Saturday, September 30, 2006
Team and Coach Crime Update --|
From Your Friends at the Columbus Dispatch:
[Many people] wonder what is going on with the [Ohio University] football program. Seventeen players have been arrested in Athens County in the past nine months, The Dispatch found, after only a smattering of arrests in recent years.
OSU Nanotechnology |
All In A Flutter
WHOLE lotta shakin goin' on at Oklahoma State and environs thanks to none other than Mr. T. Boone Pickens! People think he's only interested in football, and sure, he just gave the university about two hundred million dollars for it. But he's also interested in the life of the mind. The other day, he gave $25,000 to the Stillwater public schools.
The real shakin', though, is about the big new stadium he's putting up:
OSU will request $25 million from the Oklahoma Legislature to build an engineering research center as a solution to problems recently caused by the construction at Boone Pickens Stadium, said Gary Shutt, director of communications.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Le Culte du Moi...|
...is a student-run literary magazine at UD's place of business, George Washington University. On Friday, October 6, the editors are planning a marathon reading of Lolita, to be held in University Yard (the main quad):
I like the idea of this thing, and the way they're promoting it, with purple lollipops in the faculty mailboxes.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Getting Weird Out There.|
'Until earlier today, viewers of BoingBoing, a popular blog, could watch a video clip of a giggling business-school lecturer acting goofy in class, under the heading “apparently-baked biz school prof who was soon fired.”
Tweety Bird Becomes Phoenix|
'GLENDALE, Ariz. – The 63,400-seat home of the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ now has a name: University of Phoenix Stadium.
The US Army works in the service of the nation... Phoenix is a for-profit that works in the service of its share holders... Anyway, as UD's reader Andre, who sent her this, points out, there's something intriguing about having a football stadium for a university that has no football team... That has no university, really, Phoenix having only the faintest physical reality...
All very postmodern.
Er, I picked up the post below...|
... in one click via Google. Don't seem to be able to edit its messy prose, etc. Haven't even watched the video yet! But I thought I might as well post it... It's probably amusing...
First, an Article from Today's Harvard Crimson. |
Then, ACT II: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ANDREI
[for act I, go here]
'Schleifer's Curtain Has Yet To Close
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ANDREI
Morning room at the Harvard Club.
[Harry and David are at the window, looking out into the garden.]
Harry. The fact that they did not follow us at once into the Club, as any one else would have done, seems to me to show that they have some sense of shame left.
David. They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance.
Harry. [After a pause.] They don’t seem to notice us at all. Couldn’t you cough?
David. But I haven’t got a cough.
Harry. They’re looking at us. What effrontery!
David. They’re approaching. That’s very forward of them.
Harry. Let us preserve a dignified silence.
David. Certainly. It’s the only thing to do now. [Enter Andrei followed by Lawrence. They whistle some dreadful popular air from a British Opera.]
Harry. This dignified silence seems to produce an unpleasant effect.
David. A most distasteful one.
Harry. But we will not be the first to speak.
David. Certainly not.
Harry. Mr. Shleifer, I have something very particular to ask you. Much depends on your reply.
David. Harry, your common sense is invaluable. Mr. Summers, kindly answer me the following question. Why did you pretend to know nothing of your intimate friend's misappropriation of funds?
Lawrence. In order that I might have an opportunity of impressing you with my continuing to be president of Harvard University.
David. [To Harry.] That certainly seems a satisfactory explanation, does it not?
Harry. Yes, dear, if you can believe him.
David. I don’t. But that does not affect the wonderful beauty of his answer.
Harry. True. In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing. Mr. Shleifer, what explanation can you offer to me for pretending to have a sincere interest in Russia's well-being when you intended only to enrich yourself financially? Was it in order that you might have an opportunity of lavishing Faberge eggs upon me?
Andrei. Can you doubt it, Mr Lewis?
Harry. I have the gravest doubts upon the subject. But I intend to crush them. This is not the moment for German scepticism. [Moving to David.] Their explanations appear to be quite satisfactory, especially Mr. Shleifer’s. That seems to me to have the stamp of truth upon it.
David. I am more than content with what Mr. Summers said. His voice alone inspires one with absolute credulity.
Harry. Then you think we should forgive them?
David. Yes. I mean no.
Harry. True! I had forgotten. There are principles at stake that one cannot surrender. Which of us should tell them? The task is not a pleasant one.
David. Could we not both speak at the same time?
Harry. An excellent idea! I nearly always speak at the same time as other people. Will you take the time from me?
David. Certainly. [Harry beats time with uplifted finger.]
Harry and David [Speaking together.] Your refusal to give an interview to the Harvard Crimson is still an insuperable barrier. That is all!
Andrei and Lawrence [Speaking together.] An interview to the Crimson! Is that all? But we are going to be interviewed this afternoon.
Harry. [To Andrei] For my sake you are prepared to do this terrible thing?
Andrei. I am.
David . [To Lawrence.] To please me you are ready to face this fearful ordeal?
Lawrence. I am!
Harry. How absurd to talk of the equality of the disciplines! Where questions of self-sacrifice are concerned, economists are infinitely beyond us.
Andrei. We are. [Clasps hands with Lawrence.]
David. They have moments of physical courage of which we know absolutely nothing.
Harry. [To Andrei.] Darling!
David. [To Lawrence.] Darling! [They fall into each other’s arms.]
[Enter Merriman. When he enters he coughs loudly, seeing the situation.]
Merriman. Ahem! Ahem! The Committee on Professional Conduct!
Andrei. Good heavens!
... to be continued
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Sorry to have to bring this news to UD's readers, who have followed the Canyon Ranch 'thesda development, which was going to be located across the street from UD's daughter's high school, since it was kneehigh to a grasshopper.
The on-again, off-again effort to bring a luxury Canyon Ranch condominium community to North Bethesda is now officially off, making the high-profile development the region's latest victim of a slumbering condo market that has claimed dozens of projects.
A Snapshot from Gordon Gee's|
Brief Brown University Presidency
(with a wonderful statement
about diversity thrown in too]
Well, Here 'Tis.|
The Chronicle piece is mainly about the phenomenon -- UD knew about it, but not how apparently widespread it is -- of professors writing their own flattering Rate My Professors entries.
I can see how, from a reputation and recruitment perspective, this is a good idea ( "Dr. Mengele is the most compasionate docter I've ever had!!" ), but otherwise it's plain pathetic.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
With a Name Like 'Vanderbilt'...|
...your salary's got to be good!
Oh...okay...I finally got the VUcast website to open... I assume it's slow because every Vanderbilt student and alumnus is rushing over to it in order to see how Chancellor Gordon Gee, subject of a front-page story in today's Wall Street Journal about his $1.4 million salary and general Ladnerian excesses, is handling this little crisis:
An article in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 26 analyzed the changing nature of corporate governance at colleges and universities and featured Vanderbilt University as a case study. The Journal's report on this important issue presented an incomplete portrait of Vanderbilt.
The first page of the site goes on to list Vanderbilt's impressive achievements under Chancellor Gee, which the authors of the site seem to think will 'complete' the WSJ portrait of their school. But the WSJ is interested in news; and what's newsworthy about Vanderbilt is not its recent institutional accomplishments but its wildly overcompensated Chancellor....
