Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

The Part About the Excess  §

Okay, here’s my Saturday-in-Spring morning rant. Ready?

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I am a Ph.D. student. Not that I think this makes me more important than everybody else, but it does make me more busy, and there is a certain amount of cash invested in me (and by me) in this project. It is a perfectly good Saturday and my wife is watching the little one since it’s a weekend. I’d like to get some work done. You’d think that in a big city like, oh, say, NEW YORK this might be possible.

So I go downtown to the university library/libraries (theoretically I have several, since they’re all in a consortium). No luck. The NYU Bobst library is shut. A dozen floors of perfectly good major university library on a nice, sunny day that’s not a holiday and it’s shut. So I think I’ll work in Washington Square park. Only there’s mayhem in the neighborhood because “Danceparade” is today. (To see photos of this important and illustrious event, just go to Google Images and Google it.) So both the Park and all of the shops along University Avenue are out.

I make my way through the mayhem eight blocks north to the New School library. OOPS, SHUT. And of course all of the surrounding streets, thanks to my school’s own spring street festival. I guess having graduate students able to do their work is less important than playing drinking games with orange juice and spray paint on 13th streeth in large, rag-tag crowds of late teens and early twentysomethings.

Fine, I’ll hit a coffee shop on sixth avenue. NO, WAIT, the sixth avenue street festival is going on—yes, it’s ANOTHER street festival butting up against the New School street festival butting up against the Danceparade crowd butting up against a closed NYU campus!

Okay, I’ll go over to Union Square. There’s space there and a Starbucks nearby if worst comes to worst. UH-OH, the farmer’s market is on and enjoying the multiplication effect from all of these crowds butting up against one another in the neighborhood. Everything is standing room only!

How is it possible that two expensive, private universities and their neighborhoods in the heart of New York City with big graduate research programs are, on an average Saturday in the spring, completely anathema to any prospect of study or work of any kind at all?

Yet there it is.

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And while the lazy hedonists of New York are busy hamming it up, our red state friends are busy once again trying to legislate cooperation and generosity out of existence. You know that thing called “society?” It’s really just another word for S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M BOOGA BOOGA which is wearing a turban, has dark skin, carries a Kalashikov, and is sex-mad. SEX, SEX, SEX. FOUNDING FATHERS! FLAG! FLAG! AMERICA!

Yet another extension of the famous “parking meter” incident in which the man in a certain red state from which I hail that shall remain nameless was cited for plugging other peoples’ parking meters when they were about to expire.

What kind of ideologically bankrupt society believes cooperation, generosity, and hard work to be human ills, but commercial exploitation of the lazy masses to be the greatest good? A Randite Utopia, that’s what kind.

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I’m fairly sure this post will come back to haunt me someday. Given the incredible intellectual bankruptcy of the American academy these days, I’m not sure it matters.

Hell, let’s just call it the moral-intellectual bankruptcy of the American system.

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Whatever. On this particular Saturday in New York City, only one person in the entire metro was working. Me.

“If an economy rises in the city but nobody’s around to work it, does it make any dollars?”


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