College, Cheating and the American Way
We’re so overwhelmed with horrible, toxic shit these days that it’s a delightful change of pace to encounter a bona fide scandal that’s juicy and irresistible to rubberneckers and schadenfreude enthusiasts but doesn’t involve sexual assault or harassment or putting terrified children in cages.
So we should all thank Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and all of the other big spenders caught up in the college cheating scandal for briefly taking our minds of the inexorable horror of everyday life in Trump’s America by giving us sometimes sexy but fundamentally unimportant to gossip about.
I find the scandal fascinating as well as surprising. That’s not because I nurse any illusions about the character or integrity of celebrities. Rather, I find the college cheating scandal surprising because I naturally assumed that our culture is so irrevocably rigged in favor of the rich and famous that people like Loughlin or Huffman wouldn’t need to go to the extreme lengths of paying disreputable characters insane amounts of money to take tests for their children or pass their under-achieving offspring off as varsity-caliber athletes because colleges, even genuinely good colleges, would bend over backwards for the honor of having the do-nothing children of famous people matriculate at their schools.
I assumed that if you’re Lori Loughlin’s daughter you can just put “My mom was on Full House for a million years and now is on Fuller House. Also, my father is the famous designer Mossimo, apparently” under the “Extracurriculars” portion of a college application and the star-struck, extremely non-famous person handling admissions will see that and think, “Well, that technically doesn’t have anything to do with extracurriculars but it’s nevertheless WAY more impressive than that annoying poor girl who rides to blind orphans and widows.”
If you’re rich and famous in God’s own United States, or just the progeny of the rich and famous, you should not have to earn your way through life on the basis of hard work. That shit is for people who were born poor and anonymous, like myself. No, if you’re rich or famous in the United States, or a child of privilege, then all of the good things in life should just be handed to you on a silver platter.
That’s pretty much the essence of the American Dream. What’s the point of working hard to provide a better life for your child if they then have to also work hard? No, the whole point is to work hard and contribute something substantive to society so that your children can lead lazy, entitled, shiftless lives of debauched leisure.
That’s why expecting the children of celebrities or the wealthy to get into college by getting good grades and test scores feels like a violation of the American way. Look at the lives and social media presences of Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr. to get a sense of just how easy it is for dead-eyed sub-humans who’ve led lives wholly devoid of accomplishment, meaning or merit to get ahead in American society if their daddy is rich and famous.
Honestly, I did not think that there were rules, really, for the parents or the children of the rich and famous, let alone rules that would result in jail time or probation for something as seemingly silly and inconsequential as cheating to get into a better college.
I think it’s great that there are apparently strict rules governing the rich and famous when it comes to getting their kids into college illegally. I think it’d be even better if there were similarly strict rules for the wealthy and powerful when it comes to slightly more important matters like paying taxes or facing legal consequences for much more serious crimes. But holding the rich and powerful accountable for something, anything, is not a bad start.
I am not rich and powerful, and rely upon crowd-funding just to pay the bills. You can totally pledge over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace