Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How I'm spending Yom Kippur

By responding to this Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker. Yes, it's been out for a while, but it mentions both Stuyvesant and the University of Chicago, talks about Jews (not 19th century French ones, but can't have everything) and so requires a WWPD analysis in the mode of explication de texte. In other words, a line-by-line treatment.

Why the need for a line-by-line examination? Any article with the following sentence simply cannot be ignored by this blog: "If Harvard had too many Asians, it wouldn't be Harvard, just as Harvard wouldn't be Harvard with too many Jews or pansies or parlor pinks or shy types or short people with big ears." Hmm, too many Asians, Jews, short people with big ears, queer types, and shy people, I think I went to that school. Twice. But "too many" is a judgment, and I happen to feel quite comfortable in those surroundings. After all, I'm short and Jewish, but am convinced that, deep down, I am either Japanese, a gay man, or both. (As for big ears and shyness, oh, homeroom 7T, how I miss you.)


Anonymous said...

The interesting thing about US college admissions is that it is an anomaly
among western countries. Nearly all other western countries base university admission only on academic results.

Matticus said...

God, that is interesting....I haven't been reading the New Yorker of late and missed it when it was first posted. A pity, I just wrote an exam on Jewish/black race relations and relationship to the mainstream (WASPs, basically...) in America yesterday. Oh well, wouldn't have changed my thesis.

Yes...the difference in the application process between, say, McGill and Chicago even is huge. I think, blunty, that the American style is worse from a social perspective; it codifies an unnecesary elite and works to create a level competition between colleges and universities that we would probably be better off without.

and who says U Chicago is culturaly or socialy unimportant? Or good state Us either, for that matter? That sticks in my craw, yes, that sticks in my craw.