Fifty Cent’s Baby Mama Will Get Rich or Die Tryin’The battle between 50 Cent and Shaniqua Tompkins rages on, Columbia bulldozes most of the Upper West Side, more big changes at the Murdoch-owned ‘Wall Street Journal,’ and other epic battles, in our daily roundup of news from the law, real-estate, media, and finance sectors.
Madonna Constantine Falls From GraceWhen a noose was found tied to the office door of Teacher’s College professor Madonna Constantine back in October, the university rallied around her. “I will not be silenced,” the professor and author of several papers on multiculturalism said in a statement to media at the time. The crowd around her applauded, but no doubt some were rolling their eyes. As it turns out, Constantine has been the focus of a plagiarism investigation by the college for the last eighteen months, and they’ve now announced that they’ve found “numerous instances in which she used others’ work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years.” Awkward! Constantine, unwilling, it seems, to let go of her status as the Rosa Parks of Morningside Heights, sent out an e-mail to students and faculty calling the investigation “a conspiracy and witch-hunt.”
“I am left to wonder whether a white faculty member would have been treated in such a publicly disrespectful and disparaging manner,” she wrote. “As one of only two tenured Black women full professors at Teachers College, it pains me to conclude that I have been specifically and systematically targeted.” Exactly how other people were responsible for the fact that Constantine totally plagiarized from her own students is unclear.
Columbia Cites Plagiarism by a Professor [NYT]
Earlier: Columbia Students Have Something Noose to Be Indignant About
Are the Other Ivy League Colleges Cooler Than Columbia?Today a Dartmouth student blog took a peek at the numbers of alcohol-related infractions per thousand students in each of the Ivy League schools. Unsurprisingly, Dartmouth itself came out on top. There’s not a lot going on off-campus in terms of nightlife, and since the popular fraternities are in and around school grounds, it makes sense that the university would be busting people with high regularity. But what we find more telling is that Columbia University is the Ivy League school with the second-lowest percentage of drinking infractions. Below Brown. Is that possible? There are plenty of reasons kids at Columbia wouldn’t get busted as much (they can drink anywhere in the city, they are too cool to get drunk), but the laws of physics imply that there would be a high level of obvious partying up there in Morningside Heights. We’re talking:
Hundreds of Freshman + Dozens of Places to get IDs x Thousands of Delis Where Owners Don’t Care If You Are Underage / Limited Entrances And Exits To Dorms That Are Monitored For Safety = Easily Detectable Drunkenness
This makes us worry. Surely our proud Manhattan Ivy Leaguers should be getting busted more frequently. Clearly the school is not working hard enough. Or is it possible that our best and brightest are the second-lamest in all the Ivy League*? That would be pretty devastating.
How Do the Ivies Stack Up on Alcohol Enforcement? [Joe’s DartBlog via IvyGate]
*Daily Intel does not advocate underage drinking. As to whether or not we think it is “cool,” we plead the Fifth.
Nick Lemann Justifies His ExistenceHave you turned on the TV lately? On it, you can see fat people voluntarily getting weighed in front of studio audiences, young models who travel across the country to be shamed for not having enough self-confidence, washed-up rock stars telling total strangers that they really need to let their guard down and open up their hearts. Judgment is hot right now. Everyone wants to be judged. Which is probably the reason Columbia Journalism School dean Nick Lemann, who was supposed to be sending graduating students their final evaluations, instead “accidentally” e-mailed his students the evaluation he had written for the provost — of himself. In the memo, now on Romenesko, he praised his administration for creating the Masters of Arts program and adjusting the curriculum of the Master of Science program in “response to the rapid onset of the Internet as the dominant delivery medium for journalism,” among a bunch of other good things. But is it enough? No, Lemann reports, it is not. “I don’t think I have been nearly effective enough in persuading either our own Journalism School community, or other journalism schools, or the wider world of the profession, that the professional education of a journalist should include intellectual content,” he said.
‘Newsweek’ Editor Tries to Appeal to Black-Turtleneck-Wearing Columbia JerksLike many before him, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham went to speak to the students at the Columbia Journalism School and found that kids today are nothing but a bunch of ungrateful no-goodniks with no respect for their elders. Did anyone in the room even read his magazine, he asked plaintively, according to the Observer? “No!” a black-turtleneck-clad pupil shouted back. They all read the Economist now, the student explained. (Obvs! Because it has way better fonts and is funny in that British-y way, you know, like with the “sir” thing.) “The success of the Economist — the fact that you read it, a black-turtlenecked guy at Columbia,” Meacham sputtered. Then he began, sadly, to plead. “Look, I need you,” he said. “I need — I’ve got people out there risking their lives right now … I’ve got four people in Baghdad who could be killed at any moment … and how to get you past this image that we’re just middlebrow, you know, a magazine that your grandparents get, or something, that’s the challenge. And I just don’t know how to do it, so if you’ve got any ideas, tell me.” The students suggested he try “re-branding.” Hey, maybe he could hire Jay-Z!
Jon Meacham’s Cri de Coeur [NYO]
Thay It Ain’t So! Merrill Chief Loses Part of BonusFINANCE
• The falling market has shaved off a big chunk of Wall Street hottie John Thain’s compensation. Don’t worry, Thainie-boy, we still love you. [DealBook/NYT]
• Wondering what the hell’s happening in the markets? Watch one trader lose his life savings in a single day. (NSFW) [Crossing Wall Street]
• Ex–Goldman banker becomes underwater gravedigger. Say what? [NYT]
early and often
‘Times’ Flummoxed by Obama’s Youthful Unremarkableness
Today, the New York Times set out to blow open the little-discussed enigma that is Barack Obama’s three-year stint of living in New York. He only mentions the period briefly in his memoir, and a campaign spokesman says “he doesn’t remember the names of a lot of people in his life” from that time. So Times reporter Janny Scott is on the case to find out what really went on while he was here as a Columbia student and organizer, and what he’s been hiding. And the answer is nothing! Sure, he remembers some things wrong or exaggerates them (he says he had a secretary during one job, and he didn’t; he overstated the size of a company where he worked), but mostly it just seems like his time here was, well, unremarkable. Kind of like what New York discovered when we looked into his Harvard Law career. In both cases he claims he was active in black student and political organizations, but fellow students don’t always remember him. Can it be that when he was younger, the Democratic miracle boy just wasn’t that special? That while Hillary Clinton was making magazine covers and nationally noted speeches, Barack Obama was just normal? We won’t believe it! Candidates can’t be just like us — because we know ourselves pretty well, and people like that have no business running for president.
Memories of Obama in New York Differ [NYT]
Earlier: The Making of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
Surprising No One, Rupert Murdoch Says Death of ‘Times’ Would Be ‘Nice’MEDIA
• Rupert Murdoch minces words: “When asked whether he was aiming to kill the New York Times, Mr. Murdoch replied simply: ‘That would be nice.’” Meanwhile, isn’t this a fun graphic in Murdoch’s Post? [Guardian]
• Murdoch may get a little help thanks to Morgan Stanley, who sold off their entire 7 percent stake in the Times. But one analyst says Morgan Stanley is the real loser, since the firm completely failed to change the Times’ structure and took a big hit on the sale. [NYP, NYO]
• n+1 continues its campaign to corrupt young minds, slipping pamphlets under the doors of unsuspecting Columbia freshmen. [NYS]
it just happened
Columbia University Is a Hotbed of Hate … AgainAn e-mail went out to Columbia students this evening:
From: Lee C. Bollinger
Date: Oct 11, 2007 5:20 PM
Subject: Recent Bias Incidents
Dear member of the Columbia community,
I am saddened to report that one of the bathrooms in Lewisohn Hall was sullied with an anti-Semitic smear. It has been promptly removed and is now being investigated.
Here we go again. It’s like the sixties all over again! Only, you know, without all the good stuff.
in other news
‘Post’ Tries to Find Someone Else to LynchAs we never would have guessed, the Columbia noose scandal has blown up in the pages of the tabloids. It’s worth the ink, but we couldn’t help but notice the different ways the New York papers have handled the role of Madonna Constantine’s rival professor, Suniya Luthar (who is Indian). The two had some professional scuffles that resulted in Constantine filing a defamation suit against Luthar in May. The Daily News mentions her name in its main article, making it clear, though, that Luthar was “not a suspect” in a police investigation of the noose incident. The Times was even vaguer, protecting Luthar from the ire of readers by leaving her name out of its coverage entirely. Since police say there are no “persons of interest” in the case so far, both papers seem to reason, why drag Luthar’s name through the mud? For salaciousness’ sake, of course! That’s why the Post devoted an entire article to the Luthar-Constantine spat, implied that Luthar was being questioned suspiciously in the headline, and ran a giant picture of her across page six of the paper. We love Post logic: Why only have one person’s life be traumatized when you could have two?
