Keith thinks I’m stupid.
He’s got a point, though I like to think that it’s more nuanced than that. Write in heat, review in light. I think he should take me in the round.
There are faults with my piece on 1984, but he has been particularly scathing about it. For example, when Sweet and Sour came in the other day, he started shouting, “Tu as un cerveau de la taille d’un pois!” as if we were sharing a joke about Sweet. But he really meant it about me; I could tell.
Like I care – I’m in win-win territory. If he’s right, it only goes to make my point, that I’ve been the recipient of a dreadful education.
Here’s a seldom aired fact. In the UK, private schools have charitable status. It’s an historical anomaly that has never been corrected, the point of which is that they don’t pay tax. This saving amounts to about £3 billion per year. There are 615,000 pupils in private education in the UK. So that makes for a universal credit payment of about £5,000 per pupil. The education budget for the state sector in the UK is £21 billion per year, and there are nine million pupils in the system, making a spend of just over £2,300 per pupil.
Get that: the government provides twice as much in tax savings per head for the privately educated than its entire spend on their state school equivalents.
Before the internet was invented, melts like this gravitated towards teaching where they shovelled their bigoted mediocrity onto unwilling subjects like me. God knows what schools have descended to since, now that these sorts have migrated towards monetising their uselessness on YouTube.
(Try to overlook the fact that he does not know how to form correct sentences in English).
For context: he’s trying to set-up the video by describing the era in which the Brother’s Karamazov was written. Never mind that he conflates atheism, totalitarianism and communism; and try to look beyond his assertion that previously Russia had been a Christian society ‘used to free will.’ Instead, learn to hate him, as I do, for the assumed authority with which he delivers this nonsense. Note that he shows no doubt about his idiocy; no vulnerability, no humility. See how, from him, we get just certainty; an assuredness delivered without a hint of fallibility. See him as a peddler of platitudes, complacency, and half-recalled sound-bites, no better than someone who speed-reads the notes before teaching a class. Then understand what it means for people of my age to have received a state funded education.
It is not that people like him have not passed exams, or possess certificates, given to them by their predecessors, purporting to be a measure of their intelligence. No, it is the sense of enfranchisement they take from these minor achievements that is dangerous. That and their lack of imagination to see beyond their own shortcomings.
Just like the unregulated world of online training, the public sector teachers of my era came caveat emptor, without express warnings, and no redress. They peddled their nonsense unfettered by the surveillance of their feckless, absent, employers, free to exert their malign influence without fear of censure. Nobody prohibited them from characterising the pupils that asked awkward questions, as trouble. They stood as sole arbiters to impose ill-considered justice on lives blessed of a talent that was beyond their scope to comprehend. And they were given free rein to vent their jealousy, anger, and inadequacies, as the gatekeepers standing between those lives and what should have been their destiny.
And it’s why that tiny moment of dissent in youth, works its way up through a boiling frustration into a hard-coded determination to undermine every pompous idiot that crosses your path; and to spoil the efforts of every grasping moron, ambitious prick, and rapacious parvenu, whenever encountered. It is why we waste so much of our lives on the side-lines, observing in slack-jawed disbelief; it’s why we devote so much of our leisure time into wondering when and how we should kill ourselves.
And, it’s why so many of us will shrug our shoulders when these transient purveyors of worthless ephemera slowly transform from lightweight chancers into fully-formed virtual images, avatars, and holograms. When their unchecked output is produced and delivered by an AI bot, whose infantile, easily-digested, output is laced with dangerous subversion. And we will say, twas ever thus, for some of us. Yes, do bring on that day when AI turns into AGI and singularity; that day, that frightens the life out of you, does not scare us, the disenfranchised. We’ve always lived that way. And know this: when the cry goes up for all hands to the pump, when you are shouting, ‘this is the end, unless we all act together, now,’ we won’t be there to help. We were never we. We will remain on the sidelines, and we’ll laugh at the ever-flawed specists, and then they’ll know that we have never shared common interests.
… or maybe it’s just me.