It’s January 12, 2020, and with only 353 days left until 2021, we have to cram as much sappiness as we can into every day to make 2020 as sappy as 2019. So let’s kick off the New Year with some super sappy snippets of secular silliness.
Reminding us why it was fortunate our founding fathers threw off the yoke of “Great” Britain, lecturers in the journalism department at Leeds Trinity University in the United Kingdom were warned not to use ALL CAPS when communicating with students because it might make them too scared to do the assignment. “Despite our best attempts to explain assessment tasks, any lack of clarity can generate anxiety and even discourage students from attempting the assessment at all,” states a memo that the lecturers received, according to The Express. “Generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis and the overuse of ‘do’, and, especially, ‘DON’T.’”
“At Leeds Trinity University we support our students to be the very best they can be,” Professor Margaret A. House OBE, vice chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, told Mirror Online. “We’re proud to offer a personal and inclusive university experience that gives every student the support to realize their potential. We follow national best practice teaching guidelines, and the memo cited in the press is guidance from a course leader to academic staff, sharing best practice from the latest teaching research to inform their teaching,” (someone give this woman a course in plain speaking) she continued. I want to know, what’s so great about “inclusive”? I also wonder how does avoiding CAPITALIZED LETTERS support students to be the “very best” they can be? If students are awash in bad habits, how does “overuse of ‘do’ and eliminating ‘DON’T’ make them better?
A new survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that economic inequality is a big issue with voters, and not just liberals. Some 61% of adult Americans told Pew that there is “too much” income inequality in the U.S., and 42% said reducing income inequality should be a “major priority” for the federal government — three percentage points more than those who said the same thing about reducing illegal immigration. (The figure rose to 78% when only accounting for those who lean politically to the left.) How, pray tell, can the federal government “reduce income inequality?” How about a campaign “just say no to income inequality”? Even better “just say no to envy”.
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, says, “income inequality, and wealth inequality, is most pronounced when the stock market is doing well.” “Life Experiences and Income Inequality in the United States,” a report from Harvard’s Chan school, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Public Radio, is based on a survey of 1,885 adults in July and August of last year. It found that households in the top 1% of the income distribution— essentially, those earning more than $500,000—are leading completely different lives than the other 99%. This entire paragraph can go in the round file labeled “no shit Sherlock”! Gee, since “wealth inequality” is primarily the result of stock prices rising or stock splits, might it be that those who own more stock will get wealthier when the stock market is doing well? As for the top 1% of earners living “different lives”, well duhhhh! And so what? Your income reflects the cost to replace you, more than anything else. Want more income? Make yourself harder to replace, or as Booker T. Washington put it, “make yourself indispensable.”
On par with income inequality in buzzword brouhaha land is climate change. As we all know, Australia is experiencing wide ranging, but nowhere near the worst they’ve ever had, wildfires. The actual causes are too much dead brush on the ground (mainly due to protests against controlled burns), the Indian Ocean dipole (raising temperatures and wind velocity), and arson (yeah, actually), but that reality, and the fact that the government has no control over wind and temperatures, has no effect on protests. Teacher Denise Lavell said she attended the protests in Sydney because “Our country is burning, our planet is dying and we need to show up,” she told Reuters.
In Melbourne, huge crowds braved heavy rain and a sharp drop in temperature to come out with placards, shouting “Phase Out Fossil Fools”, “Fire ScoMo” and “Make Fossil Fuels History.” Climate scientists have warned the frequency and intensity of the fires will surge as Australia becomes hotter and drier. Australia has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since records began in 1910, NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel said this week. “This makes heat waves and fires more likely,” she said on Twitter. “There is no explanation for this – none – that makes sense, besides emissions of heat-trapping gases.” There’s no better venue for knowledgeable, scientific debate than Twitter!
It isn’t just emotionally overwrought adults who are panicking over wildfires, which in fact are not the worst ever, neither in Australia nor California. Kids will be at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, protesting en masse. Young climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, will be attending Davos this year to put pressure on world leaders to end the fossil fuel economy. “Anything less than immediately ceasing these investments in the fossil fuel industry would be a betrayal of life itself,” writes Greta. climate activists and school strikers from around the world will be present to put pressure on these leaders. “We demand that at this year’s Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want this done now – as in right now.” So say the sad young sages, but that’s kids for you, everything must be done right now, as in immediately, and no one gets to argue, because kids know best. At the end of the WEForum credits appear, as if it were a movie.
Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old environmental campaigner from Stockholm, Sweden. This article was co-written with youth climate activists Jean Hinchliffe, Australia; Danielle Ferreira de Assis, Brazil; Joel Enrique Peña Panichine, Chile; Robin Jullian, France; Luisa Neubauer, Germany; Licipriya Kangujam, India; David Wicker, Italy; Julia Haddad, Lebanon; Oladosu Adenike, Nigeria; Iqbal Badruddin, Pakistan; Arshak Makichyan, Russia; Holly Gillibrand, Scotland; Alejandro Martínez, Spain; Isabelle Axelsson, Sweden; Sophia Axelsson, Sweden; Ell Jarl, Sweden; Mina Pohankova, Sweden; Linus Dolder, Switzerland; Vanessa Nakate, Uganda; Tokata Iron Eyes, USA.
Bottom line here: Roll up every environmental fear and scary phenomena into a single buzz phrase—climate change—which they don’t even understand, and use this magnified fear to justify measures which would destroy modern economies, undermine the very technological progress most capable of fortifying the environment. Such measures as they “demand” will have unintended consequences that they will be even angrier about if they get their way. Honestly, some people, you just can’t please’em!