To become a professor at Yale, it helps to be a slacker

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It’s funny how Amy Chua’s book about “Tiger Mothers,” on the superiority of Chinese family culture, is giving a successful American caste, Jews, an opening to say, hey guess what we’re not driven! This is the theme of Ayelet Waldman’s piece in the Wall Street Journal. And of Lawrence Solomon’s piece in the Financial Post criticizing Chinese mothering as too regimented and pointing out how few Nobel prizes they’ve gotten. (Hint hint, Jews have won a bazillion.) I pass this along not because of the Race Olympics, which are dismaying/entertaining, but because Solomon brags on Chua’s intermarriage to a Jew and then suggests that her husband, who is a law professor at Yale, is not achievement-oriented. This is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time, as if positions in the meritocracy are given to dilettantes. 

 [Chua sought] the right balance in her personal life, by choosing as her husband and father of her children someone who is anything but single-minded. Jed Rubenfeld, an American Jew determined to avoid a career in academia, waffled as a student, starting with philosophy and psychology at Princeton, switching to acting at Julliard, then moving to law at Harvard before accepting an academic position at Yale, where he is now professor and assistant dean of law. Several years ago, Rubenfeld tried fiction for the first time, writing The Interpretation of Murder, a book that sold more than a million copies. None of this was planned, as he told Entertainment News: “everything that has happened in my life has happened by accident, contrary to my best intentions.”

By the way, Wikipedia says that Chua is raising her children Jewish. More evidence for my belief that Jewish success in the U.S. is making the brand a lot more attractive. Thanks to Mark Wauck for the tip.

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