The Only College Confidential Post You Should Ever Read

Subject line: “Athlete Going to Columbia–Is Columbia Fun and Preppy!” Behold:

Hi

I am pretty sure that I am going to Columbia for crew next year, and I am very excited to be in NYC, but I come from a super traditional and preppy boarding school, and I actually love that lifestyle, and don’t want to lose that in college. I get that Columbia is a cultural melting pot filled with incredibly smart people from all over the world, and I totally appreciate that, and that is one of the reasons I like Columbia, so I can open my horizons.

BUT… I have grown up in a preppy environment my whole life, and some of you might say that I am an elitist, but I love the tradition, the lifestyle, the community, the clothing, and the education. I want to make sure that I am still getting part of that experience that I love and have grown up around.

I don’t want to be the only person dressed in hunter rainboots and a barbour wanting to go to a kegger party, and I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of intellectuals chain smoking cigarettes on the Lower steps 24/7. This is a little silly, but I also want to make sure that there are boys I can date here that share at least some of the things that are important to me…

thanks!

To the author, username abullock: they’re called the Low Steps. And—please—pick another school.

George W. Bush, Stop Hatin’ on the Ivy League

First, George H.W. Bush, a Yale grad, derides Dukakis for going to “elitist” Harvard in the 1988 presidential election

Now, George W. Bush, the all-famous “decider,” is channeling, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and every other tea-party/Fox News pundit in directing unnecessary hatred toward the Ivy League.  

In his new memoir, W blames the Washington Elite for blocking Harriet Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court because they could not accept her lack of Ivy League education.  

According to Bush, these “elites” couldn’t accept that she was 1) not from Harvard/Yale, and 2) not even from the Ivy League. According to Bush, Miers’ education from SMU, or “Southern Millionaires’ University,” isn’t good enough for DC eggheads. 

However, liberals were not Bush’s only target. Good ol’ Dubya points to Ann Coulter, even though she hates her “Plastic Ivy,” as part of this “Washington elite.”

Bush writes in his memoir:

It seemed to me that there was another argument against Harriet, one that went largely unspoken: How could I name someone who did not run in elite legal circles? Harriet had not gone to an Ivy League law school. Her personal style compounded the doubts. She is not glib. She is not fancy. She thinks hard before she speaks – a trait so rare in Washington that it is mistaken for intellectual slowness. As one conservative critic (Coulter) condescendingly put it, ‘However nice, helpful, prompt and tidy she is, Harriet Miers isn’t qualified to play a Supreme Court justice on The West Wing, let alone to be a real one.

Wait… Hold on a second! Coulter watched the West Wing?! How can she write a book entitled “Godless: The Church of Liberalism” after knowing about the Bible-quotin’ President Josiah Bartlet?

Also, Bush – you remember that you went to Yale and then Harvard Business School? Or did you forget that along with the Constitution? You owned a baseball team! Your father was the vice-president and your grandfather a senator. W, you are a case study of the Washington elite.

Let’s remind ourselves that the Ivy League is:

A)    An athletic division

B)    A series of academically-rigorous colleges

However, the Ivy League is not an elitist liberal conspiracy bent on destroying America and “non-fancy” outsiders. These “elitist” institutions reach out to students of all backgrounds to help further intellectual thought in this country.

In addition, SMU’s yearly tuition is $53,365. One would think this is fairly comparable to other Ivy League schools’ tuition.

The Ivy League, SMU, and colleges across the country are foremost institutions of “higher-learning,” and we should appreciate the opportunity to get a college degree. Many in past generations and today don’t get the chance.  SMU is a fine school, and most of these Dallas students have damn expensive cars while at it. It is a cheap shot to use Mier’s lack of Ivy League education as an excuse for her evident incompetence.

Bush, please don’t use the Ivy League, a group to which you clearly belong, as cannon fodder to shape your presidential legacy.  

