Rhatican wrote a new article - titled "You know you're a hipster when..." It could be funny if he had any idea what a hipster was, or if there was a single hipster on this campus. Instead, it was a pointed attack against any sort of activism - well, any sort of move toward progress really - on this campus.
Within the article, he makes a point to make fun of people who care about Africa, since "there is not practical connection between you making some other college kid aware and an African baby surviving," and since we are only compassionate because our "father brings in six digits a year." He goes on to laugh at the Diversity Round Table, OMA and essentially any student who attempts to be informed or culturally sensitive.
Of course, I understand that it is just Rhatican - but if it was just him I'd get over it. What bothers me is how many people read the article and simply thought it was funny, or "sooo true!" What he's advocating is outright anti-intellectualism and rational self-interest. Our school already has a strong culture of conformity, and those who are openly active in progressive moments are left feeling alienated and marginalized. He says, "I think we all ought to feel compassion for the issues plaguing the continent" - but how are we supposed to do this if we're not allowed to travel there, be educated on the issue, or raise awareness?
But again, it's what his article implies that bothers me. As Jon Henry points out in a recent article, UR is slowly but surely moving toward a more academic and progressive future. People are finally discussing relevant political issues (and I'll admit, props to Rhatican for this) instead of last night's lodge or the sale at REI (guilty). People are staying up all night discussing Foucault, education reform, mountain top removal and -god forbid - poverty!
Explain to me why this is something to be ashamed of. Why is this worse than going to Cookout drunk or, heck, staying up doing a Bible study? It seems to me that Rhatican may actually be advocating complacency in the face of world problems. And whether he means it or not, he is attacking critical and independent thinking. He is calling for a return to homogony so absolute that he won't have to deal with annoying hipsters who recycle, are foreign or try and make our campus (and world) a more safe and just place.
Well wake up, Rhatican! It would be nice if the whole world was filled with heterosexual, catholic, white, male Republicans - then at least we'd all be in agreeance and not have to tolerate different languages, and those darn Africans starving, and even worse, those white kids from the suburbs using their privilege to attempt to equalize the endless injustices that permeate our society.
But unfortunately diversity does exist; in fact it's growing within our very school. And I know it scares you, but I'm afraid it's not going anywhere. But please, UR student, don't say I'm taking myself too seriously - because it's the exact anti-intellectualism that Rhatican is perpetuating (that is already frighteningly prevalent) - the veil he is raising over our eyes, the ignorance he is actually advocating - that leads the masses to tolerate genocides; that allows us to tolerate the 27 billion animals slaughtered a year in brutal conditions, that are filled with chemicals that poison our children and that produce 18 percent of our planet's greenhouse gases (1); that allow us to consume products that come from sweat shops (MacBooks included) and rain forest destruction; to live our entire lives without ever entering a truly impoverished neighborhood, despite the fact that 15 percent or 46.2 million Americans live in poverty (2); it is the attitude that Rhatican is not only advocating, but ensuring that pushes our society further into ignorance, into egoism, into inauthentic lives.
I disagreed with his previous articles, but I appreciated them. But his recent article doesn't encourage discussion - it suppresses it. It attacks an already sensitive group in our community without an alternative, and then passes it off as a joke. And people found it funny - found the hours of work that their classmates have invested to try and make a better world future for all of us as ironic or pretentious or maybe just weird. And maybe I am pretentious or weird - but to be quite honest, I don't see the irony, and I'm most certainly not laughing.
(1) "Vegetarian 101." PETA. PETA, n.d. Web. 23 Apr 2012. http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/vegetarian-101.asp&xgt
(2) Yen, Hope. "Revised govt formula shows new poverty high: 49.1M." Associated Press 7 Nov 2011, n. pag. Web. 23 Apr. 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/revised-govt-formula-shows-poverty-high-49-1m-135427317.html.
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