Occupy Wall Street Comes To North Carolina


With the passing of Steve Jobs, his Commencement Address at Stanford is making the rounds.  The message of his words is powerful, the speech itself, actually, is massively forgettable.  But his Opus, his yawlp, is most impressive.

Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.

I resonate.  I’m nearly 43, well into a decent career at a massive corporation doing better than I have a right to ask.  But I’m hungry.  And I do foolish shit all day long.  All the time.  In fact, I yearn for the foolish, I embrace the foolish.

I get foolish.

So I understand that fire in the belly of the college kid who watches on TV as other college kids go do stuff.  Get noticed and make a name if not a statement.  But holy moly, there is a massive learning curve here:

Chapel Hill, N.C. — Hundreds of North Carolina college students walked out of class Wednesday afternoon as the weeks-long protest against Wall Street spread to universities nationwide.

I get it.  I do.  To get noticed you have to do things that are noticeable.  And if you really think that there are people being victimized, I urge you to get noticed:

Apart from the message of Occupy Wall Street, which is people over profit, is that UNC students, regardless of political or socio-economic background, have issues on this campus,” student Denise Mitchell said. “Students just don’t feel like they’re being heard by the university.

Huh?  Wait, this isn’t some attempt to improve student/faculty relations at some flippin’ university is it?

Mitchell cited a recent study that found UNC housekeepers feel they are treated unfairly…

What the what?  Wait, Occupy Wall Street is a movement that wants to draw attention to the fact that the very wealthy are, in fact wealthy, because of the shenanigans on of massive banks.  So, using that as cover you walk out of class to voice student concerns that housekeepers don’t think life is fair?

…and an investigation into the Department of African and Afro-American Studies following allegations of plagiarism by a former football player.

Right.  ‘Cause the fact that a football player plagiarized his work is shocking only because what, 85% of the student body is guilty as well?  Is it because he’s black?  Hell, IS he even black?

More proof that our education system is failing us follows:

Students used Facebook and other social media outlets to spread word of the noon protests. They say they represent 99 percent of Americans – people struggling to get by while the wealthiest one percent makes financial decisions.

“People will become aware and will know that we are the 99 percent, and our voices will not be ignored,” N.C. State student Katina Gad said.

Do they understand what 99% means?  Do they understand what struggling to get by means?  As an exercise, if they are so poor and so struggling, how are they organizing using Facebook?

The stupid continues:

“If you look at any group of people (who) are being discriminated against, I think youth and students are a big part of that. We’ve taken on massive amounts of student loans to go into what jobs?” said Ryan Thompson, who helped organize the small protest on N.C. State’s Brickyard.

“How are we going to pay $50,000 in debt when there are no jobs out there?” UNC student Ana Maria Reichenbach said.

Stunning.

If you look at any group of people who are being discriminated against…..

Don’t do it man, do NOT say that YOU are being discriminated against.

I think youth and students are a big part of that.

You did it.  But that aside, what does that even MEAN?  Youth and students are a big part of WHAT?  What in the HELL are you talking about?

How are we going to pay $50,000 in debt when there are no jobs out there?

So, now that you’ve decided to drop a cool 50 large on a European Classical Renaissance Philosophy / German Sociology degree and are shocked to learn that no one gives a fuck, you think I’M on the hook for your stupid student loans?

Check this out.  Being 50k down should disqualify you for almost any reasonable job out there where a corporation is going to trust you with their money.  If you can’t manage YOUR money, how do you expect any one to let you manage theirs?

Area college students are planning a citywide protest in Raleigh’s Moore Square at 5 p.m. Sunday, and many of the students said they plan to travel to New York in the next few weeks to show their support in person to the hundreds of protesters on Wall Street.

Again.  I resonate.  But if you are going to flush a $50,000 education down the toilet so that you can get arrested in New York, at least do it with a plan.  Be organized.  Be coherent.  Have points that are well thought out, organized and documented.  Be crisp and concise.  Make sure that one point is related to the next.  It should flow and people should go:

Yeah!  I never thought of it that way before.

But, then again, if you knew that, I suspect you wouldn’t be making the trip to NY in the first place,

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13 comments
  1. Karyn said:

    As you know, I graduated from Carolina in ’94….there were protests every week on a number of subjects (and yes, also for the mistreated housekeepers believe it or not).

    Sure, some of them are ideological and somewhat misguided, but come on, old man, isn’t college the time for that? How can you color yourself shocked that a liberal arts college (even one in an otherwise conservative leaning (maybe) state) would have students standing up for their beliefs and organizing? Even if you don’t agree with their goals, this is the time they are being exposed to the world, learning their place in it and forming their own ideologies. And those ideologies will change. You forget that these kids will learn. They will change. They will grow up and learn responsibility (mostly, we hope). But these formative years at UNC or wherever they are, will always be a part of them. So what if they fought for social justice for the housekeepers? At least they realized there is inequity in the world and that they can sit down and ignore it or stand up and say they think its wrong. So what if they say they’re discriminated against and still use Facebook? At least they learn what discrimation is.

