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Premodern Academic Architecture: The College Campus as Hogwarts
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Harvard’s freshman dining hall

In my new column “Hogwash 101” in Taki’s Magazine, I cite Spotted Toad’s blogpost about how

Harry Potter has become a surprisingly obsessive allegorical tool for liberals’ opposition to the Trump Administration

He quoted a New York Times oped by a high school girl touring colleges:

I was surprised when many top colleges delivered the same pitch. It turns out, they’re all a little bit like Hogwarts — the school for witches and wizards in the “Harry Potter” books and movies. Or at least, that’s what the tour guides kept telling me.

During a Harvard information session, the admissions officer compared the intramural sports competitions there to the Hogwarts House Cup. The tour guide told me that I wouldn’t be able to see the university’s huge freshman dining hall as it was closed for the day, but to just imagine Hogwarts’s Great Hall in its place.

Above is a picture of Harvard’s Annenberg Hall, as suggested by commenter Syonredux. From the Harvard admissions website:

Freshmen have the privilege of taking all of their meals in Annenberg Hall, which you have likely seen in every single admissions brochure. It looks very much like the Great Hall from Harry Potter, except our tables run the wrong way (still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing). Annenberg seems really cool at first because, as mentioned above, it is essentially Hogwarts.

In Tom Wolfe’s novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, the old aesthete drops in a bombshell of a paragraph cynically summing up what he’s learned from his lifetime’s obsessions with architecture and status about why we love beautiful buildings. Poor Adam Gellin, the much put-upon undergrad intellectual, has fled from the gay rights rally he was intimidated into appearing in into the gothic majesty of the Dupont U. library. (Dupont U. is more or less Duke U., which has perhaps the most extravagant architecture of any American college):

He stood in the lobby, just stood there, looking up at the ceiling and taking in its wonders one by one, as if he had never laid eyes on them before, the vaulted ceiling, all the ribs, the covert way spotlights, floodlights, and wall washers had been added … It was so calming … but why? … He thought of every possible reason except for the real one, which was that the existence of conspicuous consumption one has rightful access to — as a student had rightful access to the fabulous Dupont Memorial Library — creates a sense of well-being.

Yup. Having rightful access to magnificent architecture makes you feel good.

(By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)

Maybe Wolfe’s insight has something to do with why there seem to be so many protests at Southern California’s Claremont Colleges over the years regarding the purportedly oppressive “campus climate.” As I’ve often joked, the actual climate in Claremont, CA seems halcyon, but the most vocal students claim to find the metaphorical climate debilitating.

This may have something to do with some of the constituent colleges of this consortium (with contiguous campuses) being among the few prestigious private colleges founded after WWII. The postwar modernist architecture at Claremont McKenna and Pitzer is completely non-Hogwartians. Harvey Mudd, for example, looks like a motel.

Maybe the Claremont students wouldn’t kvetch so much if they had some Hogwarts-style buildings on campus to make them feel better about themselves?

 
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  1. “By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.”

    Definitely- centuries of staid residual New England Puritanism and post-Puritanism is not great at inspiring magnificent and ornate architecture.

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  2. Being in the Island Empire aren’t the Claremont Colleges bloody hot at least during the beginning and end of the academic year?

    Read More
    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... they are hot -- as Steven Glick discovered -- but not in a good way ...
  3. my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect

    The newer buildings around Harvard Yard were built to conform with the understated brick colonial buildings such as Massachusetts Hall (1720) and Holden Chapel (1744). I the most impressive college buildings are ornate neo-gothic, which it does not have any of, or monumental neo-classical, which it has a few of, particularly the gigantic main and law libraries.

    Widener Library http://www.leekennedy.com/assets/Exterior_BruceMartin2.jpg
    Law Library http://www.mpi.lu/fileadmin/mpi/medien/Photo-exhibition/US_Harvard_Law_School_Library__1_.jpg

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux
    Here's the exterior of Memorial Hall. Henry James has a nice passage on it in The Bostonians:


    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5q5BGBVAAMElAr.jpg
  4. (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)

    Yeah. I’ve walked around Harvard several times, and my feelings are about the same. Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus. There are several fine buildings, but they don’t have space to breathe. Of course, that’s largely due to the fact that the Harvard campus has grown in an organic fashion, which means things are rather cheek-by-jowl. UVA, in contrast, enjoyed Thomas Jefferson’s guiding hand:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C2ACjsmXcAArQC7.jpg

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux
    Another view of Jefferson's handiwork:


    https://twitter.com/cavdailyphoto/status/488751294702571520
    , @Lot

    Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus.
     
    Cambridge is the 4th most densely populated city in America with greater than 100,000 people. Above it are New York, San Francisco, and Paterson, NJ. This is even with 20% of its area devoted to the large Fresh Pond and surrounding park plus part of Mt Auburn Cemetery.
    , @donut
    Cambridge is an unattractive city . As for Harvard's freshman dining hall it looses it's attraction when you picture it populated by AA community activists from Chicago and mediocre legacy Jews whose parents bought their way in . I suspect that Harvard like Johns Hopkins never saw a brown person they didn't like .
    , @Stan Adams
    Michael Cimino agrees with you - or, at least, he did agree with you when he was making Heaven's Gate.

    He chose to shoot the film's prologue, set at Harvard, at Oxford:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_pfQvSP7I#t=0m17s
  5. As I see it, human architecture has never surpassed the aesthetics of the finest of the High Gothic medieval cathedrals.

    http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/the-cathedral.html

    So I don’t find it surprising that students at schools such as Duke and Princeton enjoy gamboling through Gothic arches and feeding in grand dining halls with vaulted ceilings that a Capetian King of France would have envied, not to mention a headmaster of Hogwarts.

    But it’s another example of good for me, but not for thee. Beautiful Gothic arches and stained glass windows for me, ugly brutalist concrete boxes for thee.

    Read More
  6. @syonredux

    (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
     
    Yeah. I've walked around Harvard several times, and my feelings are about the same. Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus. There are several fine buildings, but they don't have space to breathe. Of course, that's largely due to the fact that the Harvard campus has grown in an organic fashion, which means things are rather cheek-by-jowl. UVA, in contrast, enjoyed Thomas Jefferson's guiding hand:




    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C2ACjsmXcAArQC7.jpg

    Another view of Jefferson’s handiwork:

    Read More
    • Replies: @bored identity
    Hatefferson didn't build that!!!

    Black Bodies did it.

    Pyramids, too.
    , @markflag
    But he owned slaves. Isn't he supposed to apologize and then the university to grovel. Maybe tear down a few buildings.
  7. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Princeton and Yale have more of what you imagine to be impressive “Ivy League” buildings.

    Duke is of course a Princeton rip-off.

    Read More
  8. @syonredux

    (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
     
    Yeah. I've walked around Harvard several times, and my feelings are about the same. Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus. There are several fine buildings, but they don't have space to breathe. Of course, that's largely due to the fact that the Harvard campus has grown in an organic fashion, which means things are rather cheek-by-jowl. UVA, in contrast, enjoyed Thomas Jefferson's guiding hand:




    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C2ACjsmXcAArQC7.jpg

    Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus.

    Cambridge is the 4th most densely populated city in America with greater than 100,000 people. Above it are New York, San Francisco, and Paterson, NJ. This is even with 20% of its area devoted to the large Fresh Pond and surrounding park plus part of Mt Auburn Cemetery.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    New York City, San Francisco and ... Paterson, NJ.
    Now that's what I call an anti-climax.
  9. @Lot

    my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect
     
    The newer buildings around Harvard Yard were built to conform with the understated brick colonial buildings such as Massachusetts Hall (1720) and Holden Chapel (1744). I the most impressive college buildings are ornate neo-gothic, which it does not have any of, or monumental neo-classical, which it has a few of, particularly the gigantic main and law libraries.

    Widener Library http://www.leekennedy.com/assets/Exterior_BruceMartin2.jpg
    Law Library http://www.mpi.lu/fileadmin/mpi/medien/Photo-exhibition/US_Harvard_Law_School_Library__1_.jpg

    Here’s the exterior of Memorial Hall. Henry James has a nice passage on it in The Bostonians:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5q5BGBVAAMElAr.jpg

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot
    That is verging into Gothic, but still red brick and with colorful but otherwise plain roofs.
    , @syonredux
    Here's the passage from The Bostonians where Basil Ransom visits Memorial Hall:

    "Now there is one place where perhaps it would be indelicate to take a Mississippian," Verena said, after this episode. "I mean the great place that towers above the others—that big building with the beautiful pinnacles, which you see from every point." But Basil Ransom had heard of the great Memorial Hall; he knew what memories it enshrined, and the worst that he should have to suffer there; and the ornate, overtopping structure, which was the finest piece of architecture he had ever seen, had moreover solicited his enlarged curiosity for the last half-hour. He thought there was rather too much brick about it, but it was buttressed, cloistered, turreted, dedicated, superscribed, as he had never seen anything; though it didn't look old, it looked significant; it covered a large area, and it sprang majestic into the winter air. It was detached from the rest of the collegiate group, and stood in a grassy triangle of its own. As he approached it with Verena she suddenly stopped, to decline responsibility. "Now mind, if you don't like what's inside, it isn't my fault."

    He looked at her an instant, smiling. "Is there anything against Mississippi?"

    "Well, no, I don't think she is mentioned. But there is great praise of our young men in the war."

    "It says they were brave, I suppose."

    "Yes, it says so in Latin."

    "Well, so they were—I know something about that," Basil Ransom said. "I must be brave enough to face them—it isn't the first time." And they went up the low steps and passed into the tall doors. The Memorial Hall of Harvard consists of three main divisions: one of them a theatre, for academic ceremonies; another a vast refectory, covered with a timbered roof, hung about with portraits and lighted by stained windows, like the halls of the colleges of Oxford; and the third, the most interesting, a chamber high, dim, and severe, consecrated to the sons of the university who fell in the long Civil War. Ransom and his companion wandered from one part of the building to another, and stayed their steps at several impressive points; but they lingered longest in the presence of the white, ranged tablets, each of which, in its proud, sad clearness, is inscribed with the name of a student-soldier. The effect of the place is singularly noble and solemn, and it is impossible to feel it without a lifting of the heart. It stands there for duty and honour, it speaks of sacrifice and example, seems a kind of temple to youth, manhood, generosity. Most of them were young, all were in their prime, and all of them had fallen; this simple idea hovers before the visitor and makes him read with tenderness each name and place—names often without other history, and forgotten Southern battles. For Ransom these things were not a challenge nor a taunt; they touched him with respect, with the sentiment of beauty. He was capable of being a generous foeman, and he forgot, now, the whole question of sides and parties; the simple emotion of the old fighting-time came back to him, and the monument around him seemed an embodiment of that memory; it arched over friends as well as enemies, the victims of defeat as well as the sons of triumph.
     
  10. (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)

    You are correct, sir. I was there in September. This is just off campus:

    Read More
    • Replies: @slumber_j
    Was e e cummings's father maybe a minister there for a while? I'm pretty sure he was a Unitarian minister, and they did live in Cambridge, but I can't seem to find the information easily.

    I'd say Harvard's best buildings are the Richardsonian Romanesque offerings: Sever Hall in the Yard and Austin Hall at the Law School:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sever_Hall

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Hall_(Harvard_University)

    , @Anoni
    My ancestors' names are on that church. They would burn it down if they knew what the unitarian universalist church has become.

    Its really a shame that Sailer is forbidden crime thought. He has written some really insightful pieces about my Claremont 5-C's over the year. I'd love to put them on my door, but there are limits to how student BS I want to put up with. 24/7 Black lives matter protests are past those limits.
  11. Being at a good college with lousy architecture makes you feel oppressed. Being at a college with lavish architecture makes you feel superior to everyone else. Either way it comes down to the people who inhabit the architecture, not the architecture itself.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rod1963
    There is no reason why students should not have a pleasing architecture that makes them feel more human and the current modern/Brutalist garbage that makes people feel like convicts and cogs.

    When you think about our civilization it has nothing in the way of architecture or the arts that even come close to our predecessors. We have garbage. Buildings that look like they were designed by Nazi robots designed to dehumanize and crush the human spirit. Modern art that is garbage.

    When it goes, no one will miss it or remember it since it has nothing memorable about it.
  12. @syonredux
    Here's the exterior of Memorial Hall. Henry James has a nice passage on it in The Bostonians:


    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5q5BGBVAAMElAr.jpg

    That is verging into Gothic, but still red brick and with colorful but otherwise plain roofs.

