Monday, April 16, 2012

TQ Presents... @LadyEstrogen

I generally try to put out three blog posts per week, but from time-to-time, I get caught up with other things: The Mrs., work, football, etc. This time, I'm on vacation. Hopefully, by the time you read this, I'll be some where on a beach in Panama City Beach, FL. So, I figured, why not solicit some of my favorite bloggers to take up the slack for me. Yeah, that's right, I can facilitate my blogging duties to others! How lazy wonderful is that?

I've asked a recently-found favorite of mine, Lady Estrogen, to pretty up my blog a bit with her insight!

Well, I'm going to let Lady Estrogen do her thing. After you read this and enjoy her work, then cruise on over to Adventures In Estrogen and subscribe to her blog. It's good stuff. It wouldn't be on my page if it weren't. Take it away, Lady E.

Intellectual Dummies

Our generation is, for the most part, the first majority to have gone through some form of post-secondary schooling – on average. I know there are some families that are already on their 3rd generation of Harvard alumini – and to them, I say, “Piss Off” – this article isn’t about you – although my underlying point will likely apply to you as well, as you shall see.

For MOST of us, our parents completed maybe a year or two of Community College, if that, but it didn’t matter – these lucky baby-boomers still landed jobs that now pay in the upper regions of 75-100k per annum or more. My father is a prime example of this – his 2 years of College back in the early 70s landed him a sweet job for IBM, which, by today’s standards, one would need at least a Master’s Degree in Computer Science or Engineering before they even took a sniff at your résumé. Whether it is sheer progress or a case of supply & demand, it really has changed in the last 30 years.

Because of this shift, (and our parents being aware of this) they insisted that their children went to University to “have an opportunity that they didn’t have”. From a very early age, we were coached to understand that high school was just the beginning and that there was much more learning to do. Study, study, study! Even my school was on board – I’ll admit, it was a very middle-class-centric school that I attended and there were not many ‘practical’ classes to take. I think there was a Home Economics classroom somewhere... not that I ever entered it – it was not compulsory, not even in grade 9.

When my guidance counsellor suggested that with my interest in the Creative Arts, a good Art College could be an option for me (meaning NOT University). When my mother found this out, she went completely ballistic... OK, never mind... University it was.

So, we all went off to University – thousands of us – and after 4 years, what did we have to show for our $25,000-$60,000* education? I’ll tell you – poor eating habits, a fat ass, a stack of essays... and knowledge essentially good for nothing more than competing in Jeopardy. Yes, it nurtured our critical thinking, but if you didn’t have it to begin with, University doesn’t magically create it. Unless you were going to do more school in the form of Post-graduate certifications, Masters, PhD, etc, an Undergraduate Degree gets you sweet fuck all. The worst part, which is what I’m essentially observing these days, is that these thousands of University graduates cannot do ANYTHING that requires a practical everyday life skill.

We cannot fix anything.
We cannot build anything.
We cannot do anything that requires manual knowledge.
We are fucking useless.

And the guys back in high school that we stuck our noses up at because they were in the Wood Working class or other applied subjects are now the guys that are laughing their arses off – all the way to the bank. They are clearing $100k per annum because no one else knows how to do their job and they can charge extortionate prices for their services – knowing full well that we’d be screwed without them. Yes, my father was lucky and got a fantastic job back in the 70s, but even he can barely change a light bulb! The majority of us now are in high stress, under-paying jobs – most of which have little or nothing to do with what we originally went to University for. I am generally in the same field that I attended University for, but only with an additional 2 more years of Post-graduate studies and a lot of luck.

I don’t want to blame anyone – it’s just another one of many symptomatic back lashes from the baby boomer generation; I doubt anyone could have foreseen this. It is not like, as a 16 year old, I thought to myself, “Gee, when I’m 35, I sure would like to be able to sew and cook.” Of course I didn’t; if I had the gift of foresight at 16, We all would have done things differently, I’m sure of it. I also should acknowledge that there was the strong feminist movement blowing through at that time and the idea of a young woman wanting to sew and cook instead of wanting to become an astronaut was like a crime against our sex.

