language, overly helpful people, rants

Hey Digga!

Here comes another one of my rants about overly sensitive language cops. It comes this morning as my friend from my hometown shared a news article about a professor at the University of Southern California, who went viral for teaching about pause or filler words in China and using a word that sounded a lot like the n-bomb.

Professor Greg Patton, who teaches communications, was talking about the Chinese equivalent of “err” and “um”, you know, what we in English speaking countries say as we’re thinking about the next thing we’re going to say, but we don’t want “dead air”. It turns out that in Chinese, the “filler” language akin to our “ums” and “errs” is the Chinese word for “that”, which is evidently “na-ge”. And spoken out loud, “na-ge” sounds a bit like the taboo n-bomb.

Naturally, someone was filming the professor, and the footage made it to the Internet. Several students complained to Geoffrey Garrett, dean of the University of Southern California. And now, Professor Patton is no longer teaching the course. According to the article, Patton voluntarily stepped away, as Garrett stated:

“It is simply unacceptable for the faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students,”

News of the debacle reached China, where native speakers posted on social media that the backlash was discriminatory toward speakers of Chinese. Interestingly enough, I have another friend who lived in China for awhile and she frequently told me about how racist their society is. In fact, in the Toytown Germany thread I reference later in this post, someone wrote this:

Silly and sad, just shows you how people are tripping over themselves to show how not a racist! they are. Big smiiiiiiles, eeeeeeveryone’s happy, no one’s racist here, nosirreee… All a little different from actually not being racist.

As an aside, China is an objectively far more racist society. Pot, kettle, black. The Chinese government knows full well what resonates in foreign media for political effect. Their diplomats will criticize America’s racism, while within China, Africans are called chocolate or monkeys and many restaurants or hotels forbid entry. Not to mention the current Uyghur concentration camps. There are no self-reflective large anti-racism movements.

A few months back, veteran Canadian news reporter Wendy Mesley for the CBC (like the BBC) got in deep doodoo for betraying her secret racism. While in a conference room with producers (apparently none Black?), discussing a specific episode of her show and how they should cover BLM protests and racial issues, she said that word while discussing how they should refer to this work here. It’s the title. The discussion was about that and she said the title. She was (temporarily?) removed as host and issued an apology, etc. Confession and repentance, 50 Hail Marys and 50 Our Fathers.

Obviously the word shouldn’t be used, but it’s hard to see what this kind of official censure for using it in (closed door) academic/historical contexts achieves. The reporter is known for her progressive liberal stances. Of course, CBC as a state broadcaster had to do something… 

My reaction to this? Big sigh. I have already written more than once about my strong aversion to burying language and banning words, particularly when they are words that only sound like offensive words. I am also extremely irritated when people don’t have their facts straight and attempt to ban words based on untruths. But, most of all, it disappoints and offends me that people who attend a prestigious school like the University of Southern California are not intelligent enough to understand the difference between someone deliberately being hurtful by using clearly derogatory and racist language, and a professor who is actually trying to educate them about another culture and language.

Seriously? My opinion of the California USC (as opposed to the “original” USC, my alma mater, the University of South Carolina), has now dropped considerably. With all of the other crap going on right now, one would hope a famous and storied school like USC, where parents are going to prison and paying fines for cheating their kids’ ways past the admissions office, could rise above something as petty as this without it making the news. I certainly don’t think a man’s livelihood should be threatened over this incident. And it should not be international news, either!

What the hell are colleges and universities for if there can’t be a free exchange of ideas without people getting offended? Colleges and universities are supposed to be places where ideas can be born and hashed out, and language can be used in an instructional way. Professor Patton was not trying to be offensive. He was trying to educate! That’s his job!

You might be wondering about the title of this post. It comes from a recent thread on a Web site called Toytown Germany, which I joined in 2008, when we lived in Germany the first time (pre-Facebook days). I still hang out on Toytown Germany on occasion, as it’s a very useful source of information about living in Germany and the information isn’t strictly for the U.S. military affiliated population. That site has many people on it from all around the world, including Germans. The one thing they have in common is the ability to speak English.

