Saturday, April 24, 2010

* Beware the Jabberwock, my son . . . (Many Thanks ! )

25 percent turnout expected in alumni Corp. vote

By Nora Caplan-Bricker
Staff Reporter
The Yale Daily News

Published Friday, April 23, 2010

A little over a week after roughly 60 percent of Yale College students turned out to vote for Yale College Council candidates, the University is holding another election, and anticipating a much smaller turnout.On Thursday, alumni received electronic ballots for the annual Alumni Fellow Election, which will decide the newest member of the University’s highest governing body, the Yale Corporation. In past years, an average of 20 to 25 percent of Yale alumni have participated in the election — a figure that past Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee Chair Melanie Ginter ’78 GRD ’81 said...

#1 By Rigged 9:26a.m. on April 23, 2010

I never received a ballot; at least, there's none in my Inbox or Deleted Items for April 23.
I call for a re-vote! Hamid Karzai can oversee the results.
M.Div. '80

#2 By Pasta Keane 12:26p.m. on April 23, 2010


You have returned at last! O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay! I too did not receive a ballot.

Pasta Keane-The Anti Pasta Blog

#3 By Yale 80 3:34p.m. on April 23, 2010

I got my electronic ballot weeks ago.

#4 By King Vidor 3:15a.m. on April 24, 2010

Yeah, mine came weeks ago too. Will be a miracle if I still have it! I'd think a reminder would be useful, a couple of days before the deadline, but who knows, I might have gotten one of those too.

#5 By Y01 7:13a.m. on April 24, 2010

I too got my ballot weeks ago--and voted. Though I can see why so few would bother voting. The choices are pretty grim. Every bio is CEO-this and CEO-that. I want to vote for someone who will push for an open and ethical endowment, and support liberal academia NOT the corporatization of it. It feels pretty useless when you realize that we get to vote for the alumni members only, but the largest part of the Yale Corporation is actually installed by departing members. Now, that old-blue good-old-boys system merits a serious article, PLEASE. Announcing that a ballot is coming is a little thin on substance YDN.
#6 By dsimon 11:18a.m. on April 24, 2010
The problem with voting process is that we alums are given no information that is relevant to the purpose of the election: what the candidates think Yale's policies should be. Here's what I wrote to the administration last year when I declined to participate.__________
The letter from President Levin says "The ten Successor Fellows and six Alumni Fellows who convene five times a year are responsible for setting the policies that guide Yale's future." Yet the materials about the candidates provide absolutely no information on their views regarding the policies they think should guide Yale's future. Given the complete absence of such information, I don't see how any alum can cast a responsible vote for anyone for the position.I am sure each of the nominees is a fine individual with an outstanding record of accomplishment. But a great personal history should not be the reason we are electing someone. No employer would hire a candidate for a job without asking questions specific to the job. I don't see why Yale alumni voting in this election should not have the same rights and responsibilities regarding those questions--if they are to have a meaningful role in the process.I would not be greatly upset if the Corporation simply selected its own Alumni Fellows, since I feel we're not given the relevant information to cast an informed vote. But since I don't believe we have the relevant information, I cannot in good faith participate in what seems to me to be a sham process.I urge the University to either provide materials about the candidates concerning the position to which they are being elected, or change the process to leave alumns out of it. This intermediate position where we get to vote but are not given the information to vote on seems simply untenable to me.

#7 By Poking Around 12:07p.m. on April 24, 2010

Dear Anti-Pasta:
I've been poking around, especially the Ying Yang Twins and Immigration posting boards.
I actually "quit" three times,but this blogging is addictive.
After Charlie Rose's "Brain Series" (episode 7 on addiction Thursday night) I realized that every new issue of the On-Line YDN sends a little squirt of dopamine into my striatum which triggers my "posting" compulsion.
Now, if we could market that insight into a Skinner Box Behavior Modification formula we could solve a crisis in addictive behavior which is simmering beneath the surface of our culture just waiting to explode.
Actually, 12-Step Programs ARE that very Skinner Box formula, unacknowledged as such.
My name is PK and I'm a Postaholic.

#8 By Coming galumphing back 1:27p.m. on April 24, 2010

PS to Anti-Pasta:
Actually, I 'returned' ("galumphing") from watching Mr. Shaffer's "vorpal blade go snicker snack" as "one, two, one, two and through and through" it cut the hypocrisy surrounding the Ying/Yang Twins' invitation to shreds.

#9 By Re: Galumphing Back 5:13p.m. on April 24, 2010

I hear you may appoint Mr. Shaffer your successor. If that is the case, it has been an honor posting with you. May the wind be always at your back.

#10 By Successor or Guest Columnist? 9:29p.m. on April 24, 2010

Successor when I'm dead. Right now I'm still alive.

I would gladly post any guest column he wished to put on The Anti-Yale, especially if his keyboard is still on fire.

But for me, the pictures are half the fun. That would have to be co-ordinated between guest and host.


I don't know if your final sentence was serious or tongue-in-cheek, but I've had a lot of fun and intellectual stimulation posting with the YDN posters this year.

Many thanks to all.

# 11By Thanks for the Irish Blessing 12:59 a.m. on April 25, 2010
# 9

Thank you for the Irish blessing. And good luck to you in your endeavors.

The Anti-Yale


The Anti-Yale

#12 By No tongue in Cheek at all 1:06p.m. on April 25, 2010

Merely a celebration of a worthy conversationalist.

Friday, April 23, 2010

* Heir-Apparent to The Anti-Yale Discovered ?

#8 By Heir-apparent discovered ? 10:06a.m. on April 23, 2010

The scathing prose of this article was penned with an intellectual blow-torch.

I want to meet this writer.

He may be the previously unrecognized heir-apparent to The Anti-Yale, the new lama of ivy satire, emerging only now (TODAY, with this column) for authentication.

(He's stealing my show.)

