Elitism - Ivies and Aggies

March 8, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

I had thought that Republicans had cornered the market on anti-elitism. Any time the Democrats let slip some hint of “elitism” – the notion that one thing might actually be better than another – the Republicans pick it up and beat them over the head with it like something from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Why not? Anti-elitism is part of the American value on equality. (See earlier posts on anti-elitism here and here .)

So you can imagine the reaction when one public figure who went to the “real” Cornell dumps on someone else who attended merely the Cornell agricultural college and majored in communications.
I would venture to say that the students at a third-tier law school are far more impressive than those at the Cornell agriculture school – the land-grant, non-Ivy League school he attended.

He went to Cornell. But he always forgets to mention that he went to the school that offers classes in milking and bovine management.

He didn't go to the Ivy League Cornell; he went to the Old MacDonald Cornell.
It’s like a graduate of the Yale locksmithing school boasting about being a Yale man.

The real Cornell, the School of Arts and Sciences (average SAT: 1,325; acceptance rate: 1 in 6 applicants), is the only Ivy League school at Cornell and the only one that grants a Bachelor of Arts degree.

He 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).
Communications is a major, along with recreation science, most commonly associated with linemen at USC.

He should thank me for revealing all this. Finally, he can stop pretending that he went to the hard-to-get-into Cornell.

Now he won't have to quickly change the subject whenever people idly remark that they didn't know it was possible to major in
communications at an Ivy League school.
You can imagine what the conservative commentators would do with a blatantly elitist statement like this.

But wait. The person who wrote it is a conservative commentator. Ann Coulter. Her target is Keith Olbermann. (This isn’t a verbatim transcript. I took out the identifying names, and added a transition here and there.)

Coulter is a graduate of the Ivy League Cornell.* But it’s not just Olbermann and other Ag School people that she looks down on. A sidebar on her website disdains people who the Times describes as “ordinary.” The word Coulter prefers is “repellent.
Even the NYT Can’t Make “Swingers" Sound Anything Other Than Repellent
She reprints the Times headline and four brief excerpts.
At a Sex Club, the Outré Meet the Ordinary
. . . hairy-chested buzzards to Spandex matrons from the suburbs.
. . . a couple in their 60s went at it nonchalantly near buffet trays of ziti.
. . . a small, round woman
. . . the unassuming features of your fellow passenger on the bus.

Apparently, not all elitism is repugnant to the Republicans, for they love Ann Coulter. I guess it’s a case of “she’s an elitist, but she’s our elitist.

* I wonder which of these two Cornell grads two nights ago was more enthusiasticor even knewabout the Big Red clinching a spot at the NCAA.)

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