Category Archive 'Princeton'

21 Sep 2017

“Shut Up!” Argued the Daily Princetonian’s Top Editors

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As they disbanded the independent editorial board for publishing editorials dissenting from the Progressive Social Justice Warrior party-line.

The College Fix:

The first conservative-leaning editorial that caused controversy came last fall, when the board criticized the women’s center for programming that solely advanced a radical feminist ideology.

Sarah Sakha, the current editor in chief of the Princetonian who led the decision to disband the board, had written an op-ed at the time denouncing the board’s criticism.

“The Board fails to acknowledge and recognize the valid intersectionality of racism and sexism. In fact, by branding such programming as singularly liberal, the Board perpetuates the harmful politicization of basic questions of human dignity and identity, which lie at the core of these issues,” Sakha wrote last fall.

Sakha, who also contributed to the Princeton Progressive, the Ivy League institution’s left-leaning political publication, became editor in chief of the mainstream Princetonian in February of this year.

Since then, the independent editorial board continued to publish right-of-center opinions.

In March, an editorial agreed upon by a majority of the board defended free speech and critiqued “collective punishment” in the wake of a scandal in which the men’s swimming and diving team was suspended for “several materials” deemed “vulgar and offensive, as well as misogynistic and racist in nature. …

RTWT

12 Nov 2016

Best Liberal Reactions to Election Contest, 3: Marni Morse Freaking Out at Princeton

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marnimorse
Marni Morse

Paul Mirengoff forwards poignant excerpts from a student letter to the Daily Princetonian.

. . .I crawled into bed and cried for reasons I still [can’t] quite put into words, falling asleep before the election was called.

In the morning, I woke up to a New York Times news alert and social media feeds filled with disappointment. The United States had democratically elected a man who, among so many other despicable qualities and policies, is accused of and boasts about committing sexual assault.

As a woman passionate about gender equality, women’s leadership, and ending sexual violence; as someone dedicated to the Clinton campaign and ready to make history; and, quite frankly, as a human being, I didn’t know how to process this.

I still don’t. I felt for my friends and anyone who feels that this result puts their safety and their loved ones’ safety at risk, acknowledging that I am not the person this outcome will affect the most.

I didn’t leave my room Wednesday morning. I sat and sobbed and I still have the tissues all over my floor to prove it. When I absolutely had to get up for class, I put on my “Dare to say the F-word: Feminism” t-shirt and my “A woman belongs in the House and the Senate” sweatshirt to make myself feel stronger. Still crying, I left my room.

Ironically, she titled her letter “Stronger Together.”

27 Nov 2015

Worse than Yale’s Silliman College Shrieking Girl

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NassauHall

I haven’t got a lot of respect for Princeton President Christopher Eisengruber’s principles or integrity, but I do admire his self-restraint. I would never have been able to listen to the young lady’s diatribe in the second video without correcting her.

The finger-snapping accompanying all the insolent assertions and demands becomes downright sinister at times. It kind of reminded me of jungle drumbeats or the threatening rattling of spears as the tribe of angry natives menaces the British district officer in one of those 1930s Sanders of the River movies.

22 Nov 2015

Who Will Be Next?

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WoodrowWilson

Geoffrey R. Stone wonders out loud:

[I]f Woodrow Wilson is to be obliterated from Princeton because his views about race were backward and offensive by contemporary standards, then what are we to do with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson, all of whom actually owned slaves? What are we to do with Abraham Lincoln, who declared in 1958 that “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” and that “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people”?

What are we to do with Franklin Roosevelt, who ordered the internment of 120,000 persons of Japanese descent? With Dwight Eisenhower, who issued an Executive Order declaring homosexuals a serious security risk? With Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act? With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage?

And what are we to do with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who once opined in a case involving compulsory sterilization that “three generations of imbeciles is enough”? With Leland Stanford, after whom Stanford University is named who, as governor of California, lobbied for the restriction of Chinese immigration, explaining to the state legislature in 1862 that “the presence of numbers of that degraded and distinct people would exercise a deleterious effect upon the superior race”?

And what are we do with all of the presidents, politicians, academic leaders, industrial leaders, jurists, and social reformers who at one time or another in American history denied women’s right to equality, opposed women’s suffrage, and insisted that a woman’s proper place was “in the home”? And on and on and on.

06 Jan 2015

Microaggressions at Princeton

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keep-calm-youre-so-whipped

Newby Parton is a freshman at Princeton. Coming from an old-fashioned region of the country, he habitually pronounces wh-, in the Gothic manner, as hw-. He consequently came in for a bit of mockery at school.

