1928 Shadow Of Doubt.

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Education, at every level, is one of the most broken aspects of American culture over the last, at least, 50 years. It’s lost a lot of focus. I lived through an era of decay. Teachers getting slowly worse as I aged, systems breaking down, failure mounting upon failure. I was lucky enough to go to elementary school in a small town where things were “backwards” by modern standards. It gave me a foundation that allowed me to teach myself as the system crumbled around me. As long as you can read well you can teach yourself damn near anything you might need in everyday life. Once we moved to a larger town my education became scattershot. Large splatters of random information without any illustration of function. The dates of the American revolution, for example, aren’t as important as the causes of it, or the reactions to those causes, or why those people, at that point in history, reacted the way they did. I didn’t learn about the philosophy of the enlightenment until later, and on my own. The loner things went to worse the problem got. Key elements left out, or glossed over. Significant parts of the story ignored in favor of a timeline. I also caught the very beginnings of the anti-science movement at the tail end of my education. When teachers had to tell us that evolution is “just a theory” without explaining the difference between the meanings of those words in common parlance versus use in a scientific discussion. Again, I learned those distinctions on my own.
Artistically is got a wide array of general study, but there was never any mention of how a person survives with art as a profession. No one ever says anything about how you have to become a business person. Things like contracts, taxes, and so on, are never mentioned. In spite of the fact that art exists in every aspect of daily life it’s looked upon as a worthless endeavor. Some artist designed all your clothes, your coffee cup, the can the coffee came out of, and on down the line, but no one ever acknowledges it. It’s insane if you think about it.
Anyway, eventually, once things break down completely, people will come along and sort things out, but that’s what it will take. Humans generally don’t plan in advance, they react.

21 Comments

Some humans do see and plan ahead but they are drowned out by the majority. It gets even worse if those insightful people try to warn others as they are best ridiculed and at worst killed for it. In the end those that can see ahead stay quiet because they don’t want their loved ones to suffer as a result.

It has happened time and again through history and one day will end up killing humanity.

Your notes about education are spot-on.

And to add to it… I was an intelligent kid with a thirst for knowledge. I picked things up fast, asked questions, tried to dig deeper, and… was generally treated as a nuisance for it. The biggest lesson I took from class was “just tune out and do the bare minimum, because no one wants to deal with your shit”.

When the system actually punishes children for wanting to learn, there’s a fundamental disconnect between what is supposed to be happening and what IS happening.

It isn’t so much the education that school provides, it’s the credentials.

People are ingrained to take credentials seriously. Sure, all your MBA really proves is that you could pay for and sit through a lot of boring classes about comparatively unrelated topics, but you can’t get some of the higher-end jobs without it.

So without film school credentials behind her, Brooksie is gonna need to have a couple Sundance-awarded indy films under her belt before any studio is going to pay attention to her (if that’s what she really wants). Make your films. Do the best job you can. Learn from each one, and you’ll be putting out professional-looking movies in no time.

Or at least Youtube-level movies (which, I believe, is her immediate goal).

Are you me? Mostly self-educated, but with a solid grounding in reading and writing. My mother was a first grade teacher for 40 years, and teaching reading was her first priority. With that, all other subjects can fall into place; without it, nothing else matters. I find your writing and art entertaining and insightful, so count yourself successful in your mission here. Credentials and accolades are false signs of success in life; only satisfaction and fulfillment count.

I was looking into a graphic design program a few years ago at a community college in Washington state, and one of the things they had was a unit of “Freelancing Requirements” which went into things like basic accounting, taxes, and general business things for freelancing artists.

So it seems that some places are thinking about it.

When I attended Art Institute of Seattle years back, the last year of classes included things like basic contract writing, evaluating your skills for setting prices for your labor, and so forth. Pursuing art as a career generally means one of two things: getting a degree and leaning on the institution to provide all of the instruction you need, or being self-motivated enough to learn all of it on your own. I was already 30 by the time I started at AiS, so I was frequently the F.O.G. in the class and handicapped by my full-time job and commuting. Most of the students I met were either fresh out of high school or in their early twenties, so they generally had the time to devote to their work. I learned a lot, but ultimately all I ended up with were student loans and poor health from overworking myself. I’d still like to have the education, but it doesn’t pay the bills and I’m in my 40’s now, so I don’t have the time (or energy) to pick it up again.

Anyway, am I the only one who thinks Jessica looks the best she’s ever looked in that last panel? To me, that’s the first time I’ve ever really seen her expression show that she honestly, deeply cares about someone, and that makes her attractive in my book. Well done, Jackie. :)

Failure is not just a possibility, Brooksie. It’s mandatory sooner or later. But that’s OK because it’s a vital part of the learning process. Go and learn.

My father was an Elementary School Principal, and was deeply disappointed that we decided to homeschool his grandkids. But as I told him every time we had That Discussion, if I could find a school that was run like his was, I’d have my kids there in a heartbeat. Schools (at least in this area) are a toxic environment where education doesn’t (as a rule) happen. The proof is in what’s happening now on the campuses of the US’s elite colleges. Kids arrive at the school totally unprepared for the work ahead of them, and need a roomful of puppies and coloring books to be able to cope with “micro-agressive” “trigger” words. And these people are going to be the ones to sort out society when it collapses under it’s own weight?

