This prof at Harvard has a new book on the topic which has rankled a few around here. Manliness is a new book by Harvey Mansfield. He asserts that Summers was too unmanly in his conciliation to feminists after his comments about women’s ability to do science. I agree with this point, but I disagree in some sense to his statements about science and, ahem, “manliness”. Certainly the findings of science are typically gender neutral, but masculinity, or features that define men as different from women, has played a role in many scientific fields, which is what got Larry Summers fired in the first place. In my field, Neuroscience, one of the best scientists of the last generation was Patricia Goldman Rakic, and during a memorial at a conference former students remarked on how maternal she was, and how that shaped her research. But talk about the alpha male mentality amongst the top tier scientists and one gets fired, or at least shouted down.

Posted at 10:11 am by Johnny B


Dick Cheney, captain of the quiz bowl


I would be angered and upset by your post, but I am too weak and effeminate to try to start any conflict, since my ability to fight is not the strongest of my skill sets…..
Jordan’s post reminds me of a hypothetical list on “The Onion”, which showed a list of post-it notes left on the fridge by your roommate. Something like, “Wanna F?…just kidding, but do you?”

Jordan makes a big bold statement supported mainly by stereotypes, then at the end says that there are people who don’t fit the stereotype, but he’s really onto something.

I think first there needs to be some distinction between policy makers and your average American. Jordan, it seems, is writing about the average voter. Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, these are smart guys. Condoleeza Rice is a gifted pianist and was the youngest provost at Stanford. Being a woman and intellectual, it must have been tough for her crack the biological determinism driving her to work at the U.N. for Kofi Annan, according to Jordan’s logic. But Condi is a hawk, you better believe it.

One dirty little secret about Condoleeza Rice is that she’s always dated college and pro football players. She once joked that her favorite job would be to work as commissioner of the NFL. So maybe Jordan is onto something. Maybe chicks who dig a man in a uniform are hawks.

Anyway, you can always find smart guys wargaming stuff. Jordan knows full well all the guys who played Risk and Diplomacy were intellectuals, yet many of them are Hawks. Intellectual men beat their chests and play alpha male games too. Intellectuals want to win stuff too (grants, trials, wars), and work 18 hour days to beat out the other guy. A woman may work 18 hours, but she wouldn’t wear it on her sleeve like a guy would. Why did Al Gore play all those alpha male games in 2000, sticking his tongue down his wife’s throat on TV? I think many of the quiz bowl crowd (and I was one of them) want to win at quiz bowl as much as the jocks want to win at football. The testosterone is just channeled into a different venue.

Now, all that being said, it would be interesting to see some numbers on this. I’d like to see a poll that looked at the correlation of “played high school football” and “voted for W/support the war”. Hey, maybe it is higher than, say, the correlation of “played quiz bowl” and “voted for W”. But Jordan still paints with too broad a brush. A simple question: which ethnic group in Americans participate in the most sports activities on the collegiate and professional level? Did you even have to think about it? Which ethnic group, as a group, voted as a block against W, and oppose the current war? According to your logic, Jordan, I would assume that the most athletic group would also be the most hawkish. But blacks across the board are against the war. That’s not a couple of exceptions. Condoleeza Rice (intellectual female hawk) is an exception. 90% of American Blacks (in general the most athletic and most dovish) are not.

I have a general comment. Most of the cool black helicopter stuff is on the comments and not the posts. I mean, if you want to insinuate that LBJ killed JFK, go ahead and share with the rest of the class, you know. That’s the fun reading. Don’t hide that lamp in Butch’s comment cabinet, Scottie, put that sucker on display for us all to see. Wasn’t that what the Bible said?

Posted at 11:32 pm by Johnny B