- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blonde bias

“The proliferation of TV blondes will come as news only to the blind and those who have killed their televisions. Halos of honeydew yellow, strident gold, and silver birch radiate on the morning news shows, the afternoon gab slots, the business news on CNBC, prime time, and the overnight newsreader desks. …

“[T]he blond broadcasters dominate the airwaves in numbers far beyond their proportions in the population. Joanna Pitman estimates in ‘On Blondes’ that only one in 20 white adult Americans is a genuine blond, yet one in three adult American females has the look. If you do the math, it’s clear that many female newscasters lie about their true hair color every time they appear on television. …

“I imagine that at one point in her life, the 60-year-old Diane Sawyer of ABC News was an honest blonde, but is there any middle-aged woman alive whose hair naturally looks like this?”

— Jack Shafer, writing on “TV’s Aryan Sisterhood,” Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Dumbed down

“Whenever anyone even questions the efficacy and legitimacy of teaching certification as a requirement for public-school teachers, he is confronted with a host of objections, most of them coming from teachers’ unions or teachers themselves insecure about their own intellectual inadequacies. …

“The first objection is that prospective teachers who have not been certified will not know how to ‘relate to kids.’ This argument is stated in various ways. ‘Today’s kids are really different and have various needs,’ say the educrats. ‘Teachers must know different ways of motivating them.’ Or, ‘you can’t just be smart and know your content area; kids can’t always relate to that.’ Such catch phrases are used to justify the numerous classes in pedagogy and childhood development required for certification and to produce a stereotype of the merely intelligent graduate of the arts or sciences as being an absent-minded egghead who would aim too far above the heads of today’s children. …

“[T]he whole objection that merely intelligent people cannot relate to children shows just how silly we have become about childhood and adolescence. The purpose of education is to turn children into thinking adults. The undue worry that smart people will not be able to ‘relate to kids’ simply exposes the current, absurd notions that children cannot be treated as and asked to reason as adults-in-the-making and that teachers must themselves have the intellect and personality of a juvenile.”

— Terrence O. Moore, writing on “A Monopoly on ‘Relating to Children’” for the Ashbrook Center at www.ashbrook.org

Harvard ‘coup’

“After years of battling with Harvard’s notoriously hard-left arts-and-sciences faculty, Lawrence H. Summers has admitted defeat. He was forced out of his position as president of Harvard University despite overwhelming support from the faculty at other Harvard schools, as well as from the university’s undergraduate students and alumni. …

“Summers’s fatal misstep was to question feminist orthodoxies. He dared to speculate that the reason why there are so few women who are top scientists and engineers might have something to do with innate gender differences. The speculation enraged liberal professors … and they staged a coup d’etat — well, actually, they simply clarified who exactly is in charge at Harvard.”

— Charlotte Allen, writing on “Maneaters,” Thursday in NationalReview Online at www.nationalreview.com

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