Earlier this week, we learned about a major advantage to having a Harvard degree. Not to be outdone, another Ivy League school appears to be preparing its graduates to romance Lady Gaga and other hard-partying starlets. That’s the only logical explanation I can come up with for why Yale, one of the United States’ most prestigious universities, is offering a class called “Dance Music and Nightlife Culture in New York City.”
According to its syllabus, this class – and I use that term loosely – will answer the burning question, “Why do we go out at night?” That sounds like the beginning to a Stefon sketch on SNL (thanks for beating me to that joke Huffington Post), but Bill Hader and Seth Myers are nowhere to be found. Instead, the mastermind behind this melding of street and book learning is Yale American Studies doctoral candidate Madison Moore.
“It’s not just about getting drunk,” he said to the New York Post. “It’s about the history of it, the Harlem cabarets, understanding race, gender, sex, Prohibition and the law…I always describe Yale as being pretty traditional on one hand, but pretty progressive on the other. The iPad generation wants to know about pop culture.”
Moore will hold seminars with topics ranging from “The Scene of Harlem Cabaret” to “The Birth of the Mega Club.” He’ll even go into clubbing 101 with lessons like “Getting Past the Velvet Rope.” Moore will take his pupils to real New York nightclubs like the Boom Boom Room and bring in guest DJs to lecture about…DJing.
“The class includes readings from Langston Hughes and Prof. George Chauncey, with some sessions jiving to in-class audio samples,” reported the Yale Daily News. “Potential final paper topics include naked parties, a concert at Toad’s, [or] a drag show at 168 York Street.”
I can’t imagine anyone paying for their children to attend Yale, looking at young Johnny or Joanie’s schedule, and not thinking to themselves, “This is what I’m paying $40,500 a year for!?” Moore has the right idea here, and I like that he is teaching college students what he believes they want to learn about. Unfortunately, he’s also basically stealing their (or their parents’) money and wasting valuable time they could be using preparing themselves for the real world.
Photo: jenschapter3 at flickr.com