Oh, thank you, New York Post, Huffington Post, Eater, Fox News and all the rest, who brought this to my desk the other day! Dateline Yale--$40,000 a year, two-drink minimum. Yep, the prestigious gateway to the CIA, a career as a thespian and the U.S. Presidency for Both Bush, father and son, and Clinton, now offers a course on New York nightlife.
College is a fine time to party, and I support a liberal amount of irrational exuberance mixed in with cramming for grades, but somehow, in these difficult economic times, I find a college course about the history of partying a bit...disconcerting.
What does it say that Ivy Leaguers are seriously spending time studying nightlife? Instead they could at least be out there having a party-active not passive. Or, better yet, spending all those credits, and money, studying engineering, so that they can pay off those student loans of even, heaven forbid, keep, if not make, the U.S. a dominant economic power again?
I know, I know. Old curmudgeon here. And apparently, I am piling on, too. Certainly the notices by the MSM have been tinged with a bit of snark. And, frankly, not to blame poor Yale entirely; it has to keep up. Harvard Business School also recently featured nightlife divos Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss, according the New York Post. Great, now you can spend your productive years creating clubs instead of rebuilding the manufacturing capacity of the U.S.
I suppose the nightlife course is history and sociology, and that is useful, although probably not quite as useful as spending the time learning about the Roman Empire. But I get it: According to what its teacher Madison Moore, a doctoral candidate at Yale, told Fox News, It's not just about getting drunk. It's about the history of it, the Harlem cabarets, understanding race, gender, sex, Prohibition and the law.
But Quo Vadis, really? Is being learned in nightlife worthy of an accredited course at such an expensive university? And at this time? There is a lot offered at colleges these days, and maybe broadening the offering is good-up to a point. But there comes a time when focusing in on things that will actually lead a student to a better life, should be not just up to the random choices of registration week, in my humble opinion.
So maybe a fun course like nightlife should be offered for free. Why not? That would be OK. But if I was footing the bill and junior spent thousands on that course, I would have to wonder about the meaning of higher education...if not the meaning of life?
We all lament the dearth of math majors, engineers, and other graduates who are builders of society. India and China are pumping out such grads but the boatload. In the end, it will not be students of nightlife, even if they get an MBA in club creation, who return the U.S. economy to health. It will be those less glamorized by a society so focused on pop culture and instant celebrity. For that not just Yale, but all of us are at least partially to blame.
So instead, we are beguiling youth with the glitter of the fast lane-and the fast IPO that is really a cash-out, take-the-money-and run approach to work (Just noticed yesterday that Groupon shares are trading below their initial offering price), perhaps prestigious institutions should try glorifying things that make a society really work, careers and businesses with lasting value, rather than encouraging us to amuse ourselves to death.