|One Italian exchange student at Rutgers told me that her college housing in Italy had been like this, just a place to live. And in her first month or two in the Rutgers dorm, she could not understand why everyone around her was always so "friendly." It all seemed very strange, she said.|
|These deanly terms and quotes are all taken from the same pamphlet quoted in the epigraph to this chapter ( Rutgers College n.d.), but they recur in many other written and oral sources.|
|I do not mean to imply that the deans did not have their own more realistic perspectives as well; they weren't stupid. But American individualism is ideologically so coercive that they simply could not articulate them in official documents of the sort quoted here, or at least these particular deans felt they could not. The deans also became very proficient at talking this language much of the time. For some of the reasons identified by George Orwell in "Politics and the English Language" ( 1946), officialese did, through its vagueness, serve the useful purpose of keeping them out of unnecessary trouble. One often had to know them well, in fact, to realize that deanly officialese did not totally, naively, define everything about the way they thought. One dean I knew at Rutgers once signaled his shift out of this opaque language into 'what is really going on', for instance, by warning me that he was about to do a little "low talk"--"and I better not find what I'm about to tell you, Michael, in your book!"|
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Publication information: Book title: Coming of Age in New Jersey:College and American Culture. Contributors: Michael Moffatt - Author. Publisher: Rutgers University Press. Place of publication: New Brunswick. Publication year: 1989. Page number: 125.
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