Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Drums along the Charles River

Stanley Kurtz as the National Review describes the resignation of Lawrence Summers as the consequence of a clash within the Democratic Party. "These moderate Democrats want to bring the academy closer to the center of the country. But when push came to shove, the leftist faculty wouldn't play along." Summers was apparently offered a role in the next Democratic campaign, which suggests that he had to accede to the radicals or forfeit any chance of being a "bridge" figure in the campaign.

Alan Dershowitz meanwhile, dwells on the sheer underhandedness and illegitimacy of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences "coup de etat". Whatever the Graduate Schools thought of Summers, they are anxious to preserve their independence within the academic world, and the FAS action was akin to one party grabbing victuals from the table instead of waiting to be served by the waiter.

"The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which forced Summers's resignation by voting a lack of confidence in him last March and threatening to do so again on Feb. 28, is only one component of Harvard University and is hardly representative of widespread attitudes on the campus toward Summers. The graduate faculties, the students, and the alumni generally supported Summers for his many accomplishments. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences includes, in general, some of the most radical, hard-left elements within Harvard's diverse constituencies. And let there be no mistake about the origin of Summers's problem with that particular faculty: It started as a hard left-center conflict. Summers committed the cardinal sin against the academic hard left: He expressed politically incorrect views regarding gender, race, religion, sexual preference, and the military."

Commentary

If Kurtz is right, Summers decamped because he had his eye on managing a future Democratic campaign. But the manner of his departure may have stirred up a hornet's nest at Harvard. It will be interesting to see whether the other members of the Harvard community will let such a challenge to their prerogatives pass unnoticed or make a fight of it, not perhaps from principle, but out of a need to retain their traditional independence.

31 Comments:

Blogger Dan said...

I doubt anything accounts for such impudence besides the Faculty's unkillable certainty that they are in fact independent, clerisy-like, via tenure and administrative policy. No future President will have anything to say about that either, and somehow I doubt the "rest of the faculty" will be able to prevent such initiatives in the future. How would they constrain the Humanities folks? I've never been on a Faculty - does one spoke have power over another?

2/22/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

Fear societies, heavy and lite, rule by intimidation. Summers chose appeasement and paid with his honor.

2/22/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It is sad to see when politics get so involved with academics. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I've experienced the backlash from a far-left liberal co-worker who could not let their conscience stand someone else expressing disagreement with their absolutely correct views.

2/22/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

He left "because he had his eye on managing a future Democratic campaign."

Yeah, right.

2/22/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The politically correct left ate one of their own years ago when they took down the President of Rutgers.

2/22/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Celebratory gunfire can be heard all over campus and candy is being handed out to children.

2/22/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

As they say amongst the rank & file - be careful what you wish for.

With Summers exit it is unlikely Harvard will find a replacement of his caliber whom those involved in the coup will tolerate.

2/22/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

it is unlikely Harvard will find a replacement of his caliber whom those involved in the coup will tolerate.

The Corporation may well consider that a necessary qualification. It is easy to see this backfiring.

2/22/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dershowitz say prof that engineered the coup is on record on a TV Show saying Summers was telling them to be more patriotic.
Very Uncool.
Also too friendly to Joos at the expense of the Palis.
Also says Dershowitz is unfit to teach.
Probably has an IQ 1/3 that of Dershowitz.

2/22/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"says"

2/22/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

L'affaire Summers began when a feminist faculty member pulled a typical academic feminist move, by posturing in poses of outrage and even physical debility when Summers speculated about female brain power re: the sciences.

To anyone in academe this behavior is so commonplace and goes back to far in the recent history of academe--a quarter of a century--that it would have seemed remarkable if such a reaction had not taken place.

The fact of the matter is that the faculty who was threatening Summers with a vote of non-confidence was overwhelmingly male. This tells us something about why it is that such shenanigans as this feminist professor pulled off were done so with such confidence that merely expiring "with the vapors" in the manner of a Victorian matron would get this kind of reaction.

The "feminized male" in academe is indeed a sight to behold: cowardly, cringing, dishearteningly inarticulate when confronted with the steady stream of anti-male radical feminist hate propaganda flowing daily out of Women's Studies courses and the publications of the faculty who teach them.

