patrick bateman

College, Thoreau, Rats in a Cage! Oh my!

What do the elite universities of the Post First really teach you? The “soft” sciences I mean. Certainly not critical thinking, or a good understanding of history. No, they teach you to toe the party line, and you pick up a few administrative tasks along the way as well. “Proficient at Microsoft Word”- for the Resume. That’s about all you pick up in terms of technical skills. The rest is just compliance testing. Do this job in this set amount of time and give the correct answer that you guess your bos-professor is looking for.

You’re basically picking up middle-rank apparatchik administrative skills and habits. In the mean time, you notice your peers start emulating the culture of the place. Shitlib snark habits start seeping into their demeanor. They start dressing like WASPs but talking like a fa66ots, (is there an overlap and a correlation? I know correlation does not imply causation, but at a certain point one has to ask…) and they start thinking the Exact. Same. Things. All while maintaining how unique they are!

I’m not saying that dying your hair blue or getting piercings is a decent way of expressing yourself, but c’mon- the East Coast outfit is so absurd, its just another exercise in social signaling. Being barefoot in boat shoes in the winter with tight kinder-shorts tucking your balls comfortably up to your stomach and an indistinguishable button down shirt. A tuft of hair kind of brushed back, kind of just sticking up on its own.

Everyone’s unique! Especially when they all look the same, all consume the same media, all consider themselves moderate (even though moderate seems to slide to the left every 4 years). Everyone is a WONK! that doesn’t know anything more than what Jon Stew- (sorry- Liebowitz) tells them on the Daily Shoah.

Everyone gets A- to B+ (or so they say). Everyone is really interested in beating SWPL University!! Because its us vs. them. Sportsball. Name one living Medal of Honor recipient, brah. “uhhhh-” Now name the entire starting line-up of X team from X city. Put your feet up and watch ’em recount the entire life story of the their favorite players. “Tragic really, how he sprained his ACL in the fall of his Junior year…”

True red-blooded patriots these boys are. Just ask them!

 “Name one battle from the Iraq war.”

 “Name any battle from the last 50 years that the United States has been in?”

 Bonus:

_____ Patton. Fill in the blank.

 

_____ Manning. Fill in the blank.

 

Guess which they guess right.

And most importantly, there is no opt out clause. I mean there is. But that means social ostracizement, loss of invites to parties, no mixing and mingling. In short, College is a good primer for the milquetoast effette world of yuppie employment. It’s a primer for the kind of culture you are going to be swimming in day in and day out. Abide or die replaced by conform or you simply don’t get the invite to the next party.  And the carousel keeps on turning.

I wish I could say that the strongest survive, but that would not be true. The most adaptable flourish, the rest retreat in a confused haze. “Were these really supposed to be the best days of my life?”

 “What did I do with my time?”
You were busy. That’s about it. You ran around, making friends, rubbing shoulder, doing your busy work, writing those papers for those classes that seemed so important at the time, but which you can’t even remember now.

That acronym for that class with that professor with that cutie in the front row which was so emblazoned in your mind- so on the tip of your tongue- fades.
Q: “Remember PolitGov 212?”

A:  “..Not really, which one was that?”

Q:  “The professor was really interesting, c’mon you must remember!”

 About as much as you remember that one guy from the study group with the tight electric yellow shorts, the boat shoes, and the short hair that kind of stuck up, but mostly just stood there…

 They passed the compliance test. They succeeded in fitting the mold, and as a result they were completely forgettable.

 

It was Thoreau or Emerson who said something in the 18th or 19th century about people becoming like cogs in a machine. Industrialization was making us all expendable cogs to be used and replaced along the assembly line, at least that’s the classic interpretation that I vaguely remember from my high school days.

But maybe he meant something else. Maybe he was referring to the pliant character necessary to survive in such a radically democratic society as the US was at the time. The little communities of concerned citizens enforced conformity as they built their little shining cities in the hills and valleys of America. Tocqueville would comment about the same phenomenon during his travels through the United States. He would remark that he had never seen such a lack of diversity in opinion. That Americans were largely uniform in their beliefs and used social shaming tools to effectively police opinion in their own communities.

Tocqueville would chalk it up to democracy and the fact that if people could vote, their opinion mattered politically. Therefore it was more important to police it than in say an Authoritarian society. Very counter-intuitive, but it seemed to Tocqueville that if you wanted to find a diversity of opinion and individuals you would be better off looking for them in hierarchical absolute monarchy states than in the land of “rugged individualism” as we imagine the old United States having been.

I have found this to be very true. You want to spout off some bizarre political points of view, or just opinions in general- you’re better off doing it in less democratic countries, like Russia for example. Critique Putin all you want with your friends, no one cares about your opinion politically. The State isn’t going anywhere. As it gets more wobbly, then yes, start watching what you say you liberast 5th columnist scum. But until then, run your mouth off all you want, there is no social cost attached to that sort of GoodGoyThink. It really is just your opinion, as valid as your preference for the color blue over the color orange.

But back in the USSA, its all about toeing the line. And if you don’t, that’s fine. Just don’t expect to feel welcome in the cushy managerial apparatchik class that you are expected to inhabit. Make the necessary signs of the faith. Sneer at the rednecks, hang up a poster of Muhammad Ali in your dorm room, go to the pre-games and get your dick wet with Basic Bitch halfway through the night.
“Work hard, play hard baby!”

 It’s time to hit the books again the next day, in the library, with your recyclable eco-friendly coffee cup and the flicker of the MacBook- ambiguous bumper sticker on the lid- you scroll through the Buzzfeed headlines. “Are you really Jon Snow? Take the test to find out.”

What? Sometimes its hard to be a college student. Gotta pace yourself. Can’t wear out. Can’t burn out. You’re interchangeable. Another apparatchik sitting 2 tables away from you has the exact same haircut… (But yours is a little better)

You’re more than just another cog in the machine.

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