Jackknifed, Jilted, and Jury Rigged – Welcome to America’s Middle Class

We have been left in the dust to fend for ourselves while the ever-growing distance to prosperity escapes us. All seats of government have been ground to a halt by the rigged system that began during the Reagan administration and continued by Clinton, the Bushes, and now Obama. The theatrics of the two-party system are a hoax meant to keep the broadcast channels hopping while we tap into the round-the-clock “news” cycle.  It’s no wonder the kids are playing first-person shooter video games morning, noon, and night until Mommy or Daddy pulls the motion detecting game controller and hides it. Forget your joystick, junior, it’s time to crack the school books and learn something.

So, what are they learning? The “reformers of education” certainly aren’t working on a plan to have them think for themselves, but rather quite the opposite. Rigorous testing of learning outcomes will prove that they can pass through to the expense of college education and then find themselves in the hole of extreme debt to the corporation and without a job while Silicon Valley works diligently to replace the need for humans in every way possible. Have you heard about “drones of innovation“?  I remember when it used to be an honor to attain a college degree.  It meant that you were on the path to “be somebody”. And yet, today, the people making the big bucks are sport stars, entertainment moguls, actors, and politicians.

Oh yes, the politicians.  Set for life to be freed of the financial damage of medical costs and with pensions and lobbying jobs to keep them propped up until Richard Branson builds Elysium for them all to scurry off to leaving us to fend for our children on the ravaged earth.

The California State Legislature just passed AB955 which is a bill that handily gives those who can afford the higher price in tuition a race to the top to completion. Here we go: “those who can afford it” which is the difference between $46 per unit and $200 per unit. The Community College system traditionally serves the underserved. So, now the Democratically-controlled legislature has just slipped the system a Mickey.  Let’s find even more ways to keep the poor from completion of their way to a better life, shall we?  Really California?

Everywhere we look we see the American middle class life (well, those of us who are old enough to have taken part in for awhile) jackknifed.  You know the term, right? Jackknifing means the folding of an articulated vehicle (for example, one towing a trailer) such that it resembles the acute angle of a folding pocket knife. If a vehicle towing a trailer skids, the trailer can push it from behind until it spins round and faces backwards. This may be caused by equipment failure, improper braking, or adverse road conditions such as an icy road surface. In extreme circumstances, a driver may attempt to deliberately jackknife the vehicle in order to halt it following brake failure. Get the picture?

Jilted – to deceive or drop (as in a lover) suddenly or callously. We’ve been absolutely  jilted by our government for decades.

Jury rigged – refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand. It’s meant to be temporary as in to fix the problem just long enough for us to vote for someone again, but it’s not a real fix. The system is broken and there are no real fixes in place. Only pretend fixes to keep us from paying too much attention.

If you want to hear from and read about one person who is not only a former cabinet member of President Clinton (he served as Secretary of Labor) but is a professor at UC Berkeley who has a good plan. You must read the blog (and books) written by Robert Reich. These are troubling times and he’s got some good ideas.

Thanks to wikipedia and the free online dictionary for a few of the “official” definitions herein that I have purposefully skewed into metaphors .

About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I started teaching full-time in 2009 and am tenured. My career as an audio engineer spans 32-years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassette 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991 leaving a regular shift there in 2010 due to the teaching schedule. The club and its staff are like family. I owned and operated a live sound production company since 1989 (ending officially in 2017) called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST141). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. In addition to teaching, I am a writer. I have several blogs and have written many screenplays since 2007 producing a few of them into short films. In 2020, the craziest year and decade of any of our lives, I am starting a book project titled, "Abra, the Imaginarian." Outside Affiliations: - former Co-Director of SoundGirls - current member of Audio Engineering Society and on the SF Chapter Planning Committee - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - past Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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