    Read More
  13. @syonredux

    (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
     
    Yeah. I've walked around Harvard several times, and my feelings are about the same. Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus. There are several fine buildings, but they don't have space to breathe. Of course, that's largely due to the fact that the Harvard campus has grown in an organic fashion, which means things are rather cheek-by-jowl. UVA, in contrast, enjoyed Thomas Jefferson's guiding hand:




    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C2ACjsmXcAArQC7.jpg

    Cambridge is an unattractive city . As for Harvard’s freshman dining hall it looses it’s attraction when you picture it populated by AA community activists from Chicago and mediocre legacy Jews whose parents bought their way in . I suspect that Harvard like Johns Hopkins never saw a brown person they didn’t like .

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Cambridge is an unattractive city .
     
    Dunno. I lived in next door Medford for a time, and Cambridge always struck me as a rather pleasant place. I always enjoyed walking by the relics of the real America:

    The Asa Gray House, recorded in an HABS survey as the Garden House, is a historic house at 88 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A National Historic Landmark, it is notable architecturally as the earliest known work of the designer and architect Ithiel Town, and historically as the residence of several Harvard College luminaries. Its most notable occupant was Asa Gray (1810–88), a leading botanist who published the first complete work on American flora, and was a vigorous defender of the Darwinian theory of evolution.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asa_Gray_House

    The Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, also known as the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House and, until December 2010, Longfellow National Historic Site, is a historic site located at 105 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For almost fifty years, it was the home of noted American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It had previously served as the headquarters of General George Washington, 1775-76.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfellow_House%E2%80%93Washington%27s_Headquarters_National_Historic_Site

    Elmwood, also known as the Oliver-Gerry-Lowell House,[2] is a historic house and centerpiece of a National Historic Landmark District in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is known for several prominent former residents, including: Thomas Oliver (1734–1815), royal Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), signer of the US Declaration of Independence, Vice President of the United States and eponym of the term "gerrymandering"; and James Russell Lowell (1819–1891), noted American writer, poet, and foreign diplomat.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmwood_(Cambridge,_Massachusetts)
  14. @syonredux
    Here's the exterior of Memorial Hall. Henry James has a nice passage on it in The Bostonians:


    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5q5BGBVAAMElAr.jpg

    Here’s the passage from The Bostonians where Basil Ransom visits Memorial Hall:

    “Now there is one place where perhaps it would be indelicate to take a Mississippian,” Verena said, after this episode. “I mean the great place that towers above the others—that big building with the beautiful pinnacles, which you see from every point.” But Basil Ransom had heard of the great Memorial Hall; he knew what memories it enshrined, and the worst that he should have to suffer there; and the ornate, overtopping structure, which was the finest piece of architecture he had ever seen, had moreover solicited his enlarged curiosity for the last half-hour. He thought there was rather too much brick about it, but it was buttressed, cloistered, turreted, dedicated, superscribed, as he had never seen anything; though it didn’t look old, it looked significant; it covered a large area, and it sprang majestic into the winter air. It was detached from the rest of the collegiate group, and stood in a grassy triangle of its own. As he approached it with Verena she suddenly stopped, to decline responsibility. “Now mind, if you don’t like what’s inside, it isn’t my fault.”

    He looked at her an instant, smiling. “Is there anything against Mississippi?”

    “Well, no, I don’t think she is mentioned. But there is great praise of our young men in the war.”

    “It says they were brave, I suppose.”

    “Yes, it says so in Latin.”

    “Well, so they were—I know something about that,” Basil Ransom said. “I must be brave enough to face them—it isn’t the first time.” And they went up the low steps and passed into the tall doors. The Memorial Hall of Harvard consists of three main divisions: one of them a theatre, for academic ceremonies; another a vast refectory, covered with a timbered roof, hung about with portraits and lighted by stained windows, like the halls of the colleges of Oxford; and the third, the most interesting, a chamber high, dim, and severe, consecrated to the sons of the university who fell in the long Civil War. Ransom and his companion wandered from one part of the building to another, and stayed their steps at several impressive points; but they lingered longest in the presence of the white, ranged tablets, each of which, in its proud, sad clearness, is inscribed with the name of a student-soldier. The effect of the place is singularly noble and solemn, and it is impossible to feel it without a lifting of the heart. It stands there for duty and honour, it speaks of sacrifice and example, seems a kind of temple to youth, manhood, generosity. Most of them were young, all were in their prime, and all of them had fallen; this simple idea hovers before the visitor and makes him read with tenderness each name and place—names often without other history, and forgotten Southern battles. For Ransom these things were not a challenge nor a taunt; they touched him with respect, with the sentiment of beauty. He was capable of being a generous foeman, and he forgot, now, the whole question of sides and parties; the simple emotion of the old fighting-time came back to him, and the monument around him seemed an embodiment of that memory; it arched over friends as well as enemies, the victims of defeat as well as the sons of triumph.

    Read More
  15. The earlier buildings at Harvard would be neoclassical. The Gothic Revival was kicked-off by the publication of Augustus Pugin’s “Contrasts” (1836) – still an interesting read.

    Here, he compares the sort of hinge you can buy in a hardware store, with what he
    thinks a hinge ought to look like:

    http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/teach/decarts/images/SpCollq58_1.jpg

    (From his later book “True Principles ..”).

    I rather like the low-church, neoclassical, Georgian buildings he decries. They scale well and they’ve stood the test of time rather better than the Gothic Revival. Edinburgh New Town, and the Royal Crescent in Bath are more impressive than anything the Victorians built in terms of domestic architecture.

    Read More
  16. I always thought that was a library reading room; had no idea it was at H… and just the cafeteria.

    Read More
  17. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I remember Middlebury being quite meh when I visited last year. Smith, for instance, is much prettier.

    Read More
  18. @syonredux
    Here's the passage from The Bostonians where Basil Ransom visits Memorial Hall:

    "Now there is one place where perhaps it would be indelicate to take a Mississippian," Verena said, after this episode. "I mean the great place that towers above the others—that big building with the beautiful pinnacles, which you see from every point." But Basil Ransom had heard of the great Memorial Hall; he knew what memories it enshrined, and the worst that he should have to suffer there; and the ornate, overtopping structure, which was the finest piece of architecture he had ever seen, had moreover solicited his enlarged curiosity for the last half-hour. He thought there was rather too much brick about it, but it was buttressed, cloistered, turreted, dedicated, superscribed, as he had never seen anything; though it didn't look old, it looked significant; it covered a large area, and it sprang majestic into the winter air. It was detached from the rest of the collegiate group, and stood in a grassy triangle of its own. As he approached it with Verena she suddenly stopped, to decline responsibility. "Now mind, if you don't like what's inside, it isn't my fault."

    He looked at her an instant, smiling. "Is there anything against Mississippi?"

    "Well, no, I don't think she is mentioned. But there is great praise of our young men in the war."

    "It says they were brave, I suppose."

    "Yes, it says so in Latin."

    "Well, so they were—I know something about that," Basil Ransom said. "I must be brave enough to face them—it isn't the first time." And they went up the low steps and passed into the tall doors. The Memorial Hall of Harvard consists of three main divisions: one of them a theatre, for academic ceremonies; another a vast refectory, covered with a timbered roof, hung about with portraits and lighted by stained windows, like the halls of the colleges of Oxford; and the third, the most interesting, a chamber high, dim, and severe, consecrated to the sons of the university who fell in the long Civil War. Ransom and his companion wandered from one part of the building to another, and stayed their steps at several impressive points; but they lingered longest in the presence of the white, ranged tablets, each of which, in its proud, sad clearness, is inscribed with the name of a student-soldier. The effect of the place is singularly noble and solemn, and it is impossible to feel it without a lifting of the heart. It stands there for duty and honour, it speaks of sacrifice and example, seems a kind of temple to youth, manhood, generosity. Most of them were young, all were in their prime, and all of them had fallen; this simple idea hovers before the visitor and makes him read with tenderness each name and place—names often without other history, and forgotten Southern battles. For Ransom these things were not a challenge nor a taunt; they touched him with respect, with the sentiment of beauty. He was capable of being a generous foeman, and he forgot, now, the whole question of sides and parties; the simple emotion of the old fighting-time came back to him, and the monument around him seemed an embodiment of that memory; it arched over friends as well as enemies, the victims of defeat as well as the sons of triumph.
     

    Those were the days!

    Read More
  19. “(still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing)”

    “… Mrs. Rowling …”

    Universities are compulsorily re-educatimg faculty, staff and students about misgendering and pronoun usage, with a particular emphasis on guidance strongly urging genderless pronoun usage in textual output and public utterances.

    Some copywriter couldn’t resist the impulse to include a twee reference explicitly naming J.K. Rowling, and they styled her “Mrs. Rowling’.

    Does J.K Rowling style herself “Mrs. Rowling”?

    Rowling is her maiden* name. She married and divorced a man named Arantes, and latterly married a Dr. Murray.

    * It seems probable that “maiden name” is now stricken as heretical. Ditto such useful distinctions as blonde/blond, brunette/brunet, fiancée​/fiancé, masseuse/masseur, née/né, waitress/waiter, etc.

    At UBC, innocent [literally harmless], benevolent faculty and staff are being re-educated to use genderless language so they can remain employable.

    The UBC Aquatic Centre was (is?) having scheduled women-only hours to accommodate those members of the UBC community who prefer not / must not / dare not be seen in swimwear by men or adolescent boys. The windows were (are?) covered with thick black opaque mats to ensure the women could not be seen from outside the building.

    As Steve has pointed out, The Coalition of the Fringes is made up of disparate aggrieved identity politics groups whose grievances, aims, and demands are mutually incompatible, mutually antithetical, and potentially violently hostile to one another. What happens when a person with a Y-chromosome who self-identifies as a woman insists on admittance to the UBC Aquatic Centre during women-only hours? One can imagine murderously violent reactions from the menfolk of the majority user group of the women-only hours.

    Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    Whom the gods would destroy...
    , @Autochthon

    It seems probable that “maiden name” is now stricken as heretical. Ditto such useful distinctions as blonde/blond, brunette/brunet, fiancée​/fiancé, masseuse/masseur, née/né, waitress/waiter, etc.
     
    Newspeak has abolished actors and actresses; all thespians are now actors in Newspeak. Yet the Oscars continue to have awards for superlative actors and actresses distinctly. It is astonishing how little enthusiasm Meryl Streep has expressed for demanding a decision to see whether she or her male counterparts ought to relinquish the award from the relevant years....
  20. @Percy Gryce

    (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
     
    You are correct, sir. I was there in September. This is just off campus:

    https://twitter.com/percy_gryce/status/854824619269701633

    Was e e cummings’s father maybe a minister there for a while? I’m pretty sure he was a Unitarian minister, and they did live in Cambridge, but I can’t seem to find the information easily.

    I’d say Harvard’s best buildings are the Richardsonian Romanesque offerings: Sever Hall in the Yard and Austin Hall at the Law School:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sever_Hall

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Hall_(Harvard_University)

    Read More
  21. As an undergrad at [Stan Adams' alma mater], I had the distinct privilege of dining in the university food court. When I was a freshman, it offered such mouthwatering options as Burger King and Taco Bell.

    At the beginning of my sophomore year, Wendy’s replaced Burger King. But the real big news that year was the opening of the on-campus Starbucks.

    Read More
  22. “Duke U., which has perhaps the most extravagant architecture of any American college.”

    Vanderbilt is no slouch (and they are both of them of an era with the New York State Capitol), but one would perhaps have to get into brick v. stone to decide which you like better and think the more extravagant.

    For anyone who has only seen Duke basketball games with their “Cameron Crazies”, it is a bit jarring to see that the exterior of the facility is that of a gothic pile…

    Read More
  23. @syonredux

    (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
     
    Yeah. I've walked around Harvard several times, and my feelings are about the same. Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus. There are several fine buildings, but they don't have space to breathe. Of course, that's largely due to the fact that the Harvard campus has grown in an organic fashion, which means things are rather cheek-by-jowl. UVA, in contrast, enjoyed Thomas Jefferson's guiding hand:




    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C2ACjsmXcAArQC7.jpg

    Michael Cimino agrees with you – or, at least, he did agree with you when he was making Heaven’s Gate.

    He chose to shoot the film’s prologue, set at Harvard, at Oxford:

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Michael Cimino agrees with you – or, at least, he did agree with you when he was making Heaven’s Gate.

