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What Kim Said That Hanlon Doesn’t
Jim Kim was well known for his fatuous language: no platitude was too foolish, no statement too exaggerated, like his endless assertions that he and his administration were “scouring the planet” for solutions to problems, and his recent observation that “the [Chinese] premier and the new regime wants [sic] to surge forward in a strategic, evidence-based way.” Ugh. Hardest to take, however, was Kim’s rote praise for Jim Wright: “I am honored and humbled to accept this role, and look forward to building on the many achievements of Jim Wright…” and so on.
Of course, there will be those among you who believe that “he has to say that kind of thing” — so deep have the values of disingenuous PR been drilled into our consciousness. The problem is, Jim Wright did not have many (any?) achievements. Yet nonetheless, Kim made the statement.
As devoted readers know, Jim Kim’s and Carol Folt’s lack of impact in Hanover mirrors Wright’s blank scorecard (for the purposes of today’s discussion, we’ll ignore the many outright negatives), but surprisingly enough — given the low public standard in such matters — since being named President, Phil Hanlon has not praised his immediate predecessors. Why not?
Maybe, just maybe, Phil Hanlon believes that words have meaning, and their very meaning has something sacred about it: words must be true. And he understands that each time we say something that is false or shaded or designed not to impart honest knowledge, but rather to ingratiate ourselves with a listener, we demean ourselves and our listener in a slight way. And those slight ways build up, until we get to where we cannot recognize the truth at all. Might this be the reason that Phil Hanlon has not mouthed the usual homilies?
Listen again. Not a word about Jim Wright and Jim Kim and Carol Folt. Just sincere and respectful reverence for the soul of Dartmouth College.
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Maybe, just maybe.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…