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a sense of joy and then a panic
a sense of joy and then a panic
a positive and generative potential in the experience of getting lost. 
The Harvard Hoaxer case is a pretty amazing incident, really.  He's my age, guys!  Well, graduated high school the same year, anyway.  The "powerpoint" version:
  • When Mr. Wheeler, now 23, applied as a transfer student in 2007, for example, he sent along fabricated transcripts from Phillips Andover Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In fact, he had graduated from a public high school in Delaware and had attended Bowdoin College, in Maine.
  • One tipoff could have been that M.I.T. does not give letter grades in the fall semester of freshman year, like the straight A’s that appeared on the grade report that Mr. Wheeler submitted. And the names of the four M.I.T. professors who wrote his glowing recommendations? The letters were fakes. And while the professors were real, each teaches at Bowdoin.
  • (As Harvard would later learn, he had been suspended from Bowdoin for “academic dishonesty,” according to the indictment.)
  • In September, when Mr. Wheeler began his senior year at Harvard, an English professor read his Rhodes scholarship submission and saw similarities between it and the work of a colleague. When confronted by Harvard faculty members, Mr. Wheeler remarked, “I must have made a mistake, I didn’t really plagiarize it,” according to Mr. Verner.
  • Mr. Wheeler left Harvard, rather than face an academic hearing. He then applied as a transfer student yet again, this time to Yale and Brown.
  • In February, Mr. Wheeler applied for an internship at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, in which he “provided fraudulent information regarding his credentials and student status at Harvard,” the hospital said in a statement.  In applying to Yale and Brown, though, he not only suggested he was a McLean employee, but also submitted a false letter of recommendation from the McLean official who had refused to hire him.
  • Officials at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, Del., from which Mr. Wheeler graduated in 2005, said they were contacted in April by Yale admissions officials. Yale wanted to confirm that he was the class valedictorian (he was not, though he was in the top 10 percent of the class) and that his SAT scores were perfect (they were several hundred points lower.)
  • “It seemed out of character that the young man we knew would would try to pull off this type of hoax,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, the district superintendent, who was principal of Caesar Rodney when Mr. Wheeler attended.
His redacted resume, posted by The New Republic when he applied for an internship there.  It is quite nuts.  But in all honesty, how dumb is Harvard?  They apparently did not check to see that they gave two "prestigious writing prizes" and thousands of dollars of prize money to plagiarized submissions.  Come on!

These are the books he's the sole author of:
  • Mappings, Unmappings, and Remappings (In Progress): Critical work that has attempted to explain the experience of geographical and textual space in modern writing has focused predominantly on the map as an analytical tool of orientation that makes formal writing structures legible. My dissertation, however, articulates a positive and generative potential in the experience of getting lost. Disorientation, then, allows us to come to terms with the difficulty of modernist literature from the ground level—to view these works not as an abstraction seen from the “God’s eye” perspective that is implicit in most maps, nor a teleological outcome of the Enlightenment seen from retrospect. By restoring the experience of disorientation, I argue that getting lost becomes a radical discourse that reflects back to us how we orient ourselves—what we pay attention to as we move through physical space and how we construe meaning as we move through a text from page to page.
  • The Mapping of an Ideological Demesne (Under Review at Harvard UP): The massive proliferation, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth century, of technologies for measuring, projecting, and organizing geographical and social space produced in the European cultural imaginary an intense and widespread interest in visualizing this world and alternative worlds. As the new century and the Stuart era developed, poets and dramatists mediated this transformation in the form of spatial tropes and models of the nation. I examine the geographical tropes by which Tudor and Stuart writers created poetic landscapes as a mode of engagement with the structures of power, kingship, property, and the market. Accordingly, each of the texts that I examine betrays an awareness of writing as a spatial activity and space as a scripted category. The critical topographies that these writers created are maps of ideology, figural territories within which social conflict and political antagonism are put into play.
Dude likes maps.
05.20.10 (UTC)
lol (at "Dude likes maps.")