Anyway, recently, a woman who teaches in a German school started a post about the German slang word “digga” and how she finds it offensive. The original poster teaches in an inner city school in Cologne. She’s a native English speaker from an “ethnic minority background” and she writes that she doesn’t generally try to prevent her students from using slang. However, she tried to draw the line at the word “digga”, because it sounded a lot like the n-bomb and she felt her students were using the word in a derogatory way. Clearly, it was triggering her a lot.

“Digga” is a word that originated near Hamburg. It’s basically akin to the English slang terms, “dude” or “bro”. She wrote:

I banned the word ‘digga’ in my class and I told the students that they should be ashamed to be using such language whilst considering themselves anti-racist and progressive. Now I have had a bit of pushback from a few parents who say I shouldn’t stop kids from using their German language slang.

I have had to bite my own tongue and hold back. I think  parents need to listen to the music their kids are listening to, they need to pay attention to the media their kids are consuming but most are quite naive or really don’t want to know.

This lady also got quite a pushback in Toytown Germany, which isn’t surprising. That forum is not exactly “politically correct” and people will not hesitate to tell off anyone who comes off as ignorant. Many people told the teacher she was wrong to ban the word “digga”, as it is not a racist epithet. This was the first of many comments she got:

digga comes from “dicker” (a kind of fond way of addressing someone who is your friend, and it also has nothing to do with them actually being fat), it has no associations to nigga whatsoever and I agree with the parents that you are overreacting as well as overreaching.  It is also not a new phenomenon, has been popular at least as long as I have lived here although back in the early 2000s it seemed like more of a Hamburg thing that kind of made its way over.

In any case it really has nothing to do with nigga.  

One person was sympathetic to the teacher’s plight and wrote this:

Verbal violence is a form of abuse and precursor to other violence. It all starts somewhere. Sigh. Fighting it is an uphill battle. Letting slip leads to the abnormal becoming normalised. Saying nothing condones this undesirable behaviour. This possibly escapes the attention of the parents. However, their and your energy is limited and you have to choose how to use it. The insider connoisseurs claim the expression is harmless… but you see it in context. You don’t have an easy job!

Okay, but words are always evolving. I can think of a half dozen of them right off the bat that once were totally innocuous and later turned into insults that need to be banned. The word “faggot”, as well as its abbreviated form “fag”, for instance, has a few meanings, only one of which is derogatory. And yet if you say that word in certain places, you will face a huge backlash.

Ditto for the word “retard”, which is a perfectly innocent word with forms that are used in many languages. In fact, we heard it correctly used in France and Italy– it had to do with the train schedules. But now it’s pretty much banned in the United States.

It seems to me that we focus way too much on words and not nearly enough on attitudes and context. Instead of banning words and firing hapless professors who use certain words in their classes, we should take a moment to consider the context. Was the professor trying to be hurtful when he used that word? Was the professor being oppressive? In the case involving the USC professor, I don’t think so. In the case involving the teacher in Germany, I would argue that trying to impose the standards of one’s own language and homeland to people from another country is overreaching.

Banning words or making them taboo doesn’t change negative attitudes. A person can be racist and never drop the n-bomb. A person can be non-racist and use the n-bomb in an instructive way. Think it can’t be done? Try reading a slave narrative and banning that word. Try listening to certain musical selections where it’s referenced. “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder immediately comes to mind, as it has in my previous rants about this topic.

To the teacher’s credit, she did come back and thank everyone for setting her straight. Ultimately, she was looking for clarification and the right way to handle this situation, even taking into account that she has an “obvious walking disability” and is a person from “an ethnic minority background”. The thread continued for several pages and was revived when the news came out about the professor at the University of Southern California.