Should he further reveal himself, I'll give him successor-rights to the blog and appoint him immediately as apprentice-in-waiting.

Invite him to contact me for interview.



It took me a full year of YDN posting to make this discovery, and I do so ONLY on the FINAL day of YDN publishing for 2009/10? Wow.

(Article in Full)

Shaffer: The Twins are coming
On Truth and Lies

By Matthew Shaffer

The Yale Daily News

Published Friday, April 23, 2010

Satire is dead. Satire is dead and we have killed him. On Tuesday, the Ying Yang Twins are coming to Yale.

I don’t know why the Ying Yang Twins were invited, and I don’t know why there isn’t more outrage. But they really were invited; they really will perform. I can’t stop them. All I can do is reflect on what they say about us. In a way, it’s appropriate that the Ying Yang Twins were selected, because they constitute the apotheosis of our generation’s sexuality, music and feminism.

Some have described the Ying Yang Twins’ music as overtly sexual. This is a mistake. There’s nothing sexual about it. A better word for it and for contemporary patterns of desire would be masturbatory. The Ying Yang Twins evidence no sexuality — no desire for union or intercourse with another. No woman is the object of their love or lust. Rather, in every song, the only object of desire is the male orgasm and attendant ejaculation. A woman is just the most convenient means to that autoerotic end. But fundamentally, neither twin can differentiate a woman from his own right hand.

The Ying Yang Twins’ popularity is symptomatic of our generation’s crippled sexuality. They are little different from the man who chooses a hook-up and refrains from learning her name or speaking to her the day after. The case for him is the same — libidinal release is the only desired end, for which any orifice may provide the justified means.

The musical abominations which are the Ying Yang Twins indicate something of the artistic degradation of our culture. Beside their misogyny, there is no compensating value to their music, which is repetitive, obnoxious and uninteresting. “Salt Shaker” has, literally, two notes. One theme predominates — in an impressive combination of narcissism and phallus worship, every song informs us of the artists’ fixation on their own penises, a fixation privy to which they wish to make the whole world. Art happens at the intersection of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, where bestial urges are informed by human artifice. But there is nothing of art to be found in their droning, predictable, crunk rap-boilerplate lyrics and chords. There is only the throbbing Dionysian urge, never informed, moved, redirected or perfected by human artifice.

What is most surprising, however, is the sudden evaporation of our campus’ feminism. The real ones, of course, have not evaporated. Those hard cores, who read N.T. Nuyen and populate the Women’s Center, continue to be outraged. By the run-of-the-mill Yale feminist is hardly to be found.

We have performed an impressive feat of intellectual hypocrisy. The Ying Yang Twins’ invitation reveals our campus’ faux-feminism. We insist on advertising pro-choice sympathies in section, in joining the right Facebook groups, voting for the progressive candidates and telling those wretched evangelicals to keep their hands off of our bodies. But when feminism demands more than calling George Bush ’68 a fascist and wearing cute shirt, it is silently abandoned. When it’s politically fashionable, Eli will militate for reproductive rights, but he won’t decline to grind to “Beat da pussy up, beat da pussy up!” lest he look like a square. Like the upper-middle class suburban mother who donates to the NAACP while trying to make sure no real-life black people get too close to her, Yale men will do everything to advertise their feminism short of actually demanding respect for women. It is clear that what dictates the feminist conscious of this campus — both at its best and its worst — is less a commitment to an ideal than a commitment to fashion.

It’s true that ours is a culture in which people are too quick to compete for the title of Most Offended. For that reason, I appreciated Avinash Gandhi’s ’10 little satire (“Reason to protest,” April 14). But the fact that a boy cries wolf too much doesn’t mean there are no wolves. Leprechauns are not an offensive Irish stereotype, but lyrics like, “Make that pussy fart for the Ying Yang Twins … The home of the fifth red bones and big butts, has been bitches splittin’ all over the floo,” are wildly, wildly offensive, however much the word may be overused.

Oscar Wilde once said that “All art is immoral.” If he meant that art shouldn’t be preachy, that it doesn’t exist to make us moral people, then I agree. But the problem with the Ying Yang Twins isn’t that they are amoral, but that they preach on behalf of anti-morality. They create nothing interesting, nothing beautiful, nothing profound. All they do is appeal to our worst instincts.

When Ying Yang Twins take the stage, do something. Throw food, hiss, leave. People like them deserve to be stigmatized, frightened, told clearly that they will never be given any respect by respectable society.

While Old Campus throbs in celebration of an adolescent, predatory masturbation, I will sit in Davenport courtyard, smoke a pipe, listen to Beethoven and read Shakespeare, shutting my eyes to a cause and embodiment of the degradation of my generation.

Matthew Shaffer is a senior in Davenport College

#1 By mn 4:20a.m. on April 23, 2010

My first thought when seeing this title was that it was referring to the Minnesota Twins. I was very excited.. hah.

#2 By wow 7:08a.m. on April 23, 2010

This is literally the most pretentious thing I've ever read.

Your absence will not be missed.

#3 By MJG 7:40a.m. on April 23, 2010

Insightful and exceptionally well stated. I commend your courage, but the fact that you care distinguishes you even more, Mr. Shaffer.

#4 By Anonymous 8:01a.m. on April 23, 2010

Thanks, Mr. Shaffer, for being the voice of reason.

#5 By #2 9:38a.m. on April 23, 2010

Bravo, Matthew. BRAVO.

#6 By DC 13 9:45a.m. on April 23, 2010


#7 By BR'10 10:05a.m. on April 23, 2010

Here, here.

#8 By Heir-apparent dicovered ? 10:06a.m. on April 23, 2010

The scathing prose of this article was penned with an intellectual blow-torch.

I want to meet this writer.

He may be the previously unrecognized heir-apparent to The Anti-Yale, the new llama of ivy satire, emerging only now (TODAY, with this column) for authentication.

(He's stealing my show.)

