Robot Clones of the World! Fight the Educational Oppressors!

What is one of the best things about being an adult? No longer having to prove yourself with exams. You can go your entire life, if you so choose, without having to meet anyone elses criteria of “good”. As long as you’re happy with you good you are, then why bother; I’m Number 1, so whay try harder? This, of course, is another of those bags of mess I keep mentioning, of which I have loads round the back of The Palace; must have a clean up before Christmas.

So, what is the goal of the education system? Are we trying to develop well-rounded young adults with a range of skills and interests, or are we simply cranking the handle on the robot machine to create more clones?

I feel it’s the latter, as industry has long been bemoaning the skills of the graduates our higher education institutions are disgorging. So, what is the point of increasing A-level difficulty? All it means is that students will now have to spend more time studying to reach the levels required to gain entry to their university of choice, only for it to vomit them, unemployable, into the job market where their narrow skill set makes them of little value to businesses?

The government has been trying to get more people into University for a while now, but, from the linked reports, it sounds like Universities are struggling to sort the wheat from the chaff as it is. Another case of lack of communication between the Government and the Real World.

Learning is a life’s work. School, while merely the first step on the path, is the most important, as it should provide the foundations on which a lifetime of knowledge is based. Forcing people to “specialise” in passing exams is the equivalent of building the house on the sandy shore.

Raising the “A” level pass criteria will result in less well-rounded and less-employable graduates, not the reverse.

The Movies: All Filler No Killer (Except Bond)

Being a parent and somewhat lazy / unorganised, I frequented a moving picture establishment for the first time in several months yesterday to view Mr Campbell’s presentation of Mr Flemings Bond, James Bond in a Casino. Which I thought was excellent by the way. Blond James Blond is also very good.

Much has been made of the blatant product placement in the film, but I found it considerably less of a burden to bear than the half an hour of crap I had to sit through in order to have Sony Vaios and Sony Ericsson phones waved at me for two and a bit hours.

Now, half an hour may not sound like much to those of you in the world where they transmit messages from their sponsors every two seconds because they know you can’t focus on the feature presentation without going to the bathroom every five minutes, or to nip outside for a smoke and a pancake.

But as someone who paid good money to watch Mr Bond chase Msr Parkour through a building site, I didn’t expect a poundsworth of that to be adverts. I’d rather stroll in after half and hour and pay a quid less. Maybe when I’m retired and reach the “I don’t give a shit what you think, I’m old” stage, I will.

There was the usual “turn off your phone” message, except its now three, infommercial-grade mini-series. The Chanel No5 ad with Nicole Kidman had fucking credits! Baz Luhrmann needs to take his head out of his arse. There was even a tourism advert exhorting people to visit precisely the country in which we were viewing said ad.

In amongst all this… my vocabulary fails me at this point… shit, there was one trailer. So, evidently, people who watch James Bond may only be interested in romantic comedies featuring actors fighting for promotion to or against relegation from the A List.

So, out of nearly three hours, I had only two and a bit of the stuff I had paid for. It occurred to me that this was the Sausage Situation in movie format. Pork Sausage Panavision. Meat vs Rusk – Now In Technicolour. The BBFC should introduce an edict; any cinema showing more than 15% by length of cinematic cereal and gristle will not be able to advertise their presentations as films / movies.

They’ll have to come up with some name that identifies them as not having the required percentage of actual content. So, alongside U, PG and all the ages between 1 and 100, there should be an “G” rating: G for Gristle.

You wouldn’t stand for it if you went to dinner and they made you eat a plate of stuff they scooped out of the bins. Can we expect our dinner plates to bear sponsor logs? When you polish off your Virgin Curry (religious-themed entity forbid), will Richard Branson’s bewhiskered mug be beaming out at you twixt poppadom and corriander1?

I guess this is a rant peculiar to those of us who are not rabid consumers. I rarely buy anything beyond basic sustenance, therefore the wiles of advertising are lost on me. I can’t even recall any of the things that were advertised. Thirty Minutes of my life sitting in the dark watching visual filler intended to alter my habits.

