Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A man in full

Tom Wolfe is dead, and there will never be another one like him. He was a giant. This 2015 article in Vanity Fair by Michael Lewis is about the best piece about Wolfe that I've ever read. It's definitely the most fun to read -- almost as fun as reading Wolfe himself.

Friday, May 11, 2018

"Michigan State’s knee-jerk defensiveness, exhibited time and again as allegations of abuse surfaced, fits into the decades-long story of an institution where leaders have seldom acknowledged mistakes or countenanced any information that might threaten the narrative of Michigan State’s excellence."

Here's a cautionary tale from East Lansing, home of serial sexual abuser Dr. Larry Nassar, but the lessons apply far more broadly. It's titled "How a Transformational President Set Michigan State on a Course to Disaster."  A sample:

Instead of “leading for the public good,” Fear said, the administration was consumed by a focus on winning at sports and raising more money. The humanities and social sciences, for instance, didn’t win as much support from Simon because the grants in such fields aren’t as lucrative.

As her administration became increasingly closed off, many faculty members said, the academic side of the campus became fragmented. The deans rarely met as a group. Faculty members grew disengaged. Their role in governance shrank. Their voices got quieter.

“This is a Michigan State problem,” said Deborah Moriarty, a professor of piano and vice chair of the Faculty Senate. “We have an amazing faculty. And then we have an administration that oftentimes just meets and meets and meets, and talks to each other.”

Faculty members often used to write articles in the campus newspaper expressing their views about what was going on at Michigan State, Fear said. No more. “The silence from the faculty is part of the institutional culture,” he said. “It wasn’t that way before. I’ve lost friends because of my being outspoken.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"I can't pay my doctor bills but Whitey's on the moon."

From the New York Times: 

“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel,” Jeff Bezos said in a recent interview.