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Roger Rosenblatt’s dazzling comic gifts are on enviable display....Beet will settle the issue: is Roger Rosenblatt our most audacious comic visionary,or our most audacious visionary comic?”—Joyce Carol Oates
Beet College is doomed...and nobody really cares. The Board of Trustees, led by developer Joel Bollovate, has squandered the endowment. Debutante-cum-self-styled-poet Matha Polite, an indiscriminate radical with a four-student following, wants to bring the institution down. Sweet-tempered terrorist hopeful Akim Ben Ladin (né Arthur Horowitz) sits in his off-campus cave and dreams about blowing Beet up. Faculty members are too busy concocting useless, trendy courses to do anything about it. Not to mention that American higher education is going down the tubes, one less lesser school isn’t going to matter. So why is Professor Peace Porterfield trying to save Beet? Beats us.
“Rosenblatt [applies] his sharp wit to elite education.”—Wall Street Journal
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Roger Rosenblatt is the author of six off-Broadway plays and eighteen books, including Lapham Rising, Making Toast, Kayak Morning and The Boy Detective. He is the recipient of the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.From Publishers Weekly:
The politically correct, rigorless American university is by now an easy comic target, one that cultural critic Rosenblatt (Lapham Rising), longtime contributor to Time and PBS's NewsHour, hits amusingly. Rosenblatt's Beet College is an old money New England university where students can major in such disciplines as Postcolonial Women's Sports and Little People of Color. But dear ol' Beet is going bust. The endowment's vanished and the chairman of the board of trustees, Joel Bollovate, is a paragon of anti-intellectualism. He's also a real estate developer with his greedy eye on the choice campus land. Peace Porterfield, professor of English, is charged with coming up with a new curriculum—one that will attract more students, more grants and more alumni gifts—or else Beet is beat. Arrayed against Professor Porterfield's honest efforts are the inept faculty on his committee as well as foulmouthed undergrad poet Matha Polite and her confused band of radicals. With plenty of chuckles along the way, Rosenblatt elucidates the grim shift universities have made toward the business model, where the president is CEO, the professors dunderheaded grant grubbers and the students mindless consumers. (Feb.)
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