We're really not that different from you. We all want what's best for our children, don't we? But of course there is so little of the best to walk around. Do you know how many colleges are worth a hell of a lot? Unfortunately only 25! The top rated in US News & World Report, The best college of all is Stanvard University in a country called Honah Lee. The acceptance rate is -0.02 percent.
That brings us to the reason we invited you. We just want to ask you if you've seen the Netflix documentary yet. It's really entertaining and that's what matters. The title says it all: Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admission Scandal.
You know this is the College admissions scandal, right? The biggest! We, the privileged parents who matter, want people to continue to believe that this filthy business is the slimmest thing that ever happened in admissions. We'll explain in a moment why, but for now we're just going to tell you – and we're just going to whisper here – The whole process is defined by systemic inequalities, many of which have ancient roots. It's complicated. Like … try reading a map of the local bus routes. How sad for everyone who has to take the bus!
However, this scandal is easy to understand. For one thing, there is a bad guy. Do you remember Rick Singer? He's that corrupt independent college advisor who “side-door” kids from neighborhoods like ours to highly selective colleges by bribing coaches and administrators to pretend they're helmsmen and water polo players.
Rick Singer is played – with a dry, sinister ability, we must say – by Matthew Modine, a Hollywood actor who scowls a lot and wears running shorts everywhere. What makes Singer tick? The question is asked a lot, but we don't get many satisfactory answers here. We get some car porn in a few scenes when Singer zooms around in his shiny black Tesla. We're considering a new Mercedes GLC 350e 4MATIC SUV ourselves, but we're torn between Obsidian Black Metallic and Selenite Gray Metallic. It's also difficult to choose between colleges, especially now that we've compiled a list of 67 significant differences between Tulane and Vanderbilt.
But both are very prestigious. Do you know where the word “prestige” comes from? France! "In the French original," a former Stanford admissions officer and student advisor explains in the documentation, "it means fraud." But we prefer to focus on being French.
Anyway, you will see plenty of singers talking to his customers on the phone while standing in their immaculate kitchens, overlooking their sun-drenched tennis courts, and lounging on their exquisite poolside terraces. (If you like HGTV, you'll just salivate!) The dialogue is taken from the actual wiretapping logs: These saps have no idea that federal investigators are recording their conversations!
Sure, we pay for the best private schools like Cloud Cuckoo Land Academy and Gordon Gekko Day School because that's what our little Madisons and Masons deserve. And yes, all of these schools employ college counselors who used to work in admissions offices at the best colleges.
But we don't really trust them half the time. That's why we're hiring Independent Educational Consultants (IECs). Not the criminal kind! Some of them know a lot about the approval process and some of them just have beautiful websites. Either way, paying $ 1,000 an hour is a reminder that we're in control. And we are total under control.
Except when people are kidding us. For example, when Singer is caught by the government in a scene in a Boston hotel. After that, he works with investigators and turns on his wealthy clients to record his phone calls with them. He calls them one by one and asks, "Hey, do you remember the crimes we committed?" And most of them say, "Yes, I remember these crimes very well!"
That made us a bit bad for the parents. Shouldn't we do that? The documentary paints these high profile business leaders and lawyers as victims who are easily bamboozled by this clever manipulator. Crazy, right?
On the other hand, there's this father who, after agreeing to deceive his daughter into college, Singer says, "I'm not worried about the moral issue here. I worry if she gets caught … . she is ready. "
Oh, there's a sad part about the sailing coach at Stanford agreeing to put wealthy kids in the side door for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But we're encouraged to feel sorry for him because … his boss looked like an idiot? Because the soccer program got more love? Because instead of putting the money in his pocket, he just wanted it to fund a good cause of supporting the sailing club at a university with a $ 29 billion foundation?
And did you hear He just got a book deal! Maybe he's writing about how much salty air corroded his conscience and free will!
Sorry, that was rude. We shouldn't judge. We should remember this line from The Great Gatsby, the book about the guy with all those nice shirts. "Whenever you feel like criticizing someone," they say, "remember that all the people in this world have not had the benefits that you have had."
