1) LARRY LIVES! Who knows why? Perhaps it was fear of what would have been brutal and unsparing retribution from Soxblog that spared his job. Maybe it was the dozens of undergrads that rallied around their beleaguered President. Or perhaps reality set in amongst a majority of the faculty that the people who really run Harvard (the Corporation) weren’t about to turn over the keys to the asylum to the Ph.D holding inmates. Regardless, in spite of a history of impolite glares, Larry Summers will retain his job having promised a new era of sensitivity and mutual respect. (Blech!) This promises to be harsh medicine indeed for the former Secretary of the Treasury, having to spend the next decade pretending to care what Professors of Comparative Medieval Religion think.
Lest you think I’ve minimized President Summers’ accumulated sins, let me allow Harvard Economics Professor Caroline Hoxby make the case herself. Hoxby spoke of the many links and relationships of the university as a “great shimmering web.”
Sadly, in Hoxby’s view, President Summers has been no friend to this web. Said the disappointed professor, “Every time, Mr. President, you show a lack of respect for a faculty member's intellectual expertise, you break ties in our web. Every time you humiliate or silence a faculty member, you break ties in our web. When you engage in speech that harms the university's ability to foster scholarship and that is not thoughtful, not deliberate, and not grounded in deep knowledge, you break ties by the hundreds.” Well, since you put it that way…
Much of the country is unaware of a key element of the Summers/Faculty dust-up. To summarize a complex matter in two sentences, Cambridge based Harvard is about to make a huge expansion into neighboring Allston. Cambridge is a wonderfully vibrant college town; Alston is best known for its seemingly endless supply of tow company parking lots and shabby student housing. Few members of the Harvard faculty relish the thought of moving from Cambridge to Allston. Since Summers himself teaches in the Economics department, it would seem unlikely that the economics department will be banished to the soon-to-be-built Allston gulag. But in all fairness, the department should have a representative in Alston. Here’s an idea – how about sending Professor Hoxby out to Alston as a Ph.D version of Lewis and Clark to settle the new wilds!
Here’s a related thought: In spite of President Summers professed new found commitment to sensitivity and openness, perhaps there’s a chance that Professor Hoxby and like minded and similarly outspoken faculty members will soon learn they would have been better off reading Sun Tzu than E.B. White. I believe it was Sun Tzu (or perhaps it was Michael Corleone) who suggested that when you shoot for a King, you best be sure not to miss.
Larry lives – will he be wrathful?
2) OLIVER WILLIS WAS ON C-SPAN. If you’re unfamiliar with the Oliver Willis
blog, count yourself among the lucky. Willis is one of George Soros’ stable of bloggers; I’ve referred to Willis on these pages as “relentlessly imbecilic.” That’s a fair description of his blog; a typical entry consists of him calling someone an “idiot” or a “moron” and then offering little if any elaboration.
But on TV, he was well-spoken, and, dare I say it, almost appealing. He was reasonable. In short, he was everything he isn’t on his blog. Which leads me to conclude something about O-Dub – he may be a decent guy who just can’t write.
Which makes him a poor candidate to be a good blogger. Which makes it all the more apparent why George Soros hired him to be a blogger. George’s eye for talent is a bit questionable and his political instincts somewhere south of astute. Even for all his billions, I’m quite delighted that Soros is playing for the other team.
3) ROMNEY GOES TO SOUTH CAROLINA – Mitt Romney went to South Carolina a couple days ago as part of his duties as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association (wink). He gave a speech that knocked ‘em dead. No surprise there – Romney is the most talented retail politician out there, the Michael Jordan of that aspect of the game.
Equally unsurprising is the fact that the Boston Globe was scandalized by the whole thing, especially by a gentle jibe Romney directed at his home state. Romney jested that as a Republican in Massachusetts, he felt like a “cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention.”
The humorless harpies on the Globe’s editorial board whined foul
: “Apparently the obvious needs to be restated: Massachusetts is one of the 50 United States. If Romney thinks he can build a presidential candidacy by belittling his own constituents, he is likely misjudging the 6 million Americans he has already been elected to serve and the national audience he is now courting.” Well, that should put the Governor in his place! Although, let’s be honest, the Globe’s declaration lacks the pithiness of “Don’t Mess with Texas.”
4) BLEDSOE GOING TO DALLAS – According to this morning’s Palm Beach Post, Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells are about to be re-united in Big D. In New England Patriots’ history, Bledsoe and Parcells are sort of a two man Trotsky – the revolution wouldn’t have been possible were it not for their contributions but both (especially Parcells) have been air-brushed from franchise history.
If you read my not so brief history of the Patriots
, you know the franchise was a joke until Parcells’ and Bledsoe’s joint 1993 arrival. While they didn’t win a title here, the two of them are, with the exception of the Kraft family, the parties most responsible for the franchise’s turnaround.
It seems like both Parcells and Bledsoe have reached stages of their careers where they’ve lost something off their fastballs. Nonetheless, it would be petty for a Patriot fan to not wish them well. May they triumph in the weak NFC next season, and get slaughtered by the Pats as the Patriots win their unprecedented fourth Super Bowl in five seasons.
Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
James Frederick Dwight