What Can Replace a Hashtag?
“Open your smartphones, contractors!” piped the artificial instructor projected from the screen making up the northern end of the classroom auditorium.
Students quickly followed their teacher’s commands. This new teaching model was a marked improvement over the last. Both pretty and welcoming, the instructor was tailor made to this precise community’s tastes; it was sold in countless physical variations to fit the specifications of the town’s Department of Education Attractiveness Survey. The survey was the last remnant of national testing and was universally accepted as a superior use of federal funds than standardized comparisons between students nationwide.
In addition to doing away with national standards, the Trump Administration had streamlined curriculum to encompass only necessary skills for the modern digital workplace. The Socratic relationship between teacher and student was seen as far too elitist for a society priding itself on its populist core, so actual teachers were removed in the Swamp-Draining of 2019; those receiving the required two hours of schooling a day would now be classified as independent contractors and not students, as this recognition of insubordination was acknowledged as snobbish and rightly done away with.
“Now contractors,” began the sultry digital instructor as she peered over her glasses in a seductive manner to appeal to 94% of Americans according to the 2017 Attractiveness Survey. “I will provide three excellent article summaries. Please provide a summary of a single summary from a perspective that illuminates America’s greatness. Remember: you must do so in less than 140 characters.”
Not only had books been books slowly “phased-out” of schools due to lack of interest, education contractors were only asked to read to summaries of a text. Smart individuals were expected to appreciate the information exclusively from the provided excerpts. This new approach to reading comprehensions was celebrated by the newly created Department of Making America Great Again (DoMAGA). In an attempt to do away with wasteful and divisive research in most government agencies, the administration wisely removed most academics from their positions and hired some of the most influential Twitter users. The DoMAGA agents were instrumental in the greatest foreign policy victory seen since 1876: the sale of Alaska to our great and esteemed Russian brothers to pay off the construction of the Great Southern Wall, which had unexpectedly been more expensive than even the most intelligent DoMAGA researchers had predicted.
The three article summaries were quickly pushed out to each contractor’s device. All of the excerpts discussed the year’s presidential “Press Conference Tonight!” ratings. The public had long grown uninterested in receiving their news through conversation and debate among educated media figures and embraced a superior format, where 140 character blurbs of the day’s events scrolled over the bottom of the screen as explosions, celebrities, car chases and tits appeared above. This way, citizens could be educated on important things while also being entertained. In addition, a 140-character summary of the program would be tweeted to Americans no longer able to pay attention to a 13-minute program.
Most of the text summaries provided by the digital instructor were understandably littered with ads. Yes, some contained nearly pornographic images, but the class was ordered to avoid looking at them, as such things were offensive. Nonetheless, this method of generating revenue for education was unquestionably superior to paying taxes.
After the five minute reading period had concluded (the maximum time allocated to such tasks), contractors submitted their response. It took no more than seven minutes for the program to grade each and provide feedback to the group. Rather than waste time, the class of 59 re-tweeted advertisements from the school’s sponsors, earning three cents each time they did so.
The digital instructor returned with another button undone from her blouse, tastefully exposing more of her chest in the process. DoMAGA had learned that individuals were more likely to return for the second portion of the day’s lesson if they were rewarded for their patience. Once everyone was seated, the instructor sent out advice to contractors, accompanied with clips of America’s greatest living actor: Gary Busey.
“Contractor: J. Goldberg! Your work could not be scored. It failed to be less than 140 characters. It also contained the terms “disputation” and “infantilize,” which many readers find confusing and off-putting. You have received the lowest mark: A-.”
“Contractor: E. Erickson! You have been awarded strong marks for keeping all sentences less than 4 syllables. Your argument, that Press Conference Tonight! should include more skateboard accidents has been noted. Your mark: A+.”
“Contractor: M. Yiannpoulos! While your response contained only a picture of a chimp peeing in a toad’s mouth, it was quite entertaining and thus valuable and insightful. Your mark: A++.”
“Contractor: M. Cyrus! Your response did not use any recognizable words or phrases. However, you capitalized every letter of said terms and have 4.6 million followers. Your mark A+++.”
Having received enough education for a single day, the class cheerfully shuffled off to prepare for the trial of Rachael Maddow that would be streamed live at 7 PM on Press Conference Tonight! It was expected to garner double the ratings of Scott Baio’s Puppet Theater.