Friday, December 4, 2009

Nothing to Say

The Chronicle of Higher Education is giving me a 404 when I try to leave a comment on this article about David Gelernter, so I'll just spit it out here:
Depending on whom you ask, Gelernter's intellectual adventurism is the mark of a true Renaissance man or the desperate flailing of a scattershot dilettante. Around Yale, there is a curious reluctance to criticize him on the record. "Some communication at Yale is conducted in raised eyebrows and significant silences," notes Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at the university, when asked about this reticence. It may be that many of his colleagues are reluctant to speak openly about Gelernter out of sympathy for his experience with the Unabomber. Whatever the case, few want to be publicly critical.
Oh well allow me! Because I'd like to point out that this is disgusting:
The woman who yearns to be a rabbi resembles the openly practicing homosexual who wants the same thing. Both cases suggest a man who yearns to be a hazzan but lacks the ear or voice for it, or hopes to be a rosh yeshiva ... but lacks the temperament or brains, or wants to be a poet but has nothing to say.
That's from Gelernter's new manifesto, Judaism: A Way of Being. Note the flaccid rhetoric! Note the creepy use of "openly practicing homosexual"—a rabbi who practices sodomy in secret is A-OK, I guess.

Oh, yeah, and in case you're wondering, our "Renaissance man"'s paintings are pretty wretched, too. Way to go, Chronicle of Higher Ed, and way to go, Yale University Press.



Anonymous Zach said...

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

December 5, 2009 at 1:22 AM  
Anonymous m. croche said...

Gelernter may be a creep, but what about this:

"Others are more sympathetic. James E. Ponet, head of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale and a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, hails Judaism as "a magnificent credo.""

The mind boggles at Ponet's choice of words. Gelernter only represents his nutty self. Ponet represents the Slifka Center. This, I think, is the real embarrassment for Jews at Yale.

December 6, 2009 at 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must disagree. Gelernter is one of the last of the true renaissance men of our age who dares to not keep the status quo. He is a computer scientists, artist, essayist, devout religious man, and first and foremost a philosopher of the first order. Because he is one of the few true classical liberals on a campus of leftists/Marxists, his sometimes controversial comments have been taken out of context and used against his knowledge to advance a state of intolerance and fear in academia. His metaphor about Judaism was not meant to be a homophobic statement but a point of comparison. All religion is by definition exclusive but his statement was not against those of that persuasion. Those who take offence are always on the look out for anything to protest. This is true about the liberal media's uncalled for attacks on Gov. Palin months well after the election. It shows the left's intolerance to views outside the leftist's norm. Gelernter is a complex man and is hard to pin down. He is an observant Jew but named a programing language after an adult movie starlet. He is deeply involved in art and religion and yet a staunch technologist. The world universities would do well to have more like his ilk, or Palin, or Keys, or Thomas Sowell, or Dinesh D'Souza on their campus to engage in rigorous academic intellectual discussion rather then the constant screeching of the chattering class. More discussion and less name calling is what the world needs. I thank G-d every day that prof Gelernter is on campus and pray that more like him are added to our numbers. Please do not disparage him by calling him names. A conservative he may be but a homophobe he is not.

December 6, 2009 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Dan Johnson said...

I have nothing to add to the anonymous comment above. If Gelernter is celebrated as an intellect on the level of Keyes and Palin, I am satisfied.

Thanks for stopping in!

December 6, 2009 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

With regard to the Anonymous comment: I'm just curious what you have in mind when you write "All religion is by definition exclusive." Like the Elizabethan Club? I'm sorry, and forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think certain strands of Protestantism actually emphasize the fact that in Christ *all* of us are redeemed. Buddhism, likewise, at least in some of forms of practice, is an open faith. (btw I'm a Jew.) I look forward to your elaboration on this point (esp. since you value enlightened dialogue.)

December 7, 2009 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Who is this alleged liberal media bent on attacking Sarah Palin!? I am outraged.

December 8, 2009 at 7:10 PM  
Anonymous eichkatze said...

"He is an observant Jew but named a programing language after an adult movie starlet."

my college campus definitely needs more of this kind of behavior. I was hoping they would name the library catalog after Sasha Grey MMMM

December 8, 2009 at 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your illustration of the Elizabethan club is sort of on the right track. The protestant would say that we are all in Christ if we remain in him. He redeems us as we become faithful to his calling. It's unusual that you would not think that religions where exclusive. Being a Christian myself makes me Jewish as well, so we should know where we are both coming from. Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophy of life that pretends to be a religion. Needless to say a religion has a predetermined way of beliefs and conduct that excludes those who do not adhere to them. Those who are not faithful to the fundamentals are cast out or else forced to form a heretical sect which is also by it's nature exclusive in scope.

@Wyskida go through any media outlet short of Limbaugh and Dr. Savage and you will find them mocking and insulting her and her family because they are commonsense G-d fearing patriots - Something that is out of fashion in this secular pseudo-intellectual academic culture. I don't know who you are but I do know that she has both of our interests in mind so lets just agree to disagree.

December 10, 2009 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Dan Johnson said...

Unfortunately, we here only listen to Dr. Savage and Dr Limbaugh, and so we really have no idea what you're talking about.

December 11, 2009 at 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Limbaugh does not hold a doctorate whereas Michael Weiner (Savage) is in fact a PHD. He also holds two additional advanced degrees and two bachelors. He was also know in the beat community and was a close friend of Ginsberg. He knows what he's talking about because he's come from the fringe left. If you need clarifications concerning my statements please say so an I will gladly elaborate.

December 11, 2009 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Ingram said...

Dan, Note new CD which I hope Cutlers gets

December 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

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