THE SOURCE: “The Few, the Proud, the Infantilized” by Bruce Fleming, in The Chronicle Review, Oct. 8, 2012.
With a few exceptions, the U.S. military academies conduct business much as they did a century ago: Cadets march in lockstep through the quads and shout the menu options at chow. The atmosphere is saturated with reverence for honor and tradition. Bruce Fleming, a professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy for 25 years, isn’t impressed. The service academies are a “military Disneyland,” he contends, where cadets are coddled and happy pretenses disguise mediocrity and cynicism.
High school seniors who sign up expecting the academies to be “a combination of an Ivy League university and a commando school” quickly discover otherwise. Affirmative action and athletic priorities, among other factors, skew meritocratic admission. A fifth of new midshipmen have to be shipped off to a year of remedial education before they enter Annapolis.
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