    He chose to shoot the film’s prologue, set at Harvard, at Oxford:
     
    He did the same thing with The Deer Hunter. Feeling that Pennsylvania was insufficiently spectacular, he shot the celebrated deer hunting scenes in Washington state:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsTrRttExpA
  24. 1/ ‘… American Jews, for instance, built themselves many hospitals…’

    Uh, Steve, for your own health, you do realize that you can go to Cedars-Sinai.

    (But don’t tell anybody else here).

    2/ ‘… In truth, higher-education institutions are less often engines of social change than they are preservers of class privilege…’

    Do I get credit for repeatedly saying that American colleges have become finishing schools?

    Read More
  25. @syonredux
    Another view of Jefferson's handiwork:


    https://twitter.com/cavdailyphoto/status/488751294702571520

    Hatefferson didn’t build that!!!

    Black Bodies did it.

    Pyramids, too.

    Read More
  26. The Claremont Colleges are reasonably pretty, though devoid of any real stunning centerpieces like other colleges often have. Claremont itself (the town) is loaded with gorgeous Craftsman-style houses on tree-lined streets. Claremont is a paradise if you like Art-and-Crafts or Craftsman styles.

    Its students are insufferable pricks, but that’s because they’re mostly spoiled rich brats who weren’t good enough academically to get admitted to Stanford like Daddy always wanted for them. In previous generations that type would have just gone to Cal or UCLA, but now they can’t even beat the Asians out for places at the decent University of California campuses.

    The Claremont colleges have a type: spoiled, entitled, and getting an education just good enough to make them realize they should have studied more in high school rather than relying entirely on Daddy’s money.

    These are kids who were born on third base, yet deeply ashamed and resentful of their own class and place in the world. Source: lived in Claremont for close to a decade.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    Your assessment of Claremont undergrads may be on the money but students at contiguous Harvey Mudd (rigorous STEM curriculum, heavily Asian) seem now to be behaving in a similar manner.
  27. On the other hand, all office spaces without exception are shabby-modernist. Once you graduate from you opulent university, that’s where you go. There is some sort of message in that.

    Read More
  28. In the real world Voldemort would have kicked Harry Potter’s ass. There, I said it!

    Read More
  29. Having rightful access to magnificent architecture makes you feel good.

    There’s something else Hogwarts, Downton Abbey, Jane Austen’s great houses, and cushy college campuses offer that makes woke students feel good: servants.

    In the Harry Potter books, the students don’t even have to carry their bags to their dorms. Food appears, if by magic, on their trestle tables (although we find out later that a staff of remarkably compliant elves is preparing it). Filch, who seems to be a kind of janitor, provides an excellent foil for rambunctious students gleefully expressing their adventurous natures.

    In DA and JA books, largely agreeable and obedient armies of servants make day-to-day life very pleasant indeed for the upper classes. In DA, they’re shown to have real lives of their own, but they never fail to get their jobs done. The privileged are not inconvenienced.

    In real life, of course, the Woke find the idea of managing flesh-and-blood servants harder to deal with. They would love to have the social standing their Wokeness deserves, which would give them access to, and power over, a staff comprising the wrong kind of white people, just as in DA and JA. But that’s still not very comfortable or feasible — yet — so they console themselves by offering under-the-table employment to richly-deserving undocumented nascent citizens.

    Read More
    • Agree: (((Owen)))
    • Replies: @syonredux
    Never read them, but isn't there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the "house-elves?"
    , @Dahlia
    "They would love to have the social standing their Wokeness deserves..."

    Their Wokeness... Haha! I'm stealing!
    , @Formerly CARealist
    Seems to me that College Campuses have become America's new church. Attend college and get closer to the truth. Get closer to God, or whatever it is that we've replaced him with.
  30. @Percy Gryce

    (By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
     
    You are correct, sir. I was there in September. This is just off campus:

    https://twitter.com/percy_gryce/status/854824619269701633

    My ancestors’ names are on that church. They would burn it down if they knew what the unitarian universalist church has become.

    Its really a shame that Sailer is forbidden crime thought. He has written some really insightful pieces about my Claremont 5-C’s over the year. I’d love to put them on my door, but there are limits to how student BS I want to put up with. 24/7 Black lives matter protests are past those limits.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I doubt those ancestors would think much of your attitude either.
  31. @Stan Adams
    Michael Cimino agrees with you - or, at least, he did agree with you when he was making Heaven's Gate.

    He chose to shoot the film's prologue, set at Harvard, at Oxford:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_pfQvSP7I#t=0m17s

    Michael Cimino agrees with you – or, at least, he did agree with you when he was making Heaven’s Gate.

    He chose to shoot the film’s prologue, set at Harvard, at Oxford:

    He did the same thing with The Deer Hunter. Feeling that Pennsylvania was insufficiently spectacular, he shot the celebrated deer hunting scenes in Washington state:

    Read More
  32. hmmm? I am familiar with many American campuses. Tough question about the most “amazing” looking as far as vernacular architecture. I would say, UVA, UWash & Notre Dame come off the top of my head. Also, U of San Diego….so alabaster and so, like a fortress on a hill. Lewis & Clark…so cottagey, and much more Harry Potter like, btw. And, weirdly, little Salve Regina in RI is lovely.

    As far as architecture of campuses….it is something that U’s (strictly talking about renovations and enlargement) are obsessed with today…bc of the point Steve made: aspiration, drive, and serenity; these ideas must be the key components of “new” architecture, to inspire students to excell and well, just be happy to be on that particular campus.

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being…your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an “awesome” space/time/continuum experience…to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.

    However, Aalto’s work was very organic: crazy curves, roof elevations that were amorphous, walls that were not straight…materials were not typical…no straight lines; or, just a dearth of straight lines. Geometry was sketchy. Even today, when I walk inside the spaces he created, I think, yeah, he was modern (stripped-down of all ornamentation) but he just knew sh*t about spaces we could never speak about! Not a big surprise that Gehry was obsessed with Aalto. The best part about Aalto: he loved the natural world more than anything. He felt the forest is our “cathedral.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dahlia
    I've had friends, regular people who aren't architecture buffs, tell me Notre Dame is stunning.

    I've been interested in it for my daughter (it's early, I'm looking more than she is), but I suspect it's one we'll be crossing off our list. Heck, after reading Steve's article, having the kids learn German and sending them over there suddenly sounds like a great idea. I've always loved their higher ed system.
    , @Laugh Track

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being…your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an “awesome” space/time/continuum experience…to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.
     
    My apologies, but whatever Aalto's rationale and rap, the buildings he designed make me want to vomit. They strike me — like most modern architecture — as architectural ego-trips shouting "me me me!" But I admit I am rather cranky on this subject.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    Aalto's Mount Angel Abbey library in Oregon is a dream.
  33. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Having rightful access to magnificent architecture makes you feel good.

     

    There's something else Hogwarts, Downton Abbey, Jane Austen's great houses, and cushy college campuses offer that makes woke students feel good: servants.

    In the Harry Potter books, the students don't even have to carry their bags to their dorms. Food appears, if by magic, on their trestle tables (although we find out later that a staff of remarkably compliant elves is preparing it). Filch, who seems to be a kind of janitor, provides an excellent foil for rambunctious students gleefully expressing their adventurous natures.

    In DA and JA books, largely agreeable and obedient armies of servants make day-to-day life very pleasant indeed for the upper classes. In DA, they're shown to have real lives of their own, but they never fail to get their jobs done. The privileged are not inconvenienced.

    In real life, of course, the Woke find the idea of managing flesh-and-blood servants harder to deal with. They would love to have the social standing their Wokeness deserves, which would give them access to, and power over, a staff comprising the wrong kind of white people, just as in DA and JA. But that's still not very comfortable or feasible -- yet -- so they console themselves by offering under-the-table employment to richly-deserving undocumented nascent citizens.

    Never read them, but isn’t there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the “house-elves?”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anoni
    Yes, but it turns out they really enjoy being slaves and hate Hermione for trying to free them.

    In other words, Hogwarts is an antebellum southern plantation owner's dream.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist

    Never read them, but isn’t there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the “house-elves?”
     
    Yes, but it comes to nothing; it turns out the house-elves really love being 'in service' so long as their masters are kind and appropriately condescending. Dobby the Elf is freed from service to the odious Malfoy family, and ends up [spoiler approaching, if anyone still cares] sacrificing his life for Harry. It's implied that it's simply in elves' nature to serve wizards. It's astonishingly retrograde stuff, but today's SJW Resistance/Dumbledore's Army, etc., seem to have little problem with it.

    The Woke are gaining confidence in their self-perceived status and power.
    , @Laugh Track

    Never read them, but isn’t there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the “house-elves?”
     
    Sadly foreshadowing Emma Watson's post-Potter real life SJWism. I truly think the world would be better and happier place if Ms Watson were to ditch social justice and just stick to acting. She and Daniel Radcliffe are both in danger of souring millions of fans' memories of the Potter universe.
  34. Years ago a friend who went there gave me a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Harvard is the Pomona College of the East.”

    Pomona has some buildings which look Harvard-ish, at least from the outside, and has long been used by LA-based TV and movie producers for quick cheap “fancy Eastern College” exterior shots.

    Harvey Mudd is bereft of classical architectural beauty, I believe, as Steve wrote.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lagertha
    True story: my son & traveling buddies; mom took a road trip, some years ago, with son & extra teenagers up the coast of CA for spring break (I rented a convertible)...we were from the East, btw. When we got to Claremont...yes, Mudd was such a brutalist, architectural remnant of a Best Western (such a good visual, Steve! - hahaa) from the 50's...in like, Arizona (the red rocks...general rockiness and canyon like feel...no students in sight). And, Scripps, and whatever campuses, were silent...small, pretty flowering brush embellished white buildings...but devoid of people, or human sounds...too quiet for my band of boys.

    We made our way to C-Mc..and, suddenly, there was life. Students were out and about. However, my "boys' felt it seemed lame...like kids were trying too hard to act like they were cool; they seemed affected - this is the kiss of death for younger Millennials, btw. Seeing no dogs or like, frisbees or Solo cups was noticed.

    Well, we walked to the football field, and, he discussed, informally, about playing at C-Mc. Clearly, I could see that the officials running practice noticed my son's form. His biceps were like trees...and, he made sure they understood he was a top-seed and a top student (Lagertha's son, so duh) in his singular way. He would be a football player wherever.

    Well, when I asked him about playing football there, he said, "I am leaving HS, not going backwards in time." Plus, and this is gonna really tick-off people who love these colleges, he felt the students were rich, entitled, uncool, and the worst: boring.

  35. @syonredux
    Never read them, but isn't there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the "house-elves?"

    Yes, but it turns out they really enjoy being slaves and hate Hermione for trying to free them.

    In other words, Hogwarts is an antebellum southern plantation owner’s dream.

    Read More
  36. @syonredux
    Never read them, but isn't there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the "house-elves?"

    Never read them, but isn’t there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the “house-elves?”

    Yes, but it comes to nothing; it turns out the house-elves really love being ‘in service’ so long as their masters are kind and appropriately condescending. Dobby the Elf is freed from service to the odious Malfoy family, and ends up [spoiler approaching, if anyone still cares] sacrificing his life for Harry. It’s implied that it’s simply in elves’ nature to serve wizards. It’s astonishingly retrograde stuff, but today’s SJW Resistance/Dumbledore’s Army, etc., seem to have little problem with it.

    The Woke are gaining confidence in their self-perceived status and power.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dahlia
    Wow, this is truly awful. No, I didn't realize she'd dehumanized even some of the righteous characters.

    "The Woke are gaining confidence in their self-perceived status and power."

    I thought JK Rowling's biggest flaw was that she was a fool. A creative fool, but fool nonetheless. This is so... contemptuous. No wonder that woman had no words for the industrial-scale sex slavery of preteens. Just as the mistress of the antebellum plantation could rationalize why her wealth built on slavery was good for slaves, society, so does the neoliberal for multi-culti empire.

  37. @Veracitor
    Years ago a friend who went there gave me a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Harvard is the Pomona College of the East."

    Pomona has some buildings which look Harvard-ish, at least from the outside, and has long been used by LA-based TV and movie producers for quick cheap "fancy Eastern College" exterior shots.

    Harvey Mudd is bereft of classical architectural beauty, I believe, as Steve wrote.

