Tag: Vivian Gornick

CUNY, Corona, and Communism

The coronavirus has hit CUNY, where I teach, hard: more than 20 deaths of students, faculty, and staff, and counting. Yet the impact of the virus on CUNY has received almost no press coverage at all. At the same time, the media continues to focus its higher education coverage, during the coronavirus, where it always has: on elite schools. The combination of these elements—the unremarked devastation at CUNY, the outsized attention to wealthy colleges and universities—led me to write this piece for The New Yorker online: It seems likely that no other college or university in the United States has suffered as many deaths as CUNY. Yet, aside from an op-ed by Yarbrough in the Daily News, there has been little coverage of this […]

2019 In Writing

I did a lot of writing this year. This is a brief list of some of my favorites. My book, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, came out. It got some pretty great reviews. You should buy it. I began writing for The New Yorker Online, which has been a joy. My first piece was on political converts, men and women who make the journey from one ideology to another, and why the move from left to right has mattered more, over the course of the last century, than the move from right to left. My second piece was on Eric Hobsbawm, a Communist and a historian, and how his failure at the first made possible his success at the second. […]

Jesus Christ, I’m at Yale

In 1978, Vivian Gornick wrote an article in The Nation, “A Woman Among the Ivy Fellows,” on her semester-long experience as visiting professor at Yale. It’s a forgotten little classic of campus manners and mores, which is sadly inaccessible on the internet (though you can dig it out of the Nation digital archive if you’re a subscriber). After detailing a litany of sexist and boorish behavior from the male faculty (including one appalling incident of physical and verbal harassment)—and a general atmosphere of anti-intellectualism and antediluvian anxiety—Gornick concludes with a wonderful vignette about a conversation with a non-tenured historian whose husband is a tenured professor in sociology. Ruth Richards drove me to the station. As we sat in her car […]