Having finished what they’ve released to DVD of Battlestar Galactica, Mary and I have started viewing the series 30 Days, the ongoing project of Supersize Me documentarian Morgn Spurlock. I think I like Spurlock better than I like Michael Moore for many of the same reasons I like detective “Bunk” Moreland from The Wire more than I like the same show’s Jimmy McNulty: Whereas McNulty and Moore are college dropouts who think they’re smarter than the rest of the world, Moreland and Spurlock seem more like hard-working, hard-headed investigators who want the truth more than the glory.
Okay, that comparison was a stretch.
At any rate, we watched the 30 Days episode “Binge Drinking Mom” Saturday night, and all of a sudden I had to face again the realities of what happens in a five-block radius of my UGA English department office when I go home to Barrow County Thursday nights and when I’m playing with my son or working at Bogart Library on Saturdays. The episode followed an affluent suburban mother and her nineteen-year-old Arizona State (I think) freshman daughter. She was the archetypal “party animal” getting so drunk as to pass out three or four times a week and yet maintaining that she can keep up her studies at that pace. (If you’d like, you can make jokes in the comments section about what major she must have been.) The (rather silly, by the show’s normal standards) rules of engagement were thus that the mother had to have at least four drinks in two hours, at least four times per week.
Since Micah’s only three, I’m not going to pretend that I could do better as the parent of a nineteen-year-old, though I have a hunch I would have stopped paying her cell phone, gas, and other bills at some point. But as the episode progressed, I saw screen after screen of white college kids (I don’t know if Arizona State has any minorities, but none were at these parties) destroying their brains with hundreds of dollars of booze per screen, and knowing full well that UGA’s reputation as a party school is likely not accidental, I realized that looking out on my students every class morning is about to get a little harder. My hope is that a scant sliver of my students (who have been particularly well-prepared and willing to duke it out with Plato this semester) are of that world, but I’m going to wonder more often now.
And in case anyone wants to call Pharisee on me, my problems are not those problems commonly called “moral” or “religious.” What does irk me is that these idiot children are sucking up the resources of a state university while kids who would work harder (I have to assume, if some of these morons are passed-out drunk as often as the show indicated) and likely surpass their brainless drunk counterparts given similar opportunities didn’t get in because, at age seventeen, their educational backgrounds didn’t prepare them as well for the SAT. What also irks me is that these parasites, who have been given more than anyone in the world, are pissing it away. If these kids’ lives really lack meaning, if they really can’t think of anything better to do than to poison themselves senseless, at least make them get jobs and do it with their own dough.
You see what I’m calling the poor little souls? I warned you–you won’t like me when I’m angry.
So yes, El Ick, if you’ve already guessed, I do have the Puritan’s rage at the nobility. Spurlock didn’t put it there, but he certainly did wake it up after I’d put it to sleep for some time. And now it’s on the surface again. And I’m not apologizing for it.