Friday, March 28, 2008, 04:07 AM - Posted by AdministratorToday my "Senior Week Chairs" sent me an email about all of the expensive things I can sign up to do in the week before graduation. There are a lot of annoying things about the message, and some of them are representative of larger problems with Cornell. So I think it will be appropriate to discuss the email here.
First of all, the email is pretty grammatically unsound. If these kids were as smart as they think they are after their four years of pretentious Ivy League education, they might realize, for instance, that commas go INSIDE quotation marks, and that "lets" is the third-person singular of the verb "let," which is distinct from "let's," as in "let's have some fun." I clearly recall learning these things in fourth grade; you'd think that the fancy prep schools that most of my classmates attended would have included the basics of English grammar at some point in their curriculums. Similarly, my Senior Week Chairs should look up "dawn" in a dictionary and compare its meaning to that of "don." Alternatively, they could listen carefully to "Deck the Halls" next Christmastime.
Naturally, I understand that this is only an email, not a book, so it's a little unfair to be so critical of some mistakes which may have been the result of haste, not incompetence. On the other hand, they sent this message to several thousand people, so you'd think they could have taken the time to proofread.
Moreover, the rampant pretension in the email makes the grammatical problems all the more unforgivable. For instance, my Senior Week Chairs tell me that "Cornell's Senior Week is one of the largest in the country, and we have earned it." How did we earn it? By paying way too much money to go to a school filled with pretentious fascists who think they're SO smart because they go to CORNELL? Why don't you go make some legitimately intelligent contribution to something in real life instead of constructing an arbitrary identity for yourself based upon the university you attend and how prestigious you've decided it is?
It's also annoying that they call Senior Week a "tradition." Everyone knows, or at least should know, that traditions are just another way of tricking people into doing stuff that doesn't make sense. For instance, no one normal under ordinary circumstances would mumble some ridiculous prayers in Latin and other languages that he doesn't understand. But when the Catholic Church says it's part of the tradition of the "Easter Vigil" mass, everyone thinks it's awesome to mumble prayers in Latin that they don't understand. Similarly, no one normal would pay eighteen dollars to eat brunch at Rulloff's. But if it's part of the tradition of Senior Week, it magically becomes legitimate and logical. Why do people think like this?
In conclusion, here is the email, with its frustraing parts emphasized: