Career College Ad Sums Up What’s Wrong with US in 60 Seconds

31 Oct

Being as wasting time seems to have become my latest hobby, I recently found myself watching an afternoon episode of Jerry Springer and its attendant ads. I realize that admitting that might set a process in motion that will culminate in some kind of cyber-intervention aimed at forcing me to stop watching American culture and society swirl down the toilet bowl, but I’ll take my chances. I’m willing to take this risk because watching that hour of television on the subject of “lesbian” love triangles and suffering through the audience comments (which I assure you is the hardest part of the show to endure) alerted me to the existence of OmniTech Institute. Some of you might be wondering why one medical billing/office management/CNA/”technology” school would stand out from the seventy or so advertising in the Atlanta market, and I’ll tell you: OmniTech just happens to have the (unintentionally) funniest ad I’ve seen in years, an ad I attempted to find on YouTube yesterday in order to share it with all of my pals. Unfortunately, the aforementioned ad is not yet on YouTube (though I’ll be sure to forward it on as soon as it becomes available), but I did find two others, and those two others proved far more valuable than the one I’d been searching for in the first place. Let’s have a look:

Ahem.

Why are there more ads for low-grade, for-profit schools for “technology” and “medical” jobs on during daytime television broadcasts than there are chat line ads after midnight on the same networks? Why are “technology” and “medicine” supposed to excite people who watch talk shows about people having sex with people they shouldn’t and the zany consequences that derive therefrom? Well, I suppose the people who produce and book ads for the CW have some idea what they’re doing. It doesn’t take a demographics expert to know that people who watch daytime network TV are unlikely to have steady “nine-to-five” (when are we going to admit that people work at least from eight to five and stop using that phrase?) jobs, that most of them are women at home who might rather not be, that they don’t have a shitload of money on hand or else they’d have cable and wouldn’t be watching the CW at all, and that most of these people have absorbed the idea that “education” is good, that one needs a “career,” and that “medicine” and “technology” are, like, total BFDs. They’re also aware that their audience is generally made up of people of color and that it’s a safe bet to market career education to that audience, because any dumbass knows that the intersection of a Venn diagram of non-whiteness and limited career opportunities is pretty big. Really, if you went for a three-circle Venn diagram with circles representing women, people of color, and people with limited job opportunities, it’d look a lot more like a circle drawn by a four-year-old than Mickey Mouse’s head. I used to watch the CW when it was the WB from time to time when I lived in LA, where the ethnoracial demographics are different than they are here in Atlanta, and it won’t shock anyone to hear that the same ads exist there, but feature Latina/os instead of black people.

I understand what’s going on in the minds of the people who produce the spots for career training schools and decide when and to whom to broadcast them. That’s the easy part. But why are there so many schools out there offering career education in the medical and “technology” fields? Why didn’t I see more ads for other types of businesses that take advantage of people in precarious socioeconomic positions? Why weren’t there more commercials for title loans, personal injury attorneys, or rent-to-own furniture joints? (Not that there aren’t plenty of those, but there are more career training school ads than all other ads put together.) It would seem like a good thing that it’s education rather than outright usury that’s being marketed to the CW’s demographic, were it not for a few things.

First, every single one of these schools is for-profit, and lord knows whether any of them are even accredited. Most of their website addresses are so bootleg as to remind me of the fly-by-night mortgage joints that swarmed like cockroaches onto the radio in the early 2000s (mybrownmackie2.com? Come on, now.), and some of them don’t even have websites. They’re all cagey about exactly how much they charge for their “bachelor’s degrees in three years” or their ten-month career training programs that purportedly lead to jazzy jobs in medical billing and IT, likely because the price is outrageous. I don’t care if it’s $100 a month. The price is outrageous because it’s absurd that someone is making a profit selling education that ought to be offered in every high school and community college in America for free. And let’s be serious here. Are the people graduating from these programs even getting jobs? I only know two people who have gone to schools of this sort, one who went to ITT Tech in order to jump start his career in the hot, hot, hot IT field, and another who went through an EMT course at Atlanta Tech. Right now, they’re selling mattresses and substitute teaching, respectively.

Twenty-four percent of American adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher — which is why there are so many people with business degrees selling Playstation consoles at Best Buy and waiters who know what “endogamous” means — and that means there’s a serious problem with the way we’re approaching secondary education. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning tracking or making the argument that teachers or administrators ought to be able make decisions about students’ futures based on their own cracked and biased criteria, but students should be able to choose to earn an MCSE or other certifications, take business courses, or learn other practical career skills at school rather than being shoved toward “college” and not offered any other options, when at this point the vast majority of college students are only there to get drunk, major in pretending watching movies makes you an intellectual, and avoid getting kicked out of their parents’ house and off their parents’ balance sheet. Ideally, we’d prepare all students for entry-level jobs in high school and close three quarters of the four-year universities and colleges in this country, replacing them with federally funded community colleges designed to either offer useful, practical job training or the foundational courses one needs to transfer to one of the remaining four-year universities that offer degrees that actually give students the opportunity to expand their world views and do something other than become generic suits. Of course, it’d be awesome if primary and secondary education were federally funded and equalized so that students in one neighborhood aren’t sitting on the floor during class while kids three miles up the road are voting on whether to get custom embroidery on the frosh volleyball team’s new uniforms or spend the cash on a few more iMacs in the graphic design lab. It would also be awesome if we had the kinds of social safety nets we need to provide kids with the homes, health care, and food they need if they’re to have a fighting chance to succeed even in well-funded schools, but this ain’t France, so community colleges are my answer. They’re cheap, they’re accessible, and they create a path for non-traditional students and poor people (read: people who have a real motivation to learn rather than a desire to extend high school for a few more years) to four-year university degrees that would otherwise be out of reach.

In sum: dodgy for-profit career schools bad, career training in high schools or community colleges good. No one should have to buy a job.

On to issue number two: each of the ads makes a point of citing mainstream media stories in which “technology” and “medicine” are listed as the top (and, really, only) growth career fields. I won’t say much about technology (I mean, I wouldn’t be able to express myself to more than four people at once were it not for technology) other than that I often wonder just how much technology each of us has to have at our disposal before we realize it isn’t leading us toward some blissful utopia scored by our favorite MGMT tracks in which we do nothing other than order new fashion accessories telekinetically and communicate with people we never actually see in person by means of 140-character not-so-witty witticisms. The medical industry is another story. There’s a reason that there are jobs to be had in the medical industry — especially in the medical billing sector — and that reason is that the medical insurance industry continues to grow and swell and spread and suck up everyone and everything in its immoral, depraved path because Americans are too stupid to question the ethics of medical capitalism and get together in their own self interest to put the medical insurance industry out of commission. I’ll readily admit to getting bored and tuning out over the course of the ninety years or so it took the 111th Congress to figure out how to pretend to do something about the travesty our health care system has blossomed into, but I do know that no one ever discussed the only thing that would have done any good: shutting down the health insurance industry in toto and giving all Americans the right not to die because they aren’t rich enough to pay a hundred times what medical services should actually cost in order to enrich people with no interest in patients’ well-being. Obviously I’m not going to blame someone who needs a leg up out of poverty for going into medical billing because it pays $10 an hour instead of $7.25, but I’m also not going to pretend that there’s anything sustainable or ethical about that career field. Health care and insurance billing may be growth sectors, but that’s only because parasites tend to flourish — at least in the short run — when given unfettered access to the host’s internal organs.

Finally, there’s the presentation of both ads, which is so absurd and offensive that I almost suspect Martin Lawrence was involved.  First we have the commercial aimed at black men, in which the message is, “Get your MSCE at OmniTech, and the next thing you know mad career women will be jumping in yo’ convertible to give you summa dat ass!”  I mean, really. My friend Jackalope just finished a nine-month EMT course, and he isn’t reporting droves of women jumping into his car everywhere he goes, nor did the course result in his ownership of a convertible. (As a matter of fact, he has yet to even get a job in the purportedly booming medical field, despite graduating at the top of his class.) Then there’s the ad aimed at black women, in which we see a group of friends shopping and marveling at all the skirts they can afford. At one point a woman literally says, “I can afford to buy whatever I want!” I’m not black, but I highly doubt that when a black woman is considering career training shoes are at the forefront of her mind, and even though I’m neither black nor male, I have a hard time believing that black men choose to go to computer school with the only motivation being that it’ll result in poontang. Despite the fact that the people at OmniTech clearly don’t agree, I figure I can safely assume that these ads don’t reflect reality because I don’t think black women and black men are one-dimensional caricatures out of an episode of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

In addition to making plain OmniTech’s demeaning take on the black community, this pair of ads displays some extremely tiresome attitudes about gender. The most obvious example is their decision to advertise their IT program to men and their medical billing program to women. Medical billing, a traditionally pink collar field, boasts salaries that top out near $20 an hour, which OmniTech fails to mention when they feature an erstwhile OmniTech student purchasing her own home. Conversely, IT salaries are virtually limitless given that there are innumerable paths to advancement within the IT field. Then there are the gendered stereotypes with regard to the meaning of success.  The symbol of success for men, as usual, is sexual access to women, whereas for women it’s unlimited cosmetics and clothes. No surprise there — and not really all that noteworthy as ads go, though this one is considerably more ham-fisted in its presentation of that hackneyed idea than most — but if you put that message together with the other messages in these two ads, you’ll get a fairly clear distillation of just how cannibalistic and self-destructive the American economy/advanced capitalism really is: you have unscrupulous individuals using racist and sexist insults and promoting mindless adherence to destructive gender roles and sociopathic marketing directives as a means to sell overpriced career training that rarely leads to a more lucrative career. If it does lead to a more lucrative career, that career will be in an industry that is completely immoral and unsustainable because it exists solely to avoid actually providing what it sells, which is a product that ought to be a human right rather than a product in the first place. And that industry is most clearly negatively affecting the exact communities that these ads are targeted at. Really, it’s an epitomic instance of the promotion of short-sighted, self-destructive, selfish, individualist cosumerism: “Who cares whether this industry will hasten the deaths of both individual human beings that you probably know and the American economy as a whole? If you get on board, you can buy a car, a woman, or some shoes! Why ask why? Try Bud Dry!”

36 Responses to “Career College Ad Sums Up What’s Wrong with US in 60 Seconds”

  1. Andrew November 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM #

    This is pretty solid commentary. Your Martin Lawrence line was also brilliant.

  2. Finisterre November 1, 2010 at 4:31 PM #

    To my shame, I am reminded of a beer advert; If Nine Deuce wrote an uncharacteristically long-winded and ranty post, it would probably be the best uncharacteristically long-winded and ranty post in the world.

    Excellent stuff. As a Yurpean, I cannot get my head around having to worry about paying to keep yourself alive, on top of the other hassles of being sick or pregnant or old.

    And yet people will demonstrate in their thousands against a public option! The woman in this video left me agape, literally.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/oct/29/younge-america-great-divide

  3. skeptifem November 1, 2010 at 5:33 PM #

    Woah there- the insurance industry isn’t the health care industry. Health care is growing because of the aging of baby boomers and widespread chronic diseases like type two diabetes becoming prevalent. The medical industry would grow even if our population was in perfect health due to the explosion of medical technology- there are more jobs when there are more tests and surgeries for conditions that were previously untreatable. Most importantly it cannot be OUTSOURCED.

    • Nine Deuce November 1, 2010 at 5:35 PM #

      I’m mainly talking about medical billing here, though point taken. As for the chronic disease issue, maybe if our food industry wasn’t an industry…

  4. Ren November 1, 2010 at 9:39 PM #

    Here (in VA), medical billing, IT, and automotive are popular. The medical billing ones- often geared towards single mothers, a mix of black white and hispanic- and wow, they can all move out of their parents houses and take care of thier kids! IT- men, all colors- who wow, can get ‘great’ careers in IT and flashy cars…automotive…white folk and hispanic folk, men and women…fine rides for the hispanics, redneck trucks for the white folk (not that I have anything against redneck trucks, hell, it is Virginia…) but yeah…

  5. skeptifem November 1, 2010 at 10:31 PM #

    Nine Deuce- The billing people don’t just bill- they code. They use ICD codes to record things like what condition the patient has, what treatment was given, what resulted, etc. Its important as hell for statistically determining things like who is underserved or what outcomes end in mortality for different populations more often. It can be the start or end point of various studies.

    What is the most fucked up is that someone as educated and thoughtful as you can grow up knowing so little about medicine and health care (I am not just referring to this post). Schools screw over everyone by leaving this kind of thing out- no one knows anything about medicine and they really should. I have countless stories of patient ignorance that would break any decent persons heart- and crappy medical people aren’t filtered out as easily when patients have no way to challenge the logic involved. People aren’t taught about the law or finances either.

    • Nine Deuce November 1, 2010 at 10:45 PM #

      That may be the case, but my main gripe isn’t the medical field as a field, but medicine as an industry in which profit trumps care.

  6. ocdaydreamer November 2, 2010 at 12:42 AM #

    God, those commercials are terrible. Seriously, that kind of “recruiting” crap for colleges is on all the networks. I mostly just watch Animal Planet, but that’s just another Discovery Network channel, so of course, it has its fair share of this advertising.

    I kind of want to kick the person who came up with these ideas. How stupidly materialistic do they think people are?

  7. Miss Andrist November 2, 2010 at 4:59 PM #

    Agree. And I’ll go off about the grossly exploitative nature of these so-called IT training / degree-granting programs.

    GROSSLY. EXPLOITATIVE.

