News from Australia

The previous prime minister, ardent Monarchist Tony Abbott, reintroduced knighthoods in a shock announcement in March 2014, without consulting his cabinet colleagues, some of whom told the media, with typical Aussie bluntness, that the move was “fucking stupid”.

“Molo also portrayed the case as a backhanded attack on New York legislative process, which he said allows elected officials to … profit from no-show employment.”

UD knew she’d love the Sheldon Silver trial. And this is only the first day.

Sentence of the Day

How could you not fall for a kid who, while running for vice president of her elementary school in suburban Washington State, used the slogan “We built this city on rock ’n’ roll, but we should build this school upon leadership.”

Review of Carrie Brownstein’s memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, New York Times.

Sentence of the Day

That period reached its culmination when her mother posed nearly nude in French Playboy and told interviewers that her ex-husband had a rabid hatred of Jews and privately referred to Adolf Hitler as Uncle Dolfie.

A few blasts from Marine Le Pen’s past.

“I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal.”

Too bloody even for the Red States.

Admit it. You’re gonna miss him when he’s gone.

Questioning the Distempered Part

[P]sychoanalyst Carl Sword recounted a conversation with [one of England’s top neurosurgeons, who said], “I have no compassion for those whom I operate on…. In the theater I am reborn: as a cold, heartless machine, totally at one with scalpel, drill and saw. When you’re cutting loose and cheating death high above the snowline of the brain, feelings aren’t fit for purpose. Emotion is entropy, and seriously bad for business. I’ve hunted it down to extinction over the years.”

This post’s title?


The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

“And all this stuff is happening overseas so it’ll be a while for [it all] to come through the wash, but I’m confident [that] New Zealand has no direct involvement or implication in anything that involves that touches this scandal.”

The FIFA thing is happening Way Over There, Way Over Yonder, Way Way Far Away from little New Zealand over here in the far opposite corner… Nothing to see here… We haven’t even gotten the Morse Code clicks on the thing yet… What are you talking about…

“[B]ribery and racketeering and wire fraud are only one part of FIFA’s problems when it comes to the organization’s image and the upcoming World Cup tournaments.”

Yeah, that’s nothing. Bribery racketeering wire fraud, forget it. There’s so much more.

Art, Life

Attended a remarkable recital here in Philadelphia on Tuesday evening by the bass-baritone Eric Owens that featured Schubert’s Fahrt zum Hades, and Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, and the almost awkward sight (until explained) of tears streaming down Mr. Owens’ cheeks during the performance. After intermission, when Mr. Owens returned, he paused to explain to the audience that the reason for his overcome and bereft manner was that he had learned, only an hour or so before he walked on stage, that his colleague, Maria Radner, was indeed on the manifest of the doomed plane and had indeed perished (along with her husband and infant son).

If ever there was a moment when the distant meanings of these distant songs was made real in the present (‘When will these tortures finish? When?’), it was in Mr. Owens’s explanation of why he was so earlier bereft, of the fusing of Schubert’s music with this very contemporary and lacerating intrusion. It all made his entire presentation – his performance, his utter, convulsed devastation – one of the most memorable and poignant tributes to a fallen colleague I’ve ever witnessed.

From a comment thread, New York Times.

Daily Affirmations, DSK-Style

Let’s say I saved the world from a crisis that could have been worse than the one in 1929.”

From a long and very useful analysis of sexual assault on campus…

… by Emily Yoffe.

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and author of the feminist classic, The Mismeasure of Woman, and, with Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me). She says she is troubled by the blurring of distinctions between rape (notably by predatory males), unwanted sex (where one party agrees to sex not out of desire but to please or placate the partner), and the kind of consensual sex where both parties are so drunk they can barely remember what happened — and one of them later regrets it. She says, “Calling all of these kinds of sexual encounters ‘rape’ or ‘sexual assault’ doesn’t teach young women how to learn what they want sexually, let alone how to communicate what they want, or don’t want. It doesn’t teach them to take responsibility for their decisions, for their reluctance to speak up. Sexual communication is really hard — you don’t learn how to do it in a few weekends.”

In-Ground Morgue Optional

The residence also offered indoor and outdoor pools, commissioned artwork by the graffiti artist Retna, and an operating room in the basement. “It’s not like it’s set up to take out your gallbladder,” said Mark David, a real estate columnist for Variety, who has toured the house. “It’s for cosmetic procedures — fillers, dermabrasion, that kind of thing.”

