panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2005 09:41 pm
Icky. I missed the grovel
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2005 09:43 pm
Marvellous ability to interpret Summers you've got goin' on there, Georgeob.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2005 09:52 pm
Well it was sad to see. He should have made an ironic reference to Gallileo and the Inquisition, and made fun of his detractors.

The academic culture in this country, particularly in the most prestigous universities has become an absurd farce.

One is reminded of the old Yankee epithet -- "Them ez can, do. Them ez can't, teach."
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 05:04 am
panzade wrote:
Nobody can make Summers apologize if he doesn't want to. As far as I've read, the Harvard aristocracy likes the job he's doing so far. I believe he apologized for not being precise enough, not because he had uttered a politically incorrect mantra. He was definitely surprised at the hoopla.

Appropriately so, in my opinion. After all, he wasn't assuming the role of a pope proclaiming a religious doctrine ex cathedra -- not even that of a social scientist presenting a paper. Instead, according to his own words, the intent of his speech was "to think about and offer some hypotheses as to why we observe what we observe without seeing this through the kind of judgmental tendency that inevitably is connected with all our common goals of equality." In the context of him opening a conference and pitching a few hypotheses to its participants, I don't see anything Summers said as being out of line.

Certainly not out of line enough to merit the witch hunt he received.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:09 pm
The thing is though, the radical libs won't let him off the hook once there is blood in the water. AOL news this morning was telling of one department giving him a 'no confidence' vote due to his 'management style' etc. The PC police are relentless and if they want to get him, in today's academnia, I think they'll get him.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:21 pm
"Blood in the water?" Like the blood we see of our soldiers in Iraq?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:24 pm
I think I picked this up in the New York Times too, Foxfyre. If I remember correctly, their beef was with Summers' autocratic management style, and the women thing only played a minor role. Summers' management style had been the target of faculty complaints well before he made those remarks at the conference. Without any special knowledge of Harvard's internal politics, I'm guessing that as far as the faculty is concerned, Summers' remarks were only the straw that broke the camel's back. It is the reaction outside Harvard that worries me.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:30 pm
It seems the Trustees of the university has high regards for Summers. Without really knowing the internal politics, it's difficult to come to any conclusions as to his ability to lead the university - even though I disagree with his thesis about women's inability to compete in math and science.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:47 pm
I'd forgotten about this, wanted to post after I read about the "no confidence" thing.

I agree with Thomas that it seems to be more about his leadership in general than this one thing.

I guess I don't really know how big of a deal it is outside of Harvard. This thread is the only thing I've seen, which means nothing about how much there is, just how much of it I've seen -- about the only TV I watch is children's programming these days.

For me, I'm satisfied with: he said something pretty dumb, which as the president of an extremely influential university, and explicitly in the context of a conference called "Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce", was just that. Dumb. It wasn't just something he said, like, over coffee, it was something he said in the capacity of president of Harvard University at an academic conference on this very subject.

If he'd said the dumb thing and then apologized for it (as he did) that'd be pretty much the end of the story for me.

While I'm never a fan of witch hunts (and don't know if one is in process), I think that's separate from pointing out it was dumb.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:14 pm
Judging by what I read in the last two months, it was a very big deal outside Harvard, with several feminist organizations calling for him to resign. I have no problem with saying 'woah, this is dumb!' -- that's what academic discusion is for -- but that's fundamentally different from saying: 'This man shouldn't have a job'. The Anita Borg Institute, an organization for the advancement of women in science and engineering, has a timeline that looks comprehensive and competent, judging by the titles of the links in it. (UPDATE: Here is another list of reactions from the "Women in math" project at the University of Oregon in Eugene.)
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:31 pm
I think you are probably right Thomas. Because Summers is also getting votes of confidence from other staff, and it is only the traditional 'ultra-liberal' groups that I've seen going after him, I think the speech is what set them off and now they'll accuse him of everything they can think of, including war, poverty, and all injustice in the world. (Okay I'm being melodramaic and exaggerating wildly, but you get my drift.)

Then I ran across the following piece today that is interesting for two reasons: 1) It reinforces the initial post in this thread pointing out that feminist hysterics might get the feminists what they want, but the rest of us hate it because we can never know whether we've made it on our own merits or whether we are being capitulated to in order to make some quota. 2) The target of the current rant is none other than Michael Kinsley of famous CNN "Crossfire" fame-- he was on the left side of the crossfire. (He is also one of those rare liberals in the media that I do appreciate and respect.)


