Archive for October, 2011

Just so I can say that i have put my two cents in I am going to say a little bit about Occupy Wall Street. Before I start I should say that I don’t know if I have a super cohesive argument or position to take on the whole thing. Still, I will start this post off with full disclosure: I completely support the protesters and their cause. What is more, I admire what they are doing and I wish I had the guts to be out there doing my part.

Other than that quick statement of disclosure I am going to use the words of others to communicate my thoughts today.

First, let’s have a look at some of the statistics on the state of we are in.

click the picture for more

Yeah, it doesn’t look very good to me either. If you are interested in a some more facts and statistics visit “Here’s what the wall street protesters are so angry about”, I found it particularly insightful.

Next I will direct you to a couple pictures that have been circulating the web over the past week or so. You have doubtless already seen them but I think that they are still relevant to this post.

What troubles me about the picture on the right is that it completely ignores the complexities of privilege and assumes that everyone has the same ability to “succeed” in our country. This is simply not the case today and I for one can attest to the fact that finding money for college is hard. My senior year in college I was financially independent, worked four jobs, had two academic grants, a half-tuition scholarship and still had to take out loans for my tuition. (If I really wanted to show this person up I would also mention that I graduated with a 3.88 GPA and got into a Masters program at Columbia University, but I won’t…) My point is that not everyone can make it today and even those of us who work out asses off often cannot make it without a little assistance (which, I would argue isn’t too much to ask). So, I would like to send a huge shout out to Cylinsier for your wonderful depiction of what it feels like to be a college student in the 99%.

Next, I would like to direct you to some of the supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, just to prove that it isn’t just a bunch of pot-smoking hippies with no clue what they’re talking about. The New Yorker put out this article on Monday citing the top ten unlikely supporters of the movement. In a recent Time interview, George Clooney extended his support for the movement (even saying that he supports higher tax rates for the rich). MomsRising, a group working for family rights in the U.S. supports the movement (sign their open letter by clicking on the link, it is easy and you don’t actually have to be a mom!). Colleges across the US are becoming occupied and there is even a group of occupied writers who are composing original works just for the occasion. Lastly, the guy who took the following picture is a supporter of Occupy Wall Street (oh yeah, and he works there and he is not crazy… I know because I talked to him).

I am the 99% and I am not ashamed to admit it because I did nothing to end up here. Neither did anyone else. The system we have is not sustainable and I dare say that it is not helping anyone. I apologize for the length and rant-like format of this post; if I were a better graduate student I would have drawn some great parallels to Marx and Weber but I am tired and I don’t want to do that right now. Instead I will leave you with the words of Lemony Snicket (one of my favorite young adult authors).

99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.

Check out all 13 of his unfortunate observations here.

That’s all I’ve got for now, back to making good use of my loans.


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Last Friday marked two months of living in New York. It is amazing that the two weeks went by so fast and yet so much has happened that it feels like I have been here much longer than that. I have already quit one job, left the state twice, read 6 books, written three papers, finished 5 knitted objects, and explored a great portion of the city.

I feel like I am settling in to the school routine pretty well. A couple of weeks ago I did not feel like this at all but I think I have finally found my groove. I in the past two weeks I was offered both a Teaching Assistantship and a Research Assistantship. So when I am not reading for my own classes I am either grading freshman sociology papers or compiling a database for a political science professor (and when I am not doing any of these things I am feeling guilty for my lack of commitment to my academic endeavors). Such is the life of a graduate student.

Tomorrow I am baking a birthday cake to celebrate a dual birthday with my roommate. It should be a fun night (we are even attempting a flashmob).

I am including a picture of my desk just to prove that I actually do work, it is actually quite clean at the moment but this is not normally the case…


Take note of the books above on the shelf, I have already read half of them. Also, I am tired.

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