Phi Beta Cons

Erica Jong Diplomacy

Last year, Erica Jong decided to give her papers to Columbia. Here is an excerpt of the press release:

“The addition of Erica Jong’s papers to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library is yet another example of her unwavering dedication to imparting not only her gifts as a writer but also her wisdom and life experiences as a mentor and educator,” said Judith R. Shapiro, President of Barnard College. “We are proud that she is part of Barnard’s tradition of great writers, and even more proud that she has chosen to give back and actively influence future generations of novelists, poets, and essayists who will most certainly benefit from her frank, lively, and eloquent memoirs.”

And here is a recent specimen of Jong’s wisdom and life experience, a post at Huffington Post on Jeremiah Wright and on a talk she gave in Italy:

Wright seems utterly sincere to me. He strikes me as having a true spiritual calling. When he says, “America’s chickens have come home to roost,” I can’t fault his logic. Haven’t we been squandering hard earned taxpayer money on overseas adventures while we starve poor children? Haven’t we been supporting dictators while prating of democracy? Haven’t we been enriching profiteers at the expense of health care and education? You betcha.
A week ago I told my audience in Rome that in the last several years, I’ve been ashamed to be an American. A cheer went up from the amphitheater. It was such a relief, audience members later told me, to hear an American speak the truth for a change.

Most Popular

Culture

Let Alfie Evans Go to Rome

Alfie Evans, 23 months old, is hospitalized with a rare neurodegenerative disorder. Against his parents’ wishes, his doctors at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool removed him from life support on Monday evening, maintaining that further treatment would be futile. Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome has ... Read More
Education

Is Journalism School Worth It?

Clarence Darrow dropped out of law school after just a year, figuring that he would learn what he needed to know about legal practice faster if he were actually doing it than sitting in classrooms. (Today, that wouldn't be possible, thanks to licensing requirements.) The same thing is true in other fields -- ... Read More
Culture

Wednesday Links

Today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli: Here's some history, a documentary, and a Lego re-enactment. How DNA Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions: Labs today can identify people with DNA from just a handful of cells, but a handful of cells can easily migrate. The 19th-century art of ... Read More
World

Microscopic Dots. Let’s Look at Them.

Stuart E. Eizenstat has written a big book on the Carter presidency. (Eizenstat was Carter’s chief domestic-policy adviser. He also had a substantial hand in foreign affairs.) I have reviewed the book for the forthcoming NR. Eizenstat tells the story of a meeting between President Carter and Andrei Gromyko, the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Alfie and Haleigh and Charlie and Jahi

When British hospital officials tried to pull the plug on 23-month-old toddler Alfie Evans on Monday night in arrogant defiance of his parents' wishes, many Americans took to Twitter to count their blessings that they live in a country that would not allow such tyranny. "Stories like Alfie Evans make me ... Read More