On the awards for 'exceptional creativity'
October 7, 2014 5:55 AM   Subscribe

A cliché almost as common as the Parable of the Phone Call in genius journalism is what we might call the Delirious Apprehension of the Eclectic, in which the writer is simply amazed by the overwhelming diversity of the fields that have been honored. “They’re historians and scientists and one of them is a stringed-instrument bow maker,” as a gee-whiz NPR story from 2012 had it. “A neurologist who studies dementia. A jazz drummer who celebrates Latin rhythm. A remedial-reading teacher who writes poetry,” begins a Chicago Tribune account from 2011. And were those geniuses somehow to get together in one place—wow! Thomas Frank on the MacArthur "genius" grants.
posted by shivohum (52 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sweet Jesus, that's a page full of spleen-venting.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:04 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Swimsuited policy analysts lounge at a torchlit poolside on Maui as a theoretical physicist lectures on infinity and galactic spirals."

I eat too much pizza and dream it, the New York Times writes it.
posted by escabeche at 6:23 AM on October 7, 2014 [15 favorites]


I had a gut reaction, then decided to read the article, then immediately hit this:

What James English tells us about the countless foundations and academies that make these awards is that they are not simply neutral observers, impartially recognizing merit from some lofty height. They are always engaged in a cultural project of their own—usually to establish themselves as authorities and their own concerns as correct ones.

Yep.
posted by gimonca at 6:25 AM on October 7, 2014


Woke up Monday morning and realized with a jolt that the column was due, did we, Thomas?

The grants are merely our version of a laurel wreath. They pick from such a wide variety of field both to enhance their mystique as prize-givers, and because in our squishy post-modern age we refuse to countenance the possibility that one field of endeavour could be fundamentally better, more worthy, than another. The thing about this whole article is that he spits a thousands words out yammering his irritation, and never once points out anything wrong with any of this.
posted by Diablevert at 6:35 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


He didn't name his magazine "The Baffler" for nothin'
posted by Optamystic at 6:40 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


our society’s most prestigious honor

There's a bunch of angry Pulitzer, Nobel, Oscar, Heisman, Pritzger and EGOTS winners out in the lobby would like to have a word with you.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:44 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well. Yeah. Of course they're involved in cultural projects. They don't just hand out MacArthur grants to people who are "generally smart", they give them to people who do work that is good and interesting. I defy you to come up with a way to do that which does not embark upon any so-called cultural project. Indeed, an attempt to try to create a truly neutral award would be its own cultural project.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


He didn't name his magazine "The Baffler" for nothin'

this sight really is... something Awful
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:14 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


Wow, is Mr. Frank pissed that he didn't get a Genius Grant or what?
posted by eriko at 7:16 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


There's a bunch of angry Pulitzer, Nobel, Oscar, Heisman, Pritzger and EGOTS winners out in the lobby would like to have a word with you.

Not to mention a battalion of World's Greatest Grampas.

And wouldn't the EGOTs winners be there as Oscar winners anyways? Or does Mel Brooks only ride around in a palanquin carried on the shoulders of Best Supporting Actors now?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:22 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


The world is not a meritocracy: film at 11.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:23 AM on October 7, 2014


Wow, is Mr. Frank pissed that he didn't get a Genius Grant or what?

Waiter, this wine tastes likes sour grapes...
posted by saulgoodman at 7:24 AM on October 7, 2014


"MacArthur Genius Grants are terrible! Also, why don't I have a MacArthur Genius Grant?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:25 AM on October 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, prizes are not actually bestowed by purely objective deities, but are part of a subjective cultural project. Same shit goes for Ivy League admissions. So what?

It stings to be excluded from prizes. That's the downside of prestige, it implicitly passes judgment on those not granted it. And yeah, prestige accumulates on itself, so the people best positioned to win prizes are those who have won prizes in the past. This is partly because prizes are genuine signals of quality, but also because of information asymmetries and the fact that people have limited resources with which to judge quality.

