Saw this remarkable juxtaposition of headlines on page A23 of the Thursday Times. Is this a sign of subversion by some loose-canon editor trying to reach people between the lines if they can’t be reached through the text? The MBA-speak in the second headline, “new market opportunities,” is the cherry on top. The causal mechanisms are so clear, privatization so prevalent, that these sort of confluences are inevitable. Once in a while we are forced to witness the winners and losers of capital and their stories side-by-side, even if only by coincidence. The juxtaposition between the two articles creates the tie as money drips down the page from the public schools above to the for-profits scams below. One person’s “new market opportunity” is another’s “cut back.” When they’re kept as isolated phenomena, we can treat them as disconnected; the first as a lamentable tragedy, the second as a sign of shifting times or the market’s ability to elevate innovative models. We can thereby de-systamatize capitalism and see rises and falls as independent but justly managed, either the market’s punishment or reward. But that this juxtaposition is possible, that the collapse of community colleges and the rise of for-profit replacements are so contemporaneous that these stories can appear in the same day’s paper calling out for someone to connect the dots, erases the narrative division. When we’re forced to confront the privileged and the dispossessed shoulder-to-shoulder, we cannot help but see only the single story.

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