|Volume 92, Issue 60
Thursday, January 14, 1999
New editions by old professors
Frustration... consternation... riotous incitation.
The situation is always the same. You've got newly obtained Ontario Student Assistance Program funds sitting in your bank account, untainted by your grimy spendthrift hands. Thoughts of worthwhile things to spend it on dance like sugarplums in your head beer... clothes... dry cleaning to get the beer out of your clothes... legal bills to contest the things you did while getting beer onto your clothes things like that.
While attending a new class, you note the textbook is, to your dismay, written by the professor. Tearfully, you scan through the bibliography, searching desperately for an older date of publication. No such luck, for it has a 1999 publication date. Resigning yourself to the inevitable, you trudge down to the BookStore, break out your swiped-beyond-recognition bank card and bite the proverbial bullet. So long, $875.49, hello Canadian History: Still More Reflections. (21st Edition).
Sound familiar to anyone at this den of mass consumerism? Apparently, the administrators, peer counsellors, Sophs, spiritual advisors, hallucinogenic purveyors and every other ostentatious aid to your education won't talk about it, but students know the truth. Write home to mommy and daddy for extra cash, hapless souls for the invisible hand of economist Adam Smith is here, extremely pissed and aiming to squeeze every last cent out of you.
I have nothing against professors writing their own textbooks, for they need every cent to keep them in a wide range of brown suits with patches on the elbows. I don't even have a problem with the grossly over-inflated price of the new texts, since large-size type and blurry pictures need to be printed on vanilla scented pages to transmit their message effectively.
The only volatile burr in my boxers has to do with the incessant revising of the texts every year and the subsequent insistence of the professors to purchase the new editions. I know it's been a while since I checked, but the law of supply and demand does not include an addendum of "and make sure to stick it to those absurdly poor students at every opportunity, then spit on them while they're down."
I don't like to get too literary when I verbally throw down like this, but to quote the immortal Winston Churchill, "It's utter fucking bullshit." What warrants the extra cost for the new edition, you ask? Vast changes to the text's framework? Extra user-friendly study guides for students? A photo collage featuring Jean Chretien, Noam Chomsky, a Price Club-sized jar of mayonnaise and a rake?
No, it's just the same recycled bullshit the last 18 previous editions featured! They've changed the order of a chapter's title or added yet another unread source to the bibliography to sound more credible. Maybe the professor decided to include the previously unpublished dedication to his dog, Spunky, "without whose love this book never would have been possible."
Regardless, we as student consumers need to band together to exarcise this infernal demon from our midst. We must banish them, sent from the fiery pits of Hades back to the godless realm from whence they sprung!
Copyright © The Gazette 1999