As I was journalistically perusing the internet last night, I came upon an entry in a web log ("blog") that tickled my ol' funny bone. It seems that well-off Ivy League students at Princeton University are participating in short role-playing games in order to "experience the virtual realities of poverty." "Quite unlikely!" I scoffed. Do I detect a prime opportunity to make fun of college kids? Why, this one is straight from the textbook!:
- Use sarcasm to mock the easy life that college students lead: Goodness, I hope these sheltered students will be able to bear the strain of a simulated version of "The stressful task of providing for one's basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget" during the course of "four 15-minute 'weeks.'" That's an entire hour of limited budgets!
- Emphasize the gulf between college students' self-regard and their paltry accomplishments: I bet you feel real accomplished after "experiencing" poverty, eh? Eh?
- Point out that the do-gooding activities of college students tend to help their egos rather than the actual problems at hand: Dartmouth students recently ended world hunger by challenging themselves to survive for one full day on only $2. They also got free t-shirts! Food surpluses are now flowering throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
- Find an example that embodies the simultaneous disconnect from reality and excess self-esteem of the modern student: "Derek Lyon ‘11, who said his experience volunteering in the Ecuadorian rain forest compelled him to eat the $2 dinner Wednesday night, said he believes Dartmouth students are not truly in touch with global poverty and hunger on a daily basis." Dartmouth students outside Derek Lyon '11, that is!
- Quote at least one student whose reasonable perspective makes his peers look that much more ridiculous: "'As a person who lives and sees poverty at home, I think it's sort of a stupid exercise,' [Zimbabwean Dartmouth student Tanaka] Mhambi said. 'I mean, fasting for a day isn't going to tell you what hunger is like.'"
- Finally, acknowledge playfully that you yourself may have suffered some of the same defects of the character back when you were in college. (Don't want people to think you're self-righteous): But hey, we all did some ridiculous things back in the old college days, amirite? Can't be too hard on the kids. They're not half as bad as I was! Why when I wasn't getting heavily intoxicated, I was having sex with countless fetching coeds, who were attracted to my "bad boy" persona. Crazy times!