Let us suppose that we learned thatna major educational institution in Japanncategorically refused to admit blacks —nor Caucasians, or both. We wouldnimmediately call that invidious discrimination.nHowever, if a school innJapan admitted men of all races but nonwomen, or women of all races but nonmen, would we so quickly condemn it?nThe Roman Catholic Church does notnadmit women to the priesthood, nornmen to convents; the LutherannChurch Missouri Synod does not ordainnwomen into the ministry, andnOrthodox Judaism does not ordainnwomen to the rabbinate. Many peoplenobject to these historic policies, but thenvolume of the objections is far less thannwould be the case if the Catholicsnrefused to ordain blacks, the Lutheransnto ordain Jewish converts, the Jews tonordain Gentile proselytes.nWe would agree with Raspberry’snpoint concerning racial segregation: itnshould never be permitted as a policy,nalthough if personal preferences andnother factors cause members of onenethnic or religious group to flock to anparticular school, that should not benprohibited. Some historically male institutionsnremain predominandy male,neven though women are admitted: thisnis still the case with the service academiesnand with schools such as thenMassachusetts Institute of Technology.nBut although there are still 96 allfemalencolleges, colleges that admitnonly men are virtually extinct. Why isnit permissible for a school to remain allnfemale, but wrong for it to remain allnmale?nAlthough a number of Wellesleynstudents rather fatuously criticized thenchoice of Mrs. Bush as a commencementnspeaker on the grounds that shenhas allegedly accomplished nothing innher own right, we are unaware of anyncriticism of the First Lady — or of hernpartner in that crime, Mrs. Gorbachevn— for giving apparent approval to thencontinuing “sexism” at Wellesley.nWhat Clark University ProfessornChristina Hoff Sommers calls “gendernfeminism” would virtually guaranteencriticism if Presidents Bush andnGorbachev had been commencementnspeakers at one of the few remainingnall-male institutions, but so far there isnno “gender masculinism” to attacknMesdames Gorbachev and Bush forntheir action. The “gender feminists”n8/CHRONICLESnare not impartial enough to say thatnwhat is sauce for the gander also has tonbe applied to the goose.n— Harold O.J. BrownnGEOFFREY HARTMAN, Pauinde Man’s former colleague, a Jew and,nwhile not a scholar in Judaic studies,nnonetheless a considerable presence innJewish scholarship at the Hebrew Universitynof Jerusalem and at the JewishnTheological Seminary of America, hasnhad to face the fact that the man whosentheory of literature he advanced was annanti-Semite and a Nazi in Belgium innWorld War II. In a long article in thenMarch 7, 1988, New Republic, Hartmanntries to come to terms with thisnrevelation. In doing so, he points outnwhat is at stake in defending the integritynof language, which De Man’sn”Deconstruction” put under assault.nWell, he did not exactly face it. Henevaded it, explained it away, gave excusesnfor it, trivialized it, and above all,nobfuscated it. Hartman used every tricknof the trade to shift attention awaynfrom a fact he wishes would go away:nthat his teacher, colleague, and friendnhated Jews and was a Nazi.nInstead of asking how Deconstructionnforms a comfortable match withnNazism, Hartman takes for grantednthat it does not. Hence he evades thencritical issue. It is like addressing thenrelationship between the Gulag andncommunism by assuming, at the outset,nthat there is none.nThe story is simple. Hartman’s cleverntelling of it makes it much morencomplicated. From the fall of Belgiumnin 1940, Paul de Man wrote pro-Nazinarticles.nAccording to Hartman, he “followednthe Nazi line in many respects.”nDe Man argued that Jews “do notnhave a significant influence on contemporarynliterature . . . that the abilitynof Western intellectuals to safeguardnso representative a cultural domain asnliterature from Jewish influence isncomforting.”nHartman: “De Man leaves it unclearnwhether it is comforting becausenJewishness itself is unhealthy or becausenany invasion of Western civilizationnby a foreign force . . . would reflectnbadly on its vitality.”nDe Man would “envisage the creationnof a Jewish colony isolated fromnnnEurope.”nHartman: “This is not vulgar anti-nSemitic writing, not by the terriblenstandards of the day.”nIn Hartman’s defense I give his nextnsentence: “But the fact remains that,nhowever polished de Man’s formulationsnare, they show all the marks . . .nof identifying Jews as an alien andnunhealthy presence in Western civilization.”nHartman further points outnthat at this time, in light of what wasngoing on, De Man’s article is moren”than a theoretical expression of anti-nSemitism.”nBut Hartman minimizes and trivializesnDe Man’s Nazism and anti-Semitism.nThis he does even while saying thenright words, such as I have quoted, toncreate the impression that he does not.nAnd how are we to interpret the following:n”But I cannot ignore thesenexpressions of anti-Jewish sentiment,neven if they remained polite, even ifnthey were limited to suave culturalnessays and never spilled over into exhortatorynrhetoric or demagoguery.”nHartman concedes, “The discoverynof these early articles must make andifi^erence in the way we read the laternde Man.” Hartman points out that DenMan “did not address his past. We donnot have his thoughts. Did he avoidnconfession . . . and instead work outnhis totalitarian temptation in a purelynintellectual and impersonal manner?”nHartman rejects any relationship betweennDeconstruction and the Nazismnand anti-Semitism of its principal intellect.nBut the emphasis of Deconstructionnis on “the indeterminacy of meaning.”nThat position is seen by somenliterary critics to be amoral, indeed anstatement that there are no rules at all,nnot in literature, not anywhere else. Itnis an ethic that would admirably servenan unrepentant Nazi, living out his lifenamong Jews such as Hartman. SonHartman insists, over and over again,n”The probity of the Paul de Man wenknew and his powerful analytic talentnmust remain our focus. What is neglectednby de Man’s critics, who are inndanger of reducing all to biographynagain, is the intellectual power of hisnlater work.” But why not take thenman’s biography into account? Donideas live in a vacuum? Or are theynpart of the whole person?nTo me, there really are absolutes innlife and in language: God made then