Thursday, March 31, 2005

Schiavo Dies

Drudge (with a typically tasteful headline)
NY Times

Condolences to all affected.

It'll be interesting to see how the responses to Schiavo's death and resulting coverage play out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Trademarking Jesus

Orange isn't the new black, Religion is. So argues an article in today's Times, Wearing Their Beliefs on Their Chests, which discusses the growing use of religious imagery and messages on clothing. This trend goes beyond the ubiquitious "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirts sold at Urban Outfitters (among other stores), and extends to religious gear worn seriously, not ironically. While the Times see it is part of the commidification and adaptation of religion in our society, it is suspiciously like the penchant for wearing Asian religious symbols that I recall from middle school. Some objected to that trend as disrespectful to Asian religion, but the voices of dissent seem quieter with this new trend. Maybe things are different when it is our own cultures we are exploiting.

On that note, some of my favorite religious-themed apparel, although it could be argued that much of it is more cultural than religious:

"Everybody Loves a Jewish Girl"
Rabbi's Daughters
Jew.Lo and Jewcy

Taking Spring Fever a Little too Far

I'm all for loving baseball and using it as a metaphor for life, but David Brooks' rambling op-ed in today's times, Whose Team Am I On?, about the dilemma of switching his loyalty from the Mets to the Nationals, is taking it a little too far. Particularly notable is the fact he doesn't mention steroids when he discusses his loyalty to the sport and to his favorite team. The point that loyalty to a team persists despite the behavior of individual players would have pertinent.

Update: Gawker agrees! Memo to David Brooks...

Monday, March 28, 2005

O Moderates, Where Have You Gone?

Slate tries to answer that question this morning, at least in terms of the Republican Party: The Not-So-Fantastic Four - The demise of the Republican moderates.

Barefoot and Pregnant...on the Op-Ed page?

More on the Kinsley-Estrich mess in Sunday's WSJ, with Associate Editorial Page Editor Melanie Kirkpatrick's article, "More Estrogen for Ms. Estrich!". The article was in response to the minor tiff between LA Times Editorial Page Editor Michael Kinsley, and writer Susan Estrich, which resulted from Kinsley's rejection of a piece written by Estrich. Estrich subsequently called for more female Op-Ed writers, a call taken up by Maureen Dowd, among others. In her Op-Ed, Kirkpatrick rebuts all the arguments about the need for greater female representative by arguing that Estrich means more females who write with "women's voices," something that Kirkpatrick finds demeaning to women because it values their opinions only because of their gender.

Kirkpatrick is right that to give columns to women just because of their gender devalues their work because it places it under the suspicion of being published not because of its own merit but because of the author's sex. But its overly optimistic to assume that an overall rise of women in the workplace will lead to an increase of women on the Op-Ed page. The solution probably involves some combination of the increase in gender equality that is occuring in our society with an eye to increasing diverse opinions, regardless of the gender, race, or bias of the author.

That Degree May Not be Worth the Same for Everyone

In an article in today's Times, Income Gaps Found Among the College-Educated, the results of a study that found that of all college graduates with a four-year degree are published. Men in general earn more than women, with white men earning the most. Among women, Black and Asian woman tended to earn a few thousand more than their white and Hispanic peers. The study, done by the Census Bureau, does not offer any explanations, although the Times does, citing "the tendency of minority women, especially blacks, to more often hold more than one job or work more than 40 hours a week, and the tendency of black professional women who take time off to have a child to return to the work force sooner than others." as possible causes. How about, in addition, the types of jobs men and. women often hold, as well as the external pressures and societal constraints. The article also does not distinguish between majors in each category. If a higher percentage of men are specializing in a field with a higher starting salary, such as computer science, that may explain the gender bias. The study also does not mention how many subjects were in each test group. Nevertheless, its a fascinating statistic that deserves further thought.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

New Buzzword: Exurbia

"Exurbia," defined by CNN as "places just beyond the suburbs where the country looks like country again, beyond the limits of most studies of urban growth." has been popping up recently.

CNN reports on the problems exurbs pose for cities.

