Thursday, December 3, 2009

The importance of looks

The fan club is so so depressed. Our beloved Gloria Steinem is actually against the Botax. She says ladies need to shoot poison into their heads to look younger. To save ourselves from hyperventilating we called up Drew, knowing her wise eloquence would reassure us.

Miss Grimke: What are your latest thoughts on the importance of looks?

DGF: Funny you should ask. I know I'm overdue a new prescription for my reading glasses.

Miss Grimke: I don't mean looking out. I mean looking in. Have you been rethinking your look?

DGF: Well I have been letting my hair grow out a bit. I was getting tired of going to the hairdresser's so often.

Miss Grimke: Are you sure you don't mean the barber? I happen to know when a lady is looking for change she cuts off her hair. When she has settled into her new sphere, she lets it grow.

DGF: But change is neither immediate nor total. For each moment of exhilarating transformation there are a thousand daily realities, traveling a slower road, far behind our ideals.

Miss Grimke: Did you ever imagine Ms. Steinem would have represented one of those thousands of realities traveling a slower road, far behind our ideals?

DGF: Never never never. And no I do not go to the barber.

Miss Grimke: You know what I think?

DGF: I think Ms. Steinem is overdue for a haircut.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The beer truth

Our dear Dr. Faust is of course heart-broken over the situation in Allston. It’s as if we had started to renovate, pulled down the walls, put up blue plastic tarps to keep out the elements, and then had to stop construction because our bank pulled the plug. I’m sure that has happened to many of us. Allston is just on a much much much larger scale. The blue tarps are flapping. The squirrels are finding their way into the kitchen. It is a sad sad mess. Drewdie is doing her best to shore things up.

We recently took a field trip to Deep Ellum, the hippest bar in Allston if not all of the eastern seaboard to scope out the scene on the ground while kicking back a few pints.

For starters Miss Grimke ordered 2 pretzels & beer cheese, and Drew could not resist the hot damn wings.

It was when we actually looked at the beer selections that the trouble began.

Miss Grimke: What no BL Lime!?

DGF: Look at this. A beer called Ruination. What's up with that?

Miss Grimke: It gets worse. Leather Lips. Flying Dog Doggystyle.

DGF: Duck Duck Gooze is kind of cute.

Miss Grimke: There is something so not right about the whole microbrew naming thing. Or even the whole microbrew thing.

DGF: As a historian, I have to agree with you. You know I'm a fiend for beer, but there's all this faux artsy stuff that's grown up around it, largely among ladies and gentlemen who wouldn't be caught dead in the Fogg.

Miss Grimke: You mean the Gardner.

DGF: Beer peddlers are trying to recover some delightful better past that never really existed, when women and men crafted things of value with their own hands. These beers are actually living a lie. Also they are expensive, so you are paying through the nose for something that is meant to take you back to a better place that never was. They want to keep us from facing the reality that we live in a time when the most important and valuable things are so amorphous they fly around the world at the speed of light.

Miss Grimke: You can't taste Google.

DGF: But you can get high on it.

Miss Grimke: I'll drink to that.

DGF: But what?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We missed Fashion Week. Or did we?

Miss Grimke: Boston has a Fashion Week.
DGF: No way.
Miss Grimke: Way.
DGF: How could I have missed that?!
Miss Grimke: You were busy?
DGF: Yes, that's it.
Miss Grimke: I was looking at people walking down Newbury Street a few years back and I noticed that every single woman, old, young, fat thin, in between, all were wearing jeans, boot-cut jeans. Tops were different, that's all. And some wore heels and some wore clogs or boots and a few wore running shoes or something.
DGF: Amazing.
Miss Grimke: So what do you think I did?
DGF: Do tell.
Miss Grimke: I went straight over to Eddie Bauer and bought me some boot-cut jeans. Whew. That was close. I nearly walked down Newbury Street like some sort of freak.
DGF: I'm glad Cambridge is not so conservative.
Miss Grimke: Lucky you.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Universe's Crisis of Stupidity

The fan club is after me to chastise Drewdie for writing such a boring essay in the NYT Book Review. The fan club is made up of my close personal friends, but really we cannot teach by scolding. We must teach by example. So I am going to write the essay as Drewdie should have written it. Post wit, to wit, ipso facto, and et cetera, dum spiro spero, following:

As my close personal friend Louie 'Lou-eye' Gates definitely did not say, 'I'll see yo mama outside.'

