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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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73 Responses

  1. Avatar pillsy says:

    Knowing this, I can’t help but feel sympathy for Lori Loughlin.

    Me, at the start of the article: Nyah. No way.

    Me, at the end of the article: Yeah, I can see it.

    Great piece. Just sort of thinking of conversations I’ve had with parents who worked their asses off to be (often very) successful without college, and just how delighted they are that their kid is going to college.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Thanks so much.

      There are plenty of people for whom this understandably sticks in their craw, I sympathize with them, too. I’m just saying in a world full of evil people doing evil things, this thing is really not deserving of the vitriol it’s getting.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Yes, well done. I followed the same track of thought. Only my cynical “they’re rich, they’ll be fine in the long run even if her career is tanked.” Kept me from feeling more than mild sympathy.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        As I read it I kept thinking of John Gotti, and how easy it is to tell a story about how he grew up in a broken home, experienced devastating poverty as a kid, and how those experiences motivated him to create a better life for himself and, when he got married, for his family.

        No bonus sympathy for Lori L from me!Report

        • Avatar atomickristin says:

          So we’re comparing a woman who paid a little money to manipulate an already completely rotten system to benefit her child with a Mafia boss?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Yes. You decoded my subtle comparison with admirable clarity. 🙂

            “Show me a tragedy and I’ll write you a hero.”Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        The only reason i would feel any sympathy for LL is because she has become the face of this scandal but there are many others who have done the same. She is in the spotlight for all the other miscreants.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin says:

          Yes that’s the thing. I believe that people are angry at Lori Loughlin and calling for her head when a good many of them are doing things that are very very similar – shelling out money that others don’t have to give their children opportunities that others don’t get. At least some of those people are regularly crossing ethical lines to help their children succeed that are just as bad if not worse, only aren’t codified into law – or maybe they just didn’t happen to get caught. (if Loughlin is indeed ever found guilty! Which she may not be in the end.)

          Really really feels to me that Lori Loughlin was the poor chump unlucky enough to lose the Shirley Jackson Official Lottery, 2019 and now she’s gonna have to be punished by all the people who are just as guilty as she is.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David says:

    My great-grandfather was a professor. My grandfather, his son, hated school. Had no use for college, nor the time spent there. He became a machinist. His siblings and inlaws were professors, as were his daughter’s husbands.

    The point is, college is not for everyone. And pushing people into things that they really don’t want to do is a recipe for disaster. Most of the time it is of little consequence, but when one raises the stakes, much as Laughlin did, it can cause issues way down the line. Her hubris caused her and her child’s downfall. There are many things I want for my child, but pushing him in directions he doesn’t want to go, and in a time frame he doesn’t agree with is asking for heartbreak.

    An interesting piece Kristen.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      College might not be for everyone but more than a few people are going to get screwed economically without college degrees because of gate-keeping and economic change.Report

      • Avatar atomickristin says:

        It’s always funny to me that the solution to gate-keeping is always “everyone should go to college” and never “maybe some of these gates we’re keeping should be propped open or torn down”.

        thanks for reading and commenting.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          I think that there are lots of people who believe that the gates should be torn down. There is just a very big differences in opinions on how to tear down the gates based on ideological priors, just like there is a difference on how to reform the college admissions system based on ideological priors. The Slate/Vox crowd and the Reason/Cato Unbound crowd are going to disagree vehemently on how to dismantle the gates. People even further left than the Vox/Slate crowd have even more radical ideas.Report

          • Avatar atomickristin says:

            Great point. Thanks for raising it.

            If we all agreed then it would be easy.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            To give an example, one solution that the CATO/Reason crowd argued for was to bring back employer administrated IQ/General Ability tests. The belief is that this will allow employers to know what applicants can do without using the degree as a check. People on my side of the political aisle thing this is a bad degree because it can be used against minorities and because many employers already have practice tests, especially in law and tech. Many still only accept candidates from certain universities even if the prospective employee has a lot of real life experience.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              For those that want to know what a technocratic liberal solution would be, one I’ve seen proposed is that basically get rid of the interview for jobs. Employment is operated on a lottery basis. A bunch of people apply, unqualified applications are gotten rid of, and the new employee is selected at random. No interview to allow employers to not select a qualified applicant because they have the wrong personality type or something.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Sounds like an idea created by someone who has never created a job nor taken responsibility for an employees’ output.

