23 September 2008


After the idiocy of the last few days — a constitutionally defective plan for unreviewable blank checks for the finance industry is only one example, not to mention arguments over pigs and lipstick — it's a relief to see recognition of genius. That's certainly not normal for an election season!

Actually, it is; it just ordinarily slips beneath the radar. The MacArthur Foundation announced its 2008 Fellows this morning. The "genius grants" of a cool half million ($25,000 a quarter for five years, taxable as ordinary income... unlike, say, warrants and options paid to underperforming corporate executives) represent, as is usual, an eclectic range of creativity. This year there are two overwhelming trends, though, neither of which will please the Ignorant Right: twin emphases on music (four Fellows) and developmental biology, medicine, and physics (nine or ten, depending on how one views things).

In any event, congratulations to twenty-five newly recognized geniuses... even if the MacArthur Foundation never uses that word.