Saturday, March 10, 2007

(belated) Friday rant

Conservationist Rant:

I heard about this thing on the news a couple years back. Naturally, my reaction was that it was some ridiculous fantasy devised by those great idiots who think that every square inch of the planet should have an entrance fee and a gift shop. But no - apparently, this shit has been built and is opening. Soon.

Summary: they've built a huge ugly glass walkway sticking out over the rim of the Grand Canyon that will cost you $25 to take a step on; this is a project of the Hualapai tribe, and this is their land. Ideally, they want to make a big huge resort called Grand Canyon West there, with hotels and casinos and god knows what else.

That article is a bit old - it took a news feature and a glimpse at a story in the paper to alert me to the fact that yes, people actually are this stupid.

I will devote more time to why this sucks so much in its very own post - but I really hope I don't have to explain it too hard. To be clear: this is an endorsed and supported endeavor of the Hualupai, but my problem is not with them. Native American issues in this country are very complex and troubling, but I would probably say with certainty that if the reservations and tribes were not so systematically shafted by the government, they would not find themselves in a position to look for money in the hypercommercialization of their own incredibly beautiful land. So my beef is not with them.

For the moment - I am fucking furious about this whole thing. And I'm sure I'm on the reasonable end of the spectrum. Edward Abbey, from whom I stole my blog title, wrote about the dangers of destroying this very place. And his mega-devotees have a particular, er, approach to dealing with things like this. Just sayin'...

Grad student rant:
Scenario that has played out in my inbox:

Department Grad Committee: Hi grad students! Some of you are doing research-for-credit courses right now, so remember, your midterm evaluations are on Day X. [these are a new feature in this department] Remember to email us a brief summary of your progress by two weeks from today so that we can familiarize ourself with your situation! And remember that if you miss deadlines on these research-for-credit courses, you lose 10% off your final grade, so please keep the due date in mind. See you on day X."

Whiny grad students: "Waah waah this is so unfair! Why do we have to do WORK for something that HELPS us? Why does it affect our grade? That's not fair! The Department Grad Committee hates us! We should fight!"

Me and the other reasonable grad students (all three of us): "It's. A. Deadline. Haven't you ever heard of grant deadlines? And it's an email - it's not even a page long, it's like a paragraph. And it's not even graded - you just need to *hand it in*. And you have TWO WEEKS. In the time you took to send the other grad students all your whiny emails, you could have written that single email summary and, I dunno, be out having a life. Calm. The fuck. Down.

Whiny grad students: "You don't understand it's the principle blah blah. We don't mind writing summaries and handing them in on time in theory, but why should we be penalized for not doing actually doing it? Why does the Department Grad Committee put so much extra pressure on us? They clearly hate us!"

and on. and on. and on. this email thread has been alive and well for nearly ten hours.

Please - please - all of you who are advising students - we are not all like this. They are giving us a bad name. Some of us actually do our work during the day instead of complaining about THE SMALLEST ASSIGNMENT EVER for an entire day via a flamewar. I swear.

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