Friday, January 21, 2011

In the Empire of Idiot Savants...

17 December 2010

Most of the "college towns" listed in a recent article in the Huffington Post on 10 excellent college towns aren't even real college towns.

A college town is a town dominated economically, politically, culturally, demographically, and geographically by a college. One in three people, for example, who live in Tomkins County, the home of Ithaca, NY and the home of Cornell University work at Cornell University. That is economic dominance. Students play a major role in making Bloomington, Indiana, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Iowa City, Iowa Democrat. That is political dominance. Indiana University puts on some 1000 musical concerts a year (including operas). This number would substantially decline without IU in B-town. That is cultural dominance. Indiana University substantially dominates the landscape of Bloomington. It is about one-fourth of the city of Bloomington. Ohio University constitutes about one-half of the city of Athens. That is geographic dominance. Ohio University students almost double the population of Athens, helps support some twenty pubs in the city, and takes partying to incredible levels in that small southeast Ohio. Athens is party central. That is demographic dominance.

Boston, NYC, and Austin are not college towns and do not come close to meeting the criteria above. They are all cities with significant industrial, financial, retail, and medical sectors. They just happen to have colleges in them and while colleges bring something to the economy, the political culture, the culture, the geography, and the demography of these cities, the colleges do not dominate any of these cities economically, politically, culturally, geographically, or demographically as Indiana does Bloomington or as Michigan does Ann Arbor.

What is utterly absurd about this list is the bizarre and braindead notion that NYC is a college town, a college town just like Athens, Ohio, Bloomington, Indiana, Ann Arbor, Michigan, or Oxford, Ohio. Now that is what I call analytical precision. Not. Anyway, who are the idiot savants who come up with these lame lists anyway? And are they really brain dead zombies?

Bibliography
10 Excellent College Towns: Unigo List, 16 December 2010, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/16/10-excellent-college-town_n_797873.html#s209457

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