The Dartmouth Observer
Friday, October 31, 2003
The Twilight Zone
Just came across this blog, "The Cardinal Collective," from Stanford, primarily made up of current and former members of The Stanford Review, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the conservative publication in Stanford.
I nearly choked on my cereal when I noticed a few familiar issues that kept cropping up. To wit:
1) The ability of other campus publications to distribute door to door. Hmm, sounds familiar...
2) That pesky daily paper that keeps publishing mediocre writing. (Sample criticism: "DAILY PUBLISHES GREAT OP-ED: That's not a blog title I'd ever thought I'd write.")
Just a few coincidences? You be the judge...
Sidenote: If only the contributors didn't put such an arrogant subheadline on their blog ("the brightest american thinkers under forty"), I'd look at them in a more favorable light.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
We don't often link to feminist blogs in bright orange, but I thought I should mention that Laura Dellatorre '03 (my very good friend who used to post here), Sarah Morton '05, and Lauren LeBlanc MALS '03 have started their own blog called Lady-Likely.
This post seems to explain why they started their blog.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Save Classics and Stop Quibbling!
Over on Dartlog, Christian Hummel makes a good point in echoing Professor Edward Bradley's criticism of the announcement of the "Center for Teaching and Learning," which reportedly will cost the school $3 million. The Classics department has gotten horrendous treatment from the College in the last few years; the College is unwilling to hire qualified replacements for several of the professors approaching retirement. As it stands, more than a quarter (four) of the faculty (only 15 total) are visiting professors or lecturers, while a few others are nearing the end of their academic careers. Speaking from, among other things, the very real fear that the department is approaching either extinction or mediocrity, Bradley made this criticism:
"I just wish there were a little more discussion," Bradley said. "I speak from a small department who has been denied the replacement of a senior faculty member, where $3 million is not a small item."
The understatement in Bradley's words probably needs to be explained to Administrative types -- even a portion of the amount is enough to salvage a department with a history of significant contributions to its field. It would be nice to have this issue brought to the general attention of the Dartmouth community. It would be nicer to have people care.
As an aside, I find it amusing that in the immediate post above Hummel's, Emmett Hogan accuses the Left of propagating semantics. It would seem to me that Hummel's small jab against The D is nearly as quibbling as any on the part of the Left (a position that I am not writing from). Furthermore, it's a longstanding Review convention to point out any last exclusion of the Review's name in The D.
As for the idiotic slight itself: "The Daily Dartmouth's account of Wright's faculty address may not be accurate (that's the risk of using the D)"), Hummel is in no position to talk -- unless he happened to have attended Wright's speech (unlikely since he's an '01). Also, when the Review starts to attempt to practice something resembling journalism again, it can regain the right to criticize.
Matthew Kelly's article was solidly written and not the typical D screed that gets torn apart on smarterdartmouth. If Hummel wants a "more accurate" story, perhaps he should eschew newspapers in favor of the full printed text of the speech. Or perhaps he can check out a video of the speech at his local Blockbuster if the text doesn't give him the full picture. But I digress...
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Brought Tears To My Eyes
http://blackcommentator.com/61/61_cover_rogers.html I was quite sad upon reading this article, and not only because they disagreed with me (I am able to tolerate wrong opinions), but because it is so very unnecessarily slanderous.
"Janice Brown is a Jim Crow-era judge, in natural blackface." (And re our ealier conversation, in case anyone was wondering about the disposition of conservatives: "Janice Brown is mean, too – vicious, even. Angered that all of her court colleagues disagreed with her opinion on a particular case, she raged that high school students were capable of better legal research.")
It saddens me that these sorts of things still happen. Hatch had it right on the money when he observed: "But Justice Brown faces a second hurdle beyond the abortion litmus test that all nominees face. She is a conservative African-American woman, and for some that alone disqualifies her nomination to the D.C. Circuit, widely considered a stepping stone to the United States Supreme Court. Now, I want to make clear that I am not referring to any of my colleagues here on the Committee. But let me show you what I AM talking about – an example of how low Justice Brown’s attackers will sink to smear a qualified African-American jurist who doesn’t parrot their ideology."