Some people say, “Well, go back and learn that now!” OK, with what time, exactly? Between babies, mortgage & car payments, full-time job, laundry, groceries, hockey practice, swimming lessons, marriage and generally attempting to keep the house from falling apart, when is there time to do that, seriously? I’m happy when I get time to enjoy a coffee that is not served in a disposable cup! That is why we go to school when we are young – because it’s when we have time for it.

The sexiest man I have met in a very long time was the handyman that we hired to do some jobs around our house. He could lay flooring, install a tile back-splash and put up a railing – and it totally turned me on! I love my husband, but these are things I really wished he could do – or even myself – but we cannot; we are both intellectual dummies. I’m sure even that 3rd generation Harvard graduate wouldn’t know the difference between a drywall screw and a wood screw to save their life. The person they have to hire to do their manual labour is likely making more money than they are – how's that for a hot slurp of irony?

So, of course, if my children know early on that they want to become doctors or teachers, or something of that capacity that genuinely requires a University education, they will be given that opportunity – no question. However, if they aren’t sure what they want to do, I would much prefer to see them go to College and learn a practical trade, rather than wasting 4 years getting a useless general arts degree – or worse, social science.

What a joke.

(*based on Canadian tuition fees; the high end is including residence fees)



  1. Thanks for having me!
    It still makes me angry reading it. Haha.
    Dummies ;)

    1. LOL! Thanks for doing it! I think that it's a wonderful and insightful post! I've always wanted to take a stab at this topic, but didn't quite know where to start. I think that you've summed things up beautifully!

  2. Fantastic post. I am just now, at 31, learning how to work a week whacker and gardening tools. An 'educated' man can just hire landscapers, right? Huh....

    1. B, I wish I knew how to do more housework than I do. I'm a master light bulb changer and expert vacuumer, but I can't install a toilet or lay carpet. Maybe I should have take that shop class as an elective!

  3. I have to admit I thought my husband and I were mostly alone in the "inability to do anything manual" group. So as I'm reading your blog, I'm nodding and smiling and feeling so relieved that we are not the only ones. Then my relief turned to fear. If we aren't the only ones, this world is in some really deep sh*t.

    1. You got that right, Kellie! I actually wonder how many parents are informing their kids of this? Parents should use this as an example of which direction to steer their kids. I have a cousin who is going to Miss. State this fall and majoring in Music. I've pleaded with her to understand the limits she's placing on herself with that major, but she wants to do it anyway. Hopefully, she's the next Lady Gaga, but if not, that's a lot of money spent on nothing.

  4. Lady E. OK, first, thoughtful post. While I think there are many college course and professional programs that teach usable skills, you are spot on for much of the rest.

    Second, what is going on with the chest area of the lady in the pic? It looks like she's wearing drink coasters as giant nipple pads. Or maybe she cut rounds from her graduation cap. It seemas as though the fabric in the hat liner in the other photo would be a match.

    But fear not, at least here in America we'll have no future need for college. If we don't get the arch-conservative assholes out of our national and state congresses, we commoners will not need, nor will be be able to afford, college educations. We'll all be "menial labor specialists". Washing dishes and raising the food for the ruling class.

    1. She should be wearing a seamless padded bra, yes.

      I DO think there are many COLLEGE courses that teach practical skills. That's what I mean -- I know there might be a bit of a cultural difference here in the wording. College is NOT the same as University in Canada. You cannot (97% of the time) get a "degree" in college.
      University is pretty much all academic studies... that get you no where except more school.

      College is about 60% cheaper tuition that University in Canada as well.

    2. Leave it to Mooner to check out nipples in a post about education. :) You're dead-on about the "ruling class" though. They want to return to the days of serfs and peasants.

  5. College cost me an arm and a leg and college loans are still being paid off. I have a degree in Psychology and you know what I do with it? I'm a nanny! That being said my father did not mess around and demanded that I know how to handle/do (efficiently and effectively) all of the following:

    a hammer/screwdriver (and yes I know the difference between a Phillips and a flat)
    change my own car tire
    hang something properly, be it a shelf or picture
    build any IKEA style furniture (no rocket science but I beam a bit when I look at my bookshelf, desk, or storage unit)

    Where was I...oh my parents...I have to give it to them though. I'm the oldest of 4 girls I went to college, the next 2 did not. Why? They hated school and it would have been a waste. They are both very successful in their fields now without a college degree. My youngest sister is graduating soon with NO idea what to do with her expensive degree or how to pay off her debt.

