My fellow Americans, I have discovered the enemy, and they are us – we are boring.
I’m not sure who is to blame? Wal-mart? Simple carbs? Bad national juju? String Theory?
How about Goldman Sachs? No one likes Goldman Sachs. I know people who work there and they don’t even like Goldman Sachs. Not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with big banks, investment bankers, or free enterprise. It’s just that Rolling Stone says we should hate Goldman Sachs and thus we, being the cultural lemmings we are, do.
But really, I think the system is to blame for American boringism. It serves the system better. System here being defined as the delicate political equilibrium of our two-party system: tax collectors (donkies) and corporate shareholders (elephants).
The United States of Advertising has organized itself, since the golden age of capitalism (the late 1980s), to breed “alienated workaholics competing to acquire consumerist indicators of their spending ability.”
The system has optimized our educational system for it’s own nefarious, soulless purposes. They/it has done this by emphasizing fucntional skills that maximize worker productivity at the expense of the humanities. And until Title IX women’s sports. In their eyes, the humanities are of little practical use. However, the humanities do more than just make us more human; the humanities make us interesting humans.
Take my college roomie, for example. I love him more than any non-family member on earth, and maybe better than a few of my family members. He attained a Masters in History with an emphasis on women in the early circus. Now that’s interesting. Not boring. And he’s a successful entreprenuer. Chicks want him, and circus clowns want to be him. He’s the true philosopher-entreprenuer that Socrates prophesied would rule America.
Of course the irony is that rich investment bankers, padding their nests with the excess profits earned by America’s fanstically productive labor force (as measured on an output per labor unit cost input basis) choose to spend it on high culture like operas, paintings, and handmade watches. But that stuff is no bueno for the worker bees; it would distract them from the pentultimate task of producing more (virutal, these days) widgets.
Let them eat cake and watch UFC.
However, Goldman and their cronies may have gone too far. This over-specialization of our society has now penetrated the cradle of elitism that incubates future system overseers: the Ivy League.
I kiddeth thee not, my dudes. Consider what Yale professor William Deresiewicz said in his brilliant self-condemning polemic, What the Ivy League Won’t Teach You.
He says “as globalization sharpens economic insecurity , we are increasingly committing ourselves…as a society – to a vast apparatus of educational advantage.” The focus of this Ivy League reorg: analytical intelligence. Boringggggg. I’m surprised you are still reading. I just fell asleep on my keyboard. Yet analytical brilliance is just what Goldman Sachs requires to function more better, as they say in Hawaii.
Now that would be fine except for one thing. The Ivy Leagues is where America grows, or births, its leaders, depending on whether you believe leaders are born or made. “Social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three forms, are not distributed among the educational elite. The “best” are the brightest only in one narrow sense.”
These elite institution were founded upon the highest ideals. They were built not to be factories of interchangeable, 360-degree reviewable human cogs, but rather hammer, anvil, and fire, where the human spirit, and a young country’s soul, was forged into something beautiful and strong. America, a couple hundred years ago, was intended to nurture its young on the mother’s milk of western civilization’s finest ideals from the last two millennia.
Today, our Founding Father’s would be considered to weird to make it into your local country club. Oh well, I never liked Sam Adams beer anyway.