Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Quickie from Boldizar

Torb sent me this Tom Friedman article, pretentiously titled The New Untouchables, wherein, basically, Tommy boy argues for getting education back on track (whatever that means) along with all of the madness of EM08.

The piece has holes in it the size of George Foreman's head.

Eeeeeyeah, I've kinda given up on whatever enthusiasms I used to have for Tommy boy. He's on a case-by-case basis with me now. More to my pat yourself point, I beat him to the punch quite a while ago.

Now, one of the things I do so enjoy about net journalism, is the immediacy. And nowhere is that more evident than in reader comments. For the most part, the letters are the equivalent of the 405 (for those outside of LA freeway familiarity, probably the most traffic impacted highway in the states) at rush hour and all of the cars are Ford Pintos and Chevy Novas. Old ones.

Of course, it's pure odds and perseverance at work finding a good letter since there were over 400 comments. And find him I did, in Alexander Boldizar.

Boldizar's letter
I went from McGill (undergrad) to Harvard (law school) and was shocked at the difference in education culture. At McGill nobody cared if you came to class, the campus was licensed so you could buy a beer between classes, the bathrooms were co-ed, and the best you could do if you repeated what the professor had spouted was an A-. To get an A (the top grade), you had to add something new, creative, different, you had to prove the professor wrong somehow.

At Harvard, ostensibly a graduate school, attendance counted (voted in by the students, shockingly enough, while I was there), men and women were on separate floors, with the women's floors having combination locks, alcohol was served only at select functions and only with ID, and if you tried to argue against the professor you were generally penalized. If you wanted an A or A+, you had to repeat not only the substance of what the professor had taught, but learn to mimic his sentence structure.

This was Harvard, not some med-rank school, but its approach to education was what after ten years in the United States I now think of as typically American: obey the rules, don't question; succeed, don't think. The old America of the maverick individual is a myth, a hollow co-opted campaign slogan.

Surprising? Not really.

Turns out Boldizar's quite the accomplished writer; you can catch him at