there is blood on every front, as barbarism wins out, seemingly
Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbel: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
They seem like small-small things — high school English class, college literature classes, university poetry classes.
I have taught every manner of writing class, well, imaginable:
- remedial writing
- research writing
- technical writing
- business writing
- film and literature
- in prisons
- magazine writing
- memoir writing
- in/on military compounds
- communications for military
- gang–influenced writing
- science writing
- sustainability writiing
Here, coming up in March, in Seattle:
I was at an Associated Writers Program event 10 years ago, in Seattle. Very specialized event, with speakers galore, trade book fair, superstars in writing (sic) and networking and interviewing and shopping around to universities and colleges for those vaunted tenure track jobs.
Here, March 2023:
#AWP23 Keynote Address by Min Jin Lee
Min Jin Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to Queens, New York with her family when she was seven years old. She studied history at Yale College and law at Georgetown University. Lee practiced law for two years before turning to writing. She teaches fiction and essay writing at Amherst College and lives in New York City.
Lee is a writer whose award-winning fiction explores the intersection of race, ethnicity, immigration, class, religion, gender, and identity of a diasporic people. Pachinko, her second novel, is an epic story which follows a Korean family who migrates to Japan; it is the first novel written for an adult, English-speaking audience about the Korean-Japanese people. Pachinko has been translated into over 35 languages and is an international bestseller. (source)
A very rarified event, for sure, and in those three days, all things seem fine and dandy in the English-Lit-Composition field. It is, however, not at all well. And like everything in Capitalism, the bottom line is dollars and transactional actions and following the digital demigod into HELL.
I was railing in 1983 when I first started teaching in a graduate program. The hybrid and online classes, well, I was completely against those. You know, the slippery slope. So many issues at the University of Texas- El Paso:
- more just-in-time part-time faculty with no benefits or protection hired each year
- more money for losing football programs, less funding for faculty, protections, benefits, real education
- giving the basketball coach god-like status
- largest US Hispanic college dialing for, well, STEM dollars
- a college president that stayed at the helm way too many years (decades)
- a loving connection to the US military, US Border Patrol, US Deep State
- money money money for buildings, and Martha Stewart campus scene building, Buthan, man, on the border of USA-Mexico
- less free speech
- conservativism on steroids
- part-time faculty attempting to strike or discuss striking and organizing but shunted by Admin. and Governor Bush
That all-Black team in 1966 against all White team Kentucky (UTEP was Texas Western in the past)
Fewer and fewer writing demands put on students in K12 and college. Yearly. Fewer books assigned. Science teachers in K12 showing videos. More and more parents complaining about homework. New studies on how homework hurts. Libraries going digital, fewer books and more bells and whistles.
Until today, the red lines have been crossed, and we have dimwits from Yale, Harvard, the Georgetowns and Stanfords, et al, destroying the economies, the media, diplomacy, the land, the communities, the cultures, the biome, our bodies, ourselves, as they come out of those toxic high end schools and populate the Complex, for example Ray McGovern’s (CIA analyst-turned-dissident) proposition that the institutions that truly govern the United States comprise the MICIMATT, or Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank Complex.
I of course one up him by calling it the Ag-Pharma-Chemical-Oil-AI-AR-VR-Med-Ed-Psych-Legal-Finance-Real Estate-Prison Complex.
Here, McGovern’s talk: Conspiracy facts and the MICIMATT that truly governs the USA – with CIA whistleblower Ray McGovern
I am getting at something deeper for our Western Society, and others, vis-a-vis the bastards of the Killer App, Killer Machine Learning, Killer Artificial Intelligence tied to writing: “The End of High-School English“
The arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a program that generates sophisticated text in response to any prompt you can imagine, may signal the end of writing assignments altogether—and maybe even the end of writing as a gatekeeper, a metric for intelligence, a teachable skill.
