Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying that the time has come to raze both Oxford and Cambridge to the ground. Shaw has said a great many foolish things in the past, but here is a case where I find myself in hearty agreement with his views. The fashion which Princeton, in common with many large eastern universities, has set in recent years of sending over large hordes of students, immediately after graduation, either to Oxford or Cambridge, for the purpose of acquiring an extra coat of varnish whereby to dazzle the yokels back in the sticks, has resulted, it seems to me, in a most deplorable state of mind. We are given generally to understand, these days, that neither Princeton or any other American university can really educate a man--let alone cultivate him. The American university can, at best, merely instruct him in his A B C's. It remains for Oxford or Cambridge really to civilize the brute.
Well, after two or three years the quondam Princetonian returns with a varicose accent, a mouth full of hot mush, a dandified swagger, and a fairly general contempt for things in this bally o country.
In common with many others who feel that Princeton and her traditions are quite good enough for the average American citizen, and who resent the patronizing airs which these hybrid academics give themselves. I desire to protest against the absurd reverence which seems to be accorded to a man who has spent two or three years mooning among the dons and returns graciously to accept the offer of an instructorship at his alma mater for the purpose of impressing her loutish sons with his own esotericism and converting them from their boorishness.
If Princeton men can never stand on their own feet in the educational world, why are we asked to pour out millions to build up the University? --From a letter in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.