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The Most Consumerist of Tunes

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Of all the genres of music, which is the most obsessed with consumer culture? If perusing the radio dial, on what station would one likely the most references to products available on store shelves? Of all forms, rap music is the most obsessed with consumer culture and in the most popular of its songs one hears references to things on sale and the aspirations that only come from a culture of having more.

Rap songs frequently reference expensive products like cars, drinks and homes. It often includes the rapper bragging of his or her new-found wealth and ability to patronize someone with the benefits of these riches. Herein lies the greatest irony: how can a a music form that works to celebrate individuality and rebellious actions brag of having stuff? Consumer culture is the least individualizing force in society and yet so many of rap’s popular performances not only feature but celebrate having things.

Despite criticisms of the corporate music industry that focus on cheesy pop tunes and artless songs, rap music is by far more commercially focused. Despite a framing of gangster/ rebel/ powerful individuals cast as ideal audience and artist the form is highly inclined to common perks of wealth. Fancy cars and things might easily connect to bubble gum tunes but it is inside rap music that one finds more obsession with stuff.

Desserts After Dinner

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

What if scholarships were awarded after a student completed schooling? In our current system scholarships come before the student begins his or her academic journey and function as assistance to cover expenses. Though awarded on the basis of “merit”, these awards are dispersed with an assumption of student success. Or, are scholarships awarded simply on the basis of potential? What if this system of awarding potential was different: what if financial awards came after the student performed well?

A system of post-graduate scholarships discards the function of financial assistance. Where the scholarship awarded before beginning school functions to cover costs, this post-graduate system denies this assistance and requires greater demand on other sources. Some may argue this system favors the wealthy, but of the 20 million students who attend school 60% take out loans. Based on these numbers scholarships play a minor role in assisting potential students.

Required to take out more loans, the potential student who functions in a system where scholarships are awarded post-graduation works now to succeed. Working from an understanding that assistance may arrive if he or she performs well function as additional incentive to graduate. With more students attending college, the post-graduate scholarship can function as a motivator for all students.

Beyond the benefits to students the funds of government and private groups are better utilized in a post-graduate scholarship system. Awarding a student before he or she starts school determines merit on the basis of past experience and performance. This assumes quite a bit and given that the college experience will be very different and likely more difficult that previous academic experience the chance for failure is possible. A better system awards students after graduation and after success. The elimination of wasted funds provides more students with assistance and drives each to work harder.

A better system of academic assistance function on the basis of post-graduate status. Students should receive assistance after he or she has graduated. This system eliminates waste for both governments and private groups and provides additional motivation to each student. Driven to succeed for both the diploma and the scholarship, each student can work harder knowing the multiple benefits that stem from college completion may also include financial help. Money earned for effort made- a better way for all.

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