Sleuths Seek to Question Rival in ‘Smear’ [NYP]
in other news
Duncan Hunter Just Can’t Let Ahmadinejad Thing GoCalifornia state representative Duncan Hunter was on Fox last night, and he’s still got his knickers all in a twist about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia last week. Late last week, he introduced legislation that proposes cutting Columbia’s access to federal funding (the university received $458 million in ‘05) in order to punish them for hosting an adversary of America. Basically, Hunter postulates that Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia, and the attention surrounding it — the discussion, the blogs, the numerous tabloid covers — might have given the wee Iranian Heidi Montag Disease, the recently identified condition in which a minor character is plucked from obscurity and elevated by a bored and restless culture to a level of fame far greater than their original stature ever warranted. Except, you know, Hunter doesn’t exactly mention the condition by name (maybe because Heidi is a constituent?) Anyway! Hunter’s bill does not, unfortunately, call for an end to The Hills.
in other news
Lee Bollinger Is Having the Best Week Ever
Only just yesterday morning, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger was about as popular as Alger Hiss during the Red Scare. His decision to invite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak during the annual World Leaders Forum was criticized everywhere: In newspaper editorials, by presidential hopefuls, not to mention all the students and protesters who hung around Morningside Heights, handing out flyers saying things like, “Bollinger, too bad bin Laden is not available.”
But since he laid his verbal smackdown on Ahmadinejad, boy has he bounced back! Immediately after the debate ended yesterday afternoon, Columbia’s student newspaper, the Spectator reported the university was being “flooded with calls to congratulate Columbia on the Ahmadinejad invitation talk about a change of heart.” Seriously! It continued this morning.
Grudgingly, Editors Open the Door to J-School Students
Normally, editors at the city’s august publications roll their eyes when they receive calls from bright-eyed Columbia Journalism School students eager to begin plying their trade. But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance seems to have created an alliance between those young whippersnappers and their journalism elders. Since attendance for the much-anticipated speech has been restricted to students, who had to register for places in advance, and few reporters, the New York Times and the Daily News, among other news outlets, have hired a few enterprising student stringers to beef up their coverage. “I know a lot of people called the papers and offered their services,” said New York’s own intern-on-the-inside. “It’s a great opportunity for us.” Aw, that’s sweet. But we don’t want to be around when the Times stops returning their texts and changes their Facebook status to “It’s Complicated.”
Columbia President Steals NYU President’s Logic
Was Columbia president Lee Bollinger actually taking his cues from NYU president John Sexton when he decided how and why to host Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a speaker? It seems like that might have been the case and that Bollinger’s much-abused decision to host the Iranian leader would have been the same had it been made by Sexton. Ooh, geek synergy! In a November 2004 speech, Sexton outlined the exact protocol that should be addressed when inviting a controversial guest. “It is hard to make a case that the university’s sacred space should be available to the likes of a bin Laden or a Hitler,” Sexton said then, arguing that bin Laden and Hitler’s disrespect for freedom, safety, and open dialogue should prevent them from taking advantage of a university’s adherence to those exact values. But Sexton, who has been accused of censorship himself, outlines how and why an exception should be made to that rule.
Wherein We Try to Help the Little PeopleLate last week, the Times published an article directed at New York City’s newest denizens, those brave college students who have decided to try their luck at Columbia, NYU, or any of the city’s other fine beacons of higher education. The Times piece was a “don’t” list for the newcomers, dispensing wisdom such as “don’t fall asleep on the subway” and “don’t buy condoms” (the latter sparking a debate on the fortitude — or lack thereof — of the city’s safe-sex freebies). Helpful as these basic New York no-nos may be, we felt that the list was lacking in lessons on some of New York’s finer nuances. As such, we’d like to give our new youngsters some practical advice.
