Wealthy Whiners: The Institutional Perspective

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Fair warning: this is not a "serious" addition to consideration of the "whiny law professor" syndrome. But I found it droll to compare two notes about the specific institutional background of the complainant. First, a University of Chicago graduate writes to say:  UChicago.jpg

I don't think anyone has mentioned the one reason for Professor Henderson's revelations that would be obvious to any U of C Alumni: The University of Chicago is a horrible place that makes people unhappy. See this.
 
Filled with smart people, but not very keen on the social skills.<<

To which I say: Now, now, now... I taught a writing class there this spring and adored (in the right sense!) the students I worked with. But even they joked about the "where fun comes to die" U of C school spirit. To be more precise: the graduate students joked. Some of the undergraduates said, What's so funny?

Then, an administrator at Harvard wrote in umbrage about an item that I had called "Self-Pity of the Harvard 'Poor,'" because I was quoting a Harvard College/Harvard Law graduate on financial resentments as he had observed them among his peers. From the administrator:

>>I'm sure there are whiners around Harvard, too, but the headline for that post isn't right when the self-pitier [the law professor] is a Princeton undergrad / Chicago law grad. (And from his bio I was pleased to see there's another place that refers to "the Law School.")<<

When I wrote back saying, Lighten up! Using "Harvard" as a metaphor!, he expressed relief and returned to the policy high-road:

>>I hope progress can be made in getting people to appreciate how the growing concentration of income in the top 0.1% is very unhealthy for the country.<<

So far, a tactful silence from Princeton. Back to "serious" stuff shortly.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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