This is about public education and I promise you, however concise, it will be dark and full of thunderclouds. Stop reading now if you have a weak stomach.
In the last ten years, I’ve seen people become hyper obsessed with celebrities to the point where it becomes all consuming and these people no longer resemble your friends -- and if you’ve ever lived in Los Angeles or Hollywood proper – then you probably know exactly what I mean. The sad truth is that it’s this way all over the place. I see pictures of people from all corners of the globe and all walks of life and can’t help but notice how much celebrity emulation and name-brand frontery goes on. It’s so pervasive it’s actually lame for me to even mention it. But I will, because my point is to the main, as my favourite man in black once stated.
I’ve spent a lot of mental time recently crunching information regarding student loans, tuition, the cost of education, the quality of education … and all that it entails. A few years back when I was in school, all one had to do is sign your name and it was done. The devil would silently take his piece from you, smile and let you mortgage yourself and your education to the hilt. I make no bones about my financial state. I’m about 60K under water with my student loans. I took classes for two years at the University of Alaska, Anchorage and racked up about 15K. I took classes at DeVry and racked up about 30K in debt. At $470 a unit it wasn’t hard. Looking back, I should’ve known better – but again with this recurring lack of a director theme in my life – nobody advised me, nobody told me, no one had my damn back, mistakes like these are all too easy to fall into.
Later, I racked up another $20K at ITT and all of it remains unpaid. I’m incredibly adept at computer languages, programming and electronics but I do not work in those fields and it was difficult securing work in that field at the time. I did do some work for the City of Los Angeles in the previous life, but nothing to brag about. I now work in an entirely different field producing a translatable export that makes more money over time, but little up front. I have years of working before I can even begin to think about breathing again. Did my education I financed work out for me? The jury is still out, but financially – no. I was always an ‘A’ student, whatever that means, but I couldn’t land work in those fields if I tried, lied or pried with a tire-iron.
No, it’s just not the same anymore. Good luck on even securing a minor loan for school – regardless of credit history. Most of the banks have silently pulled out of the student loan business unless you have collateral. The last time I checked most teenagers heading off to college do so for the express reason that they have no collateral to begin with. Schools are becoming much more competitive than ever before and ‘woe to you’ who doesn’t maintain a grade point average in the mid to high threes. Every one else will be ‘stomped out’ as the saying goes, and if you don’t get stomped out, good luck come registration time. Schools will soon only retain the students that are valued and performers. Think it’s not that bad? Think what I’m saying is not a reality? Think again and just do a minor amount of reading on the state of The Department of Education, The State of California or the availability of student loans. It’s quite tragic.
How does this connect to celebs? Well, I’ll get right to it. In the past, student loans, grants and scholarships were things that came to exist because of the good will of people that were extremely wealthy and had the money to invest in public education. The Rockefeller’s made an enormous amount of money available to graduates back in the sixties, seventies and eighties and thus we now have entire generations that have benefitted from a solid public, non-private education. Can anybody tell me how many U2, Green Day, Jay-Z, Madonna, Tom Cruise scholarships or financial awards there are for the average person to apply for and obtain to help them through college? I would wager zero to slim -- and slim split during the last crisis for the Mediterranean coast. Most of these celebs make billions, have a ‘revenue stream’, make endless appearances and even talk big regarding political action but most probably have done little to nothing for today’s emerging youth trying to find and finance an education. Yeah, just don’t even think about a grant. That would be a luxury.
I came to this feeling recently when I was digesting a little more information about the planet’s so-called biggest rock band shifting monies to evade taxes owed to their island nation that they had once said they were loyal to so many times. It speaks volumes when everyone is just in it for themselves and those that have the power to help those around them do not, will not, or only pay cheap lip service.
It’s not a popular cause to support education or help people become more productive on the whole. No. We must travel to some far away corner of the globe and point the finger and say: “Look! People are going without! We must send these people millions of dollars to save them!” Most of this money is donated in good faith by honest taxpayers, which is then squandered and the intended recipients never receive due to corrupt governments, barter systems in place that take a ‘fair share’ or unstable populations infected by endless war.
Making a business and exploiting the middle and lower classes will always be the norm it seems, and here we go -- one more time -- into another decade of making it difficult, to damn near impossible, for the youth to emerge and get ahead. Add in a few ‘pay-day loans’ at 400% and you might as well call it a day.
Dark enough for you? Sorry. I warned you at the beginning and told you so. These are bloody dangerous times we live in now and without money changing hands for the right reasons, it’s only going to get worse. With the failing state of education and the lack of choices for students in school, it doesn’t look good. In fact, it looks downright bleak.
People should stop throwing their hard earned cash at celebrities and do what ever they can to hold on to it and not support these fools. I once got in a spot of trouble for being one of those people Metallica were incensed at for distributing mp3’s of their work over the internet; I should’ve doubled my efforts back then instead of shutting down my servers. I framed my cease-and-desist letter back then, but it now sits in a box in my garage, because it’s about as tired as Metallica is. People should also stop trying to visually imitate celebrities, too, because they just don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves and are not role models, especially the ones who sell themselves as such.
When these people who make millions off the under-classes, start giving back and investing in the people that support them instead of some intangible and unworkable scheme, maybe then and only then, should we give them a moment of our time; something that we do have in abundance. As it stands now, the educational system in the United States is not just broken but a forgotten pile of ashes. If nobody steps up to fix it, more will be lost than just arbitrary celeb du jour role models.
See you at the library ... good luck with accreditation though ...