One thing is not like the others

Juliet (Romeo’s love) spaketh thus: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name!  What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee take all myself.

The Naming Of Cats
by T. S. Eliot
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
I have little interest in college ratings.  This was even true when I as at an institution. Perhaps it is because I don’t like it when someone tells me what to think (I really don’t). I suspect though it is because I little interest in assigning rankings based on assumed commonality. Certainly many colleges and universities have a lot in common in structure and approaches to education. Accreditation, federal, and state involvement enforce additional commonalities. But. These are complexx organizations with lots of moving parts.
For example, I have been thinking three songs of the rock era and how they compare. They are all songs with similar purposes of expression and entertainment. They all share a common word in the title: Stand.
The three songs are quite different. Different styles of music, tempo, and subject. Does it make sense to rank them on anything other than preference or popularity?  Clearly those choices are personal, subjective.
Taking the (what some might consider ridiculous) comparison further, what about two songs with the same names ?
Turn to Stone. ELO &Joe Walsh
You might think I can’t find two examples even more different from each other.
You’d be wrong.
You and Me. Alice Cooper & The Book of Mormon.
I think rating and ranking colleges and universities is pretty much a pointless exercise, right up there with peer group analysis, other than to make money. There’s nothing wrong with making money. Quite possibly our next American President will have made a lot of money while establishing the Trump brand. He will certainly be rated highly on that score compared to other presidents. I guess that matters.
The problem of course is that rating is based on one dimension – wealth. Which is kind of true about most, if not all, college rankings. Despite all the blather otherwise, all the measures are proxies for wealth – institutional wealth, and student (family) wealth. Sometimes the proxy measures are simply the wealth of the surrounding communities – the employers that higher the graduates. In the end, the rankings all come back to money.
It’s summer and the college rankings season has begun. And I just can’t take it seriously.

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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