    First off, from the perspective of the “IT professional,” laypeople are downright quaint about all things that SEEM remotely “computer stuff.” That peculiar, profoundly superstitious aversion, is just inexplicable because it comes from people who are conversely fearless, curious, and quite knowledgeable about the inner workings of their cars. Contrast! The electronic components that govern modern cars are more advanced, sensitive, and esoteric, of greater importance, of greater quality and relative greater quantity than any computer system you will find outside of a science lab, cleanroom, or server farm.

    You don’t get science lab, cleanroom, or server farm jobs with MyITDegreeNow.biz training. Srsly. But you probably wouldn’t qualify for those jobs with an MCSE either. And unless you went to MIT, your BSCS is an entry-level qualification.

    Then again, you also don’t learn how to fix the fighter-jet low light visual enhancement windshield display found in modern luxury sedans in your mechanic certification program.

    A mechanics certificate will get you a job at Jiffy Lube. An MCSE is about the same thing: you are trained to do a lot of generic, sometimes esoteric stuff, all in the context of maintenance and you’ll probably get picked up by some jackass business that needs “an IT guy.” It’s just as much a dead-end as Jiffy Lube and pays about the same. You will get an ulcer, but you will not get a raise. And you are not working for GM or Microsoft, for that matter. You are not research and development. You are a chump who fixes broken shit and gets yelled at. A lot.

    The first exploitative practice is the implication that this program will put you into a BSCS job. That would be like your community college implying that a mechanics certificate equates to a BS in mechanical engineering.

    The next thing is – a lot of these programs “train” you for an MCDST.

    MCDST stands for Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician and is actually less useful than no prior experience, because it means you were either too lazy or too stupid to Google the acronym and discover Microsoft recommends it for “support.” As in, technical support. And you spent money on it.

    To illustrate my point, most of the frontline technical support at Microsoft isn’t MCDST certified. Because it’s not necessary. A lot are working towards certifications (MCSE, MCSA, MCITP, and the lofty MCP) – just not that one.

    And note: these are MICROSOFT certifications. Don’t expect to learn about hardware; Microsoft doesn’t produce hardware. You will not learn about setting up a network using a router. You will not learn about a computer’s system BIOS. You will not find out what CMOS stands for. Microsoft’s certification pre-req qualifications expressly expects you to have acquired those skills to qualify for certification – usually in the form of work experience, formal training, or other certifications (like CompTIA’s A+, Network+ and so on.)

    Some of these programs do offer CompTIA certification training. Unfortunately, you can’t get a job with just an A+ any more.

    These ads target people who are (demographically) discouraged from curiousity and denied opportunities to get comfortable with computers. They target people who are most likely to think they need to pay to learn this shit (which describes almost anybody not already in IT). People who would actually pay for this are probably desperate enough to improve their circumstances that they are willing to overcome that fearful aversion to “computer stuff,” as if it’s fundamentally different from learning how to do brakes or change oil.

    The worst part of all of it is how unnecessary they are. That goes for a lot of the for-profit degree-granting institutions, too, such as Full Sail.

    You can self-guide through ANY certification with a little determination. All manufacturers that offer training offer self-study options, materials, and of course, testing vouchers when you’re ready to rock and roll. The cost varies, of course, but is ALWAYS a fraction of what these places will scam off you. Apple, for example, offers comprehensive training necessary to support Snow Leopard (you would qualify for Tier 2 or 3 technical support at Apple with this certification) for $1500. Lasts three days. Zend offers start-to-finish training bundle with test voucher for PHP programming, starting with the absolute basics and ending with testing prep, for two grand. Sun does something similar with Java (that’ll get you into IBM); Adobe does something similar with it’s Creative Suite, for both support/IT professionals and creative professionals, and throws in student editions of the software to boot. Cisco’s CCNA and CCNP certifications are probably the most valuable, respected and prized in all of IT and in some situations, a CCNP is considered equivalent or preferred over a master’s degree.

    Nothing drives me nuts like the idea that people get suckered by this shit. I never paid a damn dime to learn my shit – why should anybody else?

    I’ve toyed with the idea of setting up some kind of communal school online, but the glut of these already in existence is kind of deterring. :(

  8. Aileen Wuornos November 2, 2010 at 6:18 PM #

    To quote you Nine Deuce, this analysis is fucking bad arse.

  9. joy November 3, 2010 at 7:36 AM #

    “my main gripe isn’t the medical field as a field, but medicine as an industry in which profit trumps care.”

    Basically, that.

    Also, skeptifem, you might like medicine less if you didn’t work for it, and were in fact a lower-income, uninsured woman.

