Summers Resigns

by Kieran Healy on February 21, 2006

I wonder whether it’ll be possible to preempt the spin that this was all because of his silly remarks about women in science, and ergo Summers was forced out by intolerant liberals. Probably not — even though, you know, Summers is in fact a liberal and you may remember him serving in the Clinton administration. There’s a line from Douglas Adams that I think explains the real situation a lot better: “You’re a clever man … but you make the same mistake a lot of clever people do of thinking everyone else is stupid.” Not a good management style, especially at Harvard, even if your policy goals are worthwhile.

Email from Students

by Kieran Healy on February 21, 2006

Dan Drezner “picks up”: on today’s NYT article about students emailing their professors in slightly weird ways. I thought the article ran together several different kinds of email oddness, some of which are more of a problem than others. One thing it didn’t mention: even though universities give students email addresses, it’s often the case that students won’t use them. Instead they prefer their free hotmail or yahoo or gmail addresses. No problem as such there, except that sometimes the students pick the kind of addresses for themselves that aren’t exactly professional-quality. Frankly it feels a bit odd to correspond with, e.g., missbitchy23 or WildcatBongs about letters of reference or what have you.

_Addendum_: One other thing: Assistant Professor of English Meg Worley’s rule that students must thank her if they receive a response because “One of the rules that I teach my students is, the less powerful person always has to write back.” Very Foucauldian. Only not really. I think Erving Goffman makes the observation somewhere that the capacity to be gracious is actually an _aspect_ of being powerful, not something that’s _owed_ to the powerful. In any event, I thought it seemed a little snotty. _More_: In the comments thread to “this post”: by Tim Burke, Meg says she was misquoted, and the rules she says she talked to the reporter about are in fact quite reasonable. Stupid NYT.

Snark or boojum

by Henry Farrell on February 21, 2006

“Brad DeLong”: wrote a couple of weeks back:

bq. For a surprisingly large part of the time over the past six years, the Economist has been like Austin Powers without his mojo–has spent far too much time on its belly making craven and pathetic excuses for the incompetent, inept, mendacious, and malevolent George W. Bush administration. Now it looks like it may have its snark back.

Perhaps not for long: The _Guardian_ “tells us”:,,1714327,00.html that

bq. The editor of the Economist stepped down yesterday … The board hopes to appoint a new editor by the end of March. Contenders for the role include Emma Duncan, the former UK editor, who has been deputy editor since May, and US editor John Micklethwait.

I know nothing about Duncan, but devoted Timberites will remember that Micklethwait is co-author of the execrable “Right Nation”: He’s also, at the very least signed off on the increasingly hackish _Lexington_ columns of the last year or two, and there’s strong reason to believe that he’s their actual author. No better man for making “craven and pathetic excuses for the incompetent, inept, mendacious, and malevolent George W. Bush administration,” and if he gets the job, I suspect that we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the editorial pages of the _Economist_.

I’m not an economist, but…

by Maria on February 21, 2006

You know when you look at a word, and suddenly it appears to be spelt wrongly? ‘Vendor’ is a classic. Somehow you’ve stepped outside the frame, and the obvious no longer appears right.

I just cast my eyes over a press release from an Irish political party that shall remain nameless, and realised, ‘either this is a poor translation from the Manchurian or I have been abroad for way too long…”
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When you are a crazy person, as I am, you may find yourself awake early in the morning, having gotten up to nurse your baby and now being unable to fall asleep, as the room slowly whitens with dawn–you may find yourself, I say, thinking about gun control. That’s right, gun control.

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The Kingmaker

by John Q on February 21, 2006

Juan Cole translates an Al-Jazeera interview with the new kingmaker of Iraqi politics. In many ways, he’s just what the Bush Administration has been hoping for. He’s a Shi’ite but favors a broad government of national unity, reaching out to Sunni nationalists. He has an impeccable record of opposition to Saddam and isn’t compromised by any links to the occupation or to the interim Allawi regime. And while he’s previously called for an immediate pullout of US forces, he’s now prepared to accept a timetable for withdrawal.

He is, of course …

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