Enough about me: What do you think about me?
There’s an unbelievable ad for Columbia’s School of General Studies in the latest New Yorker magazine. It starts with the header: “I had a hunch there was more to it.”
Then, there’s a note written on lined paper:
“My life has been one of proud accomplishments — from my success as a business owner on Wall Street to the Marathons I’ve run and my travels around the world. Now, my focus is on my education and learning to interpret the literary classics through a whole new lens.
At Columbia University School of General Studies, I take the same courses with the same world renowned professors as all the other undergrad students …” and it goes on to say how great the program is. It ends with this:
“I knew there was more to my story. Now I know my hunch was right. -Steve.”
Does anyone notice anything about Steve?
Steve is a sociopath. He’s completely self involved. He’s solipsistic to the point of toxicity. How can Columbia, the school that hosts Jeff Sachs, the most prominent advocate for the poor in the world and one of the biggest thinkers in terms of how to help others, and which hosts the Earth Institute, and which hosts the greatest advocate for selfless protection of society there is — James Hansen — how can this place run an ad like this?
It speaks, frankly, to the worst inclinations of idle elite Americans, the clueless folks who’ve suddenly decided to read the classics-that’s their great mission in the world. Having just read Melissa Faye Green’s brilliant book about the AIDS orphan crisis in Africa There is no Me Without You, I literally gagged on my coffee when I saw the Columbia ad.
Sorry — that’s all the commentary I have time for today.
With 15 million African children orphaned by AIDS, and tens of millions in need of cheap antiretrovirals that will bless them with productive, happy lives, I’m off to learn how to improve myself and better interpret Henry James. Stop trying to impress me. I’m too busy impressing myself.