Once we get that out of the way, the MacArthur prizes are successful at directing publicity and prestige and money towards a wide range of people and projects, which is their not-especially-sinister goal.
posted by leopard at 7:41 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


down with this sort of thing
posted by entropone at 7:42 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Careful now.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:46 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


To be fair, this article did make me realize how starry eyed I get every single time the MacArthur grants are announced. By now, I should be expecting the wide spectrum of winners and their fascinating niches, but nope! Every time is like the first time for me and the ol' genius grants.
posted by redsparkler at 7:50 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Once we get that out of the way, the MacArthur prizes are successful at directing publicity and prestige and money towards a wide range of people and projects, which is their not-especially-sinister goal.

I think Frank's point here is that this is not what what people think the awards do, it isn't what the aspirations behind the awards originally were, and it isn't the best fulfillment of their potential:

The real promise of the MacArthur Fellowship program is that it does not require grant writing, or applications, or even achievement of a conventional sort. It could theoretically be used to bypass the world of foundation favorites altogether. It could single out worthy individuals who have been unfairly overlooked, lift them up, launch their careers, and force the world to pay attention. That even seems to have been one of the ideas for the program in the beginning.

Well, today the program rarely does any of those things.
Instead, and just like nearly every other prize program in the world, it chooses noncontroversial figures and rewards the much-rewarded, giving in to what James English calls “the desire to have already famous and massively consecrated individuals on their list of winners.”

posted by shivohum at 7:55 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


Once we get that out of the way, the MacArthur prizes are successful at directing publicity and prestige and money towards a wide range of people and projects, which is their not-especially-sinister goal.

This isn't actually the criticism forwarded in the article. The criticism is that the MacArthur grant is awarded to individuals who have already been thoroughly acknowledged in their field - that there is essentially no discovery - and that the overall selection of people who are awarded is "fragmented and pointless." To the point of rewarding individuals for their "creativity," which can mean basically nothing in terms of actual philanthropy.

You of course laugh because you are part of a generation that hears the words "MacArthur," "Annenberg" and "Pew" on NPR and you quiver in your boots at the nobility of it all.
posted by phaedon at 7:56 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've thought for a while that the nominating and selection committees have a sort of genius of their own. They regularly pick a set of interesting and creative people who are relatively obscure, and when they pick people in fields I know about, I find myself saying 'yes, that's a good choice!' not 'so overrated!' so they aren't just picking lazy options.
posted by tavella at 7:58 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


In hindsight, I'm not sure I've followed the award closely enough to know if Mr. Franks really does have a point or not. But if it's true the winners do tend to be chronic winners, maybe the award could be even more awesome. But my (lazy) impression had always been the MacArthur grants do a fairly decent job of finding obscure or overlooked talents.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:02 AM on October 7, 2014


This isn't actually the criticism forwarded in the article.

Oh I'm sorry, I must have misunderstood the article then. Please forgive me, I guess that's what I get wh --

You of course laugh because you are part of a generation that hears the words "MacArthur," "Annenberg" and "Pew" on NPR and you quiver in your boots at the nobility of it all.

Wait, what? Are we complaining about that the awards play it safe or are we complaining that prestige is bullshit? Because two seconds ago you were saying that the point was that the awards play it too safe.
posted by leopard at 8:04 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Except that the MacArthur Foundation has never said that the point is to 'discover' people. It's 'these people have done interesting, creative work. So what can they do if they have five years where they don't have to scramble for money, can take a sabbatical if they want, work on their dream project if they want?'

They put their mission statement up on their website, so people shouldn't be confused.

"There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work."
posted by tavella at 8:06 AM on October 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


It could single out worthy individuals who have been unfairly overlooked, lift them up, launch their careers, and force the world to pay attention.

