‘Getting into the stadium, chasing the players, our agents… I have no words.’

Enjoy the photographs.

This Spring Break, it’s the turn of South Beach Fla. to be shocked, shocked, that…

… beachy municipalities with wall to wall bars and little law enforcement attract really big vicious crowds. As one traditional spring break town after another says enough to the carnage, larger and larger groups of drunk fucks concentrate in smaller and smaller spaces, to the point where South Beach, and the handful of other still-certified SB locations, are absolutely choked with traffic jams police stops drugs guns fights biker gangs and open-air rapes for as long as two months. Residents seem to think this isn’t the best way to welcome in the spring, and even the merchants who in the past haven’t minded the grossness because it brings in so much cash have begun to respond to the city council’s pleas that they close up early or stop feeding infinite liquor to everyone who shows up or whatever.

UD wonders, though. Bestiality will have its way, and our enterprising country should be able to produce one or two cities/towns willing to make a name for themselves as crapulous destinations of last resort. I’m putting my money on Myrtle Beach.

Much sad discussion, UD thinks, will be occasioned…

… by the suicide of Princeton economist Alan Krueger at 58. It will perhaps be seen as an iconic death, carrying most powerfully within it horrible truths about the ultimate incorrigibility of some forms of clinical depression. His was as far as one could tell one of the golden lives: Brilliant, athletic, handsome, wealthy, esteemed by presidents, rich in friends and family. A “gentle, generous guy.” And still the mind has mountains.

 O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall 
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap 
May who ne’er hung there.


After decades of reading, writing, and thinking about suicide, I’ve gathered a few statements about it that feel right to me.

Boris Pasternak wrote:

We have no conception of the inner torture which precedes suicide.

… The continuity of his inner life is broken, his personality is at an end. And perhaps what finally makes him kill himself is not the firmness of his resolve but the unbearable quality of this anguish which belongs to no one, of this suffering in the absence of the sufferer, of this waiting which is empty because life has stopped and can no longer fill it.

… What is certain is that they all suffered beyond description, to the point where suffering has become a mental sickness. And as we bow in homage to their gifts and to their bright memory, we should bow compassionately before their suffering.

Philip Roth wrote:

What was astonishing to him was how people seemed to run out of their own being, run out of whatever the stuff was that made them who they were and, drained of themselves, turn into the sort of people they would have once have felt sorry for. It was as though while their lives were rich and full they were secretly sick of themselves and couldn’t wait to dispose of their sanity and their health and all sense of proportion so as to get down to that other self, the true self, who was a wholly deluded fuckup. It was as though being in tune with life was an accident that might sometimes befall the fortunate young but was otherwise something for which human beings lacked any real affinity. How odd. And how odd it made him seem to be numbered among the countless unembattled normal ones might, in fact, be the abnormality, a stranger from real life because of his being so sturdily rooted.


August Kleinzahler’s comment on his wild and brilliant brother, who killed himself at 27: “He wasn’t made for the long haul. Not everyone is.”


This poem by Donald Justice is very much in line with Pasternak and Roth:

For The Suicides of 1962

in memory: J & G

If we recall your voices
As softer now, it’s only
That they must have drifted back

A long way to have reached us
Here, and upon such a wind
As crosses the high passes.

Nor does the blue of your eyes
(Remembered) cast much light on
The page ripped from the tablet.


Once there in the labyrinth,
You were safe from your reasons.
We stand, now, at the threshold,

Peering in, but the passage,
For us, remains obscure; the
Corridors are still bloody.


What you meant to prove you have
Proved: we did not care for you
nearly enough. Meanwhile the

Bay was preparing herself
To receive you, the for once
Wholly adequate female

To your dark inclinations;
Under your care, the pistol
Was slowly learning to flower

In the desired explosion
Disturbing the careful part
And the briefly recovered

Fixed smile of a forgotten
Triumph; deep within the black
Forest of childhood that tree

Was already rising which,
With the length of your body,
Would cast the double shadow.


