My introduction to the media's view of the academy came as something of a shock. Almost five years ago, James Wood, reporting for The New Republic on a Harvard graduate student conference I participated in, cited a particularly unfortunate remark of mine, regarding "the iconography of the Tampax," as evidence of all that had gone wrong with literary studies. His article, of course, was but one of many attacks on the academy as it struggled through the final twitches of postmodernism.
I don't know whether the more esoteric passages of the kabala mention the talismanic importance of blond-headed gentiles, but I would not be surprised if they did. The flaming gentile in the Jewish institution often enjoys a status not so different from a luxury good: the Toy Goy. The Toy Goy has many privileges: he is permitted to slough off before and after (but hexer during) Jewish holidays; to laugh at Jewish jokes around the office: to be as superficial, happy and untroubled as he pleases.
DOWN THE MEMORY HOLE: Columnist James J. Kilpatrick recently denounced critics of William Bradford Reynolds, President Reagan’s nominee to be associate attorney general. These critics, he said, “do not truly believe in equal rights or in an end to discrimination. Theirs is the Orwellian doctrine that some are more equal than others. In their curious vision, it is wrong to discriminate against blacks, but it is not wrong to discriminate against whites.” What’s truly Orwellian is for James J. Kilpatrick to pose as a defender of equal rights.