27 April 2010

We Are Plagued By A Students


So says P.J. O'Rourke. Always funny, always irreverent, and much of the time right, my favorite ex-hippie takes it to *academia in his latest piece. Some choice excerpts:

"At the lectern is a twerp of a grad student—the prototypical A student—insecure, overbearing, full of himself and contempt for his students."

And . . .

"America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We’re still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: 'A students work for B students.' Or, as a businessman friend of mine put it, 'B students work for C students—A students teach.'"

And . . .

"Why are A students so hateful? I’m sure up at Harvard, over at the New York Times, and inside the White House they think we just envy their smarts. Maybe we are resentful clods gawking with bitter incomprehension at the intellectual magnificence of our betters. If so, why are our betters spending so much time nervously insisting that they’re smarter than Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement?"

And . . . 

"The smart set stayed in fashionable Europe, where everything was nice and neat and people were clever about looking after their own interests and didn’t need to come to America. The Mayflower was full of C students. Their idea was that, given freedom, responsibility, rule of law and some elbow room, the average, the middling, and the mediocre could create the richest, most powerful country ever."

You can read the rest of O'Rourke's commentary here.

*To my academic readers - don't take this personally (unless it applies), as I know there are exceptions to what's being said here. However, in general, I would have to agree.

2 comments:

Brooks D. Simpson said...

Robert E. Lee was the equivalent of an A student at West Point, while Ulysses S. Grant was the equivalent of a B-/C+ student.

Guess you're right. :)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Touché professor, though I did say there were exceptions. ;o)