As the columnist Frank Bruni recently opined in, The New York Times, there has been an unsettling corruption of academia by celebrity culture. Whether it is Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates self-censoring his television show at the request of the actor Ben Affleck or the University of Houston spending $155,000 to schedule actor Matthew McConaughey to give its commencement address this spring, some academic institutions are blurring the lines between academic virtues and celebrity values.11
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueJune 2015
Also By This Author
This does not bode well for any of us. To quote Thomas Paine, “Character is much easier kept than recovered.”
Simon M. Helfgott, MD, is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
- Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome—New Mexico. MMWR. 1989 Nov 17;38(45):765–767.
- Kilbourne EM, Riagu-Perez JG, Heath CW Jr., et al. Clinical epidemiology of toxic-oil syndrome. N Engl J Med. 1983 Dec 8;309(23):1408–1414.
- Varga J, Uitto J, Jimenez SA. The cause and pathogenesis of the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Ann Intern Med. 1992 Jan 15;116(2):140–147.
- Lipton E. Support is mutual for senator and Utah industry. The New York Times. 2011 Jun 20.
- Burros M. FDA is again proposing to regulate vitamins and supplements. The New York Times. 1993 Jun 15.
- Haller CA, Benowitz NL. Adverse cardiovascular and central nervous system events associated with dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloids. N Engl J Med. 2000:343;25:1833–1838.
- O’Connor A. GNC to strengthen supplement quality controls. The New York Times. 2015 March 30.
- Cohen PA, Maller G, DeSouza R, et al. Presence of banned drugs in dietary supplements following FDA Recalls. JAMA. 2014 Oct 22–29;312(16):1691–1693.
- Specter M. Columbia and the problem of Dr. Oz. The New Yorker. 2015 Apr 23.
- Federal Trade Commission. Marketer who promoted a green coffee bean weight-loss supplement agrees to settle FTC charges. 2015 Jan 26.
- Bruni F. Hollywood trumps Harvard. The New York Times. 2015 April 22. http://nyti.ms/1yQYQvB.