    Capitalism just fucking blows. I think I would have rather done with a good leeching, with actual leeches, and/or some witch potions, than some of the borderline-rape, extremely traumatizing ‘medical’ ‘treatments’ I’ve endured. Which I then had to endure the double indignity of paying for.*

    And I’m not even one of the ones who have been involuntarily sterilized or left to die, right in the US of A. I bet those women would have even less positive things to say about medicine.

    * Or not. I’m on food stamps. Where do they think I’m going to get that kind of money? So yeah, my credit rating is basically negative, and honestly, that’s fine by me. I’d rather never be able to buy a house, than have to choose between a.) eating and paying rent, or b.) paying some assholes who tied me to a bed while I was in the middle of a rape flashback. And also didn’t believe me about the rape. They didn’t even give me an exam. The doctor at Planned Parenthood three months later did that, and they had to sedate me to let her get near me because I was so scared of doctors by then.

    How does the medical establishment look now?

  10. sneeky bunny November 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM #

    Joy, I understand your passion on this subject, and it breaks my heart that you have experienced the things that you have, but maybe you should go back and read skeptifem’s post again. She ain’t wrong.

  11. joy November 3, 2010 at 12:37 PM #

    “Joy, I understand your passion on this subject, and it breaks my heart that you have experienced the things that you have, but maybe you should go back and read skeptifem’s post again. She ain’t wrong.”

    We are paying out our asses for shit that is shitty, and is produced under shitty conditions by people who are paid shittily (and, as this article points out, expected to pay for the privilege).

    Just like in pretty much every aspect of American capitalism. See, sweatshops, meat factories, porn studios, and any other kind of industry you can think of. Including schools, from kindergarten through higher education.

    What’s good or even remotely defensible about any of that?

    • Nine Deuce November 3, 2010 at 10:03 PM #

      Skeptifem is right, I don’t know the ins and outs of the medical field and I should. Joy is also right, medical capitalism is a serious problem. I may go back and clarify/delineate what I’m taking issue with and alter the post with a disclaimer acknowledging my ignorance of the workings of the field. I do hold to my position that medical capitalism is fucked and that people shouldn’t have to buy jobs, but I also readily admit that the issue is more complicated than that.

  12. Sargassosea November 3, 2010 at 1:49 PM #

    “I figure I can safely assume that these ads don’t reflect reality because I don’t think black women and black men are one-dimensional caricatures out of an episode of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.”

    Yeah! Because when you live in the Greater Atlanta Area you have a whole lot of opportunity to experience the ‘before’ picture in pretty much every direction you turn. The ‘after‘? Not as often (say about 80% less) in my experience anyway.

    Anyone care to wager the demographics of the *people* who own these institutes of higher learning?

    Also, 9-2 I’m with you on the CC train.

  13. sneeky bunny November 4, 2010 at 10:29 AM #

    And I think that all three of you are right! I will now go off humming Kumbya to myself. :)
    I agree that the Medical Industrial Capitalist Complex is fucked and actively fucks us all. But I do not conflate that with Medicine itself. For example, my father is in treatment, and doing very well, for a type of cancer that 30 years ago was 100% fatal. My own cancer was nipped in the bud and treated with drugs developed in the last 10-15 years. I’m a little lopsided, but am still in possession of L’il Lefty and my life due to the Marvels of Modern Medicine. So yeah, I’ll pass on the leaches thanks!

  14. joy November 4, 2010 at 12:55 PM #

    I’m glad you and your father survived your illnesses, that’s great!

    It just sucks that most treatment for most illnesses is too expensive for most people to afford. If I got cancer, for example, I would just have to go homeopathic and/or die. Can’t afford chemo.

    Also, not all non-Western medicine is bad. I do know of someone who survived terminal cancer by means of what most people would call ‘woo.’ Clearly that isn’t the path for everyone, but it worked for him when Western medicine had given him six months. Sixteen years later …

    And he’s not the only one. Not even the only one I know.

    This debate raged hot’n’heavy at another blog recently, but lemme go ahead and stick my face in it again.

    Western medicine is Man. Once upon a time, before midwives were driven out of practice vis a vis witch hunting et cetera, women knew a lot of ways to take care of themselves and others. (Leeches, I’m pretty sure, were a man thing — and honestly, in some applications, leeches do work very well.)

    Men decided that women should not have this power. Thus (and I am oversimplifying) was born the Doctor. The woman who knew how to heal conveniently became the Witch.

    Plenty of people find success being treated by … there is not even a -word- for them any more other than Witch. Yes. Witches. They work.

