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December 01, 2008

Ivy in High Places

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Joseph Epstein, University of Chicago graduate, former member of the Northwestern University faculty and for many years editor of American Scholar, holds forth in the Weekly Standard on Ivy League (and ilk) schools and the kind of students that breeze through them. His hook is a David Brooks column on the backgrounds of those in high offices in Washington.

He isn't all that fond of 800-SAT kids who maintain straight A's by working the system -- psyching out what profs expect and delivering. That is, if he's a Marxist, spit that back or dish out Freudianism on the blue book if that's where the instructor is coming from.

Epstein's concluding paragraphs:

Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan were two of the greatest presidents of the twentieth century. Truman didn't go to college at all, and Reagan, one strains to remember, went to Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois. Each was his own man, each, in his different way, without the least trace of conformity or hostage to received opinion or conventional wisdom. Schooling, even what passes for the best schooling, would, one feels, have made either man less himself and thereby probably worse.

The presence and continued flourishing of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and the rest do perform a genuine service. They allow America to believe it has a meritocracy, even though there is no genuine known merit about it. Perhaps one has to have taught at or otherwise had a closer look at these institutions to realize how thin they are. I myself feel their thinness so keenly that, on more than one occasion, I have, by way of informing one friend or acquaintance about another, said, "He went to Princeton and then to the Harvard Law School, but, really, he is much better than that."

Here in Blowhardland we happen to be Ivy covered at the undergraduate level (Michael and Friedrich) or via graduate school (me). We hope we survived the experience without too much damage and have made strong efforts ever since to become human again. Feel free to let us know when we fail our individual deprogramming efforts.



posted by Donald at December 1, 2008


If you all agree that Reagan was a great President you should probably demand your tuition back.

Posted by: Don McArthur on December 1, 2008 12:55 PM

I don't buy the annoying faux-regret of Ivy graduates for one second. It's just another back-handed way of name-dropping your alma mater, the bar-none favorite pastime of Ivy-league alumni. At gatherings, if I know someone is an Ivy League graduate, I play a game with myself wherein I time how long into a conversation it takes them to drop their alma mater. Harvard graduates are the worst offenders, I swear they never go more than a few minutes in before the H-word comes out.

That said, there undue influence of the top schools on the country is detrimental.

Posted by: JV on December 1, 2008 1:20 PM

Now that the American anti intellectuals have thoroughly dismanteled american capital markets (and sold it the ayrabs...or sumpn), they're starting on the education system?

Posted by: Ramesh on December 1, 2008 2:11 PM

Everything that could be possibly said about this topic, has been. More than 4 years ago.

The Two Blowhards, Michael in particular, have raised inverse snobbery to high art. They constantly bemoan their “lousy Ivy League” education, the glorious fruits of which can be picked daily on their site — the most glorious, perhaps, being the liberty to sneer at an Ivy League education. Michael happily poor-mouths it in post after post, with references to his “addled” and “fuzzy” mind and failed career in journalism. But should any reader be so naive as to take these demurrals seriously and question his authority, out will come the whip hand.

[this example is yet another illustration of regretfully diminished quality of commentariat on this blog, since 4 years ago. With exception of Mencius and [very] few others. The kids these days!]

Posted by: Tatyana on December 1, 2008 2:15 PM

I'd take an electrical engineering degree from a state university over an Ivy liberal arts degree any day.

Posted by: Peter on December 1, 2008 2:57 PM

It's irrelevant whether or not one is angry that the world is run by those - whether they be graduates of the Ivy League or lesser leagues - who "work the system." That's the way the world is. If the Ivy League is set up to reward working the system skills it may be because those skills yield the biggest payoff in the world. The world wants to be "worked." Witness our agent of change Ivy League prez-elect, emphasis on agent.

Posted by: ricpic on December 1, 2008 3:28 PM

"Working the system" is a form of meritocracy. It is very hard to get all A's at extremely competitive schools and perfect test scores. Granted, it might not be the best use of such peoples' time, but 800's on the SAT are not just silly numbers.

Posted by: John on December 1, 2008 3:51 PM

That's a funny link, Tatyana. I love Haspel's subtitle for his blog: Culling my readers to a manageable elite since 2002.

Why, what a perfect snob he is!

