Ivy League

Creation Myth
September 10, 2008

In late October 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.

Creation Myth
September 10, 2008

IN LATE OCTOBER 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.

New York Diarist: Old School
November 13, 2006

College, like youth, is wasted on the young. This is not merely idle philosophizing on my part, but a conclusion arrived at from hard-won experience. Last year, nearly a decade after graduating from college, I spent two illicit semesters back in school--sneaking into classes, playing intercollegiate sports, and getting drunk in the dorms. This year of studying dangerously began innocently enough. My girlfriend was finishing up grad school at an Ivy League university; shortly after I moved in with her, on the outskirts of campus, I began reminiscing about my own college days.

Jurassic President
March 20, 2006

She took a sip of red wine, then set the glass down on the bedside table. Unceremoniously, she pulled her top over her head and dropped her skirt. She was wearing nothing beneath. Still in her high heels, she walked toward him....

War College
March 20, 2006

Hillary Clinton, congratulations. You’re the lucky recipient of a winning political issue, which has the added virtue of being morally important. Send your thanks to Columbia University and the U.S. Supreme Court.   This week, the Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment, which denies government funding to universities that prohibit military recruiting on campus.

Conflation Rate
June 28, 2004

A mainstream liberal consensus on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has emerged quickly. It goes something like this: Moore's a nutty conspiracy theorist, and parts of the movie--in which he suggests, among other things, that we invaded Afghanistan not because of 9/11 but because we wanted to build a natural gas pipeline--showcase Moore at his least responsible.

The End of an Elite
June 07, 2004

The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment By Geoffrey Kabaservice (Henry Holt, 573 pp., $30)   The commitment of America's great universities to admitting students on the basis of merit rather than lineage--whether or not that commitment is wholly observed in practice--is today virtually uncontested. Similarly, the belief in the value of diversity, while under assault in courts and legislatures, is a core conviction of almost all educators.

Singled Out
March 22, 2004

THOUGH THE DECEMBER movie Mona Lisa Smile failed at the box office, its romanticized portrayal of Wellesley College in the 1950s as a place where well-coiffed women had little ambition beyond learning proper etiquette reignited a heated debate on the virtues of single-sex schools. In fact, three months later, Wellesley's alumnae website still offers an interactive section devoted to a discussion of the film and the future of single-sex education. As one graduate summed up in an article for Boston magazine: "If Wellesley women are so smart and talented ...

Black Coffee
May 05, 2003

Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala By Daniel Wilkinson (Houghton Mifflin, 373 pp., $24) In September, a Guatemalan court convicted an army colonel of ordering the assassination of one of my colleagues, the anthropologist Myrna Mack. Mack had been interviewing victims of counterinsurgency operations when she was knifed to death on a busy afternoon street in Guatemala City. Colonel Juan Valencia Osorio worked for the presidential security staff.

Job's Doctors
July 02, 2001

Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson’s Disease by Morton Kondracke By Morton Kondracke (PublicAffairs, 275 pp., $25) Narratives of illness have deep roots in our culture. For millennia, interpretations of disease--the reasons for the malady and the source of its solution--were grounded in the Bible. Miriam, in the Book of Numbers, develops leprosy after voicing resentment and disseminating doubt about Moses's leadership. Leprosy, a disease of relentless physical decomposition, is measured recompense for a sin that dismembers the cohesion of the community.

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