I’ve been thinking about the modifier “extreme:” Extreme Sports, Extreme Skiing, and Extreme Weather. We get it. It’s this year’s version of “________ (something) on acid.”
Today Meredith Hoffman wrote in the New York Times about a directing class at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts that is being taught by “Mr. Franco.” Yes, James Franco, who ”is already an extreme scholar — he has a B.F.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles; M.F.A.’s in writing from Columbia University and Brooklyn College; and an M.F.A. in film from Tisch, and he is working on other degrees.”
A few questions: If Mr. Franco were really an extreme scholar, wouldn’t he also be studying applied math, German, Middle Eastern History and Culture, and neuroscience? Or shouldn’t he at least go further afield in his studies? Why get 2 M.F.A.’s in writing? Is this a joke or a true hunger for knowledge?
Further: Being in school forever is a prep occupation. (See True Prep p.126 — “Getting Your Degree in Getting Your Degree.”) But wanting to pile up degree after degree? Not so much. That sounds downright ambitious, which is not specifically a prep attribute, unless it involves your score in the regatta or tournament.
But I can well imagine an extreme preppy. Of course, to be a true extreme preppy, you cannot let your efforts show. (And, though I don’t really need to spell this out — if you see me at an event, and I am wearing, say, beige and navy, or grey with white and yellow and you are disappointed, you shouldn’t be. When I wear grey [note prep spelling] and white and yellow it is preppy.) Extremely.