Thursday, November 12, 2009

* The Arrogant Young Prince at Yale

My birth home at the foot (the head) of

The Sleeping Giant in Mt. Carmel (Hamden), Ct.

The Sleeping Giant

A hill in Hamden, Connecticut


Donald Hall

The whole day long under the walking sun
That poised an eye on me from its high floor,
Holding my toy beside the clapboard house
I looked at him, the summer I was four.

I was afraid the waking arm would break
From the loose earth and rub against his eyes
A fist of trees, and the whole country tremble
In the exultant labor of his rise;

Then he with giant steps in the small streets
Would stagger, cutting off the sky, to seize
The roofs from house and home because we had
Covered his shape with dirt and planted trees;

And then kneel down and rip with fingernails
A trench to pour the enemy Atlantic
Into our basin, and the water rush,
With streets full and all the voices frantic.

That was the summer I expected him.
Later the high and watchful sun instead
Waked low behind the house, and school began,
And winter pulled a sheet over his head.

The Mt. Carmel Burying Ground at the foot (the head) of The Sleeping Giant

I have been a life-long observer of and commentator about Yale University (my 1980 alma mater) from my 1976-80 essays entitled Holy Smoke:Opinionation from Holy Hill to my current blogs The Anti-Yale and Talking Turkey at Yale and Elsewhere

It was with some surprise then that one of my comments in the digital postings of the Yale Daily News article "Mr. Yale knows no gender" was satirized 11/12/09 by one impudent pup on the basis of outsidership: Age and Pastness.

Here is the comment and my reply. Unfortunately I cannot supply the name of the arrogant young Yale prince who posted the comment, since with rare exception, all posters (except me, apparently) post anonymously. This used to be called cowardly but in today's world all values are valueless and pseudonymous slander is socially acceptable among the digital country-club set.

The posts (regarding an article on an undergraduate woman's decision to run for "Mr. Yale" and her initial rejection) follow here:

#2 By Disstionary 5:13a.m. on November 12, 2009
Brava or maybe Bravo for Jen---and for Yale after its initial faux pas.
Now, if the situation can avoid dissing based on gender stereotyping--even transgender stereotyping--it will have achieved something truly novel (hunks and honeys are mild examples: usually it is words associated with reproductive equipment, words I need not specify they are [so] common in the disstionary).
See "trans-gender dorms at Yale and Harvard..." post at

#7 By Yalie 9:19a.m. on November 12, 2009
Dude, are you like retired or something? Shouldn't you be focusing on your day job? "Glory days" are so... over.
Oh: and Yay Jen!

#18 By Disstionary 11:47a.m. on November 2, 2009
The comment is ageist and presumptuous.

I read this digital version of YDN at 5.a.m. with coffee before work. Do I have your leave to do so my young lord?

Glory days? It was like war, with words for weapons. I was a townie and Yale was a pompous, smug, dying male enclave.(1976-80)

If anything, it is Yale which may be having trouble leaving the past.

I was drawn to puncture it a few times---but those were gorey days, not glory days.

If the thrust of your comment is that the 'old' and the townfolk are unwelcome in your Yale Daily News's digital arena, that's the very elitism which has turned my stomach at Yale for 50 years.

Glad to have irritated you with my wrinkles, silver hair, and unprivileged [read 'local townsperson'] background.*

I take my humble leave of your youthful lordship's prose, reserving the right to comment on a place which continues to intrude (economically, architecturally, socially, politically) on the lives and values of those born and raised in New Haven and environs.


Paul Keane
M.Div. '80

#43 By Master 10:17 p.m. on November 12, 2009
If she is eligible to compete for an M.A. degree, she is eligble to compete for Mr. Yale from an etymological standpoint:
Word Origin & History
as a title of courtesy before a man's Christian name, 1447, unaccented variant of master.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper Cite This Source

#44 By 11 11:38p.m. on November 12, 2009
can i be miss america? why is it called miss anyways? everything is so restrictive. homo sapiens? gross- thats soooo heteronormative.

