Jewish World Review Sept. 11, 2000 /10 Elul, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- "THIS IS your eyewitness news team, reporting from Ivy University, where Professor I.M. Murky has decided to turn this year's freshman orientation into a gala event. All sorts of celebrities have been invited. Who are some of these celebrities, Professor Murky?"
"Oh, there are so many -- and from so many walks of life. There's the karate expert Marshall Artz, the big movie star Oscar Knight, the famous foot doctor Lance Bunyan, heiress Lotta Mooney, safety expert Justin Case and the income-redistribution advocate, Forrest Sherwood."
"But there's a lot more people than that here. Are the rest of them just ordinary folks?"
"Oh, no. There are a few ordinary people like Chester Mann, but others have something special about them. There's the famous florist Minnie Flowers, moralist U.B. Goode and the social-justice advocate, N.V. Mann. Then there's such other notables as Ruby Kahn (don't cross her) and the ever optimistic I. Lovett."
"Why are they here for freshman orientation?"
"I've invited them here to the Packet Inn so that their presence will show our incoming students how much we care about the new members of our academic community."
"Raise the students' self-esteem?"
"Exactly. But also to demonstrate to the world what highly intelligent and highly educated students we have, contrary to so many critics who claim that our educational system has been dumbed down over the years."
"Well, thanks for the interview, professor. It looks like you are ready to begin the festivities."
"I am. Welcome to Ivy University, freshmen and guests!"
"Later in the program, you will get specific details on life at Ivy University from our dean of students, N. 'Loco' Prentiss. But I would like to start off by asking you some questions, to show our distinguished guests what high caliber students we get these days."
The students smile.
"First question: Why is Homer famous?"
Hands go up.
"You there, with the tattoo on your forehead."
"Because of Mark McGwire."
"No, I'm afraid not. This was much earlier."
"Hank Aaron? Babe Ruth?"
"Well, let's go on to another question. What is the Declaration of Independence?"
Hands go up.
"You there with the purple baggy pants."
"That's like when you are grown up and go off to college and don't have to pay any attention to your parents any more."
"Uh, not exactly. You with the pink bra and green shorts."
"It's like when you don't have to take no crap off nobody no more."
"Let's move on to another question. What is Iwo Jima?"
Answers are shouted out: "A rock group!" "It's like getting it on!" "A new party drug."
"No, no. Let's not all shout out at once. One at a time on this one: Identify Normandy."
Hands go up.
"You there, smoking a cigarette."
"That's a joint, man. Cigarettes are made by Big Tobacco."
"Norma Dee? Wasn't that the name of the has-been actress in that old movie, 'Sunset Boulevard'?"
"Not really. You are thinking of Norma Desmond."
Another hand goes up.
"You there with the ring in your nose."
"Was 'Norman Dee' Marilyn Monroe's real name?"
"No, no. That's Norma Jean. Normandy had to do with a war."
The students begin shouting out again: "Desert Storm!" "Vietnam!" "The Civil War!"
"Well, that ends the question-and-answer part of the program. Dean Prentiss will now give you information about life on campus -- the free movies, where you can get condoms, stuff like that. Academics isn't everything, is it?"
JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, A Personal Odyssey.