Let's click to page two of Vanderbilt's crisis-response website -- "Questions and Answers" --
Why does Chancellor Gee have a chef? is, for instance, one of the questions.
Turns out it's a money-saver!
Other questions take up the customary shit unscrupulous university leaders tend to step into: conflict of interest, over-chumminess with trustees and their businesses, vague terms of employment contracts and executive compensation, excessive spending on The Residence, a wife who smokes dope...
A wife who smokes dope?
Q: What is your response to the allegation that Constance Gee used marijuana in the University residence?
Tight-ass response to a rather intriguing question... Not that UD cares if Madame Gee, bored out of her gourd in the manse, likes to liven things up with hemp... But these things are awkward on college campuses, where you're supposed to be discouraging your students from doing that sort of thing by setting an example and all...
Gordon Gee. It's a name calling out for a limerick... And now there's some amusing material for one... UD will give it a whirl...
WHY GO TO CLASS WHEN|
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE
'In its latest sales pitch, Dell Canada directs a simple question to students: "Why go to class when you can download the lecture?"
...readers of The Sheila Variations.
Come for the Capote, stay for the Soltan.
As We Prepare for UD's...|
...remarks in the Chronicle of Higher Education tomorrow about Rate My Professors, here's a short piece from the Georgetown University student newspaper about faculty and student attitudes about the thing.
One faculty comment got my attention:
Maureen Corrigan, an adjunct professor of English with [a rather middling]... rating ... said she has never visited the Web site.
This brief comment has all the elements of one popular professorial response to phenomena like RMP: Snobbery, self-preening, willful blindness, and false assumptions.
*** Unlike in-house evaluations, which often do want students to go to town on congeniality questions, RMP asks students to focus on the clarity of the professor, the difficulty of the course, and other serious matters. Student comments by and large reflect this approach -- they tend to say little about whether they found a professor congenial, and much about the competence of a professor's style of teaching.
*** Corrigan would know this if she glanced at RMP, but she is above that sort of thing.
*** Not that RMP solicits this sort of information, but Gertrude Stein would no doubt be a hoot in the classroom, since she had a wicked sense of humor and quite the delivery. As for congeniality: Stein was a spectacular hostess who ran the most sought-after salon in Paris. I'm not sure what Corrigan is thinking about here.
Though Arendt would have complained bitterly about not being able to smoke in the classroom, everything I've read about her as a writer, scholar, and teacher suggests that she had a passion and focus that many students would have found not merely congenial, but exciting.
*** As to Corrigan's implicit comparison of herself to people like Arendt and Stein: The main thing students note about Corrigan is that she's easy. Indeed, her overall "Ease" rating is way high. Arendt and Stein were not pushovers.
Monday, September 25, 2006
A Peculiarly Bifurcated Book|
The new Walter Benn Michaels book, The Trouble with Diversity, is both funny haha and funny hmm.
A direct and witty writer, Michaels gets a lot of play out of ridiculing liberal elites who think they're solving economic inequality when they're merely effusing about how delightful cultural diversity - including the diversity between people with loads of cash and people with almost none - can be.
Though he doesn't like David Brooks, Michaels is noting something very similar to what Brooks notes, in Bobos in Paradise, when he describes a bourgeois bohemian woman who will
ceaselessly bash yuppies in order to show that [she herself has] not become one. [She] will talk about [her] nanny as if she were [her] close personal friend, as if it were just a weird triviality that [the woman herself] happens to live in a $900,000 Santa Monica house and [the nanny] takes the bus two hours each day to the barrio.
Like Richard Rorty, who can be funny, too, when he goes after academics whose theoretical exertions, in terms of producing anything that might contribute to juster economic and social arrangements, are worth shit, Michaels scores point after point exposing the preening absurdity of diversitarians, and in particular the idiocy of their assumption that all cultures, including impoverished ones, are jest the cutest things:
...The union workers who took a day off to protest President Grover Cleveland's deployment of twelve thousand troops to break the Pullman strike weren't campaigning to have their otherness respected.
The idea that people don't want economic justice, but rather want their cultural specificity flattered -- no matter how obvious it is that some specificities are profoundly undesirable -- is ludicrous on its face, but Michaels argues persuasively that it continues to dominate the multicultural pieties of our time, and as a result acts as a massive distraction from the real work of bettering people's lives. He's hilarious on the subject, for instance, of American Sign Language culture:
...[W]e can get a sense of how attractive the idea of cultural equality has become and of how successfully it can function to obscure more consequential forms of inequality by recognizing that even in situations where the disappearance of [disadvantages] would seem to be an unequivocally good thing, some people refuse to let go. [With new medical interventions, more and more people can avoid being deaf and having to use ASL.] ... [S]cholars like ... Trevor Johnston have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of sign's disappearance. [Johnston notes that cochlear implants are causing a decline in the signing deaf community which may lead to a] 'loss of language and culture.' 'It goes without saying,' Johnston remarks, 'that this scenario gives me no joy.' ... The hope for ASL is that inadequate health care and some really catastrophic new diseases could keep it alive for a while longer; the fear is that the the cochlear implant and genetic testing will eventually kill it.
Similarly, why mess with poor cultures in America when all cultures are great and should be sustained just because? In any case, Michaels points out, some studies show that many people think they're in a higher economic class than they are. He cites conservative observers who therefore argue that "class and class mobility are functions of how people feel about their position." So
[I]f you can get everybody (the rich and the poor) to think they belong to the middle class, then you've accomplished the magical trick of redistributing wealth without actually transferring any money.
The Trouble with Diversity is really about focusing our attention on the reality of profound and shameful economic disparities in the United States; like Thomas Frank's book, What's the Matter With Kansas?, it's an honestly perplexed inquiry into why Americans will contort themselves in all sorts of emotional ways in order to avoid an intellectual reckoning with gross monetary injustice.
Yet at the end of the book, Michaels overdoes the honesty bit and weakens his case.
In a "Conclusion: About the Author," Michaels natters on about himself -- he's Jewish, he guesses, but not so's you'd notice... he'd rather go to Paris than Las Vegas... reads the New York Times... lives in downtown Chicago...
And ol' UD's thinkin' - He ran out of things to say but he had a book contract, so he's filling up pages... with cultural self-flattery. In that particularly repellent mode UD calls KISS ME I'M HONEST. Says he's got an enormous household income but wants much more because he wants to be the super-rich he envies in the pages of the NYT ... that the homeless guy outside his house pisses him off rather than inspires him to become Albert Schweitzer... that he thinks he has better taste than other people...
When Michaels tells us, in a book about the economic greed, blindness, and insensitivity of American elites, that he himself's an invidious grasping sort, it doesn't humanize him or interestingly complicate the redistribution problem.... If indeed he "does not feel rich" even though he's hugely affluent, one can only conclude that it's because of people like Michaels that we're in the cruel winner-take-all fix he himself deplores.
"We Pay for This School,|
and Then We Piss on It."
First-rate writing from Travis Andrews at LSU. For once, Scathing Online Schoolmarm finds nothing to criticize.
So LSU is tired of being a third-tier university.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
UD has pointed out before on this blog that sheer numbers of people in college mean nothing.
Italy has more people in college than we do. Ooh!
What are they doing there? What sorry excuse for a college are they in?