To # 44 By Mistress 9:50 p.m. November 13, 2009
The etymological answer to your question (Why is it called "Miss" anyway?) is that "Mrs." was an abbreviation of mistress.
[Apparently "mistress" refers to both married and unmarried according to this etymology]

Word Origin & History


1582, abbreviation of mistress (q.v.), originally in all uses of that word. The pl. Mmes. is an abbreviation of Fr. mesdames, pl. of madame. Pronunciation "missis" was considered vulgar at least into 18c. The Mrs. "one's wife" is from 1920.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

This is getting to be worthy of a new post on

(see “The Arrogant Young Prince from Yale”)

#49 By ? 10:22a.m. on November 14, 2009
@#48 "Mistress"

P. Keane is now claiming his own gender bent status? How very... Zelig.

#52 By King kong 7:08p.m. on November 14, 2009
Must we waffle on the specificities of sex and the quirky quagmires that cause us to generalize genes to genders?
Paul Keane I do not understand your being a master then a mistress but this is America and I will fight for your right to do so.

#53 By Zelig AKA Forrest Gump 1:51p.m. on November 15, 2009
You almost stumped me on Zelig. I had to Google the allusion. I've been called Forrest Gump for the same ubiquity in the past, but Zelig is a new one.

On an entertainingly offtopic note: thanks to whoever said my contributions to the HIV story were "entertainingly offtopic". I have been looking for an epitaph and that fits me perfectly

Paul Keane
(1944 - 20--)
Entertainingly Offtopic

I love it!!!

#54 By The late Quentin Crisp in memoriam 5:32p.m. on November 15, 2009
Dear King Kong:
Thanks for protecting my freedom of expression.

As for Mister Mistress: Would you expect less from a divinity student who in 1976 invited Quentin Crisp to speak at Yale Divinity School on the topic: What it is to be a transvestite.

Can you think of a contemporary analogue?
Chastity Bono being invited by the Vatican to speak on celibacy and gender identity?

There is nothing as scandalous in my recollection as the image of Mr. Crisp in dyed purple hair, lipstick and painted nails,walking through august alabaster hallways peopled with portraits of Jonathan Edwards and H. Richard Niebuhr to speak to 200 listeners in the Divinity School Auditorium.

[Quentin Crisp, whose opening line at his Yale Divinity School talk was, "Are we all agreed then ; psychology was a mistake?"]

No Divinity School faculty attended: But some Psychology faculty did. They invited Crisp to participate in interviews about the subject of cross gender idenity and he agreed. Thus began the long history of Yale's gender identity movement.

I am proud to have insisted 34 years ago that ALL people are entitled to respect, including Mr. Quentin Crisp.

#55 By Please define Mr. 8:51p.m. on November 15, 2009

If Mr. Yale is a competition for men, then sorry, Jen. You should be disqualified. You're not a man. If Mr. Yale is for people who dress like men, then Jen should be in. If the idea of Mr. Yale is wrong in its own right for only allowing men to be a part of it, then the bold thing to do would be to nominate a woman who dresses in the most feminine way possible.

#57 You say Mister; I say Master 10:15 p.m. November 15, 2009


Mister means Master. Please define Master.

#62 Jen-der Jen-eration 9:01 p.m. November 17, 2009

This is the first generation in the history of the world without a culturally accepted definition of "man" and "woman". Biologial determinism is passe. Sexism is passe. If a penis doesn't mean manhood and a vagina doesn't mean womanhood, then up is down and down is up or over or beside or around. It is an Alice in Wonderland world.
What will this confusion arrive at? If there are no polarities, if there are no dichotomies in gender identity, how will infants come to see themselves as they grow through the psychosocial stages ?

I am a Being? I am a creature? I am an appetite? We may already as a culture have capitulated to the latter: identity based on appetite.

see "Transgender dorms..." post

#68 By 6:43p.m. on November 29, 2009
Caster Semenya rules!
(see this week's New Yorker)

My Town/Gown credentials:

Born: December 28, 1944 in Grace-New Haven Hospital (now Yale-New Haven Hospital)

My family home was at the foot (the head) of the Sleeping Giant in nearby Mt. Carmel (Hamden) until 1992. I still retain property there (in the Mt. Carmel Burying Ground).

Alice Nugent Ward

State and Elm Street circa 1950

The Green and Yale two blocks from State and Elm

My maternal grandmother ( Alice Nugent Ward, pictured above in her Rebekah gown ) lived in a 3rd-floor walk-up with no hot-water two blocks from the palaces of Yale, at Elm and State Streets ( photo above, now the Shartenberg project ) from 1944 until 1961 when, at the age of 72, she moved to another fringe of the Yale/New Haven ghetto, 100 Howe Street, and an efficiency apartment.

Current home: White River Junction, Vermont

M. Div., 1980, Yale University