President Summers, what does it all mean?


From the Publisher/Arnold G. York

The president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, gave a speech at the venerated university recently for a National Bureau of Economic Research meeting of about 250 academics. He suggested the possibility that, among other factors, there might be some actual differences in the sexes, which could explain the lack of women in the upper ranks of science. A firestorm ensued. Several of the faculty present began to hyperventilate. One, I believe, told the press she immediately grew nauseous and had to leave the room. Others, in the spirit of academic freedom and open discourse, organized to form a group to go meet the president, point out their differences of opinion with him and then hang him from the nearest tree. The more I read about it the more perplexed I became.

What did President Summers really mean? Why is everyone so upset?

I tried to reason it out by reducing it all to simple syllogisms. I’ve searched for an alternative hypothesis.

And here’s what I came up with:

Roger is a boy

Roger has some private parts

Roger is good in science

Roger can be a scientist

Therefore: People with certain kinds of private parts are good in science.

Sally is a girl

Sally has some private parts

They are different than Rogers’ private parts

Sally is not good in science

Roger can be a scientist

Sally cannot

Therefore: Certain kinds of private parts are not good in science.

Up to now, it all seemed to make sense. But then it gets murky.

Hank is also a boy

Hank has some private parts

They are the same type as Rogers’ private parts

Hank, however, is not good in science

Hank cannot be a scientist

Therefore: People with private parts of the same type are not all equal

Grace is a girl

Grace also has private parts

They are different than Rogers’ and Hanks’ private parts

They are also much bigger than Sally’s private parts

All the boy’s noticed that

Grace is very good in science

Therefore, an alternative hypothesis might be: President Summers is wrong. Apparently it’s not the type of the private part that matters, it’s the size.

Note. Hank refused to either confirm or deny this hypothesis.

Perhaps the more difficult part of the question is why everyone was so upset.

So I tried again:

Lawrence is the president of Harvard

Some think Lawrence is a good president

Others think he’s not so hot

Lawrence has private parts

Harvard has a large faculty

They have an assortment of private parts

Many are disturbed that Lawrence still has his private parts

Some want to remove Lawrence’s private parts and put them on display in Harvard Yard

To date, Lawrence has resisted

Therefore, we can hypothesize: That a certain portion of the faculty wants a president without any private parts; or, they will accept his private parts as long as he keeps them tucked away and keeps his mouth shut as some have suggested; or, they won’t be happy until there is a new president of Harvard with the right type of private parts.

I, however, have come with this final theory, which goes as follows:

That some of the faculty at Harvard have too much time on their hands.

That, occasionally, President Summers will put his foot in his mouth, but so what.

That some of the Harvard faculty couldn’t find the real world with both hands and a roadmap.

Therefore, the only one coming out of this academic contretemps with a smile on his face is Carl Rove, who is sitting in the White House and laughing himself near to death, and trying to figure out how many votes this is going to cost the Democrats in 2006.