Again, I reference what Dean Geoffrey Garrett said in response to the uproar about the Chinese filler speech that sounds like the n-bomb…

“It is simply unacceptable for the faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students,”

Wow. So he’s very concerned about the “psychological safety” of students in a world where they have been regularly threatened by school shooters, terrorists, cops who kill innocent people, and deadly rogue viruses like COVID-19? I mean… people are getting killed or dying by the day in the United States, sometimes while just sleeping in their own beds! And he’s worried that his students will be permanently scarred by the Chinese word “na-ge”, which just happens to sound like the n-bomb, an English slur? Seems to me that the dean needs to gain a global perspective and stop being so politically correct. Don’t be so open-minded that your brain falls out. That’s my motto.

Right now, many people are focused on simple SURVIVAL. The people who are lucky enough to attend the University of Southern California ought to know the difference between someone being hateful and derogatory toward a group of people and someone who is talking about another culture with another language. They need to grow up and wise up. In the vast majority of cases, if they’re at USC, they obviously have had a lot of things go right in their lives.

They’re in a class where they’re learning about something that most people would never have the opportunity to study because they’re too busy learning skills that will keep them alive and able to pay their bills! They are probably the last people who need to be up in arms over a professor teaching them about Chinese filler words that happen to sound like a racist epithet in some parts of the world. And if they’re offended in the classroom in California, God help them if they go to China and actually hear Chinese people saying “Na-ge” over and over again. There will be many special snowflake meltdowns!

Jeez!

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Trump

The stupid is STRONG…

I came across this post this morning. Feast your eyes.

This was written by a guy named Ron… He’s quite the Trumper.

This guy’s post has gone viral. You’d think it would have gone viral because it’s so full of ridiculous bullshit. But no… I see by the comments on his original post that many people agree with his point of view. The few brave souls who commented on this post are being shot down by folks who claim that liberals are “sheep”.

I have mentioned before that I occasionally used to vote Republican. More often than not, I voted third party, because I think both major political parties are corrupt and we need more than two realistic choices for a job as important as POTUS. This year, I plan to vote straight blue on everything, mainly because I’m pissed off and absolutely flabbergasted by the never ending shitshow that happens daily as Donald Trump does his level best to deflect blame and screw over people. But– I do understand the conservative viewpoint and there was a time when it made sense to me… mainly before I got out of the United States and started experiencing the way other people around the world live. So I know that not all Republicans are evil, corrupt, or selfish. A lot of them just don’t know better than what they see locally.

I still don’t get the foolish and dogged devotion people have for Trump. He’s completely incompetent and immoral, and he never takes responsibility for the things he does. You want to be a conservative? Okay. But WHY SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP? There has GOT to be a better person for the job– someone with actual conservative values, yet a level head, a mind for service, and a heart for the people. Donald Trump is a sociopathic scumbag who gleefully abuses and rips off anyone who allows him the opportunity.

COVID-19 is NOT a joke. This is NOT the first time we have had a pandemic sweep the planet. How people can assume this is a plot by a foreign government to destroy the United States is completely beyond my comprehension. People around the WORLD are dying from this virus. I have a college friend whose sister– a woman my age– is on a ventilator fighting for her life because she got sick with COVID-19. Even if this was a Chinese plot– and I really don’t think it is– why would the Chinese government sacrifice their own people?

Seriously…

And Ron seems to be worried about money, first and foremost. He’s all about the economy, and worried about it failing. But the economy is driven by people, and people are DYING from this virus. How can he call Democrats demonic when Republicans are more worried about lining their pockets than saving lives…. oh, except for the pro-life crowd, who will save a pre-born fetus at all costs, but won’t do jack shit for people who have already been born?

Yesterday, I ran across an exciting article about Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam. Northam is a Democrat, and prior to being the governor of my home state, he was a pediatric neurologist. My former shrink– a psychologist by training– had many consults with Dr. Northam. He said Dr. Northam is a first rate physician. My therapist was a first rate psychologist and he helped me immensely. It’s been sixteen years since our last session, so we’re now friends. I see what a kind and generous person my ex shrink is, and based on Northam’s ability to sign off on so many progressive and sensible new laws, I can see why my ex shrink respects the governor so much.

