Zoltan Newberry, an older Princeton alumn, commented on Michelle Obama’s Princeton career on Quora.
Like Michelle Obama, I was a very fortunate high school student who got into Princeton. When I visited for my admissions interview I couldnâ€™t believe how beautiful the campus was and how smart all the students looked. It just got better and better once I was there, and as I discovered nooks and crannies and trails and fields and meadows which made the campus a wonderful place to relax under a tree with a book. My family refused to apply for a scholarship and went without vacations, dining out and even went without butter for four years. I had a job selling tickets for Princeton games, and worked every summer in restaurants or on construction crews. I wasnâ€™t well prepared for the academic rigors of a top university. My freshman year, a professor told me I couldnâ€™t write, so I learned how to organize and write a serious essay, junior paper and even scored honors on my Senior Thesis about the Russian emigre author, Ivan Bunin. The best part was making friends with so many bright people at Princeton and at â€˜sister schoolsâ€™ like Vassar. Some of my friends came from wealthy families and were graduates of great prep schools like Groton and Andover. Most of my friends were middle class like me or very needy scholarship students who sent their dirty laundry home because it was cheaper that way. Many of them were expected to work for their scholarships at exhausting jobs serving meals at our dining commons. They had to get up super early to serve us breakfast and then go on to class.
About 20 years after I graduated, along came Michelle Obama on a full boat scholarship which came with spending money and no campus work requirements. Her first thought upon arriving at that beautiful campus was not, â€œAm I a lucky kid, or what?â€ Instead, her first thought was, â€œWhere is MY trust fund?â€ It went downhill from there. Her social life was confined to only the kids she met at â€œThe Third World Clubâ€ . She made no effort to get along with the many undergraduates who were sincere believers in civil rights, some of whom had parents like me who demonstrated for Civil Rights in the â€˜50â€™s and â€˜60â€™s. She took gut courses in â€˜Black Studiesâ€™ and Sociology, and according to the late, great and very liberal writer, Christopher Hitchens, her mandatory senior thesis was â€œwritten in SOME UNKNOWN LANGUAGEâ€â€¦. It was a long winded, word salad, complaining about how Princeton was such a terrible place for black kids who could never feel at home there.
Never mind how different and how pleasant her education could have been, had she only known how to be open and friendlyâ€¦ if only she understood how important it is to be grateful when other non related people do wonderful things for you.
She assumed the vast majority of her fellow students were irredeemable racists, and she still seems obsessed with race to this day. Instead of feeling very thankful about getting to go to one of the worldâ€™s greatest universities for free, she was bitter, and she remains bitter.
Now, she has public relations staffers, publicists, and image consultants who try to create a fake image of a wise and loving woman who really cares about all people. But her racialist and separatist slip keeps showing with the bitter things which slip from her lips in her speeches and interviews, especially at historically black colleges where she tells wonderful, aspiring young people that theyâ€™ll face endemic racism everywhere. This was especially evident in her weird trip to Target with a large entourage when she was our First Ladyâ€¦Shortly after maybe her first ever visit as an adult to a discount department store, (she and her girls are well known customers at J Crew), she went on one of those vapid morning TV shows, and complained bitterly about all the â€˜racismâ€™ she endured during her 30 minute visit to Target..
Maybe her sudden promotion to the elite and super rich in America can be some kind of lesson about how ridiculous this nonsense about â€˜racismâ€™ really is.. Sheâ€™s one of the super rich nowâ€¦ She owns great mansions in Chicago and D.Câ€¦. Yet, she still has no clue that her wealth and status would not exist without millions of white people who believed in her con man husband and her, voted for him, and sent her to Princeton on a â€œfull boatâ€™ scholarship when she was still a very ungrateful girl.
My posting, like Dinesh D’Souza’s tweet, was prompted by Michelle’s recent book tour remark: “I have been at every powerful table you can think of…They are not that smart”
The Western Journal reports on the latest victory of Woke Feminism down at Princeton U.
An a cappella group at Princeton University has agreed to stop performing a song from â€œThe Little Mermaidâ€ thanks to an angry feminist who claimed the performance was a â€œheteronormative attackâ€ on womenâ€™s rights.
According to Inside Higher Ed, the Princeton Tigertones made the decision last week after a performance of the song â€œKiss the Girlâ€ by the all-male singing group.
