ALERT: You can’t just pretend to be Johnny Depp and get paid for it
UrbanDictionary.com defines ‘hipster’ as the following:
- Men and women, usually in their 20’s and 30’s, who value independent thinking and progressive politics, and have an appreciation of art, indie rock and witty banter. Areas with a concentration of hipsters include Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, respectively. Hipsters tend to reject mainstream consumerism and shop at vintage and thrift stores.
- Definitions are too mainstream.
- This Guy–>
In recent Canadian politics, the British Columbia Liberal Party has come up with a $15 million dollar campaign advertising the one-year-old BC Jobs Plan, which was implemented by Premier Christy Clark in September of last year. The Jobs Plan strives to “highlight BC as a safe harbour for investment and job creation and to attract new investments.” All fine and dandy, right? Take into account the poor state of the Canadian – not to mention global – economy on one hand, and the lush pacific environment of BC whose fruits practically beg to be harvested, on the other. The Jobs Plan has allegedly implemented over 16,000 jobs since Clark’s entry into office last year. So it’s all peachy. Can we all give a round of applause to Clark, an informed progressive leader, who knows what it takes to steer the economy in the right direction? While we’re at it though, maybe a few words of good fortune are in order: This new ad campaign may not guarantee another successful year.
The ads for this year’s campaign have been smothered all over local campuses and transit systems in order to gain the attention of students. The visually minimalist and typographically styled ads feature slogans like ‘Hipster is Not a Real Job,’ ‘There’s a Reason it’s Called Being a Ski Bum,’ and ‘Because Marrying Rich May Not Pan Out.’ Really, Christy?
While there is nothing at all wrong with trying to build a stronger roots-oriented, heritage-proud economy, there is definitely something wrong with addressing the future generations of youth in such a disturbingly condescending corporate-minded tone. Is that what we’re doing now? Faithlessly referring to university and college students as welfare bums who posses no shadow of a drive for personal success? Urban Dictionary makes it clear that our society has nothing but a blurry, ADHD image of what a ‘hipster’ really is, so Christy Clark should stop generalizing about the people that will determine the future of the province she currently oversees. While she may have some idea about how to create jobs in the trades industry, there is a huge disconnect between Clark’s idea of student culture and that which actually populates UBC and the like.
For fear of reading too much into Clark’s rushed and ignorant ad campaign, this, friends, is a clear display of what Habermas would refer to as ‘system world trumping life world.’ Students leave their home and venture out into the realm of Academia to gain insight into this marvelously deceptive world, to find out a little more about who they are, and to graduate with a stronger sense of certainty about their life’s grandiose calling (Some of us MIT-ers will identify with this idealistic notion–What?! Theoretical knowledge doesn’t translate into hireability?!) But when the instrumental rationality of ‘system world’ begins to consume and dictate our values, what we choose to learn about and our futures, there’s a clear problem.
The mitZine’s latest print issue, “Selling Out,” features myriad of articles that focus on student commercialization, so I won’t delve into that (If you haven’t already – pick up a copy!). What I’m wondering is this: Whatever happened to education as a valuable end in itself? When did capital gain become a justification for learning?
If you had the pleasure of hearing David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin speak at Alumni Hall recently about ‘The End of Growth,’ you may or may not have heard the last-minute outburst, where, amidst the shuffling of the audience gathering their coats and preparing their books to be signed by the authors, Suzuki stood up. Raising a hand passionately toward the ceiling, he exclaimed, “One more thing: this democracy is ours! Don’t let them take it away from us!” Making my way out of the auditorium amidst the excitedly-applauding fans, his statement struck me as very significant.
Education is absolutely invaluable to a healthy democracy and a healthy economic landscape. Ideally, I want governments to value what’s in our minds over what’s in our pockets, and while this utopian world I dream of may never fully exist, being critically aware of how media addresses students is important. Take that Visual Arts or History of American Lit or Philosophy of Evil or Classical Mythology course you’re curious about with the intention to learn something, not just because you’re guaranteed to get an 80. I’d have to side with Suzuki on this one: we need to take our democracy, our education back from the likes of Christy Clark. Because, to cite Howard Beale, we are human beings (bums or not), goddammit, and our lives have value!
What do you think of the BC Jobs Plan Ad Campaign?
~~~Ainsleigh Burelle is a third-year MIT Hon. Spec. student who likes to bake Lemon Poppy-Seed Loaves, sing and play guitar, and feed her addiction to all types of media that feature sloths.