Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Diploma Factory Blues

A young scribe with better credentials beat me to the wire on an expose of lax college grading standards. I had that one on the back burner for a couple years, but things got in the way. You know how it goes.

Said piece appears in the latest Atlantic Monthly on p. 95 (frequent readers of this page might think I subscribe to the A.M., but it's really the only thing kicking around the office on a slow day). The article targets no less a vaunted institution than Harvard University.

Now, I'm always sure visitors to our home pass my wall of diplomas with the gold leif parchment from good ol' MIDWEST U displayed prominently. I feel this gives an appearance of intellectual effort I would like people associating with my name.

But to pop the head off this _ to say it was all EASY, a breeze _ would cause terrible damage. Right? Well, not necessarily. In light of this article, it appears every college degree earned by our generation is a bit of a joke. Even a Harvard B.A.

Take out that piece of paper and look at it. In the bright reflection of its plastic sheath you might see yourself and remember that paper in 200-level poetry class, "Whitman's Transcendentalism Echoed in Punk" OR "Gender Confusion and Cosmo Magazine." Tracts inspired not so much by research, but by the contents of a dorm room. I wrote my share of those.

That paper doesn't shine the same now, does it? I've given away my secret, but I feel a weight of dishonesty has been lifted. If you visit our apartment in a few months, you might see a new diploma on my wall _ from Clark's Barber College.

Finally, an honest job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi mark
dorothy here
i didn't read this latest one but read am's last my-ivy-edu-was-a-sham bit: Lost in the Meritocracy?

nothing too earth shattering. sure, bs artists graduate from colleges all the time, even from fancy universities.

in fact, all the better, because then they go on to excel at fancy jobs that take no itellect nor work ethic, but demand a lot of fabrication and favors. (i've actually been asked for my notes on meetings.)

lest we forget, george bush did graduate from yale, and many of the people who are actually financing expensive, exclusive schools were spawned from rich parents and a lifestyle that rarely demanded any elbow grease.