Category Archive 'Yale'
16 May 2018

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr. (1931–2018)

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When his Yale professors rejected the topic of his thesis – Communist influences on American writers, 1928–1942 – Wolfe showed his versatility in a letter to a friend dated June 9, 1956:

These stupid fucks have turned down namely my dissertation, meaning I will have to stay here about a month longer to delete all the offensive passages and retype the sumitch. They called my brilliant manuscript ‘journalistic’ and ‘reactionary,’ which means I must go through with a blue pencil and strike out all the laughs and anti-Red passages and slip in a little liberal merde, so to speak, just to sweeten it. I’ll discuss with you how stupid all these stupid fucks are when I see you.”

Molliter Ossa Cubent. [“May the earth lay lightly on his bones.” — Ovid, Heroides, VII, 162.]

HT: Vanderleun.

27 Apr 2018

“Huddle” (1932)

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My wife Karen and I watched last night an old movie I had recorded earlier that day from TCM, set at Yale.

IMDB describes the plot:

Tony, the son of Italian immigrants, works in a smoky steel mill in Gary, Indiana. He wins a company scholarship which will enable him to attend Yale college. Over the four years of his college career he learns about football, love, and class prejudice.

I can add more. Tony Amato’s (Ramon Navarro) four-year scholarship to Yale amounts to $2000 ($500 a year for tuition, room and board)!

Tony arrives at Yale (we see lots of real images of the Yale campus), and starts rooming in Fayerweather Hall, part of the long-gone Berkeley Oval that was torn down in the early 1930s.

Rooms in Fayerweather Hall were a lot bigger than in Yale residence halls in my day, and –even for Freshman Italians on scholarship– they were two-person, three-room suites! The evil Yale Administration later turned all of those into four person, three-room suites: more money to spend on hiring additional bureaucrats and funding Identity Studies Departments.

Life at Yale circa 1932 was not all rosy, however. Conniving upperclassmen arrived rapidly to meet gullible freshmen and to sell them all the furniture that came as part of the room. The audience twigs to what is going on when, after upperclassman 1 has already collected for a bureau, bed, mattress, and carpet, along comes upperclassman 2 trying to sell the same bureau.

You would think that Tony would have more problems, as a working-class Catholic of immigrant background, and an Italian to boot, fitting in. He does have a pretty thick (Mexican) accent, which he never really loses. But his suit is just fine. The only problem he has is his slightly Italianate hat. It is a bit too Chico Marx, and when it is negatively remarked upon, Tony discards it and goes bare-headed, but that, too, is a faux pas for a Yale freshman. Before long, the problem is resolved. Tony gets a perfectly suitable fedora, just like those worn by everybody else.

Surprisingly, Tony has no academic difficulties at all. We see little of him in class, but –as the football coach assures him– “You’ll learn more here outside the classroom!”

Even more surprisingly, Tony has no financial problems. He can keep up with his rich classmmates without difficulty. He dresses the same. He is never seen laboring at any student job. He hangs out at Mory’s and intends to join DKE, just like all the millionaires.

The only financial issue is the romantic one: he falls in love with a young heiress, but her father in a private talk persuades Tony that it would be wrong for him to let her marry someone like himself, lacking the means to keep her in her accustomed life style. Tony gallantly gives her up, but the young lovers –of course– do get back together in the end, complete with the rich dad’s approval.

Tony does have social problems. He is too arrogant and pushy and insensitive to others. He is bull-headed and, despite a promising start, messes up at football. His teammates and contemporaries at Yale write him off. He does not receive membership in Deke, and his best friend and roommate nobly declines his own bid out of solidarity with Tony.

The best scene, I thought, came when the angry Tony starts trying to fist fight his football coach in the coach’s office. The older coach has some defensive skills and a good punch, and he knocks Tony down. Tony barely resists the temptation to (unsportingly) pick up a blunt object and try evening the odds, and the two men wind up reconciled and friends again, laughing, admiring each other’s shiners, and the coach tending to Tony’s facial wounds.

The fateful Harvard game nears. Tony is unfortunately unwell. He covertly consults a doctor off-campus. It is appendicitis! The doc wants to hospitalize the young man and operate immediately, but Tony escapes and goes to play in the Big Game.

