February 13, 2017

Israel Daramola ghostwrote “Work.”

[Ed.- The country seems to be disintegrating at a remarkable pace. Every day brings a fresh deluge of horror. In Alternative Facts, Israel Daramola pauses for a second to look back and take stock of the previous week to ten days. There’s danger in retreating into a shell and letting it wash over you; it’s important to catalogue each new, impossible wrong.]

Try as many did to stop her, Betsy DeVos was able to buy her way into the Department of Education despite being incredibly unqualified. Rather than dwell on the shady means with which she nabbed the nomination or even on her war against public schools, I would like to take a moment to talk to you about the state of education in this country. In a lot of ways, DeVos’ nomination and the attempt to dissolve the Department of Education as a whole has been a long time in the making.

Education has been under attack in America for quite some time and, at a certain point, “education” became shorthand for “elitism.” It started with college, which made some sense, despite the opportunities a college education provides, it is still wholly unaffordable, and the growing student loan debt crisis has expanded the wealth gap in this country. College may be more accessible in a sense but it is still extremely exclusive; many Americans can’t afford it or have no desire to pursue it and the extremely elite college-educated politicians have found a way to capitalize on these people not by making the case for college or vowing to make it affordable but instead assuring them–the real Americans–that they were right and smart to stay. College is for the elitists point blank and you, middle America, are too real for it. Eventually this attitude trickled down from attitudes towards higher ed. to a total disinterest in education at all.

Monthly you can find information about a town or school curriculum trying to change the rules of how we educate our youth, whether it’s watering down history to make white people not look like monsters or including creationism as part of science. Our education system is in grave danger because it is no longer treated as something that matters. A few years ago, when there were teachers’ strikes happening in Chicago and the threat of more to come, it was met with general scoffing. Teaching wasn’t considered a real or particularly difficult job because teachers are given summers off–and that was just one of a litany of complaints. Teachers are some of the most disrespected people in the American workforce despite the task of molding young minds into productive, intelligent adults; we simply do not care.

Along with attacks from the outside, there are serious, corrosive problems within the schools. Our education system is no longer interested in producing intelligent, thoughtful students as much as it is interested in changing what it means to be intelligent. Being learned is akin to being elitist and politicians who pay millions of dollars a year to make sure their kids have the best education available are now turning around and telling people in the midwest that having an education is overrated, the important thing is you work a shit job to take care of a family that their buddies in different corporations can profit off of. In a post-facts world, what difference does it make if it’s decided that 2+2 is 5, particularly when the jobs of the future will all be done by machines anyway? As for private schools, well, like everything else in America, they’ll be corporatized and only available to the very rich. All at the expense of our future generations of children who, thanks to all of this, will be too stupid to be any the wiser.

That’s it, honestly. Yeah, there’s other news, such as ICE raids ramping up over the past week, a thing that was also happening in the Obama, Bush and Clinton presidencies. A federal appeals court ruled against the Muslim ban that’s totally not a ban even though it’s a ban and now the orange fructose’s administration is planning on a work-around for it. Speaking of that jello face bird, he also signed a bunch of executive orders essentially giving police even more power and making Black and Hispanic people even more targeted under vague laws aimed at “stopping crime”. It’s a lot to take in, which I’m sure is part of this administration’s plan to get us to be subservient to it. In this dark hour, I encourage you to hold onto your anger.

Oh yeah, the Grammys happened. I’m gonna let you in on a secret about yourself: you don’t care about this show. Nor should you; this is an award ceremony purely for the industry to pat itself on the back. These are your favorite artists’ associates, bosses and agents deciding who gets to be part of the club. You only watch to see if your worldview is confirmed as right. It is another dumb, broken award show in a world full of them and yes, despite writing this column beforehand, I can tell you the show will be full of political statements ranging from the well-meaning to the extremely smug and disingenuous. Just wait on the gifs to drop.

Recommendations:

Prince’s music is now available on all streaming services against his wishes when he was alive proving once again: once you’re dead you no longer matter as anything expect as a commodity to people utilized however seen fit. That being said… I mean it is there. It’s not going anywhere. You might as well, right? Speaking of which, here’s your song of the week:

https://open.spotify.com/track/4iozhXt27eMl39W5z7R8H6

It’s one of the best and sexiest songs ever made: perfect for spending Valentine’s Day alone in the dark, crying because you are so God damn alone. But enough about me. Enjoy your week as best as you can before that’s against the law too.