You're waiting for some caustic critique of the election, right? You want me to tear into one side or the other with my sarcastic, snarky wit 'til my target shuffles away muttering and crying. Sorry to disappoint but I don't find anything vaguely amusing about an election touted as the largest voter turnout in history......at a mere 75%. That means a quarter of the eligible voters in this country couldn't be bothered. Three out of four, as a batting average, is pretty darn good.....as a voting percentage, we should do better. Well, I guess cantankerous old fools like me always need something to complain about. (Revision on 11/17/20 for full transparency and accuracy here...The actual voter turnout was even less: 65.1%)
What I really wanted to talk about, though, was an article in the most recent Wired Magazine written by Paul Ford entitled "It's time to pick classes for the 2073 - 74 School Year." Being in the academic biz, the title intrigued me. So I dove in. Here's the opening paragraph:
"Welcome back to the e-Portal, [STUDENT]! We hope you enjoyed the summer protests and return ready to continue your learning journey under the guidance of our nine tenured professors and their 70,000 adjunctbots. We've used your current facial expression to select classes to match your mood. As always, we believe that education is key to an enlightened life and affirm that an advanced degree is critical to winning one of the non-inherited spots in the annual job assignment lottery and avoiding the National Service kelp camp draft. Good luck!"
Everything I hold dear about college and academic tradition is skewered in those first few sentences. Nine professors and 70,000 adjunctbots - check. Annual job assignment lottery - check. Facial expression recognition software to select classes to match your mood - Check. Ouch.
And here are the courses that our lucky student has to choose from in AY 73:
Millennial Gerontology, for all you whiny, snot-nosed brats who will finally get what's coming to you.
Beef Studies, because, by then, meat will be ancient history,
The Literature of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, you know the big swirling plastic island that's the size of Denmark? And its corollary course, Modern Construction Techniques which helps you build one of your "Tiny Houses" on the soon-to-be valuable real estate of the great plastic patch.
My personal fave is Underwater Basket Weaving because I always poked fun at college athletes who took easy courses like the fictitious Underwater Basket Weaving class. Who knew it would come in handy, especially in your Tiny House on the Great Pacific Plastic Garbage Patch.
And then there's this one, that cuts like a knife: Creative Writing. No longer offered; interested students should consider IP Franchise Development and Marketing. Double ouch.
Yes, Paul Ford has certainly nailed our academic hides to the wall, with one glaring mistake. He got the timing all wrong. Look for this - for better or worse - by 2040. 2045, tops.
And, as Paul Harvey says (google it, Millenials!) "...and here's the rest of the story."