It’s Hard Out There for a Harvard Alum

Somewhere in the Northeast.<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=Harvard&search_group=#id=47943157&src=db1a6ce591e065a6e5ef8ff7db80975c-1-1">Pincasso</a>/Shutterstock.com

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Harvard graduates often tell acquaintances they “went to school in Cambridge” and the Boston Globe is on it:

She does not like dropping the H-bomb, which is how Harvard students and alumni describe the moment they use the name of their university.

It’s a loaded word. And everyone who has ever been a student at Harvard University – the school minted about 7,000 new graduates this month – is acutely aware of the perils of using it. They have been through it many times, seen the bomb explode in different ways. Each has an approach, goals for how it should go off.

When confronted with questions about their education, many elect simply for a kind of dodge, the most famous being the Boston method. “I went to school in Boston.” Sometimes it’s “near Boston.” Or perhaps even “Cambridge.’”

Harrowing. The Globe cites examples which purport to show a Harvard connection backfiring—including the Massachusetts Senate race—and asks about a handful of alumni to explain why they refrain from dropping the H-bomb at all cost.

One thing the piece neglects to point out, though, is that telling someone “oh, I went to a small little academy on a river near Somerville” is somewhere between 50 and 100 times more annoying than simply telling someone you went to Harvard. I’m not sure what it is that Harvard grads expect will happen if they reveal the true source of their diploma—people will faint, the skies will open, Nazis—but generally speaking, people can handle it.

Well, most people.

Tim Murphy is filling in while Kevin is on vacation.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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