The NY Times Magazine reports on "The Soul of the Exurb", specifically the Radiance Megachurch in Surprise, AZ. It's a fascinating look at faith in America that is more about a sense of community than about moral conformity.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

When, in the Course of Human Events...

a public school teacher in California alleges that his school district banned the Declaration of Independence, it became a national issue. The teacher, Steven Williams, a born-again Christian, made the accusation after the principal of his school, Patti Vidmar, refused to allow him to distribute supplemental material to his fifth grade class, including normally excised passages of the Declaration that emphasize the role of the founding fathers' Christian god. Mr. Williams sued the Cupertino School District, and the case will be heard this coming week. In Friday's Weekend Journal, Naomi Schaefer Reily re-evaluates the case, concluding that

"Religious people nationwide will no doubt be following the case closely, thinking of instances in which public schools have over-interpreted the separation of church and state to mean virtually banning religion from their premises. But should this new lawsuit join that list of excessive vigilance? The parents and principal at Stevens Creek don't seem to have a problem with religion at their school. They do seem to feel that one of their fifth-grade teachers crossed a line. For those who worry about the way faith is treated in our public institutions, Mr. Williams may not be the best candidate for a hero."

In light of the facts of the case, as they are reported in this article and in a New Yorker article no longer available on the web, this seems to be a fair assessment of the situation.

Hipster's Paradise

I spent the last two days soaking in the ambiance of NYC in preparation for returning to the isolated oasis that is Hanover. Particularly of note was a wander through the galleries of Chelsea. The exhibitions were the usual mix of provocative art that sacrifices aesthetic appeal in order to make a point, and contemporary realist paintings that didn't pack the political punch but were easy and fun to look at.

Of particular note in the former category were Damien Hirst's new show at the Gagosian Gallery, a series of painting with a medical team, and a show of work by younger artists at the DCKT Contemporary Gallery, entitled "Not Too Loose and Not Too Tight", inspired by the commercialism of our culture as embodied by the Olsen Twins. Hirst's show was certainly not as controversial as his work in the "Sensation" exhibit, but his depictions of hospital rooms, surgical procedures, and brightly colored pills were disturbing nonetheless. As for the DCKT show, while some of the works were beautiful in their own right, the conceit of organizing an art exhibit around the Olsen Twins struck me as a little much. The work would have been just as powerful or aesthetically appealing without the message.

In the latter category, the works of Tommy Fitzpatrick at the Cowles Gallery were beautiful in their use of the geometrical patterns of modern architecture to create appealing compositions. The show at Chiem & Read galleries of Jean-Michael Basquiat's words, In Word Only, is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the artist, while the retrospective at the Pace Wildenstein of "rule-based art," featured some great pieces.

And while we're on the subject of art, this article from CNN, "Man Smuggles Own Art into MoMA", is worth a look.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mud Season and Mud Slinging

CNN reports today on a number of New England Inns and hotels that are attempting to combat the early spring lull in visitors by offering "Mud Season"-themed packages. Mud-themed menus, spa treatments and other perks combine with lower prices to lure people up north. Who knew that the mud that turns the Big Green into the Big Brown could be such a selling point? I'm surprised that the Alumni Office hasn't put together a "Mud Weekend" program or that the Admissions Office hasn't used it as a hook yet.

And while we're on the subject of mud, there's been a lot of mud-slinging between the Dartblog and the Little Green Blog lately. Malchow's post, "Rich, Fat Elite Liberals,"commented on a study that found that many trustfunders are, contrary to public opinion, Democrats. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since oftentimes people with secure economic futures have the time and resources to devote to advancing liberal social ideas. Malchow's comment that the Democratic party is the " most homogenous, monolithic, establishmentarian political group currently extant," was, however, probably not in the best interests of civilized discource.

Over on LGB, Chris Bateman certainly felt that way, responding with his post on the "Trustfunder Left." While Bateman's personal comments are also not conducive to polite discussion, his refutation of the points made by demographer Michael Barone is worth reading.