But… as many people know, even Governor Northam has had his issues. Last year, here was a scandal raised because, back in the 1980s, when Northam was in medical school, he was photographed in blackface for his medical school yearbook. Someone commented on the article I read that he didn’t understand how Northam “gets a pass” for his “racist history”. It’s true that after a big splash in the news, the furore over Northam’s blackface scandal seemed to have suddenly dissipated.

My response is that Governor Northam did something stupid in 1984– 36 years ago. He was less than half the age he is now. He grew up, got wiser, and learned from his mistakes. Yes, he got a beating in the press about the blackface photo. It’s embarrassing that Virginia’s governor did that in the 80s, although in fairness to Northam, people were generally less politically correct back in those days. What Northam did was insulting and racist, but he realized that he did wrong, learned from it, and came back better. Since then, he’s sincerely apologized and taken responsibility for what he did in the past, and he’s done a lot of good for MANY people– especially people who are generally otherwise marginalized. That’s not even considering the many young patients he helped when he practiced medicine.

Trump, by contrast, hasn’t done anything but embarrass intelligent people, and embolden the stupid and cruel. Why do people like Ron, a Marine, continue to cheer on Donald Trump? Cognitive dissonance is a real thing, and it’s scary. I looked up Ron’s profile, and he claims to have a master’s degree from a respected university, and yet he’s vomiting up this nonsensical drivel on his social media page.

I don’t know Ron, but I am related to people who think like him and are hellbent on defending Trump’s bullshit. I don’t understand how decent people can defend Trump. I suspect it has to do with fear, and the worry that other people will start to get a fair shot. For all of their talk about freedom and personal liberties, Republicans don’t seem interested in extending those liberties to everyone. I am not naive enough to believe that there isn’t any corruption in the Democratic Party, but I do think that, on the whole, they are more compassionate and fairer than the Republicans are. At least in this day and age, they are.

And as much as I believe in people voting their conscience and supporting their own political ideals, I am really fighting the urge to tell people like Ron to go fuck themselves. Really. If you want to be Republican and support someone who is not a fucking tool, fine. But anyone who still supports Donald Trump’s bullshit is complicit in the madness that has overtaken the country and spilled over into the rest of the world. What we need to do is work together to get things back to some semblance of normalcy. Instead, we have an orange turd who throws temper tantrums on TV, shuts up or fires people who are smarter than he is, and makes false (thank GOD) claims that he has total power. People who continue to vote for that are, in my mind, definitely STUPID. And the stupid is super strong.

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politicians, politics, Trump

Kacey Musgraves exercises her right to free speech. Trump supporters lose their damned minds.

I’ve had kind of a rough morning. Arran woke us up at about 4:00am by puking all over the bed. It’s now 8:37am, and I’m still not quite done washing the bedding. I decided to wash everything, though, since the mess– mostly stinky smelling watery fluid– was turning my stomach. Indeed, I sympathy retched along with Arran. So now I’m tired and cranky, and a little hungry and worried. Arran seems fine now, though.

This morning, I noticed a news article about Kacey Musgraves on my Google homepage. I don’t follow Kacey Musgraves. I think I saw her on DCC: Making the Team a couple of years ago. I’ve heard she’s a popular country singer, and apparently, she doesn’t like Donald Trump. In my view, that makes her more intelligent than the average country music fan. I certainly wouldn’t fault her for it. In fact, I don’t really go to celebrities for my politics, although I am getting to a point at which I think most Trump supporters are willfully ignorant, at best.

Kacey Musgraves talks to the DCC. They’re so image conscious, though, that I doubt they’ll have her back after this…

So anyway, in that very modern method of connecting with the people, Kacey Musgraves vented on Instagram about Trump, after Trump tweeted:

What a moronic fuckhead Trump is… This is NOT the way a leader should be behaving during a worldwide crisis!

Exercising her First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression, Musgraves posted on Instagram– “Donald Trump is a fucking tool!”

Naturally, this comment made a bunch of people melt down. Many folks compared her to the Dixie Chicks, whose music was boycotted back in 2003 when lead singer Natalie Maines criticized then President George W. Bush at a show they were doing in London. I remember when that happened… and boy, what I wouldn’t give to have W. in office now. Compared to Trump, he’s a fucking genius! Of course, I’d actually rather have someone other than W. as president, but my point is that for all the criticism George Bush got back in the day, he’s still a hell of a lot better than Trump is.

