Dr Strangescalp: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Thrift
Dear Dr Thrift,
I am sorry that I hate you. Don’t take it personally — it’s not your fault; you could be MLK handing out puppies to the blind and you’d still be a monster. A monster to me — a student — with my processed and pre-packaged mentality of futile transgression. For sure I don’t want to change anything, that’d look terrible on my CV; I just don’t want to have to… think. It’s far easier to fall into the similitude of a subversive student and post vague infographics attacking your pay packet in-between filing spring week applications eyeing the rich kid’s road map to a meaty monetary landing of my own.
And what is it about your pay? £600k?
Surely a stalwart critic of the neoliberal paradigm published the world over, who has clawed an institution of 25,000-odd up the international rankings, so as to battle off the red-brick giants with their endowments and entrenched aura of entitlements — so as to deliver the next generation of flannel suited Forbes enthusiasts — all the while publishing contemporary research — doesn’t deserve the deliberations of an independent pay-setting committee to grant him some juicy compensation.
Oh the injustice!
How can you be earning all that while try as I might Daddy’s allowance won’t stretch to even a term of tequilas in the Bacchanalian bathtub of excess that is Pop? When was the last time you went ‘out’, eh Thrift? Did you crack open a bottle of bubbly when you sealed the deal on the 50th anniversary logo change? But, O Bald One, O archetype of male, pale, and stale – why didn’t you consult me on this? Why pay a panel of proven marketing masters to tack together a condensed representation of the institution when you could have just consulted me? Don’t you realise that you’ve wrecked havoc with my self importance Nigel? Aren’t you aware how many of my micro-aggressions this triggers?
I’m sorry, têt d’oeuf, but I hate it. I hate its smarmy double V formation, and how it neatly fits with a smorgasbord of other promotional graphics. I should have had a say!
Sure it’s going to be the icon of the university for the next few decades…
Sure I’m only here for another year and half but… don’t you get it Nigel?? I am me — a well-heeled, well-spoken landed student with nothing real in my life to fight for and a burning ambition to fit into the toothless blind echo-chamber of student politics.
What’s more, deep down I’m a conservative. No, not the card-carrying baby eating phlegmatic political party conservative — but the more insidious type; I don’t like new and different things — between you and I: my confirmation bias is recalcitrant; my tendency to react, sharp; my pre-frontal lobes too small, and my adrenal glands too big. You changed the order Nigel, and that really bugs me.
It bugs me as much as the marketisation of campus. Did you not see the post I shared from the questionably Semite-friendly Facebook page about the Rothschild dynasty? It’s the banks, man! The banks — they’re after your soul — the governments of the world are in their pockets. They’re stealing their juicy bonuses from the mouths of the starving billion. And yet here they are on campus, you can’t walk 10ft without Morgan Stanley slipping you a complementary pen, and all because of you.
Tell me Nigel, did they take your hair when they took your soul? So what if you’re trying to use corporate money to fill a hole in funding formed by a lack of an historic aristocratic support base or a big bundle of property to piddle away when winnings are wanted? So what if I decide to surreptitiously slip behind enemy lines and become a substance sniffing city-sycophant myself? I thought you were a Marxist, Thrifty. Who cares if it is said that the capitalist will sell you the rope with which to hang him? What matters is that you are not fulfilling my simplistic idea of what I expect you to be in the face of the farcical question of funding. You should behave better.
And, while you’re at it, get the local police to behave better too. I shouldn’t expect to see an inadequate task force of unsuspecting officers, sent to deal with a deliverance of assault, act in panic as they are baited by an endless stream of screaming students putting their hands behind their backs and salmon-flopping onto surprised lumps of high-vis flesh whilst hurling classic one-liners such as “fuck off him, fuck off him now”. Have you seen the footage Nigel? Do you know how hard it is to attack an officer without actually hitting them? Are you aware of the distress tied to stringing together a novel set of shitty metaphors and images about the protests to plug next to my name and selfie in every student publication?
That is, when I’m not writing about free-education. Speaking of which, why should I, the one who benefits from my degree, have to pay for my ride in university? Don’t the detritus amongst uneducated, unwashed, sclerotic masses of quasi-sentient taxpaying troglodytes not realise just how much they benefit from my paper ticket to prosperity? Why don’t they pay for it? The bunch of bigots could for once take their collective thumbs out of their respective arses, stop voting UKIP, and actually do something for the civic good: namely fund my way to that dream job at KPMG. I’ll even pay my taxes, until I can afford not, that is. Think of all the breadcrumbs of my potential prosperity they are missing out on. Don’t you ever think of the poor, Nigel? Why don’t you fight harder for my idea of higher education funding?
So Nigel, once you accept that you are fundamentally flawed on a score of universals, then this can all be water under the bridge. We can part ways on amicable terms, and I can wish you all the best for governing the inner cantons of hell without a pang of guilt. Until then, take this as my sorry-not-sorry olive leaf of reconciliation.
Equality, I spoke their word, as if a wedding vow, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.