                I do final round technical interviews for interns (real employees too but there are way fewer of those and the other engineers are more willing to do them so it’s mostly interns). It’s a binary decision, but the quality of the people is basically a reverse bell curve.

                “Marginal” is the rarest result, normally they’re worthless, occasionally they walk on water.

                Getting rid of interviews means we’ll get a ton of worthless employees we need to fire. My expectation is that the mindset which comes up with this rule will also insist that the reasons for firing them will also need to be well documented.

                Which implies that unemployment will go up, eventually maybe a lot. This isn’t creating jobs, it’s just making job creation a lot more risky.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I’m with Dark Matter.

                You really need to have interviews for jobs. `

                And depending on what you mean by “personality type”, it can be a really important factor. People who have the right knowledge and technical skills but are generally obnoxious are rarely the best hires.

                I’m a huge liberal technocrat if you haven’t picked up on that already. I absolutely acknowledge the issues that can creep in here around bias, but that’s what makes this a hard problem.

                You need to people who can do the job and who you can work with. And it’s hard to even have a chance at getting that right if you can’t actually talk to them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There are parts of my job that, seriously, anybody could do. A well-written script could do them. There are other parts of my job that a lot fewer people could do. You need to have a bunch of pre-requisites that are, in theory, attainable by anybody but are not, in actuality, attained by anywhere near that many.

                And I do a different job now than I did when I first got hired because there are parts of my job that can only be done by someone who has been doing other parts of my job for a while.

                So if someone looked at my job, it’d be easy for them to say “pretty much anybody could do that!” and, yeah, I guess that’s true.

                If they had the pre-reqs.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Again, sorry for pressing the report button. Did not mean to.

                I’m skeptical about no interviews either. I was just giving an example of how somebody from the left wants to reform the system. He did post to research that suggested job interviews were useless.


            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              you will never ever ever ever ever ever ever everevereverEVEREVER stop employers screening based on race



              stop it happening.

              they will always find a way. There will ALWAYS be a way, whether it’s straight-out “we ain’t hire no (slur)”, whether it’s “we require a college degree”, whether it’s “well we require professional certification (that convicted criminals can’t get) (and people of certain races are more likely to be convicted criminals)”.

              The solution is to create a system where a job is not necessary, but nobody wants to admit that’s possible.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                The solution is to create a system where a job is not necessary, but nobody wants to admit that’s possible.

                By all means, describe how it could/should be done.

                you will …never… stop employers screening based on race

                Why is, “we want to hire smart people, please let us test that” a racial screening?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Again, accidental hit of report button.

                IQ tests tend to be very culturally based. During World War I, one of the questions on the IQ test administrated to soldiers asked that this particular type of engine is in this brand of car. This is when cars where far from being a mass owned product. Creating a race neutral IQ test is difficult.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                DD: “The solution is to create a system where a job is not necessary, but nobody wants to admit that’s possible.”

                Also DD: single payer healthcare and expanding benefits to the poor are impossible.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        College might not be for everyone but more than a few people are going to get screwed economically without college degrees because of gate-keeping and economic change.

        This contrasts with the complaint that significantly more than a few people are *already* getting screwed by graduating with exorbitant student loan debt.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Thanks for reading, Aaron!Report

  3. Avatar Silver Wolf says:

    This is the reason why it is important to have intelligent people making good faith arguments on both sides of any issue. Up to this point, all the reporting was painting Loughlin as an out of touch, privileged thief. Her daughter was portrayed as a lazy, drifting child. There was no nuance, no depth. The bad guys were depicted as pure evil. The way I see it, there are two problems that cause this.

    The first is that the “bad guys” side almost always employ bad faith arguments to try and paint them as pure “good guys” horribly wronged instead of recognizing that they are flawed like the rest of us and that their behavior, while bad, was not sinister. The reason they do this is because…

    The second problem is that most people don’t like nuance or, at least, there is a perception that people don’t. As a result, we feel the need to make our “good guys” perfect and our “bad guys” perfectly horrible. This is why our blockbuster movies often do not depict flawed anti-heroes or villains with redeeming qualities.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Great point about the lack of nuance in the articles and our love of blockbuster movie heroes.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Great title.

