We have followed Adrian Vermeule on this blog for some time.

Vermeule (scroll down) is a standard-issue Trumpian who continues gassing on about election fraud. He is a theocrat – I mean, a real one, as in he wants the United States ruled by Jesus, and, if Jesus doesn’t want the job, by His designated ayatollahs. We can anticipate that these would include the much-laureled Josh Hawley, plus, well, Adrian Vermeule.

Vermeule’s one peculiar distinction is that he’s a Harvard law professor; and it turns out that more than a few of his students are now officially really really creeped out to be in the same room with the dude in various required classes. UD is all for these students complaining about him; indeed, intellectual self-respect rather demands that his students make a public statement of some sort about the odd fact of their being taught, at the nation’s greatest university, by an off-the-charts anti-democratic fanatic.

No punishment allowed, of course; Vermeulen finds himself a tenured Harvard professor and fine. But squawking about the obscenity of having to endure the presence of a freak who wants to destroy your country – excellent.

The Unkindest Cut of All

UD‘s old acquaintance, (see this post) Joseph Epstein, Man of the Hour, has endured insults from all over the world in the aftermath of his … ill-considered column about Jill Biden. But knowing Epstein (whose real name is Myron, as I recall), UD figures this well-meaning piece by a couple of Northwestern University law professors has got to be the worst of the worst. The authors argue that while Epstein’s column stank six ways from Sunday, NU acted badly in response by scrubbing him from its website. It’s a free speech issue, after all.

They’re probably right. But in characterizing Epstein’s status at NU, they (inadvertently?) say things guaranteed to wound him.

Epstein, in UD‘s day as an NU undergrad, taught writing and literature at the university (I never took any of his courses) even though his highest degree was only a BA. I guess the idea was that Epstein was a well-known, well-connected author (books of popular interest, essays, fiction) who lived in Chicago (grew up there), had things to say about art, wanted to teach, and could benefit NU students both intellectually and practically. He was, if you like, our Saul Bellow (U Chicago got the real Bellow) – both men were writers and intellectuals who only had BAs (Bellow did a little grad work at the U of Wisconsin), but both were worth having on your faculty (Ravelstein describes classes Allan Bloom and Bellow taught together at the U of C) because they were noted figures. Somewhat noted, and mainly in conservative circles, in the case of Epstein. (FWIW: A mutual friend of Bellow and Epstein, Edward Shills, also had only a BA. By the time Bellow wrote Ravelstein, he and Shills were enemies, and Shills got one of Bellow’s patented fatal character sketches in that novel.)

Although in strict hierarchical terms Epstein was rather a nobody at NU, he thought of himself, from my observation of him, as superior to what he regarded as cookie cutter politically correct tenured English PhDs. They were timid, dry as dust scholars; he was a red-blooded freelancer who launched himself into the real world and came back and wrote about it and got reviewed in the New York Times, etc. etc. They produced the constipated prose of pretentious ideologues; he wrote clear, strong, true, and real words.

He couldn’t stand the department; he looked down on it. (The department, from what I recall, couldn’t stand him back.) All through those years, as he edited The American Scholar and sat on NEH review committees (Republican administrations were heady days for Epstein), he thought of himself, I’m pretty sure, as simply dropping in on NU a few days a week, when he wasn’t hobnobbing in Washington, to share his thoughts about literature with a small, carefully selected group of English majors. (The money can’t have been much, but for a freelancer I suppose it was a welcome little stipend.)

Despite his lofty sense of himself, however, in the clear light of university hierarchy he was merely an adjunct lecturer, subject to review and renewal every year. Far from bothering Epstein, I’m guessing he read this status as his preference, a way of avoiding faculty meetings and administrative chores, and a way of maintaining personal freedom.

But there’s no controlling the way other people describe his situation at NU. Here are the two law professors:

Epstein never held a professorial rank at Northwestern, but academic freedom equally protects lecturers, adjuncts, and other faculty members. A sad fact about modern higher education is the very large population of professional scholars without tenure, many of whom, like Epstein, teach for decades with lower pay and less job security. In a different economic environment, many of them would be tenure-track professors. Their precarious status is a reason for insisting even more strongly on that protection.