The masks by which we knew you
Have been torn from you. Even
Those mirrors, to which always

You must have turned to confide,
Cannot have recognized you,
Stripped, as you were, finally.

At the end of your shadow
There sat another, waiting,
Whose back was always to us.


When the last door had been closed,
You watched, inwardly raging,
For the first glimpse of your selves
Approaching, jangling their keys.

Two shootings and some truly amazing fights…

Spring Break 2019 is just getting started.

On her first tentative very early morning walk on the beach…

… after being ill, UD walks directly into a seal. What a moment.

Didn’t want to approach too close. You’ll have to zoom in.

‘I wonder if he’ll get accepted to Jale.’

The commenters at Deadspin never disappoint. This one wonders whether the all-’round nasty women’s soccer coach at Yale will end up a Jalie. The coach was raised in UD‘s neck of of the woods and went to a local school she knows well: Richard Montgomery High. I figure he couldn’t believe his eyes when he got to Yale, a billionaire thirty times over, and he reasonably enough looked around for ways he could be rich like all the people around him were rich. You know the deal, right? Our perceived wealth is largely based on the wealth of the people around us – neighbors, colleagues. How many eighteen year old fuckheads did he see driving Ferrari F60 Americas before he decided to get a piece of that?

Oh, and he didn’t only take bribes. He reportedly made his players write his papers for him. AND when told about it, Yale reportedly did nothing.

UD roaring back…

… from her recent brief illness. Still a bit weak, but recovering in a seaside room in Rehoboth Beach, so nothing to complain about. Frustrated that I don’t have the energy to blog just yet, since the admissions scandal keeps spawning scandalettes (many involving a UD fave, Philip Esformes!) and I’m determined to keep up. If there were ever a story that had UNIVERSITY DIARIES written all over it, this is the one.

Beach trip postponed.

I’m under the weather. It’s why I’ve not blogged for a bit. Am making tea. We’ll see.

Our Showy Id.

[T]hey were plenty wealthy, and appeared very comfortable with lying without compunction to get their way, and with throwing around hundreds of thousands of dollars in their quest to buy status. They were immediately fascinating characters to me: vulgar, entitled, and un-self-aware, they seemed to embody the latest version of the showy American id, not unlike Bravo’s Real Housewives, or the Kardashians, or, for that matter, the Trump family. ..

The people involved [in the admissions scam] were so self-satisfied and secure in their power that they greeted unethical, perhaps felonious proposals with complete nonchalance.


If you’ve ever wondered why everyone’s always telling you The Great Gatsby is the great American novel…

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

‘[A] dumb criminal, [captured and] in a panic, blurted out “I bribed my dumb daughter into Yale!” when pressured if he had anything to trade.’

The origin of this country’s university admissions scandal is as sweet and fresh-smelling as the scandal itself.

Team America!

Case #…


And I’m sure Vanderbilt University’s not the only one.

Vanderbilt’s immune system worked: Scammers were unable to find anyone to bribe in order to admit the rancid rich.

Fact is, not all American universities are criminal in this way. Yale and University of Southern California certainly are: Both seem to offer multiple avenues of corrupt access. But there are other Vanderbilts out there, schools that avoid, among other things, hiring greedy shits to coach their students. (Along those lines: Did the University of Rhode Island not know why its new tennis coach was fired at Georgetown? How could they have hired the dude?) As this big-time story evolves, I think we’ll see more and more universities touting their … well, their legitimacy.

For the record: The more you monetize these non-profit settings – the more you look like, say, Yeshiva University, which spawned Madoff, Merkin, Rennert, and Wilf, the more bad actors you’re incubating across the entire system. People get the message, people! Look at the University of Louisville with its high-profile, highly-paid, low-lifes, from athletics to the office of the presidency. What do you think other people at the university, pondering this cast of characters, are going to conclude?

