Why I’m Better than Everyone Else: Living as an English Major

by Keegan Sims

I want to show you a magic trick. I’m going to transform you, an au courrant mega sheeperson ignorant to the world outside of the internet, MoronTV, and your equally oblivious friends, into a homo sapiens, whether or not you yet possess the meagre mental capacity to process the arduous endeavor. You, as you sit there with pendulous eyelids, behind which shrinks away your catatonic œillade, you are going to rise from the subterranean filth that comprises your contemporaries; you finally are going to be a human being.

“But how‽” might eek out out, barreling past your glottis, through your lips, and plummets down your ketchup-stained double chin, expelled into the air where it comingles with the scent of Cheetos and Diet Mountain Dew (never forget – life’s better on the mountain). Your visage betrays your aspiration, and I can see that you don’t really care, you want to take your ten person minivan back home, you want to put down this book and go back to whatever it is you were doing before you made the dreadful decision to start reading, of all things.

Don’t stop now. This is important.

You, though you deny it everyday, with every visit to Wal-Mart, every chip, every time that you hide away from the outside, unwilling to send Mother Nature a glance, every chug of McDonald’s Diet Coke, every time you flop yourself into the couch with a plate of hot wings, ready for just one more episode of Breaking Bad, every smell you emit, every brand name you know, every sitcom you foam over, every last drink and last cigarette taken in subversion of the furtively manufactured in place of a real New Year’s resolution, every book you have chosen not to read, every dollar you wrench out of the hands of a young Malaysian boy who works away the day without pay so your iPhone is two dollars and ninety-nine cents cheaper, every blatant disregard for your precious language, every App, every beloved Xanax and knock-off brand Tylenol pill you ingurgitate to mitigate every sufferance that vomits forth from the noxious thing you have the audacity to call your lifestyle, you have, somewhere buried beneath a mountain of flesh and carbohydrates, the strength to rehabilitate yourself.

Black Flag once wrote:

Think they’re smart/They can’t think for themselves/Rise above/We’re gonna rise above.

And that is exactly where the line is drawn in the sand: it’s the precious few on one side and the many on the other. Where their collective mass has proved too heavy for the sand, they have sunken into a recession out from which they cannot climb. Instead of attempting to devise a way out, they imbibe themselves with delusions of grandeur, convincing themselves that they are the ones at the top, that rather than looking up at the Enlightened from their black cesspool, it is we who have fallen and they are the ones to look down upon us. But numbers of the Enlightened are not stagnant – not every day, nor per week, and rarely even once a month, one of the precious few rise above the walking flesh that they are forced to designate as their peers.

    But from out of that cesspool, it is difficult to climb. The detractors are many and their actions are illimitable. Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take; they’ll be watching you. The Police, though sellouts they were and will be always, could cognise exactly what it meant to be under constant surveillance. You will too, in time. You will assimilate every castigation they fling at you and forsake any meagre hope upon which you rest. You will hurl yourself with wild abandon into the infinitesimal oblivion that is stumbling through the world blindfolded by the umbra of the cesspool’s idiocy, grasp at shadows for an intimation of a foothold upon which you may progress through this bleak tunnel, and finally abscond into the brilliant luminescence of Enlightenment.

Not everyone will withstand the journey. Some perish by the wounds of the gormless. Others take their own lives as they flee from the masses, unwilling to succumb to the assault of the anti-intellectual, preferring to leave with the small shred of dignity allowed to them by the people. These are the ones brainwashed to heed without question the perpetual compendium of injunctions brusquely delivered to them by just another sneering administrator with a gimcrack buzzcut and a toomly, vacuous expression.  

You will be John Galt. You will be Winston Smith, George Orr, Holden Caulfield, Braithwaite, Harrison Bergeron, Miles Plastic, Leo Kall, Paul Proteus, Alexander the Large, Yossarian, Elspeth Gordie, Xavier March, Prometheus, Donald Hogan, Kuno, Li RM35M4419, Jason Taverner, Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov, Jael 97, Henry Dorsett Case, Paul Rusch, John Lyle, Ignatius J. Reilly, Avis Everhard, Mark Gainsby Studdock, Elliot Vreeland, Doremus Jessup, Lee, Dr. Poole, Adam Krug, Graham, Binx Bolling, Wolfgang, Gabriel Welstein, Jude the Obscure, Rodion Raskolnikov, Josef K., Guy Montag, Offred, D-503, Mr. Cavor, Joe Bauer.

You will be all of these and none of these. The embodiment of the oppressed, barracked by the unwashed bourgeoisie, who, knowing that they cannot surmount your wit, instead set out to do you down with brickbats, hurled at you with all the vituperation and opprobrium that a klatsch of ignoramarum could exiguously muster.

We are the ones who must face the clarion call of mediocrity.

We are the truly tyrannised. We are the sons of subordinance. We are Hoxha’s Albanians, Ceaușescu’s Romanians, Mugabe’s Zimbabweans, Neto’s Angolans, Mariam’s Ethiopians, Reagan’s Americans. The pitifully repressed, the unwelcomed individuals who dare to climb out of the cesspool. The brightest moments of our days shine when the boot of idiocy fleetingly lifts off of our skulls, when we may look up at the sun, hoping it may peek out from the smog of the mainstream, only for the boot to come crashing back down. But we, we are the Enlightened.

When all others implore us to submit to the overlord of the establishment, we must rise to action, find our arms buried in the backyard of literacy, our weapons the truest sentences we know, pierce the golianth chests of our enemies with the sharpest jibs we hold in our cerebellis, overturn the new with the archaic, revolutionise the plebeian order of intentional intellectual apathy.