Monday, October 27, 2003
I stumbled across a though-provoking article in the Financial Times today. (The article was for the weekend edition concerning the dates October 25th to October 26th.) It is by Christopher Caldwell and is entitled "'Murky pacificism' is a parody of the old virtue." The article opens considering the claims of former Solidarity activist and Warsaw editor Adam Michnik. Michnik, who suggests that the anticommunist activists in Poland didn't understand the west European pacifists who urged unilateral disarmament while staring at the Soviet threat, urged attendees of the PASS (Programme of Atlantic Security Studies) to "reject murky pacifism, which in essence is an act of cowardice and capitulation towards totaliarian dictatorships."
Michnik was quick to distinguish between the craven-- present day political pacificism-- and the courageous --religious based-- of pacificism. The Catholics were brave souls in the Polish solidarity movement and religious pacificism, with its turning of the other cheek, may actually increase the dangers to those who practice it. The old religious pacifism was a critique against all war-- founded in Aquinas's just war tradition-- that attempted to break the "cycle of violence" by renouncing the use of force. This position could be summed up in the announcement, scorned by Caldwell, of the National Council of Catholic Bishops that "Catholic moral teaching began with a presumption against war." The new pacificism is really an excuse for indifference and cowardice according to Michnik. These pacifists are, quoting Caldwell here, "people who have objections to particular wars, not to war itself; and such a view involves less sacrifice and rigor."
Caldwell goes one step further and suggests that the very foundations of the just war theory--from Aquinas to Walzer-- are breaking down. (If this is true, then it will strip oppositionists of intelligent arguments.) His first reason is: "the questions of jus ad bellum...have been unsettled by the threat from non-state actors. The traditional requirement that war be a last resort, once non-military means are exhausted, is increasingly hard to apply." Most of the concerns sorrouding the laws of war, to use Kant's phrase, existed because states lived in a state of war, devoid of a juridical condition. Because states were always in a war-prone condition, they gave themselves the laws of war. It is primarily to govern and constrain state behavior. The presence of non-state actors, who exist outside and independent of state borders, whose monetary assets can be moved, accessed and protected by the structures of globalization, are very difficult to deter by 'conventional' means. His second reason is: questions of jus in bello are more complicated. Clearly using chemical weapons is a violation of the principle but does possessing them constitute a casus belli? "Can one conduct a just war to remove such weapons using depleted uranium shells and half-ton bombs? And what are we to make of the attack on Serbia during the Kosovo war, when NATO conducted a military campaign without fear of retaliation?"
It may be that as the foundations of the just war theories shake, so does the moral fiber of the opposition.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Derrida on the Middle East!
The father of Deconstruction at UCSB (thanks to Volokh):
He said that although Israelis and Palestinians are not living together peacefully, they are still living together.
The D couldn't have said it better. Unfortunately, some people didn't seem to be paying that much attention. One audience member commented:
"I found it very difficult to follow. My sense of it was that it was like a meditation, where there was no sequence of thought that I could discern. I sort of went into a quiet state and let it all go by," said attendee Steven Glauz-Podrask, the father of a UCSB student.
Friday, October 24, 2003
An Ideal Christmas Present (for Jon Eisenman, perhaps?)
Yep, it's the Ann Coulter Talking Action Figure.
Ouch, talk about caricature
"Ten years ago I held a professorship at Dartmouth College, one of the Ivy League colleges on the east coast of America, an extremely privileged place where one student in 17 came from a family of millionaires," Hillenbrand explains. "I gave a course on the art of Umayyad Syria and in my class not one student had ever studied any religion except Christianity, not one student had ever studied a foreign language, not one student had ever studied any history except American history and not one student had studied even American history earlier than 1776. Now those are meant to be the cream of the cream of American society, and I didn’t so much as open their minds as crack their skulls open."
