I’ve been reading Inventing the Middle Ages by Norman Cantor, which is quite good. Buried deep in the endnotes is this trenchant observation, relevant well beyond the narrow field of medieval studies:
The American academic world is a strange place. There 95 percent of humanists cannot do first-rate work because they do not have the time, leisure, facilities, or income. The other 5 percent get all the plum jam and often don’t do their best work because they are not pressed hard enough.
I went to Princeton yesterday for the first time. I didn’t actually spend much time there since I was only there to get on the train to come back to New Brunswick from another part of New Jersey, but I did get to see a fair amount of it as my friend who lives there was driving me to the station. Along the way she pointed out various landmarks, mostly places for rich people to buy expensive things. As we were going down Nassau Street she pointed out one shop and said, “That’s a place for rich people to buy expensive paper. We have three of those.” I thought that nicely encapsulated the nature of Princeton.