Should we really care about Kanye’s diss?
As I turned on my computer on Monday morning, all I could read about was Kanye West’s essential diss of Taylor Swift at MTV’s Video Music Awards. Facebook walls were littered with people’s comments ranging from “Oh, what the heck?” to “I lost madd respect for Kanye,” and that’s when I began to think to myself, so what? So what if Kanye dissed Taylor Swift (Don’t get me wrong, I care, but in the larger scope of life, it doesn’t matter). For the record, Beyoncé did act in a very classy manner, letting Taylor get her moment later in the show.
But the question begs to be asked, so what? In a country where our economy is still in a recession, where millions do not have healthcare, where we are mired in two wars, is there really nothing better to put on the front page of Yahoo? Is this really what our country is coming to? At the same time that Yahoo and other media outlets were obsessed with the scandal, the body of a Yale student was discovered. Other things were going on as well, such as a suspected U.S. drone attack, killing four in Pakistan.
The fact of the matter is that we, in this society, especially those of us in college, don’t give a crap unless it’s considered cool. We know the names, songs, lyrics and life stories of a ridiculous number of people in music and pop culture, but we don’t know anything about ourselves or our country. Who was the 19th President? When was the 24th amendment passed? Know the answer? Rutherford Hayes was the 19th President, and the 24th amendment was passed on Jan. 23, 1964.
In a world where we as Americans have so much ground to gain, we waste such a large amount of time doing useless things. Did you know that there are more honors kids in India then there are kids in general in the United States? We have a lot to do in an increasingly global world to keep up with everyone else. We will soon lose our competitive advantage and will need to rely on other things to keep us on top.
But life was not always like this. There was a time when college students were at the forefront of educating others and being politically active; a time when college students had more power than the administration and a time when the administration actually listened to our needs and desires. When the threat of taking over a building actually meant something, and when there weren’t 10 student protests, there were 10 million student protests. So what happened? In short, we stopped giving a damn.
There used to be a culture of giving a damn. When music and pop culture revolved around being politically active rather than who-slept-with-whom and who-did-what-where. Music was a means to be politically and socially active rather than a means to get into a state of trance. Not that I’m ripping on any particular type of music or anything, but at one point, things used to be different.
President Obama recently spoke to a joint session of Congress and directly to the American people about health care reform, and yet how many of us actually saw it? More importantly, how many of us actually care? During last year’s presidential campaign, we saw an extraordinary number of students getting involved in the campaign. Whether it be volunteering hours or donating money, students stepped up big and there was a potential for a spark, but that quickly faded once the election was over.
There are many ways to get involved right here at UMass. Whether it is through the SGA or clubs, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get out and learn about what the heck is going on. After all, we’re the ones who are supposed to run the country soon, right? So why not learn what exactly is going on. So the next time you remember what famous person’s birthday it is today (Sept. 16 is the birthday of Nick Jonas, Alexis Bledel, Teddy Geiger and many others), think to yourself, does it really matter?
Suban Tariq is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.