The students are back

I’m on my way to my ridiculously early class, on the first day of a new semester, and what do I see? Some students have written a message in a snowbank.


You kids. You still have something to be optimistic about? I have to try and remember what it’s like to be 19 again.


  1. Siobhan says

    That’s better than it could have been.

    No, wait, I mean, damn bleedin heart limp wristed librul hippies

  2. robro says

    Just like the 60s, deja-vu all over again. And fittingly, the Washington Post is describing TweeterDumb as the least popular president “in decades.” The handy table of Favorable/Unfavorable ratings goes back to Jimmy Carter. I wonder what Nixon’s would be.

  3. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Think on this for a moment. An undergraduate college student would have been born between 1995 and 1999 (inclusive).

    Which means that their entire political memory consists of two Presidents — Bush II and Obama.

    Their entire memory of news consists of an extreme right wing that dominates the agenda and a centre-right that parrots the right wing as they worship balance.

    Their entire economic memory consists of trickle-down piss-on-the-peons worship-the-wealthy and screw-the-poor and -middle-class, with stagnation of opportunity and entrenchment of power.

    Their entire educational memory consists of teachers seeing increased requirements to keep their jobs, stagnant pay, cut benefits, and demonization by news and political organizations.

    Their social memory is dominated by on-line interactions allowing global friendships and, at the same time, a seemingly endless parade of trolls and fake news.

    I try to imaging what it would be like to be a student today and I cannot grok in fullness. I can look at their experiences as an academic exercise, but still not understand the emotional levels involved.

    So stamping “LOVE” on a snotbank may be optimism. It may be unreasoned faith that the world cannot get worse. Maybe it is a cry out for the needs of all of us, to find someone who cares in an uncaring world. Maybe it is an ironic statement of hopelessness. Maybe someone wants physical love (I seem to remember at least some students, back when I was in school, who’s main goal in college was to get laid. does that still happen?). Or maybe I am reading wa-a-a-a-a-y the hell to much into this.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What? Am I back in college during the anti-war protests in the ’70s?

  5. strangerinastrangeland says

    Just read a nice quote again from Terry Pratchett: “Students eh, love them or hate them, but you are not allowed to hit them with a shovel.”

    Have fun PZ and hopefully yours are a more interested and successful bunch than my last course.

  6. Usernames! (╯°□°)╯︵ ʎuʎbosıɯ says

    B-b-but that looks like sand at the beach!

    I mean, it is yellow/tan, not white like one would expect sand to be, right?

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Going off on a tangent

    PZ in case you should get some condition resulting in chronic pain, there are some good news indicating you do not have to turn into a grumpy clone of Dr. House. Opioids do not have to lose their pain-killing effects:

    “Researchers identify source of opioids’ side effects”
    Excerpt: “These two side effects can be drastically reduced with co-administration of an already used compound, methylnaltrexone bromide, currently used to combat constipation, which is another unwanted side effect of opioids, while still maintaining pain relief,”

  8. blf says

    What? Am I back in college during the anti-war protests in the ’70s?

    That was pretty much exactly my first thought as well…

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I’d like to waft a virtual kiss in their direction.
    *blows kiss*

  10. cartomancer says

    They’re optimistic because they know they’re going to outlive the geriatric plutocrats in charge by some considerable margin.

    Heck, judging by the look of that sorry lot so are you, PZ. I’ve seen sandglasses with more time left in them than Trump’s sorry cabal of wheezy septuagenarians.

  11. kiptw says

    The guy who took the picture says it’s a snowbank. I find it easier to assume the color’s a little off in the photo. Light can be tricky.

  12. davidc1 says

    I visited the Cadillac ranch in August 2009 ,some one had started to write ,love thy neighbour ,realised they didn’t know how to spell neighbour so it ended up as love thy everyone .
    Or they found there was not enough room .

  13. taraskan says

    Or maybe Jill “loves” Jack, but Jack came over the hill to class before she could finish it. Check back after lunch.

  14. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Scale. How big are those letters? Finger, hand size, or walked tracks?
    Is it flat, taken from height or written on a wall of snow?
    Too cropped. Needs reference object and better lighting shadows /critic

  15. unclefrogy says

    I may not be “back at college” but the last time I checked we are still at war so maybe those protests are not finished as the goals of a more rational way to do things has not been adopted yet!

    uncle frogy

  16. Rich Woods says

    @cartomancer #13:

    They’re optimistic because they know they’re going to outlive the geriatric plutocrats in charge by some considerable margin.

    Depends. One of those geriatric plutocrats is about to be given access to a large red button.

  17. richardh says

    Not sure about “gratuitous”…

    The lunatics are in my hall
    The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
    And every day the paper boy brings more

    … and that was 1973