Should he further reveal himself, I'll give him successor0-rights to the blog and appoint him immediately as apprentice-in-waiting.

Invite him to contact me for interview.


PS: It took me a full year of YDN posting to make this discovery, and I do so ONLY on the FINAL day of YDN publishing for 2009/10? Wow.

#9 By Yale mom 10:22a.m. on April 23, 2010


#10 By SY '10 10:52a.m. on April 23, 2010

Matt, I think you underestimate the extent to which "ordinary" Yale feminists are upset about the Ying Yang Twins. I know a lot of people not involved in the Women's Center or other explicitly feminist activities who are planning to avoid the Ying Yang Twins performance. You are right that there is a degree of faux-feminism at Yale, but it's a lot less than you think.

#11 By @ SY '10, #10 12:04p.m. on April 23, 2010

The faux-feminists Shaffer means are people like Avi Gandhi, who profess to care about women's rights/be against the abuse of women, and in the same breath claim that the Twins' music is "art" and so therefore should not be taken seriously.

#12 By TC'13 12:16p.m. on April 23, 2010

Not that you need it, Matt, but allow me to add my own voice in approbation to the choir. This is a phenomenal column. See you at rehearsal.

#13 By JE 10 1:45p.m. on April 23, 2010

Thank you for making things interesting, at least.

#14 By MC'11 1:46p.m. on April 23, 2010

I am not ordinarily a Shaffer fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed and agree with this piece.
It disgusts me, sometimes, how even at a place of reason like this people are all too happy to embrace their basal, hedonistic, masturbatory instincts.

On another note, the excuse that such utter misogyny or misanthropy is 'art' is not merely facetious but dangerous. Some weeks back Kate Maltby wrote a column explaining why rape is no laughing matter. The same applies here. People are all too easily desensitised, brutalised. Next thing you know, we'll end up no better than beasts.

#15 By SY '12 2:01p.m. on April 23, 2010

Your best op-ed of the year, Matt. Well done.

#16 By @14 3:33p.m. on April 23, 2010

What did you think of the abortion "art" by Shvarts?

#17 By CC '10 4:26p.m. on April 23, 2010

Shaffer's articles are unfailing brilliant, probing, entertaining, timely. I think this every single week. I might as well post it. Please continue to speak for us, Matt, if you can, after graduation.

#18 By MC'11 @16 5:13p.m. on April 23, 2010

You know, that incident was so messy (figuratively speaking) that I can't remember whether it was 'real' in the end or not.
Real or otherwise, I think Shvarts was essentially trolling, and just shouldn't have been allowed to do whatever it was she did. The issue she was bringing up - abortion - is, objectively speaking, less clear-cut than the straight-up sexism and misogyny that's the issue here; but whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, Shvarts' 'art' was still a disgusting mistake that doesn't help anything.

Why, what did you think of it?

#19 By Yes 6:12p.m. on April 23, 2010

This is incredibly well written. And I couldn't agree more with this article's points. Nobody with respect for women or, for that matter, art and music, should support the decision to bring the Ying Yang Twins by attending that part of Spring Fling. Akon is one thing (and was rejected for this exact reason!), but the Ying Yang Twins are truly in a different league of awful.

#20 By Death 6:45p.m. on April 23, 2010

Why does this writer always proclaim the death of various things? I think he already proclaimed sarcasm dead a couple of times this year, and last week he said philosophy was dead. Is anything alive?

#21 By LOL 8:00p.m. on April 23, 2010

I think Shaffer's columns are a degradation of journalism, and so I wonder, where's the outrage!?

#22 By ES10 8:01p.m. on April 23, 2010

Agreed with #17

Also, are there any plans for an organized protest of the Twins' music during their performance? Nothing so disruptive as interrupting the show, but, perhaps something similar to Blair's speech 2 years ago, silent protesters peacefully demonstrating.

Does anyone know?

#23 By Jordon Walker 9:36p.m. on April 23, 2010

I really took issue with your interpretation of the quote: "Art is immoral". The analysis following it--one can only reasonable conclude--conflated immorality with amorality and that is simply intellectually dishonest.

Although the Ying-Yang twin's musics is far from artistic in my opinion, it is undeniable that their lyrics reek of immorality, if one assumes that monogamy is a definite component of morality--and I definitely do. Consequently, per the definition of the quote presented, the Ying-Yang twins definitely make art, and you Mr. Shaffer are the one repressing artistic expression and stagnating our society, not the Ying Yang twins. :)

#24 By @ #16 10:55p.m. on April 23, 2010

I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at, and I may be assuming something you don't intend. But...

You should know that there are plenty of pro-choice feminists on this campus who are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of performing abortions for the sake of "art." Just because we believe it should be legal doesn't mean we think it should be taken lightly. Many of the same people who oppose the Ying Yang Twins' performance were appalled by Shvartz's work. (However, I'm not sure anyone on this campus actually believes that she performed any abortions. Likely, it was an elaborate fiction.) Nevertheless, just because something is offensive, doesn't mean it's not art. I think we can say that Shvartz's work was far more artistic than anything the YYT do.

#25 By Abrahamson 1:19a.m. on April 24, 2010

So proud to know this kid.

#26 By It was all good until... 1:45a.m. on April 24, 2010

that last elitist paragraph.

#27 By MC'11 10:28a.m. on April 24, 2010

Yes, Shaffer did arguably 'mis'interpret the quote; but many people accept that his interpretation is the correct one, i.e. that Wilde meant what we'd now call 'amoral'.

In any case, all art being immoral does not mean that all that is immoral is art.

Also, still waiting for an explanation from #16...

#28 By Freedom of Expression 11:48a.m. on April 24, 2010

As I said at the time, but without my actual name on the posts, Schvartz initiated an important debate about art and about abortion.

Although the art itself might be repulsive,it must be protected under the First Amendment.

Same with Ying Yang Twins.

