Hey, first years: screw ipecac, concentrate in Classics

Ted Turner's favorite pastime is mocking Deep Springs students with his personal buffalo herd.

…or so says Ted Turner’s daddy.

As school begins anew, let the father of one of our most illustrious alumni give you some ammo to help you pursue your own unique Brown goals. Ted Turner ’60, the man who founded and built CNN, made the oh-so-liberal-arts decision to concentrate in Classics during his short time on College Hill in the mid ’50s. Yes, before he switched to Econ and was expelled in 1960 for, um, “entertaining a female guest past curfew,” his dream was to read only from authors whose works can be found in those black and orange books Penguin puts out. Great histories, wars, heroes, and a Sesame Street-like worship of triangles — all of these infatuated the future mastermind of CNN.

Of course, his first mistake was telling his old man.

So Dad wrote to his son, furious and confused and apparently nearly puking, and gave him a paternal whipping that stood as the standard of fatherly might for a full 23 years.  The full letter can be found here, but here are a few highlights:

  • “I was amazed that [Plato and Aristotle] had so much time for deliberating and thinking, and was interested in the kind of civilization that would permit such useless deliberation.”  Mr. Turner, did it ever occur to you that, for the majority of human history, life could only be taken S/NC? Ancient Athens was one big homoerotic subtext —what else could they do but ponder life?

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