Brief Opinion

Selected quotes by Brandeis faculty and staff featured in the media.

“Science isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we have, and all the evidence shows that vaccines are good at keeping people alive. As the Bible tells us again and again, God is a god of life. As the elderly Eastern European rabbi of my youth showed by example, God wants people to live.”

Yehudah Mirsky, Near Eastern and Judaic studies professor,
on the guidance Jewish tradition provides regarding public health,
in the New York Daily News (Dec. 5).

“Director David Lean — he of ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai,’ ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ ‘Doctor Zhivago,’ etc. — was so shaken by a verbal beat down [Pauline] Kael delivered at a gathering of the New York Film Critics Circle that he stopped making films. Repeat: David Lean stopped making films.”

Thomas Doherty, American studies professor,
on the impact critics can have on the movie industry,
in The Hollywood Reporter (Jan. 7).

“Is it a coincidence that before 1991 [which marked the opening of the Indian economy], there were no ‘beautiful’ women in India? The economics of it are entirely intertwined with standards of beauty.”

Harleen Singh, associate professor of South Asian literature
and women’s studies, on the evolution of the international
Indian beauty-pageant queen, on the NBC News website (Dec. 17).

“Contemporary elegy, like love poetry, seeks to tell something very old and repetitive — I miss you, where are you, why were you lost among so many spared — without cliché. Each death uniquely rends our shared world; the shock of innovative elegiac form captures the specific incompleteness of being in the wake of another’s death, telling how this death and this grief matter.”

— Associate professor of English David Sherman
(with Karen Elizabeth Bishop), on reading poetic elegies
during a pandemic, in The Washington Post (Jan. 3).

“If people can go somewhere else and earn a year’s salary in three or four months, they will. But they’re walking into high-COVID zones. So this is a risk-reward scenario.”

Karen Donelan, Heller’s Altman Chair in U.S. Health Policy,
on nurses who leave staff jobs to take traveling positions,
in The Washington Post (Dec. 6).

 “Today, you pull down your pants and expose yourself, but when you had your toga wrapped around you, it provided a natural protection. The clothes they wore would provide a barricade so you actually could do your business in relative privacy, get up and go. And hopefully your toga wasn’t too dirty after that.”

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, the Kaiserman Endowed Chair
in the Humanities, on ancient Romans’ ease in using
communal toilets, in Smithsonian Magazine (Nov. 15).

“This is a twist on the story that I had not anticipated, but there may be multiple pathways that people are exposed to methamphetamine. This is important for treatment.”

Traci Green, director of Brandeis’ Opioid Policy Research
Collaborative, on the discovery that some illicit drugs labeled
“heroin” are actually methamphetamine, on the WBUR website (Dec. 9).

“We’re in such an esoteric field I don’t think [the attention] is a negative. It’s kind of like Trump. All news coverage is good coverage.”

— Classical studies professor Joel Christensen ’01, GSAS MA’01,
on the use of Greek letters to name COVID variants,
in The Boston Globe (Dec. 6).

“If you set goals and then you meet them, that’s rewarding. But if you set goals that are too hard to achieve right away, you will only feel bad and disappointed about it.”

Margie Lachman, the Fierman Professor of Psychology, on developing a
regular workout habit, on the NBC News website (Dec. 9).

 “They reflected a generosity of spirit at a time when it made a great difference.”

— University Professor Jonathan Sarna ’75, GSAS MA’75,
on Massachusetts businessmen Abraham Ratshesky and Aaron Feuerstein,
who were quick to help communities dealing with disaster,
on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency website (Dec. 20).