The Rhodes Warrior

in Endnotes

Like many Yale students, I like money. Unfortunately, also like many Yale students, I’ve spent my college career reading books from an age when money was probably denominated in seashells or salt. Short on marketable skills, I’ve spent most of my senior year trying to convince rich people to hand me money for no good reason. For those of you who are facing the same problem before graduation, I suggest my latest get-rich-quick scheme: the Rhodes Scholarships.

The Rhodes Scholarships are just one of the many philanthropic ventures established by a Victorian tycoon named Cecil Rhodes, who also founded the De Beers diamond corporation and the charming nation of Rhodesia. Of all Rhodes’ acts of charity, however, the Rhodes Scholarships are undoubtedly the most noble—chiefly insofar as they have the potential to benefit me. The Scholarships fund two years of study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom; as such, they’re perfect for those of us incapable of acquiring a paying job or a suntan.

Winning a Rhodes Scholarship is fairly straightforward. First, overcome some crippling hardship. (Consider becoming addicted to heroin.) Second, rescue some starving orphans and homeless puppies; if at all possible, save time by letting the starving orphans adopt the puppies. Third, demonstrate strong leadership by ruthlessly eliminating those who dare to challenge your authority, starting with all competing applicants for the Rhodes Scholarships.

(Intelligence helps but is hardly a prerequisite. I, for instance, consider myself a strong candidate.)

If invited for an interview, do anything possible to establish your credentials as an Anglophile. Answer all questions in an assumed British accent (Cockney rhyming slang works best). Express admiration for great Englishmen like Margaret Thatcher. End every answer by quoting Fawlty Towers.

Rhodes committees are especially impressed by displays of courage. Begin the interview by noting that you have spent the past several years living in New Haven—a town known to be inhabited by poor people, minorities, and even some women. If committee members find such Victorian aplomb insufficiently courageous, show off your cojones by streaking.

Finally, if you fail to win a Rhodes Scholarship, don’t despair: in the long run, all the winning applicants are still going to die alone, just like you They’ll just be richer in the meantime.