From an article in today's issue of the Lebanese paper, The Daily Star. Now I'm not exactly sure what Dartmouth was like in 1993, but unless it was comprised totally of cavemen, I'm pretty sure that students would have studied other religions, or at least other foreign languages. It seems more likely that instead of telling the truth he's giving a purposefully distorted view in order to lionize himself for a Middle Eastern press and appear as the great figure of transition in bringing "Oriental" knowledge to the other side of the world. Is he trying to say that there were no Jewish students without an inkling about their religion, no international students with knowledge of foreign languages, no one from the southwest who might have studied Spanish? Or what about how he points a finger at the millionaire Dartmouth students? Had none of those privileged, presumably prep school students come across a little Latin or French in their days at Groton or Exeter? I have a hard time believing any of the facts in this article, and I'm not sure who to blame -- the person conducting the interview (Samia Nassar Melki) or the professor at the University of Edinburgh himself (Robert Hillenbrand). Obviously the good professor never took his AP US History course. For that matter, I wonder if he ever taught at dear old Dartmouth!
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Woe to the old research university, or Dartmouth for that matter
This new orientation for the research university means a shift away from the disinterested search for knowledge, what used to be called, in Germany at least, Wissenschaft, to research that will produce marketable products, products that will help make us competitive in the global economy. United States universities are no longer so much covertly part of the military-industrial complex, as they were during the Cold War. They are now overtly part of a global technology complex.
This isn't particularly timely in an immediate sense, but it is in a global sense, because it is on an important topic, the future of the university and particularly the future of literary study. J. Hillis Miller writes an excellent essay in the Fall 2001 issue of Diacritics called "Literary Study Among the Ruins." In the essay, he contends that the methods of reading we know are ending with the advent of new technology and in fact were a fairly "recent" phenomenon beginning in the 18th century. The study of literature as we know it is an even more recent phenomenon, centered around the Cold War, and is slowly metamorphizing into a new form. Cultural Studies, he asserts, is an unfortunate bi-product of the change.
Miller believes that the study of English literature will be used as a means of learning how we fit into the rest of the world; English will be studied more according to geographic region as a result -- South Asian Studies, Atlantic Studies, any general area that produces works written in some version of English. These changes must come about, he says, as the university becomes globalized.
The issue as a whole is interesting and actually readable, whatever you may think of the points made, and it is refreshing for literature students accustomed to having to parse titles such as: "Trans-American Constructions of Black Masculinity: Dany Laferrière, le Nègre, and the Late Capitalist American Racial machine-désirante" (if you're so inclined it's in the latest issue of Callaloo).
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
What exactly does she mean?
From the article quoted two posts ago, titled "Profs ponder lack of conservatives on college faculties."
Linda Fowler: "Liberals...are more drawn to study topics like history, religion, philosophy and similar disciplines because "they're predisposed to take relativist views -- that's why they study what they study."
Quote of the Day
"Katie Greenwood '04, a well-known critic of the Greek system, reported meeting "many nice -- meaning liberal" students during her campus visit."
Ivy Schweitzer in today's D: "Is the general atmosphere here 'liberal?' Yes, because we are a liberal arts institution, and liberal arts education is supposed to produce 'liberal' attitudes that encourage forward thinking ideas about inclusion, equality and innovation."
Friday, October 17, 2003
From the article in The Atlantic that so many people are talking/blogging about:
"(When enduring change does occur, the explanation may be cultural and reflect nothing about a school's inherent quality. America's urban renaissance, for instance, which has made city schools more attractive to students, might lie behind the steady rise of Columbia and Penn and the slow fall-off by Dartmouth and Cornell.)"
What dropoff is the author talking about? If rankings are anything, we've stayed relatively the same for the past decade, peaking at number seven and bottoming out at 14, if I'm not mistaken. However, this seems to me to be a case of the author stretching tendentiously to find a point, seizing one, and then injecting it into his own story.
