05/30/2005 07:59 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How About a Gene for Editing Bad Writing

Did you see this sentence emblazoned on the cover of yesterday's New York Times Book Review?

"Surely we women have a gene—in addition to those saucy, but ill-mannered, hormones—for theatrics, so frequently do they puncture our inner lives and decorate our outer ones in operatic robes."

It's from a review by someone named Toni Bentley of a Mary Wollstonecraft biography.

Sure, Bentley is just trying to write as pretentiously as she can. (Those saucy, but ill-mannered, hormones!) But still.....

Do women really need another woman declaring that they have a melodrama gene?

As the author of a recent book about Lawrence Summers and Harvard University, I've been closely following the uproar over Summers' remarks about the "innate differences" between men and women. There are times when I empathize with Summers. Imagine if he, or any other high-profile man, had pronounced that women "have a gene for theatrics"....