9/11 Reflections: Nicolas Kemper

September 8, 2011 • 0
When I first saw the smoke billowing from the tower I was disappointed. I was in seventh grade, gorging on American history, and had arrived at a very seventh-grade conclusion. The conquest of continents, the fortification of ideals, and the fights against evil empires were all the stuff of lore, far removed from my pacific »

Kemper: What we take with us

April 28, 2011 • 1
I have a hard time letting go of things. A quick look around my room seems to prove as much: the three foot stack of Economists accumulates in my closet, the rugby uniform from sophomore year hangs on my door, the old books of poetry I checked out last October are still on my desk, »

Kemper: The rise of junior societies

April 15, 2011 • 0
‘CANDIDATE. TRANSLATE!” The charge booms out in Latin to a hapless sophomore huddled on the ground. A brazier of burning coals dominates his blurred vision. He has just been seized from the cellar by two burly football players, rushed upstairs and thrown on the hard wood floor, flanked by the dim shapes of groaning black-gowned »

Kemper: Stepping up to the plate

April 1, 2011 • 1
The Department of Education is investigating our university “for its failure to eliminate a hostile sexual environment on campus.” A girl got robbed by three other girls in broad daylight right in front of Pierson College. Obviously the most pressing issue on hand is our dining halls. A la carte dining, proposed earlier this week »

Kemper: Overcoming our FOOT fetish

February 28, 2011 • 23
This week FOOT will reject over a hundred freshmen. They join good company. If leading a successful outdoors trip is a function of capacity to mentor and outdoors skills, this campus is filled with rejected aces on both counts. I know freshman counselors, serial camp counselors, a college president, a NOLS graduate and, above all, »

Kemper: Revisiting content and color

February 21, 2011 • 29
On Friday I wrote a column (“Content over color,” Feb. 18) that was arrogant, insensitive and offensive. I drew straight lines through a nuanced issue, vainly hoping to employ humor to ride across the deeply personal and emotional aspects of race. I will not abandon all the ideas I introduced or retreat from a conversation »

Kemper: Content over color

February 18, 2011 • 60
On Jan. 23 and Jan. 31 I received e-mails with the following provocative question in 27 point bold underlined Arial font: “What are your feelings about ‘Blackness’ at Yale University?” I like it. I like Greenness more. Though the faded rusty copper clock on Harkness gives solace through the winter months, I long for the »

Kemper: Saying goodbye to Redwall

February 11, 2011 • 3
I will always have an enduring affection for shrews, otters and badgers. Shrews are funky, capable and good-hearted — unless you cross Log-a-log. The sea and river otters are scrappy but noble seamen. And badgers are mighty warriors, endowed with incredible strength and wisdom. Granted, I have never encountered a shrew, otter or badger. Well, »

Kemper: Mubarak must go

February 4, 2011 • 7
The poetical trappings of the revolution in downtown Cairo are the meat and potatoes of great literature. It evinces Chekhov’s rule: If, in the first act, you place a gun on the stage, by the last act it must be fired. If, in building a city, you include “Tahrir (Liberation) Square,” eventually it will house »

Kemper: A nation in revolt

January 31, 2011 • 3
Two blocks from my Arabic tutor’s apartment in downtown Cairo stands a building the size of a city block. Its ominous black walls make little secret of the sinister work conducted by its inhabitants. In a city jammed with cars, my taxi ran smoothly past it. Policemen yelled at us lest we take pictures or »

Kemper: Neglecting the past we’ve built

January 21, 2011 • 0
There is something uniquely unfortunate about ugly buildings. Ugly art can be avoided, ugly sculptures can be provocative, and ugly music can be turned off, but there is a recurring tyranny in the sheer unavoidable presence of a building that makes me cringe when I meander past DUH or get lost and find myself at »

Kemper: Beware off-campus fiefdoms

December 8, 2010 • 1
De Gaulle once said the only constant of history is geography. The same can be said for a community’s physical trappings. The spaces, rooms, and various architectural hubs and spokes which surround us set the tone of our experiences more than we realize. A collection of spaces necessarily creates a system of incentives to join »