This piece was written and posted on the 17 December 2013 in response to what I saw as an “understanding” that existed (and I believe still does exist) between what could be called the higher-educated classes as against the low-educated working classes … that could be best described as a “consciousness of kind” between the commentators and writers from that “upper” educated-class.
Yes, I do have a chip on my shoulder against the higher-educated class and how they have either for too long dismissed or demeaned commentators and opinion pieces from the lower-educated working class as being badly written (in a grammatical sense), or too clumsily abusive or lacking the finesse both natural and nurtured by the respectable private school Alma Maters and the “masters” of those institutions toward their charges and wards as they coached them to graduation cap and gown … bully for you! But what has now evolved from that “exclusiveness” that spent years faffing and blustering about without result, is that the likes of Right-Wing idiots like Trump, Abbott, PHON have arisen to cynically fill the vacuum created by the “abandonment” of a whole social demographic who should benefit more from being led by educated political instruction than by the nose of bigotry and racism.
It went like this:
On Higher Education (posted on “The Pub” blog, December 17, 2013).
Hello! … muy afficionados! … sit back and relax … it being Xmas, ol’ “ jaycee” is going give you a bit of a fireside chat!
BB. (Bushfire Bill), I see you have posted on the latest Andrew Elder piece. I posted there under “anonymous” (haven’t quite worked out the identity thingo yet!); that last post on the accusation of treason against the fourth estate … and I see as an aside “Cat Momma” under the alter alias of “Hillbilly Skeleton” has also resurfaced!
On that subject of treason, I recently wrote a piece called; “The Meaning of Treason” … I gave it to Fiona, here, who accepted it and sat on it for a couple of weeks, while BB put up a couple of pieces and I could see it was going to sit a while longer and I feared the ‘moment’ for such a piece’s impact would be lost as Abbott and the LNP regained its footing … so I withdrew it intending to extrapolate and represent it to another site … it was eventually accepted, ”keenly” edited and put up for three days on the Political Sword (1/12 /2013). As it was, Abbott predictably made another massive gaffe (who’d a thunk it!) and it went up at the right time.
But the piece is not the subject of this little discourse … The subject is the presentation of A Subject!.
BB, you wrote a post a couple of weeks back on the memory of a Brother at your Catholic College; Alma Mater “coaching” you in English essaying … and you stated; (wtte) that even though you had previously won prizes in writing, you feared the upcoming exams would be a challenge … and so you sought the “coaching” of this brother … and all went well!
I had a similar moment when attempting to learn Latin at Adelaide Uni (mature entry … that sounds salacious!) … I remember coming out from a tutorial, absolutely weary at the constructed complexity of the Latin grammar. I remember I counted one verb alone had 35 (I think) variations … and that probably didn’t include a future “shifting tense” ( I remember I cracked what I thought was a witticism about that being a bit like Arabic; ”…you know; the Bedouin and their shifting tents” … I thought it funny … the Latin lecturer didn’t). I remember standing in the sunlight outside the Wells Building and softly exclaiming to myself; “Who and why, in effing hell thought up such a complex grammatical labyrinth?” … (of course, the Romans themselves had a much simpler system, relying, I suspect, more on sound inflection and gesticulation … the Latin we learn is really Medieval Latin – constructed in the Catholic Monasteries – and as I was spewing on this thought, I looked up and followed the line of the buildings and the road-edges going away, away to a converging point as in the perspective in a drawing right across the (then) open courtyard dead straight to the front doors of the “University Of Adelaide Club”.
An accidental metaphor? Perhaps … but then it dawned on me … like, I suspect, it dawned on yourselves with many essays … this entire “education scheme” is a structure that is not necessarily about “learning” but more about “training”. Thorsten Veblen wrote (at around the year 1910) that the whole idea of higher education was really to filter out those who would be pliable and useful to the ruling class … the “leisure class” as he succinctly put it! Your “Brother” did not teach you anything you did not already know, BB, but he did “train” you how to frame your writing to pass those exams … you were the more fortunate than I in that you were already part of an institution; St Johns … (I believe) … and were taken under wing (however reluctantly) and “skilled up”. I was from the “wasteland” … working-class/middle-aged male. I had only the enthusiasm … not the grammar! But I scraped through it all … just!
But here’s the rub: Having got that piece “The Meaning of Treason” up, it was not cross-linked to any other site that usually links The Political Sword. I saw one usual blog even linked TPS’s Xmas Cheer message! Sure, I would have liked to have seen the piece spread around, for its message rather than my vanity. Christ! … if futile vanity was all I had to boost me in my fading years, I’d rather “bare my bum in Bangalore” … but I do wonder why it was omitted … it was no more irrational or silly than any of the multitude of articles that make their way to the web. But there is one thing … and Ad Astra touched upon it when he first posted it … He said the charge of treason might make some “bristle” … and that is, I believe, where I crossed the line … and you can see it in Andrew Elders’ reply to my post there …
I had accused what could best be described as “The Fraternity” of higher education professionals, journalists and academia of a heinous crime … because there is seemingly a “common ground” understanding that is “trained” into select university graduates that (to put it simply) “one does not peach on a fellow” … one does not cross such a boundary of accusation as cannot be retracted.
To close … I remember sitting in a shell of a new building having smoko with another contractor there … the only one on this day – a tiler … an Italian … and being half-Italian myself – the conversation got around to children: “… and how many children do you have?” I asked. He was shelling a boiled egg … tilers, as a consequence of their occupation, have very short fingernails … and his short thick, calloused fingers were making a job of it … he sat silent across from me, the action in itself was an education, his fingers working on the egg and his tongue wetting his bottom lip … I thought he had not heard my question and I was about to repeat it, when he replied in a tired, fatalistic way; “I do not have any children … I have movie stars.” And he bit on the egg and stared at me … he didn’t have to explain, I knew, as I am sure you know, just what he meant.
And (bad grammar that, starting a sentence with a conjunctive!) I now use that metaphor to say that we, of the fifth estate, have few, real, Left-wing intellectual commentators, we have Grammatical Stylists …
Like many of us here and elsewhere on “progressive” sites, since the 2010 elections, I must have read thousands! … literally thousands of posts and articles, both encouraging the Left-side of politics and vilifying the LNP mob. So … taking the 2010 election result as ending in a roughly 50/50 Labor/LNP and the fact that the 2013 election ended in a LNP win, we have to conclude the intervening years and thousands of articles not only failed to deliver ONE extra vote to our side, but in fact we lost many. So whatever we argued for in those essays and articles, it was somewhat of a duffer! The argument didn’t reach the intended ears nor touched the intended minds … our direction was all wrong, it would seem.
I am suggesting we give a degree of consideration as to how we can reframe the discussion to draw in more readers.
I have an idea, but will hold off while we, I hope, give some thought on the subject.
I am going to cross-post this discussion (at least my part) to the Political Sword to see what they think.
* * * * *
Of course, things have changed for the better since the posting of that original Treason piece … thank Christ! Sites like The AIMN have a very flexible policy toward posting … even this piece is being put up on trust and many of us amateurs appreciate the opportunity to express our views without fear or favour. I was reticent to put this piece up, as it has the hallmarks of bitchiness about it … but I still think it is pertinent in the fact that there are still many who mistakenly believe that our society is best managed by that same exclusive educated middle-class that gave us the likes of Abbott and Turnbull: “Zombies in zoot-suits”. I have long called for the educated-intellectual working class to lead the revival of Australian society out of this upper-middle class joke of a democracy!
Good on you The AIMN! … Lest we forget.