Recent links of note:
Met Museum President Daniel Weiss Answers Questions About the New Admissions Policy
Hrag Vartanian and Daniel H. Weiss, Hyperallergic
On January 4, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it would be instituting a mandatory $25 admissions fee for non–New York State adults. Aimed at helping offset budget costs, the altered admissions structure is a significant change for an institution that has been (essentially) free throughout its nearly 150-year-long history. That the announcement has been met with a great deal of public consternation should surprise no one, but the factors underlying the decision are more complex than these protests acknowledge. For a comprehensive review of the matter, read the conversation between Hrag Vartanian and the Met’s President and CEO Daniel H. Weiss that was published on Tuesday in Hyperallergic. Weiss’s defense of the admissions hike against Vartanian’s healthy skepticism is a useful introduction to the logistics beneath the Met’s financial predicament and its recent decision.
Strangled by Identity
Rishabh Bhandari & Thomas Hopson, National Affairs
The leading article in the current issue of National Affairs lays out a cogent review of the complex role of identity in today’s political climate. The general thrust of its authors’ argument is that identity politics, seen by many as endemic only to the Left, actually pervades society far more ubiquitously. It is essential, Rishabh Bhandari and Thomas Hopson say, to the existence of three major intellectual factions (which themselves transcend traditional political lines): “ethnic identitarians,” who adopt race as the primary factor in political organization; “civic nationalists,” who adopt citizenship and national identity as the relevant fault line; and “cosmopolitanists,” who feign to embrace universal toleration, but in reality cling to the institutional comfort of their globalist elite status. Bhandari and Hopson argue that each group hypocritically accuses the other two of relying on identity politics while themselves committing the same offence, and that this “rhetoric of animus and apocalypse” creates an unnecessary polarization that will ultimately hamstring our nation. The article is short on solutions, advocating vaguely that we “rely less on theory and more on practice,” but is at least valuable in its coherent diagnosis of a national ill.
Then They Came for the Frats . . .
Dennis Saffran, City Journal
This spring semester, Harvard College’s crackdown on “unrecognized single-gender social organizations,” originally planned in May 2016, will take full effect. The Harvard administration’s decision—which prohibits undergraduates from joining independent fraternities, sororities, and “finals clubs”—has marked a new low in the suppression of freedom of association in higher education. Read City Journal’s recent review of the matter for an in-depth review.
Bruce Cole, 1938–2018
Yuval Levin, National Review
On Tuesday, we learned the sad news that Bruce Cole, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and frequent contributor to The New Criterion, passed away at the age of seventy-nine. Yuval Levin, who worked with Cole at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, remembers him in National Review. Cole’s most recent piece for us was titled “Smithsonian: still in shambles,” which you can read here.
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Norwegian would: the efforts of Edvard Munch