September 5, 2018

"As a 19-year-old, her former professor concludes, Melania clearly had ambition to match her intelligence."

"If not she could have chosen a much easier academic path instead of one that demanded proficiency in engineering, statics and dynamics. 'She passed exams on construction engineering and statics; she managed to complete an experiment and defend her paper at the faculty,' Vogelnik told us. To write her paper, Melania had to understand the effects of pressure, visualize a structure, build a wooden model, take photographs of it, describe the experiment in a way that showed knowledge of urban architecture and put it all together in a book... But then, 'at the end of the first year she did not show up at the exam,' the professor recalls. 'She must have realized that it would take her six to seven more years of studies before she could start making good money as an architect.' Melania had decided to become a model, which is also a fiercely competitive field....."

From "Young Melania: From Model Student to Cover Girl/The first lady might have been a talented architect or designer, but modeling took her in a different direction" (The Daily Beast).

Also from the article, this quote from her old professor: "If only she visited us in Slovenia, people would treat her like a queen. It also says she's "the world’s most famous living Slovene," which made me wonder who are the famous dead Slovenes? There's a list, of course, at Wikipedia. Wikipedia is fantastic at lists like this — "List of Slovenes." The only ones I know are Peter Handke and (hmmm) Mickey Dolenz. And the Senators Tom Harkin and Amy Klobuchar. But none of them was dead at the time The Daily Beast proclaimed Melania the world’s most famous living Slovene.

Among the dead Slovenians is Frankie Yankovic:



Not more famous than Melania, I think. "Known as 'America's Polka King,' Yankovic was considered the premier artist to play in the Slovenian style during his long career. He is not related to fellow accordionist Weird Al Yankovic...."

Apparently, Weird Al is not of Slovenian descent. But Weird Al's parents decided that he should play the accordion because he had the same last name as Frankie Yankovic. I learned that from a list of 20 things about Weird Al (at Mental Floss), where I also learned that Michael Jackson was a big fan but Prince not only rejected getting parodied, he even tried to require Al not to look at him.

ADDED: Mickey Dolenz was born in Los Angeles, but his father George, an actor (the one on the right)...



... was born in the Slovene sector of Trieste, which was at the time in Austria-Hungary and is now in Italy.

63 comments:

rhhardin said...

``The ultimate model of an activity that is at once unquestionably intelligent and intellectual and that also seems to divide the sexes is mathematics. The maleness of a mathematics department is explained either in terms of an allegedly greater male ability in mathematics, or in terms of sex-role steereotyping. You know the sort of things: ``As boys learn their sex roles, they identify with the notion that they should excel in mathematics. Girls ... learn that mathematical ability is unfeminine,'' in the words of Diane F. Halpern's _Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities_. (But the logician Ruth Marcus reports that there are feminists who argue that logic and physics are ``phallic,'' and that therefore women who go into those fields sell out, or buy out, or something. They used to be unfeminine, now they are unfeminist.)

``MIT mathematician Gian-Carlo Rota said to me one time that he thought both positions were ridiculous. ``There are plenty of women with all the talent for math anyone could want,'' he said. ``But women leave math when they discover that you can't do it without sustaining world-class illusions, such as the belief that grips one while one is working on a very difficult paper on a very obscure corner of a difficult subject, that here, at last, everything will be settled once and for all.'' Interestingly, he doesn't talk about the desire to excel, at math or anything else, as the point - he doesn't mention competitiveness.

``..Rota identifies the illusions necessary to mathematics with the faith that sustains a friend of his who is a priest. Women refuse such illusions or, say, don't care about them, are able to remain relatively calm in the face of the fact that there are issues that won't be settled once and for all, such as the exact nature of the universe or exactly what Daffodil means when she cocks her head and sticks her tongue out at you. I do not mean that women working with animals are satisfied with oversimplified or partial theories of animals, only that their minds are complex enough to sustain their contact with what they do know while noting also where their knowledge of Daffodil leaves off''

