In the Soviet Union, and its immediate and chaotic Boris Yeltsin aftermath, the joke was “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.” In Canada, presently, academia rests on a similar, universally accepted principle. We’ll pretend to learn, if you’ll pretend to teach us. The entire student-professor contract at post-secondary institutions across this country has become farcical.
Students need the credential—diploma or degree—to advance in a society that won’t let anyone advance until they’ve anted up. The knowledge supposedly taught is superfluous: no one needs it and everyone knows it, especially the professors. Professors need the money. They also need academia, no matter its degraded, technocratic, highly commodified form, to persist: they are as much a part of the institution as the bricks and stone, or, as is usually the case in this country, the slabs of grey concrete. They cannot oppose what they have become. They must assume their share of the overall degradation. It's a duality of structure thing.
It is always safe and sensible to shut up and get along. I've been told that's what it means to be an adult. You have to be pretty much a bonehead, a real fool, a dumb kid, to decide to note, and in public, that this isn’t education, it’s a simulacra of what education was. 1) You can’t teach anything to people who don’t want to learn it. 2) If the only way your society allows people to advance is by forcing them to pay dear in order to pretend-learn about the Humanities, it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out what happens next. Anyone with half an imagination ought to be able to anticipate the foreseeable outcome of having produced a whole generation of kids in on a farce.
I note here that Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is really a band--a twee one from Springfield, Missouri--and, not only that, they're also a band signed to Polyvinyl, the same label as Alvvays, and now I have mentioned Alvvays again, cool.