    I do understand Loughlin better after reading this piece, but it’s still hard to sympathize with her. There are colleges her daughters could have gotten into legitimately. She didn’t just want them to have an education; she also wanted the status of a degree from a well-known college.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      This is the kicker, the need for it to be USC instead of, say, ASU.Report

      • Avatar atomickristin says:

        They got an idea in their heads. It’s hard to let go of sometimes. I still sympathize.

        One of my parents was very, very, VERY disappointed in the university I went to. Wouldn’t shut up about it. Still brings it up sometimes 30 years on. I used to think it was bull- but after experiencing a wide array of difficult-to-handle emotions when my own children did not do things in the way I thought best, I now have much more compassion for them than I once did.

        My understanding is that USC is important to make connections in the industry which both girls really wanted to be part of. The older daughter as an actress, the younger as, well, whatever it is she was already doing. So i still think it was a matter of “mommy knows best”.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          Yeah just as a general thing parents can have really specific ideas about what schools their kids should go to, often ones even stranger and more frivolous than, “You should definitely go to USC instead of ASU.”Report

          • Avatar atomickristin says:

            Same parent was really invested in me attending Evergreen State College.

            Just had this idea that they had a hard time letting go of.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              I know multiple people whose parents were varying degrees of disappointed that they decided to go to the “wrong” Ivy League school.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I’ve heard tails of parents disappointed about their kids major. This isn’t a kid wanting to major in the humanities as opposed to something practical. These were kids that wanted to study electrical engineering or computer science rather than business but their parents wanted their kids to be big boss men some day and really pressured them into business school.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                For some reason this reminds me of the guy I roomed with freshman year who thought I was an idiot for not being interested in med school because MDs could make more money than physicists.Report

              • When my niece, who now is a Ph.D. chemist, was looking for her undergrad school she visited a bunch of chemistry departments. Many of them heavily pushed how many of their students got into medical school. She would patiently explain that while that was undoubtedly very lovely, she wasn’t interested in medical school. She wanted to be a chemist, like her father. At least one department was utterly befuddled by this. They had their one and only one script, and were unequipped for a prospective student not following it. This was good, as it made for an easy decision.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              Same parent was really invested in me attending Evergreen State College.

              Really? That seems like such a strange ambition to have. Politics aside, it seems pretty mediocre academically, with median SATs around 1050. Was it more respectable back then?Report

              • Avatar atomickristin says:

                I think it was more a case of “Kristin is flaky, Evergreen is flaky, it’s a good fit” and also that it was closer to them so we could see each other more often, which hadn’t always been the case.

                People get ideas in their heads – from love and the purest motives – that aren’t always good ones.

                That having been said, for all I know I may have done very well there. Maybe I should have listened!Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I do sympathize, to a degree, but that sympathy is tempered because she targeted a specific school solely for the networking opportunities, rather than just wanting her kids to have a college experience and education.

            There is always that line in our heads where someone goes from understandable error to “why did you have to go there?”.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Yeah, and on the other hand, just because the impulse is intelligible and I’ve seen similar in the past doesn’t mean that it’s super-great even when it doesn’t involve a criminal conspiracy.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        I wonder how much of it was also a college within Greater LA?Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Thanks, I was wondering if anyone would notice.

      The college admissions system is rotten through and through and many, many people benefit from it. https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyakowicz/2019/03/15/billionaires-multimillion-dollar-gifts-and-college-admissions-this-is-how-it-works/#350c33f166cf

      The status of having attended certain universities is of huge value. It’s not just a ‘mommy bragging rights’ thing. It matters. Do I like it that it matters, of course not (and as a person who has not benefitted from the system, doubly so) but I think it’s a little disingenuous (as some are doing, not you) to downplay the very real benefits that a status school confers upon a kid in certain social circles, and make this out to be some sort of purely arrogant, self-aggrandizing move like a fancy car or brand name clothes. It’s clear to me it’s so much more than that. I didn’t really address that subject because it was beyond the scope of the piece but yes, I”m quite sure that the parents involved in this scheme were in it for more than just giving their kids a college experience. Motives are complicated.

      Rich kids have more opportunities, full stop. None of us would argue that fact. Even just being able to afford SAT classes is a huge benefit, being able attend to a good school in a good neighborhood (if not private school) is a matter of privilege. To be honest I find at least some of the vitriol is stemming from outrage that Loughlin is the public face of those who pulled back the curtain to reveal what many poor and minority people knew all along – the system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and successful. She was the winner in the Shirley Jackson lottery but a heck of a lot of people had their hands in the same box of rocks she did.

