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Showing posts from October, 2015

Uncomfortable Nostalgia: Intellectual Diversity Still a Casualty at Williams College

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As a former Williams College political science professor, I got nostalgic this week as I read how student protesters secured the cancellation of a speech by conservative author, Suzanne Venker. Her announced topic, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails” inspired a cacophony of on-line hostility which caused a student organizer, Zach Wood, to share with her that Williams College “has never experienced this kind of resistance” to a campus speaker.
According to Wood, at least one student labeled Venker as a “misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist” whose anticipated presence was causing “actual mental, social, psychological, and physical harm to students.”
What surprised me the most was Wood’s impression that this sort of bizarre, over-the-top, anti-conservative hysteria was unprecedented at Williams College.
As I shared in a recent interview with Jennifer Kabbany, the editor of The College Fix, I witnessed the considerable hostility of Williams College studen…

The College Fix Asks About My Time as a Token Conservative at Williams College

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As you may know, Williams College is in the news this week because radical students on campus successfully prevented the appearance of an anti-feminist speaker, Suzanne Venker. Venker is a fixture on Fox News and is the author of a number of compelling, common sense books including The War on Men and The Flipside of Feminism. 

Since I still pay attention to news about Williams College by checking in on the entirely unrelated Ephblog, I had an on-line, ringside seat as students, faculty and alumni battled out the intricate details of protecting young people from the apparently horrific physically and emotionally dangerous consequences of simply anticipating Venker's appearance on campus.

Given the over-the-top craziness of the resistance to Venker's speech, I did an interview with the editor of the The College Fix regarding my take on what it was like to be the token conservative at Williams College in the 1980's. The title of the article is "Former Williams College p…

Update on Trish Drew: Recovery from TBI is Possible

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As you may know, Trish suffered a number of falls this year and ended up doing some damage to her brain. She had three subdural hematomas which are basically pockets of blood that end up between the brain and the skull when the dura layer covering the brain is torn by the impact of a blow to the head.

In her case, the hematomas caused her to experience nausea, vomiting and dizziness. The dizziness, in turn, led to more falls and consequently more subdural hematomas. By the time I figured out that I needed to call 9-11, she was unable to walk and largely unable to speak.

The good news is that modern medicine apparently works. Although we could not work with Dr. Ben Carson (he is, of course, retired) we nevertheless found a surgeon who drained the blood that was putting pressure on her brain. The frightening thing was that after this operation there appeared to be little or no reduction in her symptoms.

If you have ever lived with someone suffering from traumatic brain injury, then you …

Triumphant Individualism: The Architecture that Inspired Ayn Rand

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I suddenly got interested in local architecture this weekend. My primary motivation was the desire to find a local icon that would be easy to paint. Trish seemed interested in the adventure of it all so we started out by looking for the famous Horizon House in Laguna Niguel, checking out the Pynes Castle in Laguna Beach, but ended up most intrigued by the Halliburton House in Laguna Beach. 

The coolest thing about this house is that it was visited by the young, yet-to-be-famous Ayn Rand. Reportedly, it was the inspiration for the fictional Heller House that appears in Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead. The real life Halliburton House is indeed built on a cliff and seemingly arises out of it in a manner consistent with the novel protagonist Howard Roark's vision that a building should be a natural expression of its location. 

As Tore Boechmann writes in The Fountainhead as a Romantic Novel,” Roark's architectural principles are outlined in the novel’s opening chapter:
Here ar…