You’re not there to get an education, though they tell you that. You’re there to make revenue for the college. You’re there to put fans in the seats. You’re there to bring prestige to the university by winning games.
— Rashad McCants, former UNC – Chapel Hill basketball player
Yes, “they” will tell you that. “They” are the people at universities who will not acknowledge the truth that revenue drives decisions, not whether students receive an education. I do not know where on the list education is, but it is unlikely in the top four or five. Prestige, as in the film by that title, is a magic show. You think you are seeing education at public universities, but it’s a trick, sleight of hand, maybe mirrors, illusion. Prestige is like “The Mansion” section of The Wall Street Journal, where people define themselves, their success, by whether they have a private plane in their garage instead of a car. It looks like a tangible thing. Others see it. “They” tell you owning a private jet means you’ve made it. They say you’re winning the game of life, as if the sayings of Charlie Sheen were part of a philosophical guidebook.
In Louie C.K.’s television show, he has written a scene between himself and his daughter. It’s a scene you won’t find mentioned in The Wall Street Journal or quoted by a public university president or chancellor.
Daughter (D): Why does she get one and not me? It’s not fair.
Louis (L): You’re never gonna get the same things as other people. It’s never gonna be equal. It’s not gonna happen ever in your life, so you must learn that now, okay?
Listen — the only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.