La Ciccia (and some thoughts on role models in universities)

La Ciccia, web site, 291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA, 415-550-8114 [Zagat | SFGate | Ylp | KQED | Gayot]

That is a Sardinian restaurant in San Francisco, and it was my pick from the San Francsico dining bleg from last week. I recommend it highly, focus on the appetizers and the pastas (uni!), as the meat dishes are less interesting.

Much of the table talk was on whether the true function of universities is to expose us to a wide array of vivid role models, so we could reject most of them and accept a few, thereby giving us a motivated path forward in life. One implication of this is that (lower-level) university athletics might be undervalued, because coaches and even fellow athletes can serve as useful role models in a way that most professors cannot. The question also arises whether we might have more efficient ways of exposing people to vivid role models than through college or university attendance. The “so many professors” approach of the university seems stifling and inefficient, not to mention lacking in diversity, once you view the question in these terms.

Is there such a thing as a “professional role model”? That would mean a person who hasn’t done very much but somehow reflects a lot of positive qualities and can inspire others. Or is that a contradiction in terms? Must the role model have actually done something significant? I believe that professional role models are possible and indeed they exist right now, even if they are not labeled as such.

Is the main function of role models to be accepted and emulated, or to be rejected? Do not underrate the latter possibility.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.


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