Friday, August 05, 2005

I Am Reading A Book

Every once in a great while, I'll go ahead and absorb a story by reading hundreds of pages of text. Not Harry Potter stories, though; unlike apparently every other person in the entire world, I reserve my Harry Potter experiences for the cinema, in order to conserve my imagination. This means that I read one less book every two years at fifteen minutes past midnight, but on the upside, I don't spend the credits of every Harry Potter movie complaining about how they left out that one flashback that was so important.

Anyway, today I'm reading another chunk of Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons, which I've been working on sporadically since Christmas, and there's a funny bit I felt moved to excerpt. Here, a university president worries about a plagiarism charge against a member of the college basketball team, which threatens to create a scandal:

For a start, it would knock Dupont from second, behind Princeton, in the U.S. News & World Report rankings down to ... God knew where. U.S. News & World Report--what a stupid joke! Here is this third-rate news weekly, aimed at businessmen who don't like to read, trying desperately to move up in the race but forever swallowing the dust of Time and Newsweek, and some character dreams up a circulation gimmick: Let's rank the colleges. Let's stir up a fuss. Pretty soon all of American higher education is jumping through hoops to meet the standards of the marketing department of a miserable, lowbrow magazine out of Washington, D.C.! Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Dupont--all jumped through the hoop at the crack of the U.S. News whip!

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