We’re a set of eyelid retractors away from A Clockwork Orange, people!

1 This would mean you could stab him, or smash him.

Them: We’re sorry about Slavery. Us: WE DON’T CARE!!!

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I really don’t think public apologies are worth the hot air.

Getting Tony Blair to apologise for slavery is Stupid Full Stop Capital Letter, even before we get to the “saying sorry to The World” part. Hell, even the woman who says that all countries involved in slavery should apologies says that “words mean nothing”. Reading the big, bold, capital letters between the lines, she wants cash and plenty of it. This has, of course, been tried before. Namibia wanted Germany to cough up some Euros for some genocide during an uprising when it was a colony, which I’ll bet they never did.

The Church has voted to apologise, but therein lie discrepancies;
1. Since when was religion a democracy? Maybe in the same way as the United Federation of Planets. When it’s fictional, it can be anything you want…
2. If they’re apologising for slavery, then can we expect apologies for Rape, Pillage, Murder, Genocide, Slavery and all the other shit they’ve got away with over the centuries.
But let’s not get me going on religion again…

So, does anyone REALLY care that no-one apologies for things that happened so long ago? The only thing I can think of is to keep the memory of the act alive and highlight the evil nature of it, that it may never be repeated. If this is the case, then Job Done. We already know that Rape, Pillage, etc are Bad. Does saying “sorry” really make absolutes any more absolute?

So, we apparently expect people to say sorry for things that happened a few hundred years ago? So what about apologies for all the wars in those years? If Saddam was made to say sorry, would the peoples of Iraq really give two shits either way? In the future, are the United Nations of Earth going to have to apologise to the Galactic Alien Horde for Neil Armstrong walking on the moon because the US didn’t know it was a graveyard for the WJKRTREK people?

This is all about people wanting to make money out of someone’s suffering, it’s just that the “people” are the same people as the “someone”. Anyway, let us not forget that this is The Real World. If Pirates still exist, then you can be damn sure that Slavery still does. You want someone to say sorry; catch some slavers and make THEM sorry.

The slavery they want an apology for happened beyond living memory, so to whom are we apologising? Descendants; people several generations removed from the act itself. People who are now probably all living in the First World somewhere with access to education and healthcare and flushing toilets. So, we’ll say sorry if you’re happy to put aside the world into which you were so unfairly thrust (purely by dint of procreation) and return to the nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence of your forefathers? No? You do surprise me.

Life Isn’t Fair

We know this. We’ve been told this so many times, we’re sick of it. Time and time again, RocketBootDad has, in response to my cries of “That’s not fair!”, said “Life isn’t fair.” But why? Is there any reason why it can’t be fair?

When you think about it, what we’re actually doing is telling our kids, from an early age, that Justice is flawed, that the concepts of Right and Wrong are completely pointless and that what it boils down to is what you can get away with, and what you can’t; Risk vs Reward.

Before children are beaten with The “Life Isn’t Fair” Stick to the point where Hope, Justice and Possibility lie Shattered beneath the Iron Jackboot of Cynicism, they ask The Right Question. Which is? Why.

There is a stage where a child will ask of its parent “Why?”, to which the parent will inevitably give some hastily fabricated web of nonsense. Undeflected, the child persists and eventually the exasperated parent roars “Because it just IS!!!!!!!“. Now, as I constantly find myself telling RocketBootKidKid, that’s not a real reason.

“Because it is” is the universal excuse given by all The Worlds adults to their offspring for the shit they’re going to inherit. Now, we rationalise this by saying that we want to protect them from the harsh realities of life. But my point is really; why do they need protected? Do there have to be any harsh realities?

To everyone whose brain has just gone “Yes”, I will say “Why?”, and then I’ll say “My point exactly!” Is there some genetic or biological or cosmological or any-ological reason why we can’t sort all the things which we rationalise by saying “Life isn’t fair”? I think we should all be able look at things and ask “Why?”, without our brain automatically answering “Because it just is.”

Because if we can’t, I fear it may be the death of us.