    Who are the dummies now? *le sigh*

    1. Totally true, sista!

      I am really good at assembling things, but it's mostly just my creativity trying to make weird shit.

      In a perfect world, I will have 4 children that will respectively be a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician and a general contractor... and we will rule the world!!! Muah ha ha.

    2. Unless you're dead set on going to law school (like I thought I was) or med school, then it's tough these days. Now even courses that are vague like English or Business Administration can lead to nowhere. Take a more defined course like Music or Dance and you'd better be the next American Idol or you'll be paying off loans until you're 60.

    3. Even 15yrs ago, I new that I was going to have to get some sort of "applied" education to do anything. There were at least 1/2 in my art program that actually believed they were going to be successful "artists" when they graduated. DUHHH. It's not pessimism - it's realism, y'all!

    4. No doubt. It's just reality.

  6. Ayyyyy. You know as a college professor this wounds me. I don't believe college should be like an "applied" degree - although they do have those degrees. It makes me very sad that our culture does not value being intelligent or well-rounded.

    Also why does it have to be either the husband or the tile guy? I know plenty of people who can build houses and teach classes. I also know plenty of people who can only do one thing - whether it's tile or computers.

    But what really bothers me is the cost of education. I very strongly feel that college education should not be an applied technical/trade school type of certificate and I also very strongly feel that we are letting too many people into college, and charging too much. I don't know how to fix this in this economy - but my ideal would be more like Europe (and yes this would involve higher taxes). University education FREE, but standards WAY the hell higher.

    We should be reaching for the stars, not for the bars. We should be able to develop intellectually and in all ways, to the best of our ability, if we so choose. the "job" should not be the only worthy goal in creating a well-rounded society. Some people are born "thinkers" and "artists" and there should be a place for that. The tile guy is no more valuable, nor less, than the thinker. It's just that our system's a stinker.

    1. This is a great comment! No wonder you're a professor! :) I've never really thought about it, but you're exactly right when you say "we are letting too many people into college." We don't separate the good from the average. And that's why our college loan debt is so high. So many people are going to college and aren't qualified to do anything to pay off their loans.

      I do think the cost should be free as well. Great comment! No, excellent comment!

  7. I'm intensely under-paid, and over-educated, and heavily in debt, to the point that I will probably never be able to own my own home. Why? I have no credit cards, make no extravagant purchases. Because my education cost $130,000 and the job I can get pays 1/4 of that. Ridiculous and infuriating - I feel your pain.

    1. That is sad, Pish Posh. It's not supposed to work that way. Someone who graduates after paying $130,000 should be able to pay it off in the same time it took for them to earn that degree. I'm so sorry that you're having to go through that as an educator when you should be rewarded for giving back.

  8. Yes and Yes! Well said Lady E! I was one of the "smart" kids in my High School, which really wasn't that hard considering it was basically a school full of farm kids that knew they would be working on the farm instead of going off to college. I waited to go to college because I was much to busy working in a bar and partying to go off and learn stuff. I went back to college a few years later because I wanted to, and because i had learned that working 2-3 jobs at a time and still not making shit really sucked. Luckily, I got a job where the corporate "man" picked up most of my college tab up through my Masters. The only thing I regret is that in order to get the company to pay, I had to go for a generic business degree which basically has gotten me nothing but a piece of paper and a pat on the back. Hooray!
    I agree with something being said about a guy that can actually make stuff and do stuff with his bare manly hands. The contractor doing Twin's house overhaul is super crafty and thus I find him extra sexy. I had him explain the cabinet hanging to me twice just to watch him measure stuff. Sigh...

    1. LOL! Stop having men explain cabinet hanging to you while you sip on wine. LOL! You hit on a real world point in your comment: working 2-3 jobs. It's a shame that it has to be done in order for people to make ends meet. Prices keep going up, but salaries keep steady. It's hard to explain to a high schooler about going to college when they're going to make the same salary as someone who didn't. :(


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