I don't know where Mr. Frank got the idea that the original intention of the MacArthur fellowships was to launch the careers of overlooked people. I respectfully suggest that Mr. Frank start his own award. Call it the "overlooked genius" grant.
posted by muddgirl at 8:07 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


In brief, then, MacArthur Fellowships are perfect examples of the Matthew effect.
posted by dhens at 8:18 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


"It could single out worthy individuals who have been unfairly overlooked, lift them up, launch their careers, and force the world to pay attention. That even seems to have been one of the ideas for the program in the beginning."

It could, but it doesn't, and Frank provides no evidence that it's meant to, other than the half-hearted assertion that that "seems to have been one of" the intentions behind making the award. Inasmuch as there is a concept behind the genius grants, it seems to be, "if only awesome people had more freedom to be awesome, they would be even more awesome than they are now." That's the sort of gild-the-lily benevolence of the gesture: we're going to hand you, M./Mme. Genius, $625 grand to do whatever the fuck you want with, including fuck all, so certain are we that letting you have this cash will make the world a slightly better place. Yeah, you could hand the money out to some promising young upstart --- but in that case there would always be a chance of promise going unfulfilled, that the talent you thought you saw was fleeting. It's not a reward, in that case; it's a bet. And if you were a foundation, would you rather the cranky columnist critiquing your efforts do so with the headline "Selection of award winners highly accomplished, slightly boring" or "Charity wastes millions on so-called Geniuses who suck at art/life, blow wad on heroin, hookers." Because really, spend a couple decades handing out half a million to 21-year-old artistic types, you're going to have some notable blow ups. So yeah, they go with the safe choice. But is there really anything wrong with giving great artists and scientists and historians a $625,000-thumbs up? I don't see why, really. If you're one of those people whose life's work has significantly contributed to the sum of human knowledge or culture, then, go, take the money and spend two weeks in Maui with it, and godbless, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Diablevert at 8:20 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Mr. Frank does not articulate any substantive complaint, aside from the fact that the MacArthur grants are not actually something other than the MacArthur grants, and that the grants' recipients have the audacity to actually...ugh...appreciate the recognition and opportunity. He seems bemused that nobody has rejected the grant - it is never explained why anybody ever should.

I mean, it would be nifty if there was a grant which required no application, and which was awarded to overlooked or nascent "geniuses", but there's no sane reason to blame the MacArthur Foundation for the fact that this grant doesn't exist yet.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:24 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


In brief, then, MacArthur Fellowships are perfect examples of the Matthew effect.

I think it would be more accurate to say, "The successful get more successful," which doesn't seem like a tremendously bad or immoral thing when you put it that way.
posted by muddgirl at 8:39 AM on October 7, 2014


I don't mean that rich people are axiomatically successful. I mean that the MacArthur Fellowship looks to reward success by offering to break down financial and marketing barriers to further success.
posted by muddgirl at 8:40 AM on October 7, 2014


I know a MacArthur recipient. She works very, very hard and flinches a tiny bit when she hears 'genius'. Also, she was inundated with calls from people asking for money for a few years after the award (unlisted number didn't help).
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:41 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


phaedon: You of course laugh because you are part of a generation that hears the words "MacArthur," "Annenberg" and "Pew" on NPR and you quiver in your boots at the nobility of it all.
Not clear at all what this put-down, generalization, and-or ironic snark means.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:55 AM on October 7, 2014


So is there any actual track record of these grants making interesting things happen?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:56 AM on October 7, 2014


