Category Archive 'Yale'
26 Feb 2020

Digby Dent on What’s Happened to Poor Vermont

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Glancing through the morning’s potential blog fodder, I found a Spectator piece on The Evolution of Vermont. The hijacking of that once-paradigmatic flinty conservative, rock-ribbed Republican state by goat-milking hippies and trust-fund bolsheviks is, to my mind, one of the true tragedies of our time. Seeing Ethan Allen and Calvin Coolidge replaced today by a crazy ranting Communist makes my blood boil.

The Spectator piece turned out to be a tongue-in-cheek philosophical reflection on the same theme by an imaginary old school WASP commentator from the Yale Class of ’89 named “Digby Dent.”

“Digby Dent” is the pseudonymous author of a more-or-less-monthly Wasp Life column, whose nom-de-plume is borrowed from the membership of a dynasty of two British admirals of the 18th Century. The current, quite talented Digby Dent turns out to be one Marlo Safi, a conservative Eastern-rite Catholic writer of Syrian extraction and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

The Digby Dent series links at the Spectator include only four columns going back to last November, but I found them all worth a read.

Getting back to Digby on Vermont:

I’ve wintered here all my life and during that time Vermont has, like old Digby’s marital status, seen three permutations. In my boyhood, it was a poor but charming backwater, chockablock with flinty, taciturn Yankees. By bright college years, hippies were making goat-milk ice cream and the cities were run by sex maniacs and communists. Now, Vermont’s resorts are as gauche as Saddam’s bathrooms, half the tourists don’t ski and one of the sex-maniac communists aspires to lead the free world.

The permanent things endure, of course. The Green Mountains are still beautiful and I’m told they still work them like dogs at the Putney School. Still, I have my doubts. Vermont has never been much for schools and still isn’t; consistency, I suppose. But you can’t have a student kicked by a mule in the Y of Our L 2020. The damn lawyers won’t have it.

Even the skiing has changed. Last year we got the best snow in ages, but the season is indisputably shrinking. Whatever the causes, and I won’t pretend to know a damned thing about them, the climate is changing. As a devoted conservationist, I’ve done my part. The four-door I keep at my summer cottage carries a ‘Preserve the Sound’ plate. …

When I strode through Phelps Gate and onto the Street in ’89, I was full of vim and vigor, with big, bold plans to bend the world of junk bonds to my will. Those went the way of my waistline and slackened over time. That’s why God invented pleated pants.

As the gal pal clears away lunch and I watch the sun set over the woods, I think about … about my marriages, my career and all the vaporous dreams of youth, these last evanescent as a retreating shoreline. The world will be fine long after we’re gone.

RTWT


“Digby Dent” aka Marlo Safi.

20 Feb 2020

He’s Right: Yale Caved

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Rod Dreher notes that, within many of our most elite institutions, like Yale, the fanatical revolutionary Left has already won.

Last year, I spoke to a Soviet-born scholar who teaches in an American public university. I’m using a quote from our discussion in my forthcoming (September) book, Live Not By Lies. This morning, she sent me this e-mail, which I reproduce here with her permission:

    I know from your blog that the work on your new book is going well and I’m glad because, boy, it’s so needed. I’m observing some disturbing developments on my campus, and we are really not one of those wokester schools for spoiled brats one normally associates with this kind of thing.

    This academic year I’ve had an opportunity to work with some early-career academics. These are newly-minted PhDs that are in their first year on the tenure-track. What’s really scary is that they sincerely believe all the woke dogma. Older people – those in their forties, fifties or sixties – might parrot the woke mantras because it’s what everybody in academia does and you have to survive. But the younger generation actually believes it all. Transwomen are women, black students fail calculus because there are no calc profs who “look like them,” ‘whiteness’ is the most oppressive thing in the world, the US is the most evil country in history, anybody who votes Republican is a racist, everybody who goes to church is a bigot but the hijab is deeply liberating. I gently mocked some of this stuff (like we normally do among older academics), and two of the younger academics in the group I supervise actually cried. Because they believe all this so deeply, and I’d even say fanatically, that they couldn’t comprehend why I wasn’t taking it seriously.