Furthermore, those schools don't even match up in his example. Columbia has always enjoyed a solid reputation, even if Penn has not. Cornell and Dartmouth are both rural, yes, but are they completely different educational institutions, one geared toward a massive grad student population and the other not? Of course. Other variables must apply in these specific cases.
Let's look at that first sentence again then: When enduring change does occur, the explanation may be cultural and reflect nothing about a school's inherent quality.
Doesn't this read like so much trash now? How can a school possess an inherent quality? Obviously the culture around a school and in America at large affects how a school is perceived. How otherwise can we explain Brown's recent surge in popularity? There is probably no such thing as "inherent quality" in something as Protean as an undergraduate university. Universities have the inertia or reputation and history, but we've seen all too clearly that these things can begin to be eradicated through the persistent efforts of the administration or academy.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
And no, I am not talking about X-Men 2. Read the latest on Rummy's light infantry divisions. The equipment of the Fort Lewis-based 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is being shipped to Iraq now with them to follow in month after their equipment arrives. The teams are based around superior technology and communications; their job is to find the enemy and destroy him with lightning quick speed and accuracy. Maybe they will help against the irregular forces in the Iraqi triangle.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Soon they'll be selling genuine-looking battle wounds...
Did you go to high school in a wealthy suburban area? Did you notice that the wealthiest kids were the ones with a canonical knowledge of gangsta rap lyrics -- and that they tended to drive around town singing along to your bedroom community's largest auto-borne subwoofer? I remember those people. And I bet they have these now.
Couldn't They Just Throw Rice?
Serbian wedding party shoots down plane - one of those stories that's so odd, you know it must be true.
Apparently Bill Clinton's favorite book is The Sound and the Fury, or at least that's what William Styron has said that Clinton told Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
Weird Coincidences of Baseball History
ESPN reports on the Marlins' shutout of the Cubs tonight:
[Beckett] became the first pitcher to throw a postseason shutout against the Cubs since Babe Ruth did it for Boston in the 1918 World Series opener.
This world series is going to be fucking great.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Nobel Peace Prize
This year's goes to Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, who becomes the first Iranian to win the Prize. This is what the press release says:
Her principal arena is the struggle for basic human rights, and no society deserves to be labelled civilized unless the rights of women and children are respected. In an era of violence, she has consistently supported non-violence. It is fundamental to her view that the supreme political power in a community must be built on democratic elections. She favours enlightenment and dialogue as the best path to changing attitudes and resolving conflict.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
The struggles with his feelings, and the feelings of world leaders, regarding the UN.
Another author struggles with his feeling for Rummy, who has become the center of the latest media speculations.
So I have been watching the situation over there with much interest since the strike on Syria. So far we have heard some belligerent language on the part of the Syrians, some hand-wringing at the UN (ah, veto power) and a threatened Arab council. Meanwhile, Israel has to deal with this latest female suicide bomber who definitely overshadow an already somber religious holiday with a desperate since of tragedy.
Now Israel striking Syria put the fear of something in Arafat and forced him to convene a cabinet under the new prime minister. We have been waiting in eager anticipation at what move Arafat was going to make next. However, we are a bit worried. With the latest incursion into Syria, there has been the usual condemnations of the Jewish state from the same (anti-Zionist) critics, which has only been amplified by the passing of Dr. Edward Said into the nether regions. He, and those of like mind, supported a bi-national Arab-majority state over the territories now demarcated Israel/Palestine. While this solution seems preferable to the current war of attrition and terror by the two sides, it denies the reality of and necessity for the Zionist ideology still. History has proven time and time again that the Jewish people need an autonomous political, religious and geographic space for them.
