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Here’s what NOT to do while in law school


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#26 maximumbob

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:48 AM

I have always found this adage instructive: all jokes are half true.

 

Yeah, but which half?

 

I've come to believe that a lot of "joking around" is really passive aggressive behaviour designed to put certain people in their place. "It was just a joke!" is so often the bully's defence. So when I hear some one retreating behind that phrase, I don't give it a lot of weight. Yeah, maybe you were "joking" - but the point is, you believed it was funny for a reason. And I think when you are arrogant or careless enough to tell a "joke" like this to the world at large there's really no excuse for pretending to be surprised when a large number of people call you on your shit.

Sometimes, that's true, sometime's it isn't.  Thing is, the jokes that are really passive aggressive behavior - you tend to know it when you see it.  


Edited by maximumbob, 12 December 2016 - 08:49 AM.

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#27 Hegdis

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:51 AM

Isn't that exactly what I said?
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#28 epeeist

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 09:50 AM

Yeah, but which half?

 

Sometimes, that's true, sometime's it isn't.  Thing is, the jokes that are really passive aggressive behavior - you tend to know it when you see it.  

 

 

Isn't that exactly what I said?

 

I had come across this a while ago and only skimmed it, but the authors seem to get the difference between e.g. the late John Callahan's humour and South Park having Cartman use certain words, versus what is cruel (to most people, humour's subjective). Often the humour is pointing out a stereotype which is subtly different from being objectionably stereotypical.

 

http://webhost1.cort...Humor-Final.pdf

 

An example of a positive/normalizing Callahan cartoon they mention in that piece, along with a few others, are shown in his NY Times obituary:

 

http://www.nytimes.c...28callahan.html

 

I quite enjoyed this In Living Color skit when I first saw it, as have others (including disabled people) I've referred to it, I would categorize it in the "normalizing" category of the above paper:

 

 

In a different vein, I like lawyer jokes, and even if mean-spirited, lawyers (or at least employed lawyers...) tend to have more prestige and income than the average person, so if a lawyer doesn't like it, tough. Same for jokes about the rich or powerful, no matter how much they may tweet their dislike, and even if it plays into stereotypes, so what? Especially since it doesn't relate to immutable characteristics (unlike permanent disabilities) and the person is free to stop being a lawyer, or rich, or powerful, if they want - by contrast I'm sure there are funny jokes about unemployed people who are losing their homes, but probably not many that aren't cruel, as they are unable to change their circumstances easily (again, unlike the disabled, but it's still possible to have non-offensive jokes).

 

Also, notwithstanding the original piece's disclaimer (I'm referring to the law student piece that started this thread) that it wasn't based on anyone, what if it was? If it were based on a particular person, or composite, who drank to excess, one of whom walked into a pillar, etc., doesn't that change things? Several people apparently thought it referred to them - if so, is it no longer portraying a stereotype, but rather portraying an actual type, vis-a-vis law students or lawyers who do stupid things and are then lampooned e.g. ATL's fun years ago with the so-called aquagirl:

 

"Yesterday we told you the tale of Aquagirl — the Clearly Goatlips Cleary Gottlieb summer associate who stripped down to her underwear and dove into the Hudson River. At a summer associate event. At night. At Chelsea Piers. Seriously.

In the comments, some of you updated us on Aquagirl’s fate. Now we’re happy to bring you this very detailed report:..."

 

That is, even if you don't find it funny, or find it offensive, if it's based on events that actually happened at that law school (up to the leaving law school to do yoga at least...), at least in terms of being a composite of behaviour, is it still so objectionable, and if so is it because it highlights the behaviour of women? Should there be an inclusive picaresque or bildungsroman instead that has as its composite character someone of indeterminate, or multiple, genders?

 

http://abovethelaw.c...ing-swimmingly/

 

http://webhost1.cort...Humor-Final.pdf



#29 maximumbob

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 10:13 AM

It's is me or are some of those examples of "disability humour" rather humour impaired?   No wonder people prefer the cruel humour.  

 

Speaking of which, what do you call a guy with no arms and no legs swimming in the ocean?  A war hero.  (Bet you all thought I was going to say "Bob")



#30 setto

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 11:16 AM

Yeah, but which half?

 

 

 

The top half. Sometimes the left half. 


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#31 DarklyDreamingDexter

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 01:47 PM

i hate when people post this kind of stuff, completely judging a whole class of people based on their experiences with a select few. 



#32 Disingenuous

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 10:07 PM

I have always found this adage instructive: all jokes are half true.

 

The point being that when we joke around, it's often a way of telling people what we really think - with plausible deniability. If you think jokes invoking stereotypes are hilarious, it's frequently because you think the stereotype exists for a reason and you believe the joke expresses a truth you could not otherwise acknowledge without social consequence. We all know that we tell certain jokes around certain groups of people and we keep our mouths shut when other groups of people are within earshot.

 

This is human nature. it is not one of the better sides of human nature. (*This is also not All Jokes. Please for God's sake read this post and understand I am not saying All Jokes. The jokes to which I refer meet the pornography test: you know them when you hear them.)