    The fanatical glimmer in their eyes really scared me.

    Back in the USSR in the 1970s and the 1980s nobody believed the dogma. People repeated the ideological mantras for cynical reasons, to get advanced in their careers or get food packages. Many did it to protect their kids. But nobody sincerely believed. That is what ultimately saved us. As soon as the regime weakened a bit, it was doomed because there were no sincere believers any more. Everybody who did take the dogma seriously belonged to the generation of my great-grandparents.

    In the US, though, the generation of the fanatical believers is only now growing up and coming into its prime. We’ll have to wait until their grandkids grow up to see a generation that will be so fed up with the dogma that it will embrace freedom of thought and expression. But that’s a long way away in the future.

    I’m mentoring a group of young scholars in the Humanities to help them do research, and I’m starting to hate this task. Young scholars almost without exception think that scholarship is entirely about repeating woke slogans completely uncritically. Again, this is different from the USSR where scholars peppered their writing with the slogans but always took great pride in trying to sneak in some real thinking and real analysis behind the required ideological drivel. Every Soviet scholar starting from the 1970s was a dissident at heart because everybody knew that the ideology was rotten.

    All of this is sad and very scary. I never thought I’d experience anything worse, anything more intellectually stifling than the USSR of its last two decades of existence. But now I do see something worse.

    The book you are writing is very important, and I hope that many people hear your message.

Folks, Americans are extremely naive about what’s coming. We just cannot imagine that people who burst into tears in the face of gentle mockery of their political beliefs can ever come to power. They are already in power, in the sense that they have mesmerized leaders of American institutions. I’m telling you, that 2015 showdown on Yale’s campus between Prof. Nicholas Christakis and the shrieking students was profoundly symbolic. Christakis used the techniques of discursive reason to try to establish contact with these young people. None of it mattered. They yelled and cursed and sobbed. The fact that he disagreed with them, they took as an assault on their person.

And Yale University caved to them!

RTWT

18 Feb 2020

The Salovey Administration Destroys Another Great Yale Department

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The late Vincent Scully lecturing Eurocentrically years ago.

Heather MacDonald, BK ’70, demolishes the cant being used to justify remodeling Yale’s once-illustrious History of Art Department into a distribution center for Marxist agitprop and Multicultural Identity Stroking.

By 1974, when I enrolled at Yale, its faculty had long since abdicated one of its primary intellectual responsibilities. It observed a chaste silence about what undergraduates needed to study in order to have any hope of becoming even minimally educated; curricular selections, outside of a few broad distribution requirements, were left to students, who by definition did not know enough to choose wisely, except by accident. So it was that I graduated without having taken a single history course (outside of one distribution-fulfilling intellectual history class), despite easy access to arguably the strongest American history faculty in the country. Scully’s fall semester introductory art history course has been my anchor to the past, providing visual grounding in the development of Western civilization, around which it is possible to develop a broader sense of history.

But now, the art history department is junking the entire two-semester sequence, as the Yale Daily News reported last month. Given the role that these two courses have played in exposing Yale undergraduates to the joys of scholarship and knowledge, one would think that the department would have amassed overwhelmingly compelling grounds for eliminating them. To the contrary, the reasons given are either laughably weak or at odds with the facts. The first reason is the most absurd: the course titles (“Introduction to the History of Art: Prehistory to the Renaissance” and “Introduction to the History of Art: Renaissance to the Present”). Art history chair Tim Barringer apparently thinks students will be fooled by those titles into thinking that other traditions don’t exist. “I don’t mistake a history of European painting for the history of all art in all places,” he primly told the Daily News. No one else would, either. But if the titles are such a trap for the Eurocentric unwary, the department could have simply added the word “European” before “Art” and been done with it. (Barringer, whose specialities include post-colonial and gender studies as well as Victorian visual culture, has been teaching the doomed second semester course—a classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse.)