So anyway, lots of people are now saying on Facebook that Kacey Musgraves can expect a similarly swift rejection by country music fans, many of whom are Trump supporters. Some of them– family values loving Christians, I presume– are being pretty profane about it. Personally, I don’t understand this reaction from Trumpers. Aren’t they all about personal freedoms and small government? One especially vitriolic guy who looks like he’s dwelling in his mother’s basement and breathing from his mouth referred to Ms. Musgraves as an “entitled little b*****”.” (the asterisks were his– I don’t understand why he used them, since it’s obvious what his sentiments are.) I’ll bet the floor around his computer is sticky.

A screenshot of one of the photos of “Trump” (Alec Baldwin) that appeared in that thread.

The same guy went on to complain, “She just think [sic] she’s all that I was rolling her eyes and making faces what other country stars are doing their thing she just thinks the universe revolves around her. Snobby little pain in the A**!!!!” Um… my guess is that Kacey could buy and sell this dude and he’s jealous because she’s younger, more attractive, and wealthier… and people care what she thinks and says.

Another mentally gigantic person– male, of course– wrote this: Oh ,kacey made some money now she’s going to start calling our President names and loosing her fan base , completely ignorant to make the kind of money she is for being a ok singer ,but now wants to start badmouthing our President, that’s just stupid. She will find out [sic]

As usual, I’m left shaking my head at the worshipful attitude some people have toward Trump. They like him because he’s plain spoken and speaks up for them… however, he doesn’t do anything that would benefit them. He’s not interested in anyone but himself. He might have some regard for people who can do something for him, but as soon as a person no longer has any value, he dumps them.

One woman wrote this: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. That’s what I hear when you open your mouth. You are a miserable person and it shows all over you. You will never have the class that the other women in country music have.

Class, huh? At least Kacey keeps her clothes on for the camera, which is more than I can say for Mrs. Trump. And Kacey probably doesn’t try to grab anyone by the genitals because “she’s a star”. Seriously… do these people not pay any attention to what Trump actually says and does? There must be some serious cognitive dissonance going on with some of these folks. They act like Trump is this God fearing Christlike man, but in reality, he’s a liar, cheater, thug, and abuser. He’s as indecent as they come. He doesn’t care about Christ or his teachings. He worships money and pussy… probably in that order, followed by Big Macs and golf clubs.

Another highbrow image from that exploding thread…

I still don’t know much about Kacey Musgraves. I don’t regularly listen to her music. I might like her music if I did choose to listen, and since she has expressed herself in a way that has gotten my attention, maybe I’ll make a point of listening to a few of her songs. The fact that she thinks Trump is a fucking tool just elevates her in my mind. But above all else, she’s an American and she has the rights to her opinions, freedom of expression, and freedom of choice. Stop listening to her if you want to. You have the right to choose, too. But I wouldn’t worry too much about what’s going to happen to her career. Like Natalie Maines and the rest of the Dixie Chicks, Kacey Musgraves has talent and many people don’t give a shit about what she puts on Instagram.

And for those who think the Dixie Chicks’ careers were “ruined” by their comments about Bush, I suggest taking a look at what the Chicks are doing these days. You might be surprised. They have talent and a base that includes more than Trump supporting mental midgets who only believe in freedom for certain people who share their myopic views. America is supposed to be the land of the free… more people need to act like it. Artists, writers, and musicians must especially enjoy the right to express themselves. Years from now, people will be looking at their creative expressions to grasp what these times were like for us.

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politics, stupid people

Rabid Trump supporters convinced the coronavirus is a scheme hatched by liberals…

Good morning, all. So begins a new day in this new, fucked up world we’re living in today. I read a couple of ridiculous stories about how infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been getting death threats. Why? Because certain brain dead right wing pundits are convinced that Fauci is behind a plot to get Donald Trump kicked out of the White House. He’s been targeted by these mental midgets. They’ve sent him death threats, prompting the government to enhance Fauci’s security. At the other end of the spectrum, Fauci has also gotten disturbing communications from ardent admirers, which is also a problem that merits more protection from the nuts among us.

