And what is the reason for this wholesale and unjust prejudice
against anyone who has been hired at an ivy league school? Is it
not simply a reverse snobbery that pretends intellectuals are all
ignorant? They aren't.
Clearly I am not in an Ivy League university, but I did teach at one
for some time, and my colleagues were as various, as intelligent,
as caring, as knowledgeable, and as thoughtful as others--most
more so. I think you might reconsider this attitude.
On 18 Sep 2003, at 9:26, Tom Gray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> To bring this to literary relevance, this same
> attitude was displayed in Kevin Costner's recent movie
> on the Cuban missile crisis which I believe was called
> 13 Days.
> In one scene, McGeorge Bundy has been assigned by the
> White House to supervise the operation of the
> operations room at the Pentagon. An admiral, in change
> of the blockade, was ordering a naval vessel to fire
> flares over a Soviet merchant ship to encourage it to
> stop. Bundy hearing this immediately ordered that his
> not be done and started to seriously upbraid the
> admiral in front of the entire room. Costner had Bundy
> tell the admiral that the blockade was not a blockade
> but a form of diplomatic bargaining. Kennedy was
> talking to Kruschev in an entirely new way according
> to Bundy. Costner had the admiral remain silent and
> perhaps he did as well in real life. However the
> admiral was undoubtedly thinking that he understood
> the idea of military actions as diplomatic statements
> and that he did not need lectures from Harvard
> intellectuals to inform him of this.
> It is very common now in political discussions to
> entirely discount an opponent’s position. A political
> figure may be doing something that one disagrees with.
> However they cannot be doing this as a result of an
> informed analysis. They are doing this because they
> are stupid, immature, ignorant, arrogant etc.
> Costner’s ludicrous depiction of an omniscient Bundy
> revealing the truth to a stupid admiral is only one
> cinematic example of this.
> Indeed if the truth be known, the real Bundy was one
> of the prime architects of the American Viet Nam
> policy which utterly failed. It was Bundy’s idea that
> the US could communicate with the North Vietnamese by
> a policy of gradually increasing pressure. Bundy’s
> view was that the US could by this means tell the
> North Vietnamese that they could not possibly hope to
> prevail in the war. One, with the wisdom of hindsight,
> can now wonder who was stupid, immature, ignorant and
> arrogant. Was it the professional military, who as
> ordered strove for victory? Or was it a collection of
> Ivy League intellectuals, of unquestioned brilliance,
> who created and applied theories that were entirely
> out of their realm of expertise? What exactly were
> they telling the North Vietnamese?
> Now a days the same sorts of intellectuals are still
> convinced that because of their academic records that
> they have a special insight into the way the world
> works that is denied to the ordinary. According the
> David Halberstam’s book ‘The Best and the Brightest’,
> one of Bundy’s undergraduate papers was published in a
> major foreign policy journal. Bundy was academically
> brilliant. According to Costner, Bundy felt free to
> berate a senior military officer about the obvious
> intent of the Cuban blockade (of course this might
> reflect more on Costner than Bundy). However Bundy was
> the chief architect and ideologue of a Viet Nam policy
> that was not only ill-conceived in theory but an
> abject and tragic failure in practice.
> We can all learn from Forrest Gump’s observation that
> ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’ in that we can learn to
> respect the people we disagree with.
> --- "Bob S." <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > The following is written by a psychiatrist comparing
> > the administration with
> > immature teenagers. His analysis and definition of
> > immature behavior will
> > be of interest to some list members.
> > Bob Summers
> > Copyright © 2003 The International Herald Tribune |
> > www.iht.com
> > An administration that thinks and acts as a child
> > John A. McKinnon IHT
> > Wednesday, September 17, 2003
> > Analyze this
> > MARION, Montana Troubled teenagers fail at the tasks
> > of a modern adolescence
> > because they try to solve sophisticated problems
> > with an unsophisticated
> > approach whose elements routinely include a childish
> > sense of time, lack of
> > empathy, florid narcissism, selfish ethics and
> > concrete logic.
> > They are usually not stupid, nor ill - not the kids
> > I'm talking about. But
> > they fail across the board - at school, at home and
> > among their peers -
> > because their approach is childish.