Don't be stupid! The world economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama does not change the fact that you have to be stupid not to see how important universities, both public and private, are. People go to universities to think and learn, and I don't care how smart you are, you can always benefit from thinking and learning.

So don't be stupid! Ask us to help solve the important problems of the day--from health care delivery to climate change to economic recovery. We are constantly thinking about things and doing research. Even when you ask us to do things impossible to do this side of science fiction, we manage to rise, almost nearly, to the challenge.

Educate the elite? Sure, we'll do that. Give opportunities to the downtrodden? No problemo! Manage our vast amounts of money so that it grows and grows and grows so tall we can climb up to the giant's castle in the clouds and steal the magic hen that lays golden eggs? We did that! A little problem arose when the giant got mad and came after us but we are working on it!

But ladies and gentlemen, listen up! We can do nearly everything but you have to trust us and let us fool around, experiment, get messy! Tolerate ambiguity! Embrace complexity! The most difficult problems are often solved when someone is working on something else entirely!

That's why we need English majors, and history professors, and other entities that don't have measurable ROI. They stir the pot. Even more obviously you can't follow people around with stop-watches and those little coin counters the ladies who sold you popcorn at the drive-in movies wear around their waists if you want the stew to stay rich enough to bubble up solutions to the problems of the present and future.

I am embarrassed that some of the ideas that are, well, stupid--like the market "knows" how much something is worth--came out of universities. I don't think English majors or history majors ever bought that crap, do you? Do you have any idea how many English majors and history majors are on Wall Street? Do you think that is not part of the problem?

Higher education is about not being stupid. You can't put a price on that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August at home

While Drew has some well-deserved down time at a top secret location known only to yours truly, the fan club has been doing some long-needed updates at Elmwood, our part-time club house.

Is it possible to hate valances with a passion? If so, we do. Just because a house is old doesn't mean the windows have to dress up like Victorian ladies. What is the point of valances? What is the point of draperies, other than as back-up fabric for down-at-their heels Southern ladies? Ah, yes, Elmwood needs draperies to mute the noise from Route 2. We are keeping them on that side of the house. But elsewhere! Nudity comes to the windows of Elmwood!

We hope DGF likes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Les derrierres sont nous!

Ladies are scrutinized, pardon my French, sometimes like slabs of beef. One arrow points to a dainty hand, another to a creamy or chocolately shoulder, another to her haunch. Such was the lot of the young Brazilian lady who happened to ascend some steps in what could have been the gaze of POTUS et M. Sarkozy. It was only after the MSM had had its way with her that we saw her face and learned of her many accomplishments. Does the MSM have the mentality of a 10-year-old boy?

Yes! Just yesterday we were treated to macro close-ups of the butt of a gentleman swimmer whose bathing costume malfunctioned.

Miss Grimke: What is up with this? Don't we have enough crises and misunderstandings and humilations and and and

DGF: I don’t feel I’ve made a decision about how to best engage in this discussion.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Starry-eyed Distractions

Miss Grimke: I'm loving the belted cardigan and the metalic flats. It's a great look. Don't you think?

DGF: Yes, it's a great look. I practically live in it.

Miss Grimke: You do not.

DGF: How do you know?

Miss Grimke: I saw what you wear at Elmwood. Those fluffy blue slippers.

DGF: Oh, right. Ah, that was so long ago.

Miss Grimke: Those were such innocent times.

DGF: Yes, we were all so innocent then.

Miss Grimke: We had no idea what was in store for us.

DGF: Well, we had an inkling. Only an inkling.

Miss Grimke: Did you see Public Enemies?

DGF: I'd watch anything with Johnny Depp in it. I would not have minded more story about Melvin Purvis, that fine southern gentlemen, though.

Miss Grimke: Who do you think will play you in the movie? Meryl Streep?