      If I had no sympathy for Lori Loughlin, if I sat around consumed by rage at her for manipulating the system, if I couldn’t see her as a fellow person who did a dumb thing out of mostly good motives, put myself in her shoes and understand she was doing the best she could for her children, I’d have to then sit around and be consumed with rage at a lot of other people as well who have manipulated the system just as hard, but happened to stay on the other side of the law, or weren’t caught at it.

      That’s an awful lot of people.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Many people agree that the college admissions system is broken but there is a big disagreement about what to do about it. The technocratic people want to get rid of the holistic approach, make athletic considerations non-existent, turn the university experience into something entirely academic, which is really out of step with the American college experience, and have entrance be mainly about grades and test scores. Basically make college nerdier. No more big college sports, no more fraternities and sororities, and just education. The dividing line between the technocratic side is whether or not we should keep affirmative action with the liberals saying yes and the conservatives saying no.

        Libertarian enfant terrible Bryan Caplan believes the solution is to get government out of higher education entirely. Somehow this will allow us to go back to a system where degrees are no longer needed for jobs and the most prestigious public and private employers won’t require degrees from elite schools to get the prestigious entry level jobs. He never quite explains how step one leads to step two. Since he is a libertarian, he is presumably for allowing private employers to have any requirement they want. This means that all the big law firms, high finance places, Silicone Valley, and consulting firms can still requires HYPS even if we get government out of higher education.

        I think that the elite schools have a lot more gate-keeping ability than they did when my parents went to school. My dad and maternal uncle went to Cornell. Going to Cornell was a big deal in the sixties and seventies. Now, Cornell doesn’t have anything close to the cachet and status of HYPS or MIT and CalTech for the sciences. Same with the other Ivies. Still very hard to get into but employers aren’t going to come looking for you if you went there. You aren’t going to get a Supreme Court clerkship or even a Circuit Court of Appeals clerkship with a Cornell Law Degree. So what we really need to determine is what allowed a small handful of schools in the United States to gain such elite gatekeeping status and break them.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          Actually …

          If you’re a CS major, Cornell is a highly respected program, where undergrads have a good opportunity to get to know and work with professors. This leads to the top internships which mean good job offers upon graduation.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter says:

          So what we really need to determine is what allowed a small handful of schools in the United States to gain such elite gatekeeping status…

          It’s mostly a demand/supply + compition thing.

          Start with 50 good schools. One gets a rep for being better. They attract better people, raise the bar for entry, and have even more success. The cycle repeats.

          Now combine that with an extremely limited supply of spots (like Supreme Court spots) with extremely high demand that the best be picked (because the job is important and the risk is high of a blow up with the wrong person).

          …and break them.

          The first question is “why”, or what is the goal here?

          The importance of the Supreme Court has reached the point where everyone selected looks like they’ve been preparing their entire life for it… because they have. Even with crazy over the top filtering, we still have enough qualified people to make it work.

          If equality of opportunity is actually that important, then have the Dems take their next several Supremes from hick colleges. If that seems unreasonable, then it’s because equality really isn’t all that important next to getting the very best potential person for your team on the court.

          There are other filters you could use that might work, but this one does work, and you still have enough people to pick from. Being a Supreme is important enough and complex enough that it’s probably a good thing to select people who have been training their entire life.Report

          • Avatar pillsy says:

            So as a general thing, I think the whole “meritocracy” idea is not terribly persuasive. It’s a bit of national mythology that we tell ourselves so that we can justify our social order with all it’s iniquities, especially those of us who have done pretty well through whatever combination of factors allowed us to do so.[1]

            Still, it’s a fair approximation for some fields of endeavor in some ways.

            But the Supreme Court is about politics on a really fundamental level, and while I haven’t seen any indication that any of the SCOTUS Justices are anything but very clever, hardworking people, that’s not why they got the job.

            I mean, seriously, in any other context, is your reaction to people who’ve climbed their way into high political office really that they’re their because they’re the best and the brightest?