    If I ever need another abortion (which I hopefully won’t, because men turn my stomach and the only way I’d fuck one would be rape), I’m not going to any fucking traditional abortion clinic. I’m heading to some witchy-woo woman up in the woods. Y’all can laugh at me all you want, but remember, you’re totally in thrall to and serving the Man when you do.

    • Nine Deuce November 4, 2010 at 1:16 PM #

      I was just discussing this with Pisaquari yesterday, Joy, and I totally agree. The history of midwifery and the takeover of gynecology by men is one of the most interesting developments ever to occur from several standpoints. Not only do women healers become witches, but women lose the right to decide for themselves what is going on with their own bodies to men who have no clue what they’re doing until relatively recently (and that’s often doubtful). Western medicine is good for sterile surgeries and setting bones. When you move away from that to complicated internal issues, the comparison in effectiveness between western and alternative medicine becomes far more complex.

  15. joy November 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM #

    Exactly, Nine.

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t go to an ER if they have a broken bone, head injury, gunshot wound, appendicitis, etc.

    (Although I did just the other day decide to treat a concussion on my own at home. That is the extent to which I do not wish to touch traditional Doctors with a ten-foot pole. I’m seeing an herbologist tomorrow.)

    I’m saying, the more you buy their shit and lies, the more you worship their ‘knowledge’ and authority, the more you’re buying … well … their shit and lies. The more you are fucking over yourself.

    The more you are putting yourself in thrall to capitalism (doctors are doctors because they spent lots of money on fancy degrees sold to them by rich white assholes who sit on academic staff at hospitals, remember), and male authority. You don’t want to do that. Really, you don’t. It will suck your soul out and kill you slowly, or maybe quickly. If you’re lucky.

  16. joy November 4, 2010 at 8:52 PM #

    To clarify, at the risk of eliciting more suggestions that I get therapy (no fucking thanks, psychotherapy is a bunch of dickwads who watch porn and operate on a foundation built by pedophiles, rapists, junkies, and assholes; also it’s heteronormative and pushes women towards a man-pleasing penis-in-vagina-centric mentality that’s possibly less healthy than being ‘a little different upstairs’ if you will):

    Women will only ever be free when we can reject men to the greatest degree possible for our sanities and comforts. Hose all traces of the fuckers out of our lives and minds. At least as much as we can.

    They’re always going to leave a shitstain, a skid mark, we’re still going to have to make money and run the risk of starring in their sick mental fantasies whenever we go outside, but at least we won’t be bowing down at their feet.

    That means avoiding all the class and social structures they have created. The Big Three, and feel free to add more if I’m missing any: Capitalism, government, and religion.
    America has the unfortunate distinction of combining this unholy trifecta into one giant smoldering stinking shitpile, but it exists everywhere. All run by men.

    The only way to get yourself out from under the shit-encrusted boot of The Man, or Men, is to realize this and put as much gone between you and that disgusting trinity as possible. Go to women health practitioners. Don’t go to college. Read a lot and be very selective about what you read. Make your own soap. Trade goods and services (homemade jam, or mowing grass, or whatever you’re good at) for other women-made goods and services, if you need goods or services.
    Don’t give the bastards your goddamned dime, your goddamned vote (even for women candidates, because the system’s still rigged), your goddamned worship, or your goddamned energy.

    Seriously. It’s not that bad. What’s the worst they can do to you? Rape you? Kill you?

    They can do that anyway. Do we want to be free, or not?

  17. Hecate November 4, 2010 at 11:40 PM #

    Nice points Joy! I really hate the so-called ‘bedside manner’ of most male doctors I have had the misfortune of encountering. They are usually nothing but condescending twits, who respond to you (especially if you’re a woman) as if you were born yesterday and cold not possibly know what’s going on with your own plumbing.

    Fortunately, I do not have any gynecological horror stories (yet!) But I did have Lasik surgery a few years back, and the doc who performed the procedure was a pompous prick. I had my Mom there with me for support. Long story short, I did not qualify for the ‘newer’ procedure as there was an ‘artifact’ in my cornea. Ok then! I sort of understood that. But this doctor had to smugly inform my mother that in his opinion ‘your daughter does not seem the type to take a risk, so I think going this route is better.’ What?! Can someone say ‘value judgment?’ And what did my personality (as perceived by Mr. Crankypants) have anything to do with it?

    He did perform the procedure successfully, but I sure wish I’d have said something that would have induced some crapping in his “forceful, dynamic, pants” (thanks to Valerie Solanas for that last bit!)

  18. Sarah November 6, 2010 at 10:32 AM #

    “unscrupulous individuals using racist and sexist insults and promoting mindless adherence to destructive gender roles and sociopathic marketing directives” wins the best-sentence-describing-capitalism 2010 award!