``...I keep thinking: Men are afraid of horses. They are afraid of horses because neither their professional integrity nor logic will take them to a horse, and because they do not know how to turn, deflect, a horse's fear or rage. If Dobbin says, ``You'd better get off right now, because I am going to kill you, wrangler!'' you don't of course ignore this, but it is possible to say, ``Oh, I don't think you really want to do that. Why don't we try something else?'' (Just as Moses' wife said to Yahweh when Yahweh was intent on killing Moses.) As it happens, a talented young male rider can be as formidably equipped with equestrian tact as anyone, but in the general run of things in the middle and upper classes in this country, it is the young women who are more likely than the young men to come up with a tactful rather than frightened response, and when they become foolish about this later - silliness is a feminine failing - they will say that they knew the horse had good intentions all along.

``For centuries, unable to prove Dobbin's good intentions, men have instead proven their courage on horseback...''

Vicki Hearne, _Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog_ Harper-Collins, NY, 1991, p. 221, 219

Etienne said...

It could be they had no toilets in the school, and she didn't want to menstruate and defecate in public. Maybe she didn't like having to defecate with a group?

mockturtle said...

IIRC, Trump's first wife, Ivana, was similarly intelligent and knowledgeable about architecture and design and designed Trump Tower, at least the interior and not just the decor.

tcrosse said...

Mickey Dolenz went by the name Mickey Braddock when he played the title role in Circus Boy back in the 50's.

Nonapod said...

Human nature being what it is, people will often take the path of least resistance. If someone is born being good looking enough to be a model, than you'll often find that they'll become a model rather than an engineer even if they're smart and have an aptitude for it. This isn't a 100% true always, but it's true more often than not.

Mike Sylwester said...
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Henry said...

The most famous living Slovene is Luka Doncic

Mike Sylwester said...
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Mike Sylwester said...

Melania's former professor is only 19 years old?

WK said...

Frank Yankovic was a regular on “Polka Varieties” in Cleveland.... that was on every Sunday afternoon at my grandparents house. That is how I learned to count to three in Polish.

Fernandistein said...

Are Slovenes a vulnerable, underrepresented population with life experiences which are incomprehensible to normal people?

Asking for an enemy.

Andrew said...

Weird Al is a greater genius than all of the people he has parodied, with very few exceptions.

Robert Cook said...

Andy Warhol's parents were from Slovakia.

Big Mike said...

There’s something about a world where a woman with beauty and brains can make more money with the former than the latter.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Big Mike said...
There’s something about a world where a woman with beauty and brains can make more money with the former than the latter.

Yes. Something wonderful.

Andrew said...

Off topic, but Ann ("Prof. Althouse"?), could you create a blog post, sort of like a cafe, devoted to today's Kavanaugh hearing? I won't be able to watch it, but I'd love to read your commenters if they're able to pay attention to it. And yours too, of course, but I get the impression you won't be watching it.

robother said...
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mockturtle said...

Big Mike observes: There’s something about a world where a woman with beauty and brains can make more money with the former than the latter.

It usually takes both, Mike. ;-)

Drago said...

Uh oh.

LLR Chuck is NOT going to like this posting which points to Melania's innate intelligence.

LLR Chuck hates any discussion of First Lady intelligence that isnt focused on Hillary or Michelle Obama.

Stand by for incoming....

robother said...

I can't get past Ann's comment on Prince: it perfectly echoes so many child-hood memories from long car trips:

"Dad! Jimmy's looking at me!"

Leslie Graves said...

She used/uses her beauty and her brains in her career. Beyond beauty and brains, she also has a sense of structure/composition/design that comes through in a number of ways in how she presents herself.

Hagar said...

Hedwig Kiesler, inventor extraordinaire, aka Hedy Lamarr.

Larry J said...

"If not she could have chosen a much easier academic path instead of one that demanded proficiency in engineering, statics and dynamics. 'She passed exams on construction engineering and statics; she managed to complete an experiment and defend her paper at the faculty,' Vogelnik told us.