In a typical performance, the Tigertones pick a random female from the audience to represent Ariel, the main character and subject of the song. They â€œplayfullyâ€ dance with the female volunteer before calling up a male volunteer to represent the Prince Eric character, Inside Higher Ed reported.
In the course of the song, the Tigertones urge the two to kiss, which usually ends with a harmless peck on the cheek.
Last week, Princeton student Noa Wollstein slammed the performance as â€œproblematicâ€ in Princetonâ€™s student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian.
â€œDespite the fact that an evil sea-witch cursed Arielâ€™s voice away, making verbal consent impossible, the song is clearly problematic from the get-go,â€ Wollstein wrote in a piece published Nov. 26.
This is reminiscent of the outrage over â€œSnow White.â€ In that movie, Snow White was cursed with eternal sleep until Prince Charming lifted the curse with a kiss. Liberals were angry that Prince Charming didnâ€™t receive consent from the cursed princess.
The issue of â€œconsentâ€ seems to make up the majority of Wollsteinâ€™s complaints regarding â€œKiss the Girl.â€
â€œLyrics such as, â€˜Itâ€™s possible she wants you too/Thereâ€™s one way to ask her/It donâ€™t take a word, not a single word/Go on and kiss the girl, kiss the girl,â€™ and â€˜she wonâ€™t say a word/Until you kiss that girl,â€™ unambiguously encourage men to make physical advances on women without obtaining their clear consent,â€ Wollstein wrote.
In the ideal liberal world, Prince Eric would have gotten Ariel to sign a written consent form notarized by his lawyer before attempting to kiss her. However, he would first need to get Ariel to sign a separate consent form to hold her hand.
â€œThe song launches a heteronormative attack on womenâ€™s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men, further inundating the listener with themes of toxic masculinity,â€ Wollstein claimed.
The first conservative-leaning editorial that caused controversy came last fall, when the board criticized the womenâ€™s center for programming that solely advanced a radical feminist ideology.
Sarah Sakha, the current editor in chief of the Princetonian who led the decision to disband the board, had written an op-ed at the time denouncing the boardâ€™s criticism.
â€œThe Board fails to acknowledge and recognize the valid intersectionality of racism and sexism. In fact, by branding such programming as singularly liberal, the Board perpetuates the harmful politicization of basic questions of human dignity and identity, which lie at the core of these issues,â€ Sakha wrote last fall.
Sakha, who also contributed to the Princeton Progressive, the Ivy League institutionâ€™s left-leaning political publication, became editor in chief of the mainstream Princetonian in February of this year.
Since then, the independent editorial board continued to publish right-of-center opinions.
In March, an editorial agreed upon by a majority of the board defended free speech and critiqued â€œcollective punishmentâ€ in the wake of a scandal in which the menâ€™s swimming and diving team was suspended for â€œseveral materialsâ€ deemed â€œvulgar and offensive, as well as misogynistic and racist in nature. …
. . .I crawled into bed and cried for reasons I still [canâ€™t] quite put into words, falling asleep before the election was called.
In the morning, I woke up to a New York Times news alert and social media feeds filled with disappointment. The United States had democratically elected a man who, among so many other despicable qualities and policies, is accused of and boasts about committing sexual assault.
As a woman passionate about gender equality, womenâ€™s leadership, and ending sexual violence; as someone dedicated to the Clinton campaign and ready to make history; and, quite frankly, as a human being, I didnâ€™t know how to process this.
I still donâ€™t. I felt for my friends and anyone who feels that this result puts their safety and their loved onesâ€™ safety at risk, acknowledging that I am not the person this outcome will affect the most.
I didnâ€™t leave my room Wednesday morning. I sat and sobbed and I still have the tissues all over my floor to prove it. When I absolutely had to get up for class, I put on my â€œDare to say the F-word: Feminismâ€ t-shirt and my â€œA woman belongs in the House and the Senateâ€ sweatshirt to make myself feel stronger. Still crying, I left my room.
Ironically, she titled her letter “Stronger Together.”
I haven’t got a lot of respect for Princeton President Christopher Eisengruber’s principles or integrity, but I do admire his self-restraint. I would never have been able to listen to the young lady’s diatribe in the second video without correcting her.
