You’ll never be glamour
So I need to vent about money. I hate talking about money because it should never be anyone’s primary concern. Money is the root of so many problems no matter the scope; whether personal or societal, the matter of gaining money is a tireless, dark and never-ending pursuit.
Sometimes, I fantasize about a society with no money. I question why humans invented the concept of money in the first place. How one person is worth more than another simply because they have more pieces of paper. Money is not a natural technology, nor is it biologically necessary. It’s an entirely self-imposed system that binds us and limit us (or, at least most of us) to scarcity. Money isn’t physically required to produce anything in this world. The exchange doesn’t not cause something to materialize. It’s simply incentive to do so.
Call me a communist, sure, but tell me you haven’t had some semblance of these thoughts before. Yes, I understand the necessity of money in a capitalist society and hard work and all that yada yada yada, but take a step back and realize just how much of your stress is the result of money.
Going to school is practically a full-time job that you pay someone else to do. I understand it’s an exchange of services and that ultimately you are paying for a degree that is ascribed some arbitrary worth to the world, but you put so much labor and money into an education so you earn the ability to, yes, earn more money. Of course, there’s the self-actualization of a fulfilling career (was Maslow a die-hard capitalist?), but the end result and your utility to society, per macroeconomics class, is to produce services that contribute to the GDP and your reward is money to buy products and services that also feed that process. It’s a vicious circle.
Of course I’m overthinking everything. Maybe I’m just an entitled millennial who just wants to be a poet all my life and be able to live off that, but there’s a point where taking six classes and working practically a full-time part-time job makes you a bit jaded about how we “earn” money. Yes, the minimum wage should absolutely be a living wage. I don’t care if you view service jobs as “low-skill labor.” That’s such a loaded statement with some problematic insinuations that are a bit too heated to get into this column but people who work service jobs make society work just as much as any other occupation.
So I’ll leave it at that and get back to why I’m stressing about money. I feel as though to make my way into the “real” writing world and to be respected, I’ll go into an MFA, which is one of those things I fantasize and glorify probably too much when in reality it’ll cost me a lot of money and I’ll still be working at Starbucks to pay that off for at least the next four years. I’ll just be the narcissistic starving-artist-barista stereotype who spends his time in coffee shops writing a “masterpiece.” Sounds like a plan to me.
But I guess money is just my latest obsessive compulsion. I’m taking all the hours I can get at work, most definitely sacrificing the quality of my school work. Hey, at least I’m investing in some stocks and in an aggressive 401k. I love death and worrying about retirement at age 20.
Anyway, to lighten the mood, here are some music recommendations.
1. Julien Baker: Turn Out the Lights
Julien Baker, a 22-year old Tennesean that crafts raw and volcanic folk, shines her brightest yet on her new album. Turn Out the Lights deals with the pain of contradictions and heartbreak, as Baker, a queer Christian from the South, tackles her contradictions and emotional honesty head-on in these songs, but her pride and maturity truly make them memorable and stunning.
2. Fever Ray: Plunge
Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of the iconic brother-sister electronic duo The Knife, surprise released her first solo album as Fever Ray in eight years since 2009’s self-titled effort. Plunge is as transgressive and kaleidoscopic as I could’ve wished for, and Andersson delivers emotional gutpunches through twisted and kaleidoscopic electropop. Plunge will most definitely make its mark on year-end lists.
Luke Maguire, a junior, studies English. He is the Arts & Entertainment Editor of Le Provocateur.