It follows as a matter of course that academic faculty are going to be overwhelmingly opposed to the Iraq war--indeed, opposed to any war at all (people get hurt and even DIE)--since males have been taught by academic feminists that males are by nature (however, not at Harvard apparently, whose males are--what? prodigies of nature?) rapists, killers, ravishers of the land and of women. How better to revenge the honor of the feminist lady in question (it's really so 19th-century) than to beat up on the male who had the temerity to break ranks?

I've never known a male faculty member who didn't simultaneously loathe feminist faculty like the woman in question, and who didn't also find it simply impossible to tell her off. No wonder they're enraged.

2/22/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

While Harvard fiddles, the world burns? Interesting that while the Pentagon is concentrating HARD on foreign languages and cultures, the State Dept (stuffed with Ivy League grads) is still worrying about which fork to use at the next diplo dinner. Also, note that Hollywood has been a destination of choice for many young Ivy League grads. I guess it's the money and the cool clothes...
Anyway, Ultimately, it is all about results. And so far, the only results for the Ivy Elite has been a long winded whine. I swear, with each year, I more and more understand Rome, as it finally welcomed into power the competent Julius and Augustus, over the whining dithering Senate.

This whole Long War is going to be a real test of the Anglo Sphere and the Magna Carta and etc.. is it not?

2/22/2006 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Coyle said...

Harvard.

Who cares?

2/22/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cobalt Blue said...

Who cares?

I actually care. Harvard has been an institution of higher education since 1636. It is the sort of intellectual headwaters of our country--when you go there, you are at home in the American academic tradition as you are in few other places. Harvard means a lot to the United States and the English-speaking world. Certainly the lefties know that--that is why their attacks are so fierce, their defense so dogged, when it comes to that turf. You can't simply start up an alternative Harvard; it wouldn't be the same.

In a way Harvard never recovered from the protests of 1969 and the takeover of University Hall, the administation headquarters in Harvard Yard. The students are not squatting in the president's office anymore, smoking his cigars--they don't have to in order to have their demands register. Now they and their ilk, bending a finger, have the power to demand that the president leave.

And leave he does!

2/22/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Voltimand said: "L'affaire Summers began when a feminist faculty member pulled a typical academic feminist move, by posturing in poses of outrage and even physical debility when Summers speculated about female brain power re: the sciences."

True that. It is worth noting, however, that the faculty member in question was from MIT, not Harvard. Her name is nancy Hopkins and she teaches biology. There was more at work than just feminism, I might add. Nancy is a natural scientist, not a social scientist. This distinction is not unimportant.

I was on the faculty at MIT when the L'Affaire Summmers happened. While I have attended and presented at research seminars at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) I did not attend the symposium in question where Summers' most infamous remarks were made. See below. (I think my invitation to that one got lost in campus mail ;-).

And of course, I wasn't the only one in Cambridge who didn't attend. Thing is, you wouldn't have known this for all the people at Harvard, MIT, and elsewhere who KNEW what the man said. They thought they knew the words he spoke and what he meant when he spoke them. In actuality, many did not.

I think Prof Hopkins a big part of the reason was disgusted because just didn't grasp that there are empirical ways to test the hypotheses that Summers proposed. And given that Summers was arguably the most accomplished economist of his generation (if memory serves me correctly he got tenured at Harvard at age 28, directly out of grad school. That's equivalent of going pro straight out of high school and then getting league MVP in your rookie year).

Here's a quote of his remarks from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Summers

"So my best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong."

Nancy, smart woman that she undoubtedly is, thought that she didn't have to provide an evidence. For her and others like her, she is the only evidence needed. She's a woman and capable. In her line of work, one compelling counter-factual piece of evidence is often sufficient to disprove a theory or hypothesis.

Not so in the social sciences. Here,
theories never explain all of the variation. There is no single factor
which completely explains why something happens or changes.
Hypotheses have data which supports and refutes them and the preponderance of the evidence. Control variables along with hypothesized factors of interest are both taken explicitly into account.

As Wretchard pointed out regarding climate models, social phenomenon are complex. Several variables can be a work at one time. They may interact with one another and their effects may be non-linear or time delayed.

No one on earth is better than economists and sociologists than untangling these complex empirical questions. Their methodologies are superb, though by no means perfect. They are not, however, common to all scientific fields.

And, quite frankly, no one understands less about these methods than natural scientists. They are simply not instructed in them because they don't tend to need them. Almost no one in the humanities knows of these methods. Again, they don't need them in their work.