The finger-snapping accompanying all the insolent assertions and demands becomes downright sinister at times. It kind of reminded me of jungle drumbeats or the threatening rattling of spears as the tribe of angry natives menaces the British district officer in one of those 1930s Sanders of the River movies.
[I]f Woodrow Wilson is to be obliterated from Princeton because his views about race were backward and offensive by contemporary standards, then what are we to do with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson, all of whom actually owned slaves? What are we to do with Abraham Lincoln, who declared in 1958 that “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” and that “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people”?
What are we to do with Franklin Roosevelt, who ordered the internment of 120,000 persons of Japanese descent? With Dwight Eisenhower, who issued an Executive Order declaring homosexuals a serious security risk? With Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act? With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage?
And what are we to do with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who once opined in a case involving compulsory sterilization that “three generations of imbeciles is enough”? With Leland Stanford, after whom Stanford University is named who, as governor of California, lobbied for the restriction of Chinese immigration, explaining to the state legislature in 1862 that “the presence of numbers of that degraded and distinct people would exercise a deleterious effect upon the superior race”?
And what are we do with all of the presidents, politicians, academic leaders, industrial leaders, jurists, and social reformers who at one time or another in American history denied women’s right to equality, opposed women’s suffrage, and insisted that a woman’s proper place was “in the home”? And on and on and on.
Newby Parton is a freshman at Princeton. Coming from an old-fashioned region of the country, he habitually pronounces wh-, in the Gothic manner, as hw-. He consequently came in for a bit of mockery at school.
The light of Ivy League learning falling upon Mr. Parton’s provincial mind, he was thus led to editorialize agin’ these kind of cussed aggravatin’ microaggressions. So he was.
Each time I grow a bit more self-conscious. Very few people like to have their speech mocked.
Now, I am sure the others never mean their offense. Therefore, I will play along and let them have their laugh. You wouldnâ€™t know it from my columns, but I avoid confrontation when I can. Besides, this is not very important to me. I am a male and I am white, so I get less than my fair share of discrimination. I am ashamed to say that I have complained when I have had such fortune, but I must confess that I did. A friend of mine whom I quite like had put me through the â€œCool Whipâ€ routine, so I waited awhile and texted her this: â€œMaking fun of regional speech is a microaggression.â€
Again, I am ashamed of that text. But I learned a lot from her response. â€œBetter put that on TM,â€ she said, referring to the Tiger Microaggressions page notorious for posting inoffensive â€œaggressions.â€ There came no apology or retraction. She really did not understand that she had caused any offense, even after I had plainly told her so. That is fine with me, and I donâ€™t blame her one bit. If I were her, I am afraid I would not have understood either.
I mean it when I say I am afraid. I am afraid that I have spent eighteen years not understanding when I have said something offensive. I am afraid that I have unwittingly hurt the feelings of people so accustomed to microaggression that they did not bother to speak up. I am afraid that I would not have taken those people seriously if they had made a stand. And I am afraid I will do it all again. I am afraid because microaggressions arenâ€™t harmless â€” thereâ€™s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted.
Somehow when I reflect on all this, it occurs to me that Owen Johnson‘s Tennessee Shad must inevitably have encountered mockery at the hands of Yankees for his regional accent at Lawrenceville School a bit over a century ago. But the Shad would have responded by whipping the asses of his tormentors (and simultaneously carefully purging his own speech of provincial features), instead of whining about it and promising to be PC holier-than-thou himself in the college newspaper.
Membership in the community of fashion elite these days inevitably seems to require a certificate of gelding accompanying the college application.
Tal Fortgang‘s rejection of collective guilt (“I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.”) in the Princeton Tory last month, provoked a Tsunami of media discussion.
The classic condescending left-wing rejoinder, explaining to Fortgang that, just “because your ancestors dealt with some shit,” he is not allowed to forget that he is still just the “fully abled person in a race against a man with only one leg” came from “Violet Baudelaire” at Jezebel.
Phoebe Maltz Bovy, in the Atlantic, for instance, took the position that Fortgang just didn’t understand.
