"Where are the Yale men who had their soft tweed jackets and their Oxford-gray flannel trousers made at J. Press and Arthur M. Rosenberg; who trod the Memorial Quadrangle shod in the Raywood-model, full brogue, slip-on Peal shoe and the Oxford-cloth, rolling, button-down-collar Brooks Brothers shirt?
How can such noisome behavior, base and vile, reek from this once-great flower of American academia?”And what’s happened to the tables down at Mory’s, which the 21 Club wished it looked like? And whither the Fence Club, the swellest undergraduate sodality, where Huggins, the club permittee, the white-jacketed Negro gentleman’s gentleman, brooded over his boys with warm breast and, ah, bright wings? Ralph Lauren would have made a mess of himself had he seen such authentic WASP class and décor: stuffed leather chairs, polished mahogany tables, Turkish carpets, and framed pictures of Y-sweatered Eli captains sitting on the Yale Fence.
Ties and jackets are gone. It’s all jeans, sneakers, and T-shirts. By looking at him, you can’t tell a modern Yale man from a University of Connecticut townie. God knows what the female undergraduates look like, but “Yale slut” hardly bespeaks knee socks, pleated skirts, McMullen blouses, cashmere cable-knit cardigans, and circle pins. Socially, Yale is in the Ivy League basement..."
One might, of course, extend the point. The entire Ivy League and American higher education establishment itself is in the basement. It is best to be avoided. I tell my clients, and their children, to stop feeding the Beast and to consider universities in Canada, Australia, Britain, and Europe, where higher education is not only arguably better, but also cheaper and marginally less politicised. Or, to forego university completely. But that is a subject for another column. The American Ivy League universities have not been Preppy or Ivy for 30 or 40 years now. Come to think of it, they have not been properly American for decades either, inhabited today mostly by Mongols, Planetarians, foreigners, and swots. Which renders the homage paid to them in certain American quarters a foolish exercise in sycophancy and sentimentalism.