Same with Mr. Shaffer's flaming pen (brilliantly incendiary keyboarding) which reached a pinnacle in his "On Truth and Lies" column.

No one is obliged to attend Schvartz'z exhibition (censored by Yale unfortunately), the Ying Yang's concert, or to read Mr. Shaffer's column(s).

Audience (and the lack of it) are equally examples of freedom of expression too .

Where Yale and the First Amendment get into trouble is when freedom expression and freedom of religion collide, as in the Muslim cartoon controversy earlier this year.


#29 By adam t 12:40p.m. on April 24, 2010

outstanding, matt. i have nothing else to say.

#30 By ROFLCOPTER 1:35p.m. on April 24, 2010
I take umbrage to the notion that Mr. Shaffer is the arbiter of what is "musical" and what is not.

It was not long ago that Romantic music (not to be confused with little-r romantic music) was considered hedonistic trash.

#31 By y11 @#22 1:53p.m. on April 24, 2010

i have the same question. is there any kind of organized protest being planned? y11

#32 By Homeric 3:10p.m. on April 24, 2010

I agree with #3o but Shaffer's piece still cuts through the air like a golden sword.

I just listened some of the Ying/Yang Twins' music (NOT the lyrics). The SOUND sounds a lot like Homer might have sounded reciting the Iliad or Odyssey. The "beat" is how the oral tradition managed to pass down that enormous accomplishment.


#33 By you guys are silly 5:44p.m. on April 24, 2010

I guess it makes sense that the comment base here has been largely favorable, given how partial both shaffer and his fans are to hyperbole. My favorites include:
"Cuts the air like a golden sword," unfailingly brilliant, probing...," and, of course, "penned with an intellectual blow torch."
I think the only thing dead here is criticism.

#34 By Hyperbole Gutted 7:37p.m. on April 24, 2010


So, ignore the hyperbole.

What's writing for?

All I know is I wasn't at all interested in the Ying/Yang Twins controversy and barely knew who they were UNTIL I read Shaffer's piece, which I expected to be boring and turned out to be anything but.

I happen to disagree with him on a few issues which I have written about myself, but his writing was interesting, provocative, and charmingly phrased. And it got me thinking and investigating the Ying/Yang phenomenon.

Is that less hyperbole for you? (Pretty boring in my opinion. I wouldn't spend five minutes with somebody who talked that way!)


BTW: Hyperbole is my middle name. It's how I best express myself. I do NOT consider it a defect when it is offered in the service of provoking thought: thesis/antithesis/synthesis.

#35 By over-dramatic 7:58p.m. on April 24, 2010

It's natural to indulge one's predatory sexual instinct, occasionally. Even Shakespeare screwed a whore every once in a while.

Nature, sex, idolatry, music... Spring fling is like a pagan ritual. I love that!

#36 By Diana 7:59p.m. on April 24, 2010

There is, indeed, an alternative student act playing as a form of protest. The event is in the works but it will most likely take place! Keep your eyes peeled for posters around campus advertising. Your audience can be the perfect form of protest too!

#37 By @34 11:04p.m. on April 24, 2010

You must not spend more than five minutes with anyone, then.

#38 By Hmm 12:08a.m. on April 25, 2010

Ridicule, do not attend, and thow tomatos at the African American Rappers says Matt Shafer, conservative elitist (using that term in the meaning Shafer would not want). Be careful Matt, this column could be interpreted the wrong way at your confirmation hearing.

#39 By Litmus Test 3:40a.m. on April 25, 2010

# 38

Use me as a litmus test.

I read this ENTIRE article and had no idea that the Ying/Yang Twins were African American. I had to go on-line to find out who in fact they were. Even the sexist lyrics sounded like they could have been as white as Eminem.

CONSERVATIVE ELITIST? Because he doesn't want women treated as objects?
Because he advocates audience behavior which went on from the Globe Theatre to Vaudeville?

Methinks thou doth protest too much.


#40 By Salsa 6:55a.m. on April 25, 2010

# 37:

"Five minutes" is hyperbole too.

Actually I spend a lot of time talking to people about nothing in particular looking for a bit of humor or an opportunity to offer it.

But that's friendship and neighborlines.

I was referring to CONVERSATION.

Conversation requires salsa.

Have you ever tried steak without salt or pepper or onions or sauce?



#41 By steak 9:52a.m. on April 25, 2010

Yes, quite often, in fact. Good steak requires nothing beyond itself. One should be able to luxuriate in the flavor and texture of an excellent steak. Is seasoning a nice additive? Yes. But you drown your steak in A1. You pour a mound of salt on it. You bury a half-pound of meat under two pounds of onions. These things all dominate the dish and overwhelm any hint of the steak. They are also make me wonder what the chef is trying to hide under all that spice and sauce. Is the steak tough and chewy? Over-cooked? Rotten?

If your steak cannot stand on its own, perhaps you ought to work on getting a better cut of meat and cooking it properly.

#42 By hey PK! 2:46p.m. on April 25, 2010

Poking fun at you on the YDN boards may be trendy (and hard to resist, given how often you post), but everything you've contributed to this thread has been RIGHT ON. No hyperbole necessary.

@41: Please go eat something, and learn when to let a metaphor die.

#43 By ? 3:37p.m. on April 25, 2010

is this a joke? smoking a pipe and reading shakespeare? please.

#44 By Vermont Talker 4:05p.m. on April 25, 2010

# 42:
"given how often you post".

You got me thinking:

I come from Vermont, where CONVERSATION is looked upon with suspicion as a city-slicker tactic to "milk" (pardon the Vermont imagery) people for something the city-slicker wants.

Despite the fact that I love Vermont and would live nowhere else, perhaps the reason I post so often is that I MISS CONVERSATION!



Vermonter Calvin Coolidge became known as "Silent Cal" during his tenure as President because he spoke so seldom and so economically.

