So this article has been making the rounds for about a month, but even un-breaking news is sometimes worth a read. Writing in the American Scholar, William Deresiewicz argues that this “elite” education we’re getting actually kind of sucks.
Roughly, he posits: the Ivies a) make it impossible for you to talk to people who aren’t like you; b) give you an inflated sense of your own self-worth; and c) narrow our definition of success to “achievement” and “leadership” rather than asking the “big questions.”
I guess you could characterize the piece as “controversial” — it probably served as something of a parting shot when Deresiewicz left Yale this year (although his earlier defense of professor-student erotic tension had already raised some eyebrows). But it’s nothing new. The complaints that ring true — the collapse of solitude, the tyranny of specialization — have been hashed over before, and this time come infused with the self-righteousness of a defector condemning his former regime.
Besides, at Columbia — where hating privilege is almost the only thing we have in common — isn’t the charge of anti-intellectualism already part of the canon?
So, read the piece, have your creeping disenchantment explained at length, and then watch Ivygate flip out because some washed-up academic is indirectly shitting on their existence.