EDPS 360 (A2) Fall 2013

“We Are All Crap Artists Now”

In Choice, Commentary on May 18, 2014 at 7:16 am

I’m not sure what brought on this post, but I like it; clearly Aaron reached a point of frustration and/or clarity this week. Whatever the cause, in terms of the links between education and society, his musings demonstrate the power of educational processes better described as diffuse* relative to those of formal education (or schooling). In a less pessimistic moment, Aaron might illustrate more positive outcomes of social learning than those that focus this post.

Folk wisdom and common sense are often good things indeed, although the mistake is made when these are elevated to the level of supreme principle of all knowledge. Mistake becomes crime, however, when those who know better deploy populist tactics in which folk prejudice and common nonsense are allowed free reign, at present very much evident in the Canadian debate over the temporary foreign worker program (TFW). If you have a moment, have a close look at a recently created Facebook page, Canadians Against the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a strange amalgam of diverse political orientations as ever there was. Garden variety xenophobia rests uncomfortably (for me, at least) alongside genuine expressions of support for those abused by employers. Such events lead the reflective Isidore’s of Aaron’s post scratching their heads or blogging in frustration at the ignorance, malice, and/or social conditions that conspire to lead us to such manifestly unjust territory.

* in Bourdieu and Passeron’s Reproduction.


The last line of Philip K. Dick’s underappreciated novel Confessions of a Crap Artist is probably one the best warnings to all of us who think we know something:

And on the basis of past choices, it seems pretty evident that my judgment is not of the best.

The reports, this past week, that the melt of Antarctica’s ice sheet is irreversible and that it will lead to significant rise in sea levels make it clear—once more—that, collectively, our judgment is not of the best. Individually, I don’t think we are much different.

Individually, in face of all evidence to the contrary, we each flatter ourselves that we, personally, are not crap artists. I know I do—and I am sure you do, as well. But we are.

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