‘Twas the day before Congress, when all through the House

No third party was stirring, not even a mouse;

Money was wired by companies with care,

In hopes that St. Biden soon would be theirs;

Iraqi children were buried, all shot dead,

As visions of dollar bills danced in Senators’ heads

You are a Libertarian, an anarcho-capitalist, democratic socialist, meritocratic fascist, center-left individualist, PETA monarchist, matriarchal nationalist, armchair activist, the bastard son of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, all of the above and none of the above. Your policies are utopian and undeniable, so close and impossibly far away in the repressive theocratic regime of the United States of Amierkkka.

When we’re born here, we stay here. We’re so lucky to be citizens from birth.

We’re stuck here.

We, like the Vietnamese children of Agent Orange, are doomed to die by this nation’s hands. Murder is murder, whether it happens when a gangbanger stabs a man in a back alley or when Aviated Death Squads bomb Syria so the defense industry can make another billion dollars. America is pent-up and when we explode, you will too.

How can we claim to liberate when we ourselves are not free? In three steps, somebody, a “higher-up” type, already knows where we’re going and why. We stay in our paths; they give us the illusion of choice: what do you want to do when you grow up? A doctor, football player, teacher, maybe even the President. But no. They lie; we’re not going to be any of that. We’re going to toil for barely above minimum wage, not enough to live on.

McDonald’s money McManagement advice? Work two jobs. Give up heating. Buy the cheapest house you can find. Better yet, don’t buy one at all. Spend twenty dollars on health insurance. But don’t come in sick. Don’t miss too many days. Don’t get what you need. And don’t you dare ask a lowly multi-trillion dollar company for decent pay.

Then when you can’t afford your next bill, you’re a prime example of how not to be. You’re lazy. You’re viced. Not educated properly. The ultimate irony being that they, who flinch at a book and turn their cloud-ripping nose at every debate, have been learned stupid. Taught not to think, hyped up on cop-out TV; but we’re the dumb ones. You can’t trust anyone.

But what do you if there is a gunman in your home? Do you cry for help? Stave him off yourself? Or even, dare I ask, call the police?

Of course not. You have two options, get shot by a maniac, or be killed by the man in your house.

You can’t trust them. Cops, that is. The police work for judges, who work for the judicial system, which works for the for-profit prisons, all of which are under the thumb of the President. And guess who owns him? The food industry, Big Pharma, the defense industry, Walmart.

Cops might as well be cashiers.

The word “police” itself is derived from Latin politia, meaning administration, that coming from the Greek polisa, meaning to keep order. In short, the police keep us in line. We can’t get too rowdy, too out of control. Can’t get out of hand, we might start thinking about silly things like rights, dignity, or self-respect. How dare we.

Do not ever talk to the police. If a police officer asks you if you’re in danger, simply ask “Am I being detained? Am I free to go?”

If he inquires further about why there is an armed gunman in your home, get that cellphone camera out. It is your right as a citizen to film him. Upload it to YouTube, livestream it if you can. If the pig infringes your rights by asking you to turn the phone off (He’ll say it’s “distracting.” Isn’t that the greatest irony: he and his team of squealing brutalisers are distracting to my Constitutional rights.), press into him:

“Why? Afraid you’ll be brought to justice for once?”

Once he shoots the armed man in your home, get two things: his badge number and his name. HIs full name. Try, if you can, to get an accurate physical description, every detail helps.

Go online. Find out his address, his boss’ address, and his boss’ boss’ address. Don’t forget: this information is public and it is your right to have it. Corruption is like a Jacob’s Ladder, it doesn’t stop climbing; every link in the chain is more poisonous than the last. It is your right as a citizen to plaster it everywhere. Contact the local media while that fat manhunter goes back to his fortress of oppression and fills out paperwork for the next 10 hours because he “discharged his firearm.”

He was attempting to violate your rights, and we cannot stand idly by while these injustices plague our society. Spread the word. The Revolution will not be televised.

Never forget: you are a citizen, you deserve to do whatever you want and be left alone.

That is, unless you plan to offend my beliefs. How dare you scoff at my all-organic pesca-fruitarianistic way of life. I am a proud ed-ochryphal, neutrois, non-binary, soft, deathfat headsharing, grey, questioning, ace, queer, pantran, upper-middle class, depressed singlet human being (though I’m not particularly attached to the latter). What gives the right to sit on your cishet throne and laugh at us downtrodden. If not for the maw that is the patriarchy, I could express my true self in places other than just tumblr (my escape from oppression).

This needs to change.

We need legislation.

And every vote counts.Just head down to your local voting center, conveniently located in your courteously gerrymandered district. You’ll get lumped in with the swarm of apathy. Your call might drown in the sonicity of red chants of “Kill the poor!” It might be choked out by the blue fist clenched around the throats of pseudo-intellectuals. Or, if you’re really lucky, you won’t get to vote at all. We have officials for that, just look away, it’ll always turn up in your favor.

Every vote counts. As long as that vote is cast by the hands of multi-billion dollar companies. Lobbyists win elections, not people. More funds means more votes. That’s fair, right? After all, if the most important people in the country are the wealthiest. They have it the hardest. The President might as well change his (it’s always his, isn’t it) lapel from the American flag to the Almighty Golden Arches. It’d be nice to see who he really serves for a change.

Every vote counts. Make sure yours falls right into place. If you’re from New York, better be a liberal. If you’re from Kentucky, the only blue blood you need to bleed is for the precious Wildcats. Don’t step out of line. Don’t raise a hand in protest. Just go back to sleep. It’s not your problem, so it’s not a problem.

Every vote counts. There are 538 electors, and the fate of the country hinges on they’re feeling that day. 1

And yours doesn’t.

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