    True story: my son & traveling buddies; mom took a road trip, some years ago, with son & extra teenagers up the coast of CA for spring break (I rented a convertible)…we were from the East, btw. When we got to Claremont…yes, Mudd was such a brutalist, architectural remnant of a Best Western (such a good visual, Steve! – hahaa) from the 50′s…in like, Arizona (the red rocks…general rockiness and canyon like feel…no students in sight). And, Scripps, and whatever campuses, were silent…small, pretty flowering brush embellished white buildings…but devoid of people, or human sounds…too quiet for my band of boys.

    We made our way to C-Mc..and, suddenly, there was life. Students were out and about. However, my “boys’ felt it seemed lame…like kids were trying too hard to act like they were cool; they seemed affected - this is the kiss of death for younger Millennials, btw. Seeing no dogs or like, frisbees or Solo cups was noticed.

    Well, we walked to the football field, and, he discussed, informally, about playing at C-Mc. Clearly, I could see that the officials running practice noticed my son’s form. His biceps were like trees…and, he made sure they understood he was a top-seed and a top student (Lagertha’s son, so duh) in his singular way. He would be a football player wherever.

    Well, when I asked him about playing football there, he said, “I am leaving HS, not going backwards in time.” Plus, and this is gonna really tick-off people who love these colleges, he felt the students were rich, entitled, uncool, and the worst: boring.

    Read More
  38. @Ickenham

    "(still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing)"
     
    "... Mrs. Rowling ..."

    Universities are compulsorily re-educatimg faculty, staff and students about misgendering and pronoun usage, with a particular emphasis on guidance strongly urging genderless pronoun usage in textual output and public utterances.

    Some copywriter couldn't resist the impulse to include a twee reference explicitly naming J.K. Rowling, and they styled her "Mrs. Rowling'.

    Does J.K Rowling style herself "Mrs. Rowling"?

    Rowling is her maiden* name. She married and divorced a man named Arantes, and latterly married a Dr. Murray.

    * It seems probable that "maiden name" is now stricken as heretical. Ditto such useful distinctions as blonde/blond, brunette/brunet, fiancée​/fiancé, masseuse/masseur, née/né, waitress/waiter, etc.

    At UBC, innocent [literally harmless], benevolent faculty and staff are being re-educated to use genderless language so they can remain employable.

    The UBC Aquatic Centre was (is?) having scheduled women-only hours to accommodate those members of the UBC community who prefer not / must not / dare not be seen in swimwear by men or adolescent boys. The windows were (are?) covered with thick black opaque mats to ensure the women could not be seen from outside the building.

    As Steve has pointed out, The Coalition of the Fringes is made up of disparate aggrieved identity politics groups whose grievances, aims, and demands are mutually incompatible, mutually antithetical, and potentially violently hostile to one another. What happens when a person with a Y-chromosome who self-identifies as a woman insists on admittance to the UBC Aquatic Centre during women-only hours? One can imagine murderously violent reactions from the menfolk of the majority user group of the women-only hours.

    Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller couldn't make this stuff up.

    Whom the gods would destroy…

    Read More
  39. Loved the article, Steve!

    You mentioned at one point the people who hate Donald Trump…

    I’m struck by this hatred. I don’t buy anymore that these people, the ones with the most hatred, think Trump is Hitler. These people have a history of calling conservative men Hitler and *hating* conservatives in general (Sarah Palin, anyone?); it’s merely ratcheted up for Trump.
    This hatred is utterly, totally personal for Trump, many of his male supporters, less so for his female supporters. (God help you if you’re an unattractive Trump supporter; pictures of you provide an ego salve and will thus be held up for mockery.)

    I think it’s due to what money can’t buy: sexual attractiveness; I suppose it’s related to the Core vs. Fringe thing. And Trump simply has it far more than his Republican predecessors and, worse, so much worse, is that much of Trump’s attractiveness stems from being the confident alpha male type.
    There is a class dimension to this hatred, too. You almost never see it coming from Bernie supporters who are populists, non-strivers or failed strivers, and whom are typically lower class than Hillary supporters. No, it comes from the people who attended these magnificent Hogwarts-style colleges.

    My heart breaks for some of them, the ones who are lonely, not the princess who is upset she’s still not the hottest *&^%$ after all the $$$ spent on plastic surgery. Still, it’s not fair to the working poor/working class/middle class men, women, and children that they have to suffer due to the psychodramas of this privileged class.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/262037/flashback-democrats-called-goldwater-nazi-daniel-greenfield

    Yes, that would be Martin Luther King Jr himself calling the half-Jewish Barry Goldwater, a "sign of Hitlerism".

    For a large portion of the left, and nearly all of their intellectuals, anyone with the "authoritarian personality" is regarded as an absolute temporal evil.
    , @Lagertha
    You are so correct. I hate to say this, but: one of the reasons my sons did not want to go to elite U's on the East coast (or West) was the fact that they looked around and sensed they were all "dead zones." Meaning: full of boring people who were nerds, complainers, conformists...girls who had issues...girls who were not confident, and a shit-ton of protesters protesting about stuff they weren't sure they even believe in....sheesh, my guys are the most cynical Millennials!

    Fact: my sons are drawn to smart girls...so they know nerdiness is a quotient in their search. However, they can't deal with "unworldly"....that is the new dealbreaker.

    All college apps, striving stuff, is class stuff, btw...people who are obsessed with elite U's are obsessed with class...obsessed with being a part of the elite class. And, my parents (4th generation U educated) taught at elite U's; my siblings and I, we all went to elite U's...and, whatever...we all pursued the arts so, hahaha!, should have gone (stayed on Wall St.) to Wall Street!

    Once you get out of college (these days) nobody cares where you went to college after your first measly job - a cold wet rag thrown at your Ivy League face, btw-warning everyone. And, if you're not pretty, sorry.

    BTW: for all the guys who know I "lost it" with Navy imploding: my son is going on to his actual 1st choice and pursuing a div 1 sport! I am gonna go broke with flight tickets to watch his competitions.

  40. @Lagertha
    hmmm? I am familiar with many American campuses. Tough question about the most "amazing" looking as far as vernacular architecture. I would say, UVA, UWash & Notre Dame come off the top of my head. Also, U of San Diego....so alabaster and so, like a fortress on a hill. Lewis & Clark...so cottagey, and much more Harry Potter like, btw. And, weirdly, little Salve Regina in RI is lovely.

    As far as architecture of campuses....it is something that U's (strictly talking about renovations and enlargement) are obsessed with today...bc of the point Steve made: aspiration, drive, and serenity; these ideas must be the key components of "new" architecture, to inspire students to excell and well, just be happy to be on that particular campus.

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being...your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an "awesome" space/time/continuum experience...to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.

    However, Aalto's work was very organic: crazy curves, roof elevations that were amorphous, walls that were not straight...materials were not typical...no straight lines; or, just a dearth of straight lines. Geometry was sketchy. Even today, when I walk inside the spaces he created, I think, yeah, he was modern (stripped-down of all ornamentation) but he just knew sh*t about spaces we could never speak about! Not a big surprise that Gehry was obsessed with Aalto. The best part about Aalto: he loved the natural world more than anything. He felt the forest is our "cathedral."

    I’ve had friends, regular people who aren’t architecture buffs, tell me Notre Dame is stunning.

    I’ve been interested in it for my daughter (it’s early, I’m looking more than she is), but I suspect it’s one we’ll be crossing off our list. Heck, after reading Steve’s article, having the kids learn German and sending them over there suddenly sounds like a great idea. I’ve always loved their higher ed system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Beware of recent degradation in German uni extracurricular activities due to the new Merkel jugend townies. Perhaps consider St. Andrews in Scotland or look around the Russell Group unis in England. Hard to avoid the SJW element on campus in Europe wherever you go.
  41. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Having rightful access to magnificent architecture makes you feel good.

     

    There's something else Hogwarts, Downton Abbey, Jane Austen's great houses, and cushy college campuses offer that makes woke students feel good: servants.

    In the Harry Potter books, the students don't even have to carry their bags to their dorms. Food appears, if by magic, on their trestle tables (although we find out later that a staff of remarkably compliant elves is preparing it). Filch, who seems to be a kind of janitor, provides an excellent foil for rambunctious students gleefully expressing their adventurous natures.

    In DA and JA books, largely agreeable and obedient armies of servants make day-to-day life very pleasant indeed for the upper classes. In DA, they're shown to have real lives of their own, but they never fail to get their jobs done. The privileged are not inconvenienced.

    In real life, of course, the Woke find the idea of managing flesh-and-blood servants harder to deal with. They would love to have the social standing their Wokeness deserves, which would give them access to, and power over, a staff comprising the wrong kind of white people, just as in DA and JA. But that's still not very comfortable or feasible -- yet -- so they console themselves by offering under-the-table employment to richly-deserving undocumented nascent citizens.

    “They would love to have the social standing their Wokeness deserves…”

    Their Wokeness… Haha! I’m stealing!

    Read More
  42. Interesting video on Harvard architecture through the ages. Prior to Annenberg, the former Harvard Union filled the role of freshman dining hall (originally the “living room” of the Union). At 19:50 in the video: The sad story of the gutting of its interior in 1996, plus a great photograph of the “living room” in its heyday.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    At 19:50 in the video: The sad story of the gutting of its interior in 1996, plus a great photograph of the “living room” in its heyday.
     
    Good God! What they did to the interior was simply appalling.
    , @slumber_j
    I didn't know they'd done that to the Union: how characteristically annoying. I ate a lot of really bad meals in that room.
  43. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Never read them, but isn’t there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the “house-elves?”
     
    Yes, but it comes to nothing; it turns out the house-elves really love being 'in service' so long as their masters are kind and appropriately condescending. Dobby the Elf is freed from service to the odious Malfoy family, and ends up [spoiler approaching, if anyone still cares] sacrificing his life for Harry. It's implied that it's simply in elves' nature to serve wizards. It's astonishingly retrograde stuff, but today's SJW Resistance/Dumbledore's Army, etc., seem to have little problem with it.

    The Woke are gaining confidence in their self-perceived status and power.

    Wow, this is truly awful. No, I didn’t realize she’d dehumanized even some of the righteous characters.

    “The Woke are gaining confidence in their self-perceived status and power.”

    I thought JK Rowling’s biggest flaw was that she was a fool. A creative fool, but fool nonetheless. This is so… contemptuous. No wonder that woman had no words for the industrial-scale sex slavery of preteens. Just as the mistress of the antebellum plantation could rationalize why her wealth built on slavery was good for slaves, society, so does the neoliberal for multi-culti empire.

    Read More
  44. Hogwarts is of course something from a children’s book about the conflict between privileged cool insider kids and the horrible outsiders (muggles, mostly, and a few unattractive non-muggle but middle-aged and old wizards). Well that is what kids like. Anyway, unlike Rowling, people like Jane Austen and Tolkien (and Henry James) had an excuse for writing about elite people – they were born elite and that is what they knew (the elite backgrounds of Austen and James are well-known, and Tolkien went to elite schools from the moment he moved to England from South Africa , although he was of course living in what they used to call “straightened circumstances” for quite a few years in his youth. Still, even though his widowed mother was poor, he went to nothing but the best schools, and it would cost about 2 million or so today to raise a child in the type of bucolic neighborhood young Tolkien lived in ). So if Austen wants to write about the richest eligible young ladies in the county, or Tolkien wants to write about the heroics of the most privileged hobbits in the Shire, they have the excuse that they were raised that way. The lady who wrote Harry Potter grew up poor – or middle class, at best, and without economic privileges (although it seems she was physically attractive, which counts for quite a lot) and yet wrote a book where all the heroes were basically the privileged rich kids in town, with the addition of maybe two or three poor kids who were – under very exceptional circumstances – allowed to hang out with them. Kind of sad, from that point of view. She should have stuck up for the sort of people she grew up with, the way Mark Twain and Dickens did. I wonder if she ever looks at it that way. I would be interested (not super interested, but a little interested) to hear her honest excuse for being a middle class kid who grew up to write an updated glorification of very upper-class English public schools.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... actually, the Harry Potter stuff is achingly petty bourgeois ...
    , @Percy Gryce

    Tolkien went to elite schools from the moment he moved to England from South Africa
     
    Tolkien attended the Birmingham Oratory School, founded by Blessed John Henry Newman and among the headmasters of which were Gerard Manley Hopkins and Tom Arnold (son of Dr. Arnold of Rugby and brother of the poet Matthew Arnold).
  45. @Dahlia
    I've had friends, regular people who aren't architecture buffs, tell me Notre Dame is stunning.

    I've been interested in it for my daughter (it's early, I'm looking more than she is), but I suspect it's one we'll be crossing off our list. Heck, after reading Steve's article, having the kids learn German and sending them over there suddenly sounds like a great idea. I've always loved their higher ed system.