If you’re looking for historical analogues, this would be like the printing press, the steam drill, and the light bulb having a baby, and that baby having access to the entire corpus of human knowledge and understanding. My life—and the lives of thousands of other teachers and professors, tutors and administrators—is about to drastically change. (Daniel Herman)
Oh, it gets worse. This is a society full of posers and thespians and tap dancing around ideas, inventing subtrefuge, building a million intellectual escape hatches, millions of smoke and mirrors games, in addition to the dumb downing via screen time, scrolling, and a vapidity and lack of debate and open exchange of ideas and articulation and composition that will eventually put humanity into a giant matrix of madness as the data and our ideas and thoughts and feelings and responses are fed into the data mill in order for us mostly to be considered useless people, useless eaters, useless workers.
WHAT DO WE DO WITH USELESS HUMANS? | Yuval Noah Harari | The Great Reset System Explained.
All my old friends just loving Zoom Rooms and webinars and MOOC’s — massive open online classes. Imagine that, an environmental writing class taught by one dude, with all the powerful graphics of Hollywood, all the bells and whistles and digital rhetoric and videos and clips and sounds and sights via computing power, all packaged by the computer and the superstar single teacher in order to deliver to all colleges, or all high schools, that one great class, Environmental and Sustainability Writing 101.
One actor, one make-up team making him or her pretty, this one dude or dudette, with all the finely tuned editing and polishing of a documentary narrator, teaching not one on line course, but teaching that one course to a thousand schools or hundreds of school districts. Of course, there is no teaching under this model.
Unfortunately, almost EVERYTHING in the Atlantic Magazine is rotten to the core, in that it allows for a narrow range of beliefs, perspecftives, takes on Capitalism, and certainly any huge criticism of Big Data, Big Spying, Big American Exceptionalism will be plied away. So this tepid essay ends with amelioration, a bad brew of wrong headed thinking:
Everything is made up; it’s true. The essay as a literary form? Made up. Grammatical rules as markers of intelligence? Writing itself as a technology? Made up. Starting now, OpenAI is forcing us to ask foundational questions about whether any of those things are worth keeping around.
Our lack of literacy, lack of ability to express complex ideas even in simple essays, and our rotting to the core MSM “journalism,” all the lack of multiple sides to a topic, say, you know, how Russia got to Ukraine in 2022, all of that, mixed in with celebrity culture, overpaid elites lecturing and dictating and judging us, the rest of us being schooled by sociopaths, patronizers, and those who have no ground truthing, so we get here.
Google (as in a verb) Tiananmen Square, and you get “massacre” in the first 30 pages of results. When I was teaching Community College students writing, back in 2016, that search produced a variety of perspectives. Now? You have to have enlightened teachers herding students toward a Boolean search, as in, ” Tiananmen Square and Counterpunch.” You’ll get this at the top: JUNE 6, 2017 “Tiananmen: the Empire’s Big Lie.”
So, writing instruction goes with debate instruction goes with rhetorical approaches to reading and research and contructing an argument, or any other form of writing, i.e. Process, Analysis, Comparision and Contrast, Exemplification, Narration, Cause and Effect, etc.
I just had this Tiananmen Square conversation with a French Canadian from Montreal. Years and years of the lies about Tiananmen Square produce brainwashing, agnotology, lack of robust thinking, and just taking the narrative from plethora of “choices” on how to bad mouth China.
So, AI, and apps that write for you, and those that think for you, and those that filter for you, and those that cancel real debate for you, and those that create confirmation bias for you, or those teachers on line and in MOOCs who are milquetoast or one-sided or who are oh-so-Harvard/Columbia/Georgetown/Yale educated (miseducated) and who feed you bastardized concepts and positions, and so here we are. I told the Canadian, who has a brother who is a capitalist on steroids, who was in China for decades, married there, speaks the language, that his bro’ can be even more misguided or misinformed or broken as a thinker just on Tiananmen.
As the country and the world looked on with fascinated disbelief, the protests swelled beyond authorities’ control. Anger, frustration, tensions built, reaching a shattering climax in the early morning of June 4. And the rest, as they say, was history.
