All entries by this author

Hobsbawm as de Tocqueville *

Jul 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Not egalitarianism but individualist, antinomian-but-legalistic anarchism is the core value system in the US.… Read the rest

Star System

Jul 2nd, 2003 2:02 am | By

The Boston Globe has a depressing article about the star system in US universities. Maybe in the great scheme of things it doesn’t matter much, maybe I’m just a Puritan to find it so dreary. But it does seem so Hollywoodish, so rock star-ish, so hype-driven, so silly, so irrational-appeal-based, and hence so anti-intellectual.

“One couldn’t imagine all of this happening in Oxford, where there’s a kind of gentleman’s agreement that we’re all equally brilliant,” Ferguson says in an interview. “It’s extremely bad form to suggest that one person is as vulgar as to be a star.”

Yes…well I know what you’re thinking. You’re picturing a crowd of moss-covered mediocrities in Oxford contentedly trudging along the daily round, boring their … Read the rest

Read All Year *

Jul 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Children who read more are better at reading, researcher says.… Read the rest

Houdon and the Enlightenment *

Jul 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Diderot, Rousseau, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, captured as no one else knew how.… Read the rest

Glass More Than Half Empty

Jun 30th, 2003 8:58 pm | By

This month is rather empty. A great many N and Cs got erased by the server malfunction. I might eventually put some of them back, if only for my own satisfaction. And the date is really July 27, but I have to call it June to get it in this month.… Read the rest

Winner-Take-All System in US Universities *

Jun 30th, 2003 | Filed by

A star system for a few while the drones barely make a living. Is this education or show biz?… Read the rest

Himself in Letters *

Jun 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Flaubert’s letters tell more of him than a biography can. Julian Barnes on the late Flaubert scholar Jean Bruneau.… Read the rest

Marina Warner Reads Harry Potter *

Jun 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Dr. Faustus meets Horatio Alger, and Rowling piles on the horror.… Read the rest

Much Bolder Than it Looks *

Jun 29th, 2003 | Filed by

And not a summer cottage read. George Graham reviews Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves.… Read the rest

Behavioral Economics *

Jun 29th, 2003 | Filed by

6 jam versus 24 jam, and libertarian paternalism.… Read the rest

What is Irony, Again? *

Jun 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Watching ‘Big Brother’ can be lazy or maybe postmodern, but ironic, no.… Read the rest

Eagleton on Orwell *

Jun 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Opinion on him was divided, as it would be on any animal with the rib-cage of a hippo and the snout of a badger.… Read the rest

Wool *

Jun 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Another call for ‘demotic science’ from the Economic and Social Research Council.… Read the rest

Not Deceptive but Crudely Deceptive *

Jun 26th, 2003 | Filed by

‘…no audience is easier to beguile than one that is smugly confident of its own sophistication.’… Read the rest

Orwell Centenary *

Jun 25th, 2003 | Filed by

The Guardian offers a page of Orwell links.… Read the rest

A Talk With Steven Pinker *

Jun 25th, 2003 | Filed by

The blank slate became Official Theory, enforced by “accusation, intimidation, name-calling and moralising intellectual questions that are questions of fact”. … Read the rest

What Are the Tasaday? *

Jun 25th, 2003 | Filed by

What is a lost tribe anyway? From Marie Antoinette to Imelda Marcos, what are the uses of ‘simple people’? Where does the World’s Fair come in?… Read the rest

Post-traumatic stress and counseling *

Jun 25th, 2003 | Filed by

Surprise, surprise, it’s not always good to talk.… Read the rest

Historians and Plagiarism Again *

Jun 24th, 2003 | Filed by

Philip Foner helped himself to students’ work, and many of them fumed but kept quiet about it.… Read the rest

Historians Discuss Foner *

Jun 24th, 2003 | Filed by

And interesting issues are raised – is objectivity possible? If not, why write history at all? Why not just pledge allegiance to something?… Read the rest