Barringer also claims that it was “problematic” to put European art on a pedestal when so many other regions and traditions were “equally deserving of study.” The courses that will replace the surveys will not claim to “be the mainstream with everything else pushed to the margins,” he told the Daily News. Leave aside for the moment whether the European tradition may legitimately form the core of an art history education in an American university. The premise of Barringer’s statement—that previously European art was put on a pedestal and everything else was pushed to the margins—is blatantly false. The department requires art history majors to take two introductory-level one-semester survey courses. Since at least 2012, the department has offered courses in non-Western art that can fulfill that requirement in lieu of the European surveys. Those classes include “Introduction to the History of Art: Buddhist Art and Architecture”; “Introduction to the History of Art: Sacred Art and Architecture”; “Global Decorative Arts”; “The Politics of Representation”; and “The Classical Buddhist World.” No one was forced into the two Western art courses.

Nor would anyone surveying the art history catalogue think that Yale was “privileging” the West, as they say in theoryspeak. That catalogue is awash in non-European courses. In addition to the introductory classes mentioned above, the department offers “Japan’s Classics in Text and Image”; “Introduction to Islamic Architecture”; “The Migrant Image”; “Sacred Space in South Asia”; “Visual Storytelling in South Asia”; “Aztec Art & Architecture”; “Black Atlantic Photography”; “Black British Art and Culture”; “Art and Architecture of Mesoamerica”; “The Mexican Cultural Renaissance, 1920– 1940”; “Painting and Poetry in Islamic Art”; “Aesthetics and Meaning in African Arts and Cultures”; “Korean Art and Culture”; “African American Art, 1963 to the Present”; “Art and Architecture of Japan”; “Textiles of Asia, 800–1800 C.E.”; and “Art and Politics in the Modern Middle East,” among other courses. The Western tradition is just one among many. Nevertheless, Marissa Bass, the director of undergraduate studies in the department, echoed Barringer’s accusation of Eurocentrism. The changes recognize “an essential truth: that there has never been just one story of the history of art,” Bass told the Daily News. But Yale does not tell just one story of the history of art. Department leaders have created a parody of their own department simply in order to kill off the Western survey courses.

Those courses must also be sacked because it is impossible to cover the “entire field—and its varied cultural backgrounds—in one course,” as the Daily News put it. If this statement means that the span of time covered in each of the one-semester Western art classes is too large, non-Western survey courses are as broad or broader. “Chinese Painting and Culture” covers 16 centuries. “Power, Gender, and Ritual in African Art” covers nearly two millennia. “Introduction to the History of Art: Buddhist Art and Architecture” covers seven centuries. “Introduction to the History of Art: Sacred Art and Architecture” covers several millennia. None of these courses is facing extinction.

Barringer promises that the replacement surveys will subject European art to a variety of deconstructive readings designed to pull that tradition down from its alleged pedestal. The new classes will consider Western art in relation to “questions of gender, class, and ‘race,’” he told the Daily News in an email, carefully putting scare quotes around “race” to signal his adherence to the creed that race is a social construct. The new courses will discuss the involvement of Western art with capitalism. Most intriguingly, the relationship between Western art and climate change will be a “key theme,” he wrote.

Barringer’s proposed deconstruction of Western art illustrates a central feature of modern academia: The hermeneutics of suspicion (Paul Ricoeur’s term for the demystifying impulse that took over the humanities in the late 20 century) applies only to the Western canon. Western academics continue to interpret non-Western traditions with sympathy and respect; those interpreters seek to faithfully convey the intentions of non-Western creators and to help students understand what makes non-Western works great. So, while the replacement European art survey courses will, in Marissa Bass’s words, “challenge, rethink, and rewrite” art historical narratives, the department will not be cancelling its Buddhist art and architecture class due to the low representation of female artists and architects, nor will it “interrogate” (as High Theory puts it) African arts and cultures for their relationship to genocidal tribal warfare, or Aztec art and architecture for their relationship to murderous misogyny.

A must-read.

29 Jan 2020

Yale’s Latest PC Gesture Makes the Spectator

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cole_thomas_the_course_of_e
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1833-1836, New York Historical Society.

James Panero tells us that Yale imported a Cambridge bolshie to “decolonize” the History of Art Department.

