It’s impossible to discuss the veracity of English Graduate Students without first bringing to table the most pressing issue of the modern day: the Apple Watch (or iWatch, as I will call it, even though it’s not its actual name). The iWatch is a revolutionary device that combines the joys of getting a text from your shitty friend Curtis with the inability to tell time. In the past (or the pre-Apple Watch-era, as historians now denote), this function was predominantly filled by non-watch electronical devices (or NWEDs as electricians now refer to them). If you wanted to check Curtis’ text, you had to reach into your pocket and pull out your phone LIKE A WORTHLESS FUCKING SAVAGE.
I digress. The iWatch is a silly foible for malcontents. If you look at the iWatch and think ‘this is a missing part of my life’ you are a bad person of poor moral fortitude. It’s just another way to encourage complex ecosystem dependence, like if you had a toaster that would only exude heat if tapped by a NFC connection from your Android phone.
I go to University. We read books there. Sometimes kids love reading a lot of books, so at the end of the fourth year they sign up for two more years of reading books. At a certain point they delude themselves so as to the importance of these books, and find themselves feeling important as a functional derivative of these books. They wake up, and look in the mirror, smile, say to themselves: “I’ve read Things Fall Apart. I get black people”, and then, after another week or two passes, say: “And it’s up to me to save them.” So, they browse r/MaleFashionAdvice, buy their leather shoes, slacks, plaid shirts, grow the beard, realize they can’t grow a beard, grow a mustache, slick back the hair, so much gel, and open the door to meet their day, a copy of Ulysses in one hand and a comb in the other.
But they don’t save the characters of Chinua Achebe’s novels, they invariably end up in the same place, swarming the second-floor honors/grad lounge, sitting around the brown, featureless table, cluttering the otherwise blank canvas with their Starbucks and their discarded scarves. It was on one such day that I sat in their lounge (BECAUSE I’M A FUCKING REBEL), sitting in my garbage clothes and drinking diet Pepsi out of a jam bar (I’m relatively charming, so I get away with this sort of nonsense). They were all crowded in the corner, surrounding someone’s MacBook Pro, watching the latest Apple announce new phones and whatnot. They listened with intent, like moths drawn to a lamp, moth-eyes transfixed by the fire. With every sentence out of Tim Cook’s mouth there mouths become more and more ajar. Their posture slooped, drool started dribbling out of their mouths, puddles formed on the floor. I can tell you the exact moment when they announced the iWatch; the entire presentation had been wave after wave, penetration after penetration, of new ideals into their mind. Every five minutes or so someone would scream ‘game changer’, their whole body vibrating in orgasmic pleasure, the mouths sitting further ajar.
When they announced the iWatch it was as if the building had exploded. I heard another brief scream of ‘game changer’, I heard plaid tearing, I heard screams, I felt the room vibrate, as if hit by shrapnel, people began throwing things: paper, phones, other people. I saw a child conceived and then sacrificed, a bounty to the secular Apple gods. One of the grad students screamed that ‘Jobs had conceived this from beyond the grave’ whilst another was being summarily executed for his ‘apathy’ regarding the new Apple iWatch. It was an unbearable cacophony of screaming and crying, joy and delirium, a fifth thing and a sixth thing. This lasted for a full hour, until the Grad Students all subsumed into a mutual chant of ‘Milanese band, Milanese band’.
But then one morning I caught a reflection of myself in my iPhone. I typed this on my iPad. I posted it on my Macbook. I have an iMac (my girlfriend uses it almost exclusively for pornography). I read books. I like Chinua Achebe. I dress in plaid. My shoes are expensive. I talk about ‘design’, ‘aesthetic’, and ‘Foucault’ as if those are words I know. And then, I looked at myself, I looked from me to the grad students, from the grad students to me, and from me to the grad students again; but it was already impossible to say which was which.
I hate myself.
The Apple ‘iWatch’ Watch: 2.3/10
English Grad Students: 0.1/10
George Orwell’s Animal Farm, from Which the Last Lines of this Piece are Taken: 6.4/10