Bayefsky: Weigh merit heavier than background

September 26, 2008 • 1
Despite key differences between Democrats and Republicans, at the national conventions, both sought to convey the same message: “I feel your pain.” To make that message believable, the candidates attempted to cast themselves as the boy or girl next door. Underneath the flags and the jibes, the nervous grins and the insipid smiles, ran a »

Bayefsky: Play the silent game abroad

September 8, 2008 • 10
‘Harom,” said the woman behind a sandwich-shop counter, her hand already stretched out toward me. The rest of her sentence degenerated — for me — into a string of meaningless Hungarian words. All but harom — I knew what that meant: I’d seen it on a bus, or a billboard or a sticker somewhere. I »

In all Elis, an inner premed ambition

April 15, 2008 • 103
When you hear the term “premed,” what comes to your mind? That awkward, lanky student stumbling out of the library past whooping revelers at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night? The faceless inhabitants of large lecture classes somewhere up a distant hill? Are premeds the quintessential resume-fillers who volunteer in hospitals for the benefit of »

Expertise, not politics, qualifies Blair for Yale job

April 1, 2008 • 6
An article published in the News last Friday (“Despite politics, Elis recognize Blair’s expertise,” 3/28) cited the following extraordinary reaction of students and professors to the arrival of former British prime minister Tony Blair: “several … questioned whether his support of the Iraq war leaves him qualified to teach at the University.” The notion that »

Female genital mutilation: A gruesome torture

March 4, 2008 • 12
Every year, three million girls and women undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). It is torture, and yet it is tolerated and excused in many places as just another example of cultural diversity. While the details are gruesome, it is necessary to have some specifics. In Somalia, 90 to 98 percent of women have their genitals »

Power of words dissolves with overuse, misuse

February 19, 2008 • 7
In 1946 George Orwell wrote an essay called “Politics and the English Language,” asserting that modern language had lost the value of clear, honest expression. He attributed the sorry state of contemporary writing to attempts to avoid unpleasant truths, to sound important and to escape the effort required to be original. One of the most »

Finding substance beneath our rallying cry

February 5, 2008 • 7
Imagine: A guest speaker comes to class or a special event. She warms up the crowd with an unusual joke: “So, I received my undergraduate degree from that other place up in Cambridge, but don’t hold it against me … .” The students titter. Echoes of this joke are contained in the News’ endorsement of »

For candidates, policy must outweigh personality

January 23, 2008 • 12
We’ve all heard a great deal about the 2008 presidential candidates over the course of this long, grueling campaign season. We’ve watched the pundits break down the political affiliations of the American public state by state; we’ve monitored the consequences of the appearance of a tear in Senator Hillary Clinton’s eye; we’ve agonized over the »

The only way to Truth: questioning authority

November 27, 2007 • 7
You log on to classesV2 and click on the “Resources” tab with expectation. Your eyes pass over essays past: Paper Topics No. 1 and 2 have faded into memory. Further down is the document you’ve been waiting for: Paper Topics No. 3. Click. Upon maximizing the window, there are a number of simple tasks waiting »

Language is power, both aesthetic and ideological

November 13, 2007 • 9
In an article last Friday, the News reported that the number of students studying Arabic has grown in recent years, apparently due to a heightened interest in the culture and politics of the Middle East. One educator quoted in the article characterized some students’ reasons for studying Arabic — in order to go into government »

Kind words will not quell thriving anti-Americanism

October 30, 2007 • 0
Many claim that the United States has very few friends in the world today. But of course! you might exclaim. There is a reason for that. After Sept. 11, the world rallied to our side. President Bush had the opportunity to end terrorism, reduce carbon emissions, eradicate poverty in Africa — but he squandered all »

“I don’t know enough” is not an excuse for silence

October 16, 2007 • 0
There is constant danger in discussing foreign affairs with a fellow Yalie. The danger is that your dear friend, your prickly adversary, will lean across the table and smack you down: not with a hefty blow, but with a remark that will ring in your ears for the rest of the conversation. One well-placed shutdown »