The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Friday, January 23, 2004
The Lawrence Summers-Eliza New airbrushing: I'm the last to be eliminated!
Search engines are notoriously prone to producing artefacts: caveat maxime lector!
That said, there definitely seems to be something up here.
Harvard President Lawrence Summers first burst onto the blog with his infamous antisemitic in intent speech back in October 2002.
Some while later, there erupted the hoo-ha about the on-off invitation from the Harvard English Department to pro-Palestinian hate figure, Tom Paulin, to give a lecture at the College. Following which - we're up to November 22 2002 - we learnt that the head of English (at the undergraduate end, at least) Eliza New, was arranging some kind of Oprah session for multi-culti indoctrination. And that Summers just happened to be shtupping New. Or perhaps, in such socially aware purlieus, vice versa.
To be fair, a lot of the material on the entire farrago came from the Harvard Crimson, the house rag. A couple of days later, however, references to the pair in Google seemed distinctly thinner on the ground than they had been.
Now I chance upon a piece about student hacks to watch, which includes  one Beccah Watson, who writes for the Crimson. Which reminded me of the Summers-New thing.
It turns out that, for "lawrence summers" "eliza new", I am the only site cited on Google. (Same on MSN and AllTheWeb.) The original Crimson piece mentioning the (allegation of a) Summers-New liaison is still on the Crimson site; there seems no sort of robots.txt thing affecting it, but the piece is not cached on Google.
(New's online presence is negligible: 17 items on Google for harvard "eliza new", most of them apparently not relevant.)
It's a puzzle...
Daniel Sharfstein, author of the paper on the history of US law about race and sex that I looked at on Tuesday, has kindly pointed out that New's Christian name is spelt Elisa!
Oh dear! Was the whole thing an artefact of a careless spelling mistake? As it turns out, not entirely. In earlier pieces on the subject, I find I managed to spell the woman's name right - most of the time. (Yay me! Or perhaps, not.)
Coming up to date, Mr Google, furnished with the correct names of the two lovebirds, precisely doubles its tally: there is not only me but a long 2003 New Yorker piece from Jeffrey Toobin entitled Speechless: Free expression and civility clash at Harvard which looks at the Tom Paulin farrago, and seems, from a glance, to be well worth a read.
But of the Crimson piece that started the Summers-New thing off - still nada.
Dr New , correctly spelt, rates (for "elisa new" harvard, to try to filter out the irrelevant) just 60 of 202. Seems a little niggardly (to coin a phrase) for one of her position, but I wouldn't make anything of it.
(There is, as I cast my eyes down the page, an August 2003 piece in AtlanticBlog on Summers looking at a NYT Magazine article on the guy - now behind the pay-wall - which says that
he is currently dating a Harvard English professor, Elisa NewWhich would make it, by then, getting on for a year.)
The phone list says she's on leave for the Fall Term. (The accompanying photo shows her to be OK-looking - but, like Jill Lawrence, the hair seems rather in need of attention. A comb, at least.)
I am now thoroughly New-ed out!
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