Saturday, May 29, 2010

Notes on visiting Amherst

I am visiting Amherst for Pnin's 15th reunion this weekend. It is sort of extremely like Dartmouth, actually, to the point that it is a little bit scary. Each institution has many similarly very nice red brick buildings, built in or around the 1920s, with similar architectural flourishes, though I admit it is a bit odd to see so many former fraternities turned into regular dormitories. It's a bit history stripping and so forth.

The library is also decidedly uglier what I can tell. Another point in Hanover's favor, as I've long been convinced that if there were a heaven, and if I were actually nice enough to deserve to go there, it would have to be a place very much like Baker Library at Dartmouth, especially the Tower Room or else the English literature library in Sanborn House.

The used bookstores are good. Again, remarkably similar to Hanover's.

Amherst may be slightly more left wing. This is far from dispositive evidence, but I found packets of tissues for sale in the college bookstore made to look like newsprint and titled "The Wall Sneeze Journal." I'm not sure if that is meant to insult the WSJ or not, and also, whether it would be amusing or needlessly insulting to buy any to give to friends who write for said publication. Also for sale there: Obamamints, or Yes We Can(dy). But this may cut the other way: perhaps this is not the best thing to give to Obama supporters.

There was a farmers' market/craft fair thing of sorts going on on the town Green this morning. I was almost sad that there were no lefties protesting the war in Iraq. There was a group of Iraq war protesters that could be trusted to stand around and demonstrate at pretty much any such event that was ever held in Hanover. And, like, the war is still going on. Did they just run out of steam sometime around 2003, a development that would make me feel a bit superannuated, but oh well? Did they decide to stop once Obama got elected, despite his less than pacifistic record so far? Granted, there were some people who looked to be student age arguing about whether George W. Bush should be convicted of war crimes as I was getting my iced coffee, which did make me feel kind of at home and suitably non-geezerish.

There are also lots of small children at Pnin's reunion. This is also nicely confirming my sense of non-geezerishness, what with my not having any.

Note also that Amherst and Dartmouth score remarkably close to each other in revealed preference college rankings.

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