Most recipients, if not almost all recipients, continued to produce excellent work. Are you looking for a specific, discrete project which was funded by a MacArthur grant? They're not doled out on a by-project basis, so I'm not sure what would qualify as an answer to your question.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:10 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's true that this is a Salon column, and not even a solidly argued one, and it's certainly always been true that Frank lets his spleen get the better of him at times, but nonetheless I liked the concluding paragraph and Frank's broader point a lot:
Why does the Foundation promote the Parable of the Phone Call? Because that’s all there is. That is the civic ritual of our time. Here we are, Americans all together, staring at the solitary genius as she holds the instrument of destiny in her hand, taking the phone call from the billion-dollar patron. She is Creative. She is a Genius. And if you work hard, you can be, too. Someday, that phone will ring for you.
The fact is that (and this is true quite regardless of the quality of their chosen awardees) he's right about this, and he's right that it's a reflection of broader American political culture, worshipful of winners and beneath that facade contemptuous of everyone else. MacArthur's universal acclaim is basically an intellectualized, dignified version of the fantasy of winning the lottery, but that similarity is invisible, for purely ideological reasons. A functioning welfare state with a universal basic income would do immeasurably more to support "creativity" and artistic, scholarly, and scientific production than this, but it wouldn't produce the award's real product, which is prestige — that is, ideological support for the myth of meritocracy (and, concomitantly, reciprocal worship of the wise, beneficent patron).

Awful lot of incoherent, spleen-venting accusations of incoherent spleen-venting in here.
posted by RogerB at 9:22 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


All well and good, but that has nothing to do with Frank's points, to the extent that he has any. A grant which went to unrecognized geniuses would have the exact same winners-and-losers, myth-of-meritocracy problems as the actual MacArthur grants. If anything, Frank is demanding that the grants be more purely meritocratic: that the recipients be unsullied by the suspect connection to prior recognition.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:31 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


So is there any actual track record of these grants making interesting things happen?

Wouldn't this just involve yet another entity making itself important by setting itself up as a judge for what counts as "interesting"?

You can do this yourself: look up the recipients and when they got their awards, and then research what they have done since then, and then decide if you think it's interesting or important.
posted by rtha at 9:46 AM on October 7, 2014


So yeah, they go with the safe choice... then, go, take the money and spend two weeks in Maui with it...

Listen, the point is philanthropy is a multi-billion dollar business.

Do you call critics of Google, Goldman and other large multi-national conglomerates jealous little twats because they don't work there? Of course not. But this is a special case, because these are the golden droppings of the elite, and this act of charity shines brightly in our society. Some of these nobles created their wealth through illegal means or were notoriously stingy with their money during their life. Then a generation or two later, and usually facing a few tax realities, a transition takes place, and they are tastemakers. Preservers of culture. Selfless indicators of quality. How laughable you criticize the cultural aristocracy.

So this precludes any conversation about whether the Fellowship actually means anything, or if it could actually mean anything more, because according to its own mission statement, it is fulfilling its duties and thereby uncriticizable. Look, it's a nuanced point. Philanthrophy is where private money intersects with the public good (and the illusion of self-sacrifice, that's important) and it's not always as pretty as people make it out to be. It probably makes no different to most people that MacArthur was a cunt with his money and lifted his "mission statement" from IRS regulations, and not the whispers of God.
posted by phaedon at 9:46 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


If anything, Frank is demanding that the grants be more purely meritocratic: that the recipients be unsullied by the suspect connection to prior recognition.

No, you've misunderstood him. Many other people in the thread have too, and yeah, it's more fun to call bullshit than actually read a flawed piece sympathetically, but you're still wrong. He spends so much time discussing the problem of rewarding the already rewarded not because he is primarily advocating for a change in policy at the MacArthur Foundation, but because he sees that difference between the stated goal and the actual fact of who gets the award as symptomatic of the ideological function of the award, the way the prestige economy works. Read it again:
Few of the MacArthur Fellows represent genuinely poor choices. But many are certainly unoriginal choices, choices that by definition do nothing to advance creativity or innovation, as they are given to people who already have tenure, or recognition, or funding.