            Having a SCOTUS Justice from Podunk Law could be a really great idea. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

            [1] And this always comes up, but IME the really successful people rarely lack drive and talent. It’s just that they usually have other advantages and a nice little chunk of luck as well.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter says:

              the really successful people rarely lack drive and talent. It’s just that they usually have other advantages and a nice little chunk of luck as well.

              Yes, absolutely. Everything has to go right to create someone like that. However pointing out that luck played a role doesn’t change that hard work (etc) did as well.

              The “merit” idea isn’t that there aren’t 10,000 other people just like Bezos who could have done what he did in a different world, the “merit” idea is that he really did the work hard, have the intelligence and vision to get where he was.

              And more importantly, as far as I can tell, the alternatives to merit are seriously ugly.

              in any other context, is your reaction to people who’ve climbed their way into high political office really that they’re their because they’re the best and the brightest?

              In other contexts we select for abilities other than “best and brightest”. And having selected for those abilities, it’s fair to criticize people for having “only” that.

              Is there really anything to Trump other than his ability to focus the media on himself? In theory he’s got to have some management skills but that’s a side note. Obama, having been made President in part because of identity politics, has to face criticism that it’s the only reason and so on.

              Similarly Acting is a field where being pretty and connected plays a sizeable role so various people get the criticism that they have no skill or talent.

              For the Supremes, we select for everything. They need to be smart, and have a track record of that, and have the right politics, and be healthy, and so forth. Increase the number of Supremes by 100x and we won’t be able to be anywhere close to this picky.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                However pointing out that luck played a role doesn’t change that hard work (etc) did as well.

                Yeah it’s both. And at the end of the day you really need to give people a lot of space to succeed and flourish.

                On the other hand, contingent facts play such a role that I tend to quail at the idea that success is a matter of undeserving vs deserving. Especially since capitalism in practice requires some people to lose in order to function properly.

                So you have to push back and forth and strike some sort of balance. It’s much easier to smooth out inequalities of outcome than opportunity, but at the same time inequalities of outcome are a big part of what makes any of this work.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              And while the Ivies are no longer elaborate finishing schools with a small number of bright scholarship kids, they aren’t the pure academic power houses they hold themselves out to be either.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            The thing with the extremely limited number of slots is that they are artificial in many ways. Sometime in the aughts, the President of Harvard admitted that they can increase the size of the student body by a factor of five or seven without reducing admission standards. The Supreme Court naturally needs to be smaller but many countries have around fifteen to twenty judges in their highest court. There isn’t anything to show that more justices would mean a less efficient court.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        See my response to Lee below. Graduating from even a “lesser Ivy” means a head start. I’ve seen the Cornell thing both where I work and with people I know personally. And all of the kids have been first-rate engineers; the observation is simply that they got a leg up compared to equally talented kids from state schools.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “I’d have to then sit around and be consumed with rage at a lot of other people as well who have manipulated the system just as hard, but happened to stay on the other side of the law, or weren’t caught at it.”

        That’s what surprises me about all this, is that people were surprised by it. Like, any student from Asia is about 75% likely to have got “help” on their SAT; help consisting of last year’s actual test, a “preview” of this year’s test sent by someone in America with a cell phone while they took it, a “translator” sitting with them in the exam, all the way to someone straight-up taking the test for them using a fake ID. I’m not at all surprised to learn that similar shit is going on with American rich kids.

        And it makes sense that the college wouldn’t look too hard, because these are the kids who pay the bills. Chinese students pay for it in cash, as it were, covering the tuition right out. And American rich kids’ parents (and, if they have any brains, the kids themselves) become donors, putting millions into the funds for use by the administrators to keep things rolling.

        I mean, strivers get hosed, kids on financial assistance look at these nincompoops whose parents obviously bought the admission and think about all the smart friends back home who got turfed, but those kids and their families aren’t paying for the ride and never will, so it’s hard to convince the college to care about them…Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I’m going with Mike on this one. There are colleges that would take both daughters without cheating. Even if the parents wanted status colleges, I guess they had more legitimate ways to cheat. The real victims of this scandal are the children that didn’t know what was being done like Felicity Huffman’s oldest daughter as pointed out in this Tablet piece.


