When I was a little kid, Tuesday nights were the nights my dad didn’t come home until very late. He’d depart his office job and go straight to the local drug store, where he’d work as the nighttime pharmacist until closing. He was making this sacrifice so that one day he could afford to send me to college.
It was all a product of his depression-era Jewish childhood that taught that the key to a successful adulthood is to graduate from college. My father wanted the very best for me, and if that meant taking a second job to pay for my college, that’s what he was going to do.
But there was one problem with this plan; a fly in the proverbial ointment if you will. Even as a small child, I really and truly didn’t give a fuck. Somewhere around the third grade, I started getting assigned homework. And I decided that it was bad enough I was stuck at school for six hours a day: I’d be damned if I’d spend additional time at night doing schoolwork.
So I limped along at school, eventually graduating high school with grade point average barely above 2.0. The whole thing was a charade. On graduation day I went up on the stage, and the dean handed me a diploma and shook my hand just like everyone else. If he had the slightest integrity he’d have kneed me in the balls and booted me off the stage. But whatever: it was time for college.
So, I got into one of those colleges that Barrons’ lists as “Competitive,” which is their euphemism for a school that’s willing to take anyone with a pulse.
In contrast to public school, college is awesome. Since you could drop out at any time, colleges know that if they make things even half as unpleasant as high school, everyone would leave.
As I see it, speaking broadly, there are three different college experiences you can have.
- You can go for the money, and do something easy but annoying. With minimal effort studying something boring and unpleasant you can learn enough to be guaranteed a fat paycheck for life. Accounting is the quintessential money career.
- You can decide to work hard, and do some math, engineering, science, or programming thing. Trouble is that a four year degree in any of these fields except programming is absolutely worthless. So unless you intend to earn a graduate degree, you’re busting your nut for no reward. A number of years ago, there was a talking Barbie Doll that said, among other things: “Math is hard.” Feminists made this big stink about the poor example that Barbie was setting for girls, and if I remember right the doll was pulled from market. But talking Barbie had it exactly right. Math is fucking hard. I’m listening to Barbie.
- Finally, you could just go the liberal arts route and study literature, or history, or some sort of community studies thing. They’ll actually give you a degree for sitting around reading halfway decent books, blowing huge clouds of marijuana smoke, listening to Steve Miller Band albums, and writing the occasional paper. Hot diggity.
If I had any sense at all I’d have gone to the local community college and gotten some sort of half-assed plumbing or electrician certification training certificate. But whatever—-literature it was going to be.
I had no clue about what I’d do when I graduated. But I do vividly remember the career advice I received from a guy named Jerry. I met Jerry during a summer job I held halfway through college. He worked down the hall in accounting, and when he heard I was studying literature, he suggested I get a head start and begin training how to operate a Slurpee machine, since I was obviously going to spend my career working in a 7-11.
Jerry was a complete dickhead and he couldn’t have been more mistaken. Turns out that just about any writing-oriented liberal arts degree, including literature, is surprisingly valuable: not because of anything special about the degree, but because of the execrable job that high schools and colleges do of teaching the most fundamental writing skills.
Basically, four year humanity degrees represent the one group of people that can reliably churn out clean and readable paragraphs. The shocker for me during my college summer jobs was discovering that I was surrounded by 35-year-old businessmen, wearing suits and ties, who had the writing skills of a fourth grader.
It turns out that if you can write reasonably well, there are job opportunities at just about any company. You could be a technical writer, you could do in-house publications, or you could elbow your way into the marketing department. Writing is a ridiculously basic skill, but it’s in surprisingly short supply at most companies. Jerry had his head up his ass.
If all these potential jobs aren’t enough, there’s one more opportunity that’s probably the highest paid of the bunch. You could, to quote Bill Hicks, start sucking satan’s cock. It’s easy: just go to work doing public relations for the most evil companies you can find.
In my last blog entry we looked at factory farming CEOs and saw what they specialize in: fucking over animals, workers, entire communities, and the environment in order to churn out meat, milk, and eggs at the lowest possible cost. Credit where credit is due: these CEOs are great at their work. But they’re entirely unable to defend their practices to the public. So they throw money at the problem by bringing on a bunch of public relations assholes. These are people who, just like me, took the easy way out in college and got some liberal arts degree. But then, upon graduating, they decided to go for the cash by whoring their writing services out to the worst people in the world.
Now that I’ve finished this digression about education and vocations, we’ll take a look at the PR side of animal agriculture: how it works and where it can be attacked.