Consequently, many of them realize that being a social animal does not qualify one as a social scientist anymore than being a mammal qualifies one as a biologist.

What Nancy didn't see was that there was an empirical question, several really, implied in Summers words. Actually, there was an entire research agenda in them. Any competent social scientist could have recognized that. When he said he wanted to be proved wrong, he meant empirically, not politically correctly!

Nancy and the Harvard FAS have now seen to it that this research will not be carried out, at least not at Harvard. They have also ensured that anyone who does will be declared another type of biological specimen- a Neanderthal.

PS: I might have been able to explain all this to Nancy as we drove or took the Red Line back to MIT... if only my invitation hadn't been lost in campus mail.

2/23/2006 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

I should have said:

"A big part of why Prof Hopkins was disgusted was because she just didn't grasp that there are empirical ways to test the hypotheses that Summers proposed."

2/23/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

arggh. it keeps sending before I'm ready...

"A big part of why Prof Hopkins was disgusted was because she just didn't grasp that there are empirical ways to test the hypotheses that Summers proposed." And given that Summers was arguably the most accomplished economist of his generation...it's not hard to see why.

2/23/2006 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

For some reason I am having trouble with the "edit comment" function. Rather than continue to struggle with it, I have chosen to put my comments here, in a post entitled Miss Understanding Larry Summers

2/23/2006 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

Re: S. D. Hunter's response to my earlier post (not responding to matter that didn't appear on Belmont site).

Ok, so her name is Nancy Hopkins, and she's a biologist. All this may be a matter of disagreements re: social vs. natural sciences.

However, the stunt she pulled is echt feminist behavior, to wit: (1) She claimed that she was made physically ill by Summers' remark; (2) Summers' remark raises an issue that is hoary in feminist academic lore: are men "better than" women in whatever regard you care to mention; (3) The "better than" speculation is hoary precisely because academic feminists are mesmerized, deer-in-the-headlights, by any question that might suggest that males are more valuable, better than, getting ahead of, in short more enviable and powerful than women.

Fall-out: the physical symptoms ("His remarks made me physically ill," etc.) are standard feminist-issue responses posited by all the hostile-environment sexual harassment regulations in all colleges throughout the country (mandated, I might add, by the Office of Civil Rights of the Dept. of Education--that's right, the Feds are deep, deep in the business of enforcing regulations that presuppose all the standard feminist obsessions and forms of paranoia. The fems lobbied these regulations into place in 1979-80 by then-chair of the EEOC feminist Eleanor Holmes Norton and inspired by Catharine MacKinnon's 1979 hate screed on SH in the workplace--main point: all heterosexual males are versions of the male characters in the novels of the Marquis De Sade, i.e., all heterosexual sexual behavior is sadomasochistic; this was Andrea Dworkin's idea published in a book at a/b the same time). So Hopkins responds like a typical academic feminist--it quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

The whole male-vs-female contretemps has been standard feminist-issue for endless feminist writing. LOC has assigned a separate alphanumerical designation for feminist literature alone--HQ--because it goes on for shelf after shelf after shelf and it's all--all--about this issue. It all began when Simone De Beauvoir, prodded by her abusive boyfriend Jean-Paul Sartre, and both mesmerized by the 1930s lectures at the Sorbonne by Alexandre Kojeve informing the both of them that "you are nothing as a person except what you are recognized for being by someone else," wrote "The Second Sex." And the vector of that book has been determinative: feminists are obsessed with the notion that someone else doesn't believe their as good as men. And of course-- it's obvious, isn't it?--if someone says or even hints you're not good enough, you're not good enough. And Prof. Hopkins was responding like a typical feminist at the mere breath of the suggestion that she herself was a "second (rate) sex." Point two.

Point three: On the subject of males better than females, this is the fundamental talking point which feminists never stop--never can stop--talking about. This is because feminists (and feminism) are entirely "male driven." As Epictetus says in his incomparable lectures on the nature of human psychological power, what you desire to be (therefore feel yourself lacking and therefore envy and therefore hate and therefore love) controls you. Feminists have never gotten over not being men. So Summers trolls his audience with the suggestion that maybe females may be inferior to males--actually he didn't say that, but with feminists all you have to give is the hint of the possibility that you're going to say a nasty male thingy--and the pin is irreversibly pulled on the grenade.

