The Other Charlotte and I are of course apopleptic with outrage that a cadre of radical-left and militant-feminist professors were able to force the resignation of the president of Harvard University (read our screeds here, here, and here). We can’t stop writing about the decision of Lawrence H. Summers, a man so brilliant that he became a full professor at Harvard at age 28, to step down after five embattled years.
Seems that at Harvard, you can’t say that trying to undermine the Israeli state reeks of anti-Semitism or that professors at a top university ought to do scholarship, not cut rap CD’s. And most of all, you must never, never say that men and women are innately different and seem to have, overall, different mental strengths and weaknesses.
This is appalling. I’m a Harvard grad (M.A. in English literature), and I’m appalled and distressed at my alma mater–and at the political radicalization of an arts faculty whose worst quality when I was a student was low-level endemic stuffiness. I wish that Larry Summers, who was beloved of Harvard’s undergraduates and popular with every other graduate faculty except arts and sciences had fought it out–but I understand how the daily psychic grind of the battle must have worn him out. I wish he hadn’t bothered trying to appease the rad-fems–which was akin to trying to appease Grendel’s mother–with silly “gender” search committees and so forth. It’s a sad day.
The only good news is that at college campuses all over the country, the “humanities” (as they are still called, although there’s nothing humane or humanistic about their Marxisation) are bleeding student enrollments–for I can assure you that it wasn’t the “sciences” contingent of Harvards arts and sciences faculty that was behind the Summers purge. You can scarcely blame the students. When I was an undergrad, English lit was one of the most popular majors on campus–and why not? We read wonderful books, and with our professors’ help, teased out of those books their authors’ rich and wonderful visions. In English classes nowadays, literature classes are indoctrination in the professors’ pet theories about “gender,” “colonialism,” and various forms of dead white male oppression. Who wants to study that? Larry Summers fought a vain battle to buck this sort of overt politicization of academic disciplines. But he can comfort himself with the knowledge that those disciplines are in the process of committing suicide.
So it’s a sad day. And if you want to read more, I’ve got this obituary for Summers’s presidency on National Review Online, where I predict more dire fates for outspoken academics.