The problem with this debate, however, is not that Dartmouth trustfunders are hard to stereotype but that people find it necessary to discuss the politics of Dartmouth's "trust fund babies" apart from the politics of the greater Dartmouth population. Whatever class and economic tensions there may be underneath the surface, isn't one of Dartmouth's goals to provide a forum for discussion where everyone's opinion is weighted equally, regardless of race, sex, class and creed? Looking only at a particular class, whether positively or negatively, disrupts the exchange of ideas in the same way singling out any minority group would. And such instances of prejudice can muddy Dartmouth's reputation whether its mud season or not.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The "Culture of Life" Debate

The Terri Schiavo case has become one of those tragic events where the politics of the situation overshadow the human tragedy, and the welfare of a person is subsumed to the welfare of a cause. On, Brendan Miniter argues that the debate over Terri Schiavo is indicative of a greater cultural movement in which people are saying "we're for life." At Slate, William Saletan criticizes the "culture of life" as a "regime of ham-fisted political reinvestigation that does for ethics what medieval barbers did for health." He deplores the politicization of the issue by the Right. At the same time, however, he himself is using the case to get across his message about the issues with the Republican approach, something that is slightly hypocritical.

I honestly don't know where I stand on the issue, since it's very difficult to shift through all the discussion and debate and get the hard scientific and legal facts of the case. I guess I just feel that the whole thing is verging on the farcial, which makes the fate of Terri Schiavo, whatever it ultimately is, more tragic. Martyrdom implies a choice about whether you die for a cause, a choice Ms. Schiavo doesn't have at this time.

Cal Panel Flunks NMS Program

The Times has it here: Faculty Panel at Cal Faults Way to Pick Merit Scholars

Apparently the faculty committee has asked the UC system to consider pulling out of the National Merit Scholarship Program, since it finds fault with the selection process, with its emphasis on PSAT and SAT scores, and the lack of correlation between need and awards. Although student essays, high school transcripts and recommendations are used to pick the 15,000 finalists, critics argue that the use of the PSAT disadvantages minority students in much the same way that the SAT is thought to. Such a critique coming from the Cal system could be very influential, since the decision by the system to disregard SAT scores 4 years ago contributed to the addition of an essay t0 the new SAT.

Dartmouth does not offer scholarships through the National Merit program, but a number of Dartmouth students receive recognition from the program at some level. The UC committee's critique is interesting because of the issues it raises about the distribution of scholarships based solely on merit and the use of need in deciding who receives aid. At what point is merit itself not sufficient grounds for a scholarship, and how important should need be? These are difficult questions that become more and more pressing as a college education becomes more expensive and decisions about who receives financial aid and how much become more delicate.

The Magic of "Witch with a 'B'"

Update: Another term that is being rehabilitated, although I am less eager to embrace this one as a positive: "The Return of the JAP"

In today's Times, TV critic Virginia Heffernan waxes poetic on the evolution of the meaning of the word "bitch" from a derogatory word for an awful woman to a term that denotes strength in a female and weakness in a male. The history of the word's use on television, ranging from Gilda Radner on SNL to Paris and Nicole on the Simple Life and Ryan on The O.C., is a fascinating story of how we appropriate words that make us uncomfortable. The article does strike me, however, as an exercise in seeing how many times the "Gray Lady" will publish this mild swear word.

How Meta

More back-patting in the Dartmouth Blogosphere, albeit along political lines.
On the Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki, (one of the petition candidates) praises the growing Dartmouth blogsphere and the rise of sophisticated discourse. He singles out Dartblog, The Dartmouth Observer, Voices in the Wilderness and the good ole' Dartlog.

Dartblog picks up on the post here.

Chien Wen Kung on the Dartmouth Observer comments here, and notices this blog.

The Little Green Blog also links to Zywicki, but rightly points out that all the blogs that he highlights are right-leaning ones. LGB mentions the Free Dartmouth blog as the only liberal blog he knows of. And while that is for the most part true (Outvox is decidedly moderate), most of the posters are alums of the College, not current students.