> > I point this out because I want to talk about
> > adults, and specifically about
> > the Bush administration and its "approach."
> > Temporarily (under stress) or chronically (for those
> > who never grew up),
> > adults can think like immature teen-agers. To
> > persuade you, I'll describe
> > this flawed approach:
> > Present and Future: Immature teen-agers think the
> > future a destination to be
> > reached by magical thinking. They want to "be"
> > astronauts, but see no reason
> > to do tonight's algebra assignment.
> > Present and Past: Immature teen-agers think the past
> > a fairy tale not
> > usefully connected to the present. You can't teach
> > them history.
> > Lack of Empathy: Immature teen-agers treat "friends"
> > with consideration, but
> > only if they dress the same way and can be imagined
> > to think and feel "just
> > like me."
> > Narcissism: Immature teen-agers are selfish,
> > self-preoccupied, self-oriented
> > and self-important. If they want it, they think
> > they're entitled to have it.
> > And so they don't need to ask, and if they ask they
> > don't think the answer
> > has any business being no, and if it's no they are
> > entitled to badger,
> > bully, blackmail, bribe or or attack to compel
> > compliance. For there is only
> > one person in the relationship - "me."
> > Selfish Ethics: Troubled teen-agers often think they
> > ought to be allowed to
> > do as they like and take what they like, and that
> > it's all right to do so if
> > they can get away with it. In pursuit of
> > self-interest, they are shameless.
> > Concrete Logic: Immature teen-agers are so impressed
> > that they no longer
> > believe in the Tooth Fairy that they congratulate
> > themselves for "realism"
> > when they ignore (because they don't yet understand)
> > mature ethical
> > abstractions such as honor, tolerance, integrity,
> > the environment, or the
> > good of our community. Mistaking metaphor for
> > literal fact, they have little
> > sense of humor, but insist upon concrete
> > interpretation of rules and other
> > texts, even when such concreteness betrays the
> > spirit of those rules.
> > I have no wish to be rude, and I recognize that
> > neither political party has
> > a monopoly on childishness. But I can't help seeing
> > in this description a
> > synopsis of the Bush administration's approach.
> > Whether the administration is talking about medical
> > care or tax cuts,
> > homeland security or social welfare, energy or the
> > environment, democracy
> > (in Florida, California, Iraq or the West Bank) or
> > the separation of church
> > and state, or the liberty of citizens and the rights
> > of prisoners under the
> > Constitution, the approach has been arrogant,
> > self-important, unempathic,
> > careless of the future and ethically primitive.
> > In this election season, the maturity of our
> > approach to national and
> > international affairs ought to take priority over
> > party, class, race,
> > region, creed or personality. Inasmuch as the
> > maturity of our leadership is
> > an American issue, it should unite us.
> > We might even agree that we need an approach that
> > includes clear, plausible
> > goals embedded in coherent, fully debated plans
> > before actions are taken
> > that affect our children's lives, our resources and
> > our honor; a firm grasp
> > of history's haunting of the present, its
> > constraints upon future options;
> > true empathy, not patronizing sentimentality, for
> > those not like us; respect
> > for others and other nations; a social ethic that
> > soars above greedy
> > immediate self-interest; a quiet respect for
> > integrity, separateness,
> > privacy and liberty, and a sense of humor, irony and
> > humility.
> > Why does this matter so much?
> > First, because a childish approach fails. It doesn't
> > even work for high
> > school sophomores. There is no reason to think it
> > will work for our nation.
> > Second, because even in high school others despise
> > strutting narcissism,
> > personal obtuseness, bullying relationships and
> > selfish ethics. Faced with
> > arrogance and selfishness, others refuse to help us,
> > passively resist,
> > applaud our humiliation and disdain all those
> > associated with that
> > arrogance.
> > As we come up to elections for legislative seats and
> > for the office of
> > president, let's put aside partisanship so as to
> > rise above party labels and
> > disgraceful sound bites. Let's see if, together, we
> > can elect and re-elect
> > those who think and behave like adults.
> > The writer, a psychiatrist, is co-founder and
> > chairman of Montana Academy, a
> > residential school for troubled adolescents in
> > Montana.
> > Copyright © 2003 The International Herald Tribune
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