    Beware of recent degradation in German uni extracurricular activities due to the new Merkel jugend townies. Perhaps consider St. Andrews in Scotland or look around the Russell Group unis in England. Hard to avoid the SJW element on campus in Europe wherever you go.

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  46. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Having rightful access to magnificent architecture makes you feel good.

     

    There's something else Hogwarts, Downton Abbey, Jane Austen's great houses, and cushy college campuses offer that makes woke students feel good: servants.

    In the Harry Potter books, the students don't even have to carry their bags to their dorms. Food appears, if by magic, on their trestle tables (although we find out later that a staff of remarkably compliant elves is preparing it). Filch, who seems to be a kind of janitor, provides an excellent foil for rambunctious students gleefully expressing their adventurous natures.

    In DA and JA books, largely agreeable and obedient armies of servants make day-to-day life very pleasant indeed for the upper classes. In DA, they're shown to have real lives of their own, but they never fail to get their jobs done. The privileged are not inconvenienced.

    In real life, of course, the Woke find the idea of managing flesh-and-blood servants harder to deal with. They would love to have the social standing their Wokeness deserves, which would give them access to, and power over, a staff comprising the wrong kind of white people, just as in DA and JA. But that's still not very comfortable or feasible -- yet -- so they console themselves by offering under-the-table employment to richly-deserving undocumented nascent citizens.

    Seems to me that College Campuses have become America’s new church. Attend college and get closer to the truth. Get closer to God, or whatever it is that we’ve replaced him with.

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  47. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Interesting video on Harvard architecture through the ages. Prior to Annenberg, the former Harvard Union filled the role of freshman dining hall (originally the “living room” of the Union). At 19:50 in the video: The sad story of the gutting of its interior in 1996, plus a great photograph of the “living room” in its heyday.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xs8LElU7m4

    At 19:50 in the video: The sad story of the gutting of its interior in 1996, plus a great photograph of the “living room” in its heyday.

    Good God! What they did to the interior was simply appalling.

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  48. @Wilkey
    Being at a good college with lousy architecture makes you feel oppressed. Being at a college with lavish architecture makes you feel superior to everyone else. Either way it comes down to the people who inhabit the architecture, not the architecture itself.

    There is no reason why students should not have a pleasing architecture that makes them feel more human and the current modern/Brutalist garbage that makes people feel like convicts and cogs.

    When you think about our civilization it has nothing in the way of architecture or the arts that even come close to our predecessors. We have garbage. Buildings that look like they were designed by Nazi robots designed to dehumanize and crush the human spirit. Modern art that is garbage.

    When it goes, no one will miss it or remember it since it has nothing memorable about it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neon2
    Nazi robots? Why not take a look at what the Nazis actually built in a mere six years. It is uniformly magnificent, from the autobahns to the Reichskanzlei to the Ordensburgen. The domestic architecture built for the SS, in Berlin, is today one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the capital.
    If you want soulless junk, look to the Communists.
  49. @donut
    Cambridge is an unattractive city . As for Harvard's freshman dining hall it looses it's attraction when you picture it populated by AA community activists from Chicago and mediocre legacy Jews whose parents bought their way in . I suspect that Harvard like Johns Hopkins never saw a brown person they didn't like .

    Cambridge is an unattractive city .

    Dunno. I lived in next door Medford for a time, and Cambridge always struck me as a rather pleasant place. I always enjoyed walking by the relics of the real America:

    The Asa Gray House, recorded in an HABS survey as the Garden House, is a historic house at 88 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A National Historic Landmark, it is notable architecturally as the earliest known work of the designer and architect Ithiel Town, and historically as the residence of several Harvard College luminaries. Its most notable occupant was Asa Gray (1810–88), a leading botanist who published the first complete work on American flora, and was a vigorous defender of the Darwinian theory of evolution.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asa_Gray_House

    The Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, also known as the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House and, until December 2010, Longfellow National Historic Site, is a historic site located at 105 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For almost fifty years, it was the home of noted American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It had previously served as the headquarters of General George Washington, 1775-76.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfellow_House%E2%80%93Washington%27s_Headquarters_National_Historic_Site

    Elmwood, also known as the Oliver-Gerry-Lowell House,[2] is a historic house and centerpiece of a National Historic Landmark District in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is known for several prominent former residents, including: Thomas Oliver (1734–1815), royal Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), signer of the US Declaration of Independence, Vice President of the United States and eponym of the term “gerrymandering”; and James Russell Lowell (1819–1891), noted American writer, poet, and foreign diplomat.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmwood_(Cambridge,_Massachusetts)

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  50. @Dahlia
    Loved the article, Steve!

    You mentioned at one point the people who hate Donald Trump...

    I'm struck by this hatred. I don't buy anymore that these people, the ones with the most hatred, think Trump is Hitler. These people have a history of calling conservative men Hitler and *hating* conservatives in general (Sarah Palin, anyone?); it's merely ratcheted up for Trump.
    This hatred is utterly, totally personal for Trump, many of his male supporters, less so for his female supporters. (God help you if you're an unattractive Trump supporter; pictures of you provide an ego salve and will thus be held up for mockery.)

    I think it's due to what money can't buy: sexual attractiveness; I suppose it's related to the Core vs. Fringe thing. And Trump simply has it far more than his Republican predecessors and, worse, so much worse, is that much of Trump's attractiveness stems from being the confident alpha male type.
    There is a class dimension to this hatred, too. You almost never see it coming from Bernie supporters who are populists, non-strivers or failed strivers, and whom are typically lower class than Hillary supporters. No, it comes from the people who attended these magnificent Hogwarts-style colleges.

    My heart breaks for some of them, the ones who are lonely, not the princess who is upset she's still not the hottest *&^%$ after all the $$$ spent on plastic surgery. Still, it's not fair to the working poor/working class/middle class men, women, and children that they have to suffer due to the psychodramas of this privileged class.

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/262037/flashback-democrats-called-goldwater-nazi-daniel-greenfield

    Yes, that would be Martin Luther King Jr himself calling the half-Jewish Barry Goldwater, a “sign of Hitlerism”.

    For a large portion of the left, and nearly all of their intellectuals, anyone with the “authoritarian personality” is regarded as an absolute temporal evil.

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  51. @syonredux
    Another view of Jefferson's handiwork:


    https://twitter.com/cavdailyphoto/status/488751294702571520

    But he owned slaves. Isn’t he supposed to apologize and then the university to grovel. Maybe tear down a few buildings.

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  52. Harvard is nice enough, but quite underwhelming compared to its world bestriding status. Columbia too is pleasant, but really nothing to write home about. There are lots of equally nice campuses around the country.

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.

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    • Agree: Ivy
    • Replies: @syonredux

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.
     
    William S. Baring-Gould decided (in his Annotated Sherlock Holmes) that Sherlock Holmes must have attended both Oxford and Cambridge.
    , @Lagertha
    I agree. I think Cambridge is the most beautiful campus.
    , @dearieme
    "all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them": nah, the idyllic lawns have Fellows grazing on them. The cows graze on the pastures.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    Cambridge is better than Oxford now, but historically they were both idyllic. A car factory brought far too many undesirables to Oxford, and it has not recovered.
    As for the USA: come on, Berkeley grads, stand up for your alma mater.
    The main reading room in the library is magnificent, as is the library as a whole. The campanile is very fine, and , although they are mostly built in a Thirties, stripped-down classical style, most of the older buildings are quite pleasing. The campus is dotted, too, with charming smaller buildings, such as the faculty club and the old philosophy building. There are park-like areas too, and even a creek running through the campus
    The rot started in the Sixties, as everywhere else. The architecture building is a brutalist horror, natch.
  53. @Lagertha
    hmmm? I am familiar with many American campuses. Tough question about the most "amazing" looking as far as vernacular architecture. I would say, UVA, UWash & Notre Dame come off the top of my head. Also, U of San Diego....so alabaster and so, like a fortress on a hill. Lewis & Clark...so cottagey, and much more Harry Potter like, btw. And, weirdly, little Salve Regina in RI is lovely.

    As far as architecture of campuses....it is something that U's (strictly talking about renovations and enlargement) are obsessed with today...bc of the point Steve made: aspiration, drive, and serenity; these ideas must be the key components of "new" architecture, to inspire students to excell and well, just be happy to be on that particular campus.

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being...your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an "awesome" space/time/continuum experience...to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.

    However, Aalto's work was very organic: crazy curves, roof elevations that were amorphous, walls that were not straight...materials were not typical...no straight lines; or, just a dearth of straight lines. Geometry was sketchy. Even today, when I walk inside the spaces he created, I think, yeah, he was modern (stripped-down of all ornamentation) but he just knew sh*t about spaces we could never speak about! Not a big surprise that Gehry was obsessed with Aalto. The best part about Aalto: he loved the natural world more than anything. He felt the forest is our "cathedral."

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being…your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an “awesome” space/time/continuum experience…to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.

    My apologies, but whatever Aalto’s rationale and rap, the buildings he designed make me want to vomit. They strike me — like most modern architecture — as architectural ego-trips shouting “me me me!” But I admit I am rather cranky on this subject.

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  54. @Thursday
    Harvard is nice enough, but quite underwhelming compared to its world bestriding status. Columbia too is pleasant, but really nothing to write home about. There are lots of equally nice campuses around the country.

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.

    William S. Baring-Gould decided (in his Annotated Sherlock Holmes) that Sherlock Holmes must have attended both Oxford and Cambridge.

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  55. @syonredux
    Never read them, but isn't there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the "house-elves?"

    Never read them, but isn’t there some bit of business in the books involving Hermione campaigning to end the abuse of the “house-elves?”

    Sadly foreshadowing Emma Watson’s post-Potter real life SJWism. I truly think the world would be better and happier place if Ms Watson were to ditch social justice and just stick to acting. She and Daniel Radcliffe are both in danger of souring millions of fans’ memories of the Potter universe.

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  56. @Dahlia
    Loved the article, Steve!

    You mentioned at one point the people who hate Donald Trump...

    I'm struck by this hatred. I don't buy anymore that these people, the ones with the most hatred, think Trump is Hitler. These people have a history of calling conservative men Hitler and *hating* conservatives in general (Sarah Palin, anyone?); it's merely ratcheted up for Trump.
    This hatred is utterly, totally personal for Trump, many of his male supporters, less so for his female supporters. (God help you if you're an unattractive Trump supporter; pictures of you provide an ego salve and will thus be held up for mockery.)

    I think it's due to what money can't buy: sexual attractiveness; I suppose it's related to the Core vs. Fringe thing. And Trump simply has it far more than his Republican predecessors and, worse, so much worse, is that much of Trump's attractiveness stems from being the confident alpha male type.
    There is a class dimension to this hatred, too. You almost never see it coming from Bernie supporters who are populists, non-strivers or failed strivers, and whom are typically lower class than Hillary supporters. No, it comes from the people who attended these magnificent Hogwarts-style colleges.

    My heart breaks for some of them, the ones who are lonely, not the princess who is upset she's still not the hottest *&^%$ after all the $$$ spent on plastic surgery. Still, it's not fair to the working poor/working class/middle class men, women, and children that they have to suffer due to the psychodramas of this privileged class.

    You are so correct. I hate to say this, but: one of the reasons my sons did not want to go to elite U’s on the East coast (or West) was the fact that they looked around and sensed they were all “dead zones.” Meaning: full of boring people who were nerds, complainers, conformists…girls who had issues…girls who were not confident, and a shit-ton of protesters protesting about stuff they weren’t sure they even believe in….sheesh, my guys are the most cynical Millennials!

    Fact: my sons are drawn to smart girls…so they know nerdiness is a quotient in their search. However, they can’t deal with “unworldly”….that is the new dealbreaker.

    All college apps, striving stuff, is class stuff, btw…people who are obsessed with elite U’s are obsessed with class…obsessed with being a part of the elite class. And, my parents (4th generation U educated) taught at elite U’s; my siblings and I, we all went to elite U’s…and, whatever…we all pursued the arts so, hahaha!, should have gone (stayed on Wall St.) to Wall Street!

    Once you get out of college (these days) nobody cares where you went to college after your first measly job – a cold wet rag thrown at your Ivy League face, btw-warning everyone. And, if you’re not pretty, sorry.

    BTW: for all the guys who know I “lost it” with Navy imploding: my son is going on to his actual 1st choice and pursuing a div 1 sport! I am gonna go broke with flight tickets to watch his competitions.