Feminists Get Hysterical
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:34 pm
Looks like we're both saying the same thing, Thomas -- losing his job over this specific thing (not as it fits in to his general leadership style), not so much. Saying it's dumb, sure.

A lot of the discussion here has been whether it was even dumb, and implications thereof.

For example, if it was actually dumb, it can't be pure PC to call it dumb.

Thanks for the timeline, interesting.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:41 pm
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb... The real question is whether his beliefs impacts how he does his job as a university president, not that he made some dumb statement.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:45 pm
And I really don't like these long, tedious posts, but this one is also pertinent to the topic and won't be available to google in a few days, so here it is. (And I'm starting to feel really sorry for Susan Estrich) Smile

Exerpted from the following:
Quote:
. . . .These thoughts arose, in other words, out of work I've done as a journalist and columnist for nearly 20 years. But in the past 72 hours I've discovered that I am not just an ordinary journalist or an ordinary columnist. No. I am a token. . . .

. . . .This is a storm in the media teacup, but it has echoes in universities, corporations and beyond. I am told, for example, that there is pressure at Harvard Law School, and at other law schools, to ensure that at least half the students chosen for the law review are women. Quite frankly, it's hard to think of anything that would do more damage to aspiring female lawyers. Neither they nor their prospective employers will ever know whether they got there as part of a quota or on their own merits. There's nothing wrong with a general conversation about how women can be helped to succeed in law school or taught not to fear having strong opinions. But trust me, in none of these contexts do you want to start calculating percentages. . . .



Writing Women Into a Corner

By Anne Applebaum
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; Page A23

This week I had planned to write a column about Sinn Fein, the political front organization for the Irish Republican Army, whose leaders have recently been linked to acts of murder and grand larceny. I chose the subject because I wrote often about the IRA while living in Britain in the 1990s, because I've worked as a reporter in Belfast, because it's timely -- tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day -- and because there might be lessons in the story for Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist groups that may or may not be able to make the transition to democratic politics as well.

These thoughts arose, in other words, out of work I've done as a journalist and columnist for nearly 20 years. But in the past 72 hours I've discovered that I am not just an ordinary journalist or an ordinary columnist. No. I am a token.

That, at any rate, is what I conclude from the bumper crop of articles, columns and blogs that have, over the past few days, pointed to the dearth of women on op-ed pages. Several have pointed out that I am, at the moment, The Post's only regular female columnist. This was not the case when I moved here, just over two years ago. At that time both Mary McGrory, a fixture for several decades, and Marjorie Williams, a witty and accomplished journalist, were writing regularly as well. By tragic coincidence, both died in the past year.

Possibly because I see so many excellent women around me at the newspaper, possibly because so many of The Post's best-known journalists are women, possibly because I've never thought of myself as a "female journalist" in any case, I hadn't felt especially lonely. But now that I know -- according to widely cited statistics, which I cannot verify -- that only 10.4 percent of articles on this newspaper's op-ed page in the first two months of this year were written by women, 16.9 percent of the New York Times's op-ed articles were by women, and 19.5 percent of the Los Angeles Times's op-eds were by women, lonely is how I feel. Or perhaps the right phrase is "self-conscious and vaguely embarrassed."

This conversation was sparked, as media junkies will know, by a bizarre attack launched on Michael Kinsley, now the editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times, by Susan Estrich, a self-styled feminist. In a ranting, raving series of e-mails last month, all of which were leaked, naturally, Estrich accused Kinsley of failing to print enough articles by women, most notably herself, and of resorting instead to the use of articles by men, as well as by women who don't count as women because they don't write with "women's voices."

Here I declare an interest: Michael Kinsley hired me to write an op-ed column when he was the editor of the online magazine Slate. As for Estrich, I don't know much about her at all, except that she's just launched a conversation that is seriously bad for female columnists and writers. None of the ones I know -- and, yes, I conducted an informal survey -- want to think of themselves as beans to be counted, or as "female journalists" with a special obligation to write about "women's issues." Most of them got where they are by having clear views, knowing their subjects, writing well and learning to ignore the ad hominem attacks that go with the job. But now, thanks to Estrich, every woman who gets her article accepted will have to wonder whether it was her knowledge of Irish politics, her willingness to court controversy or just her gender that won the editor over.

This is a storm in the media teacup, but it has echoes in universities, corporations and beyond. I am told, for example, that there is pressure at Harvard Law School, and at other law schools, to ensure that at least half the students chosen for the law review are women. Quite frankly, it's hard to think of anything that would do more damage to aspiring female lawyers. Neither they nor their prospective employers will ever know whether they got there as part of a quota or on their own merits. There's nothing wrong with a general conversation about how women can be helped to succeed in law school or taught not to fear having strong opinions. But trust me, in none of these contexts do you want to start calculating percentages.

