Pathological Personalities

Continuing with my re-posting from my old blog: in case anyone thought I was being a little harsh on Academics in that last post, go read the Mobius Stripper’s description of her interactions with her first advisor, the Eccentric Genius. Here, I’ll excerpt a little from the comments:

Jess – ah, the dread of meeting with the advisor. I don’t think mine bad-mouthed me behind my back – my EG was a man of few words, whose MO was to stare at me for long periods of time whenever I asked a question. He might have been thinking that I was an idiot; he might have been thinking about his (unrelated) research. Hell, he might have been thinking about what he was going to have for dinner. Who knows? I sure didn’t.

Just who taught that jerk that this was a way for one human being to communicate with another, especially a subordinate? I’ll tell you who. Every teacher or peer who ever excused his rudeness because he was brilliant. Every administrator and department head who excused poor behavior because they didn’t want him to go somewhere else. A grad school colleague of mine (a former Marine) used to be fond of saying, “if you can’t be smart, be nice”, but in Industry, smart is necessary but not sufficient if you want to get ahead. In the Academy, it’s necessary and sufficient. Hence we get Eccentric Geniuses who could have also grown a real human personality, but missed the opportunity because of the special environment in which they operate. And lest you think that MS’s experience rare, I’d say that this kind of interpersonal interaction is well within one standard deviation from the mean that I have observed in the Academy. Well within.

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C-Span (times e.t.)

A favorite of many on this blog, Historian David Hackett Fischer delivered the Irving Kristol Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner in Washington, DC, after receiving the Institute’s Irving Kristol Award for 2006. His speech will be shown at 8:05 EST on Sunday, BookTV, C-Span 2. In “American Leadership: The Invention of Tradition,” Mr. Fischer describes George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt as three great leaders. He argues that the open and flexible leadership skills of these men were the key to their success.

Shelby Steele is the guest on the 3-hour In-depth, beginning at noon e.s.t. on Sunday.

C-SPAN 1 & 2 (times e.t.)

On C-Span 1 Q&A. On C-Span 2, Book TV; this week’s Book TV Schedule, including After Words.

Robert Kaplan (a C-span favorite – already an in-depth subject) discusses his new Imperial Grunts.

Tim O’Brien, a powerful writer about Viet Nam, presents Things They Carried. His presence in this (almost always non-fiction) forum reflects, however, the way in which he deliberately blurs the autobiographical and the fictional. In the same week that Wayne Booth has died, O’Brien makes us conscious of the importance of Booth’s arguments about the ethical nature of narrative voice. (Admittedly a knotty tangle; O’Brien has a bit of the “gotcha” in his approach, but his work reflects an extraordinary writing ability.)

Lamb [Q]uestions and Andrew Card [A]nswers on C-Span 1, Sunday at 8 & 11 p.m.

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C-SPAN 1 & 2 (times e.t.)

On C-Span 1 Q&A. On C-Span 2, Book TV; this week’s Book TV Schedule), including After Words.

Lamb [Q]uestions and Pamela Hess, United Press International, Defense Correspondent {A]nswers on C-Span 1, Sunday at 8 & 11 p.m.
On After Words, Jay Matthews intervierws Chris Whittle, author of “Crash Course: Imagining a Better Future for Public Education” and founder of Edison Schools (in 3 C-span 2 slots – the usual two Sunday at 6 & 9 as well as Saturday at 8:00.

Not surprisingly, two sessions examine the Supreme Court.

C-SPAN 1 & 2 (times e.t.)

C-Span 1. Book TV. Book TV Schedule. After Words and Q&A on C-Span 1.

On Encore Booknotes (7:00 Sat evening), Lamb interviews one honorary Chicagoboyz (Milton Friedman) about a new edition with his introduction of another Chicagoboyz’ (F. A. Hayek) work, Road to Serfdom

Most of the weekend will be devoted to the 2005 National Festival of Books.
Afterwords features Barbara Slavin interviewing Tony Blankley about his The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?.
Lamb [Q]uestions and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia {A]nswers.