Interested in going to Yale? Would you be more interested if some people sang and danced for your pleasure? The school's admissions department sure seems to hope so, if their "That Why I Chose Yale" recruitment video is any indication.
Yes, a Yale-related admissions musical. Sensing the timely (very timely!) interest in things like High School Musical, one of the Western world's most prestigious universities has decided to roll out a sixteen minute and forty-nine second-long info movie, much of which involves current students warbling and dancing awkwardly, as most Ivy League dorks are wont to do. Watch in glee, and horror, as they sing to you about living in a castle with a gym and a pool table or something, and then they just call everyone else dumb for a while in harmony, Brian Williams shows up!, and then the kid who looks like Barack Obama ends the song and... was it all a dream?? I don't know. I can't figure it out. I mean, I didn't go to Yale. What I want to know most of all, though, is: Why? Is Yale really that hard-up for strong students that they need to produce the most elaborate propaganda film since Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Williams?
Well, it's no secret that Yale is a liiiittle obsessed with the whole singing-as-social-activity thing, because most of the kids who go to Yale are shoe-polished relics from the 1950s. Well, OK, that's not exactly true. But they are total dweebs. Perhaps Yale Admissions just finally decided to harness this otherwise untapped (seriously, no one is tapping that) resource and use their powers for profit.
Though they won't disclose the exact budget of the extravaganza, Yale brass says the film actually cost less than a normal admissions video would. So that's responsible of them! Good old Yale tightening its belt in these tough times, trimming the fat to spend money on the important things, like building moats around their dorm-castles.
Some Elis aren't thrilled with the video, leaving frustrated comments on the Yale Daily News site:
The production is truly an embarrassment to the school. Why is poppy, inane "accessibility" (to use a sublimation) a concern for one of the nation's most elite centers of learning? I hate to think that "Yalie2010's" comment, "This is SOOO Yale," could be true, but it has its validity — the film's obsessive coverage of Yale's social opportunities perfectly reflects the student body's general trend of trading intellectual vigor for inebriate juvenility.
This clearly took lots of work, and congratulations on getting it off the ground. Though to echo Matt's comment, it is revealing that they began with the ludicrously over-the-top amenities offered by the residential colleges and tacked on academics as almost an afterthought.
I am extremely disappointed with this video. Its tone is bizarre: self-conscious, though never-quite-deadpan, but also at times humorlessly earnest — which, combined, make for a dreadful viewing experience. The editing is amateurish, particularly the beginning setup (shots are held too long, and the pacing is far too slow). As someone who was heavily involved in the arts at Yale, even I myself find the video to be, in a word, lame.
Wow. Talk about a diverse and integrated campus... Yale comes across as super-brown (not saying that wouldn't be great, but I think the vid sort of... "colors" things a bit more than is reality). Won't go into details (and it should be fairly self-evident), but I do not see that level of friendly interaction among various groups—or even representation (esp. among the science scenes!). One question: in casting the piece, isn't a bit cynical to have so conscientiously over-sampled certain groups? Also: compare what you see to the production credits...
There ya go! No one can ever agree on art. But what we can all agree on is: NERDS!!!!