 

I've come to believe that a lot of "joking around" is really passive aggressive behaviour designed to put certain people in their place. "It was just a joke!" is so often the bully's defence. So when I hear some one retreating behind that phrase, I don't give it a lot of weight. Yeah, maybe you were "joking" - but the point is, you believed it was funny for a reason. And I think when you are arrogant or careless enough to tell a "joke" like this to the world at large there's really no excuse for pretending to be surprised when a large number of people call you on your shit.

 

Meh,

 

 

What you're saying exists to an extent, no doubt about it, but I wouldn't go as far as saying "a lot" of joking around is passive aggressive. There are many reasons for why people joke around, I'm sure we can all identify most of them quite easily. However, when you speak of intentions, you better be a telepath, because jokes are inherently intended to mislead. 

 

Sure, some people hide their beliefs about stereotypes with jokes, but who's to say they aren't pointing out how stupid those stereotypes are in the first place? Knowing what people really think tends to help identify what their intentions are. If you don't know them, I'd say you're projecting more than you're interpreting. 

 

Yeah, some people will hide behind jokes and that's scummy behavior, but are you really going to try and ascribe motives behind jokes to people whom you don't know with any degree of certitude? Especially in writing? Having to explain you weren't being serious sucks, but maybe it's a sign that jokes aren't your forte. Most of the time, someone who doesn't catch on that their sense of humour consistently leads to misinterpretation will be naturally held accountable via social sanctions of sorts. 

 

 

 

I get that if the guys are joking around the office and say some crude joke about Karen being a babe or whatever, yeah, that's probably a reflection of multiple social problems. But the problem there is the underlying attitude, not the joke itself. #jokelivesmatter #notalljokes.



#33 TommyT

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 06:22 PM

People are so sensitive these days. In my time at Ottawa there was an outcry because a female student wrote an article in our paper about how to look stylish without having to spend too much time or money on getting ready in the morning. Apparently that was also sexist and reinforced to women that they are required to look a certain way. Of course, the Ottawa Citizen and CBC didn't pick up on that one.... I can't believe what makes the papers these days.

 

My favourite is when the HuffPo/CBC/etc. writes a story titled "Issue X causes outrage!" and then embeds 4-5 tweets of random people raging on twitter. 


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#34 ericontario

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 08:49 AM

My favourite is when the HuffPo/CBC/etc. writes a story titled "Issue X causes outrage!" and then embeds 4-5 tweets of random people raging on twitter. 

 

Oh, but some of the tweets have been retweeted like seven times!



#35 Gaius

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 09:20 PM

The argument that the original blog post attacking the article had a point is a reasonable position. I had less sympathy for those students who tearfully (and I mean tearfully) claimed that the published article was proof that U of A law was no longer a safe space for women, was a manifestation of rape culture, etc.
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#36 sonandera

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 12:15 AM

It is surprising that someone would publish something like this under his own name, if at all. Whether one thinks that is because of political correctness or because the story is actually offensive seems irrelevant. 


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#37 setto

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:53 AM

It is surprising that someone would publish something like this under his own name, if at all. Whether one thinks that is because of political correctness or because the story is actually offensive seems irrelevant. 

 

 

Could be indicative that it was an honest mistake and they felt it really was satire. 


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#38 JohnP

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 03:29 PM

It is incidents like this one that lead to a chilling effect on free speech at college campuses. St. Francis Xavier University invited Marie Henein as a guest lecturer and someone wrote an article in the campus newspaper saying Henein should be barred from speaking at the college, as she perpetuates rape culture. It is insane that a small group of students with a myopic outlook are allowed to dominate and control the discourse on public issues on college campuses. Some people are looking for opportunities to be offended but we shouldn't allow them to censure free speech. Satire is frequently politically incorrect & many comedians have made politically incorrectness their stock & trade, but when we start dictating what people can & cannot say, we threaten democracy. 


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#39 jjbean

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 04:31 PM

It is incidents like this one that lead to a chilling effect on free speech at college campuses. St. Francis Xavier University invited Marie Henein as a guest lecturer and someone wrote an article in the campus newspaper saying Henein should be barred from speaking at the college, as she perpetuates rape culture. It is insane that a small group of students with a myopic outlook are allowed to dominate and control the discourse on public issues on college campuses. Some people are looking for opportunities to be offended but we shouldn't allow them to censure free speech. Satire is frequently politically incorrect & many comedians have made politically incorrectness their stock & trade, but when we start dictating what people can & cannot say, we threaten democracy. 

 

How is writing articles about an incident - which is literally just more speech - threatening free speech? This guy wrote stupid stuff. People used their free speech rights to criticize him for it. Isn't that the point of free speech? Or does free speech now mean the right to be rude and offensive and not have people say you're being rude and offensive...?


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#40 Hegdis

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 04:45 PM

The counterpoint: Should authors be protected from the reactions their works provoke? Should we all bite our tongues and refrain from expressing the opinion that some one's work is idiotic, wrong, or offensive, lest the author feel "silenced"?

