit. read on, sister!

p.s. i usually don't talk politics, but i despise bush, too. oy, what a moron.

5:34 PM  

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