I recently joined a golf club that was not my first choice. I chalked this up to “that’s life.” I did not feel “hosed” nor find the application process (not dissimilar to bicker) “cruel.” In fact, I have made friends with people I otherwise would not have met.
This experience led me to reflect on the report of the Eating Club Task Force. The panel proposes to replace bicker with a computer-matching system, which I find incredibly naive. I have always thought that one of the goals of a Princeton education was to prepare students for the real world. And bicker, with all its flaws, is one component of this preparation. The panel’s recommendation flies in the face of freedom of association, a concept pounded into my head in courses at Princeton. It reinforces a sense of entitlement. I am reminded of students criticizing Princeton’s grade-deflation policy, believing they should receive an “A” for less than superior work. As Mick Jagger sang, “You can’t always get what you want ... ”