Desert-island dreams

04-18-05_image-1_thumb.jpgIf Charles Lipson, professor of political science, were marooned on a deserted island, he would want Mozart, Robert Johnson, and the Rolling Stones along with him—or at least their music. He also would want all the history books he’s long been meaning to read and reread, and a lot of Snickers bars and cans of diet Dr. Pepper.

Armed with a soda in one hand and a pair of reading glasses in the other, Lipson spoke to about 20 students and faculty in the Reynolds Club about what is important to him, as part of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel–sponsored brown bag forum “What Matters to Me and Why.” Even more important than candy bars were learning, humor, and free discourse.

“The first thing I treated myself to when I got my PhD was a good reading chair,” Lipson said. “It’s not like a chair at the Boston opera that says, ‘Sit up!’ It says, ‘Relaaax,’” he cooed in his Mississippi accent. At home, he said, he surrounds himself with books, his shelves heavy with history and political-science texts. “Soon [my bookshelves] will say, ‘Enough.’”

Despite his scholarly profession, Lipson maintains that his tastes are “anything but highbrow.” He is a sucker for American pop culture, especially if it can make him laugh. “If I had to do without the Daily Show or the New York Times, it would be a close call. If it were the Simpsons or the New York Times, it would not even be close.”

Meredith Meyer, ’07

April 18, 2005