DGF: She could play me. She could play anyone. She could play John Dillinger. Maybe we should think outside the box, though.

Miss Grimke: Helen Mirren?

DGF: Oo, oo, now I'm getting excited.

Miss Grimke: Who would play Charlie?

DGF: Johnny Depp, of course.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to wake up lazy skin

Miss Grimke: Richard Bradley is like that fly Obama whacked. Do you want us to swat him for you?

DGF: Who is Richard Bradley?

Miss Grimke: He blah-blahs about how you won't talk to the press about Harvard's going broke and other things.

DGF: Oh that guy. I'll contribute to history's first draft when I'm good and ready. Too much is at stake on too many fronts and too much is still too raw. Nothing is simple enough for sound bites and being second-guessed by people who consider themselves experts on this and that. The potential consequences of distortions are too dire.

Miss Grimke: Okay, whatever. I read in the FT that you should not use moisturizer because it makes your skin lazy.

DGF: Do tell. Well I don't use moisturizer and my skin is already incredibly lazy. It just sits there and sags.

Miss Grimke: I quit using it for about a week and my skin finally woke up and nagged me about neglecting this blog.

DGF: Well whoop de whoop.

Miss Grimke: You're not in a very good mood are you.

DGF: No comment.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The future brightens

You read it here first: DGF has selected a replacement for her executive vice president, Ed Forst, who has resigned. In one of her many strokes of brilliance she has hired Zoe Warren-Washburne, the tough, smart, talented former first officer on Serenity, the legendary salvage ship. She is just what DGF needs, a tactician who has worked with the best and prevailed through many trials by fire. She also shares DGF’s attitude toward fashion—wear whatever works best for the job and then forget about it. As with DGF, the result is exactly correct and eminently flattering.

From Drew’s official press release: “I am extremely pleased that Zoe Warren-Washburne has agreed to come to Harvard and serve as the University’s second executive vice president. She brings deep experience with a large, complex, and universal organization, a proven track record in managing the functions that will be central to her new role, and an outstanding reputation for her effective leadership style.

“We have important work ahead of us, with new challenges unfolding daily, and Zoe’s leadership and experience will help ensure that our administrative capacity can support our academic ambitions at the level of excellence they deserve, despite our need to address urgent and rare issues.” Faust continued.

Warren-Washburne said, "The decision to leave Serenity was extremely difficult. In my many years as First Officer I formed lasting and deep relationships with the captain and crew, but they understand my desire to work in a new environment with new challenges and to spend quality time with my feet planted on the good ship Earth.

“I am ready and eager to serve my new captain: Drew Gilpin Faust.”

As First Officer Warren-Washburne became known for her intense loyalty—which extended to her refusal to steer her boss wrong. She sizes up complex situations rapidly with uncanny accuracy. She is also an accurate shot. Her weapon of choice is her sawed-off rifle, which she wears holstered off her right hip and leg. She's draws on a variety of back up hand guns as well as a pump action shot gun.

Zoe Warren-Washburne has all the qualities we look for in a Southern lady and a person to serve as First Officer to our dear Captain Drew.

The Fan Club is indebted to erdprods on IMDb for details on Warren-Washburne’s career.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The future looks dim

The Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club has since last November several times taken note of the resemblance POTUS has to our dear DGF. With much discussion recently about his resemblance to Spock, and after a field trip to see the new Star Trek prequel, we labored to see if a character there might resemble DGF, or if perhaps she might be even more Spocklike than POTUS. After all, like Spock, who spurned the Vulcan elite in order to join Starfleet Academy, Drew left behind her native land to achieve great power within an alien culture.

Alas, we could not see much of Dr. Faust in Mr. Spock. In fact, we came away disheartened to see that in the far distant future, despite so many advances in space travel and intergalactic cooperation, civilization has not advanced far enough to enable the invention of pants for women.

Three women are in the movie. One is shown only in the final stage of giving birth. She is of course pantless. One is sexually accommodating the young Kirk. She is pantless and green. Not that there's anything wrong with being green. The third is Uhura. She is wonderful but she exists only for Kirk to pine after and Spock to kiss. It is implied that she is also brilliant and useful. The poor dear, though, along with the other women on the ship, must traipse about pantless.