the morning line
• Nine New York universities, including Columbia, CUNY, NYU, and Pratt, have signed on to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. This exceeds Bloomberg’s PlaNYC goals and should, the mayor says, “make a sizable dent” in the city’s carbon footprint. [amNY]
• A 15-year-old Connecticut girl who disappeared a year ago was found alive, apparently imprisoned in a secret room of her parents’ acquaintances’ house. [NYP]
• Someone is destroying entire print runs, and harassing the editors, of the city’s two Urdu-language weeklies that cater to Pakistani-Americans. This is perhaps an inopportune moment to say it, but how cool is it that we have two Urdu weeklies? [CPJ]
• More mayhem: A “strapping” and “burly” (in the Daily News’ oddly swooning description) ex-con prowled the 2 train for a week, stealing iPods and gold jewelry plus kissing and exposing himself to women. [NYDN]
• And Frank Gehry is going to design a playground in Battery Park, as a “gift to the city.” Aw, you shouldn’t have! As opposed to Miss Brooklyn, which you really, you know, shouldn’t have. [NYT]
the morning line
• Now, finally, inevitably, the Bancroft family has announced it would “consider” selling Dow Jones. The rest is hemming and hedging, but do click through for the most ridiculously villainous photo of Murdoch the Times has ever run. [NYT]
• Leroy Comria, a city councilman, has been issued police protection after another councilman’s aide kinda sorta threatened to assassinate him. Why? Because Comria wouldn’t vote to rename a street in honor of Black Nationalist Sonny Carson. [NYP]
• While Bloomberg wants to increase the city’s real-estate tax cut from 5 to 8.5 percent, renters are screwed again — looks like the Christine Quinn–proposed $300 refund to the city tenants won’t happen. [NYDN]
• Columbia University, squeezed by the AG’s office over an alleged violation of student-loan laws, denies any wrongdoing — but agrees to pay up to a million dollars nonetheless. [amNY]
• And, in a possible first, the Hotel Chelsea Blog has inspired a documentary, Living With Legends. The last outpost of bohemia, gentrification, whither New York, blah blah. [WNBC]
Wang vs. WangDesigner Vera Wang is suing another Vera Wang for copyright infringement. Bonnie Fuller is looking to branch into TV, and her NYU film-student son may be involved. Silly Billy, the clown from weird documentary Capturing the Friedmans, now goes the name by Dr. Blood. André Balazs and Naomi Campbell might be dating. An upcoming bio of Condi Rice claims she’s accrued power personally but not professionally. The broker for Bob Guccione’s East Side mansion (current asking price: $50 million) quit. Ellen Barkin reiterates that she regrets marrying Ron Perelman. Gisele will jump ship to H&M when her contract with Victoria’s Secret expires. Court TV is going through a rebranding process.
the morning line
New York Is Full of Hot Air
• According to a new study, New York City is responsible for a full one percent of the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions. A remarkable thing about the study: It was commissioned and publicized by our own mayor, who’s basing an emission-cutting program on it. [MetroNY]
• Citigroup is laying off 17,000 employees in a major slimming-down operation, and its New York headquarters is expected to be hit hard, alongside the megabank’s London and Hong Kong hubs. [NYT]
• A female teacher at the Newark Boys Chorus School is the latest inductee into the tabloid pantheon after an alleged dalliance with a student; she is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of child endangerment. [WNBC]
• Notoriously cash-poor Columbia University is in the money, as 92-year-old billionaire John Kluge is giving his alma mater $400 million for scholarships to the needy. Somewhat weirdly, the money will be distributed among already accepted students. [NYP]
• And in a cross-platform twist on an old story, a CBS News producer was fired for plagiarizing, “almost verbatim,” a Wall Street Journal article — which Katie Couric proceeded to read in her video blog. Those bloggers: No scruples, we’re telling you. [amNY]
in other news
Introducing Haute BarnardNew York is already prohibitively expensive to live in — why not make it prohibitively expensive to go to school here, too? In what looks like a domino effect started last month by NYU (where room and board now clock in at almost $50,000 a year), just about every institution of higher learning in the city has upped its cost by between 5 and 10 percent. Columbia will charge $37,410 in the next school year; Barnard is a bargain at $35,190. Fordham is yours for $32,530, Pace is just a little over $30,000. (Pace? $30K? Wow.) Combine this with a Pell grant program that’s gone rather stingy in the Bush years, and it’s clear that New York’s reputation as a rich-kid playground is about to get another boost. Which is to say: You know we’ve always loved you, our new 18-year-old midwestern overlords, right? Can we buy you a soda pop?
