In 2003, the two of us made a wager. We had just left a talk by a renowned scientist when Pierre quipped, ‘It must be amazing to work in his orbit, where his brilliance and the intellectual exchange of ideas must raise the level of scholarship of everyone around him.’ Josh, a bit more sardonic in nature, replied, ‘I don’t know. I bet he consumes a lot of scarce research resources and commands an oversized amount of attention. He might well suck all the oxygen out of the room.’ Without missing a beat, Pierre countered that this was really an empirical question. Nearly a decade-and-a-half later, we have some answers. It seems we were both right. These results paint a picture of scientific fields as scholarly guilds to which elite scientists can regulate access, providing them with outsized opportunities to shape the direction of scientific advance in that space.
I do not believe that giving the woman the ballot is immediately going to cure all the ills of life. I do not believe that white women are dew-drops just exhaled from the skies. I think that like men they may be divided into three classes, the good, the bad, and the indifferent… Talk of giving women the ballot-box? Go on. It is a normal school, and the white women of this country need it. While there exists this brutal element in society which tramples upon the feeble and treads down the weak, I tell you that if there is any class of people who need to be lifted out of their airy nothings and selfishness, it is the white women of America.
The Mekong Review aims to be for Southeast Asia what he said The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books had been since 9/11: ‘brave, trenchant critics of their respective governments.’ It’s a long shot on many levels, not least because it covers a region where English literacy is patchy, postal systems are unreliable and newspapers that are not controlled by governments tend to struggle against censorship and chronic financial constraints. Editor in chief Minh Bui Jones moonlights as a deliveryman when he visits the region.
I reminded myself regularly that all the adults I met were survivors or former killers, who now had to try to live with what they had seen or done. Almost everyone, survivor or killer, had lost family members. They carried around inside themselves millions of tiny worlds of suffering.
I need Squirrel Hill to return to its right size. It feels weirdly out of scale at the moment, like an enormous parade balloon version of itself. Every cable news crawl has the words ‘Squirrel Hill’ in it. I am trying to shrink the neighbourhood back down, in my mind, to the place where I have picked my son up from preschool, from circus camp, from swimming lessons, leading him out of the tiled Jewish Community Center hallway to the tiny parking garage where I always narrowly miss denting another exhausted parent’s car.