Yes, but did she have the intellectual chops to master a truly difficult academic discipline such as Feminist Studies? Do you think it's easy to make up batshit crazy stuff all the time? To fill your publications with feminist jargon that doesn't have the slightest hint of consistency or rigor? Engineering is dealing with the real world. Feminist Studies majors have to deal with a world that never was and never will be, which requires greater imagination! /s

Char Char Binks said...

I thought Slovenes were just slovenly slavs.

rehajm said...

I don't like the explicit or implied supposition she chose an easier or lesser path. There's a digital element to the value of work.

mockturtle said...

Larry J at 10:47: Good one!

johns said...

Jay Leno has a fun interview with Weird Al in his Garage series, driving a Plymouth Belvedere station wagon. (or similar model, I can't remember)

rhhardin said...

I've talked to 15 Solvenians, the last in May. They're really good at fast Morse code. Perhaps though they're sending with keyboards.

rhhardin said...

Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown, classic engineering paper.

rhhardin said...

It's lucky Stormy Daniels didn't design any walkways.

Carter Wood said...

George Dolenz is Jerzy Kosinski's doppelgaenger.

https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/117982/the-tainted-bird

Howard said...

in the 60's, Dad managed computing at a megahuge death and destruction aerospace giant. In those days, programmers were mathematicians like Dad. About 20% were women. 100% of the women were of eastern European Jewish heritage. Dr. Peterson has an interesting claim that the most technical women are from the most sex reppressive regions of the world. They still use the burka-lite in Babushka-land, right? Makes sense.

2/3 of Trumps wives are smart. You can tell that the dumbbell doesn't fall far from the airhead in re Tiffany.

If you want great kids, you gotta marry smart, strong and healthy. Personally hand crafted bespoke eugenics. This is one area you have to give Trump a tip of the hat.

Mike Sylwester said...

Before Eleanor Bergstein wrote the screenplay for the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, she wrote the screenplay for the 1980 movie It's My Turn.

The 1980 movie is atrocious, even though it starred Michael Douglas and Jill Clayburgh, both of whom were rising stars at the time.

http://dirty-dancing-analysis.blogspot.com/2017/02/re-watching-eleanor-bergsteins-earlier.html

The main character of It's My Turn is a university mathematics teacher (played by Clayburgh) who is determined to discover and develop a major advancement in the field of mathematics while she still is rather young. (The actress Clayburgh was about 35 years old when the movie was filmed.)

Her major inner conflict is that she will not accomplish a mathematics breakthrough if she acts in a feminine manner -- if she gets married, if she subordinates herself to an administrative in the math department, and so forth.

Of course, the movie It's My Turn flopped.

After that, Bergstein did not write any more screenplays about middle-aged female mathematics teachers. Instead, she went on to write a screenplay about a 17-year-old girl who learned how to dance from Patrick Swayze and subsequently had sex with him.

That second movie -- Dirty Dancing -- is one of the most profitable movies ever made.

======

As I have spent the past several years studying Bergstein, I have come to appreciate that her movie It's My Turn is an excellent movie about a woman with manic-depressive disorder.

Furthermore, the movie Dirty Dancing likewise is about a young woman with a manic-depressive disorder, Type 2.

Howard said...

I always thought Mickey Dolenz was Mexican. Does this mean he can be a democratic nominee for governor as long as he tries to pass?

Yancey Ward said...

Wow, Mike- I never knew the connection between those two movies! I have seen them both, and would never have guessed they were written by the same person.

tcrosse said...

Mickey's Dad looks a whole lot like Jimmy Dore

Char Char Binks said...

"It's My Turn flopped.

After that, Bergstein did not write any more screenplays about middle-aged female mathematics teachers."


Now THAT is SMART!

Fernandistein said...

I wonder if there's an app to convert Latvian jokes to Slovenian jokes.

Latvian joker.

Hagar said...

I don't remember which, but either a famous Mongolian general or a Slav general who beat one or more famous Mongols is buried in Slovenia.

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

Ivana Trump did not design Trump Tower--the architect was Der Scutt , who designed it all, including the atrium.

Ivana did play a role in selecting the marble for the atrium, and going to Italy to purchase it.

