Boston, MA—In a bold historic move, Amatheia College expelled all of its bookish students last Thursday. “It’s not our fault such students still exist,” said President Myrtle Cottard in a televised address. “The high schools are supposed to stamp them out; obviously they have failed. Our job, therefore, is to send them promptly on their way, so that we can get on with business.”
According to Cottard, bookish students slow the college down. “They dwell on passages. They ask difficult questions. They might even stare out a window for a while and think about what they have read. What’s more, they don’t always follow instructions, and their notebooks aren’t even remotely neat. We can’t afford that kind of student in today’s economy.” The ideal Amatheia student, she explained, was snappy, brief, and sociable—the type that would grab a takeaway and a job.
To round up the bookish students, Amatheia pursued an aggressive three-pronged policy. “First, we sent out an online survey,” said Mark Spletni, director of communications. “We asked them their idea of a fun way to spend a Friday night. Those who answered ‘reading’ were ousted within the hour.” Next, he said, they “counseled out” all students who had signed up for fake courses titled “European Intellectual History,” “The Underground Man and His Descendants,” and “The Fun of Tristram Shandy.” For the final phase, Amatheia welcomed students to turn in their bookish roommates. “Most kids are just waiting for the go-ahead,” said Spletni. “They want to have their parties. They don’t want someone emerging all sleepy-eyed from the bedroom at 2 a.m. to say, ‘Could you please turn it down? I’m trying to read The Birds’ or—worse yet—‘I’m trying to get some sleep so I can think about Mill in the morning.’”
Accused of tolerating and even abetting the “bookishness” problem, the public high schools spoke up defensively. “We’re doing all we can,” said Percy Bandwag, president of the National Association of Schools for Tomorrow’s Youth (NASTY). “We enforce group work around the country, to penalize the off-task types. We make things rushed and noisy, so that there’s no room for extraneous thought. And we reiterate to all students that they’re here to be streamlined and socialized. They must follow instructions and fit in with their peers. Still, even with all of that”—here Bandwag winced a few times—“even with all of our expensive efforts, some bookish kids squeak through. I’m telling you, it isn’t an easy job.”
Some students at Amatheia concurred with Bandwag’s last point. “I squeaked through all right,” said a student who requested anonymity, “and I know of at least ten others in my boat, so to speak. We didn’t fall for the trick, and now we’re questioning the benefits of our survival.” He and his friends go out to bars and talk Proust while shooting pool. “We take turns reading on the john or in the back room,” he divulged, “and then we discuss what we’ve found. Saul Bellow’s another favorite of ours. We’re reading Herzog now.”
According to Amatheia’s Chief Undergraduate Psychologist Mercy Terpet, these very students would be the next to go. “Research has shown that people who engage in long conversations at bars—whether or not they’re playing pool—have something intellectual going on,” she told us. “We’ve paid some bartenders to keep an eye on them. We’re gonna win this one.”
“I didn’t mind my bookish roommate,” said Stuart Crise, a tormented physics major who now lives in a lively quad. “But then, it would have been super uncool to keep him on.” For his efforts, Crise has received a tuition discount and an assurance that his former roommate will be fine. In addition, he has been relieved of all obligation to visit the library, which has begun to liquidate its holdings.
According to officials, both books and bookishness will be gone by 2015. The college will then concentrate on its goal: to produce young adults who breeze past cadences and knock down every semblance of a thought.