Stuck In College

I encountered the term “Slow News” in another context – HuffPo, I think, advertising a print version? Unclear on the details, since the term instantly barked up some back-of-the-throat bile. It’s like “Slow Food” or other “slow” things that are part of the “Slow” movement. Our lives are so fast-paced, pure pell-mell hell, that we need to reconnect with things that are not fast, and thereby baste our brains with the virtues of simplicity and honesty and careful, cautious attention. To which I say GET OUT OF THE PASSING LANE.

No, seriously: these things give me hives because I see a lot of middle-aged people sitting around in a living room, with all the right magazines on the table, the proper voices burbling on the radio in the kitchen, Volvos out on the street with COEXIST bumperstickers, and a bowl of organic carob-dusted peas on the table, or something. You know the stereotype: earnest types who still believe everything they believed in college

via LILEKS (James) :: the BLEAT :: Baltics 2012.

I just got a book from the library, from an author who I generally enjoy reading; to avoid google catching it and me dealing with folks I know are insane, I’ll call her “Benz Minion.”  (Note: I know she has insane fans because the reason she stopped writing this character was folks mistaking her pretty obvious author insertion for  a factual representation of reality.  Note, I’ve got no problem with characters where you go “yeah… that is really obviously the author’s alter-ego.”  What I care about is the story being worth reading, which hers almost always are.)

She spent over a page explaining that a story set in ’72 wouldn’t have cellphones, PCs, etc, and that Tricky Dick hadn’t been caught yet, Vietnam wasn’t history yet, AIDS didn’t exist and there weren’t Gay Pride parades, so on.
Then in the first few pages– in the middle of what reads like a “describe a room” practice bit I was given in junior high, where you try to take in the room the way your eyes would hit it while looking around– she feels the need to personally insult the politician and “prognosticate” the past.  Oooh, how daring!

Look, conservatives buy books, too.  That said, the main thing that came across my mind was “Wow.  Lady, that’s 40 years ago.  I can understand hints of this in the stuff from the 80s, but the world has moved on.”
It got me thinking– I’ve been getting a lot of advice on how to manage my life from people who were last in my situation before I was born.  I don’t mean things like “be loyal to your husband” or “pay your bills, save, but have a tiny little bit set aside for fun, even if you probably can’t afford it.”  I mean things like “Make sure you hit X, Y and Z points, don’t do this specific thing, do this specific thing, you have to have a degree even if it’s useless, this is the END ALL TACTIC for job interviews” and such. (I’ve had about a dozen “lessons” on what to do in a job interview.  Beyond “don’t be an idiot,” they’re all different.)

Musing on this while unpacking, I remembered I’d had the “a lot of people are stuck in their college years” realization before– shortly after getting on the internet, if I remember right.

It kind of makes sense– you form your world view based on your earliest unfiltered information, and it’s not like you didn’t apply what you already knew up to that point.

It stops making sense when it gets to the point where they don’t check what they think against some other objective metric.


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