A certain sort of self-deprecating privilege awareness has become, in effect, upper- or upper-middle-class good manners, maybe even a new form of noblesse oblige, reinforcing class divides. When Fortgangâ€™s classmates admonish him to check his privilege, what theyâ€™re really doing is socializing him into the culture of the class heâ€™ll enter as a Princeton graduate. Failure to acknowledge privilege is very gauche, maybe even nouveau riche.
Besides Fortgang, she contends, is taking it too seriously. Privilege-checking really only amounts to a method of class affirmation, combined with (what used to be called) One-Upsmanship.
The self-deprecatory, class-signaling approach might (but rarely does) serve as a first step towards genuine self-examination and, in turn, some broader social-justice commitment. But the main result of privilege talk is scrappiness one-upmanship among the privileged.
Daniel D’Addario, in Salon, described the practice of even questioning leftwing PC as producing “an unsavory debate,” and then (descending to crude utilitarianism) scolded Fortgang for bad PR.
Princeton cannot control the public statements made by its students (and parents of students), and nor should it try to. But itâ€™s amazing how neatly these unofficial spokespeople keep stepping into the schoolâ€™s pop cultural caricature as a status-obsessed carnival of eating clubs and lawn parties. What Princeton seems to do uniquely well is to train people to say â€œI went to Princeton.â€ (Consider Reaganâ€™s Secretary of State George Shultz â€” he of the Princeton tiger tattoo!) And it hardly seems ideal that the universityâ€™s place in the public conversation right now has absolutely nothing to do with academics and everything to do with embarrassing op-eds. â€œPrincetonâ€ is an adjective attached to a woman urging other women to compete for the most successful men in order to enjoy comfortable lives. And now, to a teenager bragging in print about how his ancestors had the unique idea to work hard, one other peopleâ€™s ancestors evidently didnâ€™t. Check your privilege, Princeton. Or at least: check your PR strategy.
The only possible PC-response from the male white heterosexual is here:
International news sources, including Britain’s Daily Mail are reporting on the tragic recent death of Antonio Calvo, formerly a Senior Lecturer at Princeton University, whose 10-year-career at the university was abruptly terminated for reasons the Princeton Administration refuses to explain.
A popular Princeton professor who mysteriously stabbed himself to death last month did so because he was abruptly dismissed from his job and faced deportation to his homeland Spain.
Antonio Calvo, 45, who was called St Antonio by students due to his kind heartedness and generosity, stabbed himself to death in his Manhattan apartment on April 12.
Less than a week before, a security guard escorted the Spanish instructor from the building after an unblemished ten-year career that should have culminated in tenure.
Devastated colleagues and students are blaming a campaign by another lecturer and several students for his death, saying they launched a hate campaign against him to get him ousted from his job.
On the Princeton campus where he worked, private grieving has erupted into public recrimination, with a tight community of scholars and students demanding the university take responsibility for his death.
It is unclear what exactly led to his departure from the job but because the university sponsored his visa, he would have had to leave the U.S. and return to Spain.
According to the New York Times, several graduate students and a lecturer mounted a campaign to block the renewal of his contract as a senior lecturer of Spanish and Portuguese.
As director of the universityâ€™s Spanish language programme, Dr Calvo supervised graduate students, most of whom teach undergraduates. The graduate students, his friends said, criticized his management style and singled out comments that they felt were inappropriately harsh.
In one episode earlier this academic year, Dr Calvo told a graduate student that she deserved a slap on the face, and slapped his own hands together.
In another, he jokingly referred to a male studentâ€™s genitalia in an e-mail, saying: ‘You’re spending too much time touching your balls. Why don’t you go to work?’ which is said to be a common Spanish expression.
One ex-colleague told the New York Post: ‘He knew that something was happening. He commented to a couple of friends that some people at the school were trying to ruin his reputation.’
Another colleague said: ‘Those people didn’t want his contract renewed. The campaign was led by graduate students who teach Spanish who were essentially under Antonio’s supervision, and a lecturer also teaching there.
‘Some people saw him as politically incorrect, but it was just the way he was — his personality.
