Saturday, 19 January 2013
The Decline of the Polymath
My grandfather was a fucking legend, a hero, a legend of a man whom I have and always will have, infinite respect for. A titan. A person who traversed the length and breath of the US and Canada. Working in sewers and taking on alligators with big bloody shovels, working in car companies, volunteering for the Korean War, getting langers drunk with the train driver of a Canadian freight train and almost causing a group of cattle to careen off a cliff as a result, mooing all the way to cow paradise roysh, fishing in a little curragh off the coast of West Kerry in literally the most tumultuous climate possible with big pointy teething rocks, and being still, in his 70s, able to consume 15 pints of guinness and still be left standing. What a fucking champ.
But, despite being a great man, he had something that my generation doesn't have at all.
Aurini's book (which I've still yet to review, sorry mate) touches on this. The people in the novel view technology with at best, an arid perspective, and at worst, blatant superstition. My grandfather was adroit in many a skill, building was one thing (he built his own house, betcha wilnae see dat nowadays) in particular that he was very very good at. A Polish lassie once told me they have a term for this in their language, which translates roughly, in English to the man with the "Golden Hands". Now this lassie wanted to be a translator in Trinners, and she was good at this kind of thing, sounds about right I think. So I wonder. The concept of the division of labor has been around since Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in 1776, and apart from a bit of brain fluff from Marx, has always been accepted, but even so, it gets one thinking all the same. Neo Keynesian fuckbutts will always harangue about how we must stimulate the demand side of the economy by doing this and dat and this en ut, em engage in more open market operations fo shizzle, and print all that delicious money, but they forget again and again and again, it is the supply side, production, that drives the economy to where it is. But even so.
Before I continue on, take a look at this picture:
People queuing up for a job during the Great Depression. Look how they are dressed. Some of these people are literally starving, and yet, they look good. They're well groomed, there is self respect there, as people try and get some little thing for their family. Of course, people never learn. You have people like Milton Friedman, proclaiming that if The Federal Reserve didn't let the monetary base shrink so bloody much (are the Chicago School really free market, especially when it comes to monetary policy?) we'd be outta there and all would be well. Krugman and Bernanke's opinions on The Great Depression are equally erroneous.
The thing is, during that time, there were more people like my grandfather, in terms of character, soul and in terms of raw skills, than there are now. Myself, in comparison? I am completely and utterly helpless, standing in the shadow of my grandfather. And the sad thing is? I'm ahead of a lot of people in my age group. There are people my age who cannot cook. Who are unable to change a lightbulb. Who cannot tighten the brakes of their bicycle, fill in a form, change the oil in their car or change a tire and use a jack. I'm still helpless though. Basic car maintenance. Electrical wiring and plumbing. Why don't they teach this in schools? These are the skills you need, for christ on a bike fucken bananas shite like. My education has been mostly a waste of time, the Irish didactic system is nothing more than an empty headed slice of clean P.C Scandinavian learning if there ever was the epitome of such a thing, and despite knowing a few mathematical concepts, my knowledge of God's language, pales in comparison to someone with the exact same degree, where he got it, circa 20-30 years ago. And the fucken university I'm in is supposedly in the top 100 or so in the world.
Bejaesus. Jesus fucking wept.
My granddad=a man with a whole bag full of skills and a man of soul.
Today= goys look at my skinny jeans and my copy of the subarbs bah the arcade fire on vinyl.
Black Swan, future follies, looken intae a crystal ball. If there is a Depression coming our way, will the chocked up on SSRI's, overweight, skill less, inept, obstreperous to liberal agenda, generation be able to take it? In Max Brook's hilarious and incredibly fun zombie novel World War Z, we see society inverted. The maids who used to clean toilets, plumbers, army men, builders are now the most powerful in the society. The rich kids, the tools with liberal arts degrees, the math nerds are all at the bottom, and subsequently the helpless and the lost writhe and toil in mediocrity.
Fuck if I know en aw how all of this will turn out. Using a computer is one thing after all, but maintaining it is another kettle of fish altogether. Personally, I'm trying to teach myself some tools of the trade in relation to all of this, even if it is all by myself. It might not be the tightest thing ever done, but it will do for now. That's the main message I got in relation to Aurini's novel. It's a generational thing, which started to come apart circa the baby boomers and their coming into this world. It is also one of the more egregious characteristics of socialism in my opinion. It doesn't allow us to stand on our own two feet, sink or swim time, which is kind of what yous need. We're sucken at the tit, and we're left...umm...less than human, zombie like, real invasion of the bodysnatcher shit that is going on. Technology makes a man feel lonely en aw.