Are we in our own revolutionary moment? Many of our leading institutions clearly believe so. Yale University has been working overtime to prove it is on the right side of history. ‘Problematic’ colleges have been renamed. ‘Offensive’ stained-glass windows have been knocked out. Only the leadership of an Ivy League school could spread such a poisonous rash. Heading the charge against the Dead White Male has been a progressive Yale bureaucracy that is, for the most part, pale and stale.

Now the task of dismantling Yale’s famous art history survey course has fallen to a scholar I respect, Tim Barringer. British-born, Barringer is the Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University and has been a leading curator at the Metropolitan Museum. He even mounted the Met’s exceptional 2018 exhibition on Thomas Cole.

Following a 2017 mandate to ‘decolonize’ Yale’s Department of English, Barringer is giving over the keys of Yale’s famous art survey course to the identity vandals. According to the Yale Daily News, instead of one class that will tell the story of art from ‘Renaissance to the Present’, new courses will, Barringer says, be devised to consider art in relation to a five-step history lesson, ‘questions of gender, class and race’, with further discussion of art’s ‘involvement with Western capitalism’. Of course, ‘climate change’ will also be a ‘key theme’.

Art doesn’t fare well in revolutionary times. Likewise, revolutionary sentiments are often revealed in the treatment of art. If only Professor Barringer had looked more carefully at another five-step history lesson, Thomas Cole’s ‘Course of Empire’ tableau (1833-36), he might have seen how civilizations burn down from decadence as well as assault.

RTWT

That whirring sound you hear in the background is grand old Yale Art History professors, men like Sumner Crosby who taught the Gothic Cathedral course and Charles Seymour who taught the Italian Renaissance Art course, who fished for salmon together every summer on the Upsalquitch, spinning in their graves at 78 RPM.

25 Jan 2020

Yale Kills Renowned Art History Survey Course

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Jan Matejko, Stanczyk during a Ball at the Court of Queen Bona after the Loss of Smolensk, 1862.

July 1514: Stanczyk, the famous jester of Sigismund the Old, was renowned for his cynical humor, but Matejko shows the jester in a private moment of despair in a palace anteroom outside the royal ball being given by Queen Bona Sforza. On the table next to the jester, we see dispatches announcing the fall of Smolensk to the Muscovites. Alone among the denizens of Poland’s royal court, only Stanczyk the jester forsees with dread the rise of Moscow and the destruction of the Commonwealth.

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If Stanczyk were employed as jester these days at Yale Universuty in New Haven, Connecticut, he’d probably looked similarly after reading this Yale Daily News story.

Yale will stop teaching a storied introductory survey course in art history, citing the impossibility of adequately covering the entire field — and its varied cultural backgrounds — in one course.

Decades old and once taught by famous Yale professors like Vincent Scully, “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” was once touted to be one of Yale College’s quintessential classes. But this change is the latest response to student uneasiness over an idealized Western “canon” — a product of an overwhelmingly white, straight, European and male cadre of artists.

This spring, the final rendition of the course will seek to question the idea of Western art itself — a marked difference from the course’s focus at its inception. Art history department chair and the course’s instructor Tim Barringer told the News that he plans to demonstrate that a class about the history of art does not just mean Western art. Rather, when there are so many other regions, genres and traditions — all “equally deserving of study” — putting European art on a pedestal is “problematic,” he said.

“I believe that every object I discuss in [“Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present”] (with the possible exception of one truly ghastly painting by Renoir) is of profound cultural value,” Barringer said in an email to the News. “I want all Yale students (and all residents of New Haven who can enter our museums freely) to have access to and to feel confident analyzing and enjoying the core works of the western tradition. But I don’t mistake a history of European painting for the history of all art in all places.”

Instead of this singular survey class, the Art History Department will soon offer a range of others, such as “Art and Politics,” “Global Craft,” “The Silk Road” and “Sacred Places.” Barringer added that in two or three years, his department will offer a substitute class to “Introduction to Art History.” But the new class “will be a course equal in status to the other 100-level courses, not the introduction to our discipline claiming to be the mainstream with everything else pushed to the margins,” Barringer said.

RTWT

It’s essential, you see, to flatter the amour propre of representatives of Identity Victim Groups (specially recruited and affirmatively actioned into Yale) by assuring them that the crude carvings of devils and bogeys their Stone Age ancestors turned out are the equivalent of Michelangelo’s David.

20 Jan 2020

Yale Faculty Members Say Yale Needs Political Diversity

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Jessica Custodio, at Campus Reform, reports:

While Yale University has been pushing for an increased diversity of staff based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, some faculty members are speaking out about the lack of political diversity.

The Yale Daily News spoke with professors at the Ivy League institution for their perspectives on data from the school’s Office of Institutional Research showing that faculty diversity is on the rise when it comes to gender and culture.

Many criticized what they claimed to be a lack of effort to have a faculty body surrounding the current political ideology seen throughout the nation. The publication referenced a 2017 survey revealing that close to 75 percent of Yale professors self-identify as liberal with less than 10 percent identifying as conservative.

“Yale talks a lot of diversity, but basically all that diversity means here is skin color… there’s definitely no diversity here when it comes to politics,” said history professor Carlos Eire.”

“The liberal point of view is taken to be objective-not an opinion, not a set of beliefs, said Eire, adding that his own views are nonpartisan, “There’s an assumption that goes unquestioned that if you’re not part of the herd groupthink there’s something wrong with you.”

“[It’s] not helpful if you want to have an open society with creative and productive political dialogue… if everything you say is immediately invalid because you are not virtuous then there’s no dialogue,” Eire added.

Computer science professor David Gelernter agreed with his colleague, saying that the political diversity at Yale is “0 percent” and that there are “few conservatives, including prominent ones.”

“Of course, not many conservatives exist in most academic fields. But there’s no competition to get them either,” Gelernter added.

English professor Mark Oppenheimer spoke of his experience attending Yale as a student and compared it to the state of affairs today.

“My sense today is that the social cost that one would pay for having certain conservative views is very strong… and that effectively is a form of censorship, because to say people can say what they want, but they might pay for it by having far fewer friends, or being shunned, is not really to say that they can say what they want.”

RTWT

14 Jan 2020

The Late Harold Bloom

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Harold Bloom, right, with John Ward of Oxford University Press in New York on April 17, 1970.

The Yale Alumni Magazine, in the latest issue, collects anecdotes about the late Harold Bloom, testifying to both his genius and his eccentricity.

Bloom was wearing a stretched-out orange sweater, and he had begun reading from the moving Conclusion to Walter Pater’s The Renaissance. While continuing to recite (he knew this, like all texts, by heart), Bloom began to remove the sweater. But it got stuck as it passed over his head, so we could hear oracular utterances about life’s irredeemable evanescence continue to come from out of a gyrating mass of wool, until, the garment subdued at last, Bloom pronounced: “That is the most profound thing that was ever written.”

–Richard Brodhead ’68, ’72PhD
Bird White Housum Professor of English at Yale
Dean of Yale College 1993–2004
President of Duke 2004–2017

Harold was as devoted a teacher as I’ve ever known. “I am,” he often said, “a teacher first and last, and they’re going to have to carry me out of the classroom in a coffin.” It came close to that: he taught on Thursday, and died on Monday.

He was hungrier for poetry than anyone I have ever encountered. Once, when my wife and I were over at the house on Linden Street—just after he’d returned from a long stay at rehab following an illness—we were sitting in the living room and talking when Harold’s eyes shifted a little to the right of, and just above, my shoulder while I was midsentence. He’d spotted the mailman coming up the path to the front door, and interrupted me: “Peter, could you get the mail?” as we heard the storm door opening and the bundles hitting the floor. I brought them to him. He began ripping into envelope after envelope with his teeth, clutching his cane, and ignoring us entirely. “Harold, expecting something important?” I asked him. Without looking up, and in total seriousness, he answered: “Maybe someone has sent me a great poem.” Most writers I know run the other way when other people’s poems draw near; there was the great Bloom, at 81 or so, just back from a hospital stay, panting after them like a golden retriever.

–Peter Cole, Senior Lecturer in Judaic Studies and
Comparative Literature

RTWT

03 Jan 2020

Latest from Yale

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Milestones in the secularization of a university:

1899 – Yale installs its first president who is not an ordained clergyman.

1926 – Mandatory chapel-service attendance for Yale undergraduates abolished.

