The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Prompt line, possibly unrelated. Rebecca's flat statement, as she divides poems whose 'representation of memory is fallible', in poetry from the first world war: "Big Brother begins tonight."

"I can't believe I'm eighteen now. it doesn't feel any different." Denise sits back down after showing us all her new tattoo, and the fifteenth body piercing, standing high and swollen above an angry looking welt, a stark contrast to the other, more organic looking belly ring.

"Oh, I enjoyed voting, though," Sarah disagrees. "I didn't know who to vote for, but I took it seriously. I read what they stand for. I thought, it's my first vote, I don't want to get it wrong."

"Yeah, s'pose. It means I don't have to use my fake ID to get into nightclubs any more. I can use my actual passport!"
Denise's tattoo was an eagle, spreading its wings across most of her lower back, gross feathers dumped in indigo along the pelvic bone.
"It takes longer to become an adult these days, and passage into adulthood is more ambiguous and complicated than in the past.


The "big five" traditional markers of adulthood [...] --leaving home, finishing school, starting a job, getting married and having children. In prior generations, these transitions were completed by the mid-20s. Today, this set of transitions is often not completed until well into the 30s, even the late 30s, for many people. And what we might think about as a neat "three-box model" of life--with education up front, work in the middle, and retirement or leisure at the end--is crumbling.


Young people now seem very aware of how difficult it is to become 'independent' or 'autonomous' against current economic and social conditions, and they seem hesitant to make commitments they cannot honor or that they think may fail"

Source, On the Frontier of Adulthood, from Case Western Reserve University, found via PsyBlog.
"Miss, is Philo entered for the exams?" Alex doesn't speak to Philo any more, not after she 'chose' her boyfriend 'over' Alex, but retains vestigial friendly concern. "She hasn't been in for six weeks now."

I assume so. The worst thing about Philo is that she's good at the subject. If she'd been useless at it, or not had a natural talent for critical analysis, she'd not still be gaining A's for work submitted at the last moment.
Would perhaps have shocked herself through failure into seeing the need to commit or not commit to her courses.

"That's not true, though, Miss," interjects Jon, "if something's good enough, why should you knock yourself out trying to make it better?"

That's one way of looking at it. Another is that the old truism that all the things worth doing in life are difficult to achieve.

"No way," replies Denise. "If it's hard, I ain't gonna waste my time."

So you never want to climb Everest? Never want to breakfast with howler monkeys in the jungle? Never want to feed a puffin a morsel from your fingers?

"Oh, yeah. Of course. I want to do things. I decided. I'm never going to limit myself. No restrictions. Ever. That's me."

That's eighteen. Deeply held beliefs, without meaning. As long as they sound catchy, they're real.

Is the prompt line unrelated?
Is meaninglessness our latest faith, our guiding principle?