I asked Drew to weigh in on the issue of what does the future hold for women if we must go pantless. Here is her reply:

"As we attempt to balance yesterday’s dreams with today’s realities and tomorrow’s needs, we must remember that as we struggle with our own wardrobes, we are nonetheless being looked to for future and intergalactic solutions. I believe we in the present are uniquely prepared to answer the future's summons - through the breakthroughs that result from our research, through our concentration of institutions that are anchored here, and through our shared capacity for collaboration and innovation that helps drive sartorial progress.

"We are in an enviable position because our institutions - including UMass, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston University, MIT, and Harvard, together form an enormous engine, an engine that is fueled by curiosity and a mission to stretch the boundaries of new fabrics and their embellishments, an engine that must continue to do so in order to ensure our continue ability to supply pants to women.

"Our colleges and universities are magnets for funding from outside sources, which enables us to spend considerable dollars right here in the Commonwealth, at high-end boutiques, at the fabulous Natick Collection, and at the off-price stores, at TJ Maxx, at Microcenter, and at Trader Joe's.

"One of the most significant things about our research universities is that they are engines that also produce the fuel – the scientists, physicians, and engineers, and their husbands - that buy the new products that will help renew our economy and power the nation’s ability to continue to provide leg-wear for women. Mayor Menino understands this, and his advocacy, along with that of leaders on Beacon Hill, has helped ensure that Boston and Massachusetts will continue to be the world’s leading pants wearers, even during these challenging times and well into the distant future. "

These are encouraging words from a brilliant woman. I take heart! Perhaps the future will continue to be as progressive for women as the present. It's literally the least we can ask.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Honorary degree

The financial services professionals are wondering if we are having a junk rally. DGF and I meanwhile are suffering through a junk spring. We are back into cashmere and corduroy, bundling up to check on the progress of our polygonum in the petit bois. What bright spots can we find in the gardens of our lives, nevermind Wall Street and Main Street?
Miss Grimke: You should be one of those Southerners made honorary Yankees.
DGF: I'm not sure what to think of that.
Miss Grimke: Many honors are double-edged.
DGF: Not those bestowed by the New York Historical Society.
Miss Grimke: Stephen Colbert and Shepard Fairey could be honorary Yankees.
DGF: Who's an honorary Southerner?
Miss Grimke: Mitt Romney off the top of my head.
DGF: Do you think all Republicans who aren't from the South should be honorary Southerners?
Miss Grimke: No of course not. David Souter wouldn't be a Southerner if you locked him in a closet with Dolly Parton and force-fed him grits. Neither would Bill Buckley.
DGF: At least he'd be warm!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


We have never seen her in this color. We have never seen her in anything so colorful (in public). This is a major major breakthrough! Doesn't she look great?! I have to believe her breakthrough color is red because, well, it's crimson.

Speaking of crimson, this picture is from the Crimson, and beneath it the gentleman photographer Adam Sidman lets us know it is for sale. Of course we did not buy it. We do not have money for purchasing photographs in our budget. Drew, I regret to report, has decided that it would be unseemly for her to use her $50,000 book award to fund Champagne for the fan club. So if Mr. Sidman comes after us we'll have to take up a collection or throw ourselves on his mercy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rivalry at the top

Miss Grimke: I could start a Fan Club for Elizabeth Warren.
DGF: Knock yourself out.
Miss Grimke: Are you jealous?
DGF: She is very pretty.
Miss Grimke: No, I mean, that she is Cop of the Tarp and you are just president of old Harvard.
DGF: I'm struggling real hard to see the downside of that.
Miss Grimke: She was on The Daily Show.
DGF: Okay, now I'm feeling a bit of a twinge.
Miss Grimke: But she doesn't have a Fan Club yet.
DGF: Bless her heart.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Spring has come to the calendar, but not to Elmwood. The trees are bare, and the backyard is soggy from heavy rains. Only two signs of our shade garden (aka le petit bois) have appeared: the leaves of the helleborus and what we hope is the cimicifuga but fear may be some noxious weed. The Harvard Hole haunts us, but we try to keep our conversation focused on other areas of concern.

Miss Grimke: If this so-called garden doesn't show signs of life soon, you should take your $50,000 and buy that double-barrel cannon from Athens. It would look good here.

DGF: I can't imagine that Athens would part with its cannon.

Miss Grimke: Obviously you have never tasted the desperation of poverty.

DGF: That's true, but I have a good imagination. And pride has been known to outweigh hunger.

Miss Grimke: You could just make an offer.

DGF: Perhaps I'm not interested in spending my $50,000 on bringing a cannon to Elmwood.

Miss Grimke: What if it has historical significance?

DGF: I'm sure it does, but heavy weaponry was not my field of study, only the outcome of its use.

Miss Grimke: Then you should know this! A brilliant southern gentleman, Mr. John Gilleland, invented the cannon to fire two cannonballs linked by a chain.

DGF: Indeed. Did it work?

Miss Grimke: It was spectacular! In the test firing one of the balls left the muzzle before the other and so they flew around wildly in big circles, plowing up an acre of ground, destroying a corn field, and mowing down some saplings before the chain broke.

DGF: That was spectacular.

Miss Grimke: But that's not all! After the chain broke the balls flew off in separate directions. One killed a cow. The other crashed into the chimney of a house. Mr. Gilleland declared the cannon an unqualified success.

DGF: Was it ever used in battle?

Miss Grimke: No. The powers that were did not agree that it was a success and refused to provide funds for further experiments.

DGF: You are not going to relate this to Allston are you.

Miss Grimke: No. But it does sort of remind me of Larry.

DGF: I sure do hope the toad lilies bloom again this fall.

The Fan Club plagiarized part of an account of the cannon by Richard E. Irby, Jr. for the purposes of this blog. The full account is here:'s_Double_Barrel_Cannon

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Commentary on current events

Drew was fresh from her triumph at the New York Historical Society, accepting the $50,000 prize for Death Warmed Over, aka This Republic of Suffering, and feeling receptive to an interview on important current events.

Miss Grimke: So what do you think about the cardigans?

DGF: What cardigans?

Miss Grimke: Michelle's cardigans.

DGF: What about her cardigans?

Miss Grimke: Don't you think she's over-doing them?

DGF: Is it possible to over-do cardigans?

Miss Grimke: I certainly think so. The election night cardigan was edgy. The sparkly cardigan for meeting the Browns was acceptable if not brilliant. But a cardigan to meet the Queen? And that crazy cardigan she wore to the concert! Good grief! Enough is enough!

DGF: Cardigans travel really well.

Miss Grimke: What do you know about cardigans?

DGF: I went through a cardigan period.

Miss Grimke: I just bet you did.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In support of a return to the classics

Our very dear friend and treasured member of the Fan Club, Miss Talmadge, of the other Georgia Talmadges, has become engaged to marry the Maori fire dancer, a delightful gentleman she met on a recent trip to Hawaii. This news dovetails nicely with Drew's recent mandate to encourage her students to explore esoteric topics. Also we all recall Dr. Faust's coronation featured dancers of the multicultural persuasion, a thrilling display.

Miss Talmadge's betrothed would make an excellent professor of fire and knife dancing and attract other artists of his ilk to dreary old Cambridge.

Meanwhile, the Fan Club has named Miss Talmadge its Artist-in-Residence. Miss Talmadge is known for her reclining nudes and recently developed a passion for double-barrelled cannons (the only example of which is on display in Athens) as well as for a certain flame-dancer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Move the Fogg to Allston

Like the other game-changing President, Drew Gilpin Faust faces painful choices foisted on her by the bad decisions of her predecessors. Yet Drew won't allow us to say a single bad word about Larry--she's such a lady!

I'd like to see Larry out there on Western Avenue now, where it's 34 degrees in the sun, picking up the trash and extracting plastic bags tangled in the chain-link fences.

Right now those of us left holding the bag have figured out how to make lemonade: Take all the Fogg art now hiding is some basement somewhere and exhibit it in the car dealership show rooms!

Voila no more toxic asset!

We must tell Drewdie, if we can find out where she'd hiding.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Higher finance

Dr. Faust was indisposed recently. To cheer her up we sent her this nightgown. Having the flu is no excuse not to look pretty!

But what really cheered her up was winning $50,000 from the New York Historical Society for This Republic of Suffering. Good to know someone can get through that thing without falling into the slough of despond!

But what really cheers us up is that Drewdie has thought about using her winnings to endow the Fan Club! Invested in an annuity that throws off 5% annually, her winnings will provide us with $2,500 a year! That's more than $50 a week for Champagne!

Technically an endowment should go to fund capital improvements and repairs, but since we don't have a club house (yet, hint hint), we can use it for operating expenses.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Soul searching

Drew has accused us of trivializing serious subjects, and yet she has been grateful for our ability to cut through the razzle-dazzle and focus on timeless values. Uncertainty sometimes seems our only certainty.

But what has become clear is that we are living through much more than a bump in the road. We are navigating without a map, plucking our eyebrows without a mirror. We don’t know if we are headed for a deep abyss out of which we will need to claw our way hand over fist or if we are headed for a deep dark woods where branches will whip us in the face and thorns tear at our clothes and in the distance we hear the terrifying sound, like a woman’s scream and then we realize that it’s something worse—a bobcat—and it’s coming closer. It is starving. We are its prey. We have no choice but to run as fast as we can, tearing off garments to leave in our wake, to slow the beast. We throw off clothes until we are running naked, freezing and sweating. Will we reach shelter in time? Will we get arrested for indecent exposure? What if it really is a screaming woman and not a bobcat?

Discovering as much as we can about the nature of our situation is critical; it lies at the heart of what we do. Doing so will mean taking some difficult steps. At a time of new constraint, it will involve discipline and sacrifice. It will entail hard choices about what matters most.

This challenge can seem particularly daunting after a period of extended growth and expansive opportunities. But we live in the moment that history has presented to us, and I am confident we will rise to this occasion even though we have never done this before.

It is our collective obligation to face the situation with the right balance of short-term focus and long-term ambition, for ourselves and for dear Dr. Faust, whose disposition will be shaped by our choices.

Wherever we work or eat, whatever the demands of our present moment, we share enduring ideals. We are committed to attracting the most able and creative community of fans in the world, and pursuing new knowledge and ideas with all the imagination and rigor we can summon. We are committed to opening our doors to products of the highest caliber as long as we can obtain them for a reasonable mark-up. We are committed, as part of a nation and a world vexed with complex problems, to seeking new understandings and solutions informed by serious consumption of Champagne. And we are committed to upholding the values of free inquiry and expression, of excellence and innovation across the domains of fashion, food, and gardening that shape our fan club.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Leading the way at Fashion Week

Secretary Geithner wants to stress-test the banks. Meanwhile, I'm stress-testing my Spanx. Have you any idea what happens to a Southern lady who becomes ice-bound and does not watch what she eats? I should get Geithner to ring-fence my pantry.

Drew is also being stress-tested, but Fashion Week has provided much-needed diversion, as well as validating her fashion sense. It turns out our game-changing Dr. Faust is a leader in the area of fashion as well as in so many other areas!

As suits suits suits pranced down the runway all the faces in the tent turned toward Drew. Or would have. Had she been at Fashion Week. Which she could have been. But probably wasn’t. But obviously the beautiful people and the fashion designers are all Drew Gilpin Faust fans!

So brilliant she is! She can update her wardrobe merely by belting her jackets! Perfect for these times of austerity. I'm sure she has lots of belts. If not I can lend her mine. None of mine fit anymore. Did I mention she is brilliant? I can't wait to see this look on her.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not About Allston

Miss Grimke: Too bad you don't qualify for the early retirement package.

DGF: I am not interested in throwing in the towel yet, at any rate.

Miss Grimke: Some people say there has been a lot of wasteful spending at the World's Richest University and you need to cut back on the perks, like Champagne. I'm appalled.

