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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Harvard's diversity hustle

It continues to amaze all but the most hardened minds that the left's continuous celebration of "diversity" remains so stunningly skin deep. Diversity of demographic categories (race, ethnicity, gender) is assumed to be an unquestioned good — but let there never be diversity of conviction, belieft, principle, worldview. Black conservatives who challenge racial preferences, common-sense feminists who mock the women-as-permanent-victims script, independent lesbians who celebrate traditional marriage but also favor equal rights — they're regularly branded as turncoats, sell-outs, traitors to "the cause." Nobody covers this beat better than Heather MacDonald. Check out her stellar coverage of Harvard's new $50 million faculty "diversity" crusade — and see why money is no more likely than constant groveling to win Harvard Prez Summers love, let alone respect, from the psychiatric wing of his university's righteous humanities faculty.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Marriage rights? Wrong!

Now that the Runaway Bride has gotten off with probation, this leaves open the horrifying possibility that the wedding might still take place. I don't normally go in for gender politics, but it's the exceptions that prove the rule. And so: before the judicial decree is formally entered by the court, I call on the judge to add this rider: If fiance John Mason elects to take any concrete steps toward actually marrying Jennifer Wilmot, this will be considered a crime against male sanity, subject to ... banishment. The specifics will have to be worked out, but clearly he'll have to go away — very far away, for a very long time. If banishment's too extreme, I'm willing to be flexible. Make him be a guest on Nancy Grace. Force him to sit and listen to Nancy drone, shriek, and pontificate for the entire hour. How will that be different from her other guests? Fair point. And then there's the whole "cruel and unusual punishment" thing. Look, I didn't say I've figured out all the details — just trying to save the Bride's boyfriend a lifetime of sorrow. Andrea Dworkin had the right idea — it's possible for genders to collectively suffer. She just had the wrong gender. There's one thing John Mason can do to make this intervention unnecessary — run for his life. Brotherhood is powerful. You go, boyfriend.

Woodward/Bernstein, good. Mark Felt, bad. What's wrong with this picture?

One of the most interesting side stories of the outing of Deep Throat is the question of self interest. Not a few of Mark Felt's critics have pointed out that money was part of his motivation in going was public. Gosh. A 92-year-old man (in frail health) says he hopes media interest in his famous history might result in a nest egg sufficient to help his grandson finish law school. Oh, the horror. Let's get real. Two years ago Woodward and Bernstein sold their Watergate papers to a university for a cool $5 million. Both reporters' book proposals today earn top-dollar publishing advances, and they command sizeable honoraria for speeches and other public appearances. So, why do we never hear complaints that the two Washington Post journalists are self-serving money grubbers? I don't happen to think that's what they are. Not only do hugely admire their landmark Watergate coverage three decades ago, I think these two reporters both have a right to make as much money as the market bears. Still, what's the reason they've been afforded this permanent status of moral exemplars? Is it that the left still despises Richard Nixon so much that the guys who brought him down deserve an ongoing assumption of saintly motives? Truth be told, it delights me that old Mark Felt beat Woodward and Bernstein to the punch. Where would the Post's dynamic duo be today if Felt hadn't sourced key material? Bob and Carl have said Felt was always a relucant source, which, if true, doesn't support the claim that Felt had an axe to grind. And his goal in helping bring the truth to light had been to get rich, would he have waited all these years go cash out his chips? If we're willing to believe Woodward and Bernstein's motives were high-minded in covering the Watergate story, can we at least extend to Felt the same benefit of the doubt? Even convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy says he acted on principle when he joined forces with a team of burglars who may yet get a Darwin Award for their collective dumbness (for starters, taping the lock of a door easily viewed by the night guard). Three decades later, Liddy's life seems prosperous. This is not to scold Liddy, whom I consider a smart guy who willingly for his past crimes. Here's my point about the G-Man: His Watergate association makes it possible these days for him to make high-paid speeches, which he has every right to do (unless of course he decides to take up residence in North Korea or Berkeley). Now I'll freely admit there's a key difference between Liddy and Felt — the former did jail time; the latter didn't and never will. It's safe to assume Felt has lived in a private hell for the past three decades. And, not to bring up long settled accounts, Richard Nixon never did jail time — but he too paid a political price, a vast one. And he died a wealthy man. (It seems reasonable to speculate that Nixon's grandchildren won't have college tuition blues.) So before we single out Mark Felt for impure motivations, show me a list of key Watergate players whose involvement in the scandal damaged their long-range earning capacity. If money's going to be made from this week's disclosures, I'm hoping the Felt family walks away with a bonanza.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Two views

I've received more than one thousand emails responding to Leaving the Left. The comments reflect a wide spectrum of opinion, as these two make clear:
Thank you for writing this article. I cannot explain how wonderful it is to hear a voice crying strong and true to the very convictions of my soul. It speaks for all of us who have an educated intellectual background, who were brought up to believe that freedom is often a potentially painful choice, sacrifice, and/or responsibility. It speaks for all of those who practice their Faith in a very hushed and subdued fashion, who are used to slanderous accusations of intolerance, hatefulness, and greed all while feeding the hungry and helping the broken and homeless.
I hope that your article opens up the floor for true and vigorous debate over issues that usually result (through slander) in the violent silencing of people who hold to wisdom and tradition -- those who believe that a true progressive is one who works their fingers to the bone, teaching their children the treasure of an honest day's work, constant study and determination, compassion and patience, and the value of critical thinking skills.
A different take:
You wish you had a point. In reality people like you are PROFITEERS from killing brown people and sucking them dry with monetary tricks. You obviously endorse genocide for all peoples who refuse to fit in your tidy box - especially from the Third World but you wouldn't know about them. I wish you could be more idealist. Maybe not exactly like the LEFT you despise, but more like the good intentions of THE LEFT. I really think that good intentions of THE RIGHT are cold-calculating lies. Ever wondered why the YOUTH is so left? Given the chance... Obviously 911 was done by US military, face it, there is enough evidence of late, but I bet you cannot face it. You shouldn't have said that about Chomsky. It gave it away. Rot in hell, you murderous turncoat fascist son of a monkey.
Note: The second writer misrepresents my position on genocide. Only in special circumstances.

The brothers Hitchens

A spirited public conversation between leftist dissident Christopher Hitchens and his brother Peter Hitchens in the Guardian. My favorite exchange takes place between Christopher and a member of the audience: Female audience member Excuse me. I'm not usually awkward at all but I'm sitting here and we're asked not to smoke. And I don't like being in a room where smoking is going on. CH (smoking heavily): Well you don't have to stay darling, do you? I'm working here and I'm your guest, OK? And this is what I'm like; nobody has to like it. Ian Katz (Facilitator): Would you just stub that one out? CH No. I cleared it with the festival a long time ago. They let me do it. FAM We should all be allowed to smoke then. CH Fair enough. I wouldn't object. It might get pretty nasty though. I have a privileged position here, I'm not just one of the audience, so it would be horrible if everyone was like me. This is my last of five gigs, I've worked very hard for the festival. I'm going from here to Heathrow airport. If anyone doesn't like it they can kiss my ass. IK Would anyone like to take up that challenge? (Laughter. Woman walks out)