Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Hundred Years of Vulgarity

Eliot has boomed and boomed—till we think it's the proper way to go on. He must, or lose foothold. Well, why not a man who does not boom? Is boom the best thing in life? Is it all boom? Is there now and to be nothing but boom, boom, boom? — John Jay Chapman, letter to William James, Feb. 13, 1907.


  1. "A College President must be worldly. You said so yourself—though not in those words. Well, it's not true. I used to care somewhat about Harvard College; but since those circulars about Eliot's seventieth birthday and the three million fund, and all that bombast and vulgarity, I cannot go it. I cannot bear to be called 'a loyal son of Harvard.' This chest-thumping, back-slapping, vociferous and cheap emotionalism, done to get money and land money, is too much like everything else. I felt so clearly that the whole age's decay of scholarship and decent feeling could be shown from the Eliot circular, that if I hadn't been sick (and sworn off anyway) I should have come to Boston and given a lecture on the English of the document—the mere tone of it. Everything seems to be a base-ball team—jollying, rough good-feeling, and a thoroughgoing belief in money and us—and it's bad form to be accurate about anything except cash. Harvard is a base-ball team, and they'll bid high to get the best man they can, even if they have to outbid the Sioux City Nine." — Chapman to James, ibid.

  2. "
    Access to the Mind of God: http://bit.ly/mw0hjA
    By Isaac
    I read the following description of a study on leadership today: “A study of 50 United Methodist ministers who had worked at 132 different churches over a 20-year period showed [that] simply changing ministers did not affect church performance, but bringing in a minister with history of boosting members and donations in his previous parishes produced the same positive effects when he was transfered to a new congregation.” Social scientists must have obtained access to the mind of God: Otherwise, how would they know whether the church was performing well or not?