Look, we are not monsters. We are helping fund these C. Montgomery Burns Scholarships for the small but guilty number of low-income students attending our children's schools. And our IEC advises poor families free of charge. By paying him, we're helping the less fortunate, right?
It's sad that a lot of people don't have a lot of money. And this society has tied social mobility to the level of education. And that a post-secondary degree requires exactly the resources many families lack in a country where the federal government's Pell Grant program has not kept up with college costs, forcing many students to take on significant debt just to have a chance to earn a degree. We can only ask ourselves: is there a French word for "vicious circle"?
Or maybe the best word for all of that is "scandal".
As I said, we really want you to believe that Operation Varsity Blues was the most scandalous thing ever to be done in admissions and that everything is broken that has been fixed. As the documentary says, the side door that Singer created on several colleges has been closed. At some locations, we are told, the back door remains – super rich families donating their way to an entry point – "ready for those willing to pay".
But what about the front door that almost all students walk through?
To our great surprise, the documentary barely mentions this. Good of us! Because as long as you talk about bribery, blackmail and whatever it is, when you pay a smart guy to do standardized tests on your child, it's easy to forget all the things we do to get our kids through that front door too bring. Perfectly legal things like driving our precious pumpkins to intensive tutoring sessions, test prep classes, lacrosse camps, music lessons, and one-to-one classes with the College Essay Yoda. "I have to do a lot of word massage."
On the way we buy them the right gifts. Like Baby's first Fulbright application, Erector sets for the MIT-Bound, and signed copies of Decide Early Or Die: A College Guide To Anxious Tweens.
Certainly nothing we've done for them is as important as raising them up here in our lush, high-priced zip codes and cocooning them in a stable, supportive home dedicated to their success. That is also important.
Almost anything colleges have long used to evaluate applicants – ACT and SAT scores, the rigor of high school courses, extracurricular activities – is a measure of the wealth and opportunities that students are born into. Many colleges – thank goodness – continue to give legacy applicants a leg up. And they continue to save many precious places for students engaging in sports that thrive in affluent communities like ours. In the end, we just stick to the rules that the most coveted colleges made long ago.
To be fair, the documentary is not intended to shed light on how a vast, unequal system further disadvantages disadvantaged students. And if it were, you probably wouldn't see it!
Anyway, we don't want to kick you out. And we don't want to spoil the documentary for you. But, fair warning, you're going to hear something disturbing from this bello guy who sounds smart until he says this, “The United States has over 3,000 colleges. You have endless possibilities. "
It's just not true. As we have already told you, there are only 25 universities. All right, 26 if you count the famous art institute our nephew attended before he got into the hedge fund game. OK, OK, that tiny college A beautiful cattle ranch has 12-15 students a year exclusively, but we're not so sure how much manual labor it takes. Let's give him half the honor.
All right, that's it. There are 26.5 universities.
Don't listen to someone who says otherwise. Listen to us, the privileged parents who matter. We know things. We danced in Mrs. Astor's ballroom. We have straight, shiny teeth that nothing could ever stain. Not even that delicious orange juice. Here, have another glass poured for you!
One last thing. Towards the end of the documentary a New Yorker Reporter named Naomi Fry shares an observation. It explains why this scandal continues and why this dramatic production is so darn popular (still top 10 on Netflix). "We love the rich and we hate the rich," she says. "They disgust us and fascinate us."
Of course, that says more about you than about us, the beautiful stars of the show. Felicity and Lori and Olivia Jade? We are almost them, but no, not quite. We are just the legions of everyday Lannisters, with money to burn, social capital to spend and no debt to pay for.
But you, dear viewer, make the enduring sensation of Operation Varsity Blues possible. Because, to be honest, you just can't look away, can you?
(tagsToTranslate) Netflix (t) Rick Singer (t) Operation Varsity Blues (t) Matthew Modine (t) Naomi Fry (t) Akil Bello (t) National Center for Fair and Open Testing (t) Mercedes (t) Tesla (t ) t) France