William said...

I get Slovenia and Slovakia mixed up. What are the significant differences? If you ask me, those former inhabitants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire are all alike. They all drink coffee and put paprika on their food.

eddie willers said...

Mickey Dolenz went by the name Mickey Braddock when he played the title role in Circus Boy back in the 50's.

One of my favorite shows as a kid. I would get so excited when Sterling Holloway (voice of Pooh Bear) guest starred as a hot air balloonist.

I puzzled over the name Dolenz when The Monkees premiered. Wish they had Google back then.

William said...

If you're a politician, it's just as easy to fall in love with an Italian or Hispanic supermodel, and you gain access to a larger voting bloc. If I were seeking a career in public office, I would seek out supermodels from those backgrounds.

mockturtle said...

Ivana Trump did not design Trump Tower--the architect was Der Scutt

What I said was that she designed the interior. Donald gave her free reign.

AJ Lynch said...

Now do Michele Obama.

JOSEPH ANGEL said...

You use what the Good Lord gives you.

n.n said...

An engineer, a model, who not for barefoot and pregnant, could have made something of her life.

William said...

Fortunately Trump's mother came from the Shetland Islands. Trump won the Shetland voting bloc hands down. In a close election, that's what gave him the edge.

tim in vermont said...

She got bored of math late for a girl.

Hagar said...

"Design" depends on what you mean by the word. Architectural design is laying out the building or structure with drawings of what it all is supposed to wind up looking like, but the architect must, unless he himself also is one, hire a registered professional structural engineer to design the structural features necessary to ensure that the structure is safe and stable and will remain standing despite any reasonably foreseeable disasters that might occur.
The same goes for plumbing, heating, venting, A/C, electrical systems, and other pertinent specialties.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

JOSEPH ANGEL said...

You use what the Good Lord gives you.

I do...

...as often as I can.

Hagar said...

IOW, architects are nor permitted to "design" structures within the engineering meaning of the word, and engineers are not permitted to "design" buildings for human occupation within the architectural meaning (except for very simple layouts like minor warehouses, etc.)

Gospace said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

You know, seeing this in the NY Times just builds support for Trump. They just don't get it. Just imagine any newspaper publishing an article like this during the last administration.

Andrew said...

@Gospace:
Yes, which makes me truly wonder whether this is a strategy on Trump's part. So much of what comes out of these "leaks" or internal criticisms seems to help Trump in the long run. I don't doubt that there may be actual adversaries within the administration. But I bet a good portion of the "everything is chaos" narrative about the White House comes from Trump and his people manipulating the press.

readering said...

3 dimensional chess, huh?

Josephbleau said...
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Josephbleau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josephbleau said...


Blogger mockturtle said...
Ivana Trump did not design Trump Tower--the architect was Der Scutt

What I said was that she designed the interior. Donald gave her free reign.

9/5/18, 1:15 PM

Sorry but Design has a specific meaning in Engineering. Picking where the walls are and what the colors are, is different. " When they go in they all look the same, when they come out they all look ... different." Pardon me for the quote.

9/5/18, 8:26 PM Delete

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

yes yes yes-- all fine and dandy. But cant we make this sordid somehow?
I mean, she's the wife of Trump!
And she's a Russian!! Hello!
ok, ok "Slovenian"-- riiiiiight. Face it-- Russian.
Putin groomed her for this role and now has the perfect mole (No-- not Cindy Crawford!)whispering in his ear and concealing microfiche in her molars, etc.

C'mon. "Architect". Yawn.

CarolMR said...

Paul Newman's mother was Slovenian and Catholic.

The Crack Emcee said...

All of you - tracing your family histories - not thinking once about those who can't.

It's fucking murder.

Rusty said...

Blogger The Crack Emcee said...
All of you - tracing your family histories - not thinking once about those who can't.

It's fucking murder."

Nope. Your problem. If you want to make it one.

iOpener said...

Is nobody concerned at the ease with which Professor Vogelnik breached his duties of confidentiality towards his former student?

Since when does a teacher have the right to release this kind of info?