Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Elite Education of Richard Brodhead, Whom God Loves the Mostest
This is the link to William Deresiewicz's great article.

Deresiewicz  does not deal with innate characteristics which may influence behavior but trained behavior. But if you ever wonder how Richard Brodhead can ignore other people's pain, read Deresiewicz: "One of the great errors of an elite education . . . is that it teaches you to think that measures of intelligence and academic achievement are measure of value in some moral or metaphysical sense. But they're not. Graduates of elite schools are not more valuable than stupid people, or talentless people, or even lazy people. Their pain does not hurt more. Their souls do not weigh more. Their souls do not weigh more. If I were religious, I would say, God does not love them more."

Brodhead believes that God loves him and Steel more than He loves Michael Pressler. Lesser people do not feel the pain that Brodhead feels. Think of Ekstrand as quoted by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor on 92 of UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: "BRODHEAD'S EYES FILLED WITH TEARS. HE SAID THAT THE CAPTAINS SHOULD THINK OF HOW DIFFICULT IT HAD BEEN FOR HIM." Johnson and Taylor continue: "Ekstrand felt his blood starting to boil. Here, he thought, is a comfortable university president wallowing in self-pity in front of four students who are in grave danger of being falsely indicted on charges of gang rape, punishable by decades in prison."

If you read Deresiewicz you will understand Brodhead as an "entitled mediocrity." You still won't understand the active disdain which emerges in his writing and in his speech: that is partly a product of the elitist education, but its ugly twist derives from something innate in his character, I believe. If we had his Andover essays we would see what was in his Yale essays and his quintessentially New Critical writings. You can be one of the entitled mediocrity without indulging in elegantly phrased but unjustified contempt for lower beings, whether that human being is Thomas Bailey Aldrich or Hershel Parker or James Van de Velde or Michael Pressler or the falsely accused lacrosse players--Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty. In 2004 Duke needed someone who had a lifelong history of dealing deftly with tough, gnarled issues whether aesthetic, intellectual, social, or political, someone capable of rising up in extraordinary circumstances and by God doing the right thing, right then, out of experience, powerful instinct, or innate majesty of soul. Duke got Richard H. Brodhead.

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