When the famous wit Dorothy Parker was holding forth at an Algonquin Round Table gathering of literati, a member of that august group rushed in with the news bulletin: "President Coolidge is dead."

Dorothy Parker looked up at the messenger and said, "How could they tell?"

Once a reporter bet another reporter he couldn't get President Coolidge to say "three words in succession."

When told of the bet by the bettor who had taken up the challenge, Coolidge replied, "You lose."

So much for Vermont loquaciousness and PK's posting mania.

And good bye and good summer to all my faceless and nameless friends on the YDN posting board. I've been enriched by you all.

Paul Keane
The Anti-Yale

#45 By Kathryn Olivarius 6:53p.m. on April 25, 2010

Splendid column Matt. Right on point.

We should rally for Gaga next year

#46 By @ Mr. Shaffer 7:54p.m. on April 25, 2010

During Spring Fling, I plan on lighting up a different kind of pipe, and lamenting the fact that people like you still exist.

But anyway, thanks for speaking for "your generation"...I had had no idea that we had given you the right.

#47 By Matt 10:54a.m. on April 26, 2010

I don't know if you read these, and I believe that you are smart enough not to answer comments on your own article, but if you could, could you elaborate on what actions you took to stop the Ying Yang Twins from coming to Yale? Even if it was just writing in on your survey that they were offensive that would be good to hear. If you did nothing, then this article means nothing. If you did something, then your honor is upheld.

#48 By Claire G 12:13p.m. on April 26, 2010

save me a drag on your pipe ?

#49 By Edith 1:57p.m. on April 26, 2010

This is a very well written and necessary piece. Thank you Matt!

#50 By Matt 4:23p.m. on April 26, 2010

For what it's worth, this "evangelical" (or "follower of Jesus" at any rate) is on board with this analysis. My only lament is that the Church is still quite often too squeamish to speak this plainly about the kind of distortion of human sexuality we see here

#51 By es12 6:55p.m. on April 26, 2010

So incredibly pompous.

#52 By y12 8:23p.m. on April 26, 2010

But incredibly correct.

#53 By seriously? 8:46p.m. on April 26, 2010

anyone protesting severe budget cuts to the Yale Women's center or writing an op-ed about that? interesting.

#54 By y09 12:17a.m. on April 27, 2010

I haven't heard anything about it; care to enlighten us?

#55 By Y13 3:05a.m. on April 27, 2010

Go the Ying Yang Twins Alternative Show tomorrow, 7:15 in the Trumbull courtyard!!/event.php?eid=112260232143209&index=1

#56 By AnnaMaria 11:01a.m. on April 27, 2010

It seems to me that Yale is a cesspool of immorality; so why is this program any different from other programs that have occurred at Yale? Once you cross the line, especially pertaining to sexuality, you have opened the door to everyone and everything and every side of the issue. Sadly, this is what Ivy League 'education' has lowered itself to in order to stand apart from the 'unenlightened.'

#57 By nc 1:01p.m. on April 27, 2010

i agree with the content of this article but i don't think one has to actively protest the YY twins to be a real feminist. also, the tone of this article, especially the the very end, is very melodramatic--almost comically so. the writing style of this article made it difficult to take seriously, even though the writer was astute regarding his points.

#58 By nycfan 1:07p.m. on April 27, 2010

i agree with the points made in this story, and, i really like you as a person Matt, but that last paragraph....what were you thinking when you wrote that?! too pretentious to bare. and, yea, you do tend to proclaim the "death" of many things way too often. maybe it's time to pick a different literary trope. you are a great Titus Andronicus, however....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

* 70 Years at Yale

Dr. Bainton with my Mother in the background on my graduation day from YDS, 1980.
Dr. Bainton's last note to me (above), on a homemade Christmas card, which he was famous for creating by hand. It gently reminds me, by saying the opposite, that I should pay him a visit now that he was suddenly housebound at 89.

Hirst: Learning to be free
By Adam Lior Hirst
The Yale Daily News
Published Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Over the past year, I have used this space to argue, esoterically and exoterically, for America to take an active role in promoting the spread of liberalism and freedom abroad. I explicated the strategy and the tactics and argued it was keeping with our best traditions, national interest and moral obligation as prudent revolutionaries. I’ve written as if there are no limits to freedom.
But there are limits. There are times when freedom is not appropriate, when checks — structure — must be in place. I learned this over the course of four years at Yale, which may be the freest place on...

#1 By 70 years at Yale 4:28a.m. on April 21, 2010

I knew Dr. Bainton well: he was my adopted grandfather.

He may have said "Yale was conservative before she was born", but he was probably referring to religious matters, since both Yale and Harvard began as schools to instruct young men in the way of the dominant religion of the time. You can guess which one that was.

He was at Yale for 70 years, dying at 89, professor emeritus of religious history, maintaining a coveted office in the fifth floor of Sterling by publishing a book every year after his retirement.

Total output 39 books. His Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther is Abingdon Press's all time best seller.

Here is another Bainton quote to ponder (from his own mouth to my ears): "The question is not 'What is the future of Christianity' but 'Will Christianity survive' "?

Hardly a conservative thought.

Dr. Bainton was a Quaker and a pacifist and a speak-truth-to-power intellectual.

He was also fearless, and once told a former student who confessed having been sent to spy on him by the paranoid government communist-head hunters of the 1950's and 60's, to go back to Washington with this message for his boss and his agency:

"Tell them to go to hell."

Paul Keane


I wouldn't go for a run down Whalley Avenue at 3 A.M. or any other New Haven street for that matter.

#2 By Remembrance of Dr. Bainton 4:38a.m. on April 21, 2010

A remembrance of Roland Bainton can be read at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

* Hell or Heaven

Petrillo: Philosophy’s afterlife
By Justin Petrillo
Guest Columnist
The Yale Daily News

Published Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When we live in a society together, it is our duty to not shy away from others and the structures that keep us together, but to imagine and build a better society, to create the world that defines who we are and that lives on after us. This attitude and engagement is politics. When Aristotle said we were political animals, he meant that we find ourselves with others and that it is our telos to create a world with them from which we can have meaning love, identity, history, imagination and destiny. And if we don’t, he says, we will be very lonely creatures.
Once man discovered that...