The light of Ivy League learning falling upon Mr. Parton’s provincial mind, he was thus led to editorialize agin’ these kind of cussed aggravatin’ microaggressions. So he was.

Each time I grow a bit more self-conscious. Very few people like to have their speech mocked.

Now, I am sure the others never mean their offense. Therefore, I will play along and let them have their laugh. You wouldn’t know it from my columns, but I avoid confrontation when I can. Besides, this is not very important to me. I am a male and I am white, so I get less than my fair share of discrimination. I am ashamed to say that I have complained when I have had such fortune, but I must confess that I did. A friend of mine whom I quite like had put me through the “Cool Whip” routine, so I waited awhile and texted her this: “Making fun of regional speech is a microaggression.”

Again, I am ashamed of that text. But I learned a lot from her response. “Better put that on TM,” she said, referring to the Tiger Microaggressions page notorious for posting inoffensive “aggressions.” There came no apology or retraction. She really did not understand that she had caused any offense, even after I had plainly told her so. That is fine with me, and I don’t blame her one bit. If I were her, I am afraid I would not have understood either.

I mean it when I say I am afraid. I am afraid that I have spent eighteen years not understanding when I have said something offensive. I am afraid that I have unwittingly hurt the feelings of people so accustomed to microaggression that they did not bother to speak up. I am afraid that I would not have taken those people seriously if they had made a stand. And I am afraid I will do it all again. I am afraid because microaggressions aren’t harmless — there’s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted.

The whole thing.

Somehow when I reflect on all this, it occurs to me that Owen Johnson‘s Tennessee Shad must inevitably have encountered mockery at the hands of Yankees for his regional accent at Lawrenceville School a bit over a century ago. But the Shad would have responded by whipping the asses of his tormentors (and simultaneously carefully purging his own speech of provincial features), instead of whining about it and promising to be PC holier-than-thou himself in the college newspaper.

Membership in the community of fashion elite these days inevitably seems to require a certificate of gelding accompanying the college application.

Via Katherine Timpf.

13 May 2014

Latest Media Obsession: Checking Your Privilege

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CheckYourPrivilege

Tal Fortgang‘s rejection of collective guilt (“I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.”) in the Princeton Tory last month, provoked a Tsunami of media discussion.

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The classic condescending left-wing rejoinder, explaining to Fortgang that, just “because your ancestors dealt with some shit,” he is not allowed to forget that he is still just the “fully abled person in a race against a man with only one leg” came from “Violet Baudelaire” at Jezebel.

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Phoebe Maltz Bovy, in the Atlantic, for instance, took the position that Fortgang just didn’t understand.

A certain sort of self-deprecating privilege awareness has become, in effect, upper- or upper-middle-class good manners, maybe even a new form of noblesse oblige, reinforcing class divides. When Fortgang’s classmates admonish him to check his privilege, what they’re really doing is socializing him into the culture of the class he’ll enter as a Princeton graduate. Failure to acknowledge privilege is very gauche, maybe even nouveau riche.

Besides Fortgang, she contends, is taking it too seriously. Privilege-checking really only amounts to a method of class affirmation, combined with (what used to be called) One-Upsmanship.

The self-deprecatory, class-signaling approach might (but rarely does) serve as a first step towards genuine self-examination and, in turn, some broader social-justice commitment. But the main result of privilege talk is scrappiness one-upmanship among the privileged.

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Daniel D’Addario, in Salon, described the practice of even questioning leftwing PC as producing “an unsavory debate,” and then (descending to crude utilitarianism) scolded Fortgang for bad PR.

Princeton cannot control the public statements made by its students (and parents of students), and nor should it try to. But it’s amazing how neatly these unofficial spokespeople keep stepping into the school’s pop cultural caricature as a status-obsessed carnival of eating clubs and lawn parties. What Princeton seems to do uniquely well is to train people to say “I went to Princeton.” (Consider Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz — he of the Princeton tiger tattoo!) And it hardly seems ideal that the university’s place in the public conversation right now has absolutely nothing to do with academics and everything to do with embarrassing op-eds. “Princeton” is an adjective attached to a woman urging other women to compete for the most successful men in order to enjoy comfortable lives. And now, to a teenager bragging in print about how his ancestors had the unique idea to work hard, one other people’s ancestors evidently didn’t. Check your privilege, Princeton. Or at least: check your PR strategy.

