March 30, 2001

The Rant

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It was said by Laurence Fishburne in the movie Higher Learning that “Education, at the University level, is meant to teach you how to think.” This is all well and good, but most people feel that thinking is really over-rated.

While away in Spain last week I had the chance to see a few museums. There were whole books written on some of the paintings, and you could pick up 30 page pamphlets on other paintings. Experts and tour guides analyzed the deeper implications of a character’s smile, and unfolded to us American tourists untold secrets about the motives of the royal family, the deceit and adulterous nature of the Queen and relationship between the artist and nature. With info like that from a smile, I wondered what my Mickey Mouse shirt said to the guide. These paintings of seemingly simple things unfolded into representations about life, the universe and everything, and then, some American tourists wearing their University t-shirts with pride opened their mouths.

“You see the naked chick holding the red fruit in front of the snake and that naked guy?”

The young man’s friends who were looking with blank stares at the painting’s frame, or the tile floor, or the ceiling, or the ghostly apparition of Hamlet’s father turned their attention to the painting.

“Well, I know what the artist was saying there.”

His friends waited for his conclusions and one of them slurped up the drool that had begun to pool around his chin.

“He’s saying she wants him to pop her cherry.”

I turned toward this poor unfortunate dimwit and tried to stop the blood vessel in my frontal lobe from popping. He was standing tall, and obviously very proud of himself.

With thinkers like these in the world, why do we study so hard? Conquering these people in the work force should be as difficult as finding Jennifer Lopez’s nipples on Oscar night. I tried to comfort myself by thinking that this boy was just one idiot who escaped our country, but then I noticed his friends nodding in reassurance.

“Excuse me,” I said and tapped on his shoulder, “One day … I’m going to fire you.” And then I walked away.

He probably thought I was trying to pop his cherry.

I’m generally not an angry person, and I don’t usually dream of skinning a person, turning them into a coat, and then donating the rest of their remains to the hot dog industry, but I really think that it would give meaning to these peoples’ lives.

I won’t begin to praise our University’s brilliance, because while we have people who can build little tiny robots that can kill off diseased cells, the same people often fail to look both ways before crossing the street.

For the thinkers reading this, I implore you to continue to look at the Arts (and Entertainment Section) with a critical eye for the value of its commentary on the world that produces it.

As for the rest of you, please feel free to continue watching TRL and DFX on MTV. I hear that MTV has hired Carrot-Top to do running commentary on the past 20 years. Enjoy.

Archived article by Bradley Werner