Of course they are quite right about the economic insecurity of adjuncts; but Epstein never thought of himself as a professional scholar seeking tenure, etc. The idea in fact repelled him. His ego rested on an entirely other self-perception, one that entailed a transcendence of the whole pathetic academic game. How horrible, in his latter days, to be made a poster boy for adjuncts!

Heard on the Street: GIULIANI TEAM TO REPLACE SIDNEY POWELL WITH JAMES TRACY

University Diaries understands that Trump’s legal dream team will be announcing the addition of Professor James Tracy, of Newtown massacre conspiracy fame, to their election-overturning effort. While not an attorney, Tracy is a noted communications expert, and will, a source tells UD, be the president’s chief spokesperson on the national vote, clarifying to the public the complex means by which it was stolen.

A veteran of dozens of conspiracy theories – not only the Sandy Hook mass murders, but “the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in 2012; the Washington Navy Yard shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013; and the massacre at a holiday meeting in December in San Bernardino, Calif.,” were all staged by anti-gun zealots in the Obama government – Tracy has the guts to go after the truth wherever it lies:

Lenny and Veronique Pozner, the parents of Noah Pozner, who was 6 when he was killed at Newtown, wrote [in] an opinion piece … that Mr. Tracy had demanded that they prove that Noah ever existed, that they were his parents and that they owned the rights to photographs of him. The professor, they said, “personally sought to cause our family pain and anguish.”

“Podcaster Katie Herzog tweeted: ‘My first act as an anti-racist will be sending my black son back to the orphanage.’”

LOL. As always, the best way to respond to stupid racists – in this case, an anti-white racist who attacks white people for adopting black babies – is to ridicule them.

That Professor Kendi heads an institute of anti-racist research is une ironie extrêmement riche.

**********************

And what a gift this guy has given the Genius of the Carpathians.

“I am a History honors student, and this class has helped push me to drop my History major.”

Another gem from Jessica Krug’s RMP page. Worth reading the whole thing, and then asking yourself how a history department at a respectable university not only kept this woman in the classroom, but tenured her.

Ballad of Jessica Krug; Or: What Did I Do to Be So Black and Jew

Sing it.

If I were a charlatan
A racial pretender
Would you hire me anyway
Would you give me tenure



If a faker were my trade
Would you still praise me
Publish all the bs I make
Standing right behind me



Save my ass through endless lies
Save my ass through wokeness
Forget my past as a Jewish lass
Be diggin my Black Folkness



If I were a sociopath
For the world to see!
Would you fall for it anyway
Would you be my colleague

“Her complexion has no brilliancy,” says nasty Caroline Bingley…

… of her rival Elizabeth Bennet; and this oldish word – brilliancy – came to UD‘s mind as she contemplated her undergraduate professor, Erich Heller. Not prone to thinking about the past (or the future – your blogueuse is somewhat in the buddhist way), UD was borne back into the past (truncated Great Gatsby reference there … hey it was your decision to read a literary blogger), via this memoir, written by Heller’s niece, and very much an evocation of the scholar of Rilke and Kafka who had a great impact on wee UD at Northwestern University in the 1970’s.

Heller’s brilliancy – by which I mean in part charisma – is obvious enough in this portrait of the young man as an impassioned Czech Jewish aesthete.

When I knew him, he looked like this.

Still the fully open, searching, lively eyes. He was always a beautiful polished dresser, which contrasted vividly with the thready hippies to whom he lectured so fiercely about the loss of meaning in the modern world. His own world had flamboyantly fallen apart with the Nazis, from whom he barely managed to escape, while his beloved brother spent years in concentration camps. (He also managed to survive.)

It was utterly, almost comically, clear to UD, as this man lectured, that he saw no way in which he could possibly begin to convey his and the world’s historical, spiritual, and existential wound to these frisky frisbee throwers.

