I read something online the other day from someone proclaiming Rice University: “The Harvard of the South.”

That’s funny, I said to myself, because I always thought Duke University was supposed to be the “Harvard of the South.”


Then I wondered if Rice University was supposed to be the “Harvard of Texas” and if Duke was, in fact, the “Harvard of Durham.”

I giggled my way back to my days as an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where, we were told in hushed whispers by the administration and the faculty, that “UNL is the Harvard of the Plains.”

I further recollected one my friends telling me, as an excited 18-year-old high school senior, how he’d been accepted at “Stanford University, the Harvard of the West Coast.”  

Why do we need to make those kinds of false connections between greatness and rubbed-up-against wannabeism?

Why can’t Rice be Rice and Duke be Duke and UNL be UNL and Stanford be Stanford?

Let’s let Harvard be Harvard.

That said — and with your help — I have decided on the following, and I appreciate your assistance in making these connections lively, memeingful, and exotic:

“The New York Times is the Urban Semiotic of printed newspapers.”

“NASA is the Urban Semiotic of space exploration.”

“Barack Obama is the Urban Semiotic of future presidents.”

We thank you for your cooperation.

T-Shirts, lapel pins, and tattoo templates to follow…

17 Comments

  1. Google is the Urban Semiotic of search engines.
    Wind and Solar power are the Urban Semiotic of energy sources.
    The library is the Urban Semiotic of places to get a good book. 🙂

  2. Quinoa is the Urban Semiotic of complex carbohydrates. 🙂
    World of Warcraft is the Urban Semiotic of Online Role Playing Games.
    EastEnders is the Urban Semiotics of London Based Soap Operas. 🙂
    P90X is the Urban Semiotic of exercise programs.
    Farmer’s Markets are the Urban Semiotic of places to buy your fresh fruit and vegetables.

  3. “The Dark Knight” is the urban semiotic for weekend movies.
    Letting the kids get fried in the hot playground is the urban semiotic for callousness.

  4. Yes, Gordon – I have watched “Sarkar” – twice.
    You got to see “Sarkar Raaj” – the sequel that came out a few months back.
    One needs to watch a couple of recent films of Amitabh Bachhan – back to back – to understand the magnitude and versatility of this powerful actor:
    Cheeni Kam, Nishabd, Black, Sarkar Raaj…