The real world … dude
In the words of Greil Marcus: “What is this shit?”
The former executive of Dance Marathon, NU’s overpublicized yearly philanthropy, has some of the most banal, rich-white-guy observations I’ve read since I folded up the last Nation with a Jonathan Schell story.
In college the solution to social problems seemed so easy. But after working for food stamp reform for LA county, Rachel realized nothing is simple. I realized that myself after DM chose its first social charity. And it wasn’t just because the original charity we selected was linked to Opus Dei. [Ed: Who cares?]
By using private dollars to provide a good education for inner-city students, we were taking the pressure off the government to use public dollars. Educations should be a problem left to private charities.
We were accused of contributing to a complacent attitude that when government falls short, private charities will pick up the slack. One student gets the scholarship to a private high school, but the majority are still stuck with an inadequate school system. There are no easy answers. This was a theme from “The Fog of War” that we absorbed as we sat in the independent movie house in early February.
I often wonder if my number will be up, and I’ll be forced to return to my parents’ house on a midnight train to Georgia to wait tables. I remembered Rachel admitting she wasn’t sure if this life of public service would pay her bills. This realization hit her especially hard when she visited consultant friends in New York who made more in one day than she did in a week.
But then I remembered that look in her eyes as she stared down the humiliation of a starving homeless man on the sidewalk of Sunset Blvd. Her eyes reflected a mixture of compassion, conviction and disillusion. The fog of student groups was gone, and we will never stare down at our eggs again.
I’m thinking: You had to go to college for four years to realize there were problems in the real world, and solutions were tricky? Christ, I’m glad I did a useful major.