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The only possible PC-response from the male white heterosexual is here:

21 May 2012

“I Went to Princeton, Bitch”

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A rap take off on “Where I Went to School” Oneupmanship.

Very funny.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

28 Feb 2012

Yale vs. Princeton: November 19, 1903

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A film by Edison’s company. It starts with a 360 degree pan to take in the entire stadium filled with a crowd estimated at 50,000.

25 Apr 2011

PC Kills at Princeton

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Antonio Calvo

International news sources, including Britain’s Daily Mail are reporting on the tragic recent death of Antonio Calvo, formerly a Senior Lecturer at Princeton University, whose 10-year-career at the university was abruptly terminated for reasons the Princeton Administration refuses to explain.

A popular Princeton professor who mysteriously stabbed himself to death last month did so because he was abruptly dismissed from his job and faced deportation to his homeland Spain.

Antonio Calvo, 45, who was called St Antonio by students due to his kind heartedness and generosity, stabbed himself to death in his Manhattan apartment on April 12.

Less than a week before, a security guard escorted the Spanish instructor from the building after an unblemished ten-year career that should have culminated in tenure.

Devastated colleagues and students are blaming a campaign by another lecturer and several students for his death, saying they launched a hate campaign against him to get him ousted from his job.

On the Princeton campus where he worked, private grieving has erupted into public recrimination, with a tight community of scholars and students demanding the university take responsibility for his death.

It is unclear what exactly led to his departure from the job but because the university sponsored his visa, he would have had to leave the U.S. and return to Spain.

According to the New York Times, several graduate students and a lecturer mounted a campaign to block the renewal of his contract as a senior lecturer of Spanish and Portuguese.

As director of the university’s Spanish language programme, Dr Calvo supervised graduate students, most of whom teach undergraduates. The graduate students, his friends said, criticized his management style and singled out comments that they felt were inappropriately harsh.

In one episode earlier this academic year, Dr Calvo told a graduate student that she deserved a slap on the face, and slapped his own hands together.

In another, he jokingly referred to a male student’s genitalia in an e-mail, saying: ‘You’re spending too much time touching your balls. Why don’t you go to work?’ which is said to be a common Spanish expression.

One ex-colleague told the New York Post: ‘He knew that something was happening. He commented to a couple of friends that some people at the school were trying to ruin his reputation.’

Another colleague said: ‘Those people didn’t want his contract renewed. The campaign was led by graduate students who teach Spanish who were essentially under Antonio’s supervision, and a lecturer also teaching there.

‘Some people saw him as politically incorrect, but it was just the way he was — his personality.

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The Center-Left Madrid national daily El Pais reported:

–translated–

Although his department had advised its renewal, this past April 8th an employee of the university took away the keys to his office, six weeks before the end of the semester. It was the last day for Calvo in a job for which he lived. “Antonio was confident that they would renew his contract and apparently had the support of the Spanish Department,” said his friend and, in the past, also an employee of Princeton, Marco Aponte Moreno, who now teaches in Surrey, UK. “Antonio had told several colleagues and friends who believed that a group wanted to discredit him. I knew he was trying to find out what was going on and that several colleagues had been called to talk about it. However, he felt safe, at least until Friday April 8th, when he was suspended, that the administration of Princeton would confirm the renewal. ”

The University Administration maintains a total silence on the matter. Their spokesmen maintains that contractual negotiations are a personal matter and that the rules prevent him from talking about them publicly. On the day of dismissal, his students were waiting in the classroom for 20 minutes without being given information. The same scene was repeated the day before his suicide, his students waited 20 minutes until they received a substitute and were told that Calvo no longer taught at Princeton. Three days after the suicide, the rector sent a letter to students saying that their teacher had died, without giving further details. The university newspaper covered the story in the same way on April 18th.

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The Daily Princetonian‘s report today essentially confirms the essentials of he story and especially the allegations of stonewalling on the part of Princeton’s Administration.

In a statement to The Daily Princetonian on Sunday, University President Shirley Tilghman expressed her condolences to the University community and elaborated on the University’s position of remaining silent on issues of personnel in order to protect employees’ privacy.

“Those of you who knew Professor Calvo as a valued and beloved colleague, teacher and friend are seeking answers,” she said in the statment. “This is natural, but in my experience it is never possible to fully understand all the circumstances that lead someone to take such an irreversible decision.”

Reiterating previous statements by University spokespeople and Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin, Tilghman said she would continue to uphold University policy and that the school would not reveal any further details about the circumstances leading to his termination.