1958 – Communist William Sloane Coffin appointed Yale Chaplain.

2019 – In an apparent bid to stave off marginalization and irrelevance, the Yale chaplain’s office offers undergraduates access to a toddler-style bouncy castle.

“Check out our new Bouncy Castle for your anxiety relief needs. Bring a friend and bounce out your stress. We’ll be up around campus when the weather is nice. Follow us at #YaleChaplainsBounce”

HT: John Brewer.

02 Dec 2019

“Today’s Yale Grads Aren’t Qualified to Lead in the 21st Century”

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Esteban Elizondo is only a senior at Yale, but he’s indignant enough to be an alumn.

Last weekend, 148 students stormed the field at the Harvard-Yale game to protest climate change, causing a 50-minute delay and forcing the players to finish in the dark. The Post editorial board called it “the college-version of a toddler’s meltdown,” and that is exactly right. As a current Yale student, I am constantly stunned by the childish behavior of my peers, who are voting-age adults attending what is supposedly one of the most prestigious colleges in America.

At Yale, there is seemingly a new protest every week. Each protest carries the same juvenile self-righteousness, enabled by a university administration that never dares to challenge its student body.

Yale “first-years” arrive on campus curious and mostly capable, but the university quickly proceeds to bubble-wrap their young minds, eliminating any trace of discomfort from their college experience. Rather than allowing students to learn through adversity, the administration creates a safe space where students are never told “no.” Instead, they’re provided with amenities ranging from therapy puppies to sandboxes — more fitting of a day-care center than a university.

Rather than confront its student body with uncomfortable truths, the university creates an alternate reality, where the only opinion that matters is yours, especially if you’re a leftist. Earlier this month, a group of students painted their faces white and began wailing outside a classroom as part of a protest against professor Emma Sky, whom they lazily branded a “war criminal” because she once served as an advisor to the commanding general of US forces in Iraq and the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

To be clear, professor Sky has dedicated her entire adult life to peace in the Middle East, and her calming influence during the war no doubt saved countless lives. But the students made no legitimate attempts to academically engage with her and claimed this was “interdisciplinary research” on the “ethnography of power.” Incredibly, this antic was part of a student’s senior project that was awarded both funding from a residential college and school credit.

The Harvard-Yale football protest, meanwhile, called for both schools to divest from fossil fuels, as though this could actually solve climate change, when the real answers are far more difficult and complicated. Apparently, America’s most academically successful students believe that conducting juvenile demonstrations is a more effective way to fix problems than proposing actual solutions.

But at Yale, there is little interest in challenging infantile thinking, because doing so would not advance the university’s objective: making sure students stay happy in school and get employed after graduation to satisfy its paying customers (parents). As a result, Yale undergrads spend four years totally detached from the rest of America and graduate without the skills needed to become future leaders who can meet the complex challenges of the 21st century.

In Yale’s defense, the college and other “elite” schools are successful at placing their students in influential positions. And we are now beginning to see the consequences of these graduates entering the real world. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, for example, was stacked with Ivy League-educated staffers, including Robby Mook (Columbia ’02, campaign manager) and Amanda Renteria (Harvard MBA ’03, national political director).

However, acquiring a good job and being good at that job are not the same thing. In the same way that Yale students believe in progressive ideas about climate change and intersectional politics with a religious certainty, Clinton’s campaign arrogantly assumed that voters from Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would never pull the lever for Trump. Had Clinton’s team questioned their beliefs, as the best colleges once taught its students to do, staffers would have made her visit those states rather than taking victory laps in October.

Listening to the latest Democratic presidential candidates — whose ideas were mostly forged in ivory towers — suggests this won’t change anytime soon. Given their academic pedigrees (14 of the original 24 declared candidates attended Ivy League schools), it isn’t surprising how out of touch they are. Promising to eliminate private insurance and advocating for open borders does not endear oneself to the average American.

This sense of immunity from the real world could be heard at last Saturday’s protest, where some students shouted “My father is a lawyer!” to police officers trying to persuade them off the field. These protesters did not sound like people who have faced true hardship or even learned the basics of a proper argument. But then again, why would they? They were taught to avoid all that at Yale.

