"Vogue" profile of Hillary Clinton

HRCSoSVia RealClearPolitics, check out “Her Brilliant Career,” a flattering profile of Hillary Clinton, by Vogue writer Jonathan Van Meter, who accompanied the Secretary of State on her trip to Africa this past summer and met with her several times over the past few months.  (The on-line version is apparently shorter than the one that appears in the December 2009 issue of the magazine.)  It’s a little breathless and celebrity-lite, like most Vogue profiles, but it contains some interesting news.  For example:

  • Hillary Clinton watches Mad Men, and says, “That’s how it was! . . . [t]hat’s why the women’s-liberation movement was so shocking. It was like news from outer space.”
  • The Secretary of State comes to The Building without makeup, and then puts on her own face. Continue reading

Excellence without Money!, part III: Knowledge without Books!

knowledgewithoutbooksAnother in our occasional series on the Great Recession and the crisis in funding public institutions of higher education, with thanks to Moose at Roxie’s World for coining the phrase “Excellence without Money!”

Johann Neem, an Associate Professor of History at Western Washington University, has an article over at Inside Higher Ed called “Reviving the Academic Library.”  In his brief comments, he defends the traditional library, something that many librarians are reluctant to do these days.  Just read some of the angry comments–most of them from librarians, and some of them well-earned, by the way.  Neem writes rather condescendingly about librarians, who are at most universities tenure-track and tenured scholars themselves, and he claims that education can only take place inside university classrooms.  That was unfortunate hyperbole, in my view, because in the main I agree with Neem.  (Can’t we all just get along?)

In case we’ve forgotten, amidst all those i-Pod downloads and football games and keg parties, Neem explains that “[t]he core purposes of the academy are to teach and to produce new knowledge. Continue reading

Guerrilla theater: talk to the hand, Romeo

gorillatheaterCheck this out, from Flavia at Ferule and FescueOur intrepid young Shakespearean was teaching Trolius and Cressida one day last week, when

I heard the door open, slightly behind me, I didn’t look over. I was mid-sentence, and figured it was a student slipping in late.

Instead, a young man and young woman walked right into the center of the room and started performing part of the banquet scene from Romeo and Juliet.

We stopped abruptly. F()cking theatre kids, I thought. They must be advertising a production. A$$holes. But since I knew the scene, and they’d already started, I figured I’d let them finish–surely they were just going to do the shared sonnet, and would be done in another dozen lines.

But they got to the end, kissed, and kept going.  Continue reading

Wednesday Round-up: "Gaywads" unite edition, yee-haw!

cowgirlgalwhotookBusy day here at the ranch!  I thought I’d throw you  few curves to help keep your day interesting:

  • Roxie’s World brings us the heartwarming story of a non-gay pro-gay little boy in Arkansas named Will Phillips who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school until there truly is “liberty and justice for all” in these United States.  (Some of you may also want to weigh in on the pressing question raised by the insult this little boy hears now at school:  what is the proper spelling of “gaywad?”  Is it “gaywad,” “gay wad,” or “gay-wad?”)
  • There’s a fun new gay blog I’ve found called Down and Out in Denver.  Actually, the blog proprietors Alastair and Blake hate Denver, which is why they started a blog to complain about the lack of urbane gay funky goodness there.  Continue reading

"Better dead than co-ed"

FratGuyThat’s what we used to say back at my “Seven Sisters” college in the 1980s!  Every twenty years or so, it seems like even the most elite and well-established women’s colleges have a conversation about going co-ed.  Let’s face it–coeducational or historically all-male colleges have much bigger endowments.  My sense is that male alumns support their colleges much more generously, because they can.  (That is, they can give more because of the wage gap that persists between men and women, plus the fact that few male college graduates drop out of the workforce even temporarily because they married and/or had children.)  So, I understand the appeal of admitting male students.  (I also understand the value to the endowment of invoking the spectre of co-education for women’s college alumnae.  That sure opens up a few moth-eaten old wallets and revs up the donorcycles, eh?) 

Well, there’s reason for us old broads to fear co-education at our alma maters, because a women’s college may be “better dead than co-ed.”  Susan O’Doherty over at Mama Ph.D. tells the fascinating tale of what happened when her women’s college went co-ed while she was an undergraduate.  (This was a follow-up to a post she wrote last week about the idea of applying lower admissions standards to men who apply to competitive colleges, because of the fact that a number of selective colleges have a noticeably skewed sex ratio in favor of women.) 

By the time I graduated, there were about thirty men among a student body of 2500. Some of these guys were stellar — bright, committed, enlightened, and fun to be around. Most were not. A number were unprepared for the academic and social challenges of college; a few bragged that they had transferred because “with all these chicks around it should be a piece of cake to get laid.” It was clear to us that there was a double admissions standard. We joked that the entrance exam for men consisted of the ability to sign one’s name, but we didn’t find it funny, really.

There was one men’s dormitory. It was a beautiful old house — one of several on campus; most were reserved for honors students or those with special interests. I lived in one that was dedicated to French-speaking students. It was a privilege to live there, among well cared for antique furnishings, and we were constantly reminded that the privilege could be revoked for bad grades or bad behavior. The men, however, lived under no such strictures. Continue reading

Walkin' in an autumn wonderland

autumnwonderland2I didn’t even bother posting photos or commenting on our pre-Halloween freak snowstorm of October 28-29 that left 8-10 inches of snow on the ground in my neighborhood.  Well, here’s evidence of our second “freak” snowstorm this past weekend, another 8 inches or so.  Wild!

I always have to reassure people who hear that I live in Colorado that we don’t wear boots, polarfleece, and parkas all year ’round in the Denver metro area, and that the vast, vast majority of the snow falls in the mountains.  Maybe I should live here longer before I am so quick to contradict these ideas.  (We moved here in the middle of some serious drought years, which meant that summers were unusually warm and the winters relatively dry and snow-free.) Continue reading

"Jackal" lifestyle very aging

ksmI was lounging in bed drinking coffee and reading the paper this morning about Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent announcement that several of the 9/11 masterminds would be put on trial in New York, and learned a startling new fact, courtesy of a New York Timesstory by Mark Mazzetti that was excerpted in The Denver Post:  Khalid Sheik Muhammed (“KSM” in National Security shorthand) is only 44 years old!  Yegads.  He’s younger than the President, but looks about half a generation older.  (This photo helps underscore the reasons why so many men shave their beards off when they start turning gray.)  I’m sure his attorney will want him to have a makeover before the trial and to dress him in a western-style suit–but my guess is that he’s going to stick with the full-on jihadi look.

I guess living in caves on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and/or in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a very aging lifestyle.  Continue reading