Friday, July 22, 2011

RIP, Borders


Deep Thoughts: The Hole in the Ozone Layer Edition

Sorry, sorry. I know that i have been out of blogging commission for a while, but in my defense, I have also been, y'know, out of the country and stuff like that. I want to blog about Amsterdam and life and everything, but for now, I will leave you with some random thoughts and get back to schoolwork even though I am on summer vacation and in Washington, D.C., and just took the red eye and probably should take a nap. Academic research waits for no one. Or something.

  • I know that I lived in D.C. for three summers so it should not come as a surprise to me that it's a million degrees and humid here, but it's disgusting here. I have to say, I do not love L.A., but knowing that a climate like L.A.'s exists, how do people defend living in this miserableness?
  • Things that are weird for people to talk about with random strangers on a plane: how much their children suck.
  • I am pretty much doing my part to cause global warming. In the past month or so, I have driven from L.A. to San Diego and back four times, flown to Amsterdam and back, and have now flown from L.A. to D.C. Yeah, that hole in the ozone layer is getting bigger thanks to my huge carbon footprint.
  • And speaking of feet, I may have brought eight pairs of shoes with me for a two and a half week trip. That seems reasonable, right? 

Friday, July 01, 2011

On Privilege, Ivory Towers, and College

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. 
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
—The Great Gatsby 

There was an editorial in the Times this week that pretty much argues that everyone should go to college, which is something I definitely believe. The argument, though, seems to be mostly economic, based on the fact that college graduates make more money, which is definitely not my reason for believing in the importance of college. I think college is important because of the diversity of ideas and opinions to which it exposes students. College is a unique time in which one has few responsibilities and has the time to come to his or her own beliefs and opinions about life and the way one wants to live. This is a pretty big deal.

I was surprised by the editorial's claim that the "case against college is an elitist one — for me and not for thee." It's true that the argument is elitist in that it is exclusionary, but I think those who argue that not everyone should go to college are arguing that college isn't really that important and that people who go to college don't deserve an elite tag and have garnered no worthwhile benefit from that education. Which seems to be a pretty anti-elitist argument to me

When I make the pro-college-for-everyone argument, I am told that I am an elitist and am in an ivory tower, which is true (also, one summer, I lived in a dorm called Ivory Towers). I have had an incredibly privileged education, and I recognize that and am immeasurably grateful for the opportunities I have had. 

But the consequence is that I fail to understand the costs of education. Call me an elitist, but I don't think you can put a price on the kind of intellectual growth that a college education provides, even while recognizing (with sadness) that not everyone can afford a $200,000 price tag.