Notes on Law, Language and Memory

Law, though it be found written in stone, like the code of Hammurabi, or on the Internet, with its nanosecond updates, has about the same staying power as any other cultural expression. Law students are no fools. They do not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to tie themselves to something they cannot manipulate. TheyContinue reading “Notes on Law, Language and Memory”

In which the Hunchback gets no grace

“Years after I worked with the [RAF burn unit] airmen, I read a profoundly disturbing article entitled ‘The Quasimodo Complex’ in the British Journal of Plastic Surgery. In it, two physicians reported on their study of 11,000 prison inmates who had committed murder, prostitution, rape, or other serious crimes. They carefully documented a trend thatContinue reading “In which the Hunchback gets no grace”

With brotherhood

A German man told me recently that after moving to the U.S.A. he has developed a “zero tolerance for religion.” “Every other day,” he said “there’s someone at the door wanting to change me. And the fanatics… the fanatics get the power. Just look at the American government. On est tous dans la merde.” ThisContinue reading “With brotherhood”

Devil’s Dictionary, College edition

Course: from French, course: race, racetrack. A forum for profuse sweating. Essay question: from French, essai: try. An attempt to satisfy the unsatisfiable. Hunger: sensation of physical need, usually occurring in conjunction with a scholastic urgency. “Intro to the study of” classes: In which one is taught a little about the subject at hand, thoughContinue reading “Devil’s Dictionary, College edition”

One of the boys

Maybe it’s because they see less often the connection from this moment to the burning toast of five minutes hence, and thus are less distracted. Maybe it’s because they’ve been trained to cut to the chase, or maybe it’s an abundance of stimulants naturally present in their minds. Maybe they’re trying to impress me. WhateverContinue reading “One of the boys”

Superbowl highlights: if I could just remember who played

I’ve watched the Superbowl almost every year since I was 11. I remember that first time… at my parents’ friends’ house… a cornucopia of partially hydrogenated snacks and fizzy syrup, this sport I knew nothing about, and A BOY TO EXPLAIN IT TO ME. Actually, I don’t think he had a clue either; we talkedContinue reading “Superbowl highlights: if I could just remember who played”