Call Parker Brothers!: Scenes from An Exciting Evening in Tuscaloosa


Last night, a few colleagues were over at my place and we discussed the local gossip: the storm on campus over the sex column in our student newspaper, the Crimson-White, (which, btw, made the front page of the Tuscaloosa News this morning). Not a bad article on the controversy; it has a first amendment analysis of why the University can’t censor the column. And to their credit, the administration doesn’t want to. The article would, of course, have benefitted from a quotation from Dan Solove.

Then we turned to a game: “name professors at that school.” The gist here is to have one person name a school and then see who can name the most professors at that school. There’s a permutation, which Scott England developed: pick a name out of the AALS Directory and ask where that person teaches. Of course, it has to compete with other Tuscaloosa faculty favorites, like “name the most important article in [pick a field] in the last decade.” Or, “what’s the most under-appreciated article in [pick a field].” Or, “what article/book do you wish you’d written?”

When I woke up this morning, it dawned on me that the game isn’t as much fun as the Ann Coulter Talking Doll. Perhaps Parker Brothers won’t be interested, afterall.

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2 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    Maybe it’s not as fun as the Ann Coulter talking doll, but it’s certainly more intelligent!

  2. Paul Horwitz says:

    Are there no readers of David Lodge’s trilogy of academic satires among you? For shame! (Although, were I teaching in Tuscaloosa, I’d be permanently unavailable for dinner parties, since I’d be at Dreamland or Archibald’s every night.) A great game described in Lodge’s novel Trading Places involves a competition to outdo your colleagues in naming prominent books in your field that you have NOT read. The novel involves English Department faculty. One overeager competitor cops to never having read Hamlet; shortly thereafter, his academic career tanks. (Hmmm — perhaps that’s why the game isn’t that popular in real life.) In the law, given the sheer promiscuous borrowing of seminal texts from cognate fields and the lack of preparation and a common store of knowledge afforded by doctoral programs in other fields, the game would be especially brutal and entertaining. What books might a lubricated lawprof admit to not having read (despite having cited them, perhaps)? Hart, certainly. Holmes, definitely. Dworkin, probably. Rawls, the Federalist….And how many prominent cases have never been read in full by the legal professoriate? The mind reels at the prospects.