06 Nov 2019

Education at Yale Today

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Make-up-wearing students lie on the floor protesting outside Yale Global Affairs classroom.

The Oldest College Daily‘s latest this morning featured the following item.

Five Yale students staged a protest outside of Global Affairs professor Emma Sky’s classroom on Tuesday afternoon after University administrators forbade them from entering and distributing a pamphlet criticizing the professor.

“Open your eyes, open your ears, you are being taught by those you should fear,” chanted the protestors, disrupting Sky’s 110-minute Global Affairs class titled Middle East Politics. Protestors — Zulfiqar Mannan ’20, Casey Odesser ’20, Hazal Özgür ’20, Nika Zarazvand ’20 and Francesca Maviglia MPH ’20 — said they initially intended to enter Sky’s seminar and distribute pamphlets calling their professor a war criminal.

But a Yale Police Department officer and Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarribar prevented students from entering the classroom. …

In an interview after the protest, Odesser told the News that she thought the University’s response to the protest foreclosed discussion about Sky’s previous involvement in Afghanistan.

“I am incredibly disappointed with the way that the University rejected our proposal to honestly, earnestly and creatively engage with [the students in the class],” Odesser said. “I’m appalled and horrified at how no one will talk to us engage with us and instead perceive us as a threat.”

According to Mannan, who is a staff writer for the News, the project was largely inspired by “the revolutionary aspect” of Paradise Lost and draws inspiration from the Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and Shaikh Sarmad.

While Mannan and Odesser received a Creative and Performing Arts Award from Morse College for their project, the college is now “re-evaluating if they are still able” to fund the project, Mannan said. The reason for the college’s reevaluation remains unclear. The Morse Head of College Office could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.

Odesser said that the project was not meant to be disruptive. She explained that the group had originally planned to “perform a slinky, sexy catwalk” into the classroom and silently place a pamphlet on each of the students’ desks. She said she believed that many students in Sky’s class have “not confronted the levels of hypocrisy and violence — like white feminism — that is propagated by her class.”


Zulfiqar Mannan ’20 shares (I’m not sure what possessive pronoun’s) viewpoint on the protest.

RTWT

Looking at all this, I inevitably wonder why so many exotic specimens of humanity from remote parts of the world, holding alien worldviews, with native perspectives often unfriendly to the United States, are given places in the undergraduate student body at Yale.

I cannot help but think that out there somewhere are five Christian All-American A-student American Eagle Scout heterosexuals far better qualified to provide leadership to this country. Yale was founded to supply Congregationalist ministers to the Colony of Connecticut. Extending that charter obligation to provide leaders in a variety of fields to the nation was a logical evolutionary development. Exactly why and how that mission has been extended to the provision of sexually-ambiguous pseudo-intellectual activists to the Middle East seems mysterious to me.

And, yes, I think plenty of alumni would like to know what Morse College thinks it is doing funding this kind of thing.

25 Oct 2019

Yale Wins!

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The Harvard Crimson uncritically reports the sexual assault survey which proves that it’s a lot more dangerous to send your daughter to an elite Ivy League school than to have her walk home at midnight through the worst neighborhood in Chicago.

But, hey! at least Yale comes out on top!

A national sexual misconduct climate survey administered to universities across the country earlier this year revealed that most schools did not see a significant change in the prevalence of sexual assault compared with incident rates four years ago, according to the results released earlier this month.

The American Association of Universities survey found that among similarly sized peer institutions, Harvard’s rate of sexual misconduct tended toward average.

Harvard’s prevalence rate of “nonconsensual sexual contact” for undergraduate women was within a percentage point of both Stanford’s and Brown’s. Harvard and Stanford both saw rates of roughly 33 percent, while Brown’s rate is 34 percent. Yale’s rate is higher at 39 percent, while MIT’s is lower at 27 percent.

RTWT

And some people just don’t understand why ordinary Americans have lost confidence in the wisdom and judgment of our national elite establishment.

15 Oct 2019

Harold Bloom, 11 July 1930 — 14 October 2019

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Harold Bloom, Yale Sterling Professor of English, author of 40 books, and defender of the Western canon died yesterday at age 89.

