Friday, March 25, 2011

Red campus, blue (& gold) campus

The current issue of UC Berkeley's alumni magazine features a story on political psychology. The article starts off well enough, interviewing George Lakoff on conceptual frames and highlighting some other Cal scholars. But then the author interviews Stanford political psychologist Jon Krosnick.

Now, I certainly have no beef with Krosnick, who has done some very insightful and influential research in political psychology. But why oh why is the Cal alumni magazine promoting the work of a Stanford professor? It's not like Cal's poli sci department wants for faculty who can opine on the subjects of parties and mass opinions. They also have some excellent graduates who are happy to hold forth on these topics.

I suppose this all goes to the question of what exactly the purpose of an alumni magazine is. Is it to seek truth? To discuss important controversies? Well, maybe, but it's really to glorify the university, so that alumni feel good about donating more money to the school and maybe sending their kids there some day. And we glorify a university by doing two things: promoting the work of students and faculty at the university, and trashing the students and faculty of its rival school. This article failed on both counts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yea! fuck stanfurd!