Predictably, Tony is visibly unwell. He performs poorly and gets benched. But as the fourth quarter’s end draws near, with the game still tied 0-0, Tony begs to go back in, and scores a touchdown. He then fails again and Harvard ties in the final moments of the game.

After the game, at the post-game banquet, students are speaking ill of Tony’s performance, but Tony’s roommate indignantly breaks his vow of silence and tells them Tony is lying near death in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. Now, they know.

In the final scene, we see Tony’s class marching into Woolsey Hall in graduation robes. The girl charges up and kisses Tony, while her father and his classmates applaud.

Real Yale students performed as extras for $5 a day (big money in 1932). The film incorporates lots of absolutely delightful real scenes of the Yale campus and New Haven. And you get to hear a ton of Yale songs, including the now-I-think-forgotten:

“Oh! More work for the undertaker,
‘Nother little job for the casket maker
In the local cemetary they are
Very very busy with a brand new grave:
No hope for Harvard, No hope for Harvard!”

And:

And a number of fraternity songs not heard in many years.

11 Apr 2018

“Free Speech” at Yale

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Woodbridge Hall, home of the Yale Administration.

How leftist exactly is Peter Salovey’s Yale Administration? So leftist that its representatives will strong-arm Yale students to prevent them from counter-demonstrating when a leftist pseudo-labor organization (i.e., a “union” of graduate students) stages a “strike” in order to shakedown the university.

Current undergraduate Esteban Elizondo describes “free speech at Yale” today in the Washington Examiner.

In April 2017, the Yale College Republicans and I organized a counter-protest against graduate students’ symbolic “hunger strike” for unionization. Our counter-protest was a barbecue right next to the grad students, but either a mistake was made or someone regretted sanctioning our event, because a few hours after the event was approved, I received an email from Holloway asking for me to call him. That is when he delivered his admonition to me.

During the barbecue, participants were actively forbidden by Director of Administrative Affairs Pilar Montalvo from engaging with the graduate student union, lest we be shut down. Montalvo’s office had a view of the protests, and when we disobeyed, she stormed out onto the plaza wildly, reiterating her threats. I later learned that it was Montalvo, who works in the Office of the President, who contacted multiple deans at Yale to pressure me to cancel the barbecue.

Regardless of who is ultimately right, it is important that campuses encourage controversial discourse. It is through these conversations that we seek out truth, and intellectual controversy should be an essential part of any university. Yale shamefully attempted to stifle a peaceful counter-protest at multiple levels and forbade two ideologically different groups from engaging with each other.

The larger message Yale intended to send us was clear: Certain discourse is forbidden on campus. Yale simply maintains the facade of free speech to pacify students and the press while intentionally fostering a campus with little ideological debate. Yale professors usually prefer classes without rigorous debate, and I noticed that, controlling for quality, students generally received higher marks when they conformed to the professor’s opinion.

RTWT

27 Mar 2018

Interpreting the Bolton Appointment

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John Bolton’s entry in the 1970 Yale Old Campus (the kind of entering freshmen yearbook that inspired Facebook). “CC” means he was in (the recently renamed) Calhoun College.

Charles Hugh Smith offers some over-the-top, and consequently amusing, speculations on the meaning of Bolton’s National Security Advisor appointment.

This wing of the Deep State, unquestionably in charge until the election of Donald Trump, finds Trump, well, interesting. Trump can congratulate Vladdy Putin on his shoo-in re-election one day and eject a bunch of Russian diplomats the next.

This sort of non-linear, non-ideologically pure “policy” (or lack thereof) discombobulates the Deep State, which is accustomed to presidents rubber-stamping their agenda and supporting their narrative.

They’re having a tough time controlling Trump, as it’s difficult to read how best to play him: is Trump a master of the Crazy Ivan or is he just winging it? Assuming the latter leaves those acting on that premise vulnerable to a Crazy Ivan once Trump has extracted whatever value he sought from the person or policy.

So how do we decrypt the appointment of Bolton? Here are two possibilities:

1. Trump appointed bete noire Bolton to do the dirty work of cleaning house and ridding the National Security Council and staff of any loyalists to previous presidents or cliques. This Bolton seems prepared to do with both alacrity and relish. This appointment also throws a bone to those demanding a harsher, more interventionist foreign policy.

Once Bolton has cleaned house and disrupted or fired the status quo holdovers from the Obama administration, he’ll be fired like everyone else. Crazy Ivan!

2. The neo-liberal /neo-conservative /neo-colonial wing of the Deep State has given up trying to evict Trump from the White House or manage him. Both of these strategies carry high risks and the assessment has likely been made that both have not just failed, they’re increasingly counter-productive, eroding the legitimacy of those pushing them.

So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump: Trump appoints Bolton, whom the Deep State views as the adult supervising the playground, and in return, the Mueller investigation goes away and the Clintons will finally lose the protection of the security agencies. (They’ve become enormous liabilities anyway, and there’s no benefit to the high cost of continuing to protecting them.)

RTWT

28 Feb 2018

Now That’s What We Need: “A Kinder And More Generative Masculinity”

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The old Yale.

Back in 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Princeton ’17, in This Side of Paradise described “The Idea of the Yale Man” this way:

    I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.”

    Monsignor chuckled.

    “I’m one, you know.”

    “Oh, you’re different—I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic—you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors—”

    “And Yale is November, crisp and energetic,” finished Monsignor.

    “That’s it.”

    They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.

The Yale man in fiction was traditionally portrayed as the All-American, square-shooting man-of-action. Fictional exemplars included Frank Merriwell, Dink Stover, Flash Gordon, and even Bruce Wayne.

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At least one millenial undergraduate these days has lots of problems with that tradition.

Jun Yan Chua (a senior in Saybrook), in the OCD, writes:

Today, the idea of the “Yale Man” inspires disdain. Memes that denigrate Yale men proliferate on Facebook… Some of this outrage is well-deserved: At its worst, Yale masculinity can be sinister — indeed, criminal — as evidenced by recent allegations about sexual assault at Delta Kappa Epsilon and other fraternities. …

As scholars of gender studies have understood for years, the “patriarchy” harms men as well as women. By setting an impossibly high standard for the elusive, ideal Yale Man, the dominant culture condemns the vast majority of men to fall short, prompting them to act out and hurt others — primarily women. …

To be a “successful” Yale Man is to check off a daunting list of boxes. One must be tall, fit and subtly dressed. Outgoing and social, but not loud or crass. Not just funny and intelligent, but effortlessly so. In reality, few live up to the demands of the normative Yale Man, yet his specter lives on as a figment of our cultural imagination, haunting we who fall short.

While women face similar pressures, men probably have fewer ways of conforming to this aesthetic of Yale cool. You can be the idealized boy next door — the frat bro or student-athlete, who also happens to be in Phi Beta Kappa. Or you might become a Yale politico — Yale Political Union extraordinaire in the streets, policy wonk in the sheets. Or you could be a man of arts and letters — think theater, a cappella or The New Journal. Fall outside these tropes, and goodbye social capital. The intense pressure leads Yale men to seek out sites of male bonding, only to find that these, too, disappoint, with their petty cruelties and oversized egos.

I exaggerate, but only slightly. In fact, the vision of the idealized Yale Man has a long cultural history. In 1912, Owen Johnson published his best-selling novel, “Stover at Yale,” which documents the titular character’s attempts at navigating Yale’s social hierarchies. Driven by its ladder of fraternities and societies and its emphasis on football, brutal competition characterized Yale at the turn of the 20th century.

That atmosphere took a toll on real-life as well as fictitious Yalies. …

We urgently need to reimagine Yale masculinity. … So how might we create a kinder and more generative masculinity? Instead of focusing on Yale cool as an aesthetic, let’s transform it into an ethic. Rather than fixate on who we are, let’s think about what we can do — for ourselves as for others. And let’s tell more varied stories about “real men” at Yale — stories of redemption as well as perfection, of struggle as well as triumph, of vulnerability as well as strength.

I expect the reader can easily imagine what I think of people who take courses in “Gender Studies,” who take that kind of contemptible nonsense seriously, and my response to the idea of a “Kinder and More Generative Masculinity.” The latter phrase provokes in my mind the image of a frail, sissified young man sitting on an egg.

20 Feb 2018

Deconstructing Whiteness at Yale

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Claudia Rankine, genius!

Claudia Rankine is a professional aggrieved-African-American. In 2014, she received the National Book Award for poetry for Citizen: An American Lyric, a tract exposing America’s “systemic racism.”

Two years later, she was awarded the $625,000 MacArthur genius grant for her poetic efforts at making people “understand that whiteness is not inevitable, and that white dominance is not inevitable.”

So thoroughly committed to its own denunciation is the American Establishment, that Rankine is now teaching a combined English/African American Studies course at Yale.

Yale Course Catalog:

* ENGL 233B/AFAM 232B, CONSTRUCTIONS OF WHITENESS Claudia Rankine
An interdisciplinary approach to the study of whiteness. Discussion of whiteness as a culturally constructed and economically incorporated entity, which touches upon and assigns value to nearly every aspect of American life and culture. HU [meaning its a “Humanities” area course]
T 1:30 PM — 3:20 PM

The College Fix obtained a copy of the course syllabus, which explains that the goal of the class is to “create a lab for the construction of counternarratives around whiteness in any creative form: play, poem, memoir, etc.”

The class is divided into eight topics: Constructions of Whiteness, White Property, White Masculinity, White Femininity, White Speech, White Prosperity, White Spaces and White Imagination.

Readings include: Michael Kimmel’s “Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era,” Richard Dyer’s “White: Essays on Race and Culture,” and Richard Delgado’s and Jean Stefanic’s “Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror,” Hazel Carby’s “White Woman, Listen!,” Juliana Spahr’s “My White Feminism,” and Professor Rankine’s own work, “The White Card.”

Obviously, if you are a normal person, you would think that the United States has for the last 60-odd years made constant and extravagant, even sometimes highly questionable, efforts to eliminate racism and to integrate and advance African-Americans.

It is painfully obvious that Ms. Rankine’s awards, recognition as a poet and “genius,” her opportunity to teach at Yale, and the very recognition of the nonsense and stupidity that she professionally spouts as some kind of serious discourse worthy of inclusion in the curriculum of a great university constitutes racial favoritism requiring the most extreme kind of intellectual and moral acrobatics on the part of the precise tippy-top of this society’s establishment.

But when you can get $625,000 genius awards, national literary prizes, an apartment in a Manhattan high rise, and a teaching gig at Yale, all for whining, complaining, and kicking your benefactor culture and society in the teeth, you are obviously going to bitch, and whine, and kick to a fare-thee-well.

Personally, I’d rather pay these kinds of people to sing about Jesus and play the banjo.

02 Feb 2018

Whiffenpoofs (and the Senior Girls Imitation Group) Go Totally PC

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Not a satire. This is from today’s Yale Daily News:

Breaking with more than a century of tradition, the Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm, Yale’s all-male and all-female senior a capella groups, announced on Thursday that this year both groups will consider accepting singers of all genders.

According to a joint announcement posted on Facebook, Whim ’n Rhythm will from this point on describe itself as, “SSAA,” — or Soprano I and II and Alto I and II — rather than all-female, while the Whiffenpoofs will use the label “TTBB,” or Tenor I and II, Baritone and Bass. The statement called these terms “more informative of the art [they] create” and “more inclusive” to members past, present and future, especially those who identify as transgender, gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming.

“Instead of talking about the membership of the group, [we want to] talk about the people who make that type of music,” said Kenyon Duncan ’19, the music director of the Whiffenpoofs. “We’re trying to make this as much about the music and ease gender boundaries.”

The statement also announced a series of changes designed to close the “gap in opportunity” between the two organizations. The Whiffenpoofs, well-established in the world of a cappella, take a year off from school to tour the world, while the much newer Whim ’n Rhythm tours internationally only during the summer and performs locally throughout the year. Whim ’n Rhythm also brings in significantly less revenue than do the Whiffenpoofs — during fiscal year 2013, for example, Whim ’n Rhythm’s earnings amounted to less than a quarter of the Whiffenpoofs’.

With these changes, the announcement said, the two groups hope to “more explicitly link” together as two performing bodies representing the same Yale senior class.