Disclosure: I've spent a quarter of a century living--professionally, mind you--close-up and personal with academic feminists in academe, and they are simply the most odious, repellent, not to say infantile and snarky, creatures crawling about on the surface of the globe. I've been researching a book on this subject for the last ten years, and am just now getting to the point of being able to write about it as a whole. Finally, it's not them as such (or Nancy) that are the issue, but the fact that the federal regulatory agencies--not to mention the U. S. military--are riddled with regulations lobbied into place by feminist action groups, and in the OCR of the DOE, enforced by feminist lawyers (put there in the late 1990s by Clinton-appointed activist feminist lawyer Norma Cantu), all of which regulations carry overtly in their language and declared intentions the conviction that all males are just what I said feminists say they are in my original post. The 1997 Sexual Harassment Guidance is the law of the land re: charges of hostile environment SH in all the nation's schools, right down to kindergarten (cf. six-year-old Jonathan Prevette accused in N. Carolina of sexual harassment in 1996, which was the first time this stuff hit the papers). This is the object I want to aerate in the sunlight for the rest of the country to see. I and every other male citizen of the U. S. pay taxes to a government that has a section of it devoted to pursuing males because feminists have put them up to it. Sound absurd? It is absurd.

Nancy Hopkins wasn't acting like a feminist? She was acting like nothing else.

2/23/2006 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Voltimand:

While I don't know exactly how you define the term, I'll accept your characterization that Nancy was acting like a "feminist."

My contention is that there was another powerful dynamic at play besides feminism- the social science vs. natural science understandings of the world: Hence the title of my post: Miss Understanding, i.e. feminism and world views.

In my opinion social phenomena are complex and, as such, are always explained by more than one factor. That said, I'm happy to concede that feminism was the strongest of the two proposed explanations.

This then brings another question to the forefront. Since Harvard FAS faculty are not all women, or even a majority of women, how then do we explain the reaction of the large majority of male faculty who also voted to no-confidence in Summers?

Are they not "real" men? Are they just spineless nancy-boys who are browbeaten and cowed by their females colleagues? Are the male faculty of Harvard FAS "feminists"? Is that even possible? Are they worried that their girlfriends would drop them or that their wives would reacquaint them with the living room sofa? (I ask this last question fully aware that these two groupings are not mutually exclusive. Surely there was at least one male FAS prof who had both a girlfriend and a wife). But seriously, how do we explain the men's behavior if not by differences in world views?

Finally, I can't say that I necessarily share your view of women in academia. My experiences have been uniformly positive, despite differences of opinion about many issues. Maybe it's my aftershave?

2/23/2006 04:55:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Starling David Hunter,

Regarding your thought that Prof Hopkins "just didn't grasp that there are empirical ways to test the hypotheses that Summers proposed"

I strongly disagree.

I think she realized quite well that there were good ways to test the hypothesis, and that was PRECISELY why she acted as she did. She did not WANT to allow any research in that area, because she was afraid of what impact the results might have on her and her feminist friends.

The power of the feminists in academia rests on their "under-representation", allegedly due to discrimination. As a result, the remedial measures that get imposed have the result of advancing those of the "under-represented" group to a level higher than they would have achieved otherwise.

If the rationale for the affirmative-action system is undermined, then Prof Hopkins and her friends and supporters will be very much impacted. You might say "she has nothing to worry about, she is tenured". But she still needs to compete for grant money. She is still in competition with others for positions on boards of directors and trusteeships. Her income, status, and power are dependent on the status quo being stable and unthreatened

It is not surprising that she struck out so savagely

2/23/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

I agree that Prof Hopkins and others like her want the status quo maintained and are not anxious to see it overturned. I further agree with your statment about leverage that "under-representation" brings. And I think we both agree that the likelihood that research challenging the orthodoxy on the matter of innate gender differences as an explanation for the dearth of female scientists has been dealt a death blow. The only game in town now is socialization, i.e. men and women are no different; how they are socialized accounts for the differences.

Still, even if "feminism" completely explains Nancy Hopkins "savage" reaction, what then, I ask, explains the reaction of the men of Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the majority of the faculty? They are not threatened because they are not women or members of an under-represented group. So why go along with this?

For me, part of the answer lies in the ways these groups think about the world. They use the same language but talk past one another.

I stand by my assertion that remarks made by economists at a National Bureau of Economics Research symposium are not going to be well understood by biologists and literature professors. I further claim that this has nothing to do with the intelligence of either of these groups. They're just from different planets, an effect not attributable to gender.