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    • Replies: @res

    BTW: for all the guys who know I “lost it” with Navy imploding: my son is going on to his actual 1st choice and pursuing a div 1 sport!
     
    Great news! Congratulations to you and your son!
  57. @Laugh Track

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being…your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an “awesome” space/time/continuum experience…to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.
     
    My apologies, but whatever Aalto's rationale and rap, the buildings he designed make me want to vomit. They strike me — like most modern architecture — as architectural ego-trips shouting "me me me!" But I admit I am rather cranky on this subject.

    Which ones have you been in? Are you Finnish?

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  58. @Thursday
    Harvard is nice enough, but quite underwhelming compared to its world bestriding status. Columbia too is pleasant, but really nothing to write home about. There are lots of equally nice campuses around the country.

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.

    I agree. I think Cambridge is the most beautiful campus.

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  59. Wonderful essay, Mr. Sailer.

    …with a nice assist from Spotted Toad.

    Many years ago, when I was flying somewhere in first class, I noticed several men sitting around me reading Harry Potter. I thought, “there must be something to this!” Sometime thereafter I tried reading the first novel, but found it excruciatingly stupid. I really tried. I kept thinking about those respectable businessmen on the plane. In the end, I gave up, baffled. I still am.

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  60. One of the questions I’ve had over the last few years is why we can’t build public structures anymore. Libraries, museums- putting aside college campuses- either we built them a hundred years ago and won’t bother doing it again or if, at enormous expense, we do put something up, it just looks like a warehouse, and only the very wealthiest places like NYC or SFO are building anything new at all. Wolfe’s quote about conspicuous consumption makes sense, but people who walked into the New York Public Library or Chicago’s Field Museum (or some of the railroad stations of the same era) could presumably feel as though they were entitled to that same sense of grandeur on democratic grounds.

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    • Replies: @Lagertha
    Cost; this is the simplest reason why no one can afford to build any new buildings that required so much decorative masonry work; architectural details, Classical & Gothic details. After WW1, money just ran out. Modernism took over, because it was cheap. You can see this in great detail in bombed European cities.

    I am one of those weirdos that likes anything vernacular and contemporary. I had a great professor of architectural history in graduate school who linked the loss of skilled artisans (loss of the actual skills) due to rapid immigration (very iSteve material! ha!), to the relatively, ugly buildings in post-war NYC - the new homes in the burbs & boroughs...not public buildings (which also, bc of $, became big boxes). I am strictly talking about ugly walk-ups and split levels; with weird siding, linoleum floors, "fake" masonry walls, ersatz window placement and clumsy attempts at ornamentation.

    The other part of the equation: skilled artisans; metal workers, masons, carvers, woodworkers, glass makers have gone with the Dodo. For instance, the Taj Mahal is one of the most remarkable buildings, but can you imagine the expense of creating that now? So, we are stuck with glass, concrete, steel...emptiness. In the NYT magazine, all their real estate ads in the first few pages (next to the watch ads!) are all of remarkably similar glass tower apartments....all around the same several million dollars. Nothing really grabs me about them - they all look uniform and boring.

    , @Anonymous
    Well, remember that when those grand places were built, most of the population was rural and rarely left their farms, and cities like New York were packed with tenements. This was before the time of easy, mass travel and consumption.
  61. Name a good golf club with a Modernist, postModernist or Brutalist clubhouse.

    Here is Crooked Stick from the late 1960s. https://wwcdn.weddingwire.com/wedding/3050001_3055000/3051953/thumbnails/1200x1200_1403268753-4418f9a1f0111fac-Crooked-Stick-Golf-Course-Clubhouse.jpg

    Sebonack, the last great Hamptons club from a decade ago. http://cdn.kdhamptons.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/29051723/IMG_4785.jpg

    No one arses around with their own money at golf courses like they do with public buildings.

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  62. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    And then there’s Alabama. Wow…just wow.

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  63. @Thursday
    Harvard is nice enough, but quite underwhelming compared to its world bestriding status. Columbia too is pleasant, but really nothing to write home about. There are lots of equally nice campuses around the country.

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.

    “all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them”: nah, the idyllic lawns have Fellows grazing on them. The cows graze on the pastures.

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  64. “still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing”: it’s interesting that Harvard is happy to insult its potential students with such stupid stuff.

    Anyway, what the devil is the point of a dining hall restricted to freshmen? What happened to the benefits of diversity?

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    By all accounts, Joanne Rowling wrote most of the first Harry Potter book in a coffee shop directly over the road from Old College, Edinburgh University, perhaps the grandest University building ever built. Like most buildings of Ancient European Universities, it was built in the centre of the city, not on a campus. This was because it was an integral part of the city, not an add-on.
    It was largely designed by Robert Adam, one of the world's greatest architects, and completed by William Henry Playfair, also highly distinguished. It is a neoclassical masterpiece, unlike Harvard College. The latter's best buildings are commonplace colonial Georgian.
  65. I was horrified to find reading Harry Potter listed on a list of things to do on a college T-shirt. Harry Potter is an elementary school level book. It should be read by 8 to 10 year olds to take them towards adolescent and average adult reading levels.
    It seems that classical books are no longer read in school…

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  66. @Lot
    That is verging into Gothic, but still red brick and with colorful but otherwise plain roofs.

    Looks like one of the old Smithsonian halls.

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  67. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Interesting video on Harvard architecture through the ages. Prior to Annenberg, the former Harvard Union filled the role of freshman dining hall (originally the “living room” of the Union). At 19:50 in the video: The sad story of the gutting of its interior in 1996, plus a great photograph of the “living room” in its heyday.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xs8LElU7m4

    I didn’t know they’d done that to the Union: how characteristically annoying. I ate a lot of really bad meals in that room.

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  68. @Anoni
    My ancestors' names are on that church. They would burn it down if they knew what the unitarian universalist church has become.

    Its really a shame that Sailer is forbidden crime thought. He has written some really insightful pieces about my Claremont 5-C's over the year. I'd love to put them on my door, but there are limits to how student BS I want to put up with. 24/7 Black lives matter protests are past those limits.

    I doubt those ancestors would think much of your attitude either.

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  69. The homeless should be encouraged to camp out in university libraries and student union buildings. Students aren’t against the homeless, are they? After all, nobody is illegal. Those students should check their privilege and make their public accomodations open to all.

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  70. “… which you have likely seen in every single admissions brochure. It looks very much like the Great Hall from Harry Potter, except our tables run the wrong way (still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing). Annenberg seems really cool at first because, as mentioned above, it is essentially Hogwarts.”

    Harvard officials now write like millennial ad writers at clickbait sites.

    But never mind that. Apply to hang out at the Dining Hall!

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  71. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I seem to recall most of the “gothic revival” campus stuff is by Ralph Adams Cram, who also designed the Cathedral of St. Johns. Associate of Albert J. Nock, wrote about human inequality.

    Wrote an essay about him in my second book. Big Boston poofter, though, so I guess he’ll have to thrown out when the manly conservatives take over.

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  72. @Spotted Toad
    One of the questions I've had over the last few years is why we can't build public structures anymore. Libraries, museums- putting aside college campuses- either we built them a hundred years ago and won't bother doing it again or if, at enormous expense, we do put something up, it just looks like a warehouse, and only the very wealthiest places like NYC or SFO are building anything new at all. Wolfe's quote about conspicuous consumption makes sense, but people who walked into the New York Public Library or Chicago's Field Museum (or some of the railroad stations of the same era) could presumably feel as though they were entitled to that same sense of grandeur on democratic grounds.

    Cost; this is the simplest reason why no one can afford to build any new buildings that required so much decorative masonry work; architectural details, Classical & Gothic details. After WW1, money just ran out. Modernism took over, because it was cheap. You can see this in great detail in bombed European cities.

    I am one of those weirdos that likes anything vernacular and contemporary. I had a great professor of architectural history in graduate school who linked the loss of skilled artisans (loss of the actual skills) due to rapid immigration (very iSteve material! ha!), to the relatively, ugly buildings in post-war NYC – the new homes in the burbs & boroughs…not public buildings (which also, bc of $, became big boxes). I am strictly talking about ugly walk-ups and split levels; with weird siding, linoleum floors, “fake” masonry walls, ersatz window placement and clumsy attempts at ornamentation.

    The other part of the equation: skilled artisans; metal workers, masons, carvers, woodworkers, glass makers have gone with the Dodo. For instance, the Taj Mahal is one of the most remarkable buildings, but can you imagine the expense of creating that now? So, we are stuck with glass, concrete, steel…emptiness. In the NYT magazine, all their real estate ads in the first few pages (next to the watch ads!) are all of remarkably similar glass tower apartments….all around the same several million dollars. Nothing really grabs me about them – they all look uniform and boring.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Well said. The only public places that get any kind of "look" these days is airports.

    They barely got the stone gargoyles on the Washington National Cathedral done in the 90s before the last stone mason died.

    , @Steve Sailer
    The University of San Diego has a generally fabulous campus built after WWII. It's like some Catholic fever dream of architecture.

    But, all the domes and towers are kind of lacking in detail.
  73. @Ickenham

    "(still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing)"
     
    "... Mrs. Rowling ..."

    Universities are compulsorily re-educatimg faculty, staff and students about misgendering and pronoun usage, with a particular emphasis on guidance strongly urging genderless pronoun usage in textual output and public utterances.

    Some copywriter couldn't resist the impulse to include a twee reference explicitly naming J.K. Rowling, and they styled her "Mrs. Rowling'.

    Does J.K Rowling style herself "Mrs. Rowling"?

    Rowling is her maiden* name. She married and divorced a man named Arantes, and latterly married a Dr. Murray.

    * It seems probable that "maiden name" is now stricken as heretical. Ditto such useful distinctions as blonde/blond, brunette/brunet, fiancée​/fiancé, masseuse/masseur, née/né, waitress/waiter, etc.

    At UBC, innocent [literally harmless], benevolent faculty and staff are being re-educated to use genderless language so they can remain employable.

    The UBC Aquatic Centre was (is?) having scheduled women-only hours to accommodate those members of the UBC community who prefer not / must not / dare not be seen in swimwear by men or adolescent boys. The windows were (are?) covered with thick black opaque mats to ensure the women could not be seen from outside the building.

    As Steve has pointed out, The Coalition of the Fringes is made up of disparate aggrieved identity politics groups whose grievances, aims, and demands are mutually incompatible, mutually antithetical, and potentially violently hostile to one another. What happens when a person with a Y-chromosome who self-identifies as a woman insists on admittance to the UBC Aquatic Centre during women-only hours? One can imagine murderously violent reactions from the menfolk of the majority user group of the women-only hours.

    Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller couldn't make this stuff up.

    It seems probable that “maiden name” is now stricken as heretical. Ditto such useful distinctions as blonde/blond, brunette/brunet, fiancée​/fiancé, masseuse/masseur, née/né, waitress/waiter, etc.

    Newspeak has abolished actors and actresses; all thespians are now actors in Newspeak. Yet the Oscars continue to have awards for superlative actors and actresses distinctly. It is astonishing how little enthusiasm Meryl Streep has expressed for demanding a decision to see whether she or her male counterparts ought to relinquish the award from the relevant years….

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  74. @Lot

    Part of the problem has to do with the cramped nature of the campus.
     
    Cambridge is the 4th most densely populated city in America with greater than 100,000 people. Above it are New York, San Francisco, and Paterson, NJ. This is even with 20% of its area devoted to the large Fresh Pond and surrounding park plus part of Mt Auburn Cemetery.

    New York City, San Francisco and … Paterson, NJ.
    Now that’s what I call an anti-climax.

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  75. thought you all would enjoy this:

    https://www.google.com/#q=when+monty+burns+met+some+liberals

    Click the top line (Daniel James Edwards) facebook piece, and watch the hilarious video! – oh, watch it on your kid’s fb acct if you don’t have one.

    https://www.facebook.com/danieljamesedwards2/videos/594116690781873/

    Read More
  76. @Ripple Earthdevil
    Being in the Island Empire aren't the Claremont Colleges bloody hot at least during the beginning and end of the academic year?

    … they are hot — as Steven Glick discovered — but not in a good way …

    Read More
  77. @Lagertha
    hmmm? I am familiar with many American campuses. Tough question about the most "amazing" looking as far as vernacular architecture. I would say, UVA, UWash & Notre Dame come off the top of my head. Also, U of San Diego....so alabaster and so, like a fortress on a hill. Lewis & Clark...so cottagey, and much more Harry Potter like, btw. And, weirdly, little Salve Regina in RI is lovely.

