30 May 2012

Post #200: Anger And Gratitude

This is post #200 of Scholastic Snake Oil.  I'm not sure of how I feel about it.  I take that back:  I am angry and grateful at the same time. 

I am angry that the hopes, dreams and anxieties of millions of young people, and their families, have been shamefully exploited by a corporate-financial oligarchy that has destroyed most of the alternatives said young people might have had.   That same oligarchy has created the situation in which those young people have  to sign away their lives for schooling and credentials they were led to believe worthwhile and renumerative.  And, of course, said corporate-financial oligarchy has played a large role in making those credentials worthless, and schooling irrelevant, in the economy they have shaped.

On the other hand, I am grateful to have found, as a result of this blog, others who understand what I've said--in some cases, even more clearly, and in greater depth, than I do.   Plus, I have learned much about particular aspects of the situation I described--such as the debacle of the legal market and the racket of law school--I didn't know well, or at all, before I started this blog.  I am thinking in particular, of course, about Professor Paul Campos, "Nando," C. Cryn Johannsen, "JD Painterguy," Strelnikov, Karen Kelsky and others.  I have learned much from them, and anticipate learning even more. 

I am even more grateful for the honesty and integrity they show in exposing, not only the scandals around them, but the ways in which their own lives have been impacted.  And, of course, a special kudos to Professor William Pannapacker, a.k.a. Thomas H Benton.  While I am all-too-familiar with much of what he describes (having experienced too much of it myself), reading his articles was perhaps my greatest inspiration in starting this blog.  As Elie Wiesel has written, "I believe that anyone who has lived through an experience is duty-bound to bear witness to it."

If I have done nothing else so far, I hope I have accomplished that much for you, my readers.  I'll be the first to admit that my analyses may be flawed at times, and I know that many of you don't agree with the conclusions I reach or the opinions I express.  I hope that continues to be the case, for it is part of my education.  I value nothing more, exactly for the reasons I criticize credentialing, schooling and, most of all, those who see them only as means of filling their own coffers.


  1. Thank you for the kind mention. I've enjoyed your blog for some time now. You've made an important contribution to the conversation about higher education. I hope you'll consider sending your work to the Chronicle or InsiderHigherEd. Best wishes, WIlliam Pannapacker

  2. Professor Pannapacker--Thank you so much. Everyone should have your integrity--and facility with language.

    By the way, I went back and revised a sentence in my second paragraph. After I wrote the post, I added something to the sentence and intended--but forgot to--take something out that would make it make sense.

  3. I'm grateful you wrote these 200 posts. Your clarity, insight and experience have made for a top-notch read and the regularity of the updates is admirable, especially as you always have something new to say. I only hope that you one day get a book deal out of this.

  4. Thanks for spreading the word on this filthy industry. I am glad that you have lent your voice to this cause.

  5. Nando--Having "met" you, so to speak, has been one of the rewards of doing this. Keep up your great and necessary work.

    Thene--You make me blush! I'd love to get a book deal out of this, too. (Since I value honesty, I must admit that!) But, whatever comes of this, I will put as much time and effort into it for as long as it's necessary and gratifying.