April 28, 2006


Dartmouth Review Celebrates 25 Years (GARY SHAPIRO, 4/28/06, NY Sun)

The peal of the old Dartmouth Indian war cry “Wah-hoo-wah”resounded as the Dartmouth Review, the insouciantly conservative student publication, celebrated its 25th birthday at a dinner in Manhattan last week. For a quarter century, its jaunty pages have enlivened the idyllic campus in Hanover, N.H., challenging liberal presuppositions — sometimes raucously — while earning recognition as a model for conservative newspapers nationwide. Distributed door to door to every student and mailed to subscribers across the country, the Review has been at the center of stormy cultural and political debates since its inception.

Alvino-Mario Fantini ’90 told The New York Sun that some friends on campus stopped talking to him after they learned he worked for the Review. “All we wanted to do was spark debate and discussion on campus and have an exchange of ideas,which is what you would think a university is for,”he told the Sun. [...]

The Review began when disaffected editors fell out with the Daily Dartmouth over issues such as endorsing a conservative trustee candidate.

The review was hatched at the home of emeritus professor Jeffrey Hart, and it went on to raise a ruckus during the culture wars, on subjects ranging from shantytowns and South African divestiture to trying to restore the school’s Indian symbol, which was perceived as politically incorrect.

The Review, Ms. Dhillon noted, harbored “a withering disdain for anodyne and characterless school mascots.” Ms. Ingraham recalled how the Review hired the Gallup organization to conduct a poll of all living Indian chiefs in the United States and found that 82.7 percent thought the college should keep the Indian mascot.

Whereas the late Dartmouth president James Freedman thought the college experience could be exemplified in the lonely act of “writing poetry or mastering the cello or solving mathematical riddles or translating Catullus,” the Review sought to tap into an older Romantic Dartmouth model of the warrior poet.

Mr. Hart, writes Joseph Rago in the anthology, would crank a mechanical wooden hand to drum loudly on a mahogany table when faculty meetings grew tedious. He sported an anklelength raccoon coat at football games, Mr. Robinson recalled, dipping into a hip flask to take a swig when Dartmouth scored. Preferring, Mr. Rago wrote,“the exuberance of the Jazz age to the austerity of the Carter years,” Mr. Hart wore a chauffeur’s cap and drove around in a secondhand Cadillac taking up three metered spots on campus.In response to stickers advising, “Turn out the light. Energy is scarce,” Mr. Hart added, “In that case, produce more energy.”

“For me,” Thomas “Harry” Camp said, “the Dartmouth Review embodied the Dartmouth spirit: A hard-working and highly intellectually stimulating atmosphere that nonetheless always found time for barbecues, cocktails, and croquet.”

Hard to recall how outraged folks were when it started at the very notion that a college campus would have a conservative publication. When people fret about how the culture wars are going just consider how far we've come even in Acadenia in just 25 years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2006 11:36 AM

OJ probably already knows this, but for those who don't know: In a chilling display of groupthink, the paper was roundly attacked many years ago when somebody gained access to the paper and inserted a line from Mein Kampf or somesuch in the paper's masthead. It was immediately assumed that the editors were the guilty parties, rallies were held, the school president and most of the faculty spoke out, and the paper may even have been forced to move its headquarters from the campus. They were denounced in the usual terms: sexist, racist, homophobic Crustaceans, etc., etc.

This is especially irritating because, as Thomas Sowell once pointed out, the list of the paper's editors is truly multicultural: it has been edited by females, blacks, and Indians.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 28, 2006 4:37 PM