The Heroine of the Piece…

… and there’s finally a heroine! – is Olivia Jade Giannulli, who has been honest from the start about the pointlessness of college for a subset of Americans. Have you ever bothered checking how many successful actors and actresses have even attended college? These are people who start auditioning while they’re young and just keep going, and it’s clear that Olivia – a product of Hollywood – is one of them. Sans blague, UD finds this tweet of hers incredibly to the point, canny, and worthy of immortality.

it’s so hard to try in school when you don’t care about anything you’re learning

She is absolutely correct. The reason Olivia’s folks are doing the perp walk right now is that you don’t get to raise people who don’t care about what colleges teach and then desperately try to get them to commit years of their life to colleges. That way lies admissions-fraud. People who attack Olivia as ignorant for writing things like this are quite mistaken.

Do you think that because UD runs a blog about universities she thinks everyone should go to one? Just the opposite. As Olivia says of her wildly successful parents: “Mostly my parents really wanted me to go because both of them didn’t go to college… I think they did fine.” Virtually no one in her world goes to college – check it out if you don’t believe me — check out your favorite star’s bio — and though maybe some of them might in theory get something out of it, that’s just the way it is. Hollywood is otherwise engaged, and in fact it’s pretty common for likely screen stars to drop out of high school. Big-time athletes and actors are on fast tracks; athletes forced by silly rules to be in college for a year or two are, many of them, joke students. College is kind of an absurdity for lots of types of people.

Olivia is acutely aware that her Hollywood ma and pa forced her to go to college for social and sentimental, rather than intellectual, reasons. She rightly resents having to cool her jets for four years (or more! if she really intends to graduate) as she gets older while barely pubescent competitors strut their stuff.

So don’t give Olivia a hard time for being spoiled and taking up some striving brilliant first-generation immigrant’s place at USC; she’s been quite clear that she doesn’t want to be there and that the striving immigrant is more than welcome to help her engineer her escape (it can’t come soon enough!).

‘[Christopher] Freeman faces previous drug and weapons charges…’

Back to School Day à l’américaine.

Among a sudden flurry of satires…

.. this is a good one.

I could also be very good at: rowing ($300,000), golf ($147,000), dance ($203,000), soccer ($375,000), but probably tennis is best bet/makes most sense?

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Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
New York Times

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days.
The Electron Pencil

It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
Professor Mondo

There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

You can get your RDA of academic liars, cheats, and greedy frauds at University Diaries. All disciplines, plus athletics.
truffula, commenting at Historiann

Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
Dissent: The Blog

[UD belittles] Mrs. Palin's degree in communications from the University of Idaho...
The Wall Street Journal

Professor Margaret Soltan, blogging at University Diaries... provide[s] an important voice that challenges the status quo.
Lee Skallerup Bessette, Inside Higher Education

[University Diaries offers] the kind of attention to detail in the use of language that makes reading worthwhile.
Sean Dorrance Kelly, Harvard University

Margaret Soltan's ire is a national treasure.
Roland Greene, Stanford University

The irrepressibly to-the-point Margaret Soltan...
Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Margaret Soltan, whose blog lords it over the rest of ours like a benevolent tyrant...
Perplexed with Narrow Passages

Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here...
Outside the Beltway

From Margaret Soltan's excellent coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal comes this tip...
Money Law

University Diaries offers a long-running, focused, and extremely effective critique of the university as we know it.
Anthony Grafton, American Historical Association

The inimitable Margaret Soltan is, as usual, worth reading. ...
Medical Humanities Blog

I awake this morning to find that the excellent Margaret Soltan has linked here and thereby singlehandedly given [this blog] its heaviest traffic...
Ducks and Drakes

As Margaret Soltan, one of the best academic bloggers, points out, pressure is mounting ...
The Bitch Girls

Many of us bloggers worry that we don’t post enough to keep people’s interest: Margaret Soltan posts every day, and I more or less thought she was the gold standard.
Tenured Radical

University Diaries by Margaret Soltan is one of the best windows onto US university life that I know.
Mary Beard, A Don's Life

[University Diaries offers] a broad sense of what's going on in education today, framed by a passionate and knowledgeable reporter.
More magazine, Canada

If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
Notes of a Neophyte