Proctor : May 2017
57 PROCTOR | May 2017 As you will recall, my last column was about the rampant use and misuse of technology, unless of course you have an Arts degree, in which case it was an existential lament about the soulless banality of urban destitution and social angst in the face of a nihilistic and uncaring world. As you can see, with my ability to string together uncommon and unrelated words in meaningless and overly long sentences, I would have got an honours degree had I done Arts. Actually, these days I would have an honours degree in law as well, since the decision has been taken that all law degrees will now be honours degrees. That makes uni. much the same as school sports days, when in the interests of self-esteem and not exposing children to anything remotely resembling the real world until they are 35, even the kids who run the wrong way and knock themselves unconscious on the wall of the library get a ribbon (this means that these days I would have both a law degree AND a ribbon from sports day). I cannot wait for this system to be implemented at the Olympics so that our track and field team – which, in a development probably not unrelated to the ‘everybody gets a ribbon’ policy on school sports days, could not win an Olympic race if the other teams’ bus was an hour late to the stadium – might actually pick up something other than plane ’flu (I warned you my sentences were long). I am not saying that I should have received an honours degree back them – indeed, I suspect my degree was awarded to settle a Trading Places-style bet between a couple of lecturers as to whether or not someone with a GPA which could double as a probability calculation could actually forge a successful career as a lawyer. The lecturers who made the bet probably now ring me for ethics advice, so I will leave it to the reader to decide who won. (Note for younger readers: Trading Places is a comedic movie from back when the humour in movies arose via cleverly written dialogue delivered by talented actors and actresses, as opposed to casting four intellectually unremarkable, Yoko Ono-level talentless males who go on a road trip for some reason – the humour arising from the fact that there are people in the world stupid enough to pay money to see it. Also, the ‘probability calculation’ line is funny because the answer is always between zero and one; who’s the Arts graduate now?). My point is that giving everyone an honours degree takes something away from the concept of honours, in much the same way as your favourite beer would taste worse if you found out Kyle Sandilands liked it as well. Also, it will be harder for those of us with a plain degree to get employed when everyone else has an honours degree. In the interests of fairness, I note that I am not including myself in that group; 20 years of this column has given me the same overall employment prospects as Clive Mensink. In any event, as I was saying, last time I spoke of the fact that we are faced with the many problems related to disruptive technology – one of which, at least in my case, is working out how to turn it on (this is literally true – my wife and I recently bought a new computer, and were unable to make it start again after shutting it down. I was ready to take it back to the shop when our daughter located a small, non-traditionally placed power switch; should I ever meet the designer responsible for this feature, I will place the entire computer in a non-traditional place, if you get my drift). I note that a lot of people cannot handle this pressure, and reject the technology to seek a more alternative lifestyle. I always find this curious – an alternative lifestyle would seem to indicate something alternative to life, which could really only mean death (this may explain why so many vegans, diligently pursuing an alternative lifestyle, look like Gollum). Alternative lifestyles often involve a commitment to ‘organic’ food, the implication apparently being that the rest of us are eating concrete. Many respected earth-child loons believe that organic food is a of higher nutritional value, which may well be true as organic farmers do not use pesticides, meaning that most organic produce is riddled with various worms and bug larvae; you would think they have a decent protein content. Such lifestyles also involve adopting whatever the latest alternative medicine is, presumably because people in these lifestyles prefer staying sick to getting better. The latest trend at the time of writing is ingestion of large amounts of turmeric which apparently can cure cancer, acne, haemorrhoids and reality TV addiction. I have trouble accepting this, partly because the scientific studies say turmeric has no measurable benefits for the most part, but mostly because my friends and I were deeply into Indian food back in the day, and we consumed so much turmeric that heroin addicts were regularly telling us that the first step to recovery was admitting we had a problem. If turmeric was even half as powerful as claimed, we would have all sprouted wings and started glowing by now. I suppose it is possible that the turmeric was busy fighting the effects of us consuming our body weight in chillies, but to be sure we’d need to do the experiment, and my friends and I have (surprisingly) matured enough to no longer define our masculinity by chilli consumption contests. I don’t want to go into this in detail, but suffice to say if my mate Mal is making you a curry, and he says “pick a number”, do NOT say 12. I realise that there may be some alternative lifestyle devotees – which is a bit like being a flat earth devotee – who take issue with this, but I am not worried because due to their severe protein deficiencies, few of them have the upper-body strength needed to type angry letters to the editor. If it makes them feel any better, though, I can assure them that Kyle Sandilands agrees, and you are all going to get a ribbon. Suburban cowboy Honours by degrees As long as everyone gets a ribbon by Shane Budden © Shane Budden 2017. Shane Budden is a Queensland Law Society ethics solicitor.