Ruth Marcus: Monica Lewinsky Does Hillary Clinton a Big Favor

monica-lewinsky-hillady

For The Washington Post, Ruth Marcus writes:

…Lewinsky, who alone among the protagonists in the national soap opera saw her life irreparably shattered. Bill and Hillary made millions on the speaking circuit. Lewinsky, she writes for the June issue of Vanity Fair, “turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”

Despite a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, Lewinsky has never really held a steady job…

Still, 16 years after the scandal broke, she is recognized nearly every day. Now 40, she has never married. Read the rest of this entry »


Xia Yeliang: The China Americans Don’t See

Illustration: Ken Fallin

Illustration: Ken Fallin

David Feith writes:  The 21st-century romance between America’s universities and China continues to blossom, with New York University opening a Shanghai campus last month and Duke to follow next year. Nearly 100 U.S. campuses host “Confucius Institutes” funded by the Chinese government, and President Obama has set a goal for next year of seeing 100,000 American students studying in the Middle Kingdom. Meanwhile, Peking University last week purged economics professor Xia Yeliang, an outspoken liberal, with hardly a peep of protest from American academics.

“During more than 30 years, no single faculty member has been driven out like this,” Mr. Xia says the day after his sacking from the university, known as China’s best, where he has taught economics since 2000. He’ll be out at the end of the semester. The professor’s case is a window into the Chinese academic world that America’s elite institutions are so eager to join—a world governed not by respect for free inquiry but by the political imperatives of a one-party state. Call it higher education with Chinese characteristics.

“All universities are under the party’s leadership,” Mr. Xia says by telephone from his Beijing home. “In Peking University, the No. 1 leader is not the president. It’s the party secretary of Peking University.”

Which is problematic for a professor loudly advocating political change. In 2008, Mr. Xia was among the original 303 signatories of the Charter 08 manifesto calling for democracy, civil liberties and the rule of law in China. “Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises,” declared the charter, written primarily by Mr. Xia’s friend Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace laureate who is currently serving an 11-year prison term for “inciting subversion of state power.”

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Confessions of a Cellphone Holdout

Roughly 21 million adult Americans don’t own a cellphone—and they’re getting by just fine, thank you.

By GARY SERNOVITZ

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iStockphoto

THIS YEAR MARKS the 40th anniversary of the first official call by a hand-held cellphone, made by Motorola, in front of reporters on the streets of New York. This week marks my 40th birthday. A few weeks after that milestone I will be buying my first cellphone. I am not doing this because of a fascination with amazing inventions from 1973, like the Bic lighter or the Iditarod. I am buying one because my wife accepted a fellowship in California, and I will need to work remotely from there when I visit her.

Some tech holdouts boast of their monastic resolve. Others try to hide it. But for all of us, the choice becomes part of our public identity. One day you’re Jane Smith, lawyer and marathon runner. Then, like Kevin Costner among the Sioux, you’re He Who Lives Without Facebook.

For the last two decades, I have spent 83% of my waking hours enjoying the freedom of not owning a cellphone, 5% feeling smug about it, 2% in situations in which a phone would have been awfully convenient and 10% fielding incredulous questions. The first is always: How do you do your job? (I’m not the junior blacksmith at the Renaissance Faire; I’m a managing director at a private-equity firm.) I explain that my colleagues are very tolerant, the firm provides me with all of the latest communication tools (computer, telephone, Post-its) right at my desk, and accomplishing my daily tasks without a smartphone is not beyond human capability. Indeed, people lived this way back at the Dawn of Civilization, circa 1992.

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