July 02, 2018
Zareer Masani on artefacts, treasures and preservation:
Before the British came [to India], there was no indigenous tradition of exploring or conserving antiquity. The wonderful Buddhist stupas of the Mauryan empire (circa 2nd century BC) were destroyed, abandoned and forgotten during the Hindu revival, and then many Hindu temples met a similar fate during Muslim invasions from the 12th century… The fact is that we have no idea what would have become of the world’s ‘looted’ antiquities if they hadn’t been preserved in Western collections. Would the treasures of Beijing’s Summer Palace have survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution? Would the Elgin marbles have survived Turkish tour guides chopping off chunks to sell as souvenirs? Would ISIS have spared those Middle Eastern artefacts that survive in European museums?
Readers may care to speculate as to whether, for instance, the Natural History Museum of Berlin’s famous Brachiosaurus, the tallest mounted skeleton in the world, which was discovered and excavated by German palaeontologists in 1909 and is currently maintained by German taxpayers, would have fared better had it remained in Tanzania.
Jonah Goldberg on “affirmative action” and its victims:
If Harvard lifted its anti-Asian [admissions] criteria, Harvard’s own Office of Institutional Research said the share of Asian students at Harvard would more than double, from 19 percent to 43 percent. But that 43 percent wouldn’t be distributed equally among all courses and disciplines. It would be a boon for computer-science and biology classes, but even more seats would go empty in women’s history or poetry courses. And I can’t help but think that the faculties in the humanities and the softer social sciences have disproportionate sway on the cultural and political assumptions of the school’s administration. They are, after all, the talkers.
Related: Law professor Gail Heriot on the same, and on other campus dramas:
You can bet that if it’s your job to find and worry about race and sex discrimination, then one way or another you’re going to find that discrimination, even if you have to define sexism and racism down, sometimes way, way down. Only the hopelessly naïve would expect that none of this would affect campus culture.
And not entirely unrelated to that, Sarah George on correcting the inherent evils of pallor:
Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California, is offering its students a series of workshops this summer designed to cultivate a “positive white racial identity” in its white participants.
Apparently, the “racial identity” of pale-skinned students is uniquely monstrous and dysfunctional, being as it is so “ignorant” and “oppressive,” and must be dealt with accordingly. Readers are welcome to imagine any other campus demographic being told repeatedly and at length, by administrators and educators, that its “identity” is not only insufficiently “positive,” i.e., insufficiently deferential and submissive, but also the cause of almost all human woe.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.