    They’ll age, they’ll use these experiences to grow as people. Or maybe they’ll move to Seattle and bartend. Who knows.

    Either way, you are starting to sound like the old fogie sitting on the porch, my friend.

    • pino said:

      As you know, I graduated from Carolina in ’94….there were protests every week on a number of subjects (and yes, also for the mistreated housekeepers believe it or not).

      Yeah, and I went to school at the massive University of Minnesota. Actually, I attended MIT, not the more famous U of M. Now, to be fair, the “M” in MIT stands for Minnesota, not Massachusetts. But even in college, as an 18 year old kid, I knew that I was different than those stinky CLA kids [college of liberal arts]. 😉

      Sure, some of them are ideological and somewhat misguided, but come on, old man, isn’t college the time for that? How can you color yourself shocked that a liberal arts college (even one in an otherwise conservative leaning (maybe) state) would have students standing up for their beliefs and organizing?

      I DO get it. I colored my post with the “get”. Even today I “get” it. And if these kids wanna do what they feel they need to do, I urge them to do so.

      So what if they fought for social justice for the housekeepers?

      Nothing. Let’em. But they should organize under that banner. Not the Occupy Wall Street banner. This makes them look not only young and full of ideology, but stupid.

      So what if they say they’re discriminated against

      But they’re NOT discriminated against. And maybe that’s the part that gets me the most. More and more of our youth are feeling that the world OWES them. And that because they walk out of some college with a shit degree that no one thinks is valuable it’s not their fault. I minored in philosophy. I LOVE philosophy. I coulda taken courses for ever, and written forever. But no one pays philosophers to be philosophers. So, to the extent that one day I’d wanna be able to take my son to the sports bar and have food to eat while I watch the Vikings suck, I knew I had to do the hard. And THAT is why I took calculus, physics, computer science and chemistry.

      Maybe it’s because my parents kneeled down with me every night and prayed with me reminding us kids that we had a great life. That we were lucky. I don’t know. But I do know that I never felt discriminated against because I was a college kid.

      Or maybe they’ll move to Seattle and bartend.

      If they could be SO lucky. But remember, that bartending job in Seattle is hard to get; 10-20 applications a week. The only reason I got it is because I explained to the owner that I knew she was getting inundated with people for the job. And I was so sure in my ability, that I would work for free for the first 2 weeks. After that, fire me or pay me; her choice.

      Either way, you are starting to sound like the old fogie sitting on the porch, my friend.

      I embrace the “curmudge”!

      https://tarheelred.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/im-turning-into-that-guy/

      Now, I have to go….there’s a bunch of kids on my grass. Or, well, what WOULD be grass if I could grow grass.

  2. The 99% comes from the gap between the top 1% of income earners and the rest — it’s a number used in all the protests. I’m personally very impressed with students these days. Compared to the past, protests now tend to be more peaceful, better thought out, and focused less on rage than a message. You can ridicule the message, but you really can only do that by distorting it (and the left does the same in ridiculing the tea party). This is a good thing — students active in their civic life are more likely to succeed, more likely to be informed, and more likely to work to the benefit of society. That’s true whether its these protests or the College Republicans. Also jobs are hard to come by for all majors including science, business, education and others, and debt levels are high. I think that realization — that the economy has been screwed up and now they’re going to have problems — is a good rationale for them to get active. So don’t ridicule it, embrace it — even if you disagree with their particular take on an issue.

    • pino said:

      The 99% comes from the gap between the top 1% of income earners and the rest — it’s a number used in all the protests.

      I know. But it’s number not based on reality. Is there a difference in pay? Sure. Is there a difference in sacrifice? You betcha.

      And let’s not forget, the poor in America, the poor, the poorest 20%, have it better than almost every other single person in the rest of the whole world. EVER.

      This is a good thing — students active in their civic life are more likely to succeed, more likely to be informed, and more likely to work to the benefit of society. That’s true whether its these protests or the College Republicans.

      I agree. I DO get it.

      Lemme tell you a story.

      At the UofM I was taken by the plight of immigrants trying to make their way to the United States from Mexico and South America. I went to some “protests” and even went to a meeting or two, one of the local groups.

      Pointless. More concerned with how it FELT to protest than to get anything done.

      So, I found 8 other people and we drove to Mexico, stayed at an orphanage for 5-6 days over Holy Week and built homes for displaced immigrants during the day and taught the kids to read and speak English at night.

