I e-mailed a response to a Washington Post column that annoyed me today. The columnist's point, basically, was that a good student can earn just as much after attending a moderately priced college as after attending an expensive elite school, so parents should consider cheaper alternatives to high-priced schools. In the spirit of frugality, I'm sharing my comments with you as well:
I'm sure you could write a column showing that renting a video can't be justified in terms of increased earnings potential, but a conclusion that people shouldn't rent videos would be obviously wacko. So I find it disturbing that you would write an entire column about colleges without ever once hinting that there are non-monetary benefits to education. A good student can become a doctor at a cheap school, but he may not be able to find a really exciting class on Shakespeare. My own regret is not that I didn't prepare well enough for a profession, but that I spent too little time studying English and history. The semester I spent studying in Hungary didn't cost a dime extra, but if it had I would have done it anyway.
I agree, by the way, that the most expensive schools aren't always the best, and that it's prudent to consider the cost among other factors. But the "other factors" are key--focussing on money to the exclusion of all else can lead to an impoverished life.
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Just a few more days until World Fantasy Convention. I'm hoping to introduce myself to some NAWers and journal readers there. I'll be at the SFF Net party Friday night; if you see me, say hi. (Especially if you have banquet tickets--I'm starting to worry that I'll end up sitting by myself, which would be terribly Not Fun.)
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Princess Mononoke opened Friday. I've been looking forward to seeing this movie in a theater since watching part of it at Lunacon, so I was outraged to find out that it's not playing at a single theater in the Washington area. Appalling. I'm calling on my readers to go see this movie and help it make millions of dollars so maybe the theaters around here will get a clue and start showing it. It's got a good high fantasy story, about the conflict between early Japanese industrialization and the old nature spirits, and incredibly stunning animation. Absolutely beautiful. Trust me--this one is worth going out of your way for.
A small consolation is that the Kennedy Center is showing an Aki Kaurismaki film as part of its European Union Film Showcase. Kaurismaki is one of my favorite directors, but his work isn't shown very often over here, and most of his videotapes are priced at $70 or more, which is more than I'm willing to pay even for a twisted classic like The Match Factory Girl. (The first half is incredibly sad; the rest of the movie is still incredibly sad, but hilarious.) Living in D.C. really is pretty good.
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