Sunday, March 22, 2015


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," swirling in the Moronic Inferno since 2005! My name is Anne Johnson, and I work with young people in a society setting.

Last night I dreamed that I was getting my score back on the life-altering examination that my young people just sat through. I looked at my results, and it was just enough to proceed. Right on the money. But I was red-hot furious. "Look at this result!" I shouted. "I went to Johns Hopkins and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and this is the best I can do on this thing? What about my young people?"

Pardon me for being so oblique in my vocabulary. But you see, the creators of a certain widespread examination for young people is actively mining social media for peoples' opinions of said exam. Any person who works with young people who says anything about the examination will be investigated for possible discipline. This is an attempt to silence dissenters who feel this examination makes young people sick, not better.

With a respectful nod to Voldemort, I will call this t  and  e  and  s  and  t "The Examination That Shall Not Be Named." And then, as this is a certain sector of society known for copious acronyms, I'll call it SNBN, for Shall Not Be Named.

There are some hallmarks of SNBN that boggle the mind.

One is that it's so hard that young people will be forced to learn more to meet its demands. This is backwards thinking to me. I feel like all the excitement and interest can be sucked out of something if it's too difficult to understand. Young people tend to give up easily on stuff they think they will never get, stuff that they see no point to. Of course, if they do give up and cry "uncle," the burden and blame will fall upon the folks like me who are working with the young people to help them proceed in life.

Two is that every young person who takes SNBN becomes part of a pool of information to be stored by the federal and state governments. We don't know who will be able to swim in that pool; namely, whether or not future employers will be able to see the Score! s. We don't know who the government will sell the information to, either. We do know that the government will use it to ... how can I say this to sneak it past Older Male Sibling? ... map the navigation and chart the course of our striplings.

Last, but to my mind the most pernicious, is that SNBN is being administered and Score! d by computers. Basically where SNBN is concerned, it's not what you have to say that counts, it's whether or not it's said according to arbitrary, hidebound, and confusing vernacular. Although one part of SNBN asks young people to create fiction, it is Judge ing for skills that used to be inculcated using diagrams and smart slaps with the ruler across the hand if not completed properly.

To me, all of this runs counter to the kind of  imagination and spontaneous thinking that has been a hallmark of this nation. Suddenly, young people are no longer individuals, they are d plus a plus t plus a. And what they have to say, no matter how creative, will not matter, because how can you entertain a computer?

Our society is becoming a vicious place where your numbers will drive everything you achieve. If your numbers go down, you will be sacked. A world of mercy and understanding will be washed away as pre-Christmas Scrooges rule the day.

I weep for my young people. I really do. And since it's International Water Day, I'll add that all of this will reach critical mass when that most essential of commodities -- water -- becomes scarce. Hope I'm wrong, but could a day come when your SCORE! on SNBN will determine how many gallons of essential fluids you receive?

Hoping I have foiled attempts to divine my purpose I remain,

Anne Johnson


Anonymous said...

Are they trying to make automation take over everything? Is that what's going on? What happens when there are no jobs at all, robots have them all? Either there will have to be a way to make a living without a job, or there will be either mass die-off of humans or violent revolution. Maybe Dick Cheney is a robot?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Nice dodging and weaving. I think you've thrown them off your track!

yellowdoggranny said...

I'm so glad I'm not a kid and having to go thru this ...

hekates said...

So James Joyce would fail fiction writing..