Thursday, December 3, 2009
* It was Clermont-Tonnerre who said in 1791 "il faut tout refuser aux Juifs comme Nation et tout leur accorder comme individus."
What a mess.
Move over, Tiger Woods! But here's a question for M. Gattegno: Were you in the bathroom with Sarko and DSK? Did you hear the exchange? If not, where did you get your information? If it came from the Elysée, well, then, doesn't it lend credence to Strauss-Kahn's charges? Surely it didn't come from DSK. What are you practicing, anyway: le journalisme du caniveau ou le journalisme des chiottes?
In our view, fixing the current flaws in the French system does not merely demand organisational reforms, including giving academics more time to evaluate the research of colleagues and candidates properly. It may also require French academics to think long and hard about their own cynicism and fatalism concerning their ability to make judgments about quality that would not be driven by cronyism or particularism, and that would honour their own expertise and connoisseurship.
Not that proper governmental reform is not needed, but sometimes blaming the Government may be an easy way out. Above all, it is increasingly a very ineffectual way of tackling a substantial part of the problem. A little more collaborative thinking and a little less cynicism among both academics and administrators - if at all possible - may very well help French universities find a way out of the crisis. And it will help the French academic and research community to become, once again, much more than the sum of its parts.
But let's keep things in perspective. The City is still the City, and the EU is still only the EU. How many battalions has Mr. Van Rompuy?