This is just extremely gross and disgusting and disturbing on every conceivable and inconceivable level, but we’re contractually obligated to write three articles a month about the Yale Law School, so here we are.
The text messages depict students who believed going to Chua’s house would score them a clerkship. Faculty members I spoke to have mixed feelings about it all. “There’s a weird schism among the students where they want the place to be utterly transparent and utterly equitable,” mused one who is sympathetic to that critique, “but they also want to keep the prestige and privilege that the place affords.”
Three other professors told me that Chua is the victim of overzealous zoomers who have confused the natural hierarchy of achievement — and Chua’s right to favor whomever she wants — with a social-justice outrage. “There are a lot of mediocre students at Yale who were superstars in their little county fairs, and now they’re in the Kentucky Derby and they’re not winning their races and they feel like it’s unfair because other students are doing better,” says one faculty member who thinks the dean, Heather Gerken, was too deferential to students in how she handled the small-group affair.
This person should be fired directly into the Sun. It’s basically impossible to get into YLS without perfect everything, and the analogy between running the Belmont in 2:24 and impressing a bunch of wankers on the YLS faculty with your talent for subtle ingratiation disguised as “brilliance” is, shall we say, not a super tight one.
Chua, who has chosen to meet me in her daughter’s old shirt and leggings with a hole in the knee, says she doesn’t recognize herself in this portrayal. “It’s been really an adjustment to suddenly see myself described as this incredibly connected, ruthless, powerful person that wields so much power in the clerkship process,” Chua says. “Many of the things that I was encouraged to do and I was complimented for 20 years ago, like making the house intimate for small groups of people who felt they had nowhere else to turn, turned into something that — and I take responsibility for this — I didn’t really understand that, Oh my gosh, some people don’t feel comfortable in this space, or there’s more competition than you realized for these spots. I didn’t think of it that way.” She adds, “My own self-perception is kind of as the underdog.”
Linda Blair projectile green vomit gif here.
Chua’s insecurity about her place at the law school has not been unfounded, though many of her colleagues seem awed by her public profile. “Jed is very much a figure in the intellectual life of the school,” says a male professor. “Amy, not at all. Has there ever been a more famous Yale Law professor than Amy Chua? No. On the other hand, she has no capital at the law school because she’s not an important scholar.” (She was an excellent party host, he conceded.)
Rubenfeld embraced the role of boy genius turned provocateur. In class, he liked prolonged eye contact, Socratic cold calls, and edgy hypotheticals. He’d studied at Juilliard and would often dramatically exit the room at the end of a lecture. Says a colleague, “He thrives on the understanding of the classroom as an eroticized place, where there’s this kind of thrill of engaging in risky exploration about ideas that’s continuous with risky exploration of all kinds of boundary transgressions.” Around the time the Obama administration began pushing universities to crack down on sexual misconduct, in 2011, Rubenfeld began to explore new terrain: critiquing rape law. “The Riddle of Rape-by-Deception and the Myth of Sexual Autonomy” appeared in the Yale Law Journal in 2013, and the topic preoccupied him in class, too.
“He would give these examples that started out being sort of okay and take it further and further. He asked if it was okay to penetrate a baby,” a student who was in his small group in fall 2014 tells me. “Then he said, ‘You use a spoon to feed a baby.’ ”
Edgelords of New Haven unite. Seriously this is so beyond . . . somebody just stop it.
There’s lots more but I just can’t.
The NYT has more if you just can’t get enough.