“The specific events leading up to Professor Calvo’s abrupt leave from the University came out of a review whose contents cannot be disclosed without an unprecedented breach of confidentiality,” she said.

Shortly before his death, Calvo had been undergoing a routine reappointment review after his first three years as a senior lecturer.

According to Marco Aponte Moreno, Calvo’s close friend and a former University lecturer, “Antonio was confident that his contract was going to be renewed as the department had recommended his reappointment.”

Members of the department confirm that Calvo was expected to continue as a senior lecturer. “The department wanted to renew his contract but for whatever reason, they couldn’t,” said one undergraduate concentrator who asked to remain anonymous.

As a normal part of the review process, statements are solicited from coworkers of the faculty member in question. According to Aponte Moreno, only those with known problems with Calvo were asked to provide letters.

Instead of the reappointment Calvo expected, Aponte Moreno said, the University “decided to send a security guard to Antonio’s office on Friday, April 8, removing his keys and closing his email account.”

Calvo was not physically escorted from the building or from University grounds, as some outlets have reported, but he missed a scheduled meeting with a dean on the following Monday.

In the early hours of Tuesday, April 12, Calvo took his own life at his apartment in New York City. The cause of death was slash wounds on his neck and upper arm, according to the New York City medical examiner’s office.

In response to questions about the transparency of Calvo’s review process and accusations that the decision about his contract renewal was made based on intradepartmental politics, Tilghman denounced what she described as the “untrue and misleading rumors” that have been implicating “innocent individuals on campus.”

Those rumors sound perfectly true and the implicated individuals President Tilghman refers to sound anything but innocent.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

16 Nov 2010

Transforming Loyalties at Princeton

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Walter Kirn, in his autobiographical Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever, describes the post-modern English major experience and explains the nature of the conversion process to full membership in the contemporary elite educated community of fashion.

[A] suffocating sensation often came over me whenever I opened Deconstruction and Criticism, a collection of essays by leading theory people that I spotted everywhere that year and knew to be one of the richest sources around for words that could turn a modest midterm essay into an A-plus tour de force Herę is a sentence (or what I took to be one because it ended with a period) from the contribution by the Frenchman Jacques Derrida, the volume’s most prestigious name: “He speaks his mother tongue as the language of the other and deprives himself of all reappropriation, all specularization in it.” On the same page I encountered the windpipe-blocking “heteronomous” and “invagination.” When I turned the page I came across— stuck in a footnote—”unreadability.”

That word I understood, of course.

But real understanding was rare with theory. It couldn’t be depended on at all. Boldness of execution was what scored points. With one of my professors, a snappy “heuristic” usually did the trick. With another, the charm was a casual “praxis.” Even when a poem or story fundamentally escaped me, I found that I could save face with terminology, as when I referred to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as “semiotically unstable.” By this I meant “hard.” All the theory words meant “hard” to me, from “hermeneutical” to “gestural.” Once in a while I’d look one up and see that it had a more specific meaning, but later—some-times only minutes later—the definition would catch a sort of breeze, float away like a dandelion seed, and the word would go back to meaning “hard.”

The need to finesse my ignorance through such trickery-” honorable trickery to my mind, but not to other minds, perhaps—left me feeling hollow and vaguely haunted. Seeking security in numbers, I sought out the company of other frauds. We recognized one another instantly. We toted around books by Roland Barthes, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Walter Benjamin. We spoke of “playfulness” and “textuality” and concluded before we’d read even a hundredth of it that the Western canon was “illegitimate,” a veiled expression of powerful group interests that it was our duty to subvert. In our rush to adopt the latest attitudes and please the younger and hipper of our instructors—the ones who drank with us at the Nassau Street bars and played the Clash on the tape decks of their Toyotas as their hands crept up our pants and skirts—we skipped straight from ignorance to revisionism, deconstructing a body of literary knowledge that we’d never constructed in the first place.
For true believers, the goal of theory seemed to be the lifting of a great weight from the shoulders of civilization. This weight was the illusion that it was civilized. The weight had been set there by a rangę of perpetrators—members of certain favored races, males, property owners, the church, the literate, natives of the northern hemisphere—who, when taken together, it seemed to me, represented a considerable portion of everyone who had ever lived. Then again, of course I’d think that way. Of course I’d be cynical. I was one of them.

So why didn’t I feel like one of them, particularly just then? why did I, a member of the classes that had supposedly placed e weight on others and was now attempting to redress this crime, feel so crushingly weighed down myself?

