This time, possibly still more pertinent than nineteenth-century German theology:

[In Oxford] Young M.A.s [here we might substitute Ph.D.s and our own universities] abound but they are all taken up with the conduct of some wheel in the complex machinery of cram, which grinds down all specific tendencies and tastes into one uniform mediocrity. The men of middle age seem, after they reach thirty-five or forty, to be struck with an intellectual palsy, and betake themselves, no longer to port, but to the frippery work of attending boards and negotiating some phantom of legislation with all the importance of a cabinet council–belli simulacra cientes. Then they give each other dinners, where they assemble again with the comfortable assurance that they have earned their evening relaxation by the fatigues of the morning’s committee. These are the leading men of our university, and who give the tone to it–a tone as of a lively municipal borough; all the objects of science and learning, for which a university exists, being put out of sight by the consideration of the material means of endowing them.
–Mark Pattison, Memoirs (1885)

Geez, things don’t change much, do they?

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