JAMES FALLOWS: “I think it’s silly to complain that David Petraeus’s 20-year-old PhD dissertation from Princeton has lots of vapid passages. I’ll make this challenge (though I probably won’t take the time actually to carry it out): give me any 20-year-old PhD dissertation in the social sciences, and I will show you lots of vapid passages.” Yeah, if they aren’t there to begin with, the committee will make the candidate add them.