Why is it so much fun to hate Ivy Leaguers? In part, because they (well, we*) can often be so hateable. For years, I toyed with the idea of offering a prize to the first Harvard grad I met who did not, in the first ten minutes of conversation, manage to work that fact into the conversation somehow. ("I see you're eating a bagel there. You know, when I was in school in Boston, I liked to eat bagels . . . ").

I guess I did offer a prize, of sorts; we dated for years.

And don't get me started on the people from Harvard Business School, who, unbeknownst to themselves, were the source of untold hilarity at each and every summer internship program, as they strove to reassure us that they thought that our MBA program was every bit as good as Harvard, honestly.

But really, who cares? As far as I can tell, an Ivy league degree is at best a modest boost. One of my roommates from Penn was, when last heard of, still working at the library and mooching off other peoples' weed. On the other hand, few of the smartest and most talented people I know have Ivy League degrees; it seems to be a better indicator of where you started out than where you'll end up.

The weirdest thing to me about Washington is that this snobbery--and the inevitable reverse snobbery--are more prevalent than in any other city I've lived in. Friends who went to state schools tell astonishing stories of pervasive, yet casual, slights on their school and the people who went there. You would think that a city dominated by politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists would have more of the common touch, but apparently just the reverse.

*There is no way to write this without being accused of parading my Ivy League degree. I'm going ahead anyway.

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