Supreme Court ZOMG Roundup or Enter the Kaganator or Why Ivy Grads Scare People

So, turns out that a whole lot of serious people are seriously up in arms about the fact that Elena Kagan, if confirmed, will render the nation’s High Court 100% Ivy Grads. I mean, after all, why on earth would you expect a job whose prerequisites include academic-erudition-par-excellence, writing hundred-page abstract legal analyses, and knowing everything about law, ever, to be filled by graduates of the nation’s top law schools and undergrad colleges?? No way! In fact, the punditocracy is clamoring for more (wait, wasn’t it less last time around?) diversity, and less (wait wait, wasn’t it more?) academic expertise. Makes sense to us!

Here’s some of the best commentary we’ve seen thus far.

With the award for most heavy-handed simile, here’s The Washington Post:

Ivy has twirled itself around the marble columns of the Supreme Court like some smarty-pants weed.

Objective journalism, ho! But the WaPoets aren’t done yet:

Lady Justice: Your toga is stained crimson and littered with skulls and bones!

Never mind the fact that none of the Justices are Bonesmen… It sure sounds grandiloquent and faux-populist! Here’s another choice insight, quoted from a UChicago Prof:

We have to get nine vestal virgins from Harvard or Yale.

Taken out of context? Delightfully pervy. Plus, virgins from Harvard and Yale? Shouldn’t be too difficult to find.

Upping the douche-quotient, here’s Jerome Karabel, who wrote a book about how Ivy admissions used to be really unfair and why Santa Claus may not be real:

Harvard and Yale are, by any standard, great educational institutions, but it is not one of their strengths to instill in their students a sense of humility.

To which we respond: “Silence, impertinent fool!” (before twirling our mustaches, focusing our monocles, and releasing the hounds.)

Which, of course, brings us to our favorite and most sensible anti-Elena/Ivy-League argument: Those darned eggheads are smart… too smart. But, also… not smart enough to understand the trials and tribulations of us regular folk. (Wait, wasn’t that the problem with Sotomayor? Her rich life experiences and empathy? Okay, never mind…)

Throwing down the elitism gauntlet, here’s Kathleen Parker, also from the WaPo:

A New York City girl who attended a prep school, Ivy League colleges and law school — who once barred military recruiters from Harvard’s recruitment office and was an adviser to Goldman Sachs — can’t be characterized as anything close to mainstream America.

And Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas:

Ms. Kagan has spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square, Hyde Park, and the D.C. Beltway. These are not places where one learns how ordinary people live.

Yeah, because we definitely want “mainstream America” and “ordinary people” adjudicating on complex issues of Constitutional interpretation.

Upping the ante, here’s David Brooks, dissing Kagan, and by extension, all of us Ivy Leaguers (whom he terms “Organization Kids”) for being cold, calculating careerists:

There’s about to be a backlash against the Ivy League lock on the court. I have to confess my first impression of Kagan is a lot like my first impression of many Organization Kids. She seems to be smart, impressive and honest — and in her willingness to suppress so much of her mind for the sake of her career, kind of disturbing.

Makes a lot of sense, especially from the mouth of a columnist who has marched in lockstep to the Left ever since Obama’s inauguration.

Finally, according to Bay Buchanan’s, the only difference between Elena Kagan and airhead Bush-nominee Harriet Miers is (drumroll, please):

Ivy League!

So, the difference between a qualified, educated person and an unqualified, uneducated person is… a good education. Buchanan’s has to be an Ivy Grad with those powers of deduction.

It’s always funny how these public putdowns seem to orbit in similar constellations: “Ivy League elitist,” “cold and unapproachable,” “out-of-touch,”
“under-qualified,” “over-intellectual.” Just mix and match and slap them on your political enemy of choice (Clinton, Obama, Kagan) and watch the populist resentment rise! But, really, doesn’t this all just boil down to America’s knee-jerk ambivalence to us Ivy Leaguers in general: yeah, they’re smart, but, um, no smarter than the rest of us! Anti-intellectualism–like sex on TV–sells; haters gon’ hate.

I wonder if the Court serves arugula.

Penn Sophomore Shows Off Ridiculous/Gaudy Estate on Teen Cribs

Tucker, Penn ’12, is better than you. His pool house has two floors; he has a 19th-century country-house in the middle of DC; he has great polo shirts; and he also has the audacity to show it all off on MTV’s Teen Cribs. Now, despite the ‘let-them-eat-cake’ unintentional elitism–and the surprising tackiness of the house itself–the Johns family seems nice… almost, too nice. One brother describes his parents as “the-bomb-dot-com”; Tucker himself says he spends most of his free-time chilling with his “awesome family.” (The parents are, of course, venture capitalists.)

Through some stilted line-deliveries and awkward tracking shots, we learn that Tucker is

20 years old, and a big fan of anything to do with pop culture.

The attire is preppy par excellence (note the many St. Albans sweaters), and the family is actually sort of adorable, if monarchical:

We have this big island in the middle of the kitchen, so when my Mom’s cooking you’ll find us around it, talking and laughing.

Cut to San Pellegrino and Evian in the transparent fridge (plus super-cool MTV transition music).

Our favorite quote is Tucker’s, wandering the outside grounds:

It’s kind of unusual to have a trampoline in this area. Not a lot of people have big yards.

Cue sister Gussie, riding up on a Vespa (Tucker: “Oh look, there’s Gussie!”), before giving us a tour of their family’s private lacrosse field. This proves a mere lead-in to the family’s luxury two-story pool-house (a hell of a lot bigger than my apartment) where “it kind of feels like you’re not in the city anymore.”

Well, they finally figured out how to make the cold materialism, fetishized elitism and tacit arrogance of Cribs even more skin-crawling: just add a splash of the Ivy League.

Full video here. Skip to 14:40 for the Tucker segment.

Californians Just Don’t Get the Ivy League

0310_james_franco_sleepingIn the new “Thinking Big” blog on The Atlantic Online, blog writer Conor Friedersdorf wrote a post about his thoughts on New York and the East Coast–having grown up in California before moving east for graduate school. Before relocating to New York, most of the East Coast existed only as an idea to Friedersdorf, with one major eastern presence being more theoretical than even peppermint unicorns.

My own final abstraction was the Ivy League, a group of institutions I knew nothing about for most of my life save the fact that Harvard and Yale were among them. As late as age 26, when I began looking at Columbia University for graduate school, I never thought of it as being in the Ivy League, nor did I put Brown, Princeton or the University of Pennsylvania in those categories. I’d scarcely heard of Cornell or Dartmouth until I moved to the East Coast.

Before all you Ivy League alums start writing hate mail to Conor Friedersdorf–and in the case of Princeton grads, order an air strike on his house for grouping your alma mater with “the other five”–be aware that it is not a singular notion. In fact, there’s an entire state that doesn’t grasp the concept of obsessing over elitism. Read the rest of this entry »

Penn Alum Tells the Truth about New York, His Feelings for Asians Too

Penn grad DJ Lubel ’05 popped back into the spotlight this weekend with his video about the Ivy League swill in Murray Hill. The video references to “Jew geography” and Lehman Bros emeriti in that elevated piece of Manhattan in the 30s on the East Side. Cool, but it’s worth watching for the dood-bros mooning the camera in front of the stretch Hummer at Joshua Tree.

The song’s audio has actually been floating around the Internet since last year or so. NYMag nailed it when they summed up the point:

We all go to temple but we worship the dough
We’ve got more Japs than all of Tokyo
Pour me a Grey Goose and Red Bull
As I take this Adderal pill
Tonight I’m blacking out up on Murray Hill

Watch Lubel sing about (not) having sex with Asians and how much he loves Rick Moranis after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Ivy League Snob-Off, Part III:
Ann Coulter Will Talk To Liberals (If They Graduated from Arts & Sciences)

bill-maher-steve-irwinThe recent Cornell major-legitimacy dustup between Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann lit more than a few contempt-fueled fires.  To recap, Coulter calls herself an Ivy Leaguer because she’s a Cornell alum, but Olbermann is not because he’s a Cornell alum.  Olbermann responds on “Countdown” by stating that he is indeed an Ivy Leaguer because he’s a Cornell alum and how dare you?  So obviously, somebody’s not getting invited to somebody’s St. Patty’s Day Party.

