Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 08, 2006

WB: God and Money at Yale


As Dylan said: Money doesn’t talk, it swears – even if at Yale, it swears politely. It’s getting hard to tell what the difference is between Yale University and your average New York street hooker, except that one works on 42nd Street and the other in New Haven, and one sells pussy while the other peddles . . . well, I’m not sure what. Endowed chairs, I guess. (Or, to quote the late great Ruth Brown: “I’m gonna sell it, or I’m gonna sit on it. But I’m sure enough not gonna give it away.")

God and Money at Yale

Posted by b on June 8, 2006 at 03:23 PM | Permalink


of all the current news this morn, big Z etc. nothing set me off as much as faux's link to jewish week. it angers and stuns me. i didn't feel qualified to give it a proper rant.

thanks for your indignation billmon, i hope your post will be read worldwide.

Posted by: annie | Jun 8, 2006 3:38:51 PM | 1

If Yale wants to take a knee on Juan Cole, so be it. I'm sure a braver Ivy League school will sooner or later consider making an offer to Cole, with no silly political strings attached either. That all this has come out in the open now only weakens those who pursue such petty little vendettas.

Posted by: David W. | Jun 8, 2006 4:50:26 PM | 2

And this on the 39th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty....the ultimate symbol of Washington's acquiessence to any and all Israeli aggression.

Posted by: McGee | Jun 8, 2006 5:03:37 PM | 3

Juan Cole joins a long honor roll. Consider it a compliment.

Things are not what they appear. This is our unfortunate reality.

In this day and age, if the elites reward you with status, it is more and more frequently a sign that something is wrong with you. Either you sold your soul to gain the acceptance of powerful criminals, or you don't even realize that you [could] have a soul.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 8, 2006 8:30:04 PM | 4

We are becoming what our (U.S.) mythology despises.

Too many layers of irony and calumny for the average person to comprehend.

How many hypocritical Yale professors (and their fat paychecks and perks) can fit on the head of a pin. After all, they should be the first line of complaint against such perversion of the academy. I'm listening. All I can say is this is one day I don't regret not being a Yalie.

Posted by: DonS | Jun 8, 2006 9:38:20 PM | 5

Billmon does an excellent job here. He is angry and his anger stands along with mine but how wish I could express it as well as Billmon.
Juan Cole is the hero, Yale is the loser. Many people follow Juan Cole - Yale made a huge mistake that is now part of its history.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 8, 2006 10:08:09 PM | 6

education he’s providing his readers is far more important than anything he might have accomplished at Yale.

Funny and true. It's Yale's loss. Some time ago Yale shifted from building their reputation to trading on it. Their own version of the American household ATM mortgage machine.

Posted by: | Jun 8, 2006 10:16:37 PM | 7

Bravo, Billmon. Amen to it all.

What was the last wonderful line from Charlotte's Web? Somethng like, "It's not often someone comes along who is a good friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

I think the same applies (but in present tense, of course) to Billmon.

Thanks for sticking up so eloquently for your friend, Juan Cole, and by extension for all us who believe in academic freedom and telling the truth.

Posted by: Midwest Meg | Jun 8, 2006 11:28:39 PM | 8

As an academic for nearly fifty years, I can honestly say that Cole is much better off in Ann Arbor than in New Haven. Anonymous above is absolutely correct: Yale is trading on its reputation; Michigan is riding a wave.

Posted by: Brian Boru | Jun 9, 2006 12:29:09 AM | 9

On one hand, I second the Irish high king's observation: the best academics who are actually doing good work are often not at the Ivy Leagues; Ivy Leagues collect either the museum pieces who are way past their prime (e.g. Sam Huntington who's been past his prime for at least 30 years) or the young academics fresh out of grad school who get thrown out in 5-8 years. On the other hand, for public intellectuals, the prestige of the association is potentially valuable--and Yale does have a lot more panache than Michigan, especially outside USA.

Posted by: kao_hsien_chih | Jun 9, 2006 2:42:19 AM | 10

Cole statement

I am not actively seeking other employment, and did not apply to Yale; they came to me and asked if they could look at me for an appointment. I am very happy at the University of Michigan, which has among the largest and oldest Middle East Studies programs in the United States. It is like Disney World for a Middle East specialist.

Posted by: b | Jun 9, 2006 5:05:36 AM | 11

For one thing, the image of US universities has not remained untainted by the policies of the current administration. For another, the trend (more or less worldwide) is to chuck out the humanities (useless disciplines which do not produce new products, more turnover, more profit) or cut them to ornamental departments. The Juan Cole affair fits into a historical moment when academic independence and impartial standards of learning more and more acquire the shine of King Arthur and the knights of the round table.

Posted by: teuton | Jun 9, 2006 5:13:21 AM | 12

A note of appreciation from the rich a thesis from Oligarchy University (the fighting Aristocrats!)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 9, 2006 6:00:33 AM | 13

Harvard, like Yale, is notorious for its (low-paying) abuse of post docs who, in turn, use these two institutions to give their resumes a little sheen for those outside academia.

Both have less than stellar reputations among those who actually work in the professions to make a living, rather than those who trade on their existing "celebrity" to polish the two "name brands" above. Nevertheless, when I was encouraged to apply to Yale for grad studies, I was tempted -- again, to have the name brand. In some cases, too, they do have excellent scholars in various fields --but they're not the only ones.

