Weekly Roundup and a Late Obituary for Yugoslavia
Weekly roundup, Thursday December 16th, 2021

Weekly Roundup and a Late Obituary for Yugoslavia

Claire Lehmann
Claire Lehmann
6 min read

Dear Quilletters,

This week, Maria Vivod brings us a visceral portrait of Yugoslavia on the 30th anniversary of its demise.

Our new Associate Editor, Scott Newman, reflects on his time at Princeton and provides a sharp critique of the elite college treadmill.

On our podcast, Jon Kay sits down with Yale Law student Trent Colbert to discuss a Kafkaesque nightmare to which he was recently subjected. The podcast includes a recording of Colbert’s interactions with administrators at Yale and sheds light on the absurdity of DEI bureaucracies in university settings.

And don't miss the loquacious Razib Khan on The Aristocracy of Talent, a new book about meritocracy from the Economist's Adrian Wooldridge.

Many thanks to all for your ongoing support.


A Late Obituary for a Country: Yugoslavia (1918–1991)
Born as a monarchy, died as a failed socialist state. Succumbed after a life-long illness at the age of 73. Survived by seven ungrateful and prodigal children, nation-states. Preceded in death by other fellow-socialist countries of Europe. Donations (still) welcomed to the impoverished, orphaned Yug…
The Liar’s Club: Looking Back on Princeton
In 2017, I got the welcome news that I’d been admitted to Princeton University. At the time, I was ecstatic. And I remain humbly grateful for the education I received there. But now that I’ve graduated, I’m not sure the prize was worth the price I paid
The Eyes Have It
Ayn Rand was not conventionally beautiful, but her dark cinematic eyes held the young in her thrall throughout most of her impressively eventful life. The world will probably be seeing more of them in the coming months, as the 40th anniversary of the enigmatic novelist-philosopher’s death approaches…
Dominick Dunne, Writer of Wrongs
The success of the HBO TV series Succession and the recent feature film House of Gucci are proof that the wretched excesses of the fabulously wealthy never lose their audience appeal. Nobody knew that better than the late novelist and journalist Dominick Dunne. He spent the last 30 years of
The Aristocracy of Talent—A Review
A review of The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World by Adrian Wooldridge. Allen Lane, 464 pages (June 2021) Marcus Tullius Cicero was one of the most important literary figures of the ancient world, and today the study of Latin is divided between those who favor Cicero’s
Brutal and Unreformed—Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Straw Dogs’ at 50
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following analysis discusses the film in its entirety and features spoilers throughout. I. December 22nd will be the 50th anniversary of the release of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, a film so marked by violent killings and violent sex that, according to Peckinpah’s biographer, David
Male and Female Athletic Performance: Worlds Apart
In line with the biology of sexual reproduction and evolutionary pressure on reproductive fitness, males and females are physically different. Physical divergence begins with primary sex development at around seven weeks in utero when, triggered by genetic information inherited at fertilization, bip…

Quillette Circle Comment of the Week

Male and Female Athletic Performance: Worlds Apart
I was a swimmer and am following the story of Will/Lia Thomas, a swimmer at Penn who spent his first three years as a member of the men’s team. Thomas transitioned and has now been allowed to compete as a woman, setting Ivy League women’s records. Thomas, who was a decent if middling college swimmer…

I was a swimmer and am following the story of Will/Lia Thomas, a swimmer at Penn who spent his first three years as a member of the men’s team. Thomas transitioned and has now been allowed to compete as a woman, setting Ivy League women’s records. Thomas, who was a decent if middling college swimmer as a man, is a threat to beat the fastest women’s times ever in a 25 yard pool, the size used by US competitors in indoor competitions. (This is called a US Open, not World, record, for obvious reasons, but US Open records are still really, really fast.)

It may be impossible to describe how frustrating this is to see, as an ex-swimmer. Even at a lower level D1 college team such as Penn, the swimmers have given an incredible amount of time and effort to the sport. This is even more true of stars like Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin, whose records may well be “broken” soon by an average male college swimmer. The day to day grind of swimming training - it is not fun - seems even more difficult or nearly impossible to me, if the girls know they will eventually have to compete against someone who has all the advantages discussed in this article. The situation is untenable. We’re not talking about a game which is fun to play or something. The whole point is to swim fast. The emperor has no clothes here.

I don’t think the NCAA or Penn have the guts to stand up to the woke mob. I read that the university already basically told their women swimmers to shut up and take it, though anonymous members have been able to describe their frustration. (The saddest part for the Penn team is that they were apparently a threat for the Ivy title this year, legitimately, without Thomas; now there is the thread of an asterisk.) University administrators have demonstrated their cowardice over and over. The wokesters don’t appear to place much weight on hard work or competition; I think they’ll gladly throw the sport of women’s swimming under the bus for the sake of their weird ideology. It will be up to USA Swimming, or FINA, to stop this madness. Let’s hope someone has the courage to do the right thing.

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Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is the founding editor of Quillette.