  19. polly November 8, 2010 at 1:35 PM #

    What exactly IS medical billing? I’m guessing something to do with health insurance?

    Here in the good ol’ communist U of K most undergraduate level education is publicly funded. We have tuition fees for university courses now, but they are I suspect, a lot less than in the US and you can get low interest rate loans that you don’t have to start paying back until you reach a certain level.

    Which is as it should be in my opinion. If education helps people to earn more, you get that back through taxes. However there’s controversy now because the caps on fees have been removed, and lots of concern that poorer people will be denied education.

    We still have self perpetuating elites of course. Top universities and hence most top jobs, are full of the products of public (ie fee paying ie PRIVATE, yes it’s confusing) schools like Eton. Most of our current government went there. So it’s not perfect, but the US sounds a lot worse from this.

  20. GXB November 9, 2010 at 1:17 AM #

    You can also enter a medical program in the UK, and in a lot of other countries, without having to go to college first, right? I don’t know, but I imagine this has a big effect on the selection pool of who becomes doctors in the US vs. UK.

  21. joy November 9, 2010 at 12:56 PM #

    PS: Hecate,

    The experiences I’m describing weren’t even gynecologically related (per se).

    Twice while having rape flashbacks, which are something I just need to be talked through and maybe given some hot tea and a mild sedative to alleviate, I’ve been tied to a gurney by my arms and legs, then yelled at to “CALM DOWN!” until I panicked so hard I passed out.

    My explanations of what was happening, and pleas of what the doctors could do to help me, were met with condescension and derision. Because we all know the women are all just hysterical and don’t know what’s going on with themselves/how to help themselves.

    Once I was declared a heroin junkie (I’m not, and in fact am terrified of needles even if I wanted to be one; you’d think DOCTORS could have been able to figure that out, no?) and dosed with enough Lorazepam (a high-grade tranquilizer) that it nearly killed me. I slept for two solid days and could not walk straight for three more.

    One of the times, I had gone to the hospital because of rape injuries sustained that night. The doctors declared me a liar before even examining me. I was never examined at the hospital, just tied down and told to sleep it off (‘it’ being, what they claimed was some sort of schizophrenic episode, because obviously only drugs or serious mental illness could lead a woman to believe she had been raped).
    It took three months for me to go to another doctor, by which point the bladder infection I’d contracted had traveled into my kidneys.

    These are only two experiences, and even the total of my unfortunate medical experiences are just a drop in the sea of medical malpractices routinely and near-constantly carried out against lower-income women, women who are legitimately mentally ill or have substance problems, women of color, lesbian and queer women, women who don’t shave their legs, etc., every fucking day.

    And we’re expected to PAY for this shit? We’re expected to be THANKFUL? People can honestly stand up and DEFEND this? Can think this is for GOOD?!

    I guess you can, if you know it’s never going to happen to you. Except, you DON’T know it will never happen to you. I used to think it would never happen to me.

  22. Hecate November 9, 2010 at 5:27 PM #

    Sorry to hear about your experiences joy. I can’t imagine suffering that much, and having a so-called ‘authority’ belittle me that way.

    What I’m hoping is that the establishment not only feels threatened by technology, but is overcome by it, to the extent that we can all self diagnose at home. That would be tremendously empowering I think. I am a DIY gal myself, and hate being told what to do. When I was little I would even run away if an adult tried to brush my hair! So I do feel the suffocating influence you mention.

    The interesting thing about humans (and especially male ones), is that as uptight and controlling as many can be, they create things they think will control others, but ultimately end up liberating them. The internet is probably the best example we have at the moment. How I love using The Man’s tools against him!

    A book you might like to read, if you enjoy sci-fi, is the ‘Diamond Age’ by Neal Stephenson. It’s oddly pro-woman, and I feel it gives a very real scenario for what the future could look like. There is a loose social structure, but people have finally gained an upper hand to some extent over material reality through nanotechnology. It is endlessly fascinating, and yes, the women in the story do much more interesting things with these capabilities than the men, because they are more interested in seeing what these applications can do, rather than having proprietary control of them.

    “May all beings be free from enmity; may all beings be free from injury; may all beings be free from suffering; may all beings be happy.”

  23. BlooJay November 13, 2010 at 7:16 PM #

    Capitalism sucks! I am tired of being a wage slave! I want to have adventures. I want to travel, write poetry, and enjoy the world as it comes!

    Socialists RESPECT their artists and free thinkers! Under socialism, I would be guaranteed free food, shelter, education, health care, and entertainment! And I wouldn’t have to kill myself to get them!