I think when people don't have a lot of time, it's really hard to be as tough on plagiarization as they'd like to be and say they are. Other than that, I don't know, his resume is nuts. Like, big warning bells.
05.20.10 (UTC)
That's true, but you'd think for a huge prize there'd be more scrutiny. Then again their admissions officer just says they assume people are telling the truth, because they're not "Harvard C.S.I." (which made me laugh).

Makes you wonder what actual resumes by the top fliers look like, if this appeared normal.
05.20.10 (UTC)
Yes, to all that.
05.20.10 (UTC)
Makes you wonder what actual resumes by the top fliers look like, if this appeared normal.

I wonder if top institutions really are that arrogant--that they think it's their due that people who are IMPOSSIBLE IN REAL LIFE would apply to them--and then take such things as their due.

As one of the commenters at the New Republic site said, "So, was it my stint on the space shuttle that made me overqualified for the position or ...?"

The fact that Harvard doesn't know what its neighbor institution in the same town does for its grading policy made me roll my eyes. Insular much? PAY ATTENTION TO THESE THINGS.
05.20.10 (UTC)
Really are that arrogant, and people similar to this really do exist. I don't even know, except this is a reason I am not applying to the Ivies for grad school. I seriously had enough of this shit in undergrad.

My mother suggested that Harvard has more problems than usual with people "tricking" them, and that's a great point about MIT, didn't even think about that. They're not Harvard C.S.I., I tell you!
05.20.10 (UTC)
I really don't believe that people like this exist. I don't. It is not. possible. to seriously research and write five worthwhile books in three years while taking classes and what? being invited to give lectures and things? It's like the things people claim they have experience doing in job applications. With job applictions, people know that "experience using Quark" means "I was standing next to the production person when she laid out the magazine" People can sometimes be mad geniuses or mad hard workers in a certain area--like I could believe the guy really learned classical Armenian and Persian, and maybe even wrote one book on the topic--but not while, say, running marathons and establishing an AIDS treatment facility in Soweto. No.
05.20.10 (UTC)
Well, ok, this guy is an exaggeration. But the top students at CC do have this kind of resume - usually minus the books, stuffed with job experience (which I suspect was redacted from Wheeler's). And part of it is the horror that this is what the "system" has led us to - resumes that appear inhuman. Maybe it'll serve as a wake-up call, but probably not. Next thing we'll see this on a 5-year-old's application to prep school - wrote 3 children's books, won beauty pageant, youngest person to translate the entire works of Tolstoy into English, etc.
05.20.10 (UTC)
But don't you wonder about those people? I mean, think of the hours in a day. If they are working as interns at Harper & Row or Microsoft or Bell Labs, and they're also tutoring homeless children, and they're also part of an early music ensemble... I mean, don't you get the feeling that they may miss some of the rehearsals of the early music ensemble? Or that maybe their internship at Microsoft was mainly filing papers? Or something.

I'm trying to think back to the high school superachievers I knew. There was one girl: she truly did practically create the yearbook singlehandedly, and she was in our not-quite-moribund literary magazine, and she was also in model congress. She wasn't in sports, though. She got great grades, but she sometimes relied on Cliff Notes. Okay, or another girl: really great at sports, really great at music, good at the math/sciences/languages... not so good in social studies and English.

I bet both those people could have written up their applications to look extra shiny, but in real life, in the one case, the literary magazine wasn't actually much of anything and there were no athletics and she cut corners in her schoolwork (but still got great grades) and in the other case she was really well rounded but not an ALL A's IN EVERYTHING student.

It just seems to me it's like dieting. If I see someone who, whenever they're in public, only nibbles at a salad--I don't believe in that. I believe they're secretly eating lots of food elsewhere. They have to be. If they were truly only eating salad leaves, they'd be thin as a rail, and they're not.