Sixtyish, gay, hyper-snobby, dismissive of all NU students, all Americans (after cosmopolitan Prague, he spent years at Cambridge University, and now found himself prone on the prairie), and certainly all women (does the memoir ever make that one clear), Heller nonetheless hugely, hotly, attracted deine kleine Bloggerin.

How hotly? I had recurrent waking and sleeping fantasies about stumbling upon a solitary suffering Heller on the school’s lakeside beach and comforting him. Just – you know – happening to be the only person in the world who fully intuited his intellectual and emotional grief, his vell-done Weltschmerz (I’m antic about it now, but I assure you it was all passionately earnest then)…

Or imagine this – I was taking his all-Rilke-all-the-time course, and it was I don’t know the fifth Heller course I’d taken (Kafka, Thomas Mann, Nietzsche, Kleist?) and I was all fired-up as usual to re-enter this man’s hallowed hall … And yet from the first day of that particular course, I would sit, take out my paperback, and, at the opening “semi-operatic” tones of Heller’s voice (the memoir writer calls them this; I’d simply say operatic – he had a fine booming basso), fall completely to sleep. Ach, Doktor Freud, do tell. Vot vos dis Heller shpell?

*******************

I wrote excellent exams and papers, appeared every day in all his courses, sat there at full attention (I figured out how to stay awake in the Rilke course; I cured myself, Doktor!) – eventually the poor man had to notice me a little bit. I didn’t care whether he did, but eventually he did. I remember two post-class chats: In one I must have mentioned Nabokov and was startled by the casual violence of Heller’s dismissal of him (something about his obscenity?). The other is much more vivid to me because it was much more consequential. I told him that I was miserable in the Medill School of Journalism (I’d enrolled there rather than become an English major because I’d convinced myself I’d never get a job with a degree in English), absolutely miserable. And he looked at me with those avid open eyes and just as casually said: “If you are not happy there, vhy don’t you leave?”

And I swear to you, mes petites, minutes after this exchange I marched to the journalism building and began the process of dropping out of Medill.

More on Heller later today. Must weed. As UD likes to say: Weeding is fundamental.

Post-Foible Tristesse: Letter-Writing Academics and the Morning After.

Remember the “terrible” (as Masha Gessen called it) Avital Ronell letter? (UD‘s posts about it are here.) Remember the regret its authors eventually expressed after it turned out they got the facts (about whether Ronell sexually harassed a graduate student) wrong, and in a very unseemly way threw their institutional weight around, and thus further abused an innocent grad student?

So… the fools who wrote the anti-Steven Pinker letter everyone’s currently laughing at maybe could have consulted that bit of history before marking up their own missive, with its overripe racism claims and its rich mix of real and forged signatures. Ask the authors of the Ronell letter whether it pays to be a bit … epistoleery

In 2018, it ranked as America’s most dangerous city.

Monroe, Louisiana ain’t what you’d call a premier destination, and students who attend the University of Louisiana Monroe ain’t got much to be proud of.

And, now that we’re all paying attention, the school boasts a couple of quite proudly out-there racists. Nursing professor Mary Holmes (who studies “why men sperm count has decreased 40% over the last couple of decades”) calls our last president a “monkey.”

Snapshots from a Long Life, Well-Lived.

Bernstein met second wife Susan Goldhor through mutual friends. “I thought he was kind of cute and had a really nice smile,” she recalled. Susan, a biologist with an interest in mycology, recalled Bernstein joking that “I did mushrooms, and he did mushroom clouds.” On their first date, they hiked the White Mountains. Then they planned a longer hike. “I didn’t have the right socks, and I got blisters. These were big hikes every day. I was really having a hard time, I was in pain, I was exhausted, and so I complained to Aron about this. Aron hated whiners, so he wrote me a letter afterward that it wasn’t going to work out, that he wasn’t going to deal with whiners. He was a very, very straightforward person — he didn’t play games.”