Posted by: PatrickH on December 1, 2008 3:59 PM

Maybe Ivy Leaguers are smart and capable when they emerge from their universities. It's that daily perusal of the New York Times over a couple of decades which leaves them floundering in the wake of a Ronald Reagan. Rather than asking for tuition back, sue for subscription fees. Make a case thus:

"I went to Harvard. I didn't know I was getting stupid. The editors knew that MoDo was a stupidity-delivery system...but they kept on adding it to their product."

Posted by: Robert Townshend on December 1, 2008 4:06 PM

Ok, Donald, I feel better about you. For now.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on December 1, 2008 4:28 PM

PatrickH: yes and 1/2yes. He's not a perfect snob, he's just perfect.
One can't be called a snob if he announces his intent of being snobbish in advance.

Posted by: Tatyana on December 1, 2008 6:36 PM

Well, my narrow microcosm-ic experience was this: I graduated from state U but was an instructor at Ivy League Medical School for five years. It was an, uh, interesting experience. I think I got the better deal, less loans, the Ivy on my CV and then I got outta town. I think the Ivies attract go-getters who would pretty much rise in the world whatever school they attended, IMHO.

Posted by: MD on December 1, 2008 6:43 PM

Oh, and to John above, my one experience teaching in the medical school of said Ivy shocked me - my state U seemed more rigorous, at least in the one type of lab I was teaching. The poor students knew this - I complained about how poor the lab was and the students, to their credit, said, "yeah, other med schools are better at this, we talk to other students online. Our course sucks." Make of that anecdotage what you will.....

Posted by: MD on December 1, 2008 7:33 PM

MD that's quite interesting. I had a lecturer who taught at Harvard Medical School. Lets just say he was underwhelmed.

Posted by: slumlord on December 1, 2008 9:28 PM

I taught at Johns Hopkins for two years. I found the students extremely intelligent and interesting, but soon discovered that they had widespread moral character issues. Most of them simply ignored due dates for term papers unless I threatened them with grading penalties for lateness. Many of them impressed me as folks who have always had servants to pick up after them and fully expected their entire lives to be like that. I definitely would not want to be governed by them. Unfortunately, I am.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on December 1, 2008 10:17 PM

I just got back from a tour of the Ivy League. Seven schools in ten days. In my cursory view I'd say Brown is the best -- very homey (sp?), really nice students who are sufficiently serious, but not too, and a nice middle-ground in terms of physical plant.

Harvard on the other hand looks to be the worst. The place is positively urban nowadays, with too many big buildings all cramped together, ridiculous security (I still got robbed of my Nuvi in one of their parking lots when I ran inside a building for five minutes to drop somegthing off! Of course the dorms, at least the ones I've seen, are dark and dingy. Ughhhhh!

Posted by: Luke Lea on December 1, 2008 10:51 PM

The importance of an Ivy League education today is a consequence of the dominance of the New Class, the expert-ocracy that runs this country and reaps serious rewards from calling the shots without taking serious risk. I'm talking about Wall Street financiers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, senior corporate executives, college professors, etc. Their position above the standard risk-reward curve (far less risk, far more reward than most) is unquestionably a sweet deal. Since the New Class is an expert-ocracy, succeeding at competitive education is its defining characteristic and test of merit. It is to the New Class what wartime service was to the Ancien Regime French Sword aristocracy.

Parents are not being stupid; sending their children to an Ivy League school (intended to be a launching pad into a New Class job) provides them with a golden entry ticket to a life of greater security, richer rewards and less risk than any other comparable choice.

Sadly for the rest of us (even those of us who went to Ivy League schools but didn't end up in a New Class job), the privileges of the New Class are provided by favorable government policy, the consequence of which is that the rest of the population gets less reward and more risk than if the New Class wasn't running things. (Like most government programs, it accomplishes its goals via a redistribution of income, but not one intended to reduce inequality, if you follow my meaning.)

And, if you look closely, you'll even see that the New Class' reputation for being experts is pretty hollow. Note, in passing, the mismanagement of the economy over the past 20 years by the cadre of experts who run the Fed, or the bloated cost structure of the healthcare profession run by its white-robed priesthood.

But that's the way things work when you have an aristocratic class on top, controlling the government, the press and the education system, all members of which work diligently to further the interests of their own class. When a group like this controls the government and tells you they know what they're doing, what does their mere incompetence matter? What exactly are the peasants going to do about incompetent aristocrats--have a revolution?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on December 1, 2008 11:03 PM

FvB -- Shhhh! The new rule is that people who have actually experienced the Ivies are the one group of people who are forbidden ever to talk about the Ivies!

