Rumspringa for Elites

Look what Yale did for George Bush.Title: “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life”

Author: William Deresiewicz

Rank: 38

Blurb: “Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to ‘practical’ subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path.”

Review: “Although a liberal arts education, as he advocates, may provide tools for developing a ‘meaningful life’ so will reading, work experience, marriage, parenting, travel, volunteering in one’s community, and other significant life experiences. Personal traits such as curiosity, confidence, honesty, determination, and open-mindedness — if nurtured in childhood and maintained through life — are at least as important as knowledge and skills.”

Customers Also Bought: “SpongeBath Food Safe Biodegradable Antimicrobial Sponge Cleaner”

Footnote: While we’re sympathetic to the sentiment, we can’t ignore the brutal fact that college today is fucking expensive, and an Ivy League education requires a small inheritance. Rumspringa for Elites is as useful a notion as advising that everybody take a year off for a Grand Tour.

It’s also terribly limiting to insist that you get that self-discovery crap out of the way between ages 18 and 22. We used to joke that we changed majors two years after graduation, because it took some Quality Time in the Real World to realize that our chosen path was horribly wrong for us, and we needed instead to run away and join the circus.

We fully credit our (then-inexpensive) undergraduate education for planting the seeds of our Future Enlightenment, but fuck all if we could have recognized and capitalized on it at the time.

Excellent Sheep [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon Kickback Link]


Up against the children of elites when I applied to Columbia and Cornell’s law schools, it was all uphill. My U MD undergrad degree in accounting (magna, thank you very much) vs. “well, after my internship with Warren Buffett, I climbed Mt. Everest, teaching my sherpa guide English on the way. I feel that my double major [Yale, natch] in German philosophy and particle physics will make me an excellent fit.”

Should have taken a few more philosophy courses. Probably would not have helped, but I’d have enjoyed school more.

@blogenfreude: Should have taken a few more philosophy courses.

“The synthetic unity of consciousness is therefore an objective condition of all cognition, not merely something i myself need in order to cognize an object but rather something under which every intuition must stand in order to become an object for me, since in any other, and without this synthesis, the manifold would not be united in one consciousness”

Trust me, no.

See, I read “manifold” and thought “intake” … and the manifold should not be united with the consciousness, it should be united with the runners that provide the cylinders with the proper fuel/air mixture.

@blogenfreude: In an alternate universe, Woody Allen wrote a witty New Yorker piece called “Kant Buys a Mustang” in the early Seventies.

@nojo: As Jean Hagen once famously said, I Kant stannit.

@Benedick: I’m just a girl who Kant say No if I can will that Yes should become a universal law.

It actually rhymes in German.

Nietzsche? I hardly knew her!

[Heideggerian rimshot]

@blogenfreude: Heidegger blamed his cracked manifold on the Jews.

@nojo: My fav philosophy TA liked to say “Nietzsche is peachy.”

Having spent most of college teetering on the brink of alcohol poisoning and smoking anything that burned, I don’t get any of these references.

Flying off to Scotland tomorrow on holiday and will be there for the vote on whether to keep shagging the Queen secede from G.B. Will report.

@Dodgerblue: They would actually be leaving the U.K. Pack a raincoat.

(Note to self: God that sounds snotty. Even for you.)

@Benedick: Will it make a difference if they secede? Isn’t it just a symbolic separation?

@Benedick: Yeats too. And Whitman, but everyone involved has to be stoned.

@Benedick: Got a raincoat and some money with the Queen on it.

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. The BIG news is about The Dude. He abides.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: No, I think it’s a real thing. The country would become a lot more progressive and forward-looking. As it is, when one talks about parliament one is talking about the attitudes of the Home Counties defining the rest of the nation.

@Benedick: They were talking about it on NPR yesterday. Apparently it would be something of a disaster economically. The Pound tanked on the rumor, even.

Whose Queen do we have to behead to get some service around here?

Krugman, a/k/a Cassandra, predicts economic disaster (“Spain without the sunshine”):

On the upside, it would make it possible for me to snatch up some bargains (or afford anything) at the November auctions in London.

@JNOV: Meanwhile, the Dude abides in Westlaw citations!

What’s up with all the Russians in Edinburgh?

@Dodgerblue: They’re everywhere. London is overwhelmed. I suspect Scotland for the Scottish is a factor in the upcoming vote.

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