It's ironic that while the majority of the campus is left-leaning, the majority of the voices heard are more conservative ones. Has the Dartmouth left become complacent? I would hope not, especially in light of the on-going discussions about free speech on campus and our college's future.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Watch Out Dawson, Here comes Degrassi

File this Times Magazine article, DGrassi Is tha Best Teen TV N da WRLD! under the "Trends They Killed" category. Degrassi High is the wildly popular current version of the Canadian television show. Broadcast on The N, where you can also find the cult '90s television show My So-Called Life (ooo Jordan Catalano), Degrassi has a huge appeal not only for the high school crowd but to anyone who wants to see high school kids played by high school kids, not Adam Brody. But just because the actors may be closer in age to their characters doesn't mean that the Right would find the show any more family-friendly then teen soap operas like The OC. The Degrassi kids deal with abortion, self-mutilation, homosexuality, promiscuity, death, violence, and a whole host of problems along with the usual servings of zits on picture day and cafeteria freefalls. But the willingness to tackle the issues is part of what makes the show appealing. It doesn't sugarcoat (or prada-coat) the issues by making the actors too old, beautiful, or well-dressed to believe. Watch Degrassi and then watch Laguna Beach, and see which one feels more real. Maybe Canada has more to contribute than good hockey players and cities with lower drinking ages after all.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Anders '91 responsible for Ebber's conviction

A Friday profile in the NY Times covers the career of David B. Anders '91, the Manhattan US Attorney who helped secure the conviction in the case against WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers. The 35-year-old Anders, who attended Fordham Law and worked for a number of white-collar firms before joining the US Attorney's office, is described as a hard-working rising star.

And never fear, the BuzzFlood has already picked up on this story. The D is on hiatus 'til the beginning of next term, so no word from them yet.

Friday, March 18, 2005

NY Times gives props to Dicks' House

In a March 16th article noting the decline in college-sponsored healthcare, "An Overnight Infirmary Is a Campus Luxury," Dartmouth was singled out as one of the few schools that still maintains on-campus beds for sick students. Our very own Dicks' House was praised for its attempts to allow ill students to keep with coursework. Health Services director Dr. John Turco was interviewed by the Times about the services provided. It's nice to see that despite all the problems with cost-cutting and college-reshaping, there are little things that remind us of Dartmouth's commitment to providing for its undergraduates.

Because its Shabbat...

And I, being an "erstaz jew," observed the Sabbath by eating shellfish and going to the theater to see Modern Orthodox, I'm posting the link to a new Dartmouth Program being organized by Prof. Heschel, the Summer Institute on Gender Studies in Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies . In light of recent tensions due to the Daniel Pipes visit this winter and the Al-Nur website controversy last summer, it is good to see scholarship that transcends religious differences. (via

Any Correlation?

Warning: Frivolous Post

So posting this probably undermines any credibility I have, and does not contribute to the debate over the lack of female op-ed columnists that is currently raging. However, I have to share this NY Daily News article (via Gawker) about Intellifit, a scanning robot that takes your measurements and recommends the best clothes for your body. While this may sound like a godsend to anyone who has ever been frustrated while trying to find that perfect pair of overpriced jeans, it makes one stop and think. Is this what people are devoting their R&D money to developing? Does our nation, with its collective eating complexes and hang-ups really need a machine to tell us what size clothes to wear? Although if this system catches on, it might be possible to store measurements and use them at a later date to buy clothes. That would make shopping in Hanover a little easier.

And We Think our Administration has Problems...

Blogging has been light the last two days because of finals and a quick trip down to Boston to see friends. This meant that I was at Harvard when the news of the faculty vote of no confidence in Larry Summers broke. In a vote of 218- 185, the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences expressed symbolically their dissatisfaction with Summers, his leadership style, and the direction in which he is taking the school. Despite this vote, however, the Harvard Corporation, the school's governing body, announced their support for Summers, so there is no official pressure for him to resign.

While I was on campus, however, and talking to students, the general mood seemed to be not one of anger with Summers but a general sense of fatigue with a process that seems to have dragged on too long. Even those students who were initially upset by Summers' comments seem to have tired of the debate. Facebook groups (the ultimate arbiter of campus sentiment) have sprung up in favor of Summers, and anger is being redirected towards the faculty who have continued to put Harvard in the national spotlight. To paraphrase one friend, who took a class with Summers last year, the faculty can walk and try to find better jobs elsewhere if they're really that upset, the implication being they'd be hard-pressed to do so.

Ultimately, as I'd posted earlier, the scope of this debate and its national prominence seems to be an unwanted result of Harvard's reputation. Dartmouth has experienced a little of this with the Trustee Election, which has been mentioned in a few national publications. However, as important as the Trustee Election may seem to Dartmouth student, faculty, and alums, it really is not as "sexy" an issue. "Dartmouth Prof Campaigns Against Candidates" does not have the same ring as "Harvard President is Chauvinistic." This, however, is not a bad thing, since it confines the debate to those it actually affects, and prevents what should be a College issue from being a national one.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Is There a Dartmouth Connection?