      I have no problem with protesting. But by God! Use the education you DID get and sound coherent. State your goal, make 2-3 pertinent points and then go DO it.

      What these kids are doing……pissin’ up a rope.

  3. Alan Scott said:

    If my kid in College pulled any of this crap, she would be out of college, because this is not what I write checks for.

  4. dedc79 said:

    I don’t think we can just point out the ways in which we all depend on corporatiosn and throw up our hands. There are things we could be doing, things that many people agree on. A lot of money was given to banks by the government, so it’s not so unreasonable to, for example, have tried to extract certain concessions from these banks in exchange for that money.

    This was done with the auto industry. We gave them money, they agreed not to fight new efficiency standards for automobiles.

    By the way, Jon Stewart (a favorite of yours, I know) did a great segment last night on how the conservative media treated the tea party as compared to the occupy wall street protesters.

    • pino said:

      I don’t think we can just point out the ways in which we all depend on corporatiosn and throw up our hands. There are things we could be doing, things that many people agree on. A lot of money was given to banks by the government, so it’s not so unreasonable to, for example, have tried to extract certain concessions from these banks in exchange for that money.

      First, to the 99’ers credit, we are ALL upset about the money we sent to Wall Street. This anger comes from the right and the left ad is pointed at both the Dubya as well as the Obama administration. Whatever happened and why, it was ugly and we hope to never do that again.

      Second, many of the banks didn’t want the money. However, they were forced to take it in an effort to “protect” the troubled banks.

      Anyway, if the protesters are mad about that, I can agree. But they should focus on that. This nonsense concerning a $20 minimum wage? Ridiculous!

      I love me some Jon Stewart. I prolly won’t have time to catch up tonight though, busy organizing fund raisers for the local orphanage!

  5. Philo said:

    Dude, don’t put philosophy together with sociology as a bullshit major. We’re one of the few great departments left at Carolina, and the PPE program is chalk full of libertarians, not the socialist complainers you rightly despise.

    • pino said:

      Dude, don’t put philosophy together with sociology as a bullshit major.

      Hey Philo…..Let’s be clear. I LOVE philosophy and I think it’s great.

      I just don’t think that anyone is going to hire me because of my philosophy degree. So I got a math degree too.

      the PPE program is chalk full of libertarians, not the socialist complainers you rightly despise.

      I would love to stop by one day! Lemme know if you’re free!

  6. Karyn said:

    Hey fellas….sociology is most certainly not a bullshit major. I have 2 degrees in sociology and have found its lessons quite useful in my life and career….

    but I will say, I think there were only 2 sociology majors my senior year that were politically conservative….not generally a right-leaning crowd, I will agree, but doesn’t mean we are bullshit.

    • Maybe I’m old fashioned but I think life is more valuable if you have knowledge, including knowledge of history, the classics, and literature. The idea that education is vocational training for a job rubs me the wrong way. Yes, it should have practical application and give skills to help people succeed and get jobs. But that’s not the only goal.

      I tell people majoring in political science that if they want to have a job in their major they probably need to go to Grad School and keep their GPA above 3.00 – better above 3.5. Those who do succeed and get jobs in their field (often going to grad school first). A Poli-Sci major with a 2.6 GPA on the other hand, either has to have connections (we’ve had some of those who now work for the Republicans and Democrats in the state) or use the degree to get a job that simply requires a college degree (Walmart manager, Enterprise Car Rental — we’ve had people get those jobs). Still, I like to think that all are better citizens because of what they learned.

      • pino said:

        Maybe I’m old fashioned but I think life is more valuable if you have knowledge, including knowledge of history, the classics, and literature. The idea that education is vocational training for a job rubs me the wrong way. Yes, it should have practical application and give skills to help people succeed and get jobs. But that’s not the only goal.

        If that’s the case, and I can see that argument, then don’t expect a career that’s gonna pay back the 50k. It is what it is; a very very expensive degree in general knowledge. However, where I DO agree with you is that very technical majors should have some non trivial amount of the softer courses. Again, why I took philosophy to compliment my math and engineering.

        Still, I like to think that all are better citizens because of what they learned.

        Without a doubt!

        But again, they can’t protest their 50,000 student loans.

    • pino said:

      sociology is most certainly not a bullshit major.

      I think that sociology is one of the majors that goes either way. You can take the highly technical aspect and make a career out of it. Or, OR, you can combine it with Himalayan feminism of the post-modern era. In some regards, sociology can be rigorous.

      And to be fair, I was poking fun at the combination of a German sociology degree combined with European Classical Renaissance Philosophy.

      Anyway, it’s the general not the specific I was trying to reveal.

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