Judge not lest ye be judged" is a foundation of faith. However, I have never met anyone who did not judge. Is it even...

Bribery 101


Jim Mullen


Sunday, March 24, 2019

I'm writing this in the air, flying home in a Boeing Max 8. They just announced the plane would be taken out of service as soon as we land. I'm not really worried that the plane has some hidden technical defect. I'm worried that the pilot's parents might have been rich enough to bribe his way in to flight school.

For years, we've been hearing how difficult and stressful it is for even the best high school students to get in to a good college, even with outstanding SAT scores, a slew of extracurricular activities and charity work.

Turns out, all they need are rich parents to help cheat their way onto the campus of their choice.

Who cares if a kid isn't smart enough to get a BA without Daddy's money — how much harm could that cause? It's not like you're going to let someone with a liberal arts degree fix your faucet or change a light fixture without adult supervision.

But what if Little Miss Trust Fund wants to be a doctor? Can her family bribe her way in to medical school? Normally, you would think that's not possible. But how do you know? Allegedly, this college bribery scandal lasted 10 years and only 50 people were indicted. How do we know there aren't other academic bribery schemes out there?

I'm pretty sure my financial adviser bribed someone to get in to high school. Luckily for him, you don't need a college degree to manage people's money. You can just hang out a shingle.

What if you were wealthy beyond belief and you spent a fortune bribing your child in to an elite university, and he came out with a psychology or political science degree? Could you sue to get your bribe money back? Don't ask my lawyer. He comes from a wealthy family. He thinks the LSAT is something that orbits the Earth every three hours.

The strangest thing about this bribery case is that no one seems to blame the students. Why not? The students know they didn't get 1600 on their SATs. They know whether they can play tennis. First, these kids were being enabled by wealthy parents. Now they're being enabled by law enforcement and the press: "Gee, they're just kids." Just kids getting spots other "just kids" worked hard for and deserved.

The most puzzling question of all is why would you want to go to an Ivy League college if you're not smart enough to pass a DNA test without cheating? Most people go to college so they can get a job in a field that interests them. If your parents paid $500,000 to get you in to college, you don't have to work for a living.

I'm guessing the main reason these kids wanted to go to college is to meet boys and girls of the same social class who they can bring home to meet Mom and Dad. Will the kids who deserve to be at the school — the ones who worked hard and studied and made sacrifices — fall for that? I think that's a stretch. Especially the ones who have wealthy parents and still worked hard to get in to the college of their choice.

It might have been better if the wealthy parents had sent their children to a military recruiter instead of some sleazy "facilitator." No bribes necessary. And the kids can still go to college after they grow up.

Jim Mullen is the author of It Takes a Village Idiot: A Memoir of Life After the City. His column, The Village Idiot, takes a look at the curiosities of American life.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


June 24, 2019

St. Peter Catholic School teams recently finished among the top schools at the NC FIRST Lego League State Championships in Greensboro

Wiredcats Green team finished fifth out of 60 teams in the robot game, and the Wiredcats Blue team finished 14th. Wiredcats Green's score of 171 was the seventh…


June 24, 2019

Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the gaze of the world landed on the Moon.

Fifty years ago, that Moon was six feet closer to the Earth than it is today.

Every year, in fact, the Moon retreats from Earth by 1.5 inches, as a spinoff of gravity. Gravity pulls on both the Moon and…


June 23, 2019

I know there will be some of you who will say, “Bob Garner ought to stick with exclaiming ‘Mmm-mmm’ over his food and stay the heck out of politics.”

Believe me, I get that, and generally I agree. One of the things I love about being a foodie is that food can often help…

Bob Garner.jpg

June 19, 2019

It is no secret that health care communication can be incredibly complex. This is especially so for patients who experience language and cultural barriers.

Luckily, there is a group of specially-trained Vidant Health Language Access Service interpreters who offer a voice to patients in-need, 24/7.…


June 19, 2019

Q I saw a story in a cooking magazine with the headline, “yes ultra-processed foods could be killing you.” What are ultra-processed foods and is that a true statement? CC, Winterville

A I have said in this column, in talks, when counseling patients and when feeding family and friends,…

Kolasa, Kathy

June 16, 2019

Even though I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life working in TV, I was often too busy to actually watch much of it, or at least to pay much attention to the commercials.

Now that I’m semi-retired and am watching more television, mostly on cable news channels, I’m…

Bob Garner.jpg

June 14, 2019

In many ways, theater is like a spelling bee. Those preparing to take the stage spend weeks practicing and memorizing, hoping they won't get tripped up by a word when they get their moment in the spotlight.

Perhaps nowhere is this parallel more evident than in “The 25th Annual Putnam County…


June 12, 2019

Q My doctor told me to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Can you give me any tips? MM, Winterville

A I hope your doctor gave your more information about your dietary goals since you won’t find that title in the diet manual used by health care professionals.

Most registered dietitian…

Kolasa, Kathy

June 12, 2019

One of my favorite summertime activities is attending cookouts. They have a myriad of tasty food from grilled meats, salads, desserts, and all the other fixings we associate with this event. One of my favorite things to serve at a cookout is seafood in any form from grilled, marinated to fried.


The whiting sandwich from 42 Fry.

June 09, 2019

Having experienced deep depression firsthand, I now feel a sense of kinship with others who have struggled to overcome the same condition and still battle regularly to remain mentally healthy

As someone who’s in the public eye in a very minor way, it encourages me to know about far more…

Bob Garner.jpg
201 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 21
        Next Page»   Last Page»