When I first read about these wingnuts spreading vitriol against Fauci, I just shook my head at the sheer stupidity and arrogance. Some extreme Trump supporters think that liberals are so desperate to get Trump ousted from office that they’d stop at nothing, including launching a coronavirus plague! And I just have to wonder, do these folks even see beyond the two feet in front of them? The coronavirus is a worldwide problem. It’s affecting people ALL OVER THE GLOBE! I know the United States is a big world power, but it’s certainly not the only country. PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ARE DYING FROM THIS VIRUS! Why would its spread be only about American politics and dismantling Trump’s “leadership”? What an arrogant viewpoint!

I do think the coronavirus could ultimately be Trump’s undoing, if United States citizens do, in fact, still get an election in November, and enough of them wise up and vote him out. Although I have read that some “independent” voters think Trump has handled this crisis with aplomb, a lot more people seem to think it’s time we got someone competent and compassionate in the White House. However, it’s plain that there are also a lot of scary people out there who think Trump was sent to us by God. They ignore his disgusting behavior and the vile things he says and praise him as if he was an actual representative of the Almighty.

I don’t understand this thinking. I can’t fathom where it comes from. I mean, I have an idea, since my people are from hillbilly country themselves. I grew up in a conservative county in Virginia and I know a lot of white people are desperate to stay on top. They see Trump as someone who can guarantee that they stay in power. They want at least four more years of his “leadership”. And when he finally dies, they’ll want someone just as bigoted and patriarchal to take his place. Strangely enough, I know a lot of these folks think America is “great” because it’s so “free”. But they don’t want to play fair, and they want to force their extreme, white supremacist, “Christian” ideologies on the American public.

On the other hand… maybe it’s the Russians who are doing this. Maybe they are planting disinformation so that they United States is destabilized and they can be in power. Having met Russians when I was in Armenia, I’d rather not think this way… but then, I suppose it’s fair to remember that just like the United States, Russia is full of people, and they don’t all think or behave in the same way. I already know that a lot of rabid Trump supporters are closed-minded and not the deepest of thinkers. It would probably be easy for Russian trolls to get them to believe that the coronavirus is a liberal ploy to rid the world of Trump and his ilk. And because they aren’t deep thinkers and can’t see beyond themselves, they think undermining Trump is dangerous to their way of life, which they seem to want to foist on everyone else. These folks are not people who believe in science. They are religious nuts who believe in sky daddies and think that white Christian people should rule the world.

Anyway… count me among those who believe in Fauci and his vast expertise. Fauci has more than proven his capabilities, having been a world leader in studying infectious diseases since 1984. He graduated number one in his medical school class at Cornell University. I’m glad to see that even Trump is finally listening to someone competent. Maybe even Trump realizes that if he doesn’t put his faith in someone who knows what they’re doing, he’ll have a lot of blood on his hands.

Trump took much too long to respond to this crisis. He really fucked up. And frankly, I pray that it will be the thing that removes him from office before he does even more damage. However, the coronavirus is a real thing, and people should listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts. They know what they’re doing; it’s their life’s work to study diseases. The coronavirus is a real threat. People are dying of this disease. He may be one of the few people who can save us from Trump’s idiocy. People are upset because Dr. Fauci facepalmed as he listened to Trump’s moronic comments? Hell, many of us facepalm daily as we watch the country we all knew and loved turning into a macabre three ring shitshow, complete with deadly clowns and a president who reminds me more and more of Chucky.

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Ex, stupid people

Some men are really threatened…

This morning, as I was enjoying the pancakes Mr. Bill made us for breakfast, I happened to see a post in the Duggar Family News group about The Transformed Wife– aka: Lori Alexander. It was about how Melania Trump is the “best” first lady because she keeps her opinions to herself and is a good “help meet”.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to Lori Alexander, who preaches incessantly about how women belong at home, raising babies and baking cookies, rather than working or studying at a university. Lori Alexander is, at best, a hypocrite. Obviously, she thinks it’s okay to share HER opinions with the masses via Facebook and YouTube. But it’s not okay for a first lady to speak out about anything. Of course, Melania Trump did some rather powerful non-verbal communicating when she posed nude… and when she wore her infamous jacket that read “I really don’t care. Do u?”