#1 By Let's Talk: The Other is hell (or heaven) at 10:01 a.m. April 20, 2010

Let's talk.

This thought-provoking piece ignores 30 years of my life: the existentialists.

In "The Other" Jean-Paul Sartre asserts that "People are hell." This is far from the spirit of cooperative necessity you seem to believe undergirds us all and yet it acknowledges "the agency of each individual."

I believe Sartre would change the Self and thereby change the world (since the Self creates the world!).

So too would Socrates, except I think he believed the world pre-exists the Self.

"Relationships" are decidedly the idolatry of the post-therapeutic generation.

They have become almost beatified by those who believe exactly the OPPOSITE of Sartre (People are Heaven), hence our catastrophic divorce rate, when people jolt alert from the sleep-walking of childhood and realize they have married the wrong person, pursued the wrong career, etc.(Sometimes this takes decades.)

Your article states, "But while poetry can help us understand experience more than systematic phenomenology, it is a private activity we do, hiding away from or preparing us for the common world that awaits us."


Even Emily Dickinson (The Queen Mother of Hermits like Salinger and Pynchon) WANTED AN AUDIENCE: She just never succeeded in getting one and thumbed her nose at the world.

All poetry is didactic and REQUIRES a learner. Whether that learning takes place in the head or the heart is another discusssion.

I take it from your article that the heart as the seat of emotion is a decidedly 19th Century notion which went the way of the wind?

Anyway (to use Holden Caulfield's second-favorite word, used 5000 times in "Catcher"), thanks for the useful thoughts.


PS: My recollection is that Sartre refused the Nobel Prize in Literature for fear it "would limit the impact of his writing" and then prompty had himself photographed in a black tuxedo standing adrift on an icepan in an ocean of white (holding a martini glass).

#2 By boring 11:36a.m. on April 20, 2010

Wow. Did you even read Aristotle? This is one of the worst op-es the YDN has ever printed. Was there really nothing else to print?

#3 By que 11:50p.m. on April 20, 2010

Petrillo is president.

Let's talk-- 30 years on Sartre and you still don't realize that he was superseded by Heidegger within 10 years of Being and Nothingness? But Sartre could rock that black tuxedo, word.

Boring-- get off the sparknotes

#4 By No Exit (Stage left) 1:42a.m. on April 21, 2010

Didn't spend 30 years ON Sartre---that's how long he dominated the discussion.
Not so sure Heidegger superseded Sartre. Maybe as a philosopher, but not as an artist.
Besides, Sartre had Simone de Beavoir as an intellectual companion and counterpart. A lot more interesting conversation going on there than Heidegger's dusty theological chatter.


#5 By i like philosophy 1:56a.m. on April 21, 2010

but this is really long, boring, and poorly written

#6 By i love philosophy 11:08a.m. on April 21, 2010

spot on!

Monday, April 19, 2010

* Elephant 101 at Yale

YDN has NOT printed this letter

Letter to the Editor
Yale Daily News

Dear Editor:

April 19th 's article "Rethinking a Yale Education" contains this sentence:“Yale has been training leaders for centuries, Levin said, but for a Yale education to have value in a globalized world, it must include foreign perspectives and address international problems.”

How can Yale address international problems when it maintains satellite courses in a country which censors entire events in history like Tianamen Sqaure; or denies the efficacy of condoms in preventing AIDS (both a country and a religion); or (again, both countries and religions) insists that women be denied access to power (ordination; education) ?

Theocracy vs. Democracy; Tyranny vs. Democracy; Autocracy vs. Democracy are the elephants in this academic room.

There’s a bit of globalized wishful thinking going on here.

Paul Keane

M.Div. ‘80
M.A., M.Ed.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

* The Noose Around Yale's Gothic Neck

Walsh: Remembering to live well
By Dylan Walsh
Guest Columnist
The Yale Daily News
Published Friday, April 16, 2010

“He took the test for about 45 minutes … then, right in the middle, he jumps out of his seat, dramatically rips up his test and said, ‘I can’t take it anymore!’”
The freshman year prank of Cameron Dabaghi ’11 was recounted last week in the News, a few days after his death. Two years after his wry display during the Directed Studies exam he was pretending to take, we are dealing with the overwhelmingly tragic repercussions of Dabaghi’s suicide. One of Cameron’s classmates, also quoted in this publication, hoped that, “the Yale community will … refrain from thinking of Dabaghi’s death...

#1 By Yale '10 12:23p.m. on April 16, 2010

Thank you for writing this column. The message is simple, but so profound in its simplicity....and I worry that a lot of the student population will go back to living their lives exactly as they did instead of doing what you prescribe - remembering to live well.

#2 By Yale Mom 6:09p.m. on April 16, 2010

I appreciate the heartfelt clarity of your article as well--I hope students will read it and pause to take measure of how they are living at Yale---what are priorities---what choices and behaviors make for healthy coping. "The growing tension between educational pressures and quality of life"---this should be a seminar or talk that masters have w/students in their residential colleges: How to Live the examined life while being a student at Yale.

#3 By Let them eat grass. 9:54p.m. on April 16, 2010

The headline "Remembering to live well" is absurd. You CANNOT "remember" what you have never known.

Our society and Yale are POISONED by competetion, envy, and greed. Does no one learn the lesson of Death of a Salesman?

Living well, while eleven males are murdered within five miles of your Gothic arches, sounds a bit like Monseigneur in A Tale of Two Cities: "Let them eat grass !"(and Dickens didn't mean maryjane)

In fact defining "living well" might require considering an idea heretical to the capitalist imperative: SHARING.

How many folks at Yale have even considered such a idea on either a personal or an institutional level?

