Hey, Professor Jill Lepore, was Summers’ ouster a ‘witchhunt’?
March 08, 2006
“No. A witchhunt involves attacking the powerless, a witchhunt involves a belief in the occult, a witchhunt involves magistrates who also share the belief of the people in the occult. It’s a metaphor that’s employed all too often and a very sloppy one. Surely gossip and rumor played a huge role, but it’s not as though people began deluding themselves in 1692. The people who die, the people who are sacrificed, are often powerless, often old, widowed women. Those are the people who end up being sacrificed to the fanaticism and frenzy. Not the president of America’s most prestigious universities. I don’t see evidence of that kind of frenzy and fanaticism here. It seems to be an entirely ungrounded parallel.”