Movie Brain – February 18th, 2022

In 2021, I started getting back into writing fiction again, but I wouldn’t say I produced much. I thought a lot; I revisited LiveJournal and found some ideas I’d shared for stories and never done anything with. The problem with trying to revive my writing was that I was doing it in a vacuum, and so without feedback of any kind, I didn’t have the fuel to keep me going. So in 2022, Ariana and I have made a solid attempt to carve out an hour-a-day minimum to just sit quietly and write. At the end of each month, we’ll pick three things we wrote during that period and share them with each other for critique and workshopping. I think it’s pretty essential to have an audience of some kind when you write. For some people, themselves are good enough, but I just need an external source to give me notes.

So far, I’ve written about five short pieces, ranging from short stories to what would be regarded as flash fiction. I think the material I’ve done my best on is stuff pulled from my own experiences (college, working as a teacher). The writing has flowed most easily working on that stuff which makes a lot of sense. I spent a lot of 2021 reading as a writer, trying to look at the authors’ techniques I was enjoying. I plan to continue that in 2022 and hope to read a lot more, which is all about time management. Making myself break away from the distractions and actually do the work.

I’ve been actively reading a lot of new articles that strike me as interesting and perusing subreddits I follow for examples of voice and also just for pure inspiration. The teaching subreddits are incredibly moving right now because America’s public education is likely closer to collapse than most people realize. The number of teachers who will resign in May/June is staggering. I don’t blame them one bit. Between the pandemic and insane mobs wanting to punish teachers for teaching history plus inadequate wages, I think they should walk away en masse. Will this lead to the further privatization and resegregation of schools in America? Yep. But so many teachers operate in states where it is illegal to strike or protest their circumstances. They face having their licenses revoked, being fired, and in some cases, even jailed. If the masses in America want to support teachers, they will need to take that first step, showing they will shield educators.

One common complaint where I diverge from what my colleagues say about the state of schools is student behavior. I’ve noticed many posts complaining about students at the middle & high school level being defiant, cursing out staff, and even in some cases, becoming violent. I don’t condone the violence, and it’s unacceptable for any teacher to be expected to just let a student beat them down.

The behavioral and verbal defiance doesn’t bother me, though, because it’s a valid expression of a very reasonable frustration. If you were a teenager right now, would you see much hope in the future? I certainly wouldn’t. They are told that school is vital for success in life, but where are the examples of success? Elon Musk? Bill Gates? People who were born into wealth and privilege. If you’re a young person who is aware of the state of the planet, then you really have a lot to worry about. Even students who may not be up to date on current events can feel the anxiety in the air as society collapses around them. These young people are also the backbone of the service industry and therefore are being subject to abuse on the job from a myriad of entitled hog consumers. They can also look at adults in their lives struggling with wages/hours/jobs that abuse & overwork them.

There is simply no reason I can think of to justify their continuing to listen to adults. What the fuck does an adult even know? We grew up thinking elders were wise because most could fake it. As an adult, I can honestly say I have no idea what I am doing. I can’t envision the next year of my life, much less the next five or ten. So we’re going to chastise young people for not following the same destructive path we were duped into pursuing? We’re going to get mad that they refuse to engage with the lies and manufacturing of consent? I say more power to them. I hope young people burn the current regimes of power to the ground.

Now, depending on what region of the United States you live in and what bubble you’re ensconced within, you might see a variety of young people. There are quite a few young people in the South that are deeply brainwashed and falling into fascism. I think it’s still fairly divided in those regions between urban and rural, with suburbs leaning right but still having a formidable contingent of people who think a little more leftist. But a Tennessee Democrat is pretty much a Massachusetts Republican at the end of the day. So you still see young people who adhere closely to the Bible and the American strain of Christianity. Though not the most reliable source, multiple polls have shown that young people find socialism and leftist ideas much more palatable than their boomer and Gen X counterparts.

I just can’t get upset when a young kid finds the material they’re being told is essential in school to be garbage. Education currently aims to prepare people to be functional cogs in a vast capitalist machine. It’s incredibly dystopian, not something that’s going to inspire people. At least they haven’t been lulled into a stupor by the failed American Dream. The first step to right the course is to realize how much of what we are fed is bullshit. The systems in power know this too, which is why American media can feel so distracting at times. I recently glimpsed at some network sitcoms and was taken aback by how everything feels like a parody, yet it’s not. There’s such a veneer of falseness over these programs, shallow humor, and an abject refusal to tackle anything of substance. It’s a deep cynicism that runs through it all, an abstention to represent the material reality most Americans are dealing with right now.

A decade from now, I imagine public education will be completely transformed for the worse. In Tennessee, the state Department of Education has partnered with Hillsdale College, a notorious Christian right-wing university, to produce curricula for an infestation of charter schools they plan to flood the state with. Up until recently, whether or not to approve a charter school has lied with local county school districts. Now, the TN state legislature is pushing a bill to put that entirely in the hands of a state board. This board already exists has been a place for charter operators to appeal to when their proposals are rejected. And wouldn’t you know it, they approve 99.999999% of all appeals. Rural counties will likely be targeted because they seem to have majorities eager to embrace Christo-fascism in Tennessee. Have I said how glad I am that I got out of public ed in Tennessee when I did?

One thought on “Movie Brain – February 18th, 2022”

  1. Pingback: Winter 2022 Digest

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