Thinking of the broken education system, here is part of Carlos Menica’s, “Dee dee dee” song. (My apologies for the possibly offensive words, + possibly offensive ideas, in this song):

This test is too hard! (So they lower the standards)
I’m not good at sports! (So they give them all trophies)
My dad used to spank me (So they lower the standards)
I’m too fat for this seat (So they widen the standards)
They say no cause I’m black (So they lower the standards)
They say no cause I’m white (So they lower the standards)
They say no cause I’m Asian (So they lower the standards)
No habla Englais (So we all become Spaniards)
And you wake up one day and you don’t have the skills
To get a better job so you’re stuck on the grill
You’re wondering why Julio took your job
But you forget to see, you’re as dumb as a knob…

…So they outsource your job to some guy named Habib
Cause he works harder than you and he’s got 5 degrees
And you’re asking yourself how could this happen to me
I’ll tell you why, homie! Cause you’re….dee dee dee.”

Well, on the discussion of education on a global scale –

You really have to look at where certain people get degrees in other countries as well. My experience has led me to list a group of “colleges” in India and China that just hand out degrees to people who pay them, but don’t learn anything. If I spot one as the core of someone overseas applying for a job, I ask more questions than usual, and I usually get to the root that the person has very little knowledge that they claim to have.

Same thing for some colleges in Europe. And the US.

So it’s not just a US thing, it’s everywhere. Education in general really depends on your school. Nine times out of ten, someone actually having a CIT degree in the US has more experience and can complete the task than someone having a CIT degree from some college I have never heard of in China, India or Romania.

…I want to give Brooksie all the hugs. All of them.

As for education, it’s such a massive play of contrasts… we give respect to people who have a series of degrees, but don’t expect those degrees to mean anything. We claim knowledge is power, then mock the ‘eggheads’ and ‘nerds’ who know things. We praise the genius who builds things, but it’s the ‘good ole boy’ action hero breaking things who is the hero of the story.

Yeah I agree people treat art like a town jester. I think the biggest underappreciation for art is in film music. Not in the way you’d think. The biggest composers make money – unlike most other artforms – but don’t get credited for the film’s success. I would argue that the biggest movies ever made don’t owe 10%, 20%, or even 50% of their success to the score, but all of it. Nobody realizes how much music affects you and your perception.

Even the directors don’t get it, they don’t understand they were influenced by the score just a much to inspire them.

I am still confused though. I don’t think education was always bad in the US until recently. And I can’t confirm that it is bad now because I haven’t lived it, and all you hear are anecdotes.

Since I’m always late to the party (and discussions) since I don’t actually get a chance to read your comic until WEDNESDAY at the lastest, I don’t know if you’ll see this.

Education as a whole really depends on location and the degree upon which the PARENTS who are involved push it. I’ve paid a lot of attention in my area for two decades about the education of people who come to work with/for me. That’s the primary education level (elementary and high school). Big city primary schools usually only care about the results, and not the content. In that sense, I usually tell people that home schooling or finding a small private school is worth it. In smaller schools or private schools, they tend to care more about content and quality over results, mostly because their funding is from the people who send their kids there. People are paying to get their kids a good education, so their reputation depends on it. Like Wheeler Elementary here in Omaha, Nebraska where my son is currently attending. It’s small, so the student to teacher ratio is decent; we tend to provide the classrooms with most of their supplies; and the teachers are usually the “best in class” recommended. My son has learned a lot more than my nephew who is attending a huge elementary school in the heart of the city. Again, location and the level of community involvement makes a huge difference.

College/university level is 100% based on what the school sees as its top priority. My college of choice was a private one, and I focused on psychology and CIT. My alma mater is completely focused on Science, Engineering and Agriculture, in that order. Then things like Mass Communications and Sports Medicine. The Humanities are treated as tertiary, less important degrees. English, philosophy, performing arts and … visual arts? were part of Humanities. I mean, I was in choir because I always thought everyone should have some sort of art or Humanities in their education, because it’s vital to civilization to preserve the arts.

I think most colleges are now moving towards what is called a “practical education” view. If it immediately makes money from graduation going forward, it should be on the list of primary subjects/degrees. If it doesn’t, it should be considered a secondary or tertiary subject/degree. My problem is that art, language and philosophy are vital for human civilization to evolve.

And then there is the problem of “colleges” in other countries just handing out degrees to people who pay for them, and not actually teaching anything. And US companies continue to struggle with that on a daily basis when they are trying to be part of the “follow the sun philosophy” that is necessary to operate as a global company. I run into it when hiring folks in India, China and East Europe. They have a degree, bu they know considerably less than people in the US with actual degrees. It makes me frustrated to no end.

I’ve learned quite a bit about how education affects my job field, but the reality is often weirder than the “assumption.”

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