Piling bodies on is pointless if the college experience -- either because the institution is poor, or because the student lacks a shred of intellectual interest -- is pointless.
I had a student once who got an almost perfect score on his verbal SATs. He was a spectacular writer, and a witty and personable character.
He told me early in his freshman year he had absolutely no interest in attending college -- his wealthy parents insisted he go. His longstanding passion was for car racing and writing about car racing. No matter how many semesters of C minuses he racked up, he was going to be a racer and a racing writer and nothing else.
I assume that's what he's doing now. He barely made it through college. The main thing he accomplished by staying in was delaying the onset of his writing career.
In the Christian Science Monitor, George C. Leef writes:
Boosting college participation would mean recruiting still more ...disengaged students. Increasing their numbers will not give us a more skilled workforce; it will just put more downward pressure on academic standards.
Distance learning, podcasting, grade inflation, a pulverized curriculum, sports majors on sports-mad campuses, no restrictions on how long people can stay in college -- all of these and many other trends make the world safe for the curious new class of college-goers who shouldn't be in college.
Of course, there's a vast company of administrators whose jobs depend on the existence of these displaced persons...
Snapshots from Home|
UD's friends Cyd and Bill, who run
A Third Place Pub and Cafe
in Eustis, Florida, visited this morning. They're
on their way back to Florida, stopping in on friends
and family as they go. They mentioned that they
have a friend who sells UFO Abduction Insurance.
UD has already contacted him.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
A Million Irish Pieces|
Kathy's Story, an insipidly told tale of hyper-Dickensian misery in Ireland's Magdalene laundries, may just be our next big thing, hoaxwise. It has virtually all the James Frey markings -- every significant person dead; absence of any record of her having been in the places she describes; sudden unavailability of the author for newspaper interviews; lawsuits on their way from a variety of institutions, etc.
The London Times writes:
It is a harrowing story of a young woman’s life destroyed by nuns and priests, and it has raced to the top of the bestseller list. But now a chorus of voices, including those of the author’s own family, claim that the ordeal described by Kathy O’Beirne simply does not ring true and is nothing more than a cruel hoax.
Snapshots from Home|
Details on the violence at Georgetown University -- an event overshadowed by yet bloodier business the same night at Duquesne.
But this prose nonetheless pulverizes its subject:
[Lewis] Lapham’s “Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration” is by far the more trying of the two [new books under review]. The editor emeritus of Harper’s Magazine and its Notebook columnist for more than 25 years, Lapham compares the Bush administration to a “criminal syndicate” and Condoleezza Rice to a “capo.” He likens the United States to “a well-ordered police state” and the policies of its Air Force to those of Torquemada and Osama bin Laden. He calls Bush “a liar,” “a televangelist,” “a wastrel” and (ultimately) “a criminal — known to be armed and shown to be dangerous.”
Really most sincerely dead.
---new york times---
Friday, September 22, 2006
UD's in the thick of teaching, meeting, holding office hours... But here's a remark a character makes in Don DeLillo's novel Great Jones Street ... Something for you to ponder until I check in later this evening:
"Life itself is sheer ambiguity. If a person doesn't see that, he's either an asshole or a fascist."
Thursday, September 21, 2006
THIS AND THAT...|
...as UD races out the door to 'thesda's Montgomery Mall, where she'll do her annual dash-through to get presentable clothes for the academic year. Longtime readers know that this event always ends with a worried call from UD's credit card company, in which she's warned that a thief has been dashing through Montgomery Mall using her card...
*** I Dismember Mama
Shannon Chamberlain writes a fine and balanced appraisal of recent books about the Mommy Wars.
*** Date Change
The article about Rate My Professors in which UD's excellent insights (not that she remembers any of them - it was a phone interview) appear comes out the 27th, not the 26th.
*** New York Times Business Writer's Long National Nightmare Over
For the last few months, UD's been haunted by the anxieties about Harvard's financial future that Joseph Nocera shared in his article titled "Harvard Punishes Success." Mourning the departure of all of Harvard's money men because the university slapped an unconscionable ceiling of $20 million on each man's take home pay (they'd been getting $35 million and were due to get more), Nocera predicted Harvard's endowment would go down the tubes as second-raters willing to work for chump change took over.
Well Joe - and all of us - can heave a sigh of relief! The mendicants now running the show did great! The endowment's up to 30 billion!
Sixty billion, here we come!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Don't Rain But it Pours|
A Chronicle of Higher Education article in which UD, among others, is interviewed about the website Rate My Professors, comes out this Tuesday. I'll link to it.
UD quoted in the London Times|
Higher Education Supplement
'Daniel Drezner had been an avid reader of blogs since the 1990s, when the now-ubiquitous online soapboxes appeared. But it wasn't until 9/11 when everyone started talking about international politics that Drezner, a specialist on the subject and at the time an associate political science professor at the University of Chicago, weighed in.
The Dean's September|
'The dean of the University of San Diego's business school – who is in the midst of establishing a program stressing ethics and responsibility – has been arrested in suburban Cleveland and charged with complicity to possess drugs.
via inside higher education
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Scathing Online Schoolmarm|
UD considers her fellow 'thesdan Robert Samuelson's recent opinion piece in the Washington Post.
'Call it the ExhibitioNet. [Samuelson wants to start with a bang, so he contrives this clever name for the exhibitionistic internet: ExhibitioNet. Only the name's not clever. Result: Inauspicious first sentence.] It turns out that the Internet has unleashed the greatest outburst of mass exhibitionism in human history. [The word - the concept - exhibitionism - is too broad for the use Samuelson seems to want to make of it here. As a writer who has written for decades about private as well as public matters in tons of different media, Samuelson is, by the vague measure he's about to offer, much more exhibitionistic than the people he attacks.] Everyone may not be entitled, as Andy Warhol once suggested, to 15 minutes of fame. [Lazy writer. The Warhol quotation is dead in the water, having been cited everywhere by everyone. And cast your eye to the end of Samuelson's essay: He'll also quote Thoreau on quiet desperation. Surpassing writerly sloth.] But everyone is entitled to strive for 15 minutes -- or 30, 90 or much more. We have blogs, "social networking" sites (MySpace.com, Facebook), YouTube and all their rivals. Everything about these sites is a scream for attention. Look at me. Listen to me. Laugh with me -- or at me. [Again, as a tireless promoter of his own experiences through decades of writing, Samuelson is hardly in a position to complain about other people. Unless, of course, he thinks he's better than other people, more deserving of air time. I'd be willing to consider his case for himself on this score, but he doesn't make it in this tossed-off plaint. Further, at no point in this opinion piece will Samuelson note that his traditional media -- judging by his bio, I'd guess he's in his sixties -- which are newspapers and magazines, are struggling to keep up with the new media he's describing as worthless and narcissistic. It would be more honest of him to mention the threat these new forms pose to writers like him rather than attacking them all as primal screams.]
No surprises here.|
The college diplomas of the nation's top executives tell an intriguing story: Getting to the corner office has more to do with leadership talent and a drive for success than it does with having an undergraduate degree from a prestigious university.
carol hymowitz, wall street journal
...And in the very same wee hours...|
...as the Duquesne mess, campus nastiness closer to home.
