And his mommy dresses him funny …
Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post reviews Richard Bradley's Harvard Rules and finds a scathing indictement of embattled Harvard president Larry Summers:
Though Bradley goes through the motions of giving Summers the benefit of the doubt—"an inspiring teacher," a "successful" mover and shaker in upper-echelon Washington, a survivor of near-fatal cancer—the book is in fact a sustained attack on him, if not an outright hatchet job. Summers in his view is "arrogant, patronizing, disrespectful, and power-hungry," repeatedly guilty of "bad manners," a "prodigious and sloppy eater" with "the general problem of eating and talking at the same time, which sometimes resulted in Summers' spraying saliva on his audience," all in all a man who had failed to cultivate "the social niceties that most people in high-profile jobs possess—gracious manners, a gift for small talk, a knack for putting people at ease."
UPDATE: More on the ol' saliva-spewer from an article by Mr. Bradley in Boston Magazine:
When visitors came to his office, Summers propped his feet up on a table, sometimes with his shoes off. He often appeared in public with a toothpick dangling from his mouth. He repeatedly mangled the names of people he was greeting or introducing. If someone said something he deemed uninteresting or foolish, he would conspicuously roll his eyes. Other times Summers would stare into space when being spoken to, as if no one else were in the room. "Larry's always looking away," says one junior professor. "At first you think he's scanning the room for someone more important, but no, he's just looking away." And then there was the recurring problem of his eating and talking at the same time, during which Summers sometimes sprayed saliva on his audience.
Toothpick dangling? Name mangling? Faculty wrangling? I think there's a country-and-western song in here somewhere.
Posted by Rodger on March 26, 2005 at 01:05 PM | Permalink
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