The Center-Left Madrid national daily El Pais reported:
Although his department had advised its renewal, this past April 8th an employee of the university took away the keys to his office, six weeks before the end of the semester. It was the last day for Calvo in a job for which he lived. “Antonio was confident that they would renew his contract and apparently had the support of the Spanish Department,” said his friend and, in the past, also an employee of Princeton, Marco Aponte Moreno, who now teaches in Surrey, UK. “Antonio had told several colleagues and friends who believed that a group wanted to discredit him. I knew he was trying to find out what was going on and that several colleagues had been called to talk about it. However, he felt safe, at least until Friday April 8th, when he was suspended, that the administration of Princeton would confirm the renewal. ”
The University Administration maintains a total silence on the matter. Their spokesmen maintains that contractual negotiations are a personal matter and that the rules prevent him from talking about them publicly. On the day of dismissal, his students were waiting in the classroom for 20 minutes without being given information. The same scene was repeated the day before his suicide, his students waited 20 minutes until they received a substitute and were told that Calvo no longer taught at Princeton. Three days after the suicide, the rector sent a letter to students saying that their teacher had died, without giving further details. The university newspaper covered the story in the same way on April 18th.
The Daily Princetonian‘s report today essentially confirms the essentials of he story and especially the allegations of stonewalling on the part of Princeton’s Administration.
In a statement to The Daily Princetonian on Sunday, University President Shirley Tilghman expressed her condolences to the University community and elaborated on the Universityâ€™s position of remaining silent on issues of personnel in order to protect employeesâ€™ privacy.
â€œThose of you who knew Professor Calvo as a valued and beloved colleague, teacher and friend are seeking answers,â€ she said in the statment. â€œThis is natural, but in my experience it is never possible to fully understand all the circumstances that lead someone to take such an irreversible decision.â€
Reiterating previous statements by University spokespeople and Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin, Tilghman said she would continue to uphold University policy and that the school would not reveal any further details about the circumstances leading to his termination.
â€œThe specific events leading up to Professor Calvoâ€™s abrupt leave from the University came out of a review whose contents cannot be disclosed without an unprecedented breach of confidentiality,â€ she said.
Shortly before his death, Calvo had been undergoing a routine reappointment review after his first three years as a senior lecturer.
According to Marco Aponte Moreno, Calvoâ€™s close friend and a former University lecturer, â€œAntonio was confident that his contract was going to be renewed as the department had recommended his reappointment.â€
Members of the department confirm that Calvo was expected to continue as a senior lecturer. â€œThe department wanted to renew his contract but for whatever reason, they couldnâ€™t,â€ said one undergraduate concentrator who asked to remain anonymous.
As a normal part of the review process, statements are solicited from coworkers of the faculty member in question. According to Aponte Moreno, only those with known problems with Calvo were asked to provide letters.
Instead of the reappointment Calvo expected, Aponte Moreno said, the University â€œdecided to send a security guard to Antonioâ€™s office on Friday, April 8, removing his keys and closing his email account.â€
Calvo was not physically escorted from the building or from University grounds, as some outlets have reported, but he missed a scheduled meeting with a dean on the following Monday.
In the early hours of Tuesday, April 12, Calvo took his own life at his apartment in New York City. The cause of death was slash wounds on his neck and upper arm, according to the New York City medical examinerâ€™s office.
In response to questions about the transparency of Calvoâ€™s review process and accusations that the decision about his contract renewal was made based on intradepartmental politics, Tilghman denounced what she described as the â€œuntrue and misleading rumorsâ€ that have been implicating â€œinnocent individuals on campus.â€
Those rumors sound perfectly true and the implicated individuals President Tilghman refers to sound anything but innocent.
[A] suffocating sensation often came over me whenever I opened Deconstruction and Criticism, a collection of essays by leading theory people that I spotted everywhere that year and knew to be one of the richest sources around for words that could turn a modest midterm essay into an A-plus tour de force HerÄ™ is a sentence (or what I took to be one because it ended with a period) from the contribution by the Frenchman Jacques Derrida, the volume’s most prestigious name: “He speaks his mother tongue as the language of the other and deprives himself of all reappropriation, all specularization in it.” On the same page I encountered the windpipe-blocking “heteronomous” and “invagination.” When I turned the page I came acrossâ€” stuck in a footnoteâ€””unreadability.”
That word I understood, of course.
