… (or anyway that’s the famous phrase we all like) characterizes quite a few American universities.
Some of these village idiots aren’t in rural settings at all – echt-provincial Suffolk University (Boston), St. John’s University (New York), Yeshiva University (New York), and St. Louis University (St. Louis) are four urban cow towns whose brainless money grubbing (self-righteous money grubbing at that, if, like Yeshiva, St. John’s, and St. Louis, they align themselves with synagogues and churches) this blog has chronicled.
All American universities have closed, small-town aspects to them; here, we’re talking about truly tribal fortresses with certifiable martinets.
To turn a university (think of the word itself) into a banana republic, you need — call it structural cronyism. The president, the board of trustees, the coaches, the big-time donors — in order to make an intellectual institution deadhead central, all must be in synch.
You see the model at work at Oakland University in Michigan, whose women’s basketball coach was married to the school’s president. (Yes, yes, UD believes people should marry whoever they want.) Power seems to have gone to the coach’s head to the point where she did a sort of Mike Rice on her players, who report – among other cult rituals – bizarre physical and religious tests. Things got so weird that the Ceausescus of Oakland have now been toppled; but you’d think schools would learn, from one story after another of this sort, the difference between cherishing their particular identities and becoming rural idiots.