Her betrayal consists of being gauche enough to acknowledge publicly a truth that everyone who’s come up through Ivy League culture knows intuitively — that elite universities are about connecting more than learning, that the social world matters far more than the classroom to undergraduates, and that rather than an escalator elevating the best and brightest from every walk of life, the meritocracy as we know it mostly works to perpetuate the existing upper class.
Ross Douthat, IMHO, nails it on the dynamic behind an Ivy League education, and I commend the article. And, of course, this is the United States, where the quickest way to make people mad is to state the obvious.
In good élite fashion, however, Ms. Patton couched her advice to marry while still at Princeton in terms of finding someone of the same intellectual calibre as you are. When I read this, the first thing that popped into my mind was this: if one’s central objective is to find a brainy spouse, one shouldn’t head to Harvard or Yale but to Beijing University, hopefully armed with Mandarin fluency.
But then again, as this Palm Beacher well knows, there are some things that just aren’t said in polite company.