  6. Avatar Slugger says:

    I have trouble getting upset over this issue. USC like several other places has always been a preserve for the scions of the rich. The only kids from the lower income strata admitted on a regular basis are the O.J. Simpsons of the world. This family took some illegal shortcuts allegedly, but an arrest with a million dollar bond is a bit much. I am not a watcher of the kind of entertainment that Ms. Loughlin makes, but if I were this stuff would not stop me. The rich have an advantage over the not rich; what else is new?
    BTW, the super-rich don’t bribe schools to get their kids in; they give endowments which is perfectly legal.
    I come from a working class family. I had excellent SATs. I still could not afford prestige schools. I attended a state university, had scholarships, and worked in the kitchen at my dorm. Turned out o.k. No regrets, no resentment. In retirement am richer than many prestige school graduates.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Agree with every word, Slugger.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I think it is literally impossible for people to fund a university education, even at a state school being in-state tuition, by a combination of scholarships and working at the university. The tuition costs are too high. It might be more affordable at a state university than a private university but you are still going to have quite a bit of debt when you graduate.Report

      • Avatar Slugger says:

        It was possible in the 1960s. I graduated with no debt. Cost of college has rocketed upward.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        “I think it is literally impossible for people to fund a university education, even at a state school being in-state tuition, by a combination of scholarships and working at the university. The tuition costs are too high. ”

        No, it’s not. It’s rare, but there are a few students whose combination of merit scholarships, need scholarships, and their 20 hours of employment a week, fully fund their education at the undergraduate level without loans.

        They’re usually in a giant pressure cooker of keeping said situation going + not letting their peers who are also on need scholarships and working know how “great” they have it, but they do exist – I usually have one or two working for me at any given time.

        I would suspect there are more kids than that at upper-tier middle-tier private schools than at Ivies or state schools, though.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Prestige schools generally are going to give you a leg up, but the size of the advantage depends a lot on what you actually do. There are a few areas where it’s virtually obligatory, a few areas were it’s a big boost you can manage without if you have some mix of drive, talent, and luck, and many areas where it’s nice to have but is unlikely to be a make or break thing.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        This. Where you go matters, to a point. Once you are above the bottom tier schools, the benefits of prestige are all about the upper margins.

        Basically, there are very few places where the MIT grad is going to effectively shut me out of the competition.Report

  7. Avatar greginak says:

    I believe the Olivia daughter has said she wanted the “college experience” of game days and partying just not those darn classes. She was down with instagram 2019 animal house. She wanted a fun college, so she wasn’t’ being completely pushed into it. Also wikipedia says the dad, mossimo, is a USC grad.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Yeah, also let’s face it. Even by human standards, teenagers tend to be very sensitive to social status and the opinions of their peer groups.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Yeah, I had read that but then the girl clearly stated that her parents wanted her to go to college since they didn’t?

      Would also explain why they were so emphatic about USC.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      I think Misimo was admitted to USC and lived around campus, but he stole the tuition money to start his business:

      “He, like, built his whole entire brand and he wasn’t actually, like — I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this — ever enrolled in college. But he, like, faked his way through it and then he started his whole business with tuition money that his parents thought was going to college. That’s, like, such a different time. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that, but it’s okay.”Report

  8. Avatar Tracy Downey says:

    I’ve tried keeping my comments to a bare minimum on this issue particularly because of my daughter, and where she lives. She’s friends with people in these social circles so, she’s literally living like Brenda from 90210-not wealthy yet surrounded by wealth and opportunity. The scandal in this story isn’t that it happened, but that people finally got caught.

    It angers me on some level because of the sacrifices I’ve had to make for my daughter to receive the education she wanted, and then I consider the pressure this society feels about their image. I recall Login on Edge of Night, as Jody, and Becky on Full House and of course the countless Hallmark movies that my mother watches at Christmas. The picture-perfect image that so many would like us to believe exists.

    It doesn’t.

    And when that facade is revealed to all, social media devours on people’s misfortune. It’s never-ending. I keep weighing on reversal of fortunes…if fame is achieved not by honesty and integrity but through the seven deadly sins, the fall from Grace is coming. Society has a choice to either exercise restraint, or pile on the humiliation.

    I chose to take the high road. Your compassion for Laughlin in my opinion is the correct avenue. She’s dug quite a hole for herself. She lost Hallmark, and Her husband may lose Target. I think if society excepts a full throat apology, they shouldn’t.

