Friday, April 5, 2019

"Boola Boola"

Capping this spontaneous trilogy before moving on to something less weighty – though I do not know what that is – a brief visit to the recent fooferah concerning elite college admissions, and the lengths parents will go to so their beautiful Sonny Boy, or Sonny Girl, gets in.

“Hey, if you can’t put a head on an athlete’s body for your own daughter, who can you put a head on an athlete’s body for?”

… says a parent who scoured toy stores at Christmas to procure a (the current equivalent of the) “Cabbage Patch Doll”, because


Here’s the thing.

Discussing “fairness” in an unfair society is slightly slowing the rollercoaster so you will not throw up but will still feel terribly queasy. 

Buckle up!  And get ready to scream.

Billionaire alumni donate money for buildings at the alma maters their offspring wish to attend and that’s okay. 

“Outright fraud”, however?  A Shande!  (Massive disgrace.) 

By the way, what’s the opposite of outright fraud?

Right fraud?

Sociologist Jerome Karabel, author of The Chosen:  The History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton” reports that those revered colleges, along with Stanford, boast 20 million dollars in endowments.  They can afford to build their own buildings.  But they take the donations anyway.  (Maybe because if they bankrolled their own buildings, their endowments would dip down to 19 billion.)

The “Moneybags” write a big check, and their children get in.  And that’s okay.  It’s better than okay.  They get their names on the building and a pedestalled bust in the lobby.

An “outright bribe”, however – that’s time in the calaboose.

Is it a waste of typing to inquire, “What exactly is the difference?”

Anyway, that’s two distinct cans of worms.  Or is it one can of worms with two labels?  What we know for a certainty is that the college admissions process, especially for the Ivy League “Name Brands”, is extremely competitive, and the rewards of acceptance – income, status, the “Fast Track to “The Good Life” – are real.

So you want your kid to get in. 

“Whatever it takes”?

Who’s going to remember?

Following my interests, I slice off a sliver of this swampland, focusing on an issue I once casually entitled,

“The Super-Rich Are Ruining Things For The Wealthy.”

Which relates, I believe, to what’s happening here.

For the most part, it is rich people engaged in these smelly shenanigans.  (Even if their kids get in, they still face lofty tuitions.)  The ”Well-To-Do” look at the admissions process and see the “Super-Rich” getting a free pass.  They buy buildings, and it’s done.

How annoying is that?... to people who are rich but not that rich.  Frustrated by this  imbalance, the merely rich devise unfair advantages of their own.  They cost less.  But with luck, they will still do the trick.

Unfortunately, they got caught.

My mind wonders if they were exposed by some irate super-rich contingent:

“Those people are doing the wrong thing the wrong way.”

Oh, no!  We can’t have that!

Here’s the thing.

Understanding that attending “Name” colleges ordain glittering futures, those  colleges will always have more applicants than available desks.

If there’s a limited acceptance, what are you supposed to do? 

“Don’t cheat, for one thing.”

Fine, but what exactly does that mean? 

Maybe they should think “out of the box.”  How about this?

Everyone lines up, they shoot off a gun, and whoever reaches the classroom first…

No.  That just rewards fast runners.  What if you’re slow, but meritorious?

You see how difficult this is?  Any standard includes built-in inequities.  You attend a better high school.  Is that an unfair “head start”?

“You have to have some standard, Earlo.”

Okay, but what is it?

After the “overdue ‘housecleaning’”,

What do they put in instead?
My apologies for “No answer.”

In a free society, I’m not certain there is one.

1 comment:

JED said...

As they say in one of your favorite shows, Law and Order, "If you didn't kill that guy, why were you hiding the gun?" When someone donates money for a new building, there is a big ceremony. Everyone knows about it. Something that benefits everyone at the school is now available with the name of the donor on it. The people in this latest bribery scandal tried to hide it. They made up lies. Only the insiders profited. If they didn't do anything wrong, why were they hiding it?

When the child of a big donor gets into the school, it's kind of like when your best friend comes to your house and brings his little brother. You're not necessarily happy about the little brother but he's with your best friend so it's OK. Everybody knows about it. He didn't sneak him into the house in a duffel bag.