DGF: Any large institution is going to have areas where money could have been spent more wisely or should not have been spent at all. We are taking a close look at everything.

Miss Grimke: But cut back on Champagne? That would be a huge huge loss.

DGF: How's it going, your work with Trader Joe's on the sparkling Chuque?

Miss Grimke: Slowly, slowly, somewhat like the construction in Allston.

DGF: Please don't start with the Allston bit again. It ceases to amuse me.

Miss Grimke: I hear the Allston rats are starting to wear little red hoodies that say "Harvard University."

DGF: Again with the not listening to me.

Miss Grimke: How about this: Dr. Faust goes pantless to draw attention to the need to cut back on expenses.

DGF: Now I remember. This is a fashion blog. I'm always pantless under my robe.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another literary dish-fest

Miss Grimke: Is anyone allowed to say anything negative about John Updike? Is he a national treasure, like Barbaro or Brady?

DGF: He was perhaps the Harvard of white male writers.

Miss Grimke: He was the purveyor of the philosophy of self-realization through the practice of adultery.

DGF: He was very gifted in his use of the language, but when he tried to write from the female point of view the only characters he could imagine himself into were witches. And when he imagined female power he imagined it would be used to fight over men.

Miss Grimke: He wrote the male equivalent of high-brow chicklit.

DGF: I would not pursue that metaphor in an armored Hummvee.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Beleaguered and besieged

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have got us down. Our dear Dr. Faust, like the other game-changing President, is cool under pressure, loves sinking her teeth into tough problems, putting her shoulder to the wheel, and forging on. But like Mr. Obama, after a long strenuous day gnawing over intractable dilemmas and deflecting more unpleasant surprises, she finds herself flat on her back in the bed staring at the ceiling wondering Whatever happened to the Future in Future Farmers of America?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Road to Elmwood

Miss Grimke: Is Faust the Obama of Harvard?

DGF: I refuse to engage in such grandiosities. You are the fan club president--I'm just its innocent victim.

Miss Grimke: Would Larry be the W?

DGF: You know I don't traffic in trash talk about my predecessor. Is this so-called conversation going anywhere interesting? Larry was competent. He's more than competent. He's brilliant. Ask Obama for heaven's sake! W was something else--we don't know what. At least I don't know what.

Miss Grimke: As W paved the way for Obama, Larry paved the way for Drewdie.

DGF: I paved my own damn way Miss Grimke!

Miss Grimke: Okay okay okay, don't get all testy on me!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Harvard of Fan Clubs

Stuff White People Like, #98: The Ivy League (see

Of course the comments deteriorated into the usual blah blah around whether Harvard is or isn't over-rated. One poster of the "isn't" persuasion noted that colleges not in the northeast tend to promote themselves by saying they are the "Harvard of Where-ever." True, that. But what if "Harvard" were used to mean "widely perceived as being the best but often challenged as over-rated, also the oldest and very expensive and maybe the most prestigious but tainted with a wee (sometimes not so wee) bit of pretension?"

Then "the Harvard of" could be applied to a vast array of subjects. Here we give it a try:

The Daily Show is the Harvard of Comedy Central.
The black lab is the Harvard of dogs.
Slow-cook oatmeal is the Harvard of breakfast.
The American beech is the Harvard of trees.
The cello is the Harvard of instruments.
The Maine coon cat is the Harvard of cats.
The peony is the Harvard of perennials.
The quiche is the Harvard of brunch.
Alex Beam is the Harvard of Boston Globe "g" columnists.
The butterfly is the Harvard of swimming strokes.
The duck boot is the Harvard of wet cold winter footwear.
The Boston rocker is the Harvard of chairs.
Ikea is the Harvard of discount shopping.
Trader Joe's is the Harvard of grocery stores.
The turkey is the Harvard of fowl.
The cable-knit pullover is the Harvard of sweaters
The almond is the Harvard of nuts.
Lobster is the Harvard of seafood.
Cheesecake is the Harvard of desserts.
The latte is the Harvard of coffee drinks

DGF is the Harvard of Civil War scholars (except there is no doubt she is the best and she isn't even the wee-est bit pretentious).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Ice Age