2/23/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Mr Hunter,

>>Still, even if "feminism" completely explains Nancy Hopkins "savage" reaction, what then, I ask, explains the reaction of the men of Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the majority of the faculty?<<

Given a group which must maintain cohesion in order to maintain its power, when a significant faction of the group feels very strongly about an issue, then the other members of the group must support the aggrieved faction. Otherwise they can forget about receiving support when it's their turn.

The Left is primarily an aggregate of distinct special interests who have learned the values of mutual support.

I would suspect that none of the men involved wanted to be considered "anti-feminist" by being seen as the least enthusiastic supporter of Hopkins. They could be sure that she and her supporters would remember who was most lukewarm, and make them pay for years

2/23/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

S. D. Hunter says:

"This then brings another question to the forefront. Since Harvard FAS faculty are not all women, or even a majority of women, how then do we explain the reaction of the large majority of male faculty who also voted to no-confidence in Summers?"

My field is the humanities--English Literature--which is one of the hotbeds of feminist intrusion into academe. The hard sciences are the least penetrated because ideology for which there is no falsification has no place in those disciplines.

The short answer to your question is "yes, they are." As liberals humanities and socsci male professors are the epitome of the feminized male. My experience with trying to galvanize male support for my position has gleaned the following response: "I envy you your courage in speaking out, but I could never do that." What they mean is that they've bought into the massive guilt trip which a quarter-century's worth of academic feminist anti-male hate propaganda has induced. Your characterization of them as "nancy-boys" makes them out to be gays, and that's not the track they're on. The fact of the matter is that most college-level male faculty simply hunker down and hope the feminist plague will eventually abate. It may, but not without the cost of the occasional male faculty being picked off by Fed-required SH regulations that require all colleges to "respond" to female complaints against males "with immediate corrective action" (read: no due process--this is well-known in the circles critical of feminism that write on this subject, mainly in the form of "free speech" issues). This means that any female student who comes into college with a chip on her shoulder and is indoctrinated by feminist professors can complain about anything that a male professor says, and there is nothing in the Fed regulation that requires (it advises) due process that will allow falsification of the charge. Another way of putting it: hostile environment SH cannot be defined by any criterion other than that the complainant didn't like it (called a regulation "void for vagueness" under 1st Amendment case law, but the V-F-V criterion is rarely evoked--lawyers who defend males accused of SH are notoriously impotent). Nobody believes me when I tell them that this is the case, but it is. Put this together with the fact that most "compliance officers" in most colleges and universities who administer these regs are themselve feminists, and you have a recipe for exactly what happens: findings of guilt and punishment applied in the name of federal regulations which are nothing more than ideologically-motivated revenge assaults.

I'll stop there, but your scepticism about male faculty responding to feminist tongue-lashing is, to put it mildly, misplaced.

2/23/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"However, the stunt she pulled is echt feminist behavior, to wit: (1) She claimed that she was made physically ill by Summers' remark; (2) Summers' remark raises an issue that is hoary in feminist academic lore: are men "better than" women in whatever regard you care to mention; (3) The "better than" speculation is hoary precisely because academic feminists are mesmerized, deer-in-the-headlights, by any question that might suggest that males are more valuable, better than, getting ahead of, in short more enviable and powerful than women."

Ironically, Summers softened his assertion so much that it wasn't even a question of whether men are "better" than women merely more varied.

Summers made a point of saying that the average man and woman may be equal, but that once you get 3.5-4 standard deviations above and below the mean, men are predominant - and that this would possibly explain the relative lack of women nobel prize winners. So in effect, he was saying it was possible that there are a number of really smart men, and really stupid men. Not exactly "men are better than women."

Of course, Summers didn't take the hypothesis a step further, possibly because he was afraid: If the extremes are off, then there is no reason that the means are the same. There opens the can of worms, better to pretend everyone's equal, just because.

2/23/2006 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

Hopefully this isn't a radical digression from the topic: I believe public purges like that done to Summers increase support to the ID movement. In our institutes of "higher learning" we continually see heterodoxy shouted down. In the case of ID, most evolutionists refuse to debate the topic in public and prefer to point to lack of acceptance in "peer-reviewed journals." Just so. We are in essence told to trust the experts and suspend any thinking on the subject. I've seen similar arguments from James Q. Wilson (social scientist) and other sorta-conservatives who fail to counter ID's arguments. If such esteemed gentlemen are convinced by the facts that ID is bogus, it would be nice if they would repeat such facts for the Great Unwashed. In Georgia and elsewhere we've seen school policies that merely categorize evolution as a theory or encourage critical thinking shouted down as "religious." This is the state of "higher thought" today. Sad.