    As far as architecture of campuses....it is something that U's (strictly talking about renovations and enlargement) are obsessed with today...bc of the point Steve made: aspiration, drive, and serenity; these ideas must be the key components of "new" architecture, to inspire students to excell and well, just be happy to be on that particular campus.

    Alvar Aalto, sort of a hero, and, a familiar person to my family, always spoke about the fact that architecture must connect you to your primitive being...your innate sense of yourself. Architecture (well, good architecture according to Aalto) must be an "awesome" space/time/continuum experience...to make people feel like life is worth living. I am totally being honest.

    However, Aalto's work was very organic: crazy curves, roof elevations that were amorphous, walls that were not straight...materials were not typical...no straight lines; or, just a dearth of straight lines. Geometry was sketchy. Even today, when I walk inside the spaces he created, I think, yeah, he was modern (stripped-down of all ornamentation) but he just knew sh*t about spaces we could never speak about! Not a big surprise that Gehry was obsessed with Aalto. The best part about Aalto: he loved the natural world more than anything. He felt the forest is our "cathedral."

    Aalto’s Mount Angel Abbey library in Oregon is a dream.

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  78. @middle aged vet.. ..
    Hogwarts is of course something from a children's book about the conflict between privileged cool insider kids and the horrible outsiders (muggles, mostly, and a few unattractive non-muggle but middle-aged and old wizards). Well that is what kids like. Anyway, unlike Rowling, people like Jane Austen and Tolkien (and Henry James) had an excuse for writing about elite people - they were born elite and that is what they knew (the elite backgrounds of Austen and James are well-known, and Tolkien went to elite schools from the moment he moved to England from South Africa , although he was of course living in what they used to call "straightened circumstances" for quite a few years in his youth. Still, even though his widowed mother was poor, he went to nothing but the best schools, and it would cost about 2 million or so today to raise a child in the type of bucolic neighborhood young Tolkien lived in ). So if Austen wants to write about the richest eligible young ladies in the county, or Tolkien wants to write about the heroics of the most privileged hobbits in the Shire, they have the excuse that they were raised that way. The lady who wrote Harry Potter grew up poor - or middle class, at best, and without economic privileges (although it seems she was physically attractive, which counts for quite a lot) and yet wrote a book where all the heroes were basically the privileged rich kids in town, with the addition of maybe two or three poor kids who were - under very exceptional circumstances - allowed to hang out with them. Kind of sad, from that point of view. She should have stuck up for the sort of people she grew up with, the way Mark Twain and Dickens did. I wonder if she ever looks at it that way. I would be interested (not super interested, but a little interested) to hear her honest excuse for being a middle class kid who grew up to write an updated glorification of very upper-class English public schools.

    … actually, the Harry Potter stuff is achingly petty bourgeois …

    Read More
  79. @Anonymous
    And then there's Alabama. Wow...just wow.

    https://youtu.be/KudwS5U9ouA

    Is that a Greek Revival portico on the Alpha Phi house?

    Read More
  80. @Rod1963
    There is no reason why students should not have a pleasing architecture that makes them feel more human and the current modern/Brutalist garbage that makes people feel like convicts and cogs.

    When you think about our civilization it has nothing in the way of architecture or the arts that even come close to our predecessors. We have garbage. Buildings that look like they were designed by Nazi robots designed to dehumanize and crush the human spirit. Modern art that is garbage.

    When it goes, no one will miss it or remember it since it has nothing memorable about it.

    Nazi robots? Why not take a look at what the Nazis actually built in a mere six years. It is uniformly magnificent, from the autobahns to the Reichskanzlei to the Ordensburgen. The domestic architecture built for the SS, in Berlin, is today one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the capital.
    If you want soulless junk, look to the Communists.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Nazi robots? Why not take a look at what the Nazis actually built in a mere six years. It is uniformly magnificent, from the autobahns to the Reichskanzlei to the Ordensburgen.
     
    That's one of the things that you're really really not supposed to notice - that the Nazis had style and taste, and imagination and aesthetic boldness.
    , @Anonymous
    A lot of Nazi architecture was bad and similar to Communist style concrete block architecture:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prora

    The Nazi architectural plan for a new Berlin were also a grotesque monstrosity:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welthauptstadt_Germania
  81. @Lagertha
    You are so correct. I hate to say this, but: one of the reasons my sons did not want to go to elite U's on the East coast (or West) was the fact that they looked around and sensed they were all "dead zones." Meaning: full of boring people who were nerds, complainers, conformists...girls who had issues...girls who were not confident, and a shit-ton of protesters protesting about stuff they weren't sure they even believe in....sheesh, my guys are the most cynical Millennials!

    Fact: my sons are drawn to smart girls...so they know nerdiness is a quotient in their search. However, they can't deal with "unworldly"....that is the new dealbreaker.

    All college apps, striving stuff, is class stuff, btw...people who are obsessed with elite U's are obsessed with class...obsessed with being a part of the elite class. And, my parents (4th generation U educated) taught at elite U's; my siblings and I, we all went to elite U's...and, whatever...we all pursued the arts so, hahaha!, should have gone (stayed on Wall St.) to Wall Street!

    Once you get out of college (these days) nobody cares where you went to college after your first measly job - a cold wet rag thrown at your Ivy League face, btw-warning everyone. And, if you're not pretty, sorry.

    BTW: for all the guys who know I "lost it" with Navy imploding: my son is going on to his actual 1st choice and pursuing a div 1 sport! I am gonna go broke with flight tickets to watch his competitions.

    BTW: for all the guys who know I “lost it” with Navy imploding: my son is going on to his actual 1st choice and pursuing a div 1 sport!

    Great news! Congratulations to you and your son!

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  82. @Thursday
    Harvard is nice enough, but quite underwhelming compared to its world bestriding status. Columbia too is pleasant, but really nothing to write home about. There are lots of equally nice campuses around the country.

    My favourite university campus is Cambridge (UK). Oxford is very nice too, but a bit grittier and more urban, with most of the greenspace enclosed. Cambridge has all those idyllic lawns, with cattle grazing on them.

    Cambridge is better than Oxford now, but historically they were both idyllic. A car factory brought far too many undesirables to Oxford, and it has not recovered.
    As for the USA: come on, Berkeley grads, stand up for your alma mater.
    The main reading room in the library is magnificent, as is the library as a whole. The campanile is very fine, and , although they are mostly built in a Thirties, stripped-down classical style, most of the older buildings are quite pleasing. The campus is dotted, too, with charming smaller buildings, such as the faculty club and the old philosophy building. There are park-like areas too, and even a creek running through the campus
    The rot started in the Sixties, as everywhere else. The architecture building is a brutalist horror, natch.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    As for the USA: come on, Berkeley grads, stand up for your alma mater.
    The main reading room in the library is magnificent, as is the library as a whole. The campanile is very fine, and , although they are mostly built in a Thirties, stripped-down classical style, most of the older buildings are quite pleasing. The campus is dotted, too, with charming smaller buildings, such as the faculty club and the old philosophy building. There are park-like areas too, and even a creek running through the campus
     
    When I was an undergrad at Berkeley, the Doe Memorial Library was my favorite place for studying:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/UCB-University-Library.jpg
  83. @Lagertha
    Cost; this is the simplest reason why no one can afford to build any new buildings that required so much decorative masonry work; architectural details, Classical & Gothic details. After WW1, money just ran out. Modernism took over, because it was cheap. You can see this in great detail in bombed European cities.

    I am one of those weirdos that likes anything vernacular and contemporary. I had a great professor of architectural history in graduate school who linked the loss of skilled artisans (loss of the actual skills) due to rapid immigration (very iSteve material! ha!), to the relatively, ugly buildings in post-war NYC - the new homes in the burbs & boroughs...not public buildings (which also, bc of $, became big boxes). I am strictly talking about ugly walk-ups and split levels; with weird siding, linoleum floors, "fake" masonry walls, ersatz window placement and clumsy attempts at ornamentation.

    The other part of the equation: skilled artisans; metal workers, masons, carvers, woodworkers, glass makers have gone with the Dodo. For instance, the Taj Mahal is one of the most remarkable buildings, but can you imagine the expense of creating that now? So, we are stuck with glass, concrete, steel...emptiness. In the NYT magazine, all their real estate ads in the first few pages (next to the watch ads!) are all of remarkably similar glass tower apartments....all around the same several million dollars. Nothing really grabs me about them - they all look uniform and boring.

    Well said. The only public places that get any kind of “look” these days is airports.

    They barely got the stone gargoyles on the Washington National Cathedral done in the 90s before the last stone mason died.

    Read More
  84. @middle aged vet.. ..
    Hogwarts is of course something from a children's book about the conflict between privileged cool insider kids and the horrible outsiders (muggles, mostly, and a few unattractive non-muggle but middle-aged and old wizards). Well that is what kids like. Anyway, unlike Rowling, people like Jane Austen and Tolkien (and Henry James) had an excuse for writing about elite people - they were born elite and that is what they knew (the elite backgrounds of Austen and James are well-known, and Tolkien went to elite schools from the moment he moved to England from South Africa , although he was of course living in what they used to call "straightened circumstances" for quite a few years in his youth. Still, even though his widowed mother was poor, he went to nothing but the best schools, and it would cost about 2 million or so today to raise a child in the type of bucolic neighborhood young Tolkien lived in ). So if Austen wants to write about the richest eligible young ladies in the county, or Tolkien wants to write about the heroics of the most privileged hobbits in the Shire, they have the excuse that they were raised that way. The lady who wrote Harry Potter grew up poor - or middle class, at best, and without economic privileges (although it seems she was physically attractive, which counts for quite a lot) and yet wrote a book where all the heroes were basically the privileged rich kids in town, with the addition of maybe two or three poor kids who were - under very exceptional circumstances - allowed to hang out with them. Kind of sad, from that point of view. She should have stuck up for the sort of people she grew up with, the way Mark Twain and Dickens did. I wonder if she ever looks at it that way. I would be interested (not super interested, but a little interested) to hear her honest excuse for being a middle class kid who grew up to write an updated glorification of very upper-class English public schools.

    Tolkien went to elite schools from the moment he moved to England from South Africa

    Tolkien attended the Birmingham Oratory School, founded by Blessed John Henry Newman and among the headmasters of which were Gerard Manley Hopkins and Tom Arnold (son of Dr. Arnold of Rugby and brother of the poet Matthew Arnold).

    Read More
  85. @dearieme
    "still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing": it's interesting that Harvard is happy to insult its potential students with such stupid stuff.

    Anyway, what the devil is the point of a dining hall restricted to freshmen? What happened to the benefits of diversity?

    By all accounts, Joanne Rowling wrote most of the first Harry Potter book in a coffee shop directly over the road from Old College, Edinburgh University, perhaps the grandest University building ever built. Like most buildings of Ancient European Universities, it was built in the centre of the city, not on a campus. This was because it was an integral part of the city, not an add-on.
    It was largely designed by Robert Adam, one of the world’s greatest architects, and completed by William Henry Playfair, also highly distinguished. It is a neoclassical masterpiece, unlike Harvard College. The latter’s best buildings are commonplace colonial Georgian.

    Read More
  86. @Old Palo Altan
    Cambridge is better than Oxford now, but historically they were both idyllic. A car factory brought far too many undesirables to Oxford, and it has not recovered.
    As for the USA: come on, Berkeley grads, stand up for your alma mater.
    The main reading room in the library is magnificent, as is the library as a whole. The campanile is very fine, and , although they are mostly built in a Thirties, stripped-down classical style, most of the older buildings are quite pleasing. The campus is dotted, too, with charming smaller buildings, such as the faculty club and the old philosophy building. There are park-like areas too, and even a creek running through the campus
    The rot started in the Sixties, as everywhere else. The architecture building is a brutalist horror, natch.