    Tomorrow there will be another scandal, another outrage, another slight against humanity. We can either learn from it’s lessons, or be a part of its problem.

    Not me. Not today.

    Great post.👍🏻Report

  9. Avatar Tracy Downey says:

    Not *excepts* but *expects* 😣 *trigger finger*Report

  10. Avatar Maribou says:

    Good piece, and I too have sympathy for those that worked their butts off coming from not much money. Where I think she made her significant mistake, though, is further up the decision tree than where you do?

    If you want your kid to value education over making money, and you have a shitload of money like Laughlin did long before the kids were teenagers, at some point *you have to stop making money* so hard, and take time to study and read and otherwise engage with the world in the ways you want your kids to. Otherwise they’re going to learn a lot more from what you *do* about what to value than from what you *say* about it. Given that Loughlin and Mossimo made making money their #1 priority over educating themselves … it’s unsurprising that at least one of their kids had that priority too.

    Again, I find this *completely* understandable… its a well-worn track, too, a very human impulse. But if you want your kid to want to go to a good school (whatever that means) and really value going to college – you gotta take some classes and stuff, *if you have those opportunities*. (A rich person being driven to make more and more money is, of course, 110 percent different from striving folks who had to work as hard as they are working and keep doing so, just too even make it *possible* for their kid to go to college – I have found that such kids may not agree with a lot of their parents’ opinions and choices, but they do see the *value* in what their parents have sacrificed.)Report

  11. Avatar D.A. Kirk says:

    Good post, Kristin. I’m not a parent myself, but I must admit that when this story broke, I felt a slight tinge of sympathy for a few of the parents caught up in all this. It’s one of those situations where I wonder whether, in some alternate universe where I do have children of my own, I myself could withstand the temptation to do what the parents did in this case.

    That said, I’m still relieved they got caught, and I do reserve most of my sympathy for the kids who were cheated out of the spots that ultimately went to Olivia Jade and the other students involved in this scandal. It’s not wrong for Lori Loughlin to want the best for her daughter, but it is most certainly wrong for her to step over other people’s son and daughters to accomplish that goal. I do understand why she did it, though. I can’t relate to it, but I get it.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to sound off.

      I certainly do have sympathy for the kids who didn’t get into USC who deserved to be there. I have what appears to be more sympathy than the average person, I guess. I have enough for everyone involved, my sympathy isn’t a limited resource as it is for some. Plenty to go around. 🙂Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If you want a particular role on a show or in a movie, that’s pretty much a zero-sum game.

    There is only going to be one person who gets to be Hamlet in the play. Only one person who gets to be Horatio. Only one person who gets to be the guy who shows up and says “Rosenstern and Guildencrantz died, methinks”.

    If you want to include more bit parts, you can. You can have two guards standing at the door instead of just one.

    But Hamlet? If it ain’t you, it’s someone else.

    I suppose they could do some Seriously Ground-breaking Thing where there are 3 Hamlets throughout the play. Have the young guy be at the start of the play, the old guy play at the end, have the decent actor be the guy who gives the speeches… but, seriously, that’s avant-garde crap and nobody is going to pay to see that twice two years apart. And it’d be transparent. “They wanted the good-looking one at the start of the play for us to sympathize with, they wanted the old guy at the end to get us to… something? Like, this is about death? I guess? And they had the decent actor give the speeches because the other two couldn’t pull those off.”

    What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Zero-sum. I imagine that Hollywood is the most cutthroat biz in the biz. If you don’t get the role in Rad, you’re not going to get the role in Full House. If you don’t get the role in Full House, you’re not going to get the role in the Garage Sale Mysteries. So you have to fight and claw to get into Rad. And it doesn’t matter if someone else doesn’t get it because that other person is not you.

    And extend that out to your kids. Yeah, it sucks that this is a zero-sum game.

    If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying to win.

    These aren’t someone else’s kids. They’re yours.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci says:

      My local bar association will be presenting a roast of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Knowing the crew involved, I was looking forward to a vicious catfight over who would get the lead role. (I have the plum male role of Antonin Scalia.) But the writers, taking a cue from RBG’s answer to a question about the appropriate number of women on the Supreme Court, wrote nine scenes where RBG appeared, and the conceit of the show was that we were producing an opera about RBG and no one woman could do her justice, so nine different women were cast as RBG, depriving me of the catfight.Report