Hats off to the Dartmouth Review for digging a little deeper. In today’s blog, A.S. Erickson writes:
I was reading through the preface of Prof. Hart’s Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe (published in 2001) when I came across this on Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. This seems to corroborate the speculation that Rosenstock’s maxim about the Citizen was often repeated in class.
[Rosenstock] had two phrases he repeated so often they remained in a student’s mind.
He would say, “History must be told.” He explained in various ways that history is to a civilization what personal memory is to an individual: an essential part of identity and a source of meaning.
He also said that the goal of education is the citizen. He defined the citizen in a radical and original way arising out of his own twentieth-century experience. He said that a citizen is a person who, if need be, can re-create his civilization.
Good digging. But I’m afraid that since this was written in 2001 (after Hart wrote the 1996 piece), it stills begs a few questions:
- Does Hart spell E R-H’s name right in the book? We’re still - at best - left with a Dartmouth English professor who neither cites his sources, nor even spells the name of his subject correctly. If an Ivy League English prof. can’t check the spelling of one of his esteemed colleague’s names correctly, it begs the question about the value of a Dartmouth education.
- Was Hart actually a student of E R-H? (we know he taught at Dartmouth, but the DR says he and E R-H probably didn’t overlap). In and of itself, this doesn’t corroborate that the Citizen quote was widespread, only that Hart used it more than once. The trick is to find someone else who remembers the quote.
- If he wasn’t a student, what’s his original source for the ‘96 quote? The DR can just ask him.
- The DR now puts the blame squarely on Callahan and/or Birzin, suggesting that they copped from Hart. Fair enough, but then I ask again, why would the Callahan quote be such a personal one “from his father?” If a man lies so cavalierly about his own father, what else is he lying about? His own resume? His own trackrecord at Dartmouth? Do we really want this guy representing us at the State Department working in anti-terrorism? We’ve been asking around the National Security community, and indeed, Callahan has a stellar record protecting America (and yes, even contributing to Bush/Cheney in 2004). If Hollywood was to depict a handsome, daring, athletic, patriotic, articulate diplomat, they couldn’t do better than Callahan. To read the Birzin piece in particular, the guy is one part Tom Cruise and one part Matt Damon (minus, of course, the Sarah Silverman thing).
- ….But, what happened at the Phi Delt house? The Birzin profile spends considerable time talking about Callahan’s experience cleaning up his frat, Phi Delta Alpha (not to be confused with Dartmouth’s Alpha Delta Phi, the inspiration for the film Animal House):
Just before he took the reins as president, Phi Delt was put on social probation by the administration for a series of behavioral incidents and infractions by its members. Callahan was faced with the difficult task of finding a way “to reconcile the house’s objectives with the legitimate concerns of the Administration.”
What’s interesting is that the general dates of that time period coincide with Jordan’s then-Prince (now King) Abdullah hanging out at the frat:
Royalty visited Phi Delt in the 1980s. Prince Abdullah of Jordan hung out at Phi Delt in 1983, while visiting close friend George ‘Gig’ Faux ’84.
Best as we can tell, Callahan took over as Phi Delt president from Gig Faux the next year and had to clean up “the mess.” I have no reason to doubt Callahan’s loyalty to his country, but should a high-ranking State Department expert on counterterrorism be old frat buddies with the King of Jordan? As one of our strongest allies in the reason, maybe that’s a good thing. But it begs the further question of if the young Prince had anything to do with the “behavioral incidents” at the Phi Delt house and what exactly did Callahan do to “clean it up”?
- Has anyone tracked down Birzin, Callahan or Hart to get to the bottom of this?
(h/t to Eli and Marwan for digging up many of these links)