Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


No, not mine, though my name was listed among those graduating form the department. If all goes well, then I will this summer. No, I'm thinking of commencement speeches, most of which are actually pretty banal.

The one P.J. O'Rourke would give for Rutgers isn't, however:

What intrigues me is that there are 31.1 million Americans between 18 and 24, and 21.8 million of you—70 percent—are going to college. It is not possible that 70 percent of you are among the 50 percent of you who are above-average in intelligence....
What constitutes a “college education”?
You need to study history, so that it doesn’t come around again and, per Santayana, bite you in the Ukraine. You’re thinking, “Santayana—historically great guitar player.”
You need philosophy, not the modern bull session kind but the Socratic method of “What the hell am I thinking?” And what the hell were you thinking, majoring in History of Film? At least you got to see So-crates in action in Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure.
You need literature and the arts so you can read something longer than a Beyoncé tweet and throw Bartok into the iPod mix and hear what Jay Z is up against experimenting with music.
A general understanding of science is necessary. You don’t have to learn how to cure cancer. You just have to learn that the guy my age with what’s left of his hair tied in a ponytail who works at the organic locavore shop and talks about the healing properties of crystals and magnetic fields is crazy.
The same goes for mathematics and economics. You should be able to do the math—if you’re still repaying your student loans when you’re 50, college education probably wasn’t a good investment....
Eight or so subjects to get a college education. Think you could find 100 wonderful experts in each of these, 800 professors, for $1.4 billion? That’s $1.75 million a year apiece. There would be applicants. You could hold classes in the Moose Lodge or at the Y. Classes would be large. So was the agora where Socrates taught. But there’s no free WiFi in the Moose Lodge.  And this kind of college education sounds like work.  Which is something you’ll be looking hard for, starting tomorrow.
Go read the whole thing.

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