From the Georgetown University newspaper:
'Three Department of Public Safety officers and one student were hospitalized early Sunday morning after a fight broke out in front of the Reiss Science Building. An additional student was treated on the scene.
...that some of the Duquesne trouble came from within has been confirmed. What's also been confirmed is the selfless heroism of two of the players:
'A woman was arrested on weapons-related charges stemming from the shootings of five members of the Duquesne University basketball team, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Thanks to Mike for the story.
I Almost Forgot!|
So obsessed were I wit me bairn's sixteenth, I plum forgot that TODAY is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrr!
Thankee, RJO, of The Collegiate Way, for reminding me.
Monday, September 18, 2006
LE LOBBYISME AUTOTÉLIQUE|
'A powerful southern New Jersey politician was paid for a no-work job at a scandal-ridden state university while helping the school garner millions of dollars in new state funding, according to a report released Monday.
Last One, I Promise.|
La kid, couple of days ago, in her Renaissance
getup, embraced by fellow members of the Walter
Johnson High School Madrigals. Membership
in the Madrigals is something of a family tradition:
UD's older sister, many moons ago, was also a
member. (UD was too intimidated by the group's
stringent sight-reading demands to audition.)
...and... coming in just behind the leader ... it's....|
From the Beaver County Times:|
THE JERICHO MARCH
Are Academics Tougher?|
Daniel Drezner explicates The Siegel, a Chekhovian tragedy in one act:
[D]espite [Lee] Siegel's status as a professional critic, he seemed incapable of tolerating any form of criticism leveled at his writing -- even if the criticism was, in Siegel's eyes, an expression of pure id by anonymous commenters.
Not sure I agree. What's striking about academics, as Drezner says, is that they're accustomed to reasoned criticism of their writing. My co-author and I have just read through three closely argued pages of response to our manuscript, The Return of Beauty to Literary Studies. The reader for the press recommends publishing it, but he/she has plenty to say about certain sections that need revision. Not only do we expect that; we welcome it as a sign that the reviewer read our work carefully and took it seriously.
The ad hominem stuff of the blogosphere is very different. I think most academics -- protected from the fray -- would find it appalling.
No - I think the explanation for the Siegel fiasco lies in the man's peculiar combination of extremely intense vanity and extremely intense aggression.
That was an academic way of putting it. What I mean is he's out of his effing mind.
Happy Sixteenth Birthday...|
The Shootings at Duquesne:|
'...“There was a big group and there was yelling and people were [chanting] ‘fight, fight!’ All of a sudden like you see a guy in a white shirt, button down … I jumped from the bench, I grab the girl who was next to me, and start telling everybody to get down,” [a student] said.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I Do My Best.|
Blogshares, the blog stock market.
Update on the Shooting at Duquesne|
My assumption that some of the students involved may also have done some shooting may be wrong. At this early stage, various versions of the incident are being offered, and it'll be some time, I think, before a clear understanding of the event emerges. But for now, it seems that there was one, non-student, shooter, who had been at the same party some of the injured students attended last night. He apparently attacked the students as they were on their way to their dorms:
According to police, two players were returning from a social function on campus when they encountered a man who apparently had been disruptive at the party. After the players tried to calm down the man, the players began walking away, only to be shot. Several other players who were nearby rushed to their aid, also to be shot.
Here's the account of the incident I cited this morning:
'Five Duquesne University basketball players were shot early this morning on campus and taken to local hospitals, according to the Uptown university.
And here's some description from a Duquesne student's Live Journal:
Shooting at Duquesne?
'Kathryn Elizabeth Slanski, a lecturer on Assyriology at Yale, was married yesterday to Eckart Erich Marcel Frahm, an assistant professor of Assyriology there.... Ms. Slanski and Mr. Frahm met in 1998 at an academic conference on Assyriology at Yale, where each had heard the other present a paper in their field. Two years later they met again at the same conference, held this time in Paris, and then at Yale again in February 2002, when both were finalists for the assistant professorship now held by the bridegroom.'
'Over Half a Million Cubans Go to University
The Psychotic Blogger
The New York Times interviews Lee Siegel:
...[D]on’t you think it’s intellectually lame to express one’s opinions anonymously?
I do indeed. Everyone seems to be fleeing from the responsibilities that come from being who you are. I think that is why the blogosphere is thriving. It allows people to develop a fantasy self.
You yourself comfortably adopted a false persona when you had Sprezzatura comment about one of your critics that he “couldn’t tie Siegel’s shoelaces.” Doesn’t that show great immaturity on your part?
I am too childlike to be immature.
Is that just doublespeak?
No, I’m saying it under my own name.
Artists are allowed to be ill-mannered brutes without diminishing the quality of their work, but shouldn’t critics be balanced and self-analyzed individuals?
Of course they should. I’m thoroughly analyzed. I can show you the receipts. But as Sprezzatura, I wasn’t practicing criticism. I was indulging my temperament and abandoning my intellect. Look, putting a polemicist like myself in the blogosphere is like putting someone with an obesity problem in a chocolate factory.
What are you talking about?
How dare you question my authority! Seriously, the blogosphere strips argument of logic and rhetoric down to the naked emotion behind it.
Update: Oso Raro says Siegel
looks hot. I guess if you like chipmunk cheeks...
Let's do a little compare and contrast ...
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Alan Wolfe on |
Ghosting Katie's Blog!!
From Katie's Blog!!
“Hi, everyone! Okay, I’ve been waiting to exhale for some time now and I finally have!!! Last night was my one week anniversary and the good news is, I’m still employed!"
(On her debut): “I felt the usual butterflies in my stomach before the broadcast, actually, the butterflies felt more like gigantic peacocks (but that may have something to do with my last job). For the first time in a long time I actually had the sensation that my heart was going to actually penetrate my chest . . .
From Harriet's Blog!!
OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M THE NOMINEE!!!
An Example for Students,
On and Off the Field
'Being a patsy never has paid so well.
'Christ-like image of Coach Fulmer causing controversy on [the University of Tennesse Knoxville] campus
Friday, September 15, 2006
Andrew Sullivan on
They should be seen as a mid-point between talk radio and the op-ed. They are also forging a new way of writing - open-ended, provisional, conversational, and subject to constant revision. In some ways, that's more honest than traditional media's insistence that it publishes "the truth." By deconstructing the process whereby people think and argue out loud, we can help educate and promote a more sophisticated level of debate than you find on, say, talk radio or cable news. That's my hope, at least.
AUBURN FROM THE INSIDE|
'Wayne Flynt, a professor emeritus of history at Auburn University and widely recognized as the leading authority on Alabama history, has spoken in Huntsville many times over the years. But his talk Thursday night to a rapt audience in the auditorium of the Huntsville Library was a first.
An Update on |
If You Want My Lectures
(scroll down for original post),
Courtesy of Oso Raro, from
The Chronicle of Higher Education
'A North Carolina State University professor who had been selling audio recordings of his lectures online was asked to stop on Wednesday after a university dean raised objections.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Salt Lake Trib...|
...on guns and Utah's universities.
...What has pushed the university to take this seemingly unreasonable stand [in attempting -- unsuccessfully -- to ban guns from campus] is the Legislature's romance with the dangerous idea that any citizen who doesn't have a criminal record should be able to get a permit to carry a loaded, concealed gun almost anywhere he or she wishes.