... I think I'm yammering because I don't want to go pay bills.. I should stop talking so much....
05.20.10 (UTC)
And what does it say about our society that we are expected to be so polished and flawless, so ~well-rounded~? Where it's "ok, everyone lies on their resume." WTH is that? I do absolutely wonder about these people, but eventually it just reminds me of the Radiohead song "Fitter Happier":

Fitter, happier, more productive, comfortable, not drinking too much, regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week), getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries, at ease, eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats), a patient better driver, a safer car (baby smiling in back seat), sleeping well (no bad dreams), no paranoia, careful to all animals (never washing spiders down the plughole), keep in contact with old friends (enjoy a drink now and then), will frequently check credit at (moral) bank (hole in the wall), favors for favors, fond but not in love, charity standing orders, on Sundays ring road supermarket (no killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants), car wash (also on Sundays), no longer afraid of the dark or midday shadows nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate, nothing so childish - at a better pace, slower and more calculated, no chance of escape, now self-employed, concerned (but powerless), an empowered and informed member of society (pragmatism not idealism), will not cry in public, less chance of illness, tires that grip in the wet (shot of baby strapped in back seat), a good memory, still cries at a good film, still kisses with saliva, no longer empty and frantic like a cat tied to a stick, that's driven into frozen winter shit (the ability to laugh at weakness), calm, fitter, healthier and more productive a pig in a cage on antibiotics.
[This is the Panic Office, section nine-seventeen may have been hit. Activate the following procedure.]

It's that "concerned (but powerless)" and "(the ability to laugh at weakness)" that gets to me every time.
05.20.10 (UTC)
oh man. yeah, that song does say it all.
05.20.10 (UTC)
BIIIIGGGG warning bells.

Who could write FIVE BOOKS while an undergraduate. Who??? What professor could write five books in three years? I

I looked at that and laughed.
05.20.10 (UTC)
I actually looked up the professor he co-wrote all those books with. He's apparently a real prestigious (and prolific) professor, and apparently the publishers have no idea who this guy is.

More interesting stuff here:
05.20.10 (UTC)
by "this guy" I mean Wheeler/supposed "co-author"
05.20.10 (UTC)
Wheeler just inserted his name in with the other guy's real books, right? Kind of like Forrest Gump appearing in photos?
05.20.10 (UTC)
LOL yes. I think so. You know, even if I wanted to lie wildly on a resume, I would not have the guts to do what this guy did. I wonder if he has no disposition to fear or something.
05.20.10 (UTC)
It seems sociopathic to me, but I feel creepy saying that, because I've already said it over on nineweaving's page, where she talks about the same thing, and I feel, now, kind of bad for his parents and people who knew him... bleahh, the whole thing is creepy. But at least it's just weird creepy and not deadly creepy.
05.20.10 (UTC)
Oh, don't get me started on his parents. This could NOT have just popped out of nowhere once he got to college. I know that I don't know, but... I find it hard to believe that they didn't know he was doing any of this, esp. given that they were able to convince him to like, stop lying to Yale or whatever.

When I was in 3rd grade, I started lying a lot to get out of things I didn't want to do. I even forged notes. One of my teachers checked with my parents, who made it very clear (verbally) that this was not acceptable behavior. Only time I remember my mom being angry with me. And that was the end of that.

You're right, though, at least it's just weird creepy and not deadly creepy.
05.20.10 (UTC) - PS
Glad you gave this the psycho tag, because this guy just has psycho written all over.
05.20.10 (UTC) - Re: PS
Yeah, pathological lying creeps me out, tbh.
05.20.10 (UTC) - Re: PS
at least Josie wasn't this bad...
05.20.10 (UTC) - Re: PS
Heh, I forgot about that.
05.20.10 (UTC)
OT: This is among the most interesting *comments* threads I've read in a long, long time.

Anyhow, dude's as buggy as a sprayed cockroach. And, to a degree, intelligently ballsy to gamble on the institutional arrogance which allowed him to get as far as he did into their system.
05.20.10 (UTC)
Aw, thanks on behalf of the others who participated!

I like "buggy as a sprayed cockroach." I'll start using that. And I agree, he is intelligently ballsy. I wonder how far he could've gone.
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