The first letter on this page, Too Few, Not Equal , in response to Dowd's "Dish It Out, Ladies,"calls Dowd "a voice from the wilderness." I wonder if that's an intentional reference, or just the use of a famous phrase. Considering Dowd's lack of connections to the College, I'm going to guess the latter.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Center for Cartoon Studies in...White River Junction

Slate's journal this week is by a freelance illustrator who has recently moved to good ole' White River Junction. If Sturm's school takes off and he gets the decent cafe for students that he wants, maybe we'll have a reason to cross the NH/VT border other than taking Amtrak or home or going to formals.

A�weeklong journal from the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies. By James�Sturm

Religion and the Stem Cell Debate

Saletan is probably the best writer on the stem cell debate at this moment. This article, Oy Vitae - Jews vs. Catholics in the stem cell debate. about the divides between the two religious groups, is an interesting exploration not only of the stem cell question but of the differences between the two religions in general. Particularly amusing is the depiction of the MIT-education geneticist-priests interrogating scientific presentors at a conference.

Genes and Race

Fascinating Op-Ed in the Times today about the genetic basis for "race," an idea that goes against the prevailing wisdom that race is a social construct. If you are at all interested in science, evolution, or the ethics associated with the two, definitely worth a read.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A Family Tree in Every Gene

Sunday, March 13, 2005

No Wonder Martha and Maureen are Single

Update: Thanks Malchow

According to this blurb in this month's Atlantic Online, The Atlantic Online | April 2005 | Primary Sources, us smart brainy career women are screwed, figuratively, when it comes to the whole marrying thing:

Too Smart to Marry

The bad news is coming fast for brainy career women. For one thing, they're less likely to get married—perhaps because (according to a study recently published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior) men prefer to date and marry women who occupy subordinate positions in the workplace, or because (according to a survey carried out by four British universities) female intelligence itself reduces the odds of wedlock. (The latter study found that for every 15-point increase in IQ score above the average, women's likelihood of marrying fell by almost 60 percent.) And another study, led by a professor at Ohio State University, suggests that women who do get married and have children will see their job prospects diminish. Two hundred undergraduates were asked to make hiring and promotion recommendations for a law firm based on résumés that differed only as to sex and whether the applicant was married with children. The result: women with children were less likely to be hired and promoted than either men or childless women, whereas men with children were actually favored in hiring over their childless male counterparts.

So not only are the odds bad biologically if the IQ score argument is true, but we are faced with the fabulous paradox that even if we do manage to get married and have children from positions of authority, our ability to progress beyond that point in our careers starts to decrease. Thanks, Atlantic, for making the days I've spent in the library this last week seem even more worthwhile in light of my future happiness. (Disclaimer: Such an attitude does not mean that I think that the only acceptable role for woman is to get married, just a reflection of the general discontent I sometimes feel as a smart woman trying to balance competing desires for success and family).

Also, check out the byline on the bottom. It's Ross, that guy is everywhere these days.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Best Headline Ever

Last week I mentioned Ross Douthat's new book, Privilege, in conjunction with another review. This week, the liberals at Slate take aim at the self-proclaimed conservative and wanna-be David Brooks. Regardless of what you think of the article, Unfair Harvard - The real story behind one graduate's gripes. By Stephen Metcalf, you have to appreciate the fact that it appears on Slate's start page under the heading "Shut Up, You Whiny Harvard Brat."

Jon Stewart couldn't have said it better.

Hey Maureen, I'm Over Here!!!

In Maureen Dowd's column in the Times today, Dish It Out, Ladies, she discusses the difficultly women have both in writing tough columns and in being taken seriously while doing so. She laments the fact that she is seen as a "castrater," not a serious pundit. She also calls for more women writers on the op-ed pages of both our national and college newspapers. As one of the few women columnists for the D, I sympathesize with what she says, especially since it seems like the female columnists come under attack more often. But I also understand that criticism is generally because of what I say, not my gender.