    Under capitalism, I have to work EVERY DAY! 5 DAYS A WEEK! Just to survive! That’s BULLSHIT! I am NOT a PACK MULE, I am a FREE SPIRIT! A thinker, a dreamer, not a robot!

  24. lizor November 14, 2010 at 6:47 AM #

    BlooJay,

    A belief in state supported health care and education does not equal a belief that no one needs to work. Your straw man argument is a giant snooze and in fact, your taking up space in web fora with absolutely no point to make is the exact equivalent of what you believe yourself to be so “wittily” parodying.

  25. joy November 14, 2010 at 2:19 PM #

    BlooJay, are you being sarcastic?

    Socialism kind of sucks too. Why do we need a form of government at all? Why do we need any of this shit?

    (Also, I’m not nineteen, and I have been putting a lot more thought and work into this than just random idealistic ruminations while I toke up in a college dorm room. I didn’t even go to college, for one thing. Nine Deuce does go to college, but she’s also not nineteen and she’s also done a lot of advanced thinking about this. In case you were wondering.)

    Also, Hecate: I realized I meandered off topic up there. My entire comment was not directed at you. Just the fact that bad, rapey medical experiences are not necessarily restricted to gynecology.
    The impassioned questioning at the end was not in response to anything you’ve said, it was simply the logical conclusions to my thought process.

  26. polly November 16, 2010 at 3:40 PM #

    To become a doctor in the UK you have to get on to an undergraduate medical degree course first of all. It’s very competitive (obviously) so there’s still an advantage for people from middle class backgrounds – not all (non fee paying) state schools are equal, and middle class people are disproportionaly represented in the good ones – plus private fee paying schools usually get better exam results. But yes in theory any one should be able to go to medical school.

  27. Angie the Anti-Theist November 18, 2010 at 5:50 AM #

    I was with you right up until you suggested closing down accredited state-run universities in favor of more community colleges. Both are necessary. Sure, some people approach college immaturely, particularly people in positions of affluence or privilege. But my mom busted her (white) ass to get her 3 kids out of the ghetto and she did it by going to an accredited “real” university for years and years and years.

    Community colleges CAN be a great, cheaper way to get into a 4 year school once the core classes (which will be more expensive at a 4 year university) are done. But none of your (compelling, valid) arguments against SCAM career colleges apply to state schools.

  28. joy November 18, 2010 at 12:36 PM #

    Yes they do. I went to a state school for a little while, under extreme duress, and it financially ruined my white lower-income ass. Clearly this does not work for everyone.

    The bootstrapping mentality is as much of a fairy tale as any other Cinderella tale. College is a shitty glass slipper at that.

  29. Hecate November 23, 2010 at 7:55 PM #

    Just wanted to post this incredible article:

    http://www.truth-out.org/lessons-be-learned-from-paulo-freire-education-is-being-taken-over-mega-rich65363

    Wishing everyone a happy holiday!

  30. Nine Deuce November 26, 2010 at 7:11 PM #

    http://5z8.info/launchexe_psj

  31. Sender June 9, 2011 at 6:26 AM #

    @Polly

    Medical billing exists because of the web of laws that determine when an insurer can refuse to pay; insurance companies employ entire departments to manipulate these escape clauses, so doctors hire people whose only purpose is to memorize them and stay on top of problematic accounts. Many insurers, especially accident insurers, will lie, cheat, disconnect their phones, change their addresses on the sly, pretend to have lost documents and or had database errors, all in order to avoid paying; in those cases, you need someone to painstakingly resubmit everything and then if necessary, call and hassle someone. My job is not sustainable, but it is ethical. I keep corporations from weaseling out, and when I can, I help patients avoid costs. Even extremely unpleasant paranoid schizophrenics who don’t want to speak with the student center, though it is easy and will save them $300.

    Like so many of our other shitty social policies, health insurance as we now know it was Nixon’s idea. It might have worked for about two years, but when manufacturing and other domestic industries started dying out, the loss of those middle class subscribers came directly out of insurers’ bottom line — and they’ve had 30 years to change policies, perfect their scorched earth approach and lobby the government for protection. It is now pretty obvious it is a failed system, whether it was ever a good idea to begin with. It’s been subject to the same “finance circle jerk” as housing and college, where financiers just don’t think of buyers’ debt as the same kind of cost that the buyer does, thereby enabling the seller to jack up prices ad infinitum. The end result of any such system is debt serfdom.

    I will be glad when my job is abolished, provided it’s because the problem got solved.

  32. liz November 8, 2011 at 12:19 AM #

    “you can get you a HOUSE!” i had to replay a couple of times just to make sure i’d heard right.

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