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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Ivy League

"Hugh! I was about to comment on precisely that phrase. "An Ivy League-educated doctor" is worth knowing because it tells us (again) that those who believe in the divinity of the Koran (and the protection and license it gives the believer) is not restricted to the socially marginal.

It is interesting that you objected to the phrase, as if you were saying, "Why are we giving credence to an Al Qaeda sympathizers, why are we suggesting that Al Qaeda-ism has a respectable pedigree?" In a way, your objection is frightening."-- from a reader

You misunderstood my laconic point. It had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or a thousand other similar groups and groupuscules. It had to do with the worshipful phrase "Ivy-League-educated."
This kind of thing promotes the silly and hollow hierarchies that have now become the stuff of U.S. News and World Report legend (the "Best" Colleges, the "Best" Graduate Schools, the "Best" of this and that), but the legend, alas, is devoutly believed in by many, and that is one reason that the high school semi-farce becomes so worrisome, what with all that planning, and scheming, and the summer "visiting colleges" ("Dick is going to take Kimberley to visit colleges in California while I stay home with Josh"), and the SSATs, and the SATs, and how many Advanced-Placement Tests did you take, and what were your scores, and what are your reach schools, and what are your safeties, and do they force Early-Admission on you or can you wait and so on and so hysterically and maddeningly forth.

It's all part of marketing. It's all part of getting people -- students and parents -- to be so grateful for getting in to this or that place, that they will ignore the outrageous cost of attendance, ignore the crappiness of so many of the course and so many of the faculty members, as they proudly tell their friends about the college their child attends, and even put a sticker on the car, to proclaim urbi et orbi this marvelous event.

Meanwhile, somewhere, and somehow, a few people do still manage to give themselves, sometimes with a little help from some inspired faculty members, a real education.

That was what my comment was about.

That, and nothing else.

Posted on 01/31/2007 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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