New York City Universities Hike Tuition, Fees [Crain’s]
More Bad News for Time Inc.The cafeteria at Time Inc. has a rodent and plumbing problem. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering running for Senate. Nobu partner Drew Nieporent just opened Mai House, a Vietnamese eatery on Franklin Street, says Cindy Adams. (Actually, Cindy, he opened it a few months ago.) Some snobby Columbia students were disappointed that alum Matthew Fox was chosen to speak at graduation. Howard Stern filmed a naked basketball segment with porn stars for his TV show. Martha Stewart is not fond of the courtroom sketch artist who drew her.
‘Voice’ Voiceless, AgainMEDIA
• David Blum out at the Village Voice. He was the fourth editor there since December 2005. [Gawker]
• Flummoxing DVR users everywhere, ABC green-lights a sitcom based on the Geico cavemen commercials. [WSJ]
• Pulitzer judging starts today at Columbia University; judges from Willamette Week, the Indianapolis Star, and others read actual printed copies of newspaper articles. [E&P]
Chickens Further Brooklyn Gentrification
Battery Park: This funky glass carousel thingy could serve as a spot that links park visitors to the Coney Island aquarium via a ferry. [Kinetic Carnival]
Clinton Hill: Why go to a food co-op or the farmers’ market when you can raise chickens right behind your own brownstone? [Brownstoner]
East Village: A first peek inside (and through the windows of) the Bowery Hotel, where rooms start (for now) at $245. [Hotel Chatter via Curbed]
Gowanus: Oh, boy! It’s the four-part lecture on the history of the canal we’ve all been waiting for. [Brooklyn Record]
Morningside Heights: Columbia students use clever street art to strike back at their school’s real-estate takeover of the area. [Gothamist]
Prospect Heights: Have you met Sydney, Hudson, Jenny BiBabe, and Dakota on MySpace? They’re the new condos that want to be friends with you. [Gowanus Lounge]
Sundance Report: Columbia Profs Can Be Good-Luck Charms, TooWriter-director Christopher Zalla prepared for a Sundance screening of his New York immigrant drama Padre Nuestro Tuesday afternoon with a lobby pep talk from his Columbia professor. Park City’s Eccles Center, where his Spanish-language film screened, holds more than a thousand people, and the young filmmaker was well aware of the many empty seats and dearth of press photographers. And he had even more reason to be worried: A projection error at a prior screening turned the film’s rich blacks into blurry darkness. Key scenes were hard to see.
the morning line
Who Comptrols the Comptroller?
• So, with Hevesi out, who’s the state’s next comptroller? Assembly Democrats get to chose, but Spitzer says he wants someone who is (a) not an assemblyman and (b) not necessarily a Democrat. The stance has blue Albany grumbling that Spitzer seems to distrust the legislature. We wonder why. [NYT]
• It’s not every day you see Jews chant “Get back to Iran” at other Jews, but that was the scene in Rockland County last night, as religious protesters set upon members of Neturei Karta — an anti-Israel Hasidic sect. The latter had just returned from the famously bizarre Holocaust conference in Tehran. [NYDN]
• “Non-lethal force” is sometimes a misnomer: A Brooklyn man died last night after being maced and Tasered by the cops. Blondel Lasseque, reportedly a mental patient off his meds, went into cardiac arrest shortly after his actual arrest — but not before sending three officers tasked with restraining him into a hospital. [amNY]
• Esther Elizabeth Reed, 28, stole other people’s identities and used them to gain entrance to Harvard and Columbia graduate schools, where she proceeded to study (what else?) psychology and criminology. Investigators are “most shocked” someone could “talk their way in[to]” a grad school. They should have seen our application essay. [NYP]
• And the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting is aggressively lobbying shows like CSI: New York to move production from California studio lots to the actual streets of New York. Angelenos indignantly counter that their NYC is better than the real thing. [LAT]
in other news
Cheating Scandal at Columbia: No Problem!
