New York Times

How the Media Isolate Academics: A Response to Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof usually produces thoughtful and insightful commentary in his columns in the New York Times. However, his recent article entitled “Professors, We Need You!” was such a lazy piece of writing that I found myself wondering whether his byline had been stuck on the column by mistake. The article trotted out very broad and very tired stereotypes of academic disciplines being too isolated from reality, and academics themselves being too wrapped up in their own self-serving work to engage with society or with the public.

Other blogging academics such as the political scientists at The Monkey Cage, the administrator at Confessions of a Community College Dean, and the scientist at Doing Good Science have already dissected the errors in Kristof’s article, along with pointing out the article’s failure to mention the structural, occupational and institutional factors creating the kind of academic work that Kristof denigrates. However, what I want to discuss is (more…)

Do Men Need Women To Call Them Out? Some Thoughts on Adam Grant’s Controversial Article

Last week, the New York Times published an article by Adam Grant that set off more than a few firestorms of debate. The article, titled Why Men Need Women, proposed that women have a “warming effect” on men, causing them to be more generous and compassionate. It cited a number of research studies suggesting that men behaved more selflessly when they had female relatives or co-workers, and concluded,

It’s often said that behind every great man stands a great woman. In light of the profound influence that women can have on men’s generosity, it might be more accurate to say that in front of every great man walks a great woman. If we’re wise, we’ll follow her lead.

The article received more than 300 responses on the New York Times website, and was the subject of a lot of harsh criticism on Twitter. From my reading, there seemed to be several major themes in the criticisms (more…)