Wednesday 16th October 2019

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Do People Need An “Adulting” Class?

October 7, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


I have been intrigued lately by a television commercial that has been running in my area. Every time I see it, I wonder.
The ad is for a financial firm which makes new loans and refinances old ones. I don’t know much about the firm other than what is on the web, and I have nothing to indicate that it is not a reputable business. It’s one of its commercials that has me doing the head scratching. It is for student loan refinancing.
Now I know that student loans are challenging for graduates and especially challenging for non-graduate former students. It’s hard to begin a career facing a mountain of debt. That makes marriage, raising a family, purchasing a house, starting a business, among other things, economically difficult. I get that.
In the commercial, a number of people who — I assume — are recent college graduates make the point of how burdensome their student debt is. But toward the end several indicate that they are now debt-free. In fact, the last scene shows an attractive young woman claiming, “Not owing anyone anything is the best feeling in the world. I cannot stop smiling about it.”
The question I want to ask is: What don’t you understand about refinancing? Has higher education left you so obtuse that you think a refinance leaves you debt free? I would think that anyone who graduated from high school would understand the ramification of refinancing a loan, of new interest rates and repayment schedules.
I hope this isn’t the state of higher education in this country. But apparently it is and the University of California at Berkeley has just the right remedy. It now offers a course in adulting. That’s right, a credit course which teaches students how to adult.
According to the course description, this is a “class for students to learn how to live in the real world and function as an adult. . . . This course will explore the many dimensions of how to successfully adult.”
Campus Reform says that the fall semester has 60 students enrolled. It reports the course “will not only teach students how to tackle the mundane tasks of life such as paying taxes but also highlight subjects such as how to ‘develop good habits’.”
“Finally a class worth taking” an incoming freshman was quoted as saying. Finally? He’s an incoming freshman, how many classes has he experienced? A recent graduate had the best reaction: “Why not just take a business class?” You think they might learn about refinancing there?
But to prove the course is necessary, seven professors joined by 132 members of the Berkeley University staff have signed a letter that calls for the canceling of classes for four days so students can boycott “Free Speech Week” for the “physical and mental safety” of students who might be exposed to Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon, and Milo Yiannopoulos when they speak on the campus.
Apparently the students are not adult enough to be exposed to other ideas.
“The reality is that particularly vulnerable populations (DACA students, non-white, gender queer, Muslims, disabled, feminists, and others) have already been harmed, and are reporting increased levels of fear and anxiety about the upcoming events, the increased police presence on our campus, and how all this will impact their lives and their studies,” the letter said.
The letter said that making DACA students go to campus places them under an “imminent threat,” and “Faculty who DO hold classes are disadvantaging DACA students and other who will feel threatened by being on campus.”
Of course the police will be there; that’s because liberal groups believe they have the right to disrupt conservative presentations. But then if you haven’t learned to adult yet. . . .
In the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Department comes a story from Ames, Iowa. A couple of weeks ago, the popular ESPN GameDay program was broadcasting from the Iowa State University campus, site of this year’s Iowa-Iowa State football game. If you’ve not seen the show, crowding around the announcers are college bands, cheerleaders, and hundreds, if not thousands, of students, most of whom are partisans of one of the teams playing that day.
The Ames fest was no different. In the crowd was a 24-year-old Cyclone (that’s Iowa State) fan, Carson King, holding a sign that read “Bush Light supply needs replenished,” which referred readers to his Venmo account where money could be sent.
The gag sign went viral and money started pouring into King’s account, so much so that he decided to give it to charity and the charity he chose was the University of Iowa’s Stead Children’s Hospital. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the football stadium in Iowa City where the Hawkeyes (Iowa) play is close enough to the hospital that children can see the game from their visiting area.
A couple of years ago the University of Iowa started the tradition of everyone rising at the end of the first quarter, including both teams and the officials, turning to the hospital, and waving to the kids, who happily wave back. When that announcement was made, the cash really started rolling in and Anheuser-Busch, Bush Light’s parent company, and Venmo quickly added their support by pledging to match whatever was raised.
Thus somewhere in excess of a million dollars was raised for the children’s hospital, with a target of two million by the end of the month. That, we thought, was a good thing. But then The Des Moines Register entered the story.
It seems that a reporter doing a “routine background check” on Mr. King found two racist jokes that he had seen on TV and posted online some seven years ago when he was a 16-year-old high school student. Carol Hunter, executive editor of the paper, in what she termed “the public good” included the story about the posts in a story about Mr. King and the million dollars he raised for the hospital.
“We thought we should be transparent about what we had found,” she said in a later statement, “but not highlight it at the top of the story or as a separate story. . . . Reasonable people can look at the same set of facts and disagree on what merits publication. But rest assured such decisions are not made lightly and are rooted in what we perceive as the public good.”
The public good, I guess, is trashing a private citizen with things posted seven years ago. Anheuser-Bush, who, ironically, sponsored the program from where the jokes were taken, quickly cut all contacts with Mr. King, but did honor its pledge to the hospital. The central figure in the story found out what the Register was doing, called a press conference, acknowledged the posts, apologized, and even praised the Register for how it had treated him, saying the paper “had been nothing but kind in all of their coverage.”
While that was boiling, Facebook erupted with condemnations of the Register and Anheuser-Busch. Then the Facebook crowd did a “routine background check” on the reporter, Aaron Calvin, and for “the public good” reported on the results: One post said “F*** the NYPD,” another “F*** (Republican Cong.) Steve King,” “I see (Nebraska Sen.) Ben Sasse is out there continuing his run to beat out (Former House Speaker) Paul Ryan for ‘World’s Most Contemptible S***head’,” and “I do hate America.”
Calvin also took on the Christian right: “Evangelicals chose an atheist as long as he’s a racist like them, racism is their true religion, and they will not see heaven when they die.”
Facebook readers are not letting up on the perceived hypocrisy and the Register has now been forced to admit that “a staffer” is now under investigation.
Carson King did the right thing. He admitted his error, apologized, took down all his posts and even had kind words for the Register. He was an adult. The others need that class.
(You can reach Mike at: Deacon

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