Students Vs Sweeping Generalisations

I support the student protests.

Dun dun dunnnn!
It’s a statement that will instantly draw so many to make snap judgements of me.
By saying that, many will assume I agree with the trashing of Millbank, that I agree with the anarchists on the roof, the trashing of the police van, and it will mean a number of people will completely dismiss my views.  I’m just another idealist who refuses to live in the real world…

I’ve been following it all with far more interest that I would have expected, what with my animosity towards all news reporting.  I knew full well that things would kick off on the 10th – I would have been amazed if anyone didn’t expect trouble, but it seems the police were utterly unprepared for the masses. They compensated with overkill at the following demonstration, so that’s okay. On, wait, no it isn’t. It isn’t at all.

Hopefully, that paragraph will clue you in to the fact I’m not going in-depth on the rights and wrongs of either side, because:
a) Other bloggers and ‘opinion’ columnists have and will do a far better job than me.
b) I do not have the factual knowledge or way with words that others will. The more in-depth I go, the more I risk being the target for this.
c) I will possibly fall into arguments with insufferable people who are part of what I really want to talk about here.

What upsets me the most – beyond the potential costs and debts new students face, beyond the crime and the depressingly predictable media coverage that comes as a result – is the range of frustrating generalisations and (over)reactions that have been triggered.

“I hate the police, but have absolutely no sympathy for these c*nt ‘protestors’.”
“I have no sympathy, Most recent bum degree’s include brewing, geography and accounting.”
“Fucking pigs.”
“Fucking students, get a job.”
“[students] should live in the real world like the rest of us.”

Many reactions – almost all reactions I have heard and read from friends, co-workers and via eavesdropping (online and in public) – have been made up of such sweeping generalisations.
All Students are spoilt, drunken whingers. Anyone who didn’t go to university won’t understand.  The police are out to undermine students.  No one cares about students.  These statements and the above quotes are all sentences you readers have probably experienced or unfortunately believe yourselves.

The general desperation of people to appear as the most into something makes this behaviour more frequent – not just in comments, but in the actions carried out; the ‘anarchists on the roof’ for example.  With so many angry young men and women marching on 10th, those who wanted to ‘make a statement’ had to go to extra lengths to feed their egos.  How could they prove to others that they were the most enraged by what the government had planned?  How could they show that they disapprove of the police force? Oh, here’s an idea.  Thankfully, that prick was a minority amongst a minority, but it’s an extreme example of what people can stoop to to try and clarify themselves as ‘the most’.  It’s something that’s prevalent in all walks of life, where ambition becomes clouded by a need to feel better than the next man.  There really is a difference.  Nerds will try and out-quote each other, believing that they are more of a fan of (insert comic book film here) because they know every line off by heart.  Many Football fans try to prove themselves more of a fan of their team by hating opposition teams that little bit more, and then we have ‘hooligans’.  It’s one-upmanship on often invented competitors.
And so, with many protesters and those disapproving of their actions having their rationality clouded by frustration and anger, there are those losing sight of their intentions to look the best, to be the most socialist/realistic/anarchistic/liberal/whateveristic.  The students doing this make themselves sound ridiculous, make themselves sound spoilt or yobbish.  Those who go to extra lengths to rant about the students make themselves sound like Daily-Mail-toting, self-righteous imbeciles.
And by all means, do not back down.  Because for some reason, considering another opinion is apparently backing down.

I support the student protests, but I concede that many of them sound spoilt, many of them joined the protests more for the excitement than the cause.  A friend of mine made a very valid point about degrees that don’t help the state, but delivered it in a tiresome rant that you can see part of quoted above.  I deplore the little pockets of violence that have been reported on, but can understand the arguments that the government ignores peaceful protest.
There is no compromise, no consideration, no debatable actions or opinions.  There is black and there is white, if you’re grey you don’t deserve to comment.
So what I have to say is undermined by a lack of ‘dedication’ to the cause.
And that, as Peter Griffin would say, is what really grinds my gears.

By the way, I hope you’re not already furious about how I’m likely a hypocrite.
I make all manner of generalisations: Avenged Sevenfold songs are a load of wank. People who wear hats and scarves indoors are insufferable, pretentious buffoons.  Anarchists are tiresome.  Gangsta Rappers are too homophobic to admit they’re (not very good) poets.  Girls that like purple are made of win.  We all make them.
But when they start sweeping around bigger issues it becomes far more frustrating.  It’ll hamper progress.  It’ll build up resentments where they really don’t need to be formed.

The generalisation I am most guilty of is my dislike of how the news is reported.  That’s a blog for another time, but so long as silly outlets like The Daily Mail keep publishing such dumb-assery as this, generalisations will continue to make fools of the lot of us. Every single one of us…

There’s more I want to go into, but this is more than enough waffle for now.
More protests are happening this very minute, so who knows what we’ll see next.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the protests and the reactions to the protests, even if they’re sweeping generalisations.


Props and Good Linkage

Time to say ta to a few people.

  • I wouldn’t have half the stuff here if not for my over-opinionated friends, and some top quality bloggers.
  • Anna Thiefree‘s turned out to be a right little force for change – to even her own surprise it seems – and has done such a good job using social media (one of the other things I want to blog about regarding these protests) it even made me regularly read her twitter.
    And I loathe Twitter, the messy-looking scourge that it is. Very much looking forward to a blog about this (hint, hint), Guardian Cardiff are even suggesting you follow her tweets to keep up to date with Cardiff’s student protest escapades.
  • I recently discovered /Doom.Root, who wrote this well-worded blog, which led me to this horrible piece of YouTube linked above.
  • Other top-notch words have been penned by David Mitchell.
  • You should have a look around. there’s good stuff out there, but I’d steer clear of The Daily Mail.

One Response to Students Vs Sweeping Generalisations

  1. teacherface says:

    Girls who wear purple definitely are made of win. 😉

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