Although if Ms. Dowd would like to "find and nuture" this struggling op-ed columnist, I wouldn't be adverse.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Et tu, Jon?

Sometimes the least likely people turn on you, or your school. Apparently, on last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart made the following crack about our beloved college:

Stewart: "this weekend debuts the new SAT test. It tells whether you'll be a success or a Dartmouth grad."

watch it here (thanks dartblog)

Such a remark is interesting for a few reasons. First, it seems very arbitrary...of all the colleges Stewart (a William & Marry grad) could have picked on, we seem on odd choice, both because of our relatively low profile compared to a larger school like Cornell, and because, well, our SAT scores are pretty high, if I've been reading US News correctly. Secondly, however, it indicates that maybe our image problem is bigger than we imagined, and that maybe, as much as it pains me to say it, BuzzFlood does have a point. In light of the ongoing debate about the Trustee Elections, which I've avoided mentioning so far, perhaps the issue of the College's image and national reputation is more pressing that I'd imagined if we are getting trashed on national television.

It all makes sense (via Dartblog again):
"Ryan Bender e-mails in...

'It definitely doesn't make much sense for our school to be mentioned like that-- the zinger came totally out of left field-- but I might have an answer for you.

The clip made its way to the marching band [e-mail] list today, and we got this as an explanation:

"So apparently the reason for the Dartmouth joke is that Charlotte Heleniak '06 ... is interning for the Daily Show this term and was on the set last night, so this was a little jab at her. In case you were wondering...'"

Martha, Martha, Martha

Just in case you haven't had too much Martha Stewart coverage lately, CNN/Money Magazine weighs in, trumpeting the fact that she has, for the first time, made their annual list of billionaires. Usual suspects Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are at top, both with more money than god.
One interesting fact, however, - it closes the article - is that of the 691 billionaires, only 68 are women. I wonder what Larry Summers would have to say about this an aptitude problem too?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Article Round-Up

Reading period at Dartmouth means more time then usual spent on the web looking for fun/unusual articles to use to waste time. The best so far:

For the empowered single woman: The Bachelorette Who Set Us Free. Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that He's Not that Into You is on the "Campus Bestsellers" shelf at the Dartmouth Bookstore? If he's a Dartmouth boy, it's not about you, its about his pong game.

For the Van Wilder Fan: Teen Faces Charges for Prank. And they argue that the media doesn't influence people's behavior. I'm sure I'll never look at a canoli the same way again.

For anyone who suffered through summer hw:Judge Gives Homework Lawsuit a Big Fat"F"
I heard about this case of a boy suing in protest of summer homework a while ago, and I'm glad that a teacher's right to assign overly moralistic young adult literature or tedious Document-Based Questions is rightfully protected.

The nose knows: Scent of the Nile. Fascinating look into the world of perfume, and another thing to do with that orgo class you've been struggling with for the last 2 terms.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Modern -day Mordechai

Came across this interesting post on the Volokh Conspiracy today. In it, Eugene Volokh responds to the posting of pictures of allegedly Jewish members of the UCLA Law School facility with the line "So, yeah, we're Jews. Yeah, we're overrepresented on university faculties, in law and medicine, in the Senate, on the Supreme Court. Speaking of Nazis, we were overrepresented on the Manhattan Project, too."

With Purim just a few weeks away (March 25th), it is good to see that the fight against anti-Semitism is alive and well.


In honor of my twenty-page paper on Newton, who gave himself mercury poisoning in the name of science, this article on CNN about the persistence of mercury in high schools, particularly in science labs.

High School Flashback

Way back when I still "did science," I participated in the Intel Science Talent Search. My high school used to be one of the best places to do so, with our high numbers of semi-finalists and finalists. Things have been going down hill lately, however. Perhaps the best indication of this is this article in today's NY Times, about the important of finding the right mentor. Alas for poor Schreiber, the HS that they've spotlighted this time around is perennial rival Ward Melville. How the mighty have fallen.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Hottest New Couple in Fashion is...

Mary Kate Olsen and David Brooks?

