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Opinion

SHAFFER: Replacing “The Game”

December 3, 2013 • 0
Yale and Harvard administrators should meet this year and agree to cancel The Game for 2014. Instead, we’ll have a Yale-Harvard regatta, with men’s and women’s races on the Charles River the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Opinion

SHAFFER: Dangerous conversations

September 29, 2011 • 12
My education was largely self-referential — that is, a recursive reflection on and defense of the value of a liberal-arts education itself. In my staff column, and my papers, I tried to justify the useless artes liberales in the 21st century. I was warned that the real world would rob me of this youthful romanticism. »
Opinion

9/11 Reflection: Matthew Shaffer

September 9, 2011 • 4
President George W. Bush, Davenport ’68, loved to say that “9/11 changed everything.” This is true on a micro-level, but less so on a macro. That day had so many competing influences on us, each pushing us in a different direction, that it’s not clear where we are now relative to where we were before. »

Shaffer: Childhood, interrupted

October 1, 2010 • 6
NEW YORK — On Aug. 21, I finished moving in, and stared at my ceiling, and felt what I tried to feel after graduation when I wouldn’t smash my church pipe, and was too hurried to feel in the road trips and fellowships that followed — Yale and childhood were over. That night, down Manhattan »
Opinion

Shaffer: Paradise lost

April 29, 2010 • 6
Everywhere I go people ask me what Yale is like. I always reply, “It’s paradise.” As I contemplate my imminent expulsion, the metaphor seems particularly apt. The work isn’t backbreaking. God, country and Yale love and indulge us. Nubile young things are just across the hall, and free libidinal play is, I am told, easy »
Opinion

Shaffer: The Twins are coming

April 23, 2010 • 0
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 »
Opinion

Shaffer: Poetry: Philosophy’s daddy

April 16, 2010 • 0
I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort studying and debating philosophy at Yale. But these endeavors have left me only with a belief in the inadequacy of philosophy and its subordination to poetry. Four years here have been a lived confirmation of Paul de Man’s claim that “Philosophy turns out to be an »
Opinion

Shaffer: The world is porridge

April 9, 2010 • 0
God has a delicious sense of irony. The essay contest subject was globalization. And here, at the center of Manhattan, between the mahogany panels and liveried waiters of the Harvard Club, amid the donors of the Templeton foundation, was a shy Nigerian boy. This Matthew was another winner. In his first venture outside of his »
Opinion

Shaffer: Psychoanalytic politics

April 2, 2010 • 19
Last week, The New York Times printed one editorial under three different names. Charles M. Blow has a degree in mass communications. It paid off in hits. He explains Obamacare opposition thus: “The bill’s most visible and vocal proponents included a gay man (Barney Frank) and a Jew (Anthony Weiner)” (“Whose Country Is It?” March »
Opinion

Shaffer: Too big still fails

March 26, 2010 • 9
Zak Newman ’13, says our new health care legislation will “increase competition,” “lower the government deficit,” and fulfill our “promise to the protection of life” of the most unfortunate in our society (“Realizing reform,” March 22). Let’s hope he’s right. Watching the debates on C-Span and Facebook, I was reminded of a line from Ambrose »
Opinion

Shaffer: Beauty, irony, Gaga

March 24, 2010 • 48
“The genius of Gaga” was a good start, but Kathryn Olivarius ’11 doesn’t go far enough. She doesn’t appreciate Gaga like I do. Gaga changed my life. Before her, I shunned all pop music — any song written after World War I. But Gaga’s music taught me to stop worrying and love modernity. Now I »
Opinion

Shaffer: The right kind of elite

March 5, 2010 • 20
I hate the phrase “liberal elite.” A grating cliche, it’s like “gay agenda” or “evangelical” — poorly defined and too often spoken in a paranoid tone. But the repetition of the phrase shows its wide appeal. American citizens feel dominated by a privileged few who don’t understand them. I’m beginning to worry they’re right. The »