Pity the "Amazing Girls" of Newton North. Their heroic struggle to be smart and pretty was detailed on the front page of yesterday's Times. They are "encouraged by committed teachers and by engaged parents who can give them wide-ranging opportunities!" They might not get into the exact pricey private college they would like to attend! It's very hard. Perhaps the most troubled of these overachievers is Esther Mobley (center), who is "a standout in Advanced Placement Latin and honors philosophy/literature who can expound on the beauty of the subjunctive tense in Catullus and on Kierkegaard's existential choices. A writer whose junior thesis for Advanced Placement history won Newton North's top prize. An actress. President of her church youth group."

Unfortunately, she's also kind of a retard.

We know this because the Times, in its wisdom, has seen fit to publish the essay that Esther wrote seeking admission to Williams. SPOILER ALERT: She didn't get in.

It is all about Kentucky, from whence Esther has decided to borrow some cred (hey, if you can't be from a state that's more statistically desirable, you can at least play up your family's roots there!):

There is a beauty pageant for every girl age four to seventeen. At the county fair in August, the rides are always creaky, with paint chipping off and an odd red light that doesn't light up. On any given day, the same regular crowd of men sits in Jeff's Deli, wearing baseball caps, ordering the usual. Things are old. But some things aren't grand-old or antique-old; they're just stale, outdated, washed up. I used to think that I felt alienated from Kentucky because of the oldness and the conservatism. Now I realize that it's more than that: it's that Kentucky is drenched in SLOWNESS.

Slowness indeed! Later:

Here's what I'm looking for: I'm looking for the security, the familiarity, and the heritage of a small town. I'm looking for the free thinking, the openness, the accepting and welcoming attitude of Newton, of a big city. What is Williamstown like?

To think that Esther will never know. We would cry, but we're all cried out from the part about how sometimes her parents gave her a hard time for getting Bs. And also, she got into Smith.

For Girls, It's Be Yourself and Be Perfect, Too [NYT]

Esther Mobley's College Essay [NYT]