If You Want My Lectures|
If You Really Do....
A North Carolina State University professor's idea to have students pay for lecture downloads has been put on hold while a new department dean reviews the concept.
If you want my lecture
If you really do
Don't be afraid baby
Just pay me
You know I'm gonna sell it to you
Oh and I do declare
I want to see you with it
Stretch out your arms little boy,
You're gonna get it
Cause I love you
ain't no doubt about it
Baby I love you,
I love you, I love you
I love you, baby I love you
If you want to hear me
Go right ahead I don't mind
All you got to do is
Wave some cash and I'll come running
I ain't lying, I ain't lying
Baby I had to edit
Baby I had to defray
It's only two fifty
Hate to see you without it
I love you
Ain't no doubt about it
Baby I love you, I love you, I love you
I love you, baby I love you
Someday you might want an education
And leave me sittin' here cryin'
But if it's all the same to you baby
I'm gonna stop you payin' some other guy
Baby I love you
Baby I need ya
Said I want ya
Got to have you baby
Don't let anybody
Tell you I don't want you
Shiver Me Tribbles! |
'...Because law reviews inevitably impose a lengthy gap between article acceptance and publication, they will become best suited to articles that are not time-sensitive. I don’t think ambitious law students will find any of this an appealing prospect for what being a law review editor entails. Some law reviews will respond by becoming more like blogs – witness the Yale Law Journal Pocket Part. Others, becoming less attractive to ambitious law students, will staff themselves with less ambitious law students, and the result may be a downward spiral in quality, importance, and attractiveness of the law reviews, both to authors and to editors.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Also From the Land of the Comment Thread...|
...there's this question, in response to another commenter writing that someone looked "stentorian."
Can you look stentorian or must you sound stentorian? Can we have a ruling UD?
Er, let's see. "Word of the Day" says this:
Adjective: Extremely loud.
Stentorian comes from Stentor, a Greek herald in the Trojan War. According to Homer's Iliad, his voice was as loud as that of fifty men combined.
They go on to give a bunch of examples, but UD'll give one of her own:
When, in singing Henry Purcell's "Music for A While," UD raised her stentorian voice at the piano, her dog immediately ran to the other end of the house.
I found one "looked stentorian" online, actually; from a piece by Tony Snow about a Bush/Gore debate:
It was as if coaches had instructed the men to look stentorian or presidential or some such thing, thus prompting them to strike poses that seemed faintly silly and wholly unnatural.
Based upon this admittedly singular -- though high-profile -- use (ain't he the President's press secretary?), UD hereby rules that the word is now in broad common use to mean pompous, stern, and old, and therefore you can look as well as sound "stentorian."
...from one of UD's readers -- so charming, she's plucked it from comment thread obscurity and given it a post of its own.
I have only two quibbles with it.
I wouldn't have used so many quotation marks.
I played a year of small-college basketball as a 17 year-old freshman too many years ago to count. At 6-2 I played forward (!), and was the third "tallest" player and one of only two of us on the team who could dunk the ball. We were the only engineering school in the conference; we were also the only school in the conference that gave no athletic scholarships, though I do remember the satisfying steak dinners we players received (our only emolument) in the dorm on game day (mea culpa). Although we won only three or so games (of twenty) that year, when we won, we celebrated with edenic joy, though always soon after with an admixture of self-deprecating humor. Yet even when we lost, we did so with good-humor and even charitable solicitude, as when trailing by over thirty points in an away game, we stalled the last five minutes of the game so our opponents couldn't score a hundred points. We just didn't want to wake their fans.
A Shooting at Dawson College, Montreal|
Twelve shot, six critically.
Thanks to Michael for alerting me.
The shooter: Another pissant nihilist with a premium arsenal.
... and I'm now between classes, thinking hard about Players, an early Don DeLillo novel, in preparation for my class on his work. Posting will happen later this afternoon.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Stopped Reading After the First Sentence|
Feel My Mini H-Bombs|
"[S]eems to be in his own world and might have a bit of a god complex," writes a perceptive student, on Rate My Professors, of John Belot, a tenured chemistry professor at the University of Nebraska.
More recently, a student who watched him bring out a paper bag full of bombs and distribute them to the class, told the press:
"Personally, the first day I met him the impression I got was, 'This guy is crazy,' [...] He's just a very high-strung guy . . . just all over the place."
Although he is currently jailed for possession and classroom distribution of explosives, Belot's faculty webpage burns brightly. Here he is. Note that he's the second mad bomber professor UD's featured lately.
Old Pals Dessert|
'I've contributed to The [Scooter] Libby Legal Defense Fund and have joined the fund's advisory committee, which is not large because in Washington old pals dessert when even their college roommate gets into trouble.'
A Squire of Low Degree|
I'm putting off voting at Garrett Park Elementary School (from which I graduated) because someone forgot to include a crucial piece of technology in the materials for the polling places in Maryland, and everything has to be delayed until later this afternoon. When there'll be a stampede....
So I'm sitting here wondering whether state and local elections are worth UD's effort this time around... To be sure, I have directly in front of me the list Mr. UD prepared of the people I'm to vote for... Mr. UD, unlike UD, has spent hours in earnest candidate study. He has considered each school board candidate's position on extended days and teacher salary, each county council hopeful's take on traffic and development...
Me, I've had other things to do. There's today's CEO-with-no-degree story, for instance.
Like Richard Grasso, a majorly self-made man who claimed to have graduated from college when he hadn't, David C. Swanson, head of R.H. Donnelley, has for decades been describing himself as a college graduate when he isn't. "[A] Donnelley spokesman acknowledged that Swanson did not have the claimed bachelor of science degree from Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University."
Sure, he shouldn't have lied... Yet in each such case, UD feels strong sympathy for the liar. So he didn't go to, or didn't graduate from, college ...If anything, this makes his subsequent success that much more impressive. And it reminds us, in this must-have-a-college-degree job environment, that there are plenty of people who are smart, energetic, competitive, and eager to go to work, without wasting time and money on a degree they don't need.
Harvard Drops 'Early Admissions'|
The early admissions option favors the wealthy by allowing applicants who don't need to worry about financial aid packages to lock in to a school. Most universities continue to offer early admissions, though people are speculating that with Harvard leading the way they might stop.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I've been at...|
...this month's meeting of the Garrett Park town council for the last few hours (I cover the event for the Garrett Park Bugle, circulation a good deal less than that of University Diaries), and while I was gone a number of fascinating remarks, reminiscences, and questions appeared on UD's comment thread, many of which she will respond to tomorrow morning, when she's less punchy.
Can't resist one little Snapshot From Home, though: One of the larger issues at tonight's meeting was how the town's going to spend its hundreds of thousands of surplus dollars. A 'thesdan conundrum!
Pow'rpoint, thou shalt die.|
As we recall the first expression of resistance, scripted long ago by John Donne, we remind ourselves that though the battle is far from over, we will win.
Pow'rpoint be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou doth overthrow
Die not, poor Pow'rpoint, nor yet canst thou kill me...