But which history? In the nearly three decades since the tragedy, Beijing-unfriendly forces worldwide — mainly Western countries and anti-CPC Chinese — have unfailingly staged commemorations to remind everyone how frightful the Chinese Communists were, and are. It would be less egregious if their narrative were true, but it is not. In fact, the story, spun immediately during and after Beijing’s crackdown, is one of greatest propaganda hoaxes in modern times.
In essence, it says that Chinese authorities massacred unarmed student protesters demanding democracy, slaughtering thousands and even tens of thousands in and around Tiananmen Square. Extensive subsequent research and many eyewitness accounts have shown conclusively that none of this is true. The most reliable estimate, from many sources, was that the tragedy took 200-300 lives. Few were students, many were rebellious workers, plus thugs with lethal weapons and hapless bystanders. Some calculations have up to half the dead being PLA soldiers trapped in their armored personnel carriers, buses and tanks as the vehicles were torched. Others were killed and brutally mutilated by protesters with various implements. No one died in Tiananmen Square; most deaths occurred on nearby Chang’an Avenue, many up to a kilometer or more away from the square.
More than once, government negotiators almost reached a truce with students in the square, only to be sabotaged by radical youth leaders seemingly bent on bloodshed. And the demands of the protesters focused on corruption, not democracy. (source)
Here it is (above), their graphic, on their home page: ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue
Again, if the colleges have courses on how to run-build-maintain drones, and turn that into a bachelor’s degree, then you understand why writing and reading outside the rotting businesses associated with college now is unnecessary, and on the chopping block. I interviewed this fellow, Gregory A. Petsko: Scroll down to the seventh one, radio interview, here on the Podcasts on my blog.
The following letter to George M. Philip, the president of the State University of New York at Albany, prompted by the proposed elimination there of French, Italian, Russian and classics, was originally a blog post at Genome Biology and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you have trouble understanding the importance of maintaining programs in unglamorous or even seemingly “dead” subjects. From your biography, you don’t actually have a Ph.D. or other high degree, and have never really taught or done research at a university. Perhaps my own background will interest you. I started out as a classics major. I’m now professor of biochemistry and chemistry. Of all the courses I took in college and graduate school, the ones that have benefited me the most in my career as a scientist are the courses in classics, art history, sociology, and English literature. These courses didn’t just give me a much better appreciation for my own culture; they taught me how to think, to analyze, and to write clearly. None of my science courses did any of that. (Open Letter to SUNY Albany)
Yeah, the dead-end Academia. And like my friends who love Zoom Doom and will never go out anymore where they can participate in group gatherings around talks and lectures and what have you, so many creeps will go for AI anything.
Daily, minute by minute, language is disassociated with reality, and those Sunday talk shows are blasphemies of logic, truth and facts. Imagine that, as they lie lie lie about Putin and Russia. Even George Soros Democracy Now brings on the milquetoast neoliberal, Jeffrey Sachs who gives more on why, what, when, who, where, how of Russia’s move into Donbass and then the rest of Ukraine happened than 99 percent of the mainstream/mainliners: “Jeffrey Sachs: A Negotiated End to Fighting in Ukraine Is the Only Real Way to End the Bloodshed.”
Until language gets us the un-Manly Man of the Year, on Time’s cover.
There you have it, writing whittled down to a movie script, lies and thespians and comics, dressed up to be nothing more than a paper tiger. Imagine that, no?
But that’s Time, man:
In 1958 I wrote the following:
‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’
I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?
Then, the Novel Prize acceptance speech: 2011. Read it. Write something about it. One your own. No dumbdowning apps, not voice to text crap. Get sometone to give you a thinking and critical debate assignment. Think Think Think. Remember, hardly ANYONE knows about Gary Webb. Only 18 years ago, and so prescient for what is happening today with the insane mainstream corporate media: “Eighteen Years Ago Today, Journalist Gary Webb Was Murdered After Exposing CIA Drug Trafficking” Oh yeah, Covert Aciton Magazine and Consortium News. On that list of unreliable news sources!
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it. (Pinter)