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The comment about MIT architecture at the end of the article is really strange. To rapidly sum up some of the material from the MIT article, the Maclaurin buildings, built in the 1910s, do have the strong reference to classical architecture that would be expected of an upcoming technical school still decades from becoming the academic powerhouse that it is today. This was before anyone had heard of "rapid-fire technological change," so it seems strange to pcik on MIT for using (in 1915) the same old academic architecture as everywhere else. MIT's present day architecture certainly doesn't have this obsession with the classical era.
Are you sure no one had heard of "rapid-fire technological change" in 1916? By today's standards, the rate of technological change in 1916 may seem modest, but in 1825 someone wrote that the way people in Europe live had changed more in the preceeding 40 years than in the 2000 years before that. And I don't think that big building, nominally a group of buildings called "Building 1", "Building 2", etc., are merely "the same old" thing as everywhere else; in particular, the way in which they're designed to admit lots of light is very nicely done. Michael Hardy 22:13, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think my point must not have been sufficiently clear -- what I was trying to communicate was that MIT architecture is an impressively poor example of the kind of general phenomenon being discussed.
I don't think that Dr. Snyder, Maxwell Griffith and I are the only people who have experienced a certain cognitive dissonance between MIT's meritocratic and anti-authoritarian culture and its architecture, which while not quite anticipatory of Albert Speer, is certainly more consciously monumental than the buildings of, say, nearby Harvard. The architecture certainly seems to be making some kind of self-consciously backward-looking statement. Griffith's description in The Gadget Maker surely has an ironic tone to it:
"At night, floodlights glare from artfully concealing shrubbery and lave the main building with a white light that emphasizes black-trimmed, three-story windows rising in uninterrupted, eye-leading verticals toward a dominant, austere dome mimicked from some classic pile of ancient Rome. On every slab-sided cornice, like proclamations of faith needing no explanation, are chiseled Darwin, Newton, Aristotle and, in lesser letters, the names of the more numerous Lavoisiers and Eulers and Faradays who have discovered the chemical elements or evolved the equations or stumbled upon the fundamentals of nature. Indeed, not unlovely is the breeding ground of technicians and engineers which, as announced in stone above great, fluted columns, is the MASSACHVSETTS INSTITVTE OF TECHNOLOGY."
I removed the statement about architecture because
1) It's irrelevant to the book
2) It's not accurate. The main buildings are neo-classical, but all of the buildings on the MIT campus merely reflect the main style that existed when they were built. The Strada Center and the Media Lab for example are not neo-classical. The statement would be interesting if someone were building something wildly anachronistic, but they aren't.
Just read . Holy crap, did they really do that? Is this really the full story?! That's bloody awful! - Ta bu shi da yu 12:33, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Three of my personal acquaintances were sent to McLean, one of them for a fairly solid reason (it turned out to be temporal lobeepilepsy). The other two incidents resemble those described in the Tech article, though because I was there for one of them, my recollection tends to lace it with my own black humour. Comparing what I know with the Tech's descriptions, I don't think either of my acquaintances are the people pseudonymously described in their article. Two's company, three's a crowd, four is ... ?
But because Wikipedia is not the place for original research, especially of the anthropological kind, I stuck to the "official record". Which is a pretty sorry one, all things considered.
Both my parents were newspaper people, so I grew up around a lot of shop talk. I also got a long, intermittent tirade about the shortcomings of various student publications: the layout of our senior yearbook was horrible, the graphic design of the literary magazine was worse, and so forth. By the time I got to MIT, I was used to applying their journalist's standards to what I read. And hoo boy, did I ever have a field day. In four years, plus the time I spent at the Institute before becoming a student (yay for nerdy summer programs!), I never heard a positive statement about the Tech. Frequently, the newspaper was accused of gathering the worst writers on campus into one small, confined space. At best, if the bare bones of a story were funny, and if the Tech reporter managed to get them right, people were marginally pleased.
Close friends of mine tell that they themselves were interviewed and horribly misquoted, the writer taking two sentences ten minutes apart and conflating them into one, without so much as an ellipsis in between. ("Hey Eric, what were you talking about in that Tech interview?" Eric finds a copy and opens it. "Jesus, I don't know.") I have a healthy file of errata columns, including an admission that an entire quarter-page graph was based on meaningless numbers. I also came across a fantastic article, dated 28 January2004, in which the Tech reports on the failure of a competing publication, Prometheus. This competing newspaper, dedicated to longer articles with more in-depth analysis, folded after two issues. To quote:
Christine R. Fry '05, the outgoing editor in chief of The Tech, said she did not think The Tech [sic]'s staff-sharing rule, which forbids Tech staff members from also working for "a competing publication," should be blamed for Prometheus's collapse.
"It's a person's choice who they write for, and we can't help if they choose one or another," she said.
Fry said that Prometheus members would be welcome at The Tech. "We'd love to have staffers who are interested in in-depth analysis," she said.
...the gloating goes on for a while longer.
I was researching the "MIT in popular culture" material for the main MIT article, and I found an old, old passage about the then-President Samuel Stratton being nominated to the commission which would examine the Sacco and Vanzetti ruling. I first learned about this through Kurt Vonnegut, which says something about how well the Institute passes its history on to its students. Anyway, looking for backup material, I discovered that the Tech reported on Stratton's appointment, but it never had an article about the committee's ruling—which upheld the verdict and condemned the men to death. Another old Institute dweller read the excerpt I quoted, commented on its lousy prose, and said, "It sucked all the way back then? Some things just don't change."
The sheer number of Voo Doo jokes over the decades which have slammed the "respectable" campus newspaper must be some indication of how the students feel. Still, though it may be willfully incomplete, the Tech lays out names and dates, and it may provide some fraction of the information necessary to make sense out of the sum-of-confusions which is MIT. What would be the fun of research if everything were neatly provided?
Live long and prosper. Anville 19:01, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Ambiguous: "return after McLean's staff believes they are healthy"
I find the phrase "occasionally refusing to let them return after McLean's staff believes they are healthy" to be ambiguous. It leaves undefined "return to where." I can think of two possibilities: 1) MIT; 2) McLean. Can the author of this passage illuminate further?--SalineBrain (talk) 08:21, 3 March 2008 (UTC)