Next year, both the Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm classes of 2019 will have the option to take a leave of absence or remain enrolled at Yale, with rehearsal, performance and tour schedules defined by each future class of singers. And the groups’ operations will become more cohesive in the future, through a joint website with shared booking information and closer integration of the two groups’ business teams. The statement also expressed a commitment to expanding the SATB — of Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass — repertoire so that Whim and the Whiffs can more often perform together on campus and for clients.

The joint decision to go all-gender as well as to implement the set of changes announced resulted from a prolonged conversation among all 28 members of the Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm classes of 2018 over the past six months about how to make senior a cappella at Yale more equitable.

RTWT

27 Jan 2018

From Yale, the Painfully Embarrassing and Appalling News Keeps on a-Coming

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laurie-santos
Current Head of Silliman College: Laurie Santos, Harvard ’97 A.B psychology & biology, ’03 Ph.D. psychology.

The new all-time record enrollment Yale course is a 1200-student T-group taught by Yale’s own equivalent of Oprah, the new “Head” of Silliman College, appointed right after all the Snowflakes-of-Color chased Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika off-campus and right out of town for the hideous thought-crime of defending free Halloween costume expression (!).

NYT:

On Jan. 12, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, “Psychology and the Good Life,” roughly 300 people had signed up. Within three days, the figure had more than doubled. After three more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled.

The course, taught by Prof. Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview.

“With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

Dr. Santos speculated that Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what she called “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time at the school. …

Students have long requested that Yale offer a course on positive psychology, according to Prof. Woo-Kyoung Ahn, director of undergraduate studies in psychology, who said she was “blown away” by Dr. Santos’s proposal for the class.

Administrators like Dr. Ahn expected significant enrollment for the class, but none anticipated it to be quite so large. “Psychology and the Good Life,” with 1,182 undergraduates currently enrolled, stands as the most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history. The previous record-holder — “Psychology and the Law”— was offered in 1992 and had about 1,050 students, according to Prof. Marvin Chun, the Yale College dean. Most large lectures at Yale don’t exceed 600.

Offering such a large class has come with challenges, from assembling lecture halls to hiring the 24 teaching fellows required. Because the psychology department lacked the resources to staff it fully, the fellows had to be drawn from places like Yale’s School of Public Health and law school. And with so many undergraduates enrolled in a single lecture, Yale’s hundreds of other classes — particularly those that conflict with Dr. Santos’s — may have seen decreased enrollment.

At the start of the semester the class was divided between a live lecture in 844-seat Battell Chapel, a historic place of worship on campus, converted to a lecture hall, and one or two smaller auditoriums where several hundred more students watched a live stream of Dr. Santos. After several weeks, the decision was made to move the lectures to Woolsey Hall, usually the site of events like symphony performances, which can accommodate the entire class.

RTWT and weep.

In the old days, the huge draw classes were things like Vince Scully’s History of Architecture and the draw factor was simply the sheer brilliance and encyclopedic knowledge of the lecturer. Rather than lining up in droves for tea and sympathy and advice on finding happiness, the Yalies of my day would have laughed Laurie Santos right off the stage.

24 Jan 2018

Yale Let Accusers Text Each Other to Coordinate Testimony Against Male During Title IX Hearing

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When, back in 2011, Obama Justice Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali sent her infamous “Dear Colleagues” letter to essentially every college and university in the land advising them of her department’s intent to expand Title IX to require what amounts to permanent sexual harassment witch-hunting in order to protect women from any potential “hostile environment,” and requiring them to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard to adjudicating complaints instead of the beyond a reasonable doubt standard normally used in criminal cases.

Yale’s leftist Salovey regime eagerly embraced Russlynn Ali’s radical agenda and the chickens are now inevitably coming home to roost, as one lawsuit after another from male students victimized by the new kangaroo court processes start piling up.

The College Fix posted some gory details from one current suit that Yale obviously deserves to lose.

The suit describes how Doe learned that Jane and Sally (the “complainants”) appeared to have coordinated their testimony:

    As the hearing progressed, John Doe’s advisor heard one of the complainants make a statement identical to the complainant who had just been before the panel, even referencing what her friend had just said. John Doe’s advisor sent a text to the UWC Coordinator to ask if the two complainants had been allowed to listen to each other’s testimony throughout the hearing.