The (re-)extension of the Arab-Israeli war to Syria and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's decision to almost eliminate movement within the territories will continue to threaten the other central tenet of Zionism: democracy (more correct democratic socialism). Israel has done a wonderful job of interrogating and equalizing a large percentage of its Jewish population religiously, legally and politically. As the war drags on, security needs suggest heavily toward the curtailing of the rights of non-Jews. A large part of the Israeli nonskilled laborer economy, against the advice of some of its founders, is still majority Arab and foreign workers. Decisions regarding political candidates, civil liberties and curtailing of services/priviledges usually come at the expense of the Arab population. Of course, the current political and military situation in the territories is very brutal for the both the Israeli settlers and the Arab populations.
Because Israel wishes to be a democracy, and indeed has a very nice form of democracy for its Jewish citizens, we cannot shy away from international and public criticism of some of the actions and effects of the Israeli government. Because it is a democracy, we must judge the state not by the rights of the majority, but by the protections and liberties of its minorities, whether they be religious (in the case of the Orthodox) or ethnic. Democracy is tainted, at best, when the equality exists only for certain persons and only at the expense of others. It is the duty of Sharon to stay true to both principles of Zionism: the existence of Jewish space and the democratic principles of equality for all who live in that space.
Update: Of course, if Arafat can't keep someone as PM in Palestine then we have a problem. Qorei attempts to resign.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
The Governator Wins
With 96% of precincts reporting, Arnold wins with more than 47% of the vote. Not a bad mandate at all, actually - despite all the doom and gloom about how someone could win with 20% or less. Still might want to take another look at that law though, California.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
With 16% of precincts reporting...
... Gary Coleman is in 11th place in the race for governor of California.
Get the up-to-the-minute count on ALL the candidates here.
Sunday, October 05, 2003
Textbooks in Saddam's Iraq
Do the following composition orally:
1. Why Arab unity is possible
a. Arabs form one nation
b. the land is similar
c. the language is one
d. economical and political problems are similar
2. Why Arab unity is necessary
a. stand against imperialists
b. develop strong economy
c. give freedom to Arab individuals
d. develop into a great world power
Jacuzzis would be nice, especially in winter!
The New York Times on what colleges are spending money on these days.
Saturday, October 04, 2003
Can You Say 'Rising Star?'
Bobby Jindal is the winner in the Louisiana governor's primary. If he wins the whole thing (which looks likely) you can bet we'll see more of him in the future.
If Arnold can like Hitler, then "say hello to my little friend," Donte Hall
After last Sunday's Chiefs-Ravens game, Donte Hall ran a kickoff back to win the game 17-10, thereby setting an NFL record with three kickoff return TDs in three consecutive weeks.
Apparently after the game, as covered by Wednesday's USA Today, Hall was seen walking around the locker room Sunday with a Scarface poster. When asked why, Hall responded, "I love Scarface. He started out with nothing and worked his way to the top ... early in my career, things looked like they looked for him. I want to end up like him."
Doesn't this sound eerily familiar to Arnold's 1975 quote, except even more damning?
I like Bill Simmons' comments about this the best:
(Um, Dante? You might want to skip the part where you try to snort a mountain of cocaine, shoot your best friend, get your sister killed, then get shot 248 times before falling headfirst into a water fountain. Try to skip that part. Just keep breaking those kicks and running like the wind.)
Of course, he is only admiring a fictional character, not Hitler, but isn't it a bit disturbing that Hall has chosen Tony Montana as a figure to idolize? Also, I don't know if this is speculation, but Pacino's character has been popular for at least a decade amongst a lot of African-Americans. You can see Tupac doing a Scarface impression in the documentary Biggie and Tupac. If admiring a mobster-figure is implicitly condoned by certain members of the community, and it seems to be, then somehow these associations need to be changed (I guess, in order to make a broader point, I'll ignore the fact that Hall essentially forgot a lot of the plot). I also hope it doesn't sound too disingenuous for me to talk about these issues.
I suppose the admiration for figures such as Tony Montana and characters from The Sopranos makes sense if you're from the inner city where the only road to success can seem to be through one-shot, make-it-or-not pipe dreams like sports and music. The documentary Hoop Dreams made the point best when it suggested that a better avenue for success would be for underprivileged, primarily black, children to pursue education, to gain discipline through studying, but unfortunately these changes have not happened. This example is anecdotal, but a friend of mine who worked in an inner city school for several years was repeatedly given death threats when she tried to tell her students not to come to class high.
