30.5.08

THE WORLD WE LIVE IN. Two articles from The Onion detail the positional arms race. In one, Closing Of Homeless Shelter Leaves College-Application-Padding Students With Nowhere To Turn, the losers are not the relatively few homeless people in the neighborhood.

The shelter, long a place of refuge for those in need of extracurricular credit, was shut down Monday due to statewide budget cutbacks and a drop-off in private donations. According to sources, the news has devastated countless high school seniors who had come to depend on the outreach center in order to impress prospective colleges.

"Where am I supposed to go now?" said 17-year-old Jeremy Krassner, one of many B-plus students left to wonder about his future. "Princeton only takes the very best candidates, and even schools like Columbia check for community-service experience."

Added Krassner, "I'll never make it."

Krassner is not alone. Over the years, the temporary housing facility has turned a number of academic lives around and provided many young men and women with a second chance at graduating with honors.

In addition, the homeless shelter has reportedly supplied college applicants with a safe, inviting place to improve their transcripts, allowing them to escape the dangers of having to clean up inner-city neighborhoods or commit to other risky volunteer activities.

In another,Women Increasingly Choosing Dead-End Careers Over Dead-End Relationships, there's a marvelous send-up of higher education.

According to a report published Monday in The Journal Of Gender Studies, many American women are bucking centuries of traditional gender roles by placing stunted, emotionally unfulfilling relationships on hold in order to pursue mind-numbing careers devoid of any upward mobility.

The study, which surveyed a cross-section of 477 female recent college graduates, found that young women were 23 percent more likely than any previous generation to seek dissatisfaction in the professional world rather than in empty romantic partnerships. Dr. Gillian Detweiller, a professor of women's studies at the University of Maryland and coauthor of the report, said that the data suggests a cultural sea change in how women choose to experience lifelong disappointment.

"Avoiding dying alone at all costs is no longer the primary goal for many of today's women," Detweiller said. "Every year, millions of educated females discover that they can be just as underappreciated and ignored in the workplace as they can while doting on loutish and inattentive boyfriends."

Communism was doomed when its inmates began laughing at it, long before President Reagan correctly applied the "evil empire" tag to it. I look forward to a similar dynamic in the excessively earnest corners of higher education.

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