The girl with the long, black hair wakes up, drags herself out of bed and gets ready for a long day of school. She follows her morning schedule, then heads out to the bus stop. Thankfully for her, a car full of her friends drives by—two kickin’ in the front seat, two sittin’ in the back seat. So, the girl wonders to herself, despite the fact that there is only one free seat, “Which seat can I take?”
The 13-year-old Rebecca Black and her “Friday” music video have been mercilessly skewered since shooting to an ironic sort of fame a few weeks ago. But despite all of the YouTube covers and Twitter statuses, this lyric, at the very least, provokes an unintentionally important question: When you only have access to one thing, does it even matter what the other options are? Why can’t Rebecca understand that her fate has already been determined? She’s sitting bitch seat, and pretending that she has other options available to her is simply counterproductive.
We’ve seen this falsely unlimited access in our country countless times. We’re Americans, dammit, and the American Dream is available to anyone who works hard enough. You can be rich! You can be successful! The world is your canvas, now go make some cool splatter art!
For those in power, maintaining this guise of access is more important than its practical reality. We see it with politicians and government officials, who are supposedly always just a letter away (page 16, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours?” by Sam McCann). We see it in corporations like Sodexo, where employees are scared into silence although they technically have the ability to speak up (page 18, “Serving Up Silence,” by Alyssa Figueroa).
Even worse is when you don’t have access to something that privileged people assume is universal: 2.5 billion people continue to live without access to fresh, clean water, and corporations working to privatize the resource are restricting that human right even further (page 24, “Thirsty for a Solution,” by Chris Zivalich). And in the United States, which we arrogantly assume to be one of the most plugged-in, technologically advanced countries in the world, Internet is still out of reach for much of the rural population (page 22, “The Broadband Internet Desert,” by Adam Polaski).
Fortunately, some people are working toward expanding our access to vital elements. The article about health care (page 30, “The Grassroots Healthcare Movement,” by Emily Miles) discusses growing local movements, and school districts are implementing more expansive healthy eating initiatives every year (page 28, “Getting Schooled in Eating Right,” by Elizabeth Stoltz).
Perhaps the struggle—and the reason these people are encountering successful change—lies in thinking beyond the ways in which our systems currently operate. If we can create new ways of thinking that challenge the status quo and demand change, then maybe we really can gain access to what we want and what we need. Wouldn’t that be fun fun fun fun? I don’t know about you, but here at Buzzsaw, we we we so excited about the possibilities.
– The Editors <3
See the online archive of all the articles from this issue here.
See the printed version of the Access issue here.