This particular criticism of the Genius Grant has been around since the beginning, but instead of changing course and concentrating on the business of finding brilliant but obscure people, the Foundation seems to have persuaded itself that rewarding the amply rewarded isn’t really a problem at all. When the Chicago Tribune asked program director Cecilia Conrad a few weeks ago what the foundation was “trying to achieve,” she replied that the goal of the Fellowships was inspiration—it was trying to motivate the non-Geniuses of the world. […] And that, in turn, struck me as one of the most evasive justifications for a large expenditure of money that I have ever read. […] Then there’s the obvious flaw in the idea of giving 600 grand to one person in order to inspire someone else: Why not simply approach that someone else and inspire them more directly? (By, I don’t know, making college cheaper or something.)
Yes, I'm sure Frank would still prefer that the Foundation "change course and concentrate on the business of finding brilliant but obscure people," but advocating for that is not the central point of the column — and in any case, engaging with that point rather than misreading it or waving it away would make for a far less shitty discussion than this thread has currently mustered. But I won't be holding my breath; the defensive investment in cultural prestige is too intense around here sometimes.
posted by RogerB at 9:47 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Frank presents "making college cheaper" as an additional aside, and not as a substitute for his article-length, non-parenthetical commentary as to who should really be receiving MacArthur-style opportunities.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:52 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


The purpose of the MacArthur Fellowship is to promote the brand of the MacArthur Foundation. Frank is right - no one cares about making college cheaper. Everyone in America cares about self-made men and women. But when has complaining about cultural prestige ever accomplished anything substantive? Getting page views does not count as substance.
posted by muddgirl at 9:55 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


So is there any actual track record of these grants making interesting things happen?
One example I can think of is Richard Stallman. He won in 1990 and the money allowed him to quit his job and advocate for his crazy "free software" idea full time. Fast forward a couple of decades and some of the largest and most influential companies in the world have built empires on his work.

I suspect he is the exception rather than the rule, though. Still if the grant had been funded by the computer industry, this one "win" would have had quite a return.
posted by Poldo at 9:57 AM on October 7, 2014 [7 favorites]



Listen, the point is philanthropy is a multi-billion dollar business.


A critique of the philanthropy industry would be an interesting thing to read. This wasn't it.

Do you call critics of Google, Goldman and other large multi-national conglomerates jealous little twats because they don't work there?

You're quoting me, above; nowhere did I say or imply that the basis of Frank's critique was sour grapes or jealousy. I called it lazy and vacuous.

Of course not. But this is a special case, because these are the golden droppings of the elite, and this act of charity shines brightly in our society. Some of these nobles created their wealth through illegal means or were notoriously stingy with their money during their life. Then a generation or two later, and usually facing a few tax realities, a transition takes place, and they are tastemakers. Preservers of culture. Selfless indicators of quality. How laughable you criticize the cultural aristocracy.

I don't think it's laughable to criticise the cultural aristocracy. If one is going to attempt the thing, however, I would prefer to see a little blood drawn. As far as I can tell, Frank's major beef here is that he would prefer the winners of the award to be slightly more obscure. Or alternatively for the judges to be somewhat more ideological in their choices. And he finds the winner's ritualistic performance of being humbled and overawed somewhat saccharine. And that's....it. He makes no case that the winners are actually unworthy of recognition, or that the foundation is hypocritically failing to live up to its mission statement. As criticism, it's toothless.

So this precludes any conversation about whether the Fellowship actually means anything, or if it could actually mean anything more, because according to its own mission statement, it is fulfilling its duties and thereby uncriticizable.

It's not un-criticisable. One could easily argue that foundation's mission is pointless and the money wasted. Frank doesn't, but you could. There's plenty of substantive arguments you could make. He just doesn't make any.


Look, it's a nuanced point. Philanthrophy is where private money intersects with the public good (and the illusion of self-sacrifice, that's important) and it's not always as pretty as people make it out to be. It probably makes no different to most people that MacArthur was a cunt with his money and lifted his "mission statement" from IRS regulations, and not the whispers of God.

