Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ivy Retardation

Drooling over that Ivy League education that you never had and can't afford to provide for your children? It may not be all it's cracked up to be. Writing for the American Scholar, William Deresiewicz, explains why in his essay, The Disadvantages of an Elite Education .
"It didn't dawn on me that there might be a few holes in my education until I was about 35. I'd just bought a house, the pipes needed fixing, and the plumber was standing in my kitchen. There he was, a short, beefy guy with a goatee and a Red Sox cap and a thick Boston accent, and I suddenly learned that I didn’t have the slightest idea what to say to someone like him. So alien was his experience to me, so unguessable his values, so mysterious his very language, that I couldn't succeed in engaging him in a few minutes of small talk before he got down to work. Fourteen years of higher education and a handful of Ivy League dees, and there I was, stiff and stupid, struck dumb by my own dumbness. "Ivy retardation," a friend of mine calls this. I could carry on conversations with people from other countries, in other languages, but I couldn't talk to the man who was standing in my own house."
Socrates wrote in The Republic,
"To be deceived about the truth of things and so to be in ignorance and error and to harbor untruth in the soul is a thing no one would consent to."
Obviously Socrates never imagined an Ivy League education, where students are not only consenting but paying extraordinary sums of money to obtain it.

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