Johnston: Holding off nature

January 28, 2011 • 3
As an undergraduate, I remember being rather proud that Yale did not have snow days. Ensconced with suitemates, I could dutifully gripe that the annual dusting failed to shutter class. But leaving Saybrook, whether watching otherworldly white or wading through wintry wet, joy filled my distending heart: nature would not prevent the purpose of my »

Johnston: Continuing to fight

April 7, 2010 • 39
“Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing. Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws »

Newly beyond the gates of Yale …

October 2, 2009 • 1
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Johnston: The logical extension of the first step

March 26, 2009 • 19
To allow optional gender-neutral housing to all upperclassmen is to adopt a logic whose final outcome will be mandatory gender-integrated housing for freshmen. Sure, the argument today is premised on choice: To withhold the option of gender-neutral housing is to oppress a few, inconvenience many and deny students their freedom. To grant the option is »

Johnston: Sex-selective abortion is sexist

February 26, 2009 • 29
The Oklahoma House voted yesterday to ban sex-selective abortion, opening the next front in the legal war over abortion. If passed by the Oklahoma Senate and signed into law, the ban (House Bill 1595) will immediately be challenged, and the case may ascend to the Supreme Court. Like Gonzalez v. Carhart, the 2007 decision that »

Johnston: Athletics are a form of education

February 13, 2009 • 11
The critic of varsity sports alleges that sports detract from the educational project of the University. Recruits get into Yale at a lower academic standard, athletes enroll in gut classes that make a mockery of Yale’s pretensions to scholarly rigor, and teams constitute cliques isolated from the intellectual engagement that characterizes the rest of the »

Johnston: Market as important as ever

January 30, 2009 • 7
The vulgar right prophesies socialism ascendant, but its hyperventilated ranting is the scrap of a wholly different national transformation. The triumph of the market is at hand, and the era of limited government is over. We are told that the Republicans of the last decade have abandoned their principles, on account of their participation in »

Johnston: Against difficult odds

January 21, 2009 • 0
WASHINGTON In perusing President Barack Obama’s speeches before yesterday, one might have expected him to use the occasion of his inaugural address for rhetorical flair, as in his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.” Perhaps he would reflect »

Johnston: Traveling with Petrarch’s music

January 12, 2009 • 1
The crass materialization of Christmas has long been a hobbyhorse of the critics of American culture. Their concern is valid, as far as it goes. But the institution of gift-giving embodies profoundly countercultural notions that every critic of modern culture ought to praise. For the gift does not conform to the reigning paradigm of individual »

Johnston: The YPMB, vulgar? Hardly

December 1, 2008 • 0
The only effective limitation on speech is cultural expectation. That is to say, decency is a matter of prejudice rather than law. But American society is increasingly devoid of prejudice. The result is that Thomas Duffy, the director of the Yale Bands who last week suspended the Yale Precision Marching Band for displaying offensive language »

Johnston: Less prestige for more success

November 21, 2008 • 1
The ideologue is unwilling to reconsider his fundamental premises when they no longer explain his experience. The ideologue is therefore directly opposed to the philosopher, whose articulation is a response to the experience of inadequacy. The ideologue holds the spirit of philosophy at bay by refusing to acknowledge any experience of inadequacy. Every community resembles »

Johnston: Let the vision live past today

November 5, 2008 • 9
What is one to think the morning after? The passion that reached its climax the night before, giving way to a hazy afterglow and eventually sleep, is now cold and distant. Think about it long enough and the stirrings of desire return, but not in the same way. The deed is accomplished; any reenactment resembles »