Professor Clifford Irwin in today's Globe and Mail on not using Powerpoint:
Naked came I into the world, and naked will you find me at the lectern, except for a nice suit, my lecture notes, and (on my good days) Plato or Machiavelli whispering helpfully over my shoulder. As that famous guy said at the Diet of Worms where the hall wasn't even wired yet, here I stand, I can do no other.
Via Crooked Timber , thoughts about law blogging from Jack Balkin:
Law professors now agonize over whether blogging constitutes legal scholarship and what this will do to the legal academy. They needn’t bother. The real threat to quality comes not from the medium of blogging itself but from using citation counts, links, page views, and downloads as measures of merit. People won’t just apply these criteria to judge blogs. They will also apply them to standard-form legal scholarship online. Blogging, in fact, is sui generis. It blurs the traditional boundaries between scholarship, teaching, and service because it transcends the normal audiences and expectations of legal scholarship. Over the years, legal scholarship has become an increasingly self-contained community where scholars write only for each other. Bloggers have burst out of that model: they talk to many different audiences, they teach the world about law, and they perform a public service by drawing attention to the legal and policy issues of the day. Blogging may give scholars publicity that gets their work a look. But it will not by itself generate a scholarly reputation or make a scholarly career—at least, that is, until social and technological change thoroughly reconstitute our standards of merit. … The wrong question to focus on is whether hiring committees should count blogging as legal scholarship. The right question is how we should re-imagine our vocation as professors of law in light of new online media. Should we continue to speak mostly to ourselves and our students, or should we spend more time trying to teach and influence the outside world?
Slight JuCo Bent|
Yeah, so I'm sliding around site to site this morning, doing my usual thing, looking for stupid and embarrassing stories about universities -- stuff that isn't from Godzillatron U., though, which narrows things considerably... and I slip onto this little essay that could've been written by UD if she weren't quite so good a writer.
I mean, it's got a lot of her coordinates -- Division I sports universities boo; St. John's College yay... It's even written by someone who grew up a few miles away from UD... who attended high school in Silver Spring ('thesda's slightly less successful sister city) and graduated from the University of Maryland, where -- who knows? -- he could've learned all he knows about Law And Society from Mr. UD...
And it's not badly written... it's certainly written well enough for the lighthearted is-he-joshing sports columnist thing the guy does... I just wasn't sure it was good enough to be swept off its feet and pasted into University Diaries and all. But I note, as the day wears on, that the piece has been picked up by a number of papers, so maybe I'm being too fussy. Here it is.
In the vast wasteland of Sports Nation, Couch Slouch has been looking for a signpost of sanity. I no longer can root for the teams of my youth. My father went to UCLA, but that's just a football-and-basketball factory with a parking problem; I went to the University of Maryland, but that's just a football-and-basketball factory with a parking and drinking problem.
The Writer Wants to Understand|
'When we say a thing is unreal, we mean it is too real, a phenomenon so unaccountable and yet so bound to the power of objective fact that we can't tilt it to the slant of our perceptions. First the planes struck the towers. After a time it became possible for us to absorb this, barely. But when the towers fell. When the rolling smoke began moving downward, floor to floor. This was so vast and terrible that it was outside imagining even as it happened. We could not catch up with it. But it was real, punishingly so, an expression of the physics of structural limits and a void in one's soul, and there was the huge antenna falling out of the sky, straight down, blunt end first, like an arrow moving backwards in time.
Nothing to See Here!|
'Couches and mattresses were set on fire outside houses in Ohio State student neighborhoods and three people were struck by a car after the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes’ 24-7 victory over No. 2 Texas.
A senior researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) engaged in "serious misconduct" by entering into dozens of unauthorized private arrangements with drug companies and failing to report annually the outside income, totaling more than $100,000, an internal review has found.
This is from the Seattle Times, but it's being covered everywhere. The behavior, as UD has said more than once here, is endemic in academia and in research institutes (Walsh, like a lot of NIH scientists, is also an academic).
Longtime readers know that UD's father was, thirty years ago, almost a carbon copy of this guy -- Johns Hopkins; senior researcher in immunology at NIH. He didn't engage in conflict of interest.
But 'thesdanian pressures being what they are these days... I mean the problem with doctors and scientists taking jobs at NIH is that NIH is still the government... with all its prestige and funding, NIH remains government work, and you're never going to make private sector money there.
Yet all around you in 'thesda are richer private sector people. It's got to rankle that you'll never be able to keep up with them if you're only cobbling together a few hundred thousand a year via research, a little patient care, a little university teaching... What's a bit of data fudging when the drug companies drop by?
Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner.
Andrei Shleifer: |
'Putin swiftly changed the subject. "There is a criminal case currently under way in the United States involving those who had been involved with privatizations in our country. It turned out that, one, they were CIA agents and, two, they lined their pockets at our expense."
I'm pretty sure the case against Shleifer is over -- he had to pay out a few million of his ill-gotten gains to get past it -- and I'd be really surprised if a man interested exclusively in self-enrichment works for the CIA. More likely Putin's noting the criminality of Harvard keeping him on its faculty, as in "It's a crime that..."
Sunday, September 10, 2006
[M]ost [institutional blogs]... are mediocre. ... That’s predictable, since the very idea of an institutional blog is a contradiction in terms. The best blogs are idiosyncratic, unmediated expressions of an individual sensibility, a notion which tends to make old-media executives squirm...
Saturday, September 09, 2006
R&R After First Week of Class|
I'm back at Rehoboth Beach, with my sister, staying at a friend's house. It's hot and sunny! Slightly lighter posting than usual...
Friday, September 08, 2006
Ravenhurst, Hail to Thee|
New hire's degree from diploma mill
University of Utah: Pistol-Whipped |
OK to pack heat at U., says Utah's high court
Moribund sprezzatura Lee Siegel and New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier reflect, in very similar language, on the spill they just took:
“It never occurred to me” that it was wrong, the 48-year-old Mr. Siegel said of his frame of mind at the time. “This is really cowboy territory, with very few boundaries. I think now that it was wrong. I assumed an alias, I guess, because I didn’t want to stoop to their level, not realizing that I was stooping to their level.”
Quite manly, this idea of the blogosphere as a big ol' shootout type thing ... But note the event that sent Siegel over the edge:
...Just prior, in early August, Mr. Siegel’s wife had given birth to their first child; by this point, the baby was colicky and Mr. Siegel was operating, he said, on three hours of sleep a night. Finally, after a few more days of online back and forth, he obviously couldn’t take it any more, and “sprezzatura” came raging forth...
And what came raging forth from Siegel's wife? Did she assume the name "chiaroscuro" and attack Instapundit?
Thursday, September 07, 2006
'The dean of the Boston University College of Communication has agreed to resign his post even though a committee investigating whether he embellished on his resume found that he had done nothing wrong, officials said Wednesday.
Background here, in which UD is proved to have been very wrong.
Dnkn Do + Bobo = No Go |
Above is the actual Harvard Business School equation, formulated years ago in one of their famous case studies.
It predicts that a Dunkin' Donuts shop in a Bourgeois Bohemian [see David Brooks] neighborhood will fail.
Yet today's Washington Post reports:
The brash expansion [into UD's 'thesdan and Foggy Bottom stomping -- brewing -- grounds] by the average joe Dunkin' Donuts, which has 4,400 stores compared with 8,600 for the more upscale Starbucks, has been the talk of the coffee and franchising worlds in recent months. The discussion has been helped in part by the company's carefully orchestrated media and advertising blitz, and also by the question that now seems to be on the tip of coffee drinkers' tongues everywhere: How much more do we need?
