China is attempting to rewrite the history of June 4, 1989, at an unprecedented scale and with unprecedented success. One of the strangest days of my traveling life was June 4, 2009, the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. I awoke in Shantou on the mainland, where I had given a talk at a university the day before. A normal day, both at the university and at the airport. When I arrived in Hong Kong the air was alive with protest and remembrance. I attended the events in Victoria Park that night, and blogged about how far US universities would go toward self-censorship to avoid offending their Chinese benefactors. Here is my photo of that evening.
Including American college professors attending June 4 memorials, as I did a decade ago. Of course, were such a thing to happen to Americans, the US government would probably come to their aid with the same vigor it has shown in holding Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder in Istanbul of US permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi.
America, watch Hong Kong. The struggle between free and authoritarian government is playing out there in front of our eyes, and there is little reason to think that the US government, infatuated as it is with authoritarian regimes, cares much who wins.
Following the standard protocol for announcements that need to be made but are hoped will go unnoticed, Harvard disclosed after Commencement that the Bureau would be closing. Or rather, the announcement says that a new "Academic Resource Center" would be opening and mentions the closing of the Bureau in paragraph 9. The ARC will have modern, untattered furniture which seems tio have been selected, like the color scheme of Dunkin Donuts, to make people not want to linger there too long. (Harvard Magazine has a good account of the plan.)
The Bureau was an act of genius, and was run by a series of wise leaders---Bill Perry, Kiyo Morimoto, Charlie Ducey, and most recently Abigail Lipson. These people were superb diagnosticians and interpreters of adolescent development. The basic idea of conflating academic and personal counseling always was, it seems to me, that Harvard students are much more comfortable seeking help for their academic problems than for their personal problems, even though the problems they have with studying may be due to their relationship issues. And many of their relationship problems are subclinical; they are ill, if anything, with the condition called growing up and breaking away from parents and other aspects of their origin.
Counselors at the Bureau have seen it all. I directed a student to the Bureau because his girlfriend was pregnant and he was in severe distress but had no one to talk to. I directed a student to the Bureau because her mother was tracking her electronically and she thought that was normal. The Bureau took all comers, and also had a diverse staff that proved especially helpful to students who were having trouble making the adjustment from socially conservative cultures in which they had been raised. Created in 1947, the strange name ("bureau" was of a piece with wartime vocabulary; "counsel" was often misspelled as "council," even by recent deans) was helpfully confusing; students could seek and get counseling without telling their families what kind.
The relation of the Bureau to the mental health service was never simple, and grew more complex as worries increased about the risks and liabilities of having seriously emotionally or mentally disturbed individuals in treatment while in the residential college. I don't want to suggest that the division of labor was ever right, or will be wrong in the future. But I do worry about those students who simply would never see someone labeled as a mental health professional; even if they can be reassured that there is no stigma in doing so, their parents may not be.
And in the short run, some students will return in the fall to find that the Bureau counselors with whom they developed relationships are no longer available to them. And it is not clear where faculty will be urged to send students who need caring guidance with the conflicts in their lives before their inner turmoil turns pathological.
As has also become standard in these matters, there is no suggestion that faculty were consulted in the decision, except for the relevant deans. That faculty are left out of such decisions is not surprising given recent trends in the administration of student affairs. Still, it seems to me to mark a new low that there was not even a whisper about this decision at the last faculty meeting of the year, when the Bureau was created by vote of the faculty. In the old days, you needed a faculty vote to undo a decision the faculty had taken, even decades earlier in allegedly simpler times.
Elizabeth’s new laptop has Windows 10 but she prefers Windows 7. What are her options?
I now have a Lenovo laptop which has Windows 10 installed, but to be honest with you, I preferred Windows 7, which was on my last two computers. What would you suggest?Elizabeth
As most Windows 7 users know – and if they don’t yet, Microsoft will nag them about it soon – Windows 7’s support stops in January 2020. After that, there will be no more security updates, except for companies that pay an annual fee that doubles every year. This is a powerful incentive to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10.Continue reading...
Amber wants her son to be able play Audible stories but does not want him to have internet access
As a child I had a cassette tape player. I could choose the music and stories I wanted to listen to alone in my room without my parents worrying about me accessing the internet.
My son loves listening to Audible stories on an old iPhone. I have blocked certain features but he keeps finding things to do that I haven’t blocked. I want a device that can download a lot of Audible stories so he can choose what to listen to, but without all the other temptations of an old phone or the risk of him going online. Amber
This is the age of the internet, and the trend is for every device to be online all the time. This started with PCs and then smartphones, followed by TV sets, games consoles and digital video recorders. Now we’re getting connected cameras, fridges, doorbells and smart speakers, and the choice of products that can’t connect to the internet is rapidly diminishing.Continue reading...