Besides these one-in-a-million chances, the other road seems to be through crime, an avenue that allows one to slip through the cracks of legality and dominant society and somehow emerge at the top. At least as it's perceived, many people in the inner city feel that they can't get ahead in the world through regular means, and there are certainly some signs that would reconfirm these stereotypes. Ironically, the chance to be a criminal kingpin as portrayed in the movies is also about as infinitesimally small as becoming the next Allen Iverson or Jay-Z. While I don't agree with anything that John McWhorter says, especially about rap music, I think that he raises one important point in this article: that the music has unfortunately continued to glorify the connection between "rap and the rap sheet," as he put it, quoting a (more knowledgeable) music critic.
So how can anyone rectify this situation, in which the nation, or at least one community within it, breaks down into an anarchic mass of a very small number of over- and a very large number of underprivileged individuals? This is a breakdown of democracy.
Friday, October 03, 2003
The Prescience of Someone Sensible and Gifted with Vision
From Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism:
After [World War II] it turned out that the Jewish question, which was considered the only insoluble one, was indeed solved -- namely, by means of a colonized and then conquered territory -- but this solved neither the problem of the minorities nor the stateless. On the contrary, like virtually all other events of our century, the solution of the Jewish question merely produced a new category of refugees, the Arabs, thereby increasing the number of the stateless and rightless by another 700,000 to 800,000 people. And what happened in Palestine within the smallest territory and in terms of hundreds of thousands was then repeated in India on a larger scale involving many millions of people. Since the Peace Treaties of 1919 and 1920 the refugees and the stateless have attached themselves like a curse to all the newly established states on earth which were created in the image of the nation-state. Pg. 290
Thursday, October 02, 2003
It's time to send Lassie to the gulag!
Russian utility companies, say the BBC, are finding creative new ways to extort bill payment from customers. What's next? Children?
A case of money trumping race, or Why there isn't a team called the Washington Negroes
[Linked from Dartlog, original story on ESPN] A federal judge has overturned a ruling that canceled the Washington Redskins trademark, finding there was insufficient evidence to conclude the name is disparaging to American Indians.
This case doesn't seem to make any sense to me. The name "redskin" is clearly offensive -- just look it up on dictionary.com. Gregg Easterbrook summarized the case (and his own case against the name) best four weeks ago:
To recap a running point, TMQ objects to both ends of the "Washington" R*dsk*ns name. The front end: This club practices in Virginia and performs in Maryland, lacking the decency to so much as maintain an office in Washington. The back end: R*dsk*ns is a slur. Fans don't mean to denigrate anyone, of course; fans view the name as mere tradition. A slur it is, nonetheless. What if the mere traditional name were the Washington Darkies?
As for the litigation, a 1946 law says businesses cannot trademark or otherwise register terms intended to disparage; litigants assert that since R*dsk*ns is disparaging, the team should lose protected commercial right to this word and related images. If the Persons lose such protection, the team could still call itself the R*dsk*ns and still sport that Heap Big Injun helmet logo -- it's just that then anyone could market products bearing the same look. This would deprive the Persons of an estimated $5 million annually in merchandising fees and, hence, lead within seconds to a new team name that is eligible for legal protection.
Further down in his column he says:
Note that TMQ does not object to Chiefs or Braves as team names, since chief and brave are terms of respect. R*dsk*n is "offensive slang," according to the American Heritage Dictionary. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has already ruled that R*dsk*ns is offensive and the club should lose trademark protection; what's at issue now is the team's appeal of that ruling. Go, Judge Kollar-Kotelly! Right this wrong!
