I give noname credit, though. He didn’t so much pass it on to seven other bloggers as leave it lying around for us to pick up if we were so inclined. I appreciate that. Getting a meme award is a lot like getting a chain letter, but with more work.
At least there isn’t the curse that always accompanies chain letters. No blogger in Tucson, Arizona suffered a plague of boils and locusts by not passing the award along.
On the other hand, maybe the award itself is the curse.
Be that as it may, here it goes. Seven innermost thoughts.
Innermost thought number one. Blogging is stupid.
The old-fashioned diary had the advantage of being completely private, thereby encouraging completely frank and honest writing. Blogging, however, is public — without the benefit of actually being published. Going public with your thoughts means that you articulate them in a different way than you do when you’re just talking to yourself. And it doesn’t matter how few readers you have, it’s still public. The relationship between readers and privacy is rather like that between lovers and virginity: it only takes one of the former, and the latter is lost forever.
Innermost thought number two: Blogging is a life-saver.
I’ve spent many, many years with deadlines — mostly weekly, occasionally monthly. And while they often came close to giving me heart attacks, strokes, and brain aneurysms, the fact is that in the years since I started teaching, I’ve missed them. In their place, I have three blogs: two which I use to keep in touch with my previous professional circles, and this one, a place where I can occasionally say things that could get me fired if they were directly connected to my name. I may not have deadlines as such, but the blogs do provide me with a certain amount of writing discipline.
Innermost thought number three: Rap is dumb and stagnant.
I recognise the rhythmic talent that goes into rap. I’ll even concede that the lyrics may be a form of poetry — certainly no worse than some of the stuff that wins poetry awards in the literary field. And perhaps there’s something to be said for an art form that glorifies juvenile anger and resentment and violence. I can’t think of anything at the moment, but I’m willing to concede that there might be.
But all that aside, has nobody else noticed that rap is completely stagnant? That it lacks even the pretense of innovation? That for over 30 years, from Spoonie Gee (1979) to Eminem (2009) they’ve been doing the same thing over, and over, and over?
Early rock and roll featured songs like, “Tutti Frutti,” “Maybellene,” and “Rock Around the Clock” in the ’50s. A few years later the sound had changed drastically with such songs as The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood,” “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” and the amazing “Medley” from Abbey Road, which incorporated “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “Sun King,” “Mean Mr. Mustard,” along with others. Before the decade was out, rock and roll had given birth to the Rock Opera: Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, War of the Worlds, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
The next decade brought us Moody Blues, Super Tramp, Queen, Saga, Pink Floyd, Genesis, and of course the incredible King Crimson. Each stretched the limits of the genre into entirely new fields, and certainly no two groups sounded alike.
The rap of today, on the other hand, aside from some technical improvements of instrumentation and recording, is indistinguishable from the rap of the late ’70s — yet it’s still considered “fresh.” If the rock scene had come out with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in 1966, and by 1996 had progressed only to “She Loves You, Ya, Ya, Ya,” we would not consider it to be a vibrant creative movement. We’d laugh at it. We’d make fun of it. We’d give it wedgies in the hallway and shove it in a locker.
Of course, we also wouldn’t have to worry that rock and roll was going to pop a cap in our ass.
Innermost thought number four: The education system sucks.
Between half to three quarters of my classes each semester are composed of students from non-English speaking countries. They, naturally, have problems with the language. But of those who have been born and raised here, who have endured 12 years of public education, not one of them can put together five sentences in a row without errors that would have been considered sub-standard in my old Grade Five class. And most of them can’t manage a single sentence without straining themselves to the limit.
And these are college students.
The education industry has been hijacked by a philosophy that is more interested in issuing meaningless and incomprehensible edicts than in teaching. Worse, the Five Paragraph Essay, which is the standard taught from Grade Four all the way through high school, is actively denying students the chance to either write or think. Its only advantage is that it’s easy for teachers to mark. Businesses are increasingly complaining that their new recruits are unable to communicate, and our only response is to ignore them because we know that no matter how illiterate our graduates are, the business world has no choice but to hire them.
Innermost thought number five: Reality shows suck.
The people in these shows are badly-behaved, ill-tempered children with complete lack of impulse control. The “breakthroughs” and “insights” they have are shallow, contrived, and unworthy of an over-emotional teenager. The dialogue is puerile, juvenile, and trivial. I know why the networks keep making them: they’re cheap. What I don’t understand is why the public keeps watching them.
Innermost thought number six: Avril Lavigne
That’s it. Just Avril Lavigne. By mentioning her, I get the chance to put up another picture of her.
Innermost thought number seven: Who the hell am I going to send this award to next?
The conditions of the Meme Award include a demand to send it to seven other bloggers. The problem is, I don’t know many bloggers, and of those I do know, there are none I want to risk irritating.
So I’m going to combine this with an experiment in psychic communications.
I am thinking of seven bloggers to whom I wish to give this award. I am imbuing this post with the vibrations of their names. If you read this, and feel that you are one of the bloggers I’m thinking of, then take the award and run with it.
If you don’t, there’s a blogger in Tucson, Arizona who will be very uncomfortable.