The words "back to school guide" have been hijacked. Google it and you won't find valuable information kids and parents should know for the fast-approaching school year; you will find list after list loaded with extremely expensive products which tech blogs have deemed necessary for "students of all ages" ... specifically, those in the highest tax brackets whose parents have a vacation house on the moon.
I don't even know what kind of information a legitimate back to school guide would offer, but I'm guessing it'd be more about rules and dress codes than an ad for $499 over-the-ear headphones, then on the next page suggesting I also buy $299 earbuds. That's a running theme in pretty much every list I found.
To be fair, the creators of these lists occasionally regain lucidity and suggest practical, reasonably priced products for students -- things like laptops and tablets, which are the norm in schools today. But even then, the lists recommend laptops so expensive that they'd make a middle-class parents wish they had a kid 90 years ago, when all school required was as a one-cent pencil and a polio vaccine. Engadget's "Back To School Guide" has a category filled with sensible recommendations for things college students need, like cheap coffee presses and all-in-one printers. They lumped these items into a generic section of miscellany titled "Accessories," because those frivolous doodads lack the substantive necessity of the virtual reality section of the guide.
Wait, are they saying that modern students require an $800 HTC Vive virtual reality headset? I guess I can kind of understand that. I mean, you can't expect your kid to watch porn the way you did like two years ago, when VR wasn't a thing. They might as well be a caveman applauding fire.
Buying an $800 distraction machine for kids who sweeten their coffee with crushed Adderall is an idea of unparalleled stupidity -- which the Avegant Video Headset takes as a challenge. It's designed specifically to make you look like an idiot who traveled to the past to prevent a very stupid future. And failed.
According to Engadget, this thing "uses micro-mirrors to shoot images directly into your eye, so there's no screen or pixelation to worry about." If your kid tells you they need a product that shoots images directly into their eyes to reduce pixilation -- you know, for school -- take a second to feel a little prideful of how thoroughly you've fucked them up before telling them they're a constant reminder of your own failures. Don't let them fool you into thinking that looking like if Geordi La Forge were a DJ is the latest in youth fashion. It isn't. They're all about jaundiced Data eyes.
If you want to spill over into the ludicrously unnecessary, you have to head over to The Verge for a "Back To School Guide" that includes a $500 drone. If just reading that makes you mad, understand that these guides probably aren't for you; they're for the kid whose rich grandpa bulldozed a neighboring women's shelter and donated the land to the school to build a state-of-the-art recording studio for his old a cappella group.
A Bloomberg guide categorized products by fields of concentration. They suggested that English majors buy $129 earbuds, a $100 wool jacket, and $62 Burberry cologne. English majors are souls who've spent so long fantasizing about not majoring in English that they accidentally graduated with a degree in English. "Oops! I've squandered my parent's life savings, and all I got was this deeper understanding of Madame Bovary!" Bloomberg's idea of English majors sounds a lot like when Michael Bay casts Victoria Secret models he's trying to fuck as military scientists in Transformers movies.
They also suggest that engineering students buy a $135 black knee-length trench coat, a $190 sweater, and a $199 color-changing lightbulb set, which suggests that the only people who study engineering are John Cusack characters with seasonal affective disorder.
With these bizarre guides, each of these tech sites proved they're out of touch with the financial situations of average students. Or with understanding how humans function on the most basic level. But only one guide has left me genuinely worried about the mental stability of the people who compiled it.
CNET is convinced the Purge movies are real, since their "Back To School Guide" includes six different expensive high-tech home security devices, including three different kinds of security cameras. The parent of a perspective college student reading that would assume they were sending their kid to get a degree in doomsday prepping. The list should have included a ten-year supply of canned beans and a gun with one bullet that they'll know when to use. To further demonstrate how unhinged CNET's guide really is, at one point, they include a picture of a Google Home voice assistant device as the centerpiece on a plate of clearly overcooked chicken tenders, suggesting they don't know what anything in the picture actually is or does.
Somewhere on the CNET servers is a picture of a Samsung Galaxy dipped in honey mustard, and I will not stop hacking them until I find it.
CNET's Gwyneth Paltrow level of human understanding culminates in their used car category. It should be an easy list. Just say Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, then take a bow as you accept a standing ovation for the wonderful Internet Content you've manufactured. But then, with a straight face, they recommend students buy a used Porsche Boxster, the car of choice for people with who think Entourage is about them.
There's out of touch, and then there's so out of touch that you think a guide for students who subsist mostly on ramen should include a luxury sports car, or any of this other stuff, for that matter. "Back To School" is just a weak pretense for tech nerds to boast about how many expensive things they can rattle off before their deadline. These guides are what happen when a trust fund gets struck by lightning and comes to life.
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