On the other side of the world, where GWU students sometimes go for their Junior Year Abroad, the situation is far different:
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
The campus newspaper reports:
Bill Malone, co-owner Café Diem [Is this a pun on carpe diem, or is the other co-owner Vietnamese?] in downtown Ames, said that if the university supplies competition, he'd prefer it was from a locally owned coffee shop such as Java Joes or Grounds for Celebration.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
UD's First Day, Fall Semester...|
...is in progress. She's happy to be back. One class down, one to go. Once she's home, she'll do a little blogging.
Whatever she writes, she will try to avoid using the suffix -zillatron.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
William M. Chace, who's been president of two universities, gives the address to new students that he would give if he were free to be honest. The name of his imaginary campus is Laudable College.
Laudable could be cheaper, but you wouldn’t like it. You and your parents have made it clear that you want the best. That means more spacious and comfortable student residences (“dormitories,” we used to call them), gyms with professional exercise equipment, better food of all kinds, more counselors to attend to your growing emotional needs, more high-tech classrooms and campuses that are spectacularly handsome.
This Just In.|
COLLEGE FOOTBALL TAINTED
---dallas morning news---
Texas cornerback Tarell Brown was arrested on misdemeanor drug and weapon charges early Monday, leaving his status in question for the No. 3 Longhorns' game with top-ranked Ohio State.
Today's Inside Higher Ed reviews a new book -- The Price of Admission -- which provides details on the trend toward developmental admits (admission of the very rich with neither alumni connections nor impressive credentials) at American universities. For instance:
A chapter about Duke University ... says that a few years back the institution spread the word among private high schools that it wanted “development admits,” those whose families had the potential to become big donors, and that strong academic credentials weren’t a requirement.
...“When people have talked about preferences that aren’t based on merit, you have this lineup where the colleges and liberal groups are defending affirmative action and conservatives are attacking it and they are overlooking the elephant in the room,” [the author] said. “Both sides have a vested interest in overlooking preferences for the wealthy,” he said, because colleges “need the money” they get from favoring the wealthy and conservatives “want their kids to get in.”
Feeling the pinch of its thirty billion dollar endowment, Harvard makes a special point of the practice:
Golden also writes about a Harvard group called the Committee on University Resources, which is generally restricted to those who have given the university at least $1 million, and with many members who have given much more. Of the 340 committee members who have children who are college age or are past college age, 336 children are enrolled or studied at Harvard — even though the university admits fewer than 1 in 10 candidates and has typically turned away students with top academic records.
Monday, September 04, 2006
'DISTURBING NUMBER OF LONGHORNS HAVE POT ISSUE
That's What Deborah Frisch Said|
In a statement by e-mail, Mr. Siegel said, “I’m sorry about my prank, which was certainly not designed to harm a magazine that has been my happy intellectual home for many years.”
---new york times---
One of UD's Most Memorable Outings...|
...was snorkeling with stingrays at Cayman Islands' Stingray City. It didn't occur to her for a moment that it might be dangerous.
And it wasn't. An article about Steve Irwin's death mentions the Caymans:
...The rays in Australia and particularly in the north are not like those on the Cayman Islands, which are very quiet and allow people to ride on their backs...
First there was Lee "Sprezzatura" Siegel, about whom everyone's still talking. (Christopher Hitchens has gone to town on him.) And now Bevis "The Butthead" Hillier, the British writer who loves poet John Betjeman not wisely but too well, has admitted concocting the "A.N. Wilson is a shit" hoax in order to strike back against Wilson, a rival Betjeman biographer.
There is a pathos to this intense paper aggression. One wishes both men had taken up healthful outdoor exercise.
A La Recherche du Temps Diamandopoulos|
Today's New York Times takes us back to the days when Peter Diamandopoulos reigned o'er Adelphi University:
The [campus] critics’ cause had been energized in 1995 when The Chronicle of Higher Education listed Dr. Diamandopoulos’s annual compensation at $523,626. That made it second among university presidents only to his mentor, John R. Silber at Boston University. The critics formed the Coalition to Save Adelphi and raised $620,000, mostly for lawyers.
What's wonderful is that Boston University has Diamandopoulos teaching moral philosophy. Check out the 53 student comments on his Rate My Professors page to see how happy BU students are he was stashed there. Maybe BU should try to hire Barry Munitz [scroll down to "One of the Less Savory Things..."] away from the University of California.
Anyway, the main point of the article is that Adelphi survived the many wounds Diamandopoulos inflicted on it, and is now doing fine.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
University of Texas Adzillatron|
Creates New Form of Sports Writing
'The ads are all discreetly placed so that you barely noticed them, assuming you were one of those who passed out in the sweltering 97-degree heat brought to you by Victory Medical Family Care.
After its Premiere, Godzillatron Renamed|
By UT Fans: It's Now Adzillatron
Tried to tell you guys, but do you listen to me? No. You get all excited about having the largest scoreboard in the world, and it doesn't occur to you that fifty percent of it will be used for continuous loud ads?
A few comments from the fans who were there last night:
My question is, how much advertising do the swells in the air conditioned soundproofed luxury suites have to absorb? My guess is none. They’re too busy ordering more paté and Dom Perignon to even look at the field.
Pardon my French, but what fucking dupes.
One of the Less Savory Things...|
...that universities sometimes do is serve as dumping-grounds for the malsain. Corrupt lobbyists and diplomats and businesspeople who've been dumped from their real jobs due to highway robbery and other scurillous behaviors but who still crave legitimacy and a salary often find ways -- through friendships with trustees, or through giving huge gifts to this or that school -- to get faculty appointments for themselves. In an early post, UD referred to this reputation-cleansing action as the university's "Colonic Effect."
Barry Munitz, the spectacularly corrupt former head of the Getty Trust, was an administrator at a California university before he rose so high and fell so low, and onaccounta tenure and all they've taken him back, with a fancy title, a huge salary, and the obligation to teach one course a year (An English department course! UD's ravaged discipline!). The New York Times wrote briefly about it awhile back:
Barry Munitz, who resigned under pressure in February as president of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles amid questions about his use of the trust's money, has been hired as a professor by the California state university system. Mr. Munitz, who served as chancellor of the university system for eight years before taking over the leadership of the Getty, will teach a course in the English department at the Los Angeles campus, exercising his right as a former system executive to return to a teaching position there. His salary will be $163,000 during his first year, and then will decrease to $112,000, the top of the pay scale for a full professor, system officials said. Mr. Munitz will also help raise money for several new projects, they added. James M. Rosser, the president of Cal State, Los Angeles, said in a statement that he welcomed Mr. Munitz back. But Lillian Taiz, a history professor and president of the campus chapter of the California Faculty Association, said that she and many faculty members were unhappy with Mr. Munitz's hiring. "We were stunned," she said, "that someone of such questionable ethics will be teaching in our classrooms." Mr. Munitz could not be reached for comment. Mr. Munitz, whose travel and expense spending are under investigation by the California attorney general's office, was required to repay the Getty Trust, one of the world's richest art institutions, $250,000 when he resigned in February, and he was not given a severance package. At the Getty, Mr. Munitz was one of the nation's best-paid executives of a nonprofit institution, with salary, benefits and perks totaling more than $1 million.