    As for the USA: come on, Berkeley grads, stand up for your alma mater.
    The main reading room in the library is magnificent, as is the library as a whole. The campanile is very fine, and , although they are mostly built in a Thirties, stripped-down classical style, most of the older buildings are quite pleasing. The campus is dotted, too, with charming smaller buildings, such as the faculty club and the old philosophy building. There are park-like areas too, and even a creek running through the campus

    When I was an undergrad at Berkeley, the Doe Memorial Library was my favorite place for studying:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/UCB-University-Library.jpg

    Read More
    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Absolutely, and the uninformed need to know that those high, uniform windows which stretch the length of the building enclose one vast room, lined with twelve foot high bookcases filled with a magnificent reference library. I too spent many happy hours there (not exactly studying, but we'll leave that aside), but most enjoyed my weekly visit to the club-like room to the right of the main doors on the lower level - here one could read newspapers and periodicals from around the world and browse through books newly arrived.
    I hope it is not entirely different nowadays.
  87. Much of the Duke campus was designed by a pretty interesting guy:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Abele

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Another black architect of a long time ago was Paul Revere Williams, who designed a lot of movie stars' homes all over Southern California:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Williams_(architect)

    He wasn't much talked about until recently by architecture historians because he didn't have one style he imposed on his clients. Instead, most of his clients were talented people with strong opinions about what they wanted, so he helped them have the kind of houses they wanted. He was highly adept in multiple styles and had hundreds of satisfied customers.
  88. The Berkeley campus is beautiful and the weather is nearly always mild. 98% of the students realize this and spend their off hours basking in the sun or playing sports… at least they did in the 80′s… now they probably just stare at their phones like every other human being.

    It’s only that 2% that gives the school such a radical tinge. Most of the people are placid liberals.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson

    It’s only that 2% that gives the school such a radical tinge
     
    The dose makes the poison.
  89. No, American university students are not stuck in some sort of adolescent attachment to Harry Potter. It’s not like there are University-level Quidditch teams… Oh wait.

    Actually, there are hundreds of university Quidditch teams:

    https://www.usquidditch.org/teams

    And yes, they’re serious. Here are some US Quidditch Cup 2017 highlights.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDaEtgID03k

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    To be fair, delusion has its attractions - as attested to by the entire Left.
  90. @syonredux

    As for the USA: come on, Berkeley grads, stand up for your alma mater.
    The main reading room in the library is magnificent, as is the library as a whole. The campanile is very fine, and , although they are mostly built in a Thirties, stripped-down classical style, most of the older buildings are quite pleasing. The campus is dotted, too, with charming smaller buildings, such as the faculty club and the old philosophy building. There are park-like areas too, and even a creek running through the campus
     
    When I was an undergrad at Berkeley, the Doe Memorial Library was my favorite place for studying:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/UCB-University-Library.jpg

    Absolutely, and the uninformed need to know that those high, uniform windows which stretch the length of the building enclose one vast room, lined with twelve foot high bookcases filled with a magnificent reference library. I too spent many happy hours there (not exactly studying, but we’ll leave that aside), but most enjoyed my weekly visit to the club-like room to the right of the main doors on the lower level – here one could read newspapers and periodicals from around the world and browse through books newly arrived.
    I hope it is not entirely different nowadays.

    Read More
  91. Given that we live in the richest societies that have ever graced the earth, complaints about how much it costs to put up new beautiful buildings strike me as complete bullshit.

    Read More
  92. @Stan Adams
    As an undergrad at [Stan Adams' alma mater], I had the distinct privilege of dining in the university food court. When I was a freshman, it offered such mouthwatering options as Burger King and Taco Bell.

    At the beginning of my sophomore year, Wendy's replaced Burger King. But the real big news that year was the opening of the on-campus Starbucks.

    F\/ck Starbucks. And not in the queenly sense.

    Read More
  93. @Formerly CARealist
    The Berkeley campus is beautiful and the weather is nearly always mild. 98% of the students realize this and spend their off hours basking in the sun or playing sports... at least they did in the 80's... now they probably just stare at their phones like every other human being.

    It's only that 2% that gives the school such a radical tinge. Most of the people are placid liberals.

    It’s only that 2% that gives the school such a radical tinge

    The dose makes the poison.

    Read More
  94. @Anon7
    No, American university students are not stuck in some sort of adolescent attachment to Harry Potter. It's not like there are University-level Quidditch teams... Oh wait.

    Actually, there are hundreds of university Quidditch teams:

    https://www.usquidditch.org/teams

    And yes, they're serious. Here are some US Quidditch Cup 2017 highlights.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDaEtgID03k

    To be fair, delusion has its attractions – as attested to by the entire Left.

    Read More
  95. @James Kabala
    Much of the Duke campus was designed by a pretty interesting guy:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Abele

    Another black architect of a long time ago was Paul Revere Williams, who designed a lot of movie stars’ homes all over Southern California:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Williams_(architect)

    He wasn’t much talked about until recently by architecture historians because he didn’t have one style he imposed on his clients. Instead, most of his clients were talented people with strong opinions about what they wanted, so he helped them have the kind of houses they wanted. He was highly adept in multiple styles and had hundreds of satisfied customers.

    Read More
  96. @Lagertha
    Cost; this is the simplest reason why no one can afford to build any new buildings that required so much decorative masonry work; architectural details, Classical & Gothic details. After WW1, money just ran out. Modernism took over, because it was cheap. You can see this in great detail in bombed European cities.

    I am one of those weirdos that likes anything vernacular and contemporary. I had a great professor of architectural history in graduate school who linked the loss of skilled artisans (loss of the actual skills) due to rapid immigration (very iSteve material! ha!), to the relatively, ugly buildings in post-war NYC - the new homes in the burbs & boroughs...not public buildings (which also, bc of $, became big boxes). I am strictly talking about ugly walk-ups and split levels; with weird siding, linoleum floors, "fake" masonry walls, ersatz window placement and clumsy attempts at ornamentation.

    The other part of the equation: skilled artisans; metal workers, masons, carvers, woodworkers, glass makers have gone with the Dodo. For instance, the Taj Mahal is one of the most remarkable buildings, but can you imagine the expense of creating that now? So, we are stuck with glass, concrete, steel...emptiness. In the NYT magazine, all their real estate ads in the first few pages (next to the watch ads!) are all of remarkably similar glass tower apartments....all around the same several million dollars. Nothing really grabs me about them - they all look uniform and boring.

    The University of San Diego has a generally fabulous campus built after WWII. It’s like some Catholic fever dream of architecture.

    But, all the domes and towers are kind of lacking in detail.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lagertha
    True...if you are talking about the inside, especially. Outside, there is some detail - the white color makes all the buildings look very magnificent. However, I was surprised when walking into like, the Engineering department, that there was little carry-over of decorative detail, stone work, "wow" factor, inside.

    For some reason, during my older son's (and 2 of his friends) tour of the Engineering Dept., my mind trailed off to the idea that USD buildings look very Disney...sort of wedding cake-like. I always have weird ideas streaming into my head, but, I would say the architect in charge of that project wanted to convey "magic." I mean, architecture is supposed to wow you.

    Hands down, USD has the best dorms, dorm rooms in the USA...nothing comes close, no Ivies, no other U's I can think of...and I have been to so many. Obviously, USD is a very wealthy U. You definitely feel that you are at Camelot there....high on that bluff.

  97. @Steve Sailer
    The University of San Diego has a generally fabulous campus built after WWII. It's like some Catholic fever dream of architecture.

    But, all the domes and towers are kind of lacking in detail.

    True…if you are talking about the inside, especially. Outside, there is some detail – the white color makes all the buildings look very magnificent. However, I was surprised when walking into like, the Engineering department, that there was little carry-over of decorative detail, stone work, “wow” factor, inside.

    For some reason, during my older son’s (and 2 of his friends) tour of the Engineering Dept., my mind trailed off to the idea that USD buildings look very Disney…sort of wedding cake-like. I always have weird ideas streaming into my head, but, I would say the architect in charge of that project wanted to convey “magic.” I mean, architecture is supposed to wow you.

    Hands down, USD has the best dorms, dorm rooms in the USA…nothing comes close, no Ivies, no other U’s I can think of…and I have been to so many. Obviously, USD is a very wealthy U. You definitely feel that you are at Camelot there….high on that bluff.

    Read More
  98. @neon2
    Nazi robots? Why not take a look at what the Nazis actually built in a mere six years. It is uniformly magnificent, from the autobahns to the Reichskanzlei to the Ordensburgen. The domestic architecture built for the SS, in Berlin, is today one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the capital.
    If you want soulless junk, look to the Communists.

    Nazi robots? Why not take a look at what the Nazis actually built in a mere six years. It is uniformly magnificent, from the autobahns to the Reichskanzlei to the Ordensburgen.

    That’s one of the things that you’re really really not supposed to notice – that the Nazis had style and taste, and imagination and aesthetic boldness.

    Read More
  99. @anonn
    The Claremont Colleges are reasonably pretty, though devoid of any real stunning centerpieces like other colleges often have. Claremont itself (the town) is loaded with gorgeous Craftsman-style houses on tree-lined streets. Claremont is a paradise if you like Art-and-Crafts or Craftsman styles.

    Its students are insufferable pricks, but that's because they're mostly spoiled rich brats who weren't good enough academically to get admitted to Stanford like Daddy always wanted for them. In previous generations that type would have just gone to Cal or UCLA, but now they can't even beat the Asians out for places at the decent University of California campuses.

    The Claremont colleges have a type: spoiled, entitled, and getting an education just good enough to make them realize they should have studied more in high school rather than relying entirely on Daddy's money.

    These are kids who were born on third base, yet deeply ashamed and resentful of their own class and place in the world. Source: lived in Claremont for close to a decade.

    Your assessment of Claremont undergrads may be on the money but students at contiguous Harvey Mudd (rigorous STEM curriculum, heavily Asian) seem now to be behaving in a similar manner.

    Read More
  100. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Spotted Toad
    One of the questions I've had over the last few years is why we can't build public structures anymore. Libraries, museums- putting aside college campuses- either we built them a hundred years ago and won't bother doing it again or if, at enormous expense, we do put something up, it just looks like a warehouse, and only the very wealthiest places like NYC or SFO are building anything new at all. Wolfe's quote about conspicuous consumption makes sense, but people who walked into the New York Public Library or Chicago's Field Museum (or some of the railroad stations of the same era) could presumably feel as though they were entitled to that same sense of grandeur on democratic grounds.

    Well, remember that when those grand places were built, most of the population was rural and rarely left their farms, and cities like New York were packed with tenements. This was before the time of easy, mass travel and consumption.

    Read More
  101. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    You’re right that Harvard’s campus is underwhelming. Mostly plain Colonial and Federal stye brick buildings and a dour atmosphere. UVA’s buildings are mainly fairly plain brick buildings with pillars and columns gratuitously placed everywhere.

    Collegiate Gothic campuses like Yale can be impressive, especially in pictures and from afar, but they can also be quite underwhelming up close since many of the buildings aren’t very big. You have a lot of regular and small sized buildings done up in Gothic style but without the grand scale of Gothic buildings, which make them look like a facade and miniature models up close rather than the real thing.

    Read More
  102. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @neon2
    Nazi robots? Why not take a look at what the Nazis actually built in a mere six years. It is uniformly magnificent, from the autobahns to the Reichskanzlei to the Ordensburgen. The domestic architecture built for the SS, in Berlin, is today one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the capital.
    If you want soulless junk, look to the Communists.

    A lot of Nazi architecture was bad and similar to Communist style concrete block architecture:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prora

    The Nazi architectural plan for a new Berlin were also a grotesque monstrosity:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welthauptstadt_Germania

    Read More
  103. Freshmen have the privilege of taking all of their meals in Annenberg Hall, which you have likely seen in every single admissions brochure. It looks very much like the Great Hall from Harry Potter, except our tables run the wrong way (still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing). Annenberg seems really cool at first because, as mentioned above, it is essentially Hogwarts.

    I’m just LOLing over the juxtaposition of the globally super-merchandized juvenile novels of a left-indoctrinated super-WASP female and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to polish the family name and memory of the Philadelphia Jewish racketeer and gangster.

    https://www.pulpartists.com/Annenberg-P.html

    http://www.investopedia.com/news/nbcuniversal-buys-harry-potter-rights-enormous-franchise-deal-nbcutwxdwa/

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/8/12401504/nbcu-harry-potter-fantastic-beasts-warner-bros-cable-deal

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBCUniversal#Subsidiaries

    Since white culture is no longer permitted in the Ivy League, at what point do all Crimson grads qualify as yeshiva boys/Yentls and for dual citizenship with Israel? Or does it require a DNA test still?

    Read More
  104. Funny this should come up now. Just returned from a trip to the UK where we saw the dining room at Christchurch College at Oxford that was supposed to be the inspiration for the Hogwarts dining room. Also saw the real Hogwarts sets on the studio tour that was quite good. And the little cafe in Edinburgh where Rowling supposedly wrote the first draft, inspired by Edinburgh castle no doubt..

    Read More

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