We could go on with this!

* Say that you've visited someplace beautiful. Forbidden to talk about it, because you'd just be bragging.

* Say that you've sat on the board of a major corporation. Forbidden to talk about the experience, because you'd just be bragging.

* Say that you've met some interesting people in your life. Forbidden to talk about it, because -- whether or not you have anything interesting to say -- it'd really be nothing but a form of bragging.

* Say that you've managed to get laid a few times in your life. Forbidden to talk about it, because ... Well, you know.

Hey, maybe we ought to make this Ivy-chat ban retroactive and keep Scott Fitzgerald from writing "This Side of Paradise."

FWIW, I agree completely with Epstein's piece, and tks to Donald for the link to it. Ivy grads often remain wet behind the ears for amazingly long times.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 1, 2008 11:49 PM

Michael, no one said you're forbidden to talk about it, but don't expect too much sympathy when you bemoan going to an Ivy league school.

Anyway, your analogies are off a bit. Taking your first example, a more apt analogy would be to go to someplace beautiful, then complain about having gone.

Posted by: JV on December 2, 2008 12:00 AM

A better analogy would be going someplace reputed to be beautiful, finding it not so beautiful, and then talking about how you found it not so beautiful.

And not to worry, your funds of sympathy aren't being called on.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 2, 2008 12:45 AM

My spouse and I were ivy-covered undergraduates, and our son is a high school senior, so we've visited lots of schools, ivy and otherwise, in the past 12 months. The two schools where we got the worst impressions of "I'm so good just for having gotten in here" were Harvard and Lehigh, with Princeton not far behind. (We skipped Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth - they didn't have strong programs in his area of interest). The schools where we got very warm and favorable impressions of the students were Wesleyan, Columbia and Carnegie Mellon.
For a long time I found myself avoiding mentioning my college - it would totally change the tenor of a conversation when I did answer where I went to school. Now I find myself saying things like "I wouldn't get in if I were applying today". I guess I felt like I needed to apologize for having gone there, because I knew so many people who were equally smart and hardworking, who didn't have that opportunity. Now I see it differently - I realize that my going there was a result not just of my work, but of years of choices, work and sacrifice by my parents. And I'm grateful to them and proud of myself. I'm not an elite ruling class leader, so there are some who would argue that I didn't deserve my ivy education for that reason alone. I deserved to be there as much as anyone else, and I'm not going to apologize for it.

Posted by: Julie Brook on December 2, 2008 8:32 AM

Esther Dyson, the tech thinker and daughter of Freeman Dyson, went to (I think) Harvard. Her dad, a genuinely brilliant man, castigated her for not working hard at her studies, and Esther set him straight in no uncertain terms.

Harvard is not about studying and learning, she explained to her bewildered papa. It's not what you know that matters. It's who you know. It's all about building relationships, networking, etc. etc. etc.

Freeman Dyson can still recall his sense of shock when he realized his daughter was right.

Me? Not so shocked. Hence my lack of surprise that Harvard Med School is actually a lousy school, and the other horror stories (including Michael's apparently forbidden description of his education at a Lousy Ivy University. Tatyana seems to have missed the irony in Haspel, an overweening and un-self-acknowledged snob, attacking others for being snobs...but irony has never been Tat's strong suit).

Harvard, Yale, and the Ivies are really a New Class initiation tool, a kind of apprenticeship for the soon-to-be-privileged. Which is ironic, because that was their function before! It's just that now, you do have to be pretty smart to get in (the New Class is, among other things, "meritocratic" in the sense of the Bell Curve), even if you are the child of a rich man.

I guess that means that the Ivies are unreformable. After all, they're doing their job: keeping out the losers, winnowing out the weaklings, building the networks of the future.

Meet the New Class! Same as the Old Class!

Well to hell with that! Bah! Down with the new children of privilege! Down with the networks of the future! Down with Harvard, Yale and all the rest of the Ivies! Blow them to smithereens, I say!

Ecrasez l'infame!

