Education: Friend or Foe?

To cleanse the palate, here’s a comedic essay I wrote four years ago and just now very quickly punched up. It’s actually still kinda funny and somewhat prescient, and I wanted to remind people here that I’m not all miserable highlights of my Facebook loneliness.

Another year, another bunch of people stressing and tearing their hair out and taking ludicrous amounts of stimulants over college admission drama. Allow me to give these students some sage advice from a man who was once in your quivering, piss-soaked shoes: shut up and just go to NYU.

By the time I left home for college, I knew exactly what I wanted. I came from a school where one of the main tenets was diversity- and I was sick of that bullshit. How lucky was I to find a school with a homogeneous student body of Asians. It’s kinda cool to be in the minority though, I never knew there were all sorts of neat-o stereotypes about white people too!

I was also well aware of the sort of education I would get in New York City. When you decide to go to school in the cosmopolitan capital of the world, your professors are “the streets of the city.” Unfortunately, they don’t offer a degree in traffic engineering or drug deals so the streets act as a poor classroom.

But I digress: while I have learned tons from my hard time in the ghetto of Union Square, the professors at NYU are pretty devoted when it comes to teaching and academia. When I have needed help and approached a professor, I’ve only been told a few times to “return during office hours.” Thankfully, they’ll often open our conversation with a brisk “fuck you,” so they don’t waste any of my time.

One thing I didn’t expect to learn about at NYU was crime. At my high school, you could leave your possessions lying around all over the quad and nobody would steal them. This all changes at NYU, where the only thing you see abandoned around campus are the transients and the shattered dreams of film students. Besides, in New York City you don’t need to leave things lying around to get them stolen; people will break into your locked apartment to steal things for you.

While sports aren’t NYU’s forte, we might surprise you with our attendance and good cheer! As a member of the illustrious Bobcat Mascot Team here, I’ve seen the amazing lengths NYU goes when it comes to school spirit. For instance, some students dress up like a giant Bobcat for sporting events to show that they care about the teams. Other students get drunk before the game and dive-tackle the Bobcat in the middle of his Bobcat Dance. At moments like these, it is truly inspiring to see the school come together and cheer in unison, (including the security guards.)

You may have heard that we don’t have a football team, but that’s okay- we have an excellent basketball team who sometimes challenges their rivals, the legendary Lebanon Valley College Basketballers, in an annual match commonly known as “A Hoopsball Game In The Beginning of January. No, I Don’t Know Who’s Playing.” If we’re lucky, we might even win!

I know that NYU is a pretty expensive school- I’ve taken out tons of loans from the government and from other private lenders, but I am confident in my decision. If a concentration in “making jokes” from the Gallatin school doesn’t have me rolling in the money by the year after graduation, I’ll eat my words. I won’t eat them out of shame, though; I’ll eat them out of necessity. My shoes, too. Because I’ll be poor.

So my point is, stop worrying. While I urge you to try NYU out, pretty much any other college will give you the exact same experience; except with maybe a few less kids singing fucking musicals wherever they go. All schools will give you the same opportunity to do what you really want to do, with a long list of classes from all fields of knowledge. But none of that really matters because regardless of what you major or minor in, you’re going to go premed. Asshole.

Lil B Came to NYU and so I’m Going To Respond Even Though I Wasn’t There

To set the stage, here’s a passage from the Vulture’s reaction to the talk:

“When I was a younger man,” he said, “it was crazy, like, you know, you grow up, and like, you don’t even, I remember like — I didn’t even know how to walk.” Was he talking about being a bay? No; he was talking about self-consciousness. “I was like, wondering how I was walking. I was in high school, like, ‘Am I walking weird?’ Really so conscious, though, and so hard on myself.” Which is, if you ask me, honest and thoughtful and maybe just a dash of stonerishly profound — imagine, that we human animals can be so socially self-conscious that we’re unsure how to walk from one place to another — though the NYU Local Twitter account soon enough summarized it as “Lil B just admitted that he did not know how to walk until high school.”

And here’s the NYU Local talking about the same:

The lecture was entertaining – don’t forget, Lil B is also pretty fucking crazy. He told the crowd he loves paying taxes. He lay on the table pretending to fall asleep, whispering “honesty, integrity, friendship, passion.” He claimed he didn’t know how to walk until high school. He made animal noises. He complimented the architect of Kimmel for some reason. His big announcement was an impending rock album -maybe called California Boy, but also quite possibly not a thing. Lil B claimed to be working with the unnamed biggest artist on the planet. He came off as a man who found enlightenment, and he might well be the messiah. “I’m ready to die for the humans – I’m ready to die for the positivity,” he actually said at one point.

See, here’s why blogs are tearing up the NYU student reaction to his talk: the accounts of the crowd response plus this dismissal of ideas makes us look like we went there to see Lil B. If you take a moment and think about all of these (contextually-stripped) ideas and how they apply to his philosophy, they don’t look “fucking crazy.” He probably loves paying taxes because he’s making a lot of money (is he?) and he likes thinking that his taxes are going to the disadvantaged. He pretended to dream about honesty, integrity, etc. because there is a truth in mantra and visualization— if you think about those virtues ALL of the time, they become an automatic piece of how you take in the world. As countered by the Vulture, he wasn’t saying “I simply couldn’t walk until I was 16 lol,” he was making a point about self-consciousness and the fact that some people worry about how they walk (I’ve thought about it!) As the Vulture also goes into, Lil B didn’t just “compliment the architect of Kimmel,” he was amazed that humanity could come together to construct something so ridiculous, given its disparate components prior to assembly.

(I’ve got nothing on the animal noises but I’m sure there was a point.)

I’m not a Lil B adherent. His music doesn’t inspire me. (Though “Real You,” the mashup of him and Gold Panda by The Hood Internet, is one of the dj duo’s best.) But maybe this is why he doesn’t perform or give interviews all that much; maybe because when he does go out, “fans” yell insipid shit (“are you a brony?” gag me with a fucking chainsaw) and roll their eyes at how absurd his notions are, and the real people who feel his music aren’t the kind that can, idk, go to one of the most expensive private schools in the nation?

And the funny thing is that as I’m noticing myself getting worked up at all this, I’m remembering one of Lil B’s quotes from last night: “the secret of life — one of the secrets — is if you look at everybody like they’re a baby. Don’t be so hard on people.”