But real understanding was rare with theory. It couldn’t be depended on at all. Boldness of execution was what scored points. With one of my professors, a snappy “heuristic” usually did the trick. With another, the charm was a casual “praxis.” Even when a poem or story fundamentally escaped me, I found that I could save face with terminology, as when I referred to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as “semiotically unstable.” By this I meant “hard.” All the theory words meant “hard” to me, from “hermeneutical” to “gestural.” Once in a while I’d look one up and see that it had a more specific meaning, but laterâ€”some-times only minutes laterâ€”the definition would catch a sort of breeze, float away like a dandelion seed, and the word would go back to meaning “hard.”
The need to finesse my ignorance through such trickery-” honorable trickery to my mind, but not to other minds, perhapsâ€”left me feeling hollow and vaguely haunted. Seeking security in numbers, I sought out the company of other frauds. We recognized one another instantly. We toted around books by Roland Barthes, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Walter Benjamin. We spoke of “playfulness” and “textuality” and concluded before we’d read even a hundredth of it that the Western canon was “illegitimate,” a veiled expression of powerful group interests that it was our duty to subvert. In our rush to adopt the latest attitudes and please the younger and hipper of our instructorsâ€”the ones who drank with us at the Nassau Street bars and played the Clash on the tape decks of their Toyotas as their hands crept up our pants and skirtsâ€”we skipped straight from ignorance to revisionism, deconstructing a body of literary knowledge that we’d never constructed in the first place.
For true believers, the goal of theory seemed to be the lifting of a great weight from the shoulders of civilization. This weight was the illusion that it was civilized. The weight had been set there by a rangÄ™ of perpetratorsâ€”members of certain favored races, males, property owners, the church, the literate, natives of the northern hemisphereâ€”who, when taken together, it seemed to me, represented a considerable portion of everyone who had ever lived. Then again, of course I’d think that way. Of course I’d be cynical. I was one of them.
So why didn’t I feel like one of them, particularly just then? why did I, a member of the classes that had supposedly placed e weight on others and was now attempting to redress this crime, feel so crushingly weighed down myself?
I wasn’t one of theory’s true believers. I was a confused young opportunist trying to turn his confusion to his advantage by sucking up to scholars of confusion. The literary works they prized â€”the ones best suited to their project of refining and hallowing confusionâ€”were, quite naturally, knotty and oblique The poems of Wallace Stevens, for example. My classmates and I found them maddeningly elusive, like collections of backward answers to hidden riddles, but luckily we could say “recursive” by then. We could say “incommensurable.” Both words meant “hard.”
I grew to suspect that certain professors were on to us, and I wondered if they, too, were fakes. In classroom discussions, and even when grading essays, they seemed to favor us over the hard workers, whose patient, sedentary study habits, and sense that confusion was something to be avoided rather than celebrated, appeared unsuited to the new attitude of antic postmodernism that I had mastered almost without effort. To thinkers of this school, great literature was an incoherent con, and Iâ€”a born con man who knew little about great literatureâ€”had every reason to agree with them. In the land of nonreadability, the nonreader was king, it seemed. Long live the king.
This lucky convergence of academic fashion and my illiteracy emboldened me socially. It convinced me I had a place at Princeton after all. I hadn’t chosen it, exactly, but I’d be foolish not to occupy it. Otherwise I’d be alone.
Finally, without reservations or regrets, I settled into the ranks of Princeton’s Joy Divisionâ€”my name for the crowd of moody avant-gardists who hung around the smaller campus theaters discussing, enjoying, and dramatizing confusion. One of their productions, which I assisted with, required the audience to contemplate a stage decorated with nothing but potted plants. Plants and Waiters, it was called. My friends and I stood snickering in the wings making bets on how long it would take people to leave. They, the “waiters,” proved true to form. They fidgeted but they didn’t flee. Hilarious.
And, for me, profoundly enlightening. Who knew that serious art could be like this? Who would have guessed that the essence of high culture would turn out to be teasing the poor saps that still believed in it? Certainly no one back in Minnesota. Well, the joke was on them, and I was in on it. I could never go back there now. It bothered me that I’d ever even lived there, knowing that people here on the great coast (people like meâ€” the new, emerging me) had been laughing at us all along. But what troubled me more was the dawning realization that had I not reached Princeton, I might never have discovered this; I might have stayed a rube forever. This idea transformed my basic loyalties. I decided that it was time to leave behind the sort of folks whom I’d been raised around and standâ€”for better or for worseâ€”with the characters who’d clued me in.