Posted by: PatrickH on December 2, 2008 9:36 AM

The real problem is the unholy bargain between the tech subjects and the hum/ss. We all know that the US dominance of the research world is overwhelmingly about sci-tech-math. In these areas, the elites are really much, much better and the training is reliable even at lower ranked schools. But the verbal elites are better at marshalling politics to provide them with rents and privileges. So to maintain a tech meritocracy, the hard subjects must pay homage to the whims of the soft.

Indeed, MIT has learned this lesson well. Over the last decade or two, it has become famous for moving more in the direction of Stanford than Caltech -- more legacy admissions, more AA, less rigorous requirements, more emphasis on subjects like languages or linguistics. It's likely that the bottom 10% of its class would not have graduated by the standards of the 1970s (Its minimal calc requirements have been watered down so even architecture majors can easily go through). Its reward has been more money, more prestige and more influence. Caltech and Chicago have been more hard core and have consequently suffered from this. Chicago itself has been moving more in the direction of Northwestern which gained huge success by imitating the Ivy mix of a genuine academic elite and a social, politically connected core.

Posted by: jjn on December 2, 2008 9:46 AM

John: "Working the system" is a form of meritocracy. It is very hard to get all A's at extremely competitive schools and perfect test scores. Granted, it might not be the best use of such peoples' time, but 800's on the SAT are not just silly numbers.

If "working the system" is "a form of meritocracy", what, exactly, was the point of meritocratic selection again? Judging from the track record of the last few decades of worthies, talent in "working the system" predicts, well, the talent to keep working the system. I thought the whole point of facilitating an aristocracy of talent was to provide more competent and far-seeing leadership - in government, in business, in the academy - for the improvement of the general welfare. If all we end up with is a self-serving, short-term thinking, rent-seeking, nation-wrecking class whose main difference from the more traditional gangs of thugs or hereditary dullards is more impressive IQs and SAT scores - well, wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to to re-introduce older, simpler methods of selecting the people who are going to fleece and indenture us? Trial by axe, that sort of thing. I mean, at least with the hereditary dullards, there was some slim hope of "duty, honor, country" restraining the fleecing and enslaving instinct to some small degree.

(I trust the many meritorious Ivy Leaguers, who really did hone their natural gifts via an excellent education, and turned them to socially productive and enriching uses, take my hyperbole with a grain of salt. I know you're not all hedge fund pirates or presidents or cabinet secretaries of our nouveau banana republic. Full disclosure: I belong to the class of embittered losers who were offered admission to to an I.L.S. - probably under some '70s cracker quota - but who no way in hell could afford to attend.)

P.S. Upon preview I notice that frickin' Patrick has already made my point. Well, in case it didn't sink in the first time...

P.P.S. One sad thing about the New Class/Serf Class direction of society, is that even out here on the prairie, it seems that smart kids are being fed an insidious "if you don't get into Harvard you're nuthin'" message. Beginning in middle school. I've suggested to my daughter that she inform her counselors that sucking up to some clowns in the Harvard admissions office, with the approved list of opinions, interests and extracurriculars, is not the purpose of her young existence.

Posted by: Moira Breen on December 2, 2008 10:41 AM

Tatyana certainly lacks PattieH' strong suit: fluidity of principles and buttlicking abilities.
No, not "lacks": detests.

Likes are congregating with likes.

Posted by: Tatyana on December 2, 2008 11:08 AM

Over the holiday dinner table, Pupu stumbled into a passionate conversation about a football match between two Ivy teams. Pupu was untactful enough to inquire whether the Ivies have their own games because their teams are unfit to compete outside the circle. People laughed but did not directly answer the inquiry, which Pupu took the answer as a Yes. Knowing nothing about sports, Pupu had been to a couple of those matches. They were fun to watch. The players were beautiful and grand looking, and the audience were in high spirit. Like a scene out of Harry Potter's, it was made to believe. When the benefit of a certain event is less tangible, there is great benefit in believing. Pupu, once a believer, wants to continue believing.

Posted by: Pupu on December 2, 2008 11:32 AM

"PattieH"? I resent that! It's "PattyH".

And anyway, Tatyana, I didn't call Michael "perfect", did I? You did call Haspel that. Methinks the girl doth protest too much when she speweth forth accusations of "buttlicking".

It saddens me to say this, Tatyana, but you really must try harder to be a good person.

Posted by: PattyH on December 2, 2008 1:48 PM

Oh, and besides, "fluidity of principles" AND "buttlicking abilities" are my strong SUITS. Plural, not singular.

