My delusional, arrogant generation

Jake Gordin, a first year UCT student, writes home...

Dear Father,

I am aware that you are something of an old duffer. Not that you need reminding - you have referred to yourself as such on occasion. Though I suppose, BECAUSE you are an old duffer, you DO need reminding, now don't you? I do hope, however, that you can cast your mind back to several weeks ago, when your two favourite social groups (Zionist Jews and Anti-Zionist Jews/Palestinians/Muslims (whatever you want to call 'em) ) started getting all worked up over the increasingly dull matter of Israel's policies towards Palestinian people.

You may also remember my agreeing with you over the central point on Israel Apartheid Week specifically: that what anyone did on UCT campus during that week made bugger all difference to the Middle East; indeed, it made very little difference to non-Semitic students at university. Most people in my classes aren't Jewish or Muslim, and they had no clue what the giant tents were all about (so much for raising international awareness, eh Lily?). Even most Jewish kids (like myself) and a surprisingly large contingent of Muslims couldn't give two hoots.

This brings me to my conclusion about student activism in general: it only works if the activism initiatives are in the country in which the problem lies. Student activism against SA's Apartheid? Pretty effective, if Mrs Gruzd, my history teacher, taught me anything. Why? Cause they were SA students, obviously. It's hard to ignore mass protest in your own backyard. STUDENT protest elsewhere? Meh. There was international pressure, yes, as there is on Israel. Was it/is it because of university kids? Ha! It makes me embarrassed to be part of such a delusional, arrogant generation. Though I suspect all teenagers/twenty somethings have always been of such a mindset (I am too, in certain ways. Just not monumentally stupid ways).

With this conclusion in mind, it stands to reason that university activism has little point unless the issue is isolated locally - even then, it takes several years, if not decades. So why then, does UCT move from the contentious (and pretentious) self-righteous political bullshit like the Israel-Palestine boxing match to, as of Monday, GREEN WEEK?! Seriously, enviro-nuts? I'm trying not to take stereotypes at face value, but if I'm going to do that you can't have skinny white girls with dreads and African-tribal necklaces accost me (and everyone in their visual range) with both vegan muffins (I'll give you a moment to swallow down the bile you just hacked up) and advice on how to NOT maximize my transportation methods in the interests of 'going green'. Also, why are they ALL white, upper-middle class and female? Did I miss a memo?

Remember that South Park episode where the four boys go to a Costa Rican rain forest? And they have that teacher who says "Don't worry, the snake is as scared of us as we are of them"? That's what these people are like. Then the snake devoured the tour guide like it didn't give a f**k, and Cartman said: "Yep, that snake is really scared of us all right". That's me.

To make things worse, they had the Chair of the Philosophy Department, David Benatar, who is essentially God to liberal BA Philosophy majors, give a talk about, and I quote, "The Ethics of Vegetarianism". Or, to rephrase that title based off the lecture he gave - which I attended against my better judgement - "Why we don't eat meat and why this makes us better human beings than the rest of you".

The PSF students thought that their temper tantrum on Jammie Plaza about how mean Israel is would change something because they want to feel important, and they think it actually does have an effect. These GCI people (Green Campus Initiative - Enviro Society) meanwhile already have a ridiculous sense of smugness about them; and now Green Week gives them this pathetic sense of moral superiority. They don't even care if Green Week helps the environment or not; just knowing that they're vegetarian has them think they're better than us. (Benatar's talk made the case for how eating animals is an ethical violation on par with murder. It's an interesting idea, but I got horrible feeling as I sat in the lecture theatre that the GCI members were only there for self-validation.)

Oh, you don't eat meat? You know that most medical and biochemical advances that allow you to maintain the nutritional balance that keeps you alive without meat in your diet was pioneered by meat eaters? You know that before such advances, they had another word for vegetarians/vegans: dead people? You know what else GCI people? You know what an animal would do to you if it were hungry and you didn't eat other animals? The same thing it would do to a meat eater: eat you, dipshit! DAMN. They annoy me.

What GCI have in common with the PSF is that they think their Green Week actually stops the economic and industrial behemoth that is the meat industry. No, hippies, your little week of recycling and bike riding does jack shit for the environment. And like Israelis, Syrians or Jordanians, employees in the meat industry couldn't care less either. GCI of course would say to this that if everyone cared like they did, then enough support could be gained to make a sizable impact and defeat the evil that is the meat industry.

Know why that argument doesn't work?

Because that's a stupid point to make when there will never be enough people caring enough to stop eating meat: it gives millions' jobs, provides people with essential iron and proteins, and it tastes delicious. Accept that you can't do anything to change us killing animals - and no, it's not wrong, it's how life works. Maybe if you weren't so pretentious you'd drop out of BA Philosophy/Politics, do a BSc or at least just pick up a Biology Textbook. Natural Selection hippies; look it up!

Well, I needed to get that out.

I though you should also know that Cape Town winter has hit: today was a RIDICULOUS torrential downpour with wind so strong that the rain was been blown parallel to the ground. I need to buy more long pants....and new shoes.

 PS I need airtime.....yes, I know, but I had to use it to download Whatsapp, as the internet only works for computers, not phones.


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