Michigan is considered a "public ivy" -- which doesn't carry the snob appeal of the name brands, but which delivers the goods at a better rate for those who know what's what and who's where if they're looking for an education.

Michigan also regularly raids the U where I live, using their rep and other inducements to hire established and up and coming scholars. Of two of my friends, one did go, one didn't. Both got salary bennies, etc. because of the recruitment, so that was good for them (and others) in its way, just to be they're part of the game, too. Both, btw, were post docs at one of the two ivies above.

After losing a very prominent writer and researcher to Mich., only to have to offer better than matching goods to lure him back, the U where I live learned its lesson more than a decade ago, so Mich also provides a way for "liberal arts" and other profs to leverage their reps for better pay, too.

It's a circle jerk, in other words.

Hope Juan got a good counter offer from Mich before Yale came calling.

Posted by: | Jun 9, 2006 8:46:17 AM | 14

Billmon's last graph suggested something several Jewish friends and acquaintances have worried about. When the collapse comes, the American public will not choose introspective reflection to figure out what went wrong. They will want to know who to blame for this. Neocons and Likkudniks have been out front and very visible in this right wing movement. How convenient. When Rothschild and Co showed up at Versailles with their copy of the Balfour Document to claim their prize, the stab-in-the-back myth was born. Never mind that 99.9+% of Jews knew nothing of the Balfour agreement and that hundreds of thousands of them fought and died for the Kaiser. All Jews got blamed. Are 21st Century Americans any more sophisticated than 1920's Germans were? The evidence so far is not promising.

Posted by: | Jun 9, 2006 10:03:00 AM | 15

I disagree with the nuance of one part of Billmon's post:

Juan Cole at Yale probably would have been under considerable pressure to tone down his public views, and might have felt compelled to devote more attention to his scholarly research and less to his blog.

Every day, Juan Cole gets up at an insanely early hour and scans the arabic and world press for Iraq news, which he summarizes with sourcing on his blog.

For future historians of the Iraq War, the archives of Juan Cole's Informed Comment are going to be the major index of primary sources. His associated commentary is going to be very influential. I have long felt that performing this historigraphical work is one of Cole's primary objectives with the blog. The conflict between scholarship and blogging is a false issue I think.

Posted by: wetzel | Jun 9, 2006 11:49:57 AM | 16

RE comment at 10:03 am above, and potential for future scapegoating of Jews for the neocon connection. Forget the necon connection; the implicit assumptions in the Jews/Israel conflation should do the trick nicely.

I'm one with Jewish heritage who speaks out NOW whenever I can about the too quiet acquiescence of the Jewish "community" to the necon/AIPAC power-manipulating nexus. But I don't hear many reform or liberal Jews, hell secular Jews for that matter, raising thier voices loudly against this -- or if the voices are raised they are somewhere stiffled.

I understand that money talks; AIPAC/US Congress, etc., and that holocaust guilt twists in weird ways. But I've never seen a satisfactory explanation for why the Jewish community is so thoroughly coopted by the warmongering and Likudnik groups. I've had my ears open for decades.

Sure, Israel needed much US support early on (morphing into a tail waggeing dog "collaboration"),and its largely uncritical nature seemed too good to be true. But what looked like a blessing bears a heavy price. Not the least for the conscience and integrity of the Jewish community.

I wish someone could explain this to me ways that do not make the "public" Israelis/Jews look craven, and the rest of us look like credulous, suggestible, rubes.

As for the neocons, when and if the "collapse" comes? Don't make me laugh. Richard Perle does quite nicely in the south of France.

Posted by: DonS | Jun 9, 2006 2:45:37 PM | 17

I understand Billmon being disgusted at what happened with Cole.

You have to ask: Why would Cole want to go there in the first place?

Well there are several answers: he wants to move, grow, be higher up (??) in the scale; or wants his viewpoints to become more accepted, more mainsteam. Both are honorable. There is also the humdrum personal end, time to whatever, etc., academic careers follow a certain path that one gets sucked into, etc. etc.

Cole was, or is, Bahai. (I read he quit in 1997, no idea..I knew of him long before his blog because I have Bahai students..) He has been very critical, both in academic scribblings, and in personal writings, of that community, and broke with it as far as I know. It is a long story (google: Juan Cole Bahai). Anyway, no matter, peoples’ spritual lives are their own business, I myself have no axe to grind, but I can certify that US Universities take all those little details into account. The dig up everything, and take very unkindly to people such as Cole who have had odd religious affiliations...

Bahai - ism is originally Iranian.

More importantly, Cole is, and always has been, pro the Iraq invasion. He has never ever, afaik, denounced it. (?)

I also sympathize with Kerry, because I declined to oppose the war. .... But I disagreed almost completely with the *way* the war was carried out: ...>quote

Afaik, he has never waivered on that - many other quotes could be given - but I may be not quite in the know.

To sum up, Cole has been castigated by all those who hold anti-war sentiments (left, progressives, isolationists, even paleo cons) *as well as* the war mongering anti- Muslim crowd, in the shape of Zionists...

Zionist Revisionists, who are the most illiberal arm of Zionist nationalism, are relentless in attempting to impose their rhetorical vision on everyone who speaks about the subject, and if that fails, then to marginalize and demean them as bigots or terrorists or something.>quote

The center is a hard row to hoe, and there is a reason for that. The reason is it completely effed up.>Bahai site for info

-quotes out of context, natch.

Posted by: Noisette | Jun 9, 2006 3:27:46 PM | 18

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