Wake up Yale.

You are the largest employer in an area in which violence is ever tightening its noose around the
architectural splendor of your Gothic neck.

Use some of that 18 billion (that's BILLION not MILLION, by the way) endowment to create hope for the uneducated and impoverished in the poor neighborhoods upon which your campus rests like a skin graft on a charred body.

Set aside ONE BILLION of your endowment to create an apprenticeship program for poor folks.

Teach them computer skills and draw them into the employment line at Yale.

Abolish Yale's snobbish, elitist arrogant Personnel Department, grotesquely mislabelled "Human Resources" (Inhumane Resources would be a better name.)

It's highhanded treatment of applicants POISONS the town/gown atmosphere in New Haven.

Reach out before it is too late.

"Let them eat soup kitchens and free concerts" won't cut it any more.

The days of placating New Haveners with token bones thrown to the riffraff are fast coming to an end.

Read the handwriting on the wall, Yale:

It is written in the blood of eleven black males.

Paul Keane
M.Div. '80

Sunday, April 11, 2010

* Sowing your Wild Strawberries

If Guisseppi Verdi (Joseph Green) is the Shakespeare of opera, then Ingmar Bergman is the Sartre of film.

Unlike Shakespeare, Verdi, or Sartre, one of Bergman's most powerful forms of eloquence is silence: Both Strawberries and his The Seventh Seal are full of what life is full of: silences, especially in the presence of people.

Correction: Life USED to be full of silences. Technology has put an end to that. Leopold Stokowski, the white haired conductor in Disney's Fantasia and famed orchestrator of Bach, predicted in the 1930's that the time would come when people could go anywhere and be accompanied by music. That time has arrived with its glory and its deafening insistence.

Bergman is the foremost existentialist film maker of our time and his use of silence (except for a chair leg dragged on the floor or a coffee cup clattering on a saucer or an engine wheezing in the background) is a key part of his technique and indeed his mystique.

Interpersonal silences --the absence of human voices in face to face encounters-- may be Bergmanesque premonitory preparation for the eternal silence, the final cessation of sound, when "earth has stopped the ears"--as A.E. Housman says in To An Athlete Dying Young

I recall Bergman was the rage among the cogniscenti when I was growing up in the 1950's and 60's.

I went to high school ten miles from Yale and all my young teachers were either married to, dating, or friends with, Yale graduate students or Yale Law students, and they all fancied themselves among the intelligentsia. Unlike Holden Caulfield, little did I know how phoney that was.

The advertisement (above) for Wild Strawberries says "One of the best films of all times". I suppose that means right up there with Citizen Kane. This knowledge, by the way, is one of the axiomatic "givens" of being a member of the cogniscenti: Citizen Kane is the best film ever made.

Uttering this statement casually, underbreath as a kind of aside, guarantees you entry to almost any cocktail party conversation at any Academy: whether you can sustain that entry is another matter.

But, back to the 1960's and Hamden High School.

My English teacher was an unmarried 30-ish woman whose painted tentacles were definitely poised to nab a Yale Law student, although, in retrospect, I believe today's fad for lesbianism might have won her over had it existed then. A fad for anything "intellgentsiac" would have won her over.

It was from her golden lips that the pearls about Ingmar Bergman's "greatness" were first cast in my direction.

Now that fifty years has elapsed, I wonder.

What effect has Bergman had on my world of 2010?

For that matter, what effect has Jean-Paul Sartre (the atheist existentialist whose writings were also "the rage" in the 1960's) had on the last 50 years, except to spawn a parade of nihilists spewing venom as they marched through that half century?

At least Shakespeare's nihilism is eloquent and quotable and surrounded by characters with names and lives we all know: Lear, Cordelia; Macbeth, Lady Macbeth; Falstaff; Othello, Desdemona, Iago; Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet, Ophelia; Calaban.

And Verdi?

There can be no nihilism in song. Singing is the antithesis of nihilism.

And the cogniscenti would tell you that Bergman's silences ARE song.


There you have it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

* Males in their 70's : Just for Men

Robert Redford, Cary Grant and President Eisenhower in their seventies:

What's wrong with this triptych?

Redford looks like an undertaker did his make-up. The refusal to age is absurdly evident in this photo as his rooster wattles and fallen face lead
upward to a limp, fake red smattering of "windswept hair".

Cary Grant , on the other hand, looks as if he belongs to Nature not flees from it. Age is his friend, not his stalker. But is that hair his own? And is that neck cropped?

And Ike? Ike is just Ike:

No frills, no fakery, no foolishness (although I'll bet the photo editor tucked his neck in a bit).

What role models for graceful aging, other than Grecian-Formula-phoneys and Hair-Club-for-Men-mannequins, do we males have today?

No comment

PK at 65 and pal Lucky: Real hair in a waxed pompadour, real grey (both of us), real color (both of us) real wrinkles (just me).

Cousin Paul (naturally shaggy hair and grey beard) kisses the bride!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

* Kent State, 1970 - Yale, 2010

Lighting the four flames on the Granville-Jackson Sculpture "The Kent Four" at Kent State, 1973



Almost forty years later (May 4, 1970- March 30, 2010, I find recalling the days of the Kent State murders and the aftermath still a deeply troubling experience.

One cannot underestimate the effect which sudden, unexpected violence can have on the psyche, as I suggest in my condolence letter (post # 14) to the Yale Daily News below, referring to another campus which has been traumatized by murder, this time 40 decades after Kent State.

Annie Le

Cameron Dabaghi

Berkeley junior dies in N.Y.

By The Yale Daily News

Published Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#14 By Sincere Concern 1:50p.m. on March 31, 2010

My sincere condolences to his family and to the Yale community.

It is a delicate matter to broach and I apologize if I am overstepping by doing so here, but this and the earlier untimely undergraduate death at Yale make me worry that the campus itself may be dealing with PTSD from the weeks-long horror of Ms Li's murder first marking period.