I can barely see out my windows now, the frost is so thick. The hum of Route 2 is muffled by snow drifts that must be eight feet high, or higher. I can't get out to measure so I only can guess by high it hits on the trees, trees that I can see by squinting through the small opening left in my window. What's worse, my dears, is that my Champagne is frozen. Also the battery on my phone has died and the garrett has no outlets for electricity. I wonder how long the battery on my laptop will last? It is my only source of warmth, and I'm nearly out of chocolate-covered espresso beans. My door is locked from the outside. I think Drew has forgotten me, or worse. Do you think? No, that's not possible. She is just very very busy. Plus, she might have the flu, too.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Letter

Darlings, First of all let me thank you for all the support you have given me over the past year as we have tried to keep up with our dear Dr. Faust and at the same time make her life a teensy bit easier. I must say I believe we have achieved our goals. And I can state with confidence that Drew appreciates our contribution to her quality of life and our success in clarifying her greatness to the world at large.

Evidence of her gratitude: I’m writing to you from the garrett Dr. Faust has assigned me at Elmwood. It is quite chilly here, as we do our part to minimize our carbon footprint. Thoughtfully, Drew gave me for Christmas a cunning pair of mittens that convert into fingerless gloves. So no matter how cold it gets I can still type and play the lute. Well, I could play the lute if I could play the lute, but that’s neither here nor there.

Here I have a tiny window overlooking Route 2 where the constant swirl of traffic keeps me focused on the ineffable passage of time. From time to time I descend the stairs to the tertiary kitchen from which I fetch a fresh bottle of Champagne. At least I did until yesterday when it became apparent that my charming garrett is chilly enough to serve as a refrigerator! Ensconced here I feel just like Emily Dickinson or Louisa May Alcott or even my great great aunt thrice removed Angelina Weld Grimke, with whom I was fortunate enough to meet as a small, very very small, a very very very small, child.

As you know this is a blog so I don't have to account for our activities of the past 12 months or so. You may simply read the entries to stroll through our year of advances and retreats, our digressions and diversions, our agonies and our ecstacies.

This letter instead will focus on something far more important — for we at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club have made a fundamental shift in our perception of the role and function of our club in the life of Drewdie. This shift began when we read the powerful “Vision for the Arts at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club” that formed the core of the report from the task force we charged to study said subject. This shift will continue over months and years ahead as we engage in a dialogue that will, I hope, ultimately see the arts assume their rightful place in the life of the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club.

Especially in difficult times, when ways of thinking and doing that we have taken for granted are challenged on a daily and weekly basis, we must encourage ourselves to ask fundamental questions and to solve problems in the inventive and collaborative ways exemplified by the making of art. Art produces experiences and objects that are carefully constructed and intricate reflections of the world, including the world of our dear Dr. Faust. Empathy, imagination, and creativity are forms of knowledge that our club must foster in its members. Moreover, the arts have the power to bring us together as a community in the present, but also to provide powerful connections to those who have come before us and to those who will follow us. In times of uncertainty, the arts remind us of our humanity and provide the reassuring proof that we, along with the Grecian urn, the Colbert Report, and the Dixie Chicks, have endured and will continue to do so. Now is the time to embrace, not retreat from the arts.

The actions recommended by the task force will not happen overnight and will require, over time, significant investments of both energy and Champagne on the part of myself, your President. In the near term, I look forward to working with the good people at Trader Joe's as they begin the process of upgrading their sparkling Tubuque Chucque as an economical alternative to the Champagne that fuels this blog. I hope to define, as well, some concrete actions to enhance support of this club in the larger world as we require more resources, such as chocolate covered espresso beans, with which to support the work of our beloved Drew.

I am personally grateful to the task force for their enormous investment of time and erudition in leading these efforts, and for their thoughtfulness and hard work in pointing us forward on this important set of issues. The report affirms the value of the arts in the life of our fan club and reminds us that we at the Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club are both privileged and obligated to provide a comprehensive fandom experience as well as enhance the daily existence and reputation of Drew Faust.

Fondly, with eager anticipation of a peaceful and productive New Year,
Miss Grimke