But what are Ms. Coulter’s feelings about that other arch-liberal, smug Cornellian television host, Bill Maher?  Well, Maher graduated from Arts & Sciences, so he’s an Ivy Leaguer by her standards.  The two of them yesterday concluded a three-day speaking/debate tour in three cities and The New York Times reported that they may even be “tight.”

In a predebate telephone interview, Mr. Maher said that he and Ms. Coulter were good friends — “Not dating, as people try to say on the Internet, but friends” — and that he respected her resolve. “Unlike so many people in America, she was not afraid to get booed,” Mr. Maher said.

Ms. Coulter likewise said that she respected Mr. Maher’s bipartisan approach to “Politically Incorrect.” “Unlike most snoozefest political shows, Bill booked guests who didn’t all agree with one another[.]”

If nothing else comes out of this, the Maher-Coulter-Olbermann holds the slot the most polarizing, ear-splitting, and self-congratulatory Ivy love triangle so far this month. Now for the Brown alums to chance to take the spotlight. C’mon Jim Axelrod. You know you want to say something regretable.

The Great Ivy League Snob Off, Part II:
Keith Olbermann Is Also Embarrassing.

picture-5Ann Coulter’s spat with Keith Olbermann over Cornell bragging rights began the way all great battles of the mind do — Does this Rush Limbaugh make the GOP look fat? — and ends the way our comment boards do, a degenerative slinging of acceptance rates and SAT scores eventually boiling down to one guy pointing at his diploma and screaming about how smart he is.

Welcome back to the Great Ivy League Snob Off. Let’s meet the contestants:

In the first corner: Cornell grad and MSNBC gravitas junkie Keith Olbermann, who says conserva-pundit Rush Limbaugh is a know-nothing plebe who couldn’t tell the Constitution from his left foot. He’s so dumb, he flunked ballroom dance! (True story. Check his Wikipedia.)

In the second corner: Cornell grad and journeyman blowhard Ann Coulter, who jumps to Limbaugh’s defense with an astonishingly baffling 900-word diatribe about how Olbermann is not the “scary smart” messiah his fans think he is, but an Ivy League fraud:

Keith didn’t go to the Ivy League Cornell; he went to the Old MacDonald Cornell. … Keith went to an affiliated state college at Cornell, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (average SAT: about that of pulling guards at the University of South Carolina; acceptance rate: 1 of every 1 applicants).

Touché, Coulter. You hit us East Coast intelligentsia right where it hurts– the threat of farm dirt, and athletes! This is even worse than the time we realized Obama went to some weensy school in LA* before transferring to Columbia. Her opponent reeling, the skeletor in the right wing’s closet delivers a bony little knock-out punch:

Olbermann’s incessant lying about having an “Ivy League education” when he went to the non-Ivy League ag school at Cornell would be like a graduate of the Yale locksmithing school boasting about being a “Yale man.”

A metaphor involving blue collar labor? Low blow.

But wait! Olbermann’s still got some fight in him. After the jump: The response that may require us to banish Keither Olbermann from the Ivy League forever.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Ivy League Snob-Off, Part I:
Ann Coulter Hates Cornell, Cornellian Hates Poor People

Yesterday Ann Coulter directed her incendiary commentary towards Cornell, the “plastic Ivy.” By basically trashing their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for NOT being an Ivy League school, Coulter compares Keith Olbermann’s referring to his “Ivy League education” to many forms of deceit. The best of it:

Olbermann’s incessant lying about having an “Ivy League education” when he went to the non-Ivy League ag school at Cornell would be like a graduate of the Yale locksmithing school boasting about being a “Yale man.”

As Coulter further muddles her own understanding of the Ivy League—originally and still just a sports conference—she raps about how alums of the “Ivy League Cornell” go on to become Supreme Court justices and stuff while the Ag School grads are basically all hicks and hockey players. So does this mean that Cornell is full of imposters playing Ivy League sports but who will eventually fail in becoming the next Paul Wolfowitz?

Not if the author of the Daily Sun‘s Shameless Commerce has anything to do with it. Read all about it after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »