This weekend, over dinner with friends, six of us lamented the plight of universities we’ve attended, defended, and loved. You might have been having a similar conversation, about soaring costs, declining civillity, pernicious scandals, and more. But serving a university, as employee or alum, has always been an honor. So even in private, we pull our punches. We dare not seem disloyal. The dread of disloyalty dogs us so relentlessly it must be instinctive—a circuit on our moth
It was just a geeky science story, but a vice president was telling me not to write it. He was not my boss, but my sources reported to him and wouldn’t utter a peep without his say-so. The topic was toxic, he said. I sat in his office and gaped at him, dumbfounded. Only in some alternate universe would the topic of wind turbines and power grids be toxic. Patiently, the VP explained to me the alternate universe of South Carolina politics. According to doctrine in that realm, d
Eight years ago, on a three-hour boat trip between stops in the Galapagos Islands, I sat with two traveling companions on an open foredeck and argued about evolution. Both of them outranked me. One was our provost, the other a popular dean on his way to the chancellor’s office. They were superstars; I was a scribe. Our debate began when the dean observed that we were visiting the Galapagos two hundred years after Charles Darwin’s birth, and many people still rejected his theo
I’m a white guy born in Raleigh, but I’m not undertaking this blog to pledge my allegiance to basketball and barbecue. The last thing we need is another gray-haired hack waxing poetic about Tobacco Road whilst dribbling Coleslaw down his shirt. So let’s begin instead with a meditation on one of the most intriguing figures in North Carolina history: an uprooted, brutalized African who never laid eyes on a basketball and refused to eat pork. Omar Ibn Said was a Muslim. He was a
An insurgence of words
In which we attempt to puncture the culture of spin.