A: We were raised by wolves in the dangerous wilds of liberal academia. As children, we roamed from one college town to another, eking out a meager survival by picking off weak graduate students and the occasional unwary high school history teacher.
Amanda’s wanderings took her from the sunny hills of Virginia to the frozen steppes of Champaign, Illinois. There, she routinely stuck her hand into live cows’ stomachs via portholes in their sides. She was unaware this was a rare experience. Kate started out in Baltimore, where rumor has that it she inspired several episodes of The Wire (and one of The Muppet Babies).
Eventually, we both ended up at the University of Chicago’s high school. (U of C Motto: “Where fun goes to die.”) We met in 9th grade homeroom, bonded over goldfish crackers and shared misanthropy, and have been best friends ever since.
Q: What made you turn out like this?
A. We are pretty sure that we started out this way. Our families read this blog, though, so if you doubt us you can post your queries in the comments section.
Q: Seriously? You expect us to believe that you sprang from the womb making jokes about genocide?
A. Pretty much. Our senses of humor have always been dark but chipper.
In preschool, Amanda wrote a short essay on how to make hamburgers. “One morning, a cow is born,” it began. A cheery description of The Brief Wonderful Life of Amanda’s Dinner followed, with a happy ending of medium-rare broiling and the merits of ketchup. Her parents were called.
Kate’s parents raised her on Edward Gorey cartoons and Groucho Marx, so she never really had a chance.
Q: Okay, but you must have studied this stuff at some point.
A. Well, never underestimate the power of Google for comprehensive and approximately 87% accurate information on short notice. (And also the power of voodoo. Who do? You do!)
However, you are correct. Kate has a B.A. in Genocide from NYU’s Gallatin School. Amanda has a degree Ad Hominem from the University of Edinburgh, (which translates as “To the Man” but really means “a joint degree in literature and political science but no one else in her class did that”), and a Masters Degree in Violence, Conflict, and Development Studies from SOAS at the University of London.
(Note: Between us we have degrees in both genocide and violence. Think very carefully before making us angry.)
Eventually we embraced the inevitable and lawyered ourselves up. Kate got her J.D. from Columbia in 2006, and Amanda got hers from Georgetown in 2007. Kate was a Notes Editor on the Columbia Law Review, and Amanda was the Senior Articles Editor for the Georgetown Journal of International law. We both interned at places with “Human Rights” in their names. Amanda went to Ecuador to research how the USA PATRIOT and REAL ID Acts were affecting vulnerable Colombian refugees there. (Answer: badly). Kate worked as a human rights lawyer in Cambodia and New York before clerking at the International Court of Justice.
Q: What do you do now?
A. Kate continues to feed her education addiction by studying for a PhD in Political Science at Columbia University. She focuses on transitional justice issues, including but not limited to the questions “is it transitional?” and “is it justice?”
Amanda divides her time between teaching international law and human rights courses at Fordham University, working as an attorney for the law firm of Buhler, Duggal, and Henry in New York City, and running LearnKitchen, the online-education startup she co-founded.
Q: What’s with the blog?
A. It was either this or running away to join the circus. We thought that our particular interest in crimes against humanity, modern warfare, and the social construction of atrocity was probably better suited to blogging than tightrope walking.
Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: Something that will cause Aaron Sorkin to write a movie about us, which we can then criticize for being hopelessly inaccurate.
(Actually, Kate would like to be a professor, and Amanda would like to continue what she is doing now, but with ten times the income. We’re pretty sure both of those things will happen any day now.)
Q. Do you accept advertising on the blog?
Why, do you want to advertise here? Neat! Get in touch and we’ll see if we can work something out.