But that cool five million that the Redskins earn each year from name and logo recognition obviously was able to buy some good lawyers to fight the seven activists who took up this cause. Judge Kollar-Kotelly did make "clear that her ruling does not address the issue of whether the name "Redskins" actually is insulting to Indians." However overturning the 1999 decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seems to make it clear that the economic interests of Pro Football Inc., the company that owns the 'skins, are more important than racial considerations.
A curious historical note: "[George Preston Marshall] changed the name to the Boston Redskins in honor of the team's head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was an American Indian." I wonder if the team was called the "Redskins" and not the "Indians" because the name Boston Indians would have conflicted with the already-extant name, the Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland Indians changed their names from the Spiders also, supposedly to honor a Native American player, Louis Sockalexis. Whether this was designed to honor the player in name is another question. [link here] In "An Act of Honor or Exploitation?: The Cleveland Indians’ Use of the Louis Francis Sockalexis Story," published in 1998 in the Sociology of Sport Journal, Ellen J. Staurowsky argued that the name "Indians," and its attendant logos, were more likely chosen for exploitative purposes:
This was a period in American history when Native American images were frequently used as distinguishing marks for products and when Native Americans were often equated with animals, as seen in a common expression of the day, "No Dogs. No Indians." A Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist at that time hinted that the nickname was bestowed on the club by sportswriters who hoped the team would emulate the Boston Braves.
The issue of the name "Redskin" is much clearer than that of our former mascot, the Indian. The name "Redskins" comes from an era when sportswriters would pen lines such as "We’ll have the Indians on the warpath all the time, eager for scalps to dangle at their belts," an era of cowboys and indians films. It does not belong to this one.
J. M. Coetzee
has won this year's Nobel Prize in Literature.
A worthy winner? I haven't read any of his books, so I can't say.
After being situated for more than a century at its current location, the Senior Fence is set to be relocated as early as next Wednesday to the Southwest corner of the Green, across from the Hanover Inn. -- from today's D
Doesn't this strike people as a bit too meddlesome? If this is the original portion of the fence, shouldn't we keep it in its old location? Also, since when does the Green have to look like those other greens in Augusta, GA? As opposed to what some people apparently think, the Green does serve a functional role, and if people want to cut across a small portion of it on their way from Collis to the Hop, then I think they should be able to. Dartmouth does not need to be preserved in formaldehyde or put into the museum.
The justifications that the head architect gives, or at least that The D reports that he gives, seem disingenuous: Instead, the current plan, which is being underwritten by the Class of 1952 at a cost of $20,000, will realign the fence into a more social L-shaped configuration while serving a critical ecological role in the southwest corner, according to Wilson.
If anything, the new fence serves an anti-social purpose, as well as one that will impede students who are trying to walk across the Green. Students will not be more likely to hang out next to this fence now that it is in an L-shape. Furthermore, "ecology" is all about how organisms interact with the surrounding environment. Since the only organisms I can think of are the students who walk on this portion, maybe they should have a bigger say in the process.
In the larger scope of things, it's a bit disconcerting to start moving around your historical landmarks in order to serve fairly mundane, utilitarian purposes. What's next, Sanborn Library will be condensed into Baker/Berry? Oh wait, that's already happened. Maybe they can place Bartlett Tower in the south-south-east quadrant of the Green to fix those oh-so-pesky brown spots that keep cropping up.
On a side note, I was impressed by the clarity of the writing -- it was really good for a freshie newswriter (Dax Tejera). I couldn't find anything to criticize. Can Larry?
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Not Exactly 'Big Brother'
Jesse, on Dartlog, sees sinister implications of the blackboard feature that matches student ID photos with their names:
Such stunning technological morphing is intriguing to say the least, and raises questions as to potential raisons d'êtres for this. Is it to prevent cheating of sorts? Is roll call made easier by already matching a name with a face? Are students prone to taking exams for under-prepared friends? If so, this is a blow against the time tested Honor Principle. On a basic level, the use of this function smells of distrust and proctoring, not to mention a certain sniffle of big brother.
I think that's reading way to much into things. Here's a thought - maybe it will help professors to learn names. Gasp!