A postscript to my potshots at the high valuation placed on book-learning at an expensive college: For professional and personal reasons I'm reading Moby Dick – and just came upon this passage – Melville's advocacy of learning by doing:
As for me, if, by any possibility, there be any as yet undiscovered prime thing in me;...if hereafter I shall do anything that, upon the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honour and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.
A whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard! By luck, I stumbled upon this picture of Melville in a freshman seminar at Harvard:
Let's write it once more: "A whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard."
Mark it well ye applicants to college – and those who wind up paying!