As I occasionally mention, I watch a lot of college sports — generally focusing on smaller colleges and avoiding the big college/ESPN mafia.
So I see a lot of those college promo videos that appear during commercial breaks of the games. You know them, State U. is a school of unique individuals who will make a difference by leading the way to the glorious future of the college graduate through college work. These are always accompanied pictures of smiling, multiracially-balanced youth working hard in the lab, the inner-city or Africa; raising their hands in class or working with a child or poor, darker-skinned person. They look to be employed by an NGO or a large corporation in a money-losing operation. Occasionally they look beatifically to their wise professor for guidance.
These things are stamped out of a mold. They differ only in the background music and pretty tree-lined campus and ivy-covered building shots.
I want to see a real video. No, not one of booze-hounds and directionless slugs; indebted fools and legacy losers; screaming sports team fans; deranged PC fascists and “professors” who would be better employed as warehouse workers. Rather, I’d like to see a video that says we can provide you with an education that will help you do well but you’ll have to work hard here and in the adult world. In the adult world you’ll probably not cure cancer, bring world peace or provide free magical unicorn energy to Africa but you can start a worthwhile business or obtain a job where you can support yourself and a family along with being a positive contributor to your community and not be a burden upon society. Mostly, it’s up to you.
I think I’ll be waiting a long time for that video.
And then there’s this. As I was writing this up on Sunday, St. John’s was playing Seton Hall in college basketball.I had it on in the background. I don’t have a dog in that fight.
When I was younger, St. John’s teams were known as the “Redmen.” That got changed in the mid-1990s because someone was upset that “Redmen” could be construed as derogatory towards Indians. SJU did use an Indian mascot though he was in no way degraded. So to pay penance, they chose the supremely lame “Red Storm” and eventually chose “Johnny Thunderbird” as a mascot. Apparently the PC police did not considered the thunderbird appropriation as an insult to Indians. Go figure.
SJU and its students also have a tradition of being called “Johnnies.” Why they haven’t adopted that name is beyond me. St. Bonaventure has wisely adopted the unique name “Bonnies.” Who else is called Johnnies? But wisdom from colleges is no longer a safe expectation these days.