I decided that I wanted to see what Lori’s followers had to say about her post. The people in the Duggar Family News group are pretty much against Lori and her ilk. But before I had a chance to find the post about Melania Trump, I ran across this post:

To be fair, Lori didn’t write this; she just shared it.

Now… before I go any further, I want to state that I agree that not everyone needs to go to college. I also agree that it’s ludicrous to saddle young people with five figures worth of debt. However, although I ended up not using my education in the way I’d planned, I can’t say college or graduate school was a waste of time or money. I don’t think my degrees made me “dumber”, either. I got a lot of value out of both of my university experiences.

I am immensely grateful that we were able to pay for my education and I no longer have to worry about student loan debt. I don’t envy today’s young people, who are still mostly expected to earn degrees, but will have a harder time paying for them as the chasm between poverty and wealth continues to widen and the middle class disappears. When I think about how much money I borrowed for my education, I think I got a pretty good deal. I was very lucky, especially since that debt is now gone.

I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the comments on this thread, particularly from men who think like Lori does. Behold, the unedited comments below:

Men should attend a college to attain a degree that enables them to work. Women should make the house a home.

The first step, perhaps, is to remove Federal guarantees for student loans, and allow banks to discriminate based on the degree to be earned.  That, of course, will spoil gender equality in the outcome.

Universities/Collages don’t teach real education anymore and haven’t for a long time. They indoctrinate students with worldly teaching that only hurts the student, especially later in life, more than they help. Some are good, but the majority of the crap they teach are so ungodly it is dangerous. The kid doesn’t stand a chance, because the public school education is the same way. UNGODLY EVIL is taught in both school and collage. When they are teaching kids the garbage of homosexuality and that God makes mistakes and makes some a sex they were never supposed to be, like he’s an idiot or something, it will only harm kids more than it will help them in life.Truly pathetic. I am so glad that my sister Home schools.  But unfortunately, even seminaries don’t teach true biblical education much either. There was a report that came out a few years ago that stated some seminaries are teaching the bible as a theory and not a face. That is the saddest thing. It IS fact and they should be teaching it as such. It is truly sad how this country is going down the toilet. (ETA: Collages? Sounds like he made a lot of them in school.)

But the real beaut of a comment comes from a guy named Ben who wrote this tripe…

Sounds like he read Princeton Mom’s book and took it to heart… except he doesn’t think women should go to college at all, even to find a mate.

When a woman confronts Ben for his misogynistic opinions, he posts this:

This post was not for you, snowflake, move along.

Wow… what a dick. So then a woman named Mary confronts Ben, and he continues…

You mean someone was impregnated by this insulting shitgibbon? She must not have been very smart.

Unfortunately, I’ve run into a lot of men who are intimidated by smart women. It’s a very common attitude, particularly within the military. I can’t even express how many times people from the military community have given me shit over the name of my blog. Personally, I think the attitude that education isn’t worth pursuing and that smart women are unattractive really reveals a lot of insecurity and outright fear that some men have. They can’t stand the idea that a woman might be in charge at some point. And some men think the more educated a woman is, the less “feminine” and attractive she is:

I’m going for my PhD. It’s funny how so many women in my class are older and single. These women feel that they deserve an educated man but my male classmates and I feel that as educated men, we deserve someone younger and more feminine.

When I read these kinds of responses on Facebook, I feel even more grateful that I found a husband who values intelligence in a woman. His first wife was a high school dropout and finally finished college after about twenty years. I don’t know if the extra education helped make her a better person. I just know that her lack of education wasn’t a good thing when she and Bill were married. Ex isn’t a dumb person, per se, but she lacked a lot of sophistication, common sense, and basic knowledge. She and Bill would have been mismatched even if she weren’t narcissistic. They had vastly different interests and Bill is way more intellectual than she is. In fact, I think he’s more intellectual than I am. He’s definitely better read.

