By Eric Baker
Below is an article from the 1994 Harvard-Yale issue, entitled “Yale Sucks”, by the associate sports editor at the time, Eric Baker. The parallels between the state of Yale now and twenty years ago are striking! Still, their Gothic architecture and “urban setting” remain some of the many reasons why Yale does, in fact, suck…
Competition: It’s the only way to improve and remain on top. All true champions had rivals who pushed them to the limits of greatness. Athens had Sparta. Magic had Bird. Ali had Frazier. Beavis has Butt-head.
Without such a competitor, potential greatness may be wasted. This is why I fear for my school. Who is there to push Harvard? We used to have Yale. But now, as our stranglehold on the top spot in U.S. News and World Report tightens and the Elis slip into economic ruin, we are in danger of being left all alone.
This leaves us with two alternatives. Either we lower our standards and come down to Yale’s level of mediocrity, or we help raise up the Elis and make Yale a viable opponent once again. The answer is clear: we must throw a bone to the Bulldogs. Just like Apollo Creed helped out Rocky Balboa, we must help Yale regain the Eye of the Tiger. For not one stands taller than he who stoops to help the less fortunate.
So here are some tips that might help raise our pals from New Haven back into the realm of the elite.
1) Fashion: As Billy Crystal used to say, “It is better to look good than to feel good.” Well, I don’t know about your feelings, but as for your looks…stop dressing like cast members from that old Saturday Night Live skit Sprockets. Ditch the black turtlenecks and the John Lennon spectacles. You guys can’t keep emulation Harvard’s pretentious Signet Society.
2) Location: It’s hard to lure students to a campus where the most popular extracurricular activity is its Neighborhood Watch. And although I applaud the effort, I don’t think anyone is buying the line in Yale’s admissions brochure touting the New Haven “urban experience.”
So it’s time to choose a new home. Take out a map of the Northeast, close your eyes, and point to a spot. As long as your finger doesn’t land on Harlem, you’re improving.
3) Money: So it turned out to be a bad idea to invest half of your endowment in Chia Pet stock and to put the other half behind the movie Howard the Duck. But everyone makes mistakes. The key is to recover before all of your students are forced to live in tent cities and use port-a-potties—New Haven has enough homeless people.
Just hire a couple young Harvard grads to manage the little money you have left, and you’ll be back in the black in no time. And if you can’t lure any of the best and the brightest to take your charity case, then just pull some alumni strings and ask Yalie Hillary Rodham Clinton to hook you up in the commodities market.
4) Architecture: There’s a place and time to be surrounded by Gothic architecture. Unfortunately, that was 15th-century Europe. In other words, such Gothic architecture was in vogue when Yale last had the cash to renovate its dorms. Today, the juxtaposition of Yale’s dreary Gothic buildings with New Haven’s urban squalor creates a disturbing Count Dracula meets Ice-T effect. While this might work for the rap star’s next video, it is not the best setting for higher education.
And although I’m not an architect, I feel fairly confident in saying that rapidly peeling ceilings and decaying walls are not aesthetic positives. While the falling plaster might help keep young Elis awake during the boring lecture of some Yale prof (i.e. someone who couldn’t get tenure at Harvard), it could be hazardous to their health.
There you have it. Four quick tips on how you guys in New Haven can turn things around. I know I’m not McKinsey consulting, but I think this represents a start. Anyway, with your cashflow problems you couldn’t afford McKinsey, so take what you can get.
Let’s put the bark back in the Bulldog. This “rivalry” is getting ridiculous. Harvard’s beginning to feel like Michael Jordan. It’s just no fun without any challenge at the top. And, unlike his Airness, we can’t retire and we’ll never lower ourselves to the minor leagues.