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New J Goes Skiing (Sex)

Thank you to Sisto Merolla for sharing with us his simplistic Italian approach for capturing reader attention.

Last week I discovered that Joshua Margolis, our LEAD professor, and Bjorn Jorgensen, our FRC professor, read my simple NJ contributions to the Harbus. Now, the obvious tactic here would be for me to write a sniveling, greasy, sycophantic article on our love for LEAD and FRC and how their teaching has impacted our lives beyond anything we could have dreamed off. So here goes.

I think it was Julie Anne Gagnon who commented a while back on how young Joshua and Bjorn look to have accumulated such knowledge and the ability to pass on said knowledge with such ease and fluidity. Peter Platzer expressed no surprise at this and quoted the results of his impromptu on-line poll of Section J’s Ten Most Admired People in America-our LEAD and FRC professors were joint number one, Peter Donnelly, the inventor of Activity Based Costing, was a close second, followed by Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High. This led to a heated debate among Helen Wang, Wei Lilou and Tiana Bowles as to who out of Russell Crowe or Tom Hanks had the moral authority to portray Joshua when they made a film of his life. Matteo Coppola said he would speak to his Uncle about this, through a psychic. Kate Brooks just wanted us to know that until Bjorn’s FRC class, the most exciting thing that had happened to her was when she had returned a film to Blockbuster a day late and against all expectations the computer did not charge her for it. In one fell swoop, through neither advocacy nor inquiry, FRC had redefined her benchmark of excitement. This in turn compelled Onil Gunawardana to sum up his transformational experiences from these two classes-“I feel invigorated. For example, I just thought what an original idea it would be to signal the unique diversity of our Section by putting up lots of flags in the classroom.”

However, all is not well in NJ. I have received three anonymous critical letters about my previous articles and I want to share them with you.

Dear Sir
As a Swiss citizen here at HBS I was offended by a para in the last NJ article which carried with it certain insinuations of unethical conduct by our banking establishment. I feel that you have abused the agency of your column to vilify the very essence of our cultural morality by dreaming up some fictional cancer which supposedly pervades the very fabric of our society.

Dear Sir
As an Australian citizen here at HBS I was offended by a para in the last NJ article which carried with it certain insinuations of our obsessive sporting conduct which you implied was achieved at the expense of our nations collective intellectual development. I feel that you have abused the agency of your column to vilify the very essence of our cultural morality by questioning the role and value of our capacity to reason and think.

Yes, I noticed it too-in both instances the word `”para” is used instead of “paragraph.” I therefore believe that the letters were written by the same person and not by two different authors as one may think at first glance. Furthermore I believe that the letter was written by someone in my own Section who felt it was inappropriate to approach me or get involved directly. And from these conclusions, all paths lead to the Swiss. Our two special readers, take note-middle section, second row from the top, fourth from your left.
The next letter was more to the point.

Dear Sir
It seems that last week only 60-70% of our class understood the point of the NJ article and even less understood the role of context in this whole fa‡ade. This is conduct unbecoming of your otherwise supremely focused and socially aware instrument of the Harvard Business School. [He’s talking about the Harbus. -Ed]. Please remedy this situation. Thank you, Jason Martinez.

This one is a bit more tricky because the author does not reveal any clues and tries to throw me off the scent at the last minute by thanking Mr. Martinez. Ummm. Anyway, whoever you may be, you are right, 60-70% comprehension is unacceptable and I hope to reduce this number to 20% by the end of next week’s column, which incidentally is all about NJ going skiing.

April 9, 2001
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