In the paragraph I have remaining (this, girls, is truly the hardest thing about newspaper columns: making the idea fit the space) I'm not going to discuss the thorny question of whether some affirmative action policies do some good, of whether newspapers matter anymore anyway, or even return to the subject of Sinn Fein. Those are complex, gender-neutral issues, and I've now used up my allotted weekly slot on a "women's issue" instead. Happy, Susan Estrich?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38563-2005Mar15.html
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 04:00 pm
I have a comment on the initial post of this thread. Assuming the observed paradox is real -- I'm not sure how realistic this assumption is -- I think it could be explained by the shifting rationale for affirmative-action-like systems of quotas and preferences. When they were first introduce, the rationale was that blacks (and women, and ...) were basically similar to whites (and men, ...). The main reason quotas and preferences seemed necessary was to rectify the effects of past discrimination.

Fourty years after the Civil Rights Act, this argument is loosing traction, and a new one has surfaced. Its claim is that blacks, and women, and whoever the quotas are supposed to favor, have a unique perspective on things, and that this makes diversity a compelling enough state interest to override the 14th Amendment's protections against preferential treatments of any kind. With this in mind, it would make sense for privilege-seeking interest groups to make the "we're all created equal" argument for historical reasons and the "we have a unique perspective" argument to adapt to the shifting rationale for such privileges.

As I said, I'm not sure to which extent this is really happening in the US. The New York Sun article seemed kind of axe-grinding to me.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 04:12 pm
Thomas writes
Quote:
Fourty years after the Civil Rights Act, this argument is loosing traction, and a new one has surfaced. Its claim is that blacks, and women, and whoever the quotas are supposed to favor, have a unique perspective on things, and that this makes diversity a compelling enough state interest to override the 14th Amendment's protections against preferential treatments of any kind. With this in mind, it would make sense for privilege-seeking interest groups to make the "we're all created equal" argument for historical reasons and the "we have a unique perspective" argument to adapt to the shifting rationale for such privileges.


But does not this bring us full circle? Those who see blacks and whites as intellectual, physical, psychological, emotional equals and those who see male and female as intellectual, physical, psychological, emotion equals should expect everybody's perspective to be the same should they not? If there are no differences other than an incidental penis, an incidental womb and/or pigmentation of skin, then how can there be a female persepctive or a black persepctive? And if there are differences, would that not suggest the possibility of different inate abilities?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 04:34 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
If there are no differences other than an incidental penis, an incidental womb and/or pigmentation of skin, then how can there be a female persepctive or a black persepctive?

As a general rule, I don't think there is. There may be exceptions to this rule. For example, I can imagine that a musical conservatory might find an 'affirmative action' like policy useful for getting a good balance of musical styles. But as a rule, I think these 'unique perspectives' are fiction, and that affirmative action and friends have no good reason left to exist.

Nevertheless, it's there, and some people have a stake in keeping it alive. You can expect these people to come up with reasons for doing so. And if there are no real reasons left, they'll come up with ficticious ones, like the one about 'unique perspective'.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 04:35 pm
(Duplicate)
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 05:00 pm
I agree that in most cases affirmative action now does more harm than good. The greatest good that came from it was in breaking down cultural barriers. Once a mixed and diverse society began to 'feel' normal, that war was won, and it has been won for decades now.

I certainly want to be hired on strength of my credentials and track record and not due to my race or my gender or any other irrelevant criteria (unless a specific race or gender is necessary for the job.) I don't want to be a 'token' or get a job to meet some quota.

But I still am not convinced there are not genetic differences built into us via gender, race, ethnicity, culture, etc. and these differences will in part explain both our strengths and our weaknesses.'

I'm still thinking about whether I think that extrapolates into a 'unqiue perspective' though. Smile
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2005 09:53 am
I'm not sure I follow you, Fox. You're saying that if there are no differences in ability then there can be no differences in perspective (which I don't really agree with) but then you say that you do believe there are differences in ability, but you're not sure if that extrapolates into a unique perspective? I'm just curious what you're thinking of when you say unique perspective.

We all have differing abilities AND differing perspectives. Certainly myself and my 6 foot tall brother are both equally capable of washing our hands, but we probably have differing perspectives on how high a bathroom sink should be.
0 Replies
 
 

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