Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dont Abandon Me!

Whew! Almost forgot about this thing again. I am a terrible blogger.

Anyway, I spent the weekend laughing my ass off at the Limestone Comedy Festival here in B-ton. I tell ya, whenever my attitude gets all "one-horse-town" about Bloomington, something like this comes along and reminds me why I love calling it home. Yes, other places have comedy fests and other cool events. The great thing about events like this in Bloomington, though, is that people actually care about their participation in it. Not all B-ton events go down that way: there are scenes and scenesters whose goal is to be seen regardless of what's happening on stage. But man, does this town ever rise to an occasion.

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I have to comment on the NSA surveillance thing. So much has been spewed about it but I think people are ignoring 2 important points. 1) Corporations have been compiling dossiers on web surfers and emailers for nearly two decades now, and in turn are marketing products to you all.the.time based on what you buy and where and when. Remember when spam was such a problem? I have noticed that there are *more ads* not fewer, everywhere I go, now that corps can tailor your web experience to get you to go and buy what they want. Or at least feel they can. So now that the gubmint has access to this info ... well I am having trouble coming up with any more rage about data mining stuff I put online. O I'm upset about it, but only marginally more so. Can't yet tell if that is a good or a bad thing. Point 2) You can't be 100% secure and enjoy 100% freedom. The internet was set up to be like the old west: largely self-policing. But as USAians are the big players (so we say of ourselves) in things online, of course we are the ones to try to put the genie back in the bottle. So the fact that there are now little web crawly things parsing my data for future use ... well didn't we see this coming? In sci-fi for decades, sure. But isn't this what everyone fought against the "computer age" about? Yet here we are, not overnight. Not by accident. This has been coming for a long time. It is going to take a hell of a long time to undo it, also not overnight.

Lastly, I had a depressing discussion with a poet colleague the other day about the next bubble to pop: higher education. Briefly, student loans became popular in the 80s and 90s because it was an easy way for colleges to admit more students and make more money you and I as taxpayers had to underwrite. So now that there is no money anywhere, regardless of how many degrees one has or what job one is able to get, of course uni admins are rewarding themselves, and jacking up tuition, and spending more money on new buildings to attract new students. This is a mess, and it's going to take at least the rest of my lifetime and probably longer for it all to level out: for homes and college degrees and admin salaries and peon wages to resemble reality again. Until then, I expect shortages, "austerity measures," and even higher bonuses for fat cats. And I expect to work my day job until I'm 80, unless they RIF me first, which seems likely in order to make way for the next underpaid generation. Humph.

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