Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Moment of Silence

The Internet is merciless. In recent years, it has forced nearly every industry, every organization, to adapt or die. It is a digital natural selection, killing off whatever can’t keep up. (Remember Blockbuster?)

Yesterday, the Internet claimed another victim: Playboy.

The magazine will continue, but it will no longer feature nude photos. What had been one of the first stepping stones to manhood for so many boys over the past 62 years has admitted defeat and will soon officially cede that role to the Internet. (In reality, of course, that fight was lost long ago.)

This is sad news, but it’s not surprising.

I was born in 1987, and men of my age were probably the last who saw their first boob on a piece of paper. I remember mine fondly. I was about seven years old. In stereotypical fashion, my friend had managed to sneak away with a Playboy from his dad’s stash. To keep from getting busted, we climbed a tree. When he opened to the centerfold, I almost fell out of it.

A few years later, I managed to get a hold of my own. It featured the Barbi twins. That magazine held a special place in my heart and under my bed for a long time.

And then came the Internet. Suddenly, I and countless other prepubescent boys around the world had access to more porn than even the most deranged addict knew what to do with. It was the beginning of the end for print porn.

It was a good run, Playboy. The ink may fade, but those centerfolds will live on in our minds forever.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Why You Should Stop Crying About Your Student-Loan Debt

With student-loan debt being featured in the media so prominently lately, I know that you’ve all been dying to hear my perspective. So here it is: quit bitching.

And lest you assume that I’m some spoiled brat who had mommy and daddy pay for school, keep in mind that I finished college with over $110,000 in student-loan debt. That costs me $600 a month, and it would cost me more if I weren’t on the income-based repayment plan. One more thing before we go any further: none of this applies to victims of predatory lending practices.

So why aren’t I the poster child for the student-loan crisis? (And it is a crisis.) Because I took on that debt of my own free will. I wasn’t forced to go to a school that cost $40,000 a year, nor was I tricked into borrowing the money to pay for it. And while I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into regarding repayment, I was certainly capable of finding out.

Is college too expensive? Yes. But we’re free to go to a less expensive school or to forgo college entirely. Once I realized that I had made a mistake in choosing St. Joe’s, I transferred to a much less expensive school. A school I could have attended from the beginning but chose not to.

Is it hard to find a good job without a degree? Yes (depending on what you want to do), but you still had a choice: borrow money to earn a degree that qualifies you for a certain career, or settle for a different career. “But I don’t want to settle for a job I don’t love.” Life ain’t fair, my friend. As my man Ben Franklin said, the only guarantees in life are death and taxes; he didn’t say anything about finding a fulfilling career.

I’m not happy with the choice I made regarding college. But I can’t blame anyone else for that choice. I wanted to further my education, and that was the trade-off.

All that being said, I’ll be first in line for loan forgiveness as soon as I’m eligible. I’m not opposed to lightening the burden of student-loan debt, but I’m not going to cry about that burden when I willingly put it on my own shoulders.