J. Simpson

Getting Beyond 9/11?
September 12, 2007

I know this is the week we are supposed to be thinking about 9/11. I am, and I'll get to it. But as a linguist, I cannot help also mourning that Alex the parrot died last week. He lived at Brandeis University in the lab of psychologist Irene Pepperberg. Many linguists think of language as the result of a genetic mutation unique to humans, but Alex challenged that idea. He knew over a hundred words, and was even given to saying things like "I love you" at the appropriate times!

The Bloods and the Crits
December 09, 1996

During the past decade, an academic movement called critical race theory has gained increasing currency in the legal academy. Rejecting the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s as epiphenomenal, critical race scholars argue that the dismantling of the apparatus of formal segregation failed to purge American society of its endemic racism, or to improve the social status of African Americans in discernible or lasting ways. The claim that these scholars make is not only political; it is also epistemological.

The Quarterback
October 14, 1996

Then Jackie Kemp came on and we seemed to collapse, offensively and defensively. The final score was 50-20. It was the most humiliating moment of my life. I had never lost a game by that kind of score, even in high school. --O.J. Simpson, The Education of a Rich Rookie (1970)     September 23 & 24: I am in Jack Kemp's press pool today mainly because no one else wants to be; no one else wants to be because tagging along with the running mate of a presidential candidate who trails by sixteen points with forty-three days to go is not journalism but a death watch.

The Case Against 'Abroad'
December 11, 1994

CLOSE THAT COPY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. IT'S O.K. Clip the coupon below to let Foreign Policy guide you through the next critical year. — Advertisement in Foreign Affairs, Fall 1993 I think I can pinpoint the moment I first felt obliged to be interested in foreign affairs. It was during a steamy New Orleans summer between high school and college, when, after a local worthy ridiculed me for never having heard of Rebecca West, I found myself bench-pressing a copy of Black Lamb and Gray Falcon, the author's 1,200-page study of Yugoslavia.