She convinced him that she wasn’t actually a whiner, and he took her to a Mozart concert at Jordan Hall. Bernstein loved music, “nothing later than Schubert, and preferably a lot earlier— I couldn’t get him to go to a Mahler concert.” They married in 1990. Hiking was a shared passion, and they bought a vacation home in the White Mountains. “We hiked in summer, fall, and winter — I remember hiking in a blizzard. Until Aron was 86, we were still hiking and snowshoeing together. The hikes got shorter but the pleasure was still there.”

From an MIT News obit for Aron Bernstein, professor of physics.

After they decide to stop lying; after they finally admit they’ve been robbing their university and the government blind for years…

UD is fond of tracking down the glorious newspaper articles about how glorious certain criminals are. Were. I just linked to one such article, from 2015, featuring about to be sentenced Professor Geoffrey Girnun — who, in sporting his yamulke for his perp picture today, has done quite the service for Orthodox Judaism.

In the 2015 article, he’s smiling broadly and climbing a mountain; in the 2020 article, he looks all gone to ground and sad and pale and ashamed that he’s been a criminal hiding under religious piety for as long as he could possibly get away with it and now – despite lying through his teeth when caught – he has been forced to confess.

Confess to what? Stealing cancer research funds. That’s right, kiddies. The mortgage on Girnun’s close-to-million-dollar house will have to take precedence over people with cancer because… because he has a mortgage to pay! His salary at Stony Brook?

The theft scheme began in 2013, with his submitting false invoices, just weeks after Girnun was hired by the medical school, according to officials. Girnun earned a salary of $145,000 a year at Stony Brook.

Yes, folks, he was up and running with the theft scheme minutes after he was hired at that pathetic, hopeless salary…

My favorite part of the glorious 2015 article about Girnun? Its halfway-there headline:

Stony Brook University Professor Seeks to Starve Cancer.

Seeks to starve cancer of funds. Of funds.

Harvard’s most high-profile professor, Alan Dershowitz, does a lot of poking.

The 81-year-old Harvard Law School professor angrily poked the defense table — where he sat alongside his pack of five lawyers — passed notes to his attorneys and seemed to argue with them every time one of them jumped up to address the judge.

He’s in a courtroom, and very angry, because he’s being sued for libel by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slaves. The brilliant jurist’s defense against claims that he has called the former sex slave – who says she was forced to have sex with Dershowitz – a serial liar, a prostitute, an extortionist, and a lot of other not very nice things is that sure he said all that shit but it was a long time ago and the statute of limitations yadda yadda. But what about the fact that he said the same shit and worse about her very recently? Well, see, precisely cuz he said the same shit before, the same statue of limitations applies. So he can, in the judge’s words, “repeat potentially libelous statements for eternity”? Oh yes your honor, respond his attorneys; absolutely. For eternity…

Er, but this interpretation of the law gives people “license to be serial defamers,” the other side points out to the judge, who seems to agree. Hence Dersh’s angry table poking…

******************

‘Course he wouldn’t be in this tight spot were it not for his much earlier alleged poking…

Alan and Virginia Go to Court

Sing it.

[Alan:] Tell me what’s wrong, my nymphet
Tell me why I
Never seem to make you happy
Though heaven knows I’ve tried
What does it take to please you? Tell me just how
I can satisfy you woman
You’re drivin’ me wild

[Virginia:] I was trafficked to an old goat
On orders from Ghislaine
First you fucked me, now you sue me; it makes my head spin
Slander and libel that’s all that you do
You enslave me, then defame me
So I have to countersue

A loving father who made the mistake of wanting equal access to his children in a divorce…

… got murdered in broad daylight for his troubles. The paid degenerates who did the deed will certainly be convicted (finally, after a five-year delay).

It’s equally important that the rich degenerates who paid the killers go to prison too. But that’s for after the state of Florida puts the paid degenerates away.

‘MASSIVE SEMEN EXPLOSION’

The ‘culture problem’ at MIT boils over.

Or whatever.

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