This is not a one-trick pony you're talking to here, girl!

Posted by: PattyH on December 2, 2008 1:50 PM

I agree with everything Moira said. Especially the part about "frickin' Patrick".

No kidding. That guy is such a jerk. Look at the way he's making fun of Tatyana!

I don't like him.

I do like Moira though.

Posted by: Frickin' Patrick on December 2, 2008 1:56 PM


If Yale was playing, did you hear the Yale football fight song? It goes something like this:


At least the first verse does. That's a fun song...

Hey! Donald! Let go of me! I am NOT harassing the women here! I'm just commenting on their...

Help! Donald is banishing me! I'm innoc...

[cue door slamming as Patrick is bundled offstage, to the relief of all concerned]

Posted by: PatrickH on December 2, 2008 2:01 PM

Pattie from Hellhole, you're a good example for "declined quality of commentariat" I talked about.
All your "argument" could be summed up thusly: -he said "snob"! no, he's the one! he's the snob! if you don't agree, you're stoopid! and totally non-ironic! yes you are! yes you are!na-nananana!"

As to my buttlicking - I'd be infinitely grateful if allowed to. Damn straight.

Posted by: Tatyana on December 2, 2008 2:43 PM

Michael, I like your second analogy better. Still, it never comes off well pretending like you wished you hadn't received an Ivy League education.

Posted by: JV on December 2, 2008 2:50 PM

yes you are!na-nananana!


Posted by: PatrickH on December 2, 2008 5:23 PM

Glad you turned to much-needed self-criticism, Patsy, and confirm my opinion of you. Which is:

Posted by: Tatyana on December 2, 2008 5:57 PM

Now that the American anti intellectuals have thoroughly dismanteled american capital markets (and sold it the ayrabs...or sumpn), they're starting on the education system?

Wait...weren't the investment bankers, politicians, Presidents and Treasury secretaries and Fed Chairmen that led us down to financial ruin mostly Ivy graduates?

Posted by: T. on December 2, 2008 7:11 PM

I can't really comment; my connections are to older institutions. ;-}

Posted by: dearieme on December 2, 2008 8:46 PM

Hey, where is Sister Wolf when we need her?

Posted by: anon on December 2, 2008 10:07 PM

So let me make sure I understand based on what I've learned from discussions like this. If a non-Ivy criticizes the Ivies, they are just jealous and have sour grapes. But if an Ivy criticizes an Ivy, they are being disingenuous and practicing reverse snobbery. So who exactly can criticize an Ivy then? or are they beyond reproach?

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 2, 2008 10:18 PM

DearieMe: you won today's nomination of the Biggest [Snob] Award Comment.
I'm starting a fan club.

Posted by: Tatyana on December 2, 2008 10:49 PM

Blog Song of the Bandarlog

Here she goes in a flung festoon,
Spewing and spitting her jealous tune!
Don't you pity her shrivelled heart?
Don't you think she’s a humourless fart?
Wouldn't you like if her words weren’t--so--
All dirges and death-songs —she’s like Ko the Crow!
You know?
Now she’s angry (whaaaat? –ed.), but--never mind,
Tatyana, her soul hangs down behind!

Posted by: PatrickH on December 2, 2008 11:09 PM

I have no sympathy for Epstein's view. He bemoans the "good student" with no passions other than his/her grades. He feels the Ivy shops are "thin." But what exactly are the alternatives for these students? Would he find more passionate students at State U.? These are 18 -22 year-olds; what are they to be passionate about? What were any of us passionate about at that age? Should we delay university until we've developed passions from employment or life experiences? Is State U. "thicker"? Are entry-level job experiences and financial self-subsistence "thicker"?

Donald, You ask, "we hope we survived......Feel free to let us know when we fail our individual deprogramming efforts." BIG HINT: if you are five years out of school and even think to mention it, it's tooooooo much of your identity. No one cares. It's over. What people care about is how well you're performing at your next task in life.

Posted by: jz on December 3, 2008 2:40 AM

"Donald, You ask, "we hope we survived......Feel free to let us know when we fail our individual deprogramming efforts." BIG HINT: if you are five years out of school and even think to mention it, it's tooooooo much of your identity. No one cares. It's over. What people care about is how well you're performing at your next task in life."

