Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Youth Body Expression Explosion

Rikey. While we were sleeping, the Fun Guardian Comment Section moved from Tuesday to Wednesday. Propping up the batting order on Tuesday is still George Monbiot, who was on fine form yesterday, saying that environmentalists should stop looking so cheerful about wind farms going up. But Wednesday is rocking, ever since the boy Aaronovitch shifted from Tuesday.

Max Hastings is also in the house, today bewailing the fact that students aren't interesting any more. The title, "Bring back rent-a-mob", is a tad misleading, since Max wants some gently questioning and imaculately turned out throngs of students to present their grievances in a respectful fashion, as might happen in Singapore. He most certainly does not want them to go apesh*t and trash the common room or enact any scenes from Mudhoney album photos (be honest, did you get the reference?).

It's a good point, although we do remember the students turning out in pretty good numbers over tuition fees, but borader issues do attract much less agitation at universities. Max is inclined to blame the demon drink, and morphs into a severe-looking temperance campaigner. This suggests that poor Max has never been exposed to the full booze-fuelled energy of the mob, and might have meant to blame the evil opium instead.

Max says that students have plenty of time to spend on political pursuits, but chose to spend it in the pub. We're not sure, and Max does admit that there are more pressures on students to behave and work. We'd liken higher education in the 60s to business school today - hard to get into, and largely confined to the better off economically. Once there, a student can be assured of a reasonable living afterwards. An increase in access to higher education has increased the supply of graduates, and made performing in university much more important.

This is the result of a nummber of factors, some of them welcome changes in society, and some of them less elcome tinkers to the nature of higher education. Eliminating subsidies for students' alcohol is not likely to bbe a major factor.

On another note, we can't recommend the new Nine Inch Nails album highly enough and you can hear the stream here. We caved in and did a pearl of a review for the Sugarswine, to a which a link will eventually be forthcoming.


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