Archive for September, 2006

Where the Blog Went

Posted on September 30th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Sorry for being off yesterday, folks; I had to take a sudden business trip to Florida. (No, seriously.) Left for the airport at 6:45 AM, got back at 11 PM. On the plane home, in the row in front of me, a young woman had triplets, who screamed in baby harmony. Yikes.

Anyway, lots to discuss, soon….

Women Don’t Like John Tierney

Posted on September 28th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The other day, NYT columnist John Tierney wrote a piece trashing the National Academy of Science’s report on women in science.

Today, in the letters section of the Times, the women strike back.

Pretty eloquently, actually.

Quote of the Day

Posted on September 28th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

“They’re smart and often unhappy. They feel they have to live up to hype. Harvard chooses people who are specialized in one thing, so they’re not well-rounded. But they learn fast and work their ass off.”

—Yale grad and Harvard expos instructor Josh Barkan, talking about Harvard students

Jet Takes Off

Posted on September 28th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

There’s really nothing like a good, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll show, is there? Guitars, bass and drum; light show; stacks of speakers; and a band from a far-away place.

I saw Jet at Irving Plaza last night, and am still slightly recovering. What a terrific concert! Plus, it’s possible that I drank too much.

For those of you not familiar with them, Jet is an Australian foursome, a straight-up rock band from Melbourne who, in rock’s grand tradition, rips off just about everyone you can think of: AC/DC, the Stones, Aerosmith, Steve Miller, the Beatles, Oasis, even Bachman Turner Overdrive. And yet they put their own spin on things and somehow come out sounding new.

They are also young, loud, energetic and brash. At the beginning of their second song, the shirtless drummer announced that they’d just heard “that Justin Timberlake song” on the radio. Pause. “This is how you write a real fucking song, Timberlake, you cunt,” he announced.

Why is it that Brits/Aussies can use the c-word humorously and Americans can’t?

The question actually goes to the heart of some profound differences in the various streams of Anglo-culture, relating to the sense of bittersweet irony that comes either with being a post-imperial nation or descendants of convicts. After January 2009, perhaps we will have a greater understanding of this.

But I digress.

Meanwhile, lead singer/lead guitarist Nik Cester prowled the stage in classic rock star garb, scarf around his neck, playing a beautiful Gibson guitar…beautifully. As the show went on, the band got locked in, playing faster, tighter, and, it seemed, louder. Increasingly covered in sweat, Cester urged the crowd to clap, played fiery solos, and stepped in front of the microphone into the crowd. The climax came when he launched into a long, solo intro to “Cold Hard Bitch,” one of the greatest rock songs of the past decade, and climbed up onto a small ledge near the balcony, the spotlight chasing to catch up to him. About a minute of staccato power chords, then a second guitar, then drums and bass, leading to a musical crescendo, and a primal rock scream, before a single lyric is sung: “Yeah!” A full-throated roar, stretched out for about ten seconds.

I am not so far removed from adolescence—or adolescence is not so far removed from me—that this kind of thing doesn’t send shivers down my spine.

You can stream Jet’s new album, “Shine On,” at their MySpace page. (I love the new single, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.”) Have a listen. If there’s any justice in the rock world, these guys are going to be huge.

Stanford Blasts Back on Early Admissions

Posted on September 28th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

I missed yesterday this very interesting Times op-ed by Stanford provost John Etchemendy on the subject of early admissions.

Etchemendy takes aim at some of the reporting on Harvard’s and Princeton’s decision to end non-binding early admission, and he also questions the merits of that policy change. His argument is nuanced and pretty well convincing: Early admissions don’t “advantage the advantaged,” he says, unless a) colleges have lower standards for early applicants and b) early applicants are wealthier than standard applicants.

At Stanford, Ethchemendy says, neither is the case.

He also torpedoes the argument that early admissions adds to the craziness of the admissions argument by pointing out that, for those who gain acceptance early, it actually can make the rest of their senior year quite pleasant. (That was certainly my memory of what it was like for my high school classmates who were accepted early; the rest of us wanted to punch them.)

Etchemendy’s conclusion?

The best way to decrease the frenzy of the admission season? Have colleges universally adopt nonbinding early admission programs, and then apply the same or higher standards to the early decisions as they do to the regular round. It’s a solution that’s fair for the students and practical for the colleges.

I’d like to hear some counter-arguments. And by the way, the Crimson points out that the editorial effectively removes Etchemendy as a candidate for the Harvard presidency. No offense, but I can’t blame him: Would you want to leave sunny Palo Alto for Cambridge?

Harvard-Based Journalism

Posted on September 27th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

The latest e-mail from the Harvard Alumni Association tells me that, in March 2007, they’ll be hosting a panel on “Harvard in Journalism.”

Additional information to be announced about our 2007 programs in planning:
Harvard in Journalism (March 2007)

At the risk of being immodest, I’d like to nominate myself for the panel. After all, I went to Harvard—that’s why I get the alumni association e-mails—and I’m in journalism, more or less. Blogger, magazine writer. Heck, I even wrote a book about Harvard. You can’t get much more Harvard in journalism than that.

I will now hold my breath until the phone rings.

02138 in the New York Sun

Posted on September 27th, 2006 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The magazine’s launch party gets the society coverage treatment in today’s New York Sun….

The Greatest Game in the Post

Posted on September 27th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Keith Kelly, the New York Post’s media columnist, talks about my new book today….

Harvard Rules in 02138

Posted on September 27th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The magazine has a little round-up of recent books on Harvard….

Meanwhile, I’ll have a little round-up of the 02138 launch party just as soon as I’m off deadline…

Here’s….02138

Posted on September 26th, 2006 in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

Hey, the first issue of 02138 magazine appears to be out, or at least online. Love the cover…. TOCissue1

Of course, I wrote something for the first ish, so I have to say that, right? But actually, I do love the cover. She’s sexy, it’s an irreverent image, and the design looks good.

My piece on the Harvard Corporation is available online, but you have to start a subscription to read it. Go ahead—you can always cancel after you get a free first issue in the mail.

I can promise you, you will learn things about the Harvard Corporation—and its handling of the Larry Summers situation—that you didn’t know before…