The Columbia Journalism School has a cheating scandal afoot in — of all places — its ethics class, “Critical Issues in Journalism.” Mighty Jeff Bercovici broke the news on Radar Online yesterday afternoon, and the Times rereported it this morning. All members of the Friday section of the class were required to attend a special meeting today, at which the cheating allegation was discussed and a new essay question was distributed. The e-mail calling the meeting, posted today on the Observer’s Media Mob blog, warned students that administrators “will not register a passing grade in the course for anyone who does not attend.” Which prompted some j-school alumni friends of ours to point out an interesting quirk. The j-school requires 30 credits for graduation, but most students, according to the school’s own propaganda, complete 34 credits or more. Which means it’s entirely possible to fail the class — that is, to be an ethical failure — and to still become a Columbia-certified journalist. Ain’t this a great business?
Ivy J-Schoolers Fail Ethics, Ace Irony [Radar]
Cheating on an Ethics Test? It’s ‘Topic A’ at Columbia [NYT]
Columbia J-School: Exam Do-Over [Media Mob/NYO]
Columbia B-School Explores Northern FrontierDumbo: In our version of The Straight Story, the old man on the tractor is a Jehovah’s Witness. [Brooklyn Papers]
Lower East Side: Queens of the Stone Age will break in a new, giant restaurant-theater, the Box, tonight. [Brooklyn Vegan]
Morningside Heights: Columbia Business School will move to Manhattanville campus and take 25 to 30 years to complete. [Curbed]
Park Slope: New FAO Schwartz may be within Bugaboo-pushing distance. [Crain’s New York via NY1]
Times Square: Photographic proof why New York is a city of singles. [Bagel in Harlem]
Not Every Morningside Heights Residence Comes With an RAMorningside Heights — West 100th to West 122nd Streets, west of Morningside Avenue — might as well be Columbia-land (Barnardsville?), considering the university’s massive presence here. But tucked among the neighborhood’s Columbia-affiliated buildings — many of them used to house students — are co-ops and condos for the rest of us. The stock is mostly prewar, with the graciously proportioned rooms and flowing layouts that have attracted apartment-hunters to the area for years, but one glitzy new development, 110+Broadway, just joined the scene. It’s not as cheap to buy here as it was back in the nabe’s sleepy, under-the-radar days, but compared to the rest of the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights will seem quite reasonable. You may even find some bargains in the rough.
Columbia Delivers Pornless Porn MagWhat good is having sex if you don’t, like, talk about it? So asks Outlet, an online magazine that proves Columbia students not only work hard, they play hard — or at least think about playing hard — too. Though the kids of Morningside Heights are a little late to the Ivy League sex party — recall that H-Bomb, “Harvard’s Magazine About Sex,” came out in the spring of 2004 — the editors of Outlet claim their approach to the dirty is different. “H-Bomb is an erotica magazine as such, meaning that its main purpose is titillation,” says Outlet editor-in-chief Kimi Traube ‘08. “Outlet seeks to focus more on cultural, sociological, and political issues surrounding our generation’s experience of sex and sexuality.” A tad more titillation might have done some good: Visitors who click on the site’s “Porn” link expecting to see Columbia students in various states of undress instead encounter 38 pages of vaguely intellectual undergraduate musings on topics from the faux feminism of the Suicide Girls to the shortcomings of sex ed in American schools, all set in a decidedly un-sexy Courier New type. Unlike H-Bomb, Outlet is currently a Web-only venture — it soft-launched earlier this month and filtered into student consciousness this week — though Traube hopes the magazine will generate enough publicity to make a print version financially viable. One hopes Traube and her team haven’t forgotten the golden rule of marketing: Sex sells, but only when you show it.
— Neel Shah
Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Laureate, Lies Low at ColumbiaOrhan Pamuk — Turkish novelist, soon-to-be visiting Columbia professor — won the Nobel Prize in literature this morning. As with last year’s crowning of vehemently anti-Bush Harold Pinter, the Swedes seem to be making a sidelong political point: Pamuk was put on trial last year for — of all things — “insulting Turkishness” after giving an interview in which he mentioned the Armenian genocide and discussed the plight of Turkey’s Kurds.
Actually, the award is a bit of a boon for Turkey, which in January dropped the charges against Pamuk as a show of the “social progress” needed for membership in the European Union. But it’s an even bigger boon for Columbia, where Pamuk has been working and studying, and where he’ll start teaching classes next year.