Excerpts. To help you think about what has happened to the University of Virginia over the past few years.

Orin Starn, the sports-anthropology professor, is less sanguine. Duke, he says, has become “this place that’s sort of divided against itself. On the one hand, you have this university that wants to be this first-class liberal-arts university, with a cutting-edge university press, these great programs in literature and history and African-American studies, that’s really done some amazing things over the last twenty years, building itself from a kind of regional school mostly for the Southern élite into a really global university with first-class scholarship. But then you have another university. That’s a university of partying and getting drunk, hiring strippers, frats, big-time college athletics.

… If you were starting from scratch at Duke, no one would have imagined an athletics program where the budget is almost fifty million dollars. This huge outlay of expenses and energy and visibility of sports is just clearly out of proportion with what it should be. Yes, athletics has a place in college education, but not this sort of massive space that it’s taking.”


Even before the lacrosse scandal, alarms had been sounded over the coarsening of undergraduate life. Toward the end of Nan Keohane’s tenure as president, the school undertook an extensive study examining the lives of women at Duke. The project’s summation reads like a scholarly anticipation of Tom Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” the 2004 novel (published after Wolfe’s daughter graduated from Duke) portraying college life as a soul-deadening, booze-fueled marathon of sexual predation:

Students rarely go on formal dates but instead attend parties in large groups, followed by “hook-ups”—unplanned sexual encounters typically fueled by alcohol. Men and women agreed the double standard persists: men gain status through sexual activity while women lose status. Fraternities control the mainstream social scene to such an extent that women feel like they play by the men’s rules. Social life is further complicated by a number of embedded hierarchies, from the widely understood ranking of Greek organizations to the opposite trajectories women and men take over four years, with women losing status in the campus environment while men gain status.


[T]he University of Virginia has allowed its top seeded men’s team to continue playing into the [lacrosse murder] post-season. … George Huguely V, the indicted midfielder from the men’s Cavalier squad, has, for nearly all intents and purposes, already admitted to the crime, and, in my mind at least, also implicated — albeit on a very different level — the culture and friends that provoked reckless excess and failed to take notice of a young man spiraling out of control.

… [T]he fact that Huguely was at times reckless and violent, particularly when drunk, and was alarmingly obsessive about Love, would have been recognized by fellow players, and perhaps coaches, too, and certainly should have been addressed. The fact that this was not his first violent interaction with Love is the strongest charge against the friends and teammates that failed to recognize the severity of the situation.

In truth, there are many places in the game’s culture where nights like the one Huguely had at Washington and Lee University in November 2008–when he was Tasered after resisting arrest and shouting slurs at a black, female officer who had found him stumbling into oncoming traffic–garner acceptance and credibility. As with other sports teams and fraternities, stories like these are traded like war stories among lacrosse players; they’re the battle ribbons of a culture that enjoys hard-drinking and recklessness. They’re a kind of proof of one’s weekend warrior bona fides.


Huguely’s team is … one on which eight players have been charged with alcohol-related offenses. Is anyone paying attention?… If things go terribly wrong, the culture of protection — including parents, coaches and alumni boosters — hire high-priced lawyers who manage to get records expunged and witnesses to forget what they saw.

UD knew we’d get some great writing from rabbis…

… in the wake of Barry “Slam Dunk” Freundel’s stumble.

My most uncomfortable [conversion] moments were when an adult male had to lie on a table with his private parts exposed so the Bet Din could witness the hatafat dam brit (a quasi-circumcision). And yet, no man – not a single one – ever complained about the process because each knew that it was a small price he had to pay (a requirement) for membership in an eternal people.

Update, Horny University-Affiliated Koreans Abroad.

So many, they had to load two cases into one article:

[Korean Education Center in New Zealand] Director Bae Dong-in, a ministry official, has been accused of saying, “Women with large breasts are dumb” in front of the staff, and of frequently using abusive language toward them. A KECNZ staffer said Bae also “sexually humiliated” female staffers with unwanted comments about the size of men’s penises…

… [The last] director of the KECNZ was forced to return to Korea over accusations of misappropriating school funds.

… Separately, a Handong Global University professor was arrested for allegedly groping a sleeping woman on an airplane, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Lee Eun-jong, 47, who is also a Cornell University visiting scholar, was nabbed by FBI agents after the plane from Tokyo landed at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday night.

You can sort of see the KECNZ staff wondering what’s going to be behind Door Number Three.

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