Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear Big Brother Enthusiast ...

Of course we all dashed over to Ashleigh's excellent blog after the last post to read the very 2005 post about the braindeadness of HECS and the slight scamminess of the maths involved in making those who go to uni pay for their degrees a couple of times over, despite the apparent dopeness of not having to pay the fees up front while also trying to study, work, pay rent, buy food, drugs, beer, food, beer and textbooks.

I'm not sure if everyone might have made it to the comments section, because this little bewdy was first out of the gates:

"So that doesnt quite explain why the great mass of non-tertiary educated workers who pay the bulk of the tax end up funding an education system that they didnt use and which their kids may not use.. User pays I say!"

Thanks, Duncan.

I tried to explain this in my subsequent comment, but I think punching out a comeback some three and a half years after the original comment probably robs it of a little momentum.
That said, I am sick to my hairy head of the short-sighted shit that people drip around higher education in general.
"User pays"
How about this:
Young lady wants to be a dentist.
No problem.
She goes to dental school.
There's no HECS, no help.
She works and borrows to get the upfront cash to fund her tertiary education.
She graduates.
She goes to work.
She charges double for her services, just like every other dentist in Australia because, although she wanted to fix teeth, she still had to pay for an education which other people are now receiving for the meagre price of keeping up her business loan, her staff payments and her living expenses. Her patients are using her education for free!
Fuck that, she says.
If education is an individually-allocated commodity, not a benefit to society as a whole, then she will be buggered if she's giving it away.
You're using her education to fix your teeth, Duncan. You pay for it.
Not just her here and now expenses, but the debt from the loans she took to become a dentist. The ongoing education for the repeat check-ups you will need at which you will probably prefer the latest technology, rather than a hammer and chisel. Fork out, buddy!

Or, how about the kids teaching your kids in the public schools? They're using those teachers' education for free!

"User pays".
Hoik. P-tooey.

GTH - Point to Ashleigh, for the inspiration, Kath (she's gotta get something for $7 a fortnight and a bleeding boob)(welcome to double figures by the way) and Shippy for feeling the grue at 40 degrees C for his education.
My feelings for the picture were that a blurry glance at a shave-headed assailant is pretty much what any interaction with Cennerlink feels like.


  1. Stands up on desk and claps and cheers, 'Dead Poets' style.

  2. I shall join the ovation.

    Reminds me of a recent couple of comments I left on the ABC website (fourcorners) after some really ignorant cotton farmers in the NSW area made some really ignorant comments.

    Lets say, they don't get it!

    GTH: Some of the sugary goodness that causes many of societies dental problems, if you knew how much it would really cost you, would you make the 50 cent initial investment?

  3. "Feeling the grue"?

    But it's not dark...

  4. That header image is so gross - please make it go away

    On this issue, here is something strange. After I did BA in lit, I did a postgrad dip in journalism BUT I graduated with a degree in journalism so I could defer payment. So the people who paid upfront got a dip and I got a whole OTHER degree which I think sounds more impressive anyway

  5. OH MY GOD, that header makes me feel quite ill, despite your teeth being slicked in either my favourtitist food ever or, and this now makes me taste the nausea in my throat - it's vegemite or gravy?

    Oh and like AdamY said - Captain, my Captain!

  6. Adam Y - A poem:
    Mister Keating!
    What are you eating!

    Shippy - I think that's been the inherent problem with all of this stuff for many years: the inability to effectively quantify the broader value of education, the arts, health care, etc to society in general. You can examine only immediate figures which tell you that funding all these things is costing lots of cash and not seeing any fiscal year returns, rather than looking decades down the track to where we will have a society which values intelligence (and keeping it), art in all its forms and the beautiful fact of everybody not dying of preventable diseases.

    327 - Actually, I'm using the meaning of "grue" which designates shuddering. You know how you feel after a day in the sun picking grapes for your degree?

    Squib - Scamalicious! In similar news, it turns out people doing the equivalent of my masters degree now have to do six extra months. Which, now I think of it, wouldn't be a bad thing.

    Kath - Tastes like liquorice!

  7. Reference fail franzy. -10 nerd points for you.

  8. I mean don't buy the candy, to stop the rotting of teeth!

  9. While I love chocolate as much as anybody, I prefer NOT to see it being chewed.

  10. River - What makes you think I'm chewing?

  11. I like the idea of paying a "HECS premium".

    Which is fine for the self-employed dentist.

    But how do I tell my employer that I have just jacked by salary up by Ohhh say.... 10%, to recover the HECS payment I had to make and which the employer is exploiting FOR FREE?!?!?!?!

  12. Ashleigh - Actually, my 'HECS premium' idea (good name btw), was more to illustrate how impractical the whole thing would be. You could always have a HECS premium, but allow other people with HECS debts to carry HECS exemption cards which would then get them out of paying the premium.
    Because really, after all this study, all those degrees, all that thought and enjoyment and satisfaction, I am still the poorest sonofabitch I know.

  13. HECS exemption cards! I like it!!!


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32