Some Twitter comments on his death:

Michael Kimmerman:

Armed with a photographic memory, Professor Bloom could recite acres of poetry by heart — by his account, the whole of Shakespeare, Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” all of William Blake, the Hebraic Bible and Edmund Spenser’s monumental “The Fairie Queen.”

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Alexandra Brodsky:

Never speak ill of the dead, like Harold Bloom, who told my American lit seminar that we should feel free to report his sexism and homophobia to the university president who, Bloom explained, would rather hide under his desk than fire him.

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Anne Applebaum:

Harold Bloom was once asked why he was writing a multi-volume history of literary theory. “I can’t sleep anyway,” he said.

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In 1999, Emmy Chang of the Yale Free Press interviewed Professor Bloom, and got a good sample of Bloom talk.

YFP. In the Shakespeare book you mention that since Shakespeare, we’ve taken more after Iago than Othello’we’ve learned more from Iago. And I wanted to ask you if you thought that was Shakespeare’s fault or if it was our fault.

HB. That question’s unanswerable because we have been so formed by Shakespeare. That I think is the irony of [the Tenure Action Coalition]’the words they use are frequently words that he invented, that weren’t in the language until he coined them. I think that it was Owen Barfield who said that it can be positively humiliating for us to realize that what we want to call our emotions, turn out to be Shakespeare’s thoughts. Shakespeare is the Canon because Shakespeare is ourselves, and the answer therefore to the question of, Is the way in which we’ve imitated Iago our fault or Shakespeare’s fault, is both. I’m not sure that until you have the representation you call Hamlet, that you have anywhere, (in any language I’m able to read anyway), someone who changes every time he or she speaks, and who does it by this weird thing of overhearing oneself, which I can’t find before Shakespeare. But if you’re really going to talk about Shakespeare’s culpability’so far as I can tell, Shakespeare invented what Nietzsche, and Dostoevsky, and others afterwards started to call nihilism. It’s a pure Shakespearean invention.

YFP. [I wondered] whether you think the people who say that Shakespeare has nothing to say to them’whether it’s just a question of their being unwilling to listen, or if it’s actually possible that they can’t hear.

HB. Let me tell you an anecdote. As part of the early manifestation of [the Cornell Revolution of ‘68-‘69], the black students of the university were instructed by their leadership to go into the library stacks and bring out as many books as they could carry and just dump them on the front circulation desk with the dramatic statement, ‘These books are irrelevant to me as a black student.’ And it so happened [that] I was trying to check out a book at just that moment, when a young lady dumped a huge armful of books right next to me and shouted, ‘These books are irrelevant to me as a black student.’ And one slid over to me’it was the Oxford edition of the Collected Poems of John Keats. And I said to the young lady, who scowled at me, ‘Are you quite sure that the poetry of John Keats is irrelevant to you? Have you read any of the poems of Keats?’ And she looked at me angrily and repeated, ‘These books are irrelevant to me as a black student,’ and off she marched. So. But what can I possibly say to that? That’s ideological, isn’t it? To arrive here and say that it’s your function to obliterate the best that has been read, the best that has been thought and said, in thirty centuries. They should go somewhere else. If they really think Shakespeare is irrelevant to them, why do they want to go to a university anyway? To get a union card of some kind?

YFP. You said before that we read to learn to talk to ourselves.

HB. I am not, as you know, a Shakespeare scholar, just an enthusiast…I assume that reading Shakespeare with the whole intensity of your being and with your awakened mind, with all of you, it’s bound to be a kind of training in consciousness. I assume that that is as good a way of awakening that [inner] spark, of lighting it up, or of making that pneuma, that breath, come faster, and stronger, than any other. [It] doesn’t necessarily make you a better person, [but it] certainly [makes] you a more capacious soul than you were already. I really feel that I can teach a more or less receptive and sensitive Yale undergraduate how enormous a work Shakespeare’s Hamlet is… You can teach people’you can open them to wonder. To more wonder. Which is what Shakespeare is for. I talked [in Shakespeare] about awe as being the proper response. Maybe the really proper response is wonder.

HT: John Brewer.

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