The secretary of the UWC later confirmed that both Sally and Jane could hear the entire proceeding live, and the UWC’s counsel said the committee didn’t have to follow “proper protocol with regard to sequestering witnesses” because Doe asked for a single hearing panel to hear both complaints, according to the suit:

    Allowing the complainants to reference each other’s statements to the hearing panel to influence and further support her own individual complaint was prejudicial, denying the panel and later the decision maker the opportunity to adjudicate the charges against John Doe in a fair and impartial manner.

When Doe asked the hearing panel to query Sally about whether she had “exchanged any text messages” with Jane during the hearing, after a “long hesitation” she admitted to it. The suit claims that Sally’s texts revealed that her statements to the panel were “untrue” about the nature of their texts.

Yet the texts that the hearing panel asked Sally and Jane to turn over might not have been their full conversation, because those texts also alluded to Snapchat messages that morning “that could not be retrieved.”

Yale refused to declare a “mistrial” based on this coordination between Sally and Jane, requiring Doe to give the panel “evidence from the text messages to support his assertion of collusion by the complainants,” the suit says.

RTWT

06 Jan 2018

Yale Obviously Blew It

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John Caldwell Calhoun, Y’ 1804, 1782-1850.

When the Salovey Administration cravenly surrendered to the snowflakes and renamed Calhoun College. After all, as (Dartmouth man) John Hinderaker notes, even hyper-progressive California is these days drawing upon John C. Calhoun’s theories of Concurrent Majorities and States’ Rights.

Who ever thought that John C. Calhoun would emerge as a key political thinker of the 21st Century? I certainly didn’t, but that is exactly what has happened.

RTWT

13 Dec 2017

Peter Salovey’s Christmas Card

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If you were a member of the Yale community, you received this Christmas card (carefully designed to avoid so much as mentioning Christmas) from Yale President Peter Salovey.

11 Dec 2017

“That’s Why I Toured Yale”

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Alumni cringed back in 2010 when the Admissions Office released its execrable “That’s Why I Chose Yale” recruiting video. (Reviled here and here)

Well, Time replaces the jejune just as it does the superb, and the Yale Admissions Office (seven years later) has issued a brand new video with only a slightly modified title.

The guides are computer major Simone (who needs to wash her hair) and double major Classics and Political Science Sam (who seems a little gay). From the very start, biases toward the demotic and the “diverse” are pronounced. As the tour begins moving away from Phelps Gate on the Old Campus, guide Sam calls for musical accompaniment and a string quarter batting out “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” appears out of nowhere, only to be rejected in favor of “something with a beat.”

We had already previously been promised that, at Yale, one could study with “a renowned Shakespeare scholar” and “perform slam poetry at a cultural center.” When we get to the libraries, we are informed that Beinecke contains “one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts, including ancient Egyptian papyrus, one of Beethoven’s original scores, and (inadvertent crashing anticlimax) manuscripts written by Langston Hughes.” (!)

Clearly, we are being given to understand that Yale is a fashionista establishment institution, only too eager to reject standards and judgment, trivialize the canon, and concede equality of cultural prestige to tokens. “We don’t want Mozart, we want something with a beat.” “Shakespeare wouldn’t do without some slam poetry on the side.” “Langston Hughes is purportedly somehow on a par with Beethoven.”

At Yale, the sciences we learn are “hands on,” and you won’t just sit through lectures, struggle through your labs, and get hammered with quizes and exams, no, no no. Why Yale science students “innovate solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.” Back in my day, all we did was try to pass the exams. We did, however, avoid the joke explosion ending the laboratory portion of the tour.

It gets painful to watch when they start touting the Yale residential college system. Today, college assignment, we are assured, is totally random. But residential colleges all have individual distinctive identities and traditions. (Presumably random ones.)

The college we get to see is Silliman, infamous site of the Christakis lynching and the shrieking student. There is no Master of Silliman now. The title of Master was deemed offensive and changed to “Head.” In the old days, college masters were male, aged, and distinguished scholars. Silliman’s “Head” these days is Laurie R. Santos, obviously a two-fer token (female and Hispanic), barely 40, and a canine cognitive studies specialist from the Psych Department. The video assures us that she ensures that each student feels welcome and gets to know every single one of them personally. She even apparently beats them at chess. In my day, most of us were on nodding-and-saying-hello terms with our College Master. He never specifically made any of us “feel welcome” nor did he tuck us in at night.

