Thoughts on the Admissions Bribery Scandal

1) One of Mother’s many, many sayings was “Honesty is the best policy.”

2) Quotable Quote: “Perhaps it wouldn’t sting so much . . . if we didn’t bill college as the foremost experience for young people, one that sets the tone for their entire lives.” — Rainesford Stauffer in the NYT

2a) Because let’s face it, since World War II, college has acquired the perception that it’s a required rite of passage, especially for the uppermost tax brackets. But is it, really?

2b) Reading about Olivia Jade Giannulli last night, the daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, a 19-year-old social media influencer with her own brand, first I was angry to read her being quoted saying “I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.” And then I thought, “But of course college is the only path for the wealthy, even if they aren’t very intelligent.” And it made me think that it’s high time to legitimize the roles of debutantes (and dandies, for gender equity) in society again: idle rich young people who can be confined (I choose the word carefully) to the party circuit where they won’t bother anyone but the staff. They need an option that seems legit to keep them away from colleges where they aren’t doing anyone any good.

2c) I mean good heavens, during the Great Depression, all those screwball comedies were about the insanely wealthy doing insane things. Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, Carole Lombard in just about anything.

2c.1) The dark side of that, of course, is Marsha Hunt’s doomed “prom trotter” in my beloved These Glamor Girls of 1939, whose only purpose in life is to date college men and go to college parties - until she’s so obviously older and more false than everyone else that she becomes the punch line.

3) This is the sort of scandal that helped start the French Revolution. Twenty-five years ago when I was actively reading Claude Manceron’s enormous five-volume Age of the French Revolution in paperback, I remember the bit about the bankruptcy of the de Guéméné family. That revealed to rest of the France just how decadent and extravagant the nobility was.