Had I not experienced the symptoms of PTSD myself after being present on a campus where students were murdered, I would not be so bold as to offer this as a possibility for consideration at this time.

As a male, I know how tough it was for me to acknowledge that I was experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, especially since I thought the murders had nothing to do with me.

Such neat logic and compartmentalization are not how the human mind and PTSD work, however. I did not know that at the time and suffered greatly.

I would encourage anyone who is experiencing very dark feelings about life, to consider the possibility that these feelings have nothing to do with your own strength or weakness of character, but are rather a manifestation of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

They can be significantly diminished with professional assistance; I assure you of this from personal experience.

What Yale has experienced this year was a trauma. What is happening now at Yale may be post-trauma-stress.

Very sincerely,

Paul Keane

Post # 42 says "By Paul Keane" in the header but was not written by me.

#24 By y'10 4:21p.m. on March 31, 2010

Paul Keane, there are many things I would like to say to you, but I'll suffice by saying that yes, you are absolutely overstepping. Show some respect.
Cameron, may you be at peace now. My prayers go to his family and friends; I didn't know him, but I can only imagine that this is a heartbreaking time for those who did.

#28 By @#24 5:08p.m. on March 31, 2010

I rarely enjoy PK's posts, but I actually think that this time he is right. The Le murder was a trauma, and has affected us all. As will this tragedy.

My love and support to all, especially those who knew and loved this handsome and kind-looking young man.

#29 By Yale '11 5:11p.m. on March 31, 2010

I'd like to thank Paul Keane for what he said -- it's important to recognize that many students on campus may be feeling confused and conflicted in the aftermath of many events from this year without recognizing why they are feeling that way. I certainly have felt affected by all of it, and I didn't personally know any of the students who have died. Though perhaps PTSD is a strong term, Mr. Keane is simply pointing out that, having lost a number of students this year already, we must take care of everyone who is still here. There are many campus resources, from Health Services to peer-to-peer counseling programs to residential college deans and simply friends and family.

Rest in peace, Cameron. My heart goes out to your friends, family, and everyone else whose life you touched.

#32 By ugh 5:40p.m. on March 31, 2010

Yo, Paul Keane, her name was Annie Le, not Annie Li.

Spare us your windbaggery and mass diagnosis and just let us grieve.

#33 By fw 5:42p.m. on March 31, 2010

How was that dis-respectful?

#38 By Apology 6:04p.m. on March 31, 2010

I am willing to accept the criticism of overstepping if my overstepping causes one student to seek help rather than surrender to despair.

No one knows what is in another's heart, and disrespectfulness is not in my heart here.

Old people trying to interpret the world to young people is unwelcome.

I apologize.

Paul Keane

#42 By Paul Keane 7:31p.m. on March 31, 2010

Paul sounds like he's looking for compensation. Why else would he go into such detail?
Paul .. this is about CAMERON. Love you Cam

#43 By anon 8:07p.m. on March 31, 2010

Nothing that Mr. Keane said was in any way disrespectful. He may be off base with his thoughts on what led Mr. Dabaghi to end his life, but his suggestion that PTSD might be involved and his admonition to those who might be suffering similar to get help do not constitute disrespect.

#68 By Just not right 12:56a.m. on April 5, 2010I can't believe that only a few short days have passed and already this campus is acting like it never happened. This may just be how people are coping, but it's driving me crazy.

#69 By Your honesty is courageous 6:11a.m. on April 5, 2010

At the risk of incurring more critcism,
I want to speak to Poster #68.

It is an absolutely necessary part of human nature to turn away from death. Robert Frost's poem "Out! Out!", about a boy who cuts his hand of in a saw accident, ends with these lines about the family and onlookers:

"And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs."

The mind cannot stay in the dark inertia long.

It is a different matter, I believe, when the death is spectacularly public like the Kent State killings or Mr. Dabaghi's leap from the Empire State Building.

One seeks understanding from the anonymous community affected by it: the nation (in the case of Kent State) and the campus in the case of Yale.

What happened after the Kent State shootings, which I did not recognize, was that NO ONE wanted to talk about it, even my own parents, because it shattered a national fantasy: All is well in America.

I suspect the same will happen with Yale because the event shatters a campus fantasy: All is well at Yale.

Beginning the day after the shootings, the subject was a conversation killer.

The result for myself and many others, was that feelings of grief and anger were repressed because no one helped with the normal "social processings" of grieving.

I chose politics to expiate* my feelings (organizing a movement to achieve a federal grand jury investigation of the shootings) and when those politics were over in 1973, the repressed feelings emerged as anxiety and panic attacks.

I would urge you not to diminish the honesty of the feelings you express in Post # 68.

Go with them NOW, not later, and seek someone with whom to process them, someone who does not need to
"turn to their affairs" but can stay with you in the darkness until it turns to light.

Paul Keane

* "Survivor's guilt" is one of the irrational feelings associated with those caught up in unexpected acts of violence. The need for expiation (atonement) is one of its irrational consequences.

#70 By @ #68 11:21a.m. on April 5, 2010

I really, really agree with you. I think we get so caught up in work and stress here that it's always easiest -- but not best -- to turn in from things that hurt us. And we've lost so many this year that deaths have lost their gravity.

I wish that it was easier to talk about this, though -- because I have a lot to say, and I want to listen.

#71 By Anna 10:00p.m. on April 5, 2010

Perhaps this can be an opportunity to reach out to those who have similar feelings to this young man- and don't think there is any other way out. I am in no way a professional in this matter, but have posted a link below in case someone out there would like to read more about mental health to reach out to a friend, family member, or to just learn more for themselves:

It would also be great if professionals from Yale, New Haven, and other communities could post additional information and let everyone know what local resources are out there for those who are reading this.

#72 By Book 10:50p.m. on April 5, 2010

A short book which has saved many from despair: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.