I wasn’t one of theory’s true believers. I was a confused young opportunist trying to turn his confusion to his advantage by sucking up to scholars of confusion. The literary works they prized —the ones best suited to their project of refining and hallowing confusion—were, quite naturally, knotty and oblique The poems of Wallace Stevens, for example. My classmates and I found them maddeningly elusive, like collections of backward answers to hidden riddles, but luckily we could say “recursive” by then. We could say “incommensurable.” Both words meant “hard.”

I grew to suspect that certain professors were on to us, and I wondered if they, too, were fakes. In classroom discussions, and even when grading essays, they seemed to favor us over the hard workers, whose patient, sedentary study habits, and sense that confusion was something to be avoided rather than celebrated, appeared unsuited to the new attitude of antic postmodernism that I had mastered almost without effort. To thinkers of this school, great literature was an incoherent con, and I—a born con man who knew little about great literature—had every reason to agree with them. In the land of nonreadability, the nonreader was king, it seemed. Long live the king.

This lucky convergence of academic fashion and my illiteracy emboldened me socially. It convinced me I had a place at Princeton after all. I hadn’t chosen it, exactly, but I’d be foolish not to occupy it. Otherwise I’d be alone.

Finally, without reservations or regrets, I settled into the ranks of Princeton’s Joy Division—my name for the crowd of moody avant-gardists who hung around the smaller campus theaters discussing, enjoying, and dramatizing confusion. One of their productions, which I assisted with, required the audience to contemplate a stage decorated with nothing but potted plants. Plants and Waiters, it was called. My friends and I stood snickering in the wings making bets on how long it would take people to leave. They, the “waiters,” proved true to form. They fidgeted but they didn’t flee. Hilarious.

And, for me, profoundly enlightening. Who knew that serious art could be like this? Who would have guessed that the essence of high culture would turn out to be teasing the poor saps that still believed in it? Certainly no one back in Minnesota. Well, the joke was on them, and I was in on it. I could never go back there now. It bothered me that I’d ever even lived there, knowing that people here on the great coast (people like me— the new, emerging me) had been laughing at us all along. But what troubled me more was the dawning realization that had I not reached Princeton, I might never have discovered this; I might have stayed a rube forever. This idea transformed my basic loyalties. I decided that it was time to leave behind the sort of folks whom I’d been raised around and stand—for better or for worse—with the characters who’d clued me in.

29 Jul 2006

Yale’s Ironmen

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William N. Wallace, along with another 53,000 Americans, as a ten year old boy, attended an epic battle between Yale and Princeton on November 17, 1934, in which the Yale eleven, playing both offense and defense for all 60 minutes, rose up from a previously mediocre record to best an undefeated Princeton team, favored by three touchdowns, and widely believed to be headed for the Rose Bowl.

Playing both ways without substitutions won this Yale team, five seniors, three juniors, and three sophomores, the title of Ironmen. Only three other teams, post-WWI had ever played 60 minutes without substitutions (Michigan and Illinois in 1925, and Brown in 1926). Yale’s 1934 team at Princeton played the last Ironman game of college football ever played.

Stanley Woodward of The Herald Tribune declared of the upset:

Eleven Yale football players with constitutions of iron and dispositions of wild cats perpetrated the signal outrage of modern athletics in Princeton’s Palmer Stadium today.

Robert Kelley of the Times:

Yale defeated Princeton today by a score of 7-0. In that sentence is packed all the deep excitement of the most popular drama that football or any other sport knows, the rise of the man without a chance, the refusal of the underdog to play the role that has been assigned to him.

This Yale-Princeton game set the ten year old boy on his path in life. He grew up to become a professional sportswriter, and at the close of a fifty year career (including 35 years with the New York Times), has produced a book on the unforgettable 1934 game. His profiles of the members of that illustrious Yale team (and several of their Princeton rivals), offer fascinating snapshot portraits of American life in last century via his investigation of the players’ origins, and his account of Ivy League life during the Depression, the impact of WWII, and their varying ultimate fates.

11 Jan 2006

Joe Biden on Princeton

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Radio Blogger reveals that Joe Biden is more than a little conflicted about Princeton.

The pro-Princeton statements: It’s an honor to be here. It would have even been a greater honor to have gone here. &c. were from February 23, 2004.

The anti-Princeton statements: I didn’t even like Princeton…No, I mean I really didn’t like Princeton. &c. are from yesterday’s Alito hearing.

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Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.


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