Fucking BINGO! Only ones who talk about their college, whether praising or bemoaning it, are Ivy League grads. It's why I find this whole post so disingenuous.

Posted by: JV on December 3, 2008 11:49 AM

One comment: There are Ivies and Ivies.

Harvard and Yale are very much the New Class/Establishment training grounds with massive prestige and entitlement. Princeton and Columbia a bit less so. Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Penn are definitely a step down.

Datum in support: of the present Supreme Court, 5 have law degrees from Harvard, 2 from Yale, 1 from
Columbia, 1 from Northwestern.

This is in a way odd, because of the "conservative" bloc, Roberts and Scalia are from Harvard, while Thomas and Alito are from Yale - and it is highly unlikely that the faculties of either school approve of their jurisprudence.

(Research project: I have a list of the 114 Justices - look up their law schools. Has one law school ever had five grads on the Court before? How many Ivies, historically?)

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on December 3, 2008 1:34 PM

Why does a mere mention of one's Ivy education make a discussion disingenuous? Nobody seems to mind anybody talking about the gains and losses from other investments. It is neither easy nor cheap to have an Ivy education. Why can't one talk about it? Pupu wonders.

Posted by: Pupu on December 3, 2008 2:21 PM

One can certainly talk about it. I just recoil at whenever such a discussion is framed in the "recovering Ivy grad" kind of tone. Just a personal preference.

Posted by: JV on December 3, 2008 6:05 PM

@ Pupu and Rich,
Any grad, from any school, who still references their, school is living in the past. We ask them: "What have you done for me since?" Your school is not your identity. If it is, you are sorry.

There is no New Class/Establishment.
At age 30, there are undifferentiated worker-bees. Their paying customers/clients don't care what school they once went to. We care about the level of their service.

Posted by: jz on December 4, 2008 3:11 PM

Mention of one's school doesn't make one disingenuous. It makes one "stuck-in-adolescence". Some are stuck in high school; some are stuck in college. Some women get stuck in the "mom-years", and never mentally move on.

Posted by: jz on December 4, 2008 3:16 PM


in fairness to ex-ivy attendees (i'm not one), i can understand why they would keep mentioning it or making a big deal about it: because almost EVERYONE else does. i imagine it must be hard to put it behind you and mentally move on when no one else does. i had a coworker who went to harvard that really was not too bright, but everybody hung on his every utterance. most discussions of him behind his back at some point had the sentence "did you know john went to harvard?" when debating one of his harebrained ideas, some people would say "well he did go to harvard, you know" as if that alone was enough to make the idea good. to his credit, he never brought up harvard, but if i was in his shoes i doubt i'd be able to put it behind me simply because no one else did. not only did no one put it behind them, they fetishized it or were insanely jealous of it.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 4, 2008 3:56 PM

good point that the label can live on because of others. I do believe, however, that a graduate with social intelligence can kill it off, if s/he desires.

Posted by: jz on December 4, 2008 8:22 PM

Clever woman, Ms. Dyson. Wish I'd figured that out back in college, I'd have been a lot better off.

Posted by: SFG on December 4, 2008 10:37 PM

Epstein is my Blowhard of the Month:

Posted by: Jeffrey Shallit on December 7, 2008 9:22 PM

Ooooh, how the hell did I miss this?!?!?

jz, you are correct. Thank you for articulating one of my many pet peeves!

p.s. I LOVE the Tatyana vs Patrick stuff. How he maintains his civility is beyond me.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on December 21, 2008 2:55 AM

Should I have the misfortune to look at the "comments" of Lady Voldemort, I simply raise in my mind's eye an image of your fair face. So I have the sublime to shield me from the ridiculous. It's easy to be civil when your beauty is before my eyes, inspiring me to feelings both lofty and gentle.

Your openly public admirer,

Posted by: PatrickH on December 21, 2008 3:05 PM

Por favor: No nastiness, no ganging-up. Take it out to da playground if you really need to rumble. We're on a new everyone-be-civil kick here at 2B.

Chris White and Shouting Thomas excepted, of course. They're our very own cranky old married couple.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 21, 2008 3:40 PM

Hey Michael,

You must have thought I wasn't going to read this one... huh?

Another homoerotic reference? In league with the nefarious Sister Wolf?

When did this "everyone-be-civil kick" policy begin? I wasn't notified, nor did I consent.

I resemble this.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 21, 2008 4:49 PM

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