But there's cause for hope. Apparently the trustees knew that if they made the machinations by which they took back Barry public they'd have a faculty and maybe also student revolt on their hands, so they did the deed in private. And now, as the LA Times reports:
A teachers group has won a partial victory in its challenge to the secret hiring of ousted former J. Paul Getty Trust chief Barry Munitz by California State University trustees.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Thus Sprach Sprezzatura|
Bloggers Blog quotes one of Lee Siegel's paeans to himself, written on his own blog's comment thread under the pseudonym "sprezzatura":
"Siegel is brave, brilliant, and wittier than Stewart will ever be. Take that, you bunch of immature, abusive sheep."
UD's Academic Conflict of Interest Tickertape|
They are endemic. Only the biggies make it to the press. Since they are happening all the time, all around us, UD rarely mentions them. She asks you to imagine a tickertape running through University Diaries, which UD sometimes stops in order to highlight a particularly outrageous case. Like this one.
The editor of a U.S. medical journal has resigned in the midst of recent news that he failed to disclose financial ties to industry.
Note that he was the editor of the journal.
Nemeroff's been doing this sort of thing for years, a quick Google search reveals. No one seems to care. I'm sure his position at Emory University remains secure.
Yesterday, I looked at some writers on the left complaining about economic inequality in the United States. Here are some on the right, responding to the same evidence:
1.) An opinion piece by Nicholas Eberstadt in the Washington Post:
Obviously, the official poverty rate isn't reflecting shifting living conditions in the United States. A wealth of evidence shows that those who are counted as poor today have dramatically higher living standards than their counterparts in the 1960s, when the poverty rate was originally devised...
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal:
The truth is that there has been a modest widening of the income gap in recent decades, regardless of which party is in power. That gap seems due largely to growing returns on education and skills in the global economy. Americans without a high-school diploma are losing ground against those who have college degrees. But this argues not for higher taxes on the rich, who already pay the vast bulk of U.S. taxes. It argues for reforming K-12 education so even the weakest and poorest students can compete against the world.
'An Apology to Our Readers
"Sprezzatura" means 'unstudied grace,' 'elegant carelessness,' in the two first definitions I googled. In some of his writing, Siegel had this quality. Lately he's been rankled and angry. He invented the sprezzatura persona and wrote on his NR blog's comment threads in praise of himself and vicious denunciation of his detractors, some of whom he singled out by name.
Friday, September 01, 2006
...McLean, [Virginia]... has become the psychic center of the Washington Republican establishment... [Here you find the] rewards awaiting ambitious conservatives in modern Washington, where unprecedented wealth is being made from the business of politics...
The piece, in the New Republic, quotes Gore Vidal along the same nouveau-disdaining lines as Brzezinski... But it mainly describes the awesomely ostentatious consumer excesses of those who live in Mclean.
The piece notes that some of these people are Democrats. It should have made more of this, since it's my belief, as I said below in the post on Thomas Frank, that there's little difference between Republican and Democratic gated communities anymore, which is why Frank's class war isn't going to happen. The struggling classes in this country have no powerful defenders.
Donald Kagan on|
America's Imperial Faculty
Does it matter that Harvard’s curriculum is a vacant vessel? It is no secret, after all, that to the Harvard faculty, undergraduate education is at best of secondary interest. What is laughingly called the Core Curriculum—precisely what Summers sought to repair—is distinguished by the absence of any core of studies generally required. In practice, moreover, a significant number of the courses in Harvard College are taught by graduate students, not as assistants to professors but in full control of the content. Although they are called “tutors,” evoking an image of learned Oxbridge dons passing on their wisdom one-on-one, what they are is a collection of inexperienced leaders of discussion or pseudo-discussion groups. The overwhelming majority of these young men and women, to whom is entrusted a good chunk of a typical undergraduate’s education, will never be considered good enough to belong to Harvard’s regular faculty.
Snapshots from Home|
A Regular University Diaries Feature
The computer still works, but the rest of the power in the house has just gone out -- Ernesto's here in earnest, I guess... GWU has issued warnings and suggestions for students as they move into their dorms during what looks to be a nasty storm ...
I can't really see my keyboard -- good thing my mother insisted I learn to touchtype when I was fourteen... It's dark and getting darker; and it gets really dark in Garrett Park, where you can't see the sky for the trees.
I'm all alone, too -- Mr. UD's in Philadelphia, at the American Political Science Association convention... Joyce-Themed Spawn is with Zuzu, her Slovakian friend, who lives down the street...
But before you really begin to pity me, huddled alone in a dark house, consider how well-heeled I am nonetheless!
The three most prosperous large counties in the United States are in the Washington suburbs, according to census figures released yesterday, which show that the region has the second-highest income and the least poverty of any major metropolitan area in the country.
That's from the Washington Post. And here's Thomas Frank, in the New York Times:
When you view the world from the satisfied environs of Washington — a place where lawyers outnumber machinists 27 to 1 and where five suburban counties rank among the seven wealthiest in the nation — the fantasies of postindustrial liberalism make perfect sense. The reign of the “knowledge workers” seems noble.
Longtime readers know that I have nothing in principle against Frank's effort to get the rest of the country outfitted with pitchforks and sent to Garrett Park. But I think he's wrong to assume that "Democratic leaders" are going to want to "talk about class issues." I've lived here a long time and met scads of Democratic leadership types -- in politics, academia, journalism, think tanks, etc. -- and the problem is that their class is absolutely equivalent to the Republicans' class.
Bill and Hillary vacation on Nantucket. Then there's John Kerry.
These are all happy satisfied rich people. You don't stir up class resentment among such people, whatever their theoretical ideological commitments may be.
In a way, Frank's comment admits as much; he says that class war will have to come from the grassroots. Then why is he writing in the New York Times? If something's the matter with Kansas, why isn't he publishing his opinion pieces in their newspapers?
E.J. Dionne, in the Washington Post, has a similar problem. He too tries to lay down some populist rhetoric in a recent column about economic inequality in America:
The census had some very good news for the well-to-do. The top fifth of American households received 50.4 percent of all income last year, the highest proportion since 1967, when the Census Bureau started following that trend. The biggest gains were concentrated in the top 5 percent.
It would have been far more honest - and probably politically more productive - for Dionne to have ended this piece with a little honesty and a little introspection ["In another big home sale, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne and wife Mary T. Boyle bought a shingle-and-stone Colonial in Bethesda’s Glen Echo Heights for $1.6 million. The 2004 house has ten-foot ceilings on the first floor, three fireplaces, and an elevator."], as in we have met the enemy, and he is us.
Whip Me Again, Master|
Let’s give a cheer for the old University at Buffalo Bulls, perennially one of the worst teams in football, as they take the field this fall against two national powerhouses, Auburn and Wisconsin. Win or lose, the Bulls thereby double their appearance profits to $600,000 per game. “It’s all about the money,” observed the head coach at West Virginia, sparing sports fans the how-you-play-the-game bromides after his team was unceremoniously dumped from Buffalo’s schedule to make way for one of the power teams offering fatter paychecks.