Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where did Albert spend his summer vacation?

The latest American shaming ritual involves the schools and parents (but not the kids!) involved in a cheating and bribing scandal at Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and lesser colleges and universities. To me, the most astonishing aspect is not that Mom would spend $500,000 to fake up her daughters' applications, nor that a coach would accept a bogus charitable donation to fast-track a student athlete, nor even that students would submit false photos of their athletic accomplishments, but the way the FBI reacted to their cheating!

"We believe everyone charged here today had a role in fostering a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for students trying to get into these schools the right way through hard work, good grades and community service," huffed Special Agent John Bonavolonta.

Say what? Yes, I know that for some years now, rich parents have sent their kids off to build outhouses in Ghana, the better to grease their way into Phillips Exeter and Harvard. But that "community service" is now so valued that the FBI automatically adds it to intelligence and diligence?

I can see it now, the letter that Mrs. Einstein got when her son was wait-listed at MIT: "Young Albert certainly shows promise as a mathematician, but his extracurricular activities demonstrate a one-sided focus on the intellect, obliging us to put him on our list of potential students. We suggest he spend the summer in some worthwhile contribution to society, preferably in Africa or Latin America, to enhance his prospects of joining our Class of 2023 in the fall."


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