2/23/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Kyda Sylvester said...

I figured Summers was dead man walking when he capitulated to Harvard's fainting couch feminists by funding the Task Force on Women Faculty to the tune of $50 mil. (For anyone unfamiliar with this particular debacle, here is Heather MacDonald's excellent City Journal piece on same.)

2/23/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Brown Line said...

May I point out something positive that has come from Summers' firing?

Summers, among other things, was tryign to get ROTC re-instated at Harvard. He failed; but had he been able to remain as president, he might have succeeded in time.

As the father of two enlisted men - one Army, one Marines, both Iraq veterans - the thought of their being commanded by the sophomoric graduates of Harvard University just gives me the willies. By all means, send them to Foggy Bottom and Hollywood, where they'll do little harm; and leave the military leadership to the men of schools like Illinois and Clemson.

2/23/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger gdude said...

brown line,

That's a scream! I've got a son trying to get into USNA or MROTC, and you've got my sentiments on the subject exactly. (Women in the military begs the same questions as the Harvard tussle.)

2/23/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

CLOWN COLLEGE MIMES PROTEST NEW PREXY SUMMERS

Sarasota FL - Newly appointed Ringling Brothers Clown College president Lawrence Summers prompted controversy at his inauguration speech today, after his remarks that "we must begin asking ourselves the tough intellectual questions -- why are clowns a leading cause cause nightmares? And why are mimes so universally loathed?"

The remarks prompted an angry, against-the-wind walk out by members of the mime department, with many faculty demanding censure and an apology.

"These remarks demean the entire campus miming community and demonstrate a blatant disregard for diversity," said Mime Department chair Harlequinette.

" ," added Professor Tin Tin, wiping an imaginary tear.

Harlequinette said she would propose 'no confidence' vote at next week's general faculty tiny car assembly, and said she had forward the Summers case to investigators at the college's Anti- Hate-Clowning Committee.

Summers was appointed to replace RBCC's outgoing President Peppy the Hobo Tuesday, after a troubled four year term at the helm of Harvard University. Harvard named Hobo as his replacement late yesterday.

In Cambridge MA, Women's Studies Director Kath Weston led the Harvard Faculty Senate in a rousing welcome for the incoming Peppy the Hobo, saying that "we at long last have a president who understands our important academic mission. He will leave here with very, very, very big shoes to fill."

2/23/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Years back, I worked at a company where a much-beloved (but rather administratively-challenged, IMHO) boss retired and was replaced by a very competent ex-Coastie officer. A year or so thereafter, when my amazingly catty coworkers (all but one of them male) had STILL not managed to "forgive" the new boss for "displacing" the old boss (and, again IMHO, doing the job better to boot), the new boss had to fill a position for company safety manager. The previous safety mgr was (not coincidentally) married to my only female coworker, and was qualified for the job solely on the basis of OJT.

The new boss brought in an obviously very intelligent young woman with a terrific resume in the area of establishing efficient systems, but no specific safety expertise. My coworkers became enraged and called a secret meeting at someone's house after work one day. For three hours they b*tched about this young woman and the temerity of our boss in hiring her; I attended the meeting and sat with my back literally and figuratively against a wall defending the boss and the young woman as best I could, pointing out with as much diplomacy as I could muster that she came to the job with more qualifications than the previous guy had, and that our boss had been our strongest advocate in the company and had accomplished incredible things for our department.

To no avail. I left first; apparently after I was gone the rest formed a kind of committee to get rid of her. She was out in the field the next day with someone from our office (the cat-beller, evidently), who spent the entire time mocking and ridiculing her, and finally told her that she had no place in the office or the company and would soon be gone. She came in from the field, furious, and resigned.

I stayed on at the job; my boss and his peers were worth it. But I never misjudged my coworkers again; they revealed themselves in high-definition, so to speak, with their behavior. I'd venture that the Harvard students who so strongly support Larry Summers "won't be fooled again" either. They may stay at Harvard, they may take what they need from the weaklings who ran him off, but they'll never again feel a need to give those faculty the benefit of the doubt, if they ever did.

2/24/2006 12:04:00 PM  

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