That's right. An article in today's Times argues that the baglady chic of NYU freshman Mary Kate Olsen, which has become a huge trend among her peers and other trendy young NYC women, is in actuality an expression of the anti-ostentation pro-good life philosophy of David Brook's Bourgeoise Bohemians. While the article does make some salient points about the BoBo nature of this trend, somehow I doubt that "skinny girls in baggy clothes" are identical to his SUV-driving, L. L. Bean wearing, second-home-so-they-can-escape-from-the-rat-race upper middle class professionals.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Op-Ex Columnists

Apparently Maureen Dowd, the NY Times' stiletto-heel wielding liberal columnist and John Tierney, the new libertarian columnist, used to be lovers. (NY Daily News, Gawker) It sure gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "kiss and tell"!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Damn, Someone Else Wrote My Book....Again

First it was Marty Beckerman and his attempt to categorize our age group with Generation S. L. U. T. Now it's Harvard grad Ross Gregory Douthat and his book with the self-explanatory title Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class, soon to be published by Hyperion. This profile in the New York Observer makes me fear for the future of our country at the same time that I recognize myself in Mr. Douthat (without the whole Conservative Catholic thing). Apparently I'm not the only BOBO-in-training with a blog and a biweekly column.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Earlier this term, I wrote this op-ed, "Now that the Dust has Settled," on the need for more debate on the Dartmouth campus. Apparently I'm getting what I asked for. A column I wrote for the D two weeks ago, "Bonfire of the Inanities," garnered this response, "Far from 'Ridiculous,'" in the D, and this post on Dartlog. Now, the column I wrote for Tuesday's paper, "Condi, Who are You Wearing?", merited a full column response in today's paper, "Condoleezza Can Take the Heat," by Peter Gray '07. It has also prompted this (more positive) response on Joe's Dartblog. And let's not forget this response on The Dartmouth Observer to my first column this term, "There's Something About Harry." It almost makes one miss The Smarter Dartmouth.

Who knew I was so controversial? As much as I dislike the slightly personal tone of many of the responses, I'm glad to be generating debate. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be like the doyenne of snarky feminist columnists, dear Maureen Dowd, and generate this level of response.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

SCOTUS in the News

Two very important Supreme Court cases this week that can be seen in the wider context of the debate over our country's moral direction:

Yesterday, the Court voted 5-4 against the death penalty for 16 and 17 year olds. This reverses a decision made 16 years ago. It is also interesting that the majority opinion was written by Kennedy, who voted in favor of allowing the executions last time around. (

Today, the Court hears arguments for and against the display of the 10 Commandments in front of the State Capitol and state Supreme Court in Texas and in courthouses in Kentucky. In an editorial today, the Times urged the court to uphold the boundary between church and state. It will be fascinating to see how the court decides, especially in light of the emphasis on faith that we saw in the recent presidential election and that continues to pervade government. (

Best Gig in the Business

I used to think that Washington reporter Robin Givhan, with her tough beat covering D. C. social life and fashion had the best gig of any of the reporters in the Washington Post family. Apparently, however I was wrong, as evidenced by James Verini's review of different condoms for Slate. There's an old saw that says you should never write anything you wouldn't want read at your funeral. Apparently Verini hasn't been following that rule...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Onion tackles the President's science policy

In the wake of all the recent debate about both women and science and the government and science, its always good when The Onion can use its unique blend of humor and fake news to give us perspective. It would be a little bit funnier, however, if some of the projects weren't quite so plausible.

Dartmouth must be doing something right

Despite all the recent debate among Dartmouth Alums as to whether or not the school is going doing the drain, a pledge for a charitable donation to the College still made Slate's annual list of the 60 most generous charitable donations of the year:

"William H. Neukom—a $22 million pledge to Dartmouth College. Neukom, 63, chair of Preston Gates & Ellis, a Seattle law firm, and former executive vice president of law and corporate affairs at the Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., pledged $22 million to Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H. The gift will establish an institute on computational science. Neukom is a 1964 graduate of the college and serves on its board of trustees."

Just wait until the Buzzflood hears about this one...

Times Picks Tierney

Today the Times announced that John Tierney will be replacing Safire on the Op-Ed page. Tierney, who formerly wrote the "Big City" column, was identified last September by Slate as one of the leading candidates for Safire's spot. He is a libertarian, which brings the grand total of Times Op-Ed columnists who aren't card-carrying liberals to two. Which still probably gives them a better liberal::non-liberal ratio than Dartmouth.