All entries for October 2010
October 31, 2010
Just in case anyone tries to interpret this as at all anti-American, it’s not. There are lots of things I like about the US. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve had a great time (once I’ve got past the utter utter bastards who are always on the passport control) and there’s lots about American culture I like. But I like it at arms’ length, and I like to pick and choose.
There’s a movement in the UK though to mindlessly adopt US traditions. High school proms. Spelling. Using Americanisms (like “crib”, “sidewalk”, “elevator”, dropping the last syllable in “alternative” or “orientate”) rather than their UK e*uivalents. I’m not sure where it comes from, but it indicates a lack of confidence with our own national identity. I think it undermines it to some extent. And I don’t understand why people here hate being British so much. If these things were fun, if they made life better, than maybe that would be a good thing. But actually they just seem to make people’s lives more stressed.
It seems to be part of this “special relationship” between the countries changing from being a relationship of e*uals to being an owner and pet. It seemed to happen during the period Labour was in power, Blair being Bush’s lapdog and so on, and as a society our readiness to adopt whatever the Americans do uncritically indicates our approval of our government doing the same. It’s like a mandate to say, yeah, let’s just be a pale echo of everything going on over the other side of the Atlantic. Let’s be like them as much as possible, because they’re so much better than we are.
Basically, people who go trick or treating are the reason we’re at war with Ira*.
OK – that’s an exaggeration, but it was part of a rant I’d prepared if anyone did come begging with menaces for sweets. I thought they’d appreciate a scare. But no-one turned up, so I’ve let it loose here instead.
October 20, 2010
Writing about web page http://www.usafa82.org/spec_int/wit_wisdom/rules.htm
Getting late now so I’m just picking out the more erroneous of CJ Sykes’s “rules”.
_ 7. Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom._
You need to stay idealistic because the rainforest does need saving. And why the hell would there be lice in the closet? eeuggh. I’m beginning to suspect CJ is a republican and probably a climate change naysayer.
__ 9. Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to
Sure you only get 2 days as standard instead of two weeks but errm that’s what annual leave is for, d’oh. If you want to take an Easter Break, take it. Even the lowest clerical job I had had five weeks leave to go with it. My current one has eight. Plus in the real world you have the money to go somewhere neat for the two weeks, and you don’t have the anxiety of summer exams bearing down on you. And while we’re at it, if you not in a job that fosters your self-realisation, you really need to keep looking.
12. Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts._
Well no, smoking does look a bit idiotic when you know what damage it does, but actually purple hair and piercings look very cool. every adult knows this, but few will actually admit it because they’re too chickenshit to do it themselves and they just envy that the kids have the nerve too.
14. Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it as to be a kid. Maybe you should start now__
Again, crap. Life as an adult is far more fun and has less hassle. Sure there are bills, but if you;re not stupid about buying stuff, you can cover them. There’s more freedom, and no aggro with exams. There are pressures, but you’re used to handling them, so ultimately, less of a bother. I hope some kid who’s being read the riot act by some adult who’s read CJ’s book comes across this blog, so at least they can take some comfort in the fact that their parent is just trying to guilt trip them. CJ is just trying to be a buzzkill because he has issues.
Just checked CJ is a radio presenter and journalist. Funny .. I had him down as an economist or banker or something. Doesn’t sound like the kind of job where you’d encourage people to work for The Man, but maybe they do things differently in Milwaukee.
Writing about web page http://www.usafa82.org/spec_int/wit_wisdom/rules.htm
Occasionally I come across something that winds me up so much that I want to meet the author and start ranting at them. Obviously that’s usually a bit tricky, and is maybe a bit anti-social, so I let off a bit of steam here—and try to put the record straight.
The latest irritation is a guy called Charles J. Sykes since I came across his rules kids won’t learn in school. He’s based a book on his so-called rules. They’re a few years old now, but still need counteracting in case someone passes them on thinking they’re somehow insightful. I don’t know what’s wrong with CJ – he obviously had a way better time as a kid than anyone else I know and had a far worse a time, but his rules are nothing like reality.
1. Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase, “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids.
Well OK it isn’t fair, but you should never get used to it. Continue to rail against it and maybe there’s a chance you might make it a bit fairer.
2. The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain it’s not fair._
Bullshit. Most employers know that to get the most out of their employees you need to motivate them, and the best way to do that is boost their self-esteem. Most colleagues will reinforce the good stuff you do. In the real world you get treated with way more respect than you ever get as a kid.
_ 3. Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label._
So? Most kids I know are really happy to be earning anything at all. Move along CJ.
_ 4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait ‘til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.
The teachers I remember were way tougher than most of the bosses I know. Well, both had their fair share of psychos in the list, but as an adult you’re in a far better position to handle them and stand up to them. And every teacher knows that tenure is always very tenuous in reality.
5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word of burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain or Britney Speers all weekend._
I know people who work in McDs. They think it’s an opportunity too. But it’s not a great opportunity. There’s no embarassment in making minimum wage but it’s pretty reasonable to be unhappy about it. And I have never met anyone who would talk about Britney all weekend.