Human Interest

The Scobe interview Part III: Is this really it?

Scobe in Boston

Scobe in Boston

Today we bring our readers the third and final installment of our wonderfully-received three-part interview series with Frank Scoblete (aka Scobe), one of America’s favorite authors and columnists. The number one casino gaming author, Scobe tells it like it is one more time for hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley.

QUESTION: What should young people consider thought-process-wise when it comes time to go to college or not? Is a college education still worth the dollar investment and why or why not? What is the caliber of college graduates today compared to prior decades?

FRANK: I think the expense of college is off the charts. Taking loans that can cripple you for much of your young life seems foolish to me. Unless you have rich parents who can afford to send you to a four-year school or you can get into a state college and work and pay for it yourself, perhaps get a Merit Scholarship or such, then I would recommend going to a local junior college, work, save up money and then decide whether to move to a four-year school.

If you do not decide to continue with schooling I’d recommend becoming an electrician or plumber or some such. These are skilled occupations and they are needed – far more than philosophy majors or television and theatre majors are needed.

I think the idea that it should take more than four years to get a BA or BS degree is idiotic. I majored in three subjects, literature, history and philosophy. It took me three and one-half years to graduate. Trust me, I didn’t intellectually strain myself.

I do think school in America has been dumbed down because today we have this horrible fear of failure. I saw an exam given to sixth graders from 1908. These kids had to read Chaucer! They had to answer questions, serious questions, about the Constitution, the houses of government. No sixth grader today is reading Chaucer. I doubt any are reading Shakespeare. Jane Austen? Emily Dickinson? A.E. Housman? No way. They know how to text but they have no real idea of the great texts of Western Civilization.

I found this in my own schooling. I received my first master’s degree in English. To do so, I had to write a thesis and pass a test in a foreign language. I also had to pass a comprehensive test in literature – and the whole world was that literary stage! Thankfully, I passed. It was no cakewalk. Then I went for a master’s in history some time later. No language requirement; no general test. A small thesis or I could take an extra history course as a substitute for a thesis. That was a cakewalk. Then I received a master’s in educational administration (I don’t know if it was called a masters but it was 30 credits). A complete and utter joke. It was actually embarrassing to be taught by professors who couldn’t teach about subjects that were idiotic sitting beside classmates most of whom were — oh, here comes the bomb! — ploppies. (Many teachers are not ploppies. I was lucky to teach with some truly great ones at Lawrence High School.)

I think the college graduates in the math and sciences are probably top notch as most have always been. These are real subjects. The liberal arts, sadly, have become the province of professors and many students who are posturing and posing; substituting courses such as “Women’s Studies” and “Black Studies” and “Intergenerational Transgender Transformational Studies” and “Why Scobe is Sexy Studies” which are largely cakewalks if you parrot back what the professors parrot to you. You want to know about women? Read Jane Austen. You want to know about what it means to be black? Read Othello. Dig into something with power and worth. So if you take such silly liberal arts courses then what you get is a load of crap in and a load of crappy students out.

 

QUESTION: Is the public school system irretrievably broken?

FRANK: I really don’t know. I lean in that direction. I think we have dumbed down the schools and even tests that kids have to take that require some level of proficiency as a standard have caused the overwhelming majority of New York City kids to fail. Schools keep trouble makers when they should bounce them. The argument in New York City is that if you throw a vicious, loud, angry, stupid kid out of school he will wind up on the streets. He is already on the damn streets! Then when he comes to school he brings the street with him. Because the schools tolerate true idiots the good kids get hurt.

QUESTION: The Internet has changed everything. What part will social media like Facebook, Twitter, et al play in the coming years?

FRANK: Until we get chips in our heads that allow us to communicate directly with our friends, social networking is here to stay. Texting is here to stay. I really don’t know if it is a good or bad or neutral thing.

QUESTION: Do you feel safer traveling with TSA entrenched at airports?

FRANK: I certainly don’t feel less safe.

QUESTION: What advice would you give young people today? What should they do and what should they avoid doing?

FRANK: The same advice my father gave me. There’s always room at the top. Never be afraid of hard work. Michael Jordan was a great basketball player but there were hundreds if not thousands of individuals with his athletic skills. So why did he excel? Because he worked hard to take those athletic skills as far as he could. He practiced and practiced and practiced. This next is trite but true. Avoid the crowd. Usually if everyone is doing it, it is probably not worth doing.

QUESTION: Is the world going to end?

FRANK: Yes, in a billion years, more or less. The safest bet on earth is to bet anyone who believes the world will end in your lifetime because of a religious prophecy or some psychic says such a thing. Give them a million to one odds on the bet. You’ll clean up.

QUESTION: Who would win a seven game series: the ’27 Yankees or the ’75 Reds?

FRANK: Unquestionably the 1927 Yankees.

QUESTION: Will Sting have another hit record, or reprise his role as Feyd-Rautha in a Dune remake, in our lifetime?

FRANK: I don’t know about the record but unless they do an afterlife version of Dune, age has stung Sting.

QUESTION: What is the book you have to read that you haven’t yet?

FRANK:  The one you’re going to write!

QUESTION: Are Chief Executive Officers obsolete remnants of 20th century corporate power structures?

FRANK: The title might go but people cling to leaders; they need leaders. Committees don’t work. You know the old saying, “A camel is a horse created by a committee.” So corporations will always need chief executive somethings or other.

***

 

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