Saturday, May 10, 2014

A cartoon that is critical of the USA's policies toward student debt etc.

I thought the cartoon below was interesting.  The link from which I got this cartoon is under the cartoon. The cartoon is under the vocabulary words - please scroll down.  

Please be careful, however - this cartoon contains many 'slang' terms and terms which are considered 'vulgar' (i.e. 'dirty words').  I think it's important for foreign learners to be exposed to all forms of the English language, however, so I'm including this cartoon in this blog.

Vocabulary to help you understand the cartoon:

to be critical of something  - to find something wrong with something or to question something

WTF - this stands for "What the fuck!"  If a person is shocked, he/she might say: "What the fuck!!?"  This is much stronger than "What the hell!!?"   Let's say that you go to your car and see that someone has smashed into it. You might respond by saying, "What the fuck!!?"

silhouette - this is a dark image of something. Even though the image is dark, you can tell what the image represents. 

universal access - access for everyone.  In Nordic countries everyone can go to college.

a no-brainer - if something is a no-brainer, it is obvious. It should be an easy choice. So providing free education to college students should be a no-brainer - it is obviously the right thing to do.

the ultimate investment - in this case ultimate means the best, although ultimate often means final or last

crippling debt - to be crippled means you can't walk; so crippling debt means that people are in so much debt they can't really do anything.  There are two reasons young Americans are under crippling debt - 1) universities in America are run like businesses and 2) banks and loan organizations make lots of money by giving students loans with high interest.  Interest is the fee you have to pay after you take out a loan.  Often times a student will take out a $20,000 loan, but with the interest payments, the student will have to pay back $30,000 or more.  So Americans are more interested in making money from their young people than providing them with an education.

unleashed - in this case it means 'allowed'; a leash is something you use to keep an animal under control - for instance, if you walk your dog, you should have a leash attached to his/her collar.  To unleash something is to basically say, "go ahead! You are free to do what you want!"

to prey on - there are many 'for profit' schools, usually for poor people who take out loans, that charge students a lot but which do not have good reputations and from which students do not benefit.  These schools 'prey on' students - the way big animals prey on (hunt and kill) smaller animals.

to fool someone - to trick someone, to deceive someone; so silhouette man is saying that the rich really control the US government but they make the normal people think that they are being represented in government.

a recipe - a formula for; if something is a recipe for something else, it means that something being done will have certain negative consequences.  So these US policies are going to cause disaster for the USA.

hurtling toward - falling toward 

unraveling - falling apart


The link:

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