Saturday, August 27, 2011
I thought that Katrina had made a difference. Perhaps people wouldn't entertain the notion that it's an enjoyable experience to ride-out a hurricane. Perhaps it's that rugged individualism we're so famous for working again. People don't like to be told what to do. Therefore they sometimes die. We see it again today as Hurricane Irene hits the Eastern Seaboard. A few scattered souls taking long walks on the beach, tempting the gale force winds to blow them around, or, as in the case of the news reporters, making some memorable television. It's a damn shame they don't listen. Or is it because they have no idea. Maybe they don't watch the news, catch the weather report, or even bother to look at whatever electronic device they tote around talking and texting, and otherwise fondling. Rather ironic that in this age of technology, it makes no difference for some people. In the Northwest, we see a simple phenomena with the local lakes, rivers and mountain ranges. People are forever falling in or coming up missing. They usually don't wear life jackets or have any food, or aren't dressed properly for the drop in temperature that almost always happens in the Cascades. They conveniently forget that when the temperature is 90 degrees, the water in our beautiful rivers and streams is ice cold. Those salmon and trout like it at about 45 degrees. Snow melt is snow...melted.
The technology really does separate us from one another doesn't it. We appear to be more connected, more informed, more aware, but seems to me it's an illusion. We certainly aren't more cordial to each other if conversing in chat rooms, or discussing comments on a news article, or replying to an editorial is any indication. Some folks thrive on the anonymity of it all. It gives them license to say what they'd never put their name next to,or sign.
I often saw thin phenomena when I was experimenting with team journals in my classroom. Not revealing your name can be empowering, but it works both ways. Some people just adore making snide remarks. With no name...fewer consequences.
The other day, I heard the latest from Beloit College. They are the people that comment at the beginning of every school year about the frame of reference of the latest class of college seniors. The class of 2011 has some particularly fascinating attributes. Just imagine, there has never been a Soviet Union in their lifetime. Sputnik must sound like a new band or the color of their Nikes. Let's hope they have heard of Mother Nature. If you're on the East coast and were born after 1990, stay inside this weekend and check Wikipedia under "Cold War." It'll keep you warm and safe. Here are some of the most interesting items on Beloit College's list for this year:
What Berlin wall?
Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.
Rush Limbaugh and the “Dittoheads” have always been lambasting liberals.
They never “rolled down” a car window.
Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.
They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.
They have grown up with bottled water.
General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
Pete Rose has never played baseball.
Rap music has always been mainstream.
Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do, or else!
“Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.
Music has always been “unplugged.”
Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.
They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.
The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.
Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart Simpson.
Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.
Eastern Airlines has never “earned their wings” in their lifetime.
No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of “liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.
Being “lame” has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.
Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.
Katie Couric has always had screen cred.
Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.
They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola “MagiCan.”
They were too young to understand Judas Priest’s subliminal messages.
When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.
Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.
They grew up in Wayne’s World.
U2 has always been more than a spy plane.
They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as “The Joker.”
Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate names.
American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.
Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.
On Parents’ Day on campus, their folks could be mixing it up with Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz with daughter Zöe, or Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford with son Cody.
Fox has always been a major network.
They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.
The “Blue Man Group” has always been everywhere.
Women’s studies majors have always been offered on campus.
Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.
They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.
Most phone calls have never been private.
High definition television has always been available.
Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.
Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.
Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.
China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.
Time has always worked with Warner.
Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.
The purchase of ivory has always been banned.
MTV has never featured music videos.
The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.
Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.
They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.
They’re always texting 1 n other.
They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.
They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said “goodbye to rusty cars.”
Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do with oil.
Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born.
The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.
Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and controversial.
Burma has always been Myanmar.
Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.
Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.