James Franco, Stay Out of Our Ivies!

Mother Jones‘s blog publishes a denunciation of James Franco’s recent accession into the Ivy League — a move they view as dillentantism. It’d be a lot easier to accept Franco’s interest in academics, they argue, if he hadn’t just revealed himself as a hack in his Esquire short story. Says Mother Jones:

I say this with sympathy—it is a typical MFA workshop Frankenstein, a musing on youth, friendship, and death, replete with car crashes, sexual ambiguity, and one-off similes (“the shadows make it shadow-color”; “the black gaping gap”). It’s one of those pieces that you read aloud in class, then insist to your peers at the end that “It’s not autobiographical.”

Ouch! Um, we actually agree. The story is a piece of hackwork (“I love driving down an empty dark freeway, lit up intermittently by the lights at the side of the road, and when I see the lights, I think of all the little worlds out there, all the little animals living in their habitats out there…”). But what about Franco’s desire to just improve his miiiind, man?

The writer argues, this is all vanity! “You are not a frigging aspiring English professor or cultural critic.” Well, shrug, that’s exactly what he is. (Remember when he was in movies?)  But he’s not a good one! Don’t blame the poor talentless writer/actor who just wants (for whatever reason) to accumulate degrees. Maybe Yale is to blame — they let him in, after all.

Where’s the slippery slope stop? How long before you endow a Coca Cola Distinguished Professorship of Advertising Semiotics? Before it’s the Nokia Yale Journal of Criticism?

  • uh…

    Yale is about to get a Pepsi endowed graduate position for research in nutrition and obesity… haven’t you heard?

  • uh…

    Yale is about to get a Pepsi endowed graduate position for research in nutrition and obesity… haven’t you heard?

  • uh…

    Yale is about to get a Pepsi endowed graduate position for research in nutrition and obesity… haven’t you heard?

  • wha..?

    ^^is this true? Wouldn’t the student then just prove Pepsi lacks nutrients?

  • wha..?

    ^^is this true? Wouldn’t the student then just prove Pepsi lacks nutrients?

  • wha..?

    ^^is this true? Wouldn’t the student then just prove Pepsi lacks nutrients?

  • Geez…

    It’s a bit harsh to judge Franco’s pursuit like this. He wants the best education (or the legitimacy of) such for himself and has the means to afford it; doesn’t that also describe at least 1/4 of every ivyer out there?

    I mean compared to the reality show generation, can we fault the guy for instead pursuing college degrees?

    YES, his first story is less than impressive. As a fiction major at Cu I’d rank it at about “intermediate workshop” level (2nd out of 4 possible levels for the record).

    But really, isn’t the year’s best selling author also one of the most abysmal contemporary writers we’ve ever seen? I mean on a purely technical level the Twilight series is just abysmal fiction.

    Be pissed at the publishers; not the guy who is striving for an education.

  • Geez…

    It’s a bit harsh to judge Franco’s pursuit like this. He wants the best education (or the legitimacy of) such for himself and has the means to afford it; doesn’t that also describe at least 1/4 of every ivyer out there?

    I mean compared to the reality show generation, can we fault the guy for instead pursuing college degrees?

    YES, his first story is less than impressive. As a fiction major at Cu I’d rank it at about “intermediate workshop” level (2nd out of 4 possible levels for the record).

    But really, isn’t the year’s best selling author also one of the most abysmal contemporary writers we’ve ever seen? I mean on a purely technical level the Twilight series is just abysmal fiction.

    Be pissed at the publishers; not the guy who is striving for an education.

  • Geez…

    It’s a bit harsh to judge Franco’s pursuit like this. He wants the best education (or the legitimacy of) such for himself and has the means to afford it; doesn’t that also describe at least 1/4 of every ivyer out there?

    I mean compared to the reality show generation, can we fault the guy for instead pursuing college degrees?

    YES, his first story is less than impressive. As a fiction major at Cu I’d rank it at about “intermediate workshop” level (2nd out of 4 possible levels for the record).

    But really, isn’t the year’s best selling author also one of the most abysmal contemporary writers we’ve ever seen? I mean on a purely technical level the Twilight series is just abysmal fiction.

    Be pissed at the publishers; not the guy who is striving for an education.

  • @Geez…

    You don’t pay for a graduate education at a school like Yale. Yale pays you to the tune of at least $150,000 over 5 years. They do this for two reasons: (1) you will teach for 2 years, meaning that they don’t have to hire an actual Ph.D.; (2) you will go into academia and become a decent scholar, thereby improving Yale’s reputation. Will Franco put his career on hold to TA a freshman English class for two years? Does he plan on becoming Professor Franco after graduation? My guess is no. So, this is basically a shameless publicity stunt.

  • @Geez…

    You don’t pay for a graduate education at a school like Yale. Yale pays you to the tune of at least $150,000 over 5 years. They do this for two reasons: (1) you will teach for 2 years, meaning that they don’t have to hire an actual Ph.D.; (2) you will go into academia and become a decent scholar, thereby improving Yale’s reputation. Will Franco put his career on hold to TA a freshman English class for two years? Does he plan on becoming Professor Franco after graduation? My guess is no. So, this is basically a shameless publicity stunt.

  • @Geez…

    You don’t pay for a graduate education at a school like Yale. Yale pays you to the tune of at least $150,000 over 5 years. They do this for two reasons: (1) you will teach for 2 years, meaning that they don’t have to hire an actual Ph.D.; (2) you will go into academia and become a decent scholar, thereby improving Yale’s reputation. Will Franco put his career on hold to TA a freshman English class for two years? Does he plan on becoming Professor Franco after graduation? My guess is no. So, this is basically a shameless publicity stunt.

  • voice of dissent says it’s dec

    you’re assessing his work all wrong. An ivy leaguer clearly sees this as hackneyed writing. But for an attractive person he’s in the top 1% of his Hollywood rivals. Tom Cruise thinks he’s a nerd.

  • voice of dissent says it’s dec

    you’re assessing his work all wrong. An ivy leaguer clearly sees this as hackneyed writing. But for an attractive person he’s in the top 1% of his Hollywood rivals. Tom Cruise thinks he’s a nerd.

  • voice of dissent says it’s decent

    you’re assessing his work all wrong. An ivy leaguer clearly sees this as hackneyed writing. But for an attractive person he’s in the top 1% of his Hollywood rivals. Tom Cruise thinks he’s a nerd.

  • Princeton ’10

    You might want to run a quick spell-check before you start criticizing English Ph.D. candidates, even if they are shameless self-promoters – unless the OED has been particularly sneaky this week, I think you meant to say “dilettantism.”

  • Princeton ’10

    You might want to run a quick spell-check before you start criticizing English Ph.D. candidates, even if they are shameless self-promoters – unless the OED has been particularly sneaky this week, I think you meant to say “dilettantism.”

  • Princeton ’10

    You might want to run a quick spell-check before you start criticizing English Ph.D. candidates, even if they are shameless self-promoters – unless the OED has been particularly sneaky this week, I think you meant to say “dilettantism.”

  • @Princeton ’10

    Thanks for the dill-holeism.

  • @Princeton ’10

    Thanks for the dill-holeism.

  • @Princeton ’10

    Thanks for the dill-holeism.