The residential colleges seem even more loaded with amenities today. They still have pool tables and ping pong, but there was no mention of squash courts. Colleges seem to have in-house non-dining hall after hours food facilities, which they call butteries. In the old days, there was one Buttery, on the ground floor of Durfee, which sold candy and such like during very limited evening hours. The colleges now all have their own work-out rooms, the Yale Gym clearly being too far to walk.

And so on.

This video is not as actively embarrassing, I suppose, as its predecessor, but it still leaves the alumni viewer slightly nauseated.

It is so offensively self-congratulatory, politically correct, and millennial-ish. One sort of feels like alien beings from the Planet of PC Tools have taken over Yale. They smile all the time. They think all the right thoughts. They worship materialism and success, but they are strangely empty. They have no dignity, no gravity. Ideas, Art, Culture are all just names and baubles to these people, ornamental trinkets lying around a grand nest of human magpies.

There is all this goody-goody-ness, but there is no sense whatsoever of Tradition, History, Duty, Honor, or Respect for the Past.

If I’d seen this video in high school, I would not have wanted to go to Yale.

05 Dec 2017

Native Americans Back on the Warpath at Yale

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The Oldest College Daily reports that hula dancing by unauthorized persons is a problem.

The Association of Native Americans at Yale this weekend condemned Shaka, an all-female Polynesian dance group, for appropriating Hawaiian and Tahitian culture and demanded that the group disband.

In a letter posted to its Facebook page Saturday afternoon, ANAAY condemned Shaka for “sexualizing and homogenizing Native [American] peoples, misrepresenting and erasing histories and political realities, and attempting to depoliticize inherently political culture and communities under colonial subjugation.”

RTWT

If shimmying in a grass skirt is “cultural appropriation,” how come spouting Marxist BS isn’t?

02 Dec 2017

The End of Yale Commons

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Yale Commons Dining Hall closed forever.

The Yale Alumni Magazine forwarded on Facebook the above image.

Commons, a nearly block-long dining hall in which Yale Freshman Classes dined together for generations was built 1901-02 in the Beaux-Art style as an architectural gesture celebrating the University’s Bicentennial.

It was originally the whole University’s dining hall, but after the construction of the residential colleges early in the 1930s (each of which had its own dining hall), Commons was used by the Freshman Class, which resided not in the colleges, but rather in the dormitory halls of the Old Campus. The Yale freshman was allowed so many meals monthly in his future residential college’s dining hall, but was expected to take most meals in Commons.

The Salovey regime has been reducing meal service in Commons for some years seeking to economize on service costs. Finally, a donation of $150 million from Steven A. Schwarzman ’69, the Blackstone Group private equity magnate, was arranged to fund the conversion of the grand dining hall into some sort of a cultural center.

I was a scholarship student and my first Bursary job consisted of making toast and busing tables at Breakfast in Freshman Commons. I was proud to be working for a bit of my tuition, and I made a point of appropriating a rose or carnation from one of the table vases for a boutonnière and displaying a foulard silk handkerchief in the breast pocket of my white serving jacket.

I entered Yale in the old 1960s days of male-only classes when coats-and-ties were required in dining halls.

After we returned from the holidays, months could go by before roads were passable and mixers started up again. A Yale freshman, by late February, might not have so much as caught sight of a young woman for six weeks or more.

I remember one particularly wintry Wednesday in that cheerless month. New Haven streets and Yale paths were icy. It was cold and sleeting outside. The sun had set long before dinner time. We were making the best of mid-week dinner in Commons, happy enough to be inside under a roof and out of New Haven’s weather.

Suddenly, the door swung open, and in walked a tall, blond classmate, wearing black tie (!) to dinner in Commons, and accompanied by an absolutely beautiful young lady in an evening gown. The Class of 1970’s collective jaw dropped. As one man, we stood up in admiration and applauded.

They may have “cultural events,” but they will never have anything in the renovated and remodeled Schwarzman Center as insouciant and superb as that glorious couple.


A few years ago.

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