Saying "MacArthur was a bastard and so therefore he and his money should not have the cultural capital to bestow prestige" is an argument. Potentially an interesting argument, although not one Frank makes. (Possibly not one he's in a place to make, given his own potential conflicts of interest.) I mean, offhand I don't know that I'd agree with that argument --- is the problem that prestige exists and people vie for it, or that the wrong people have the capacity to bestow it? Is that actually a solvable problem? Instead of giving money to already accomplished, well-regarded people who are inclined --- genuinely inclined, probably --- to be dutifully grateful and humble in receiving it, it would be better if they gave the money to sneering outcasts who would flip them off before running away with the booty? I mean, part of me'd be curious to see what say, Food Not Bombs or the Black Panthers would do with the money...
posted by Diablevert at 10:23 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Salon piece is absurd. Frank writes: "Instead, and just like nearly every other prize program in the world, it chooses noncontroversial figures and rewards the much-rewarded."

Has he actually looked at the recipients? Offhand I can cite two that undermine his unjustified assumption:

Alison Bechdel, who has been cartooning about openly gay people for decades (Dykes to Watch Out For came out in 1983).

Mary Bonauto, an attorney who has spent her entire legal career trying to move our legal circumstances toward equality for same-sex couples.

Neither of those women are noncontroversial or much-rewarded. They have both worked hard to pursue their passions, Bechdel as an artist and writer, and Bonauto as an attorney. How can Frank make assumptions without doing any basic research into the grant recipients?
posted by miss tea at 10:30 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


I did a reading with Terrance Hayes three days before his award was announced. I was inspired beyond belief when I heard he won it.

Mission accomplished.
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:44 AM on October 7, 2014


I'd argue that Bechdel has been much-recognized; here's the list of awards that Fun Home received. But "recognized" and "rewarded" aren't exactly the same thing, and while the musical version of the graphic novel may end up being a hit, Bechdel's follow-up book (Are You My Mother?) wasn't, and in general cartooning isn't that lucrative for most of its practitioners. (Bechdel discontinued her long-running strip, Dykes To Watch Out For, in part because of the ever-shrinking number of alt-weeklies and LGBT publications that were even still in existence, let alone willing to subscribe to it.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:48 AM on October 7, 2014


"Instead, and just like nearly every other prize program in the world, it chooses noncontroversial figures and rewards the much-rewarded."

Yeah, he should maybe sort the recipients by field, because especially once you look at those in the "Issues" field - public health, rural medical practice, teachers, labor organizers (e.g.!), urban farmers, etc. and so on. A lot of these people are definitely recognized in their niches, but certainly not beyond.
posted by rtha at 10:52 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


A critique of the philanthropy industry would be an interesting thing to read. This wasn't it.

If you haven't already seen it, you have got to get your hands on The Billion Dollar Art Heist by BBC4. It's about how the Pew Charitable Trust "landed" the Barnes Collection and is making billions off of it. Tax-free.
posted by phaedon at 11:34 AM on October 7, 2014


Here is where I should mention all the things I’m supposed to disclose. For many years I have known, and from 2010 to 2013 I worked for Harper’s publisher Rick MacArthur, whose grandfather started the MacArthur Foundation and whose father launched the Fellows Program. And: In 2005 I was paid to speak to an audience at the MacArthur Foundation on the subject of the culture wars.

This type of bizarre, irrelevant "disclosure" always really cracks me up, like the author was desperately trying to figure out a way to shoehorn a chunk of their resume into a piece.
posted by threeants at 11:52 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, editors often require this kind of disclosure.
posted by escabeche at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I usually find Franks tolerably readable, but this is churlish bullshit.

But then he's not MacArthur material.
posted by spitbull at 11:59 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Looking through the lists of past MacArthur fellows, pretty much everyone on there is either a) people I don't recognize at all (suggesting that they're not all totally obvious people everyone is well aware of already) or b) people I love and whose work am super awe of like Alison Des Forges, Paul Farmer (and a young, radical Paul Farmer at that), and quite a few of the fiction writers. I'm not getting much of an "bland and overhyped" vibe here at all.
posted by naoko at 12:12 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, particularly in light of today's thread on the Nobel Prize, it seems worth noting that women and people of color are pretty well represented in the MacArthur fellows ranks.
posted by naoko at 6:55 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


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