Harvard Notes By Jeff Benitz
During the years I worked at Harvard, Dr. Alan
Dershowitz was one of the "big plums" I met. Most
people know him as a showbiz lawyer who wrote
"Reversal of Fortune" which was turned into a movie.
He's represented many high profile cases. Let me tell
you his life is not easy. If he seems combative it is
because he is always under attack. That develops
Harvard is set up with, "Every tub on its own bottom".
That means every entity of the school has its own
Dean with his own fiefdom. The Divinity School, Law
School, JFK School of Government, etc. operate under
thier own authority. The President of Harvard manages
a group of Deans who are presidents of their own
companies. It is a system that works well. It is
unlike other universities.
Well, Alan Dershowitz is a chaired professor at the
Law School, not part of my branch, so I didn't have to
tolerate his guff. I only had to answer to my
superior and things would be handled from there.
However, I was able to watch his behavior. When you
would see him in the "Old Yard", which was not his
territory since he should have been over by Langdell
Hall at the Law School, he always acted like a
peacock. He always watched to see who was watching
him. Of course, no one was. His prestige is
remarkably faded when he is in a crowd of such talent.
He doesn't realize that.
Dr. Dershowitz was on the Law School faculty
basketball team--- for a while. He is as fanatic
about basketball as Billy Crystal (the actor) is about
baseball. Unfortunately, Alan Dershowitz is short.
His ego may be tall but he still is short. There came
a point when his colleagues on the Law faculty ganged
up on him and kicked him off the team. You see the
problem was he refused to pass the ball. If you threw
the ball to Dershowitz he would play the rest of the
game with it. That was a problem for those who engage
in team sports.
So then he was off on another venture. How about a
kosher store in Harvard Square? Sounds like a good
idea, however, word got out fast that Dershowitz owned
the place. I'll bet it spread like wild-fire through
the synagogues. Anyhow, everyone at Harvard boycotted
and waited for the inevitable fall. There was only
mirth when the doors closed for the last time.
Not just his entrepreneurial attempts are under
attack, his academic work is too. He has started to
appear conservative compared to the vocal number of
communists at the Law School. They are constantly
trying to pull his teeth. He has learned life is
about battle and he throws all his energy into it.
Do I feel sorry for Dr. Dershowitz? Not really, but
this does go a long way to explaining why his public
persona is so acidic.
I hope I don't get sued for this article.