It's Like Soul Man

I genuinely appreciate the massively unyielding sense of confidence on display when a kid decides that her not getting admitted to a college can only be explained as the result of a vast systemic injustice.  Really.  You don’t have to embrace or defend or agree with her conviction, but you have to acknowledge, with grudging respect, the stunning enormity of its chutzpah – recognize its inherent impressiveness, like a great towering wonder of nature or feat of human endeavor, like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey or the monuments of Petra.  It’s like the Grand Canyon, if the Grand Canyon were carved not out of stone but out of petulance and entitlement.It’s the kind of self-inflating delusion one expects from an eighteen-year-old.  That’s what being eighteen years old is for.  You look reasonably good, you sleep well, you wear silly clothes, you’re effortlessly healthy and everything in the world is about you.  When you bomb a test or don’t make the team or your would-be date turns you down for the prom or you don’t get into a college, it’s not because of you but rather because something is wrong with the universe.  It’s natural – endearing, even – that a high-schooler’s sense of self-importance would be so robust that when she fails to get admitted to the University of Texas she thinks it’s something the Supreme Court would probably want to get involved in.  Where things go off the rails a little bit, I think, is when the Supreme Court decides that she’s right about that.Abigail Fisher, whose ego-bruising slight at the hands of Texan admissions officials is at the center of the affirmative action case currently before the Court, is convinced that there were applicants who were admitted to the University of Texas who were identical to her in every respect except for the color of their skin – same scores, same grades, same activities I guess, same essays somehow, same recommendations (maybe they ran in similar circles?).  There was literally no difference between her and them apart from hue and therefore hue is the only conceivable reason she didn’t get in.  They’re like twins separated by tint.  It’s as though someone cloned her but fiddled with the contrast settings before pressing the Start button on the clone machine.  That is how uncannily alike Abigail Fisher is to these somewhat browner people who unaccountably got admitted instead of her.  It’s as though the C. Thomas Howell at the beginning of the movie Soul Man went up against the fake black C. Thomas Howell from the rest of the movie Soul Man, and the fake black C. Thomas Howell was the one who prevailed.  Abigail Fisher is the sad pale oppressed C. Thomas Howell of the American university system, and kudos to the Supreme Court for validating her adorably outsized sense of adolescent grievance.On the Court’s docket for the next session: Jessica v. Jerkos, testing the Constitutionality of the individual prerogative to designate one’s parents as categorically not the boss of one.