When Kinsley Attacks
January 22, 2009
I meant to post this yesterday, but better late than never. It's a hatchet job on Yale that Michael Kinsley wrote as an undergrad--a colleague sent it to me after seeing my piece on Yale and Harvard. Subject matter aside, it's amazing how recognizable Kinsley's voice is. It's almost more satisfying than his professional work, since he's even less inhibited. My favorite passage: For one thing, there's the presidency. Last Spring, I asked Brewster for an interview for the Crimson.
The American Loneliness
December 03, 2008
Fitzgerald, eager to draw the shy, Yale-educated prep-school French teacher into his dashing retinue, arranged to have Wilder and Wilson picked up at the train station, but it was Marcel Proust who helped to smooth the way between them.
Bobos In Power
November 21, 2008
I'm basically a fan of David Brooks' version of comic social portraiture. Sure, you could be persnickety about the empirical accuracy of the occasional assertion, but his quips about kaffiyeh-clad Salvadoran waiters at hip African microbreweries usually get at some broader truth.
October 22, 2008
The resentments of Sarah Palin.
Intellectual Diversity At Boulder
May 26, 2008
Over on the NYT's opinion page, Stanley Fish is taking on the newest manifestation of the "intellectual diversity" movement: CU Boulder's plan to endow a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy. I'm of two minds about this. There's obviously something obnoxious, contradictory, and slightly hypocritical about conservatives--who deride affirmative action and diversity as formless tokenism, or worse--demanding affirmative action for themselves. (Oddly, this goes back to the beginning.
The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction
April 20, 2008
If you hadn’t heard, the senior thesis of Yale art major Aliza Shvarts was going to destroy our civilization. Shvarts told the Yale Daily News Thursday that in the last nine months, she artificially inseminated herself “repeatedly,” terminating each resultant pregnancy using abortifacient drugs. She supposedly documented this process on a film that was to be displayed, alongside the miscarriages themselves, in Yale’s Green Hall next week.The story was quickly Drudged into a mushroom cloud of American cultural conflict. Look at all of these pissed-off people.
Money Can't Buy You Everything
April 12, 2008
And one thing it can't buy you is a Yale degree, as is clear from a story in this morning's New York Times, first reported in Friday's Yale Daily News. Kudos to Richard Levin, a distinguished economist and for a decade and a half (now an almost unheard of tenure as an educational CEO) president of Yale University, for having bucked the trend in which American educational institutions -- and the Louvre!
The Assimilation Artist
April 02, 2008
The fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri is a strong indication that the great American melting pot is in tip-top shape. That’s not just because Lahiri, an Indian-American, is extremely popular, although she is: Knopf has printed 300,000 copies of Unaccustomed Earth, her new story collection, an astoundingly high figure for a writer whose work eludes any comparisons with that of James Patterson or John Grisham. Lahiri writes largely about the American-born children of middle-class Indian immigrants, but in doing so, she also nails the mores of affluent, educated Americans, both Indian and non-Indian.
February 07, 2008
February 1: I email Barack Obama's Colorado campaign site, asking for information on which caucus I should attend. Although I write a syndicated column that often deals with presidential politics, I’ve never been to a caucus, or for that matter participated in a political campaign. And my lifetime financial contributions to politicians consist of writing a $50 check to John Kerry in the summer of 2004. But I’ve taken a liking to Obama, and have decided I should overcome my natural inertia and at least go to the caucus.
The TNR Primary: Part Three
January 25, 2008
Women are always in the wrong--particularly in politics. Our culture is sexist, and we don't even see it. Gloria Steinem said, "We'll do anything not to elect a woman." Women are attacked whenever we go public. Think of Eleanor Roosevelt, Bella Abzug--and Hillary Clinton. So Clinton has run a gauntlet. All her life. From Wellesley student to Yale student to lawyer to governor's wife to First Lady to senator to presidential candidate. I get it. I've run that gauntlet on a much smaller scale--and I don't even want to live in the White House. My heart goes out to her.