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May You Live In . . .

Interesting Times, of course.  That’s the title of a new blog written by George Packer, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of some excellent non-fiction (Blood of the Liberals; The Assassin’s Gate).  The blog is offered as part of TNY’s “Online Only” content, but it isn’t limited to subscribers.

The handful of posts appearing so far focus on Iraq, where George has spent a lot of time over the last several years, but the blog’s title promises writing about “foreign affairs, politics, and books.”  Little of that overlaps with the main themes of this blog.  I’m pointing it out because I like George, like his writing, and think that he has a keen observer’s eye.  He and I also have a couple of things in common.  We were contemporaries growing up in the Palo Alto area, and we attended Yale at the same time.

Pointing out his blog also allows me to indulge the following anecdote.  George Packer’s father, Herbert, taught law at Stanford.  My father studied law at Stanford, and he had Professor Packer (my father’s senior, but not by much) as a teacher.  My father has said that Herbert Packer gave the most demanding law school exam that he ever took.  The course was Criminal Law.  The exam — three hours long, I think — featured a single question.  I don’t have the precise wording, but the question offered the following challenge:  Draft and defend a homicide statute.  This was in 1956 or 1957, well before release of the Model Penal Code.


1 thought on “May You Live In . . .”

  1. Good to know about this. George was my freshman writing teacher at Harvard years ago. He taught “Colonialism and After”, in which we read Walcott, Coetzee, Conrad et al., as well as his Peace Corps memoir, “The Village of Waiting”. Easily one of my favorite classes in undergrad or any other time.

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