Roger’s Rules

Annals of Academic Fatuousness, Yale Edition, Part 9876

Just how fatuous are Ivy-League graduate students? Nobody really knows. But this is nice: Yale graduate students, members of the Local 33 student union (yes, really), have begun “an indefinite, collective fast in front of University President Peter Salovey’s home.”

“What are they complaining about?”, well might you ask.

Let’s leave aside the preposterous fact that graduate students are members of a labor union. There is also the supreme silliness that these aging snowflakes already get free tuition, free health care, and a $30,000 stipend.

Feel badly for them? It gets better. That “collective fast” they’re embarked upon has been described as a “hunger strike.” In reality, though, it’s only a virtual or symbolic hunger strike. That is, the students stand around in front of President Salovey’s house whining, holding signs, and feeling sorry for  themselves only until they feel hungry.

Then they go eat.

These pathetic creatures want more from Yale, Yale has been slow about negotiating with them, so the poor little fellas are stamping their feet. The group announced:

Yale wants to make us wait and wait and wait … until we give up and go away. … We have committed ourselves to waiting without eating.

That is, they do not eat while they wait. But they only wait so long, then they eat.

The Twitterverse has erupted with delicious and wholly justified mockery of this ridiculous and contemptible spectacle. You might be tempted to simply dismiss this as just another instance of academic infantilization and turn the page. But while the mewling graduate students are certainly preposterous, this event should be seen in the larger context of the straining, about-to-pop bubble of higher education. The “symbol” or “virtual” hunger strike conducted against make-believe grievances by some of the most privileged creatures on the planet matches perfectly with the “virtual” or “symbolic” education they are receiving.

The only thing real in this whole scenario is the grotesque waste of resources involved.

Thinking about the mephitic bubble that is higher education today, Glenn Reynolds likes to quote the economist Herb Stein: What can’t go on forever, won’t. This silliness can’t go on much longer, though whether it ends with a sudden pop or whimpering crepitation remains to be seen.