I suspect Ex was spurred to get her degree because she knew Bill had married someone who is educated, and she couldn’t stand that. Because suddenly, after many unsuccessful fits and starts with school, she was talking about getting a PhD… in education, of all things! I think the PhD dream was eventually overcome by events, but I heard she did evidently take a stab at graduate school. I don’t know if she finished or what she’s doing now. I don’t even think about her much anymore, since younger daughter finally started talking to Bill again.

Bill did look up his still estranged older daughter and was dismayed to see his ex wife posting, especially since he thought he’d had her blocked. It turns out that Ex now fancies herself a “public figure” and was apparently posting to her daughter’s Facebook page with her “public figure” account. Bill took a peek and noticed that Ex is now into sea glass and purports to be highly educated. Maybe she is. Maybe that education has improved her. I can’t see how it would hurt, unless she found new ways to be manipulative and cruel. Ex used to tell Bill that she was the smarter one and she should have been the one to have a degree. And she also claimed that she was offered a full scholarship to Rice University and had gotten into West Point. Both claims, I suspect, are 100% bullshit, especially since she blamed other people for the fact she wasn’t able to take advantage of those opportunities. It was her adoptive father’s “fault” for not paying for her room and board at Rice. As for West Point, I’m not sure what her excuse was there. I doubt she would have lasted five minutes on that campus.

It doesn’t necessarily take education to make someone intelligent. I’ve known a lot of really smart people who never went to college. I’ve also known stupid people with PhDs. I just think that higher education should be a choice for those who are capable of pursuing it and want to put forth the effort, and yes, that includes fields that other people think are “worthless” or “stupid”. I wonder if it ever occurs to the folks who disparage fields like gender studies, theater, or modern dance that those fields do provide jobs for some people. After all, someone has to teach those classes, right? And if we stop letting people study those fields, more people will be out of work.

I don’t think college is just about becoming employable. For me, it was a valuable rite of passage, and I left school with many wonderful friends, enlightening experiences, and more knowledge and maturity than I had when I started. Maybe I could have had similar experiences if I’d just taken a job in my hometown, but chances are good I’d still be living in that hometown if I’d taken that route. That was not where I wanted to spend my life.

I don’t regret going to college or graduate school. I’m sorry it’s so expensive in the United States. I think a lot of that has to do with the capitalistic mindset that so many people have in the U.S. Many people think that the more you spend on something, the more valuable it is. A lot of people think the United States has the best healthcare in the world. They’re surprised when they find out that the U.S., for all its spending on healthcare, actually has pretty poor healthcare outcomes when compared to countries like France and Italy. Likewise, a lot of people think spending more money for an education at a private school is better than going to a community college or a publicly supported school. In some cases, maybe it is better, but private universities often come with a much higher price tag unless a deal can be struck or scholarships are earned.

Count me among those who value higher education for everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a college education. There’s a lot to be said for trade school. I do think that everyone, male or female, should have skills that can be used in paid employment. Plenty of women planned to get married, have babies, and stay home to be “help meets” like Melania Trump (snicker), but then something happened to their marriage. There’s more than one way to get through life, but I think it’s best to prepare for disaster. I see becoming educated as a way of taking care of oneself… and I think it’s very foolish for women to opt out of preparing to be independent. And if some guy doesn’t think that’s “feminine” or “attractive”, then that’s a sign that he’s probably not someone whose DNA should be mingling with those who can get pregnant.

Yuck. Exhibit 1 of an untalented white man who is scared to death of an accomplished woman with a brain…

Anyway… I really think the core issue is that a lot of men– particularly white men– are afraid that women and people of color will eventually make them less relevant. And that scares the hell out of them. So they preach about how women should stay home and raise babies instead of using their minds. It’s pretty sad, if you ask me. Almost as sad as the above video. Gotta watch some Keb’ Mo’ to clear my mind…

That’s more like it.
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