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Williams Culture

Although this WSO discussion started silly (or clever, depending on your point of view), it is about to get very interesting.

“That’s what Williams is about. We’re well-balanced people who know how to have a good time and play some sports.” Sounds like a $40,000 a year summer camp that just so happens to produce a degree that’s likely to land you an extremely well-paying job. I’m not saying there isn’t any room for beer or video games in an intellectual life, either–that’s another mistake that follows from the false dichotomy of “antisocial book nerd” vs “well-rounded”.

Apparently, saying anything negative about Williams (or anything) is now classified as “complaining”, the implication being that since the speaker has failed to single-handedly change whatever he or she is dissatisfied with, his or her point is invalidated.

Of course, one can say “This is just the way Williams is, you don’t have to come here.” Well, in that case, Williams should be a little more straightforward about advertising the fact that it has the overt culture of a summer camp for trust fund babies.

More coming later, probably.

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#1 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On April 14, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

Apparently, saying anything negative about Williams (or anything) is now classified as “complaining”, the implication being that since the speaker has failed to single-handedly change whatever he or she is dissatisfied with, his or her point is invalidated.

Give me a moment and I’ll tell you a little bit about Kaizen, the philosophy and strategy at Toyota that allows any worker to stop the line of production when they have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Then I’ll tell you that Williams and the rest of academia needs this.

#2 Comment By Alexander Woo On April 15, 2006 @ 2:36 am

2 separate brief comments:

1) “I don’t think it would have all got me quite so down if just once in a while–just *once* in a while–there was at least some polite little perfunctory implication that knowledge *should* lead to *wisdom*, and that if it *doesn’t*, it’s just a disgusting waste of time!”

-Franny, in J. D. Salinger, _Franny and Zooey_ (p. 146 in my copy)

2) Williams students are too willing to be subjects rather than citizens, and the Williams administration is too willing to have subjects rather than citizens.