Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mud Season and Mud Slinging

CNN reports today on a number of New England Inns and hotels that are attempting to combat the early spring lull in visitors by offering "Mud Season"-themed packages. Mud-themed menus, spa treatments and other perks combine with lower prices to lure people up north. Who knew that the mud that turns the Big Green into the Big Brown could be such a selling point? I'm surprised that the Alumni Office hasn't put together a "Mud Weekend" program or that the Admissions Office hasn't used it as a hook yet.

And while we're on the subject of mud, there's been a lot of mud-slinging between the Dartblog and the Little Green Blog lately. Malchow's post, "Rich, Fat Elite Liberals,"commented on a study that found that many trustfunders are, contrary to public opinion, Democrats. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since oftentimes people with secure economic futures have the time and resources to devote to advancing liberal social ideas. Malchow's comment that the Democratic party is the " most homogenous, monolithic, establishmentarian political group currently extant," was, however, probably not in the best interests of civilized discource.

Over on LGB, Chris Bateman certainly felt that way, responding with his post on the "Trustfunder Left." While Bateman's personal comments are also not conducive to polite discussion, his refutation of the points made by demographer Michael Barone is worth reading.

The problem with this debate, however, is not that Dartmouth trustfunders are hard to stereotype but that people find it necessary to discuss the politics of Dartmouth's "trust fund babies" apart from the politics of the greater Dartmouth population. Whatever class and economic tensions there may be underneath the surface, isn't one of Dartmouth's goals to provide a forum for discussion where everyone's opinion is weighted equally, regardless of race, sex, class and creed? Looking only at a particular class, whether positively or negatively, disrupts the exchange of ideas in the same way singling out any minority group would. And such instances of prejudice can muddy Dartmouth's reputation whether its mud season or not.

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