Les UDs have what they always considered a posh neighbor across the street from their Shady Hill Square house in Cambridge. Fifty yards from their ivied walls lies the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a rather vague outfit to both UDs, but one they feel sure does good and high-minded things.
I don’t know why neither of us has ever had any interest in figuring out just what the AAAS does. Talking about it now, we were able to eke out a memory that the AAAS publishes the journal Daedalus, and that our long-ago neighbor and friend John Kenneth Galbraith was a member (we think). I’ve always been pleased that their rather small building in a large park keeps the view in that direction green and leafy…
All very nice, you say. And yet — who knows what evil lurks at Irving and Beacon Streets? A reader sends UD (UD thanks her reader) this scathing article from the Boston Globe, detailing an organization whose leader lied about having earned a doctorate (a lie that continues to help her get federal funds), makes an unconscionable salary (almost $600,000) for the head of a very small non-profit, and “requires workers to chauffeur her between the office and her luxury apartment along the Charles River in Cambridge.” (Back in 2003, the Globe had already taken notice of this woman.)
Now if your problem is that you’re perceived as high-handed and out of touch, how do you deal with that?
Well, you instruct one of your underlings to instruct reporters that they are to report to your expensive public relations person who will condescend to say the following:
“Neither the academy nor President Berlowitz is going to respond to subjective, interpretive, and gossipy allegations from former employees and unnamed sources. …Nor are they going to respond to personal questions that are irrelevant, do not belong in the public domain and, frankly, smack of sexism.”
Wow! Winner! Touched all the bases there. Advised her not to speak directly to the press. Not even to answer the phone, a job for subordinates. Announced that James Devitt, NYU spokesman who looked at that school’s records in regard to President Berlowitz, is just a mean ol’ stupid ol’ gossip. Plus you’re all sexists!
All UD can say is, next time I see the Berlowitz limo whizzing by I’m gonna let out a Bronx cheer loud enough for her to hear and tell her to move the hell out. She’s lowering the tone of the place.