Because as far as I can see from the three articles in the OP, no one is suggesting the author should be formally punished or jailed or expelled from school or anything else approaching a level of censorship denying him his "freedom of speech". (And if anyone is seriously suggesting that, they're being ridiculous.)

Again, the blog post explaining why the work was offensive was a very reasonable response to the situation. It's exactly how university level discourse should work - more talk about the issues, not less. You can disagree with it, but arguing that this view should not even be expressed is a little hypocritical.
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#41 JohnP

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 06:50 PM

How is writing articles about an incident - which is literally just more speech - threatening free speech? This guy wrote stupid stuff. People used their free speech rights to criticize him for it. Isn't that the point of free speech? Or does free speech now mean the right to be rude and offensive and not have people say you're being rude and offensive...?

The issue isn't that an article was critical of the satirical piece, it was that the critique was used to censor the original satire, and now a Spanish inquisition is being held.The authors of the critique falsely equated a rape trial with the satirical piece and called the piece "misogyny". The editors removed the article and prostrated themselves in apology. One editor claimed the experience had "opened his eyes to stereotypes". What's worse is that the Faculty is investigating the "incident" and a town hall meeting is being planned to discuss the incident. All of this over a piece of satire. 



#42 jjbean

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 07:54 PM

The issue isn't that an article was critical of the satirical piece, it was that the critique was used to censor the original satire, and now a Spanish inquisition is being held.The authors of the critique falsely equated a rape trial with the satirical piece and called the piece "misogyny". The editors removed the article and prostrated themselves in apology. One editor claimed the experience had "opened his eyes to stereotypes". What's worse is that the Faculty is investigating the "incident" and a town hall meeting is being planned to discuss the incident. All of this over a piece of satire. 

 

"Falsely equating" and "calling the piece" something = speech. Censorship = government-imposed penalties for certain kinds of speech. People on this website love making fun of "safe spaces" and people who speak out against hate speech. Free speech absolutists generally believe even untrue speech should be permitted because the truth will prevail in the "marketplace of ideas." Why don't those concepts apply here? If the piece shouldn't be equated with a rape trial, other people can say that and argue for a better idea. If the piece isn't misogyny, people can say why it doesn't meet the standard of misogyny. 


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#43 Hegdis

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 07:58 PM

Wait, what censorship?

The only change made to the piece as far as I can see is the author replaced the word "bitch" with "girl" in a later version.

#44 beentheredonethat4

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 08:35 PM

Wait, what censorship?

The only change made to the piece as far as I can see is the author replaced the word "bitch" with "girl" in a later version.

 

I think they mean that the piece was removed altogether from the Canons website? 



#45 Hegdis

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 09:03 PM

You're right. I had in my mind a print piece but it is all online now.

(I had thought though that the author apologized and said something to the effect of regretting his decision to publish it in the first place. Can anyone clarify?)
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#46 Queensberry

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 09:30 PM

The issue isn't that an article was critical of the satirical piece, it was that the critique was used to censor the original satire, and now a Spanish inquisition is being held.The authors of the critique falsely equated a rape trial with the satirical piece and called the piece "misogyny". The editors removed the article and prostrated themselves in apology. One editor claimed the experience had "opened his eyes to stereotypes". What's worse is that the Faculty is investigating the "incident" and a town hall meeting is being planned to discuss the incident. All of this over a piece of satire. 

 

But this isn't a Spanish Inquisition, this is how free speech works. Jack says A, Jill says Not-A. If Jack backs down, retracts his statement, apologizes, etc., that's not censorship, that's dialogue. SFX students are also entitled to protest Marie Henein, and I, and many others, yourself included, are entitled to disagree and call them out. If they retracted everything they said about Marie Henein and rape culture, would you say that you censored them? Would you say that you took away their free speech? Would you express concern about a potential 'chilling effect' of your actions by preventing people from speaking out against otherwise well-regarded persons? I doubt it.

 

 

You're right. I had in my mind a print piece but it is all online now.

(I had thought though that the author apologized and said something to the effect of regretting his decision to publish it in the first place. Can anyone clarify?)

 

This is what I could find about statements from author and paper. I didn't see anything about author not wanting to publish it, but the paper said so: http://www.canonsonl...ssue-of-canons/


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#47 Gaius

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:41 AM

It was published in print, I believe. The author and cannons apologized. A "town hall" by the Dean was already held.

People have the right to criticize writing. Especially bad writing. But elements of the affair did have the feel of a witch hunt. But I suspect that may have as much to do with the nature of law school. Remember that law school is a small community, with no shortage of people nervous about reputation and job prospects. Some socially influential students harshly criticized him, and certain corners connected him with "mysogny" and "rape culture" for that article. I think someone wept at the town hall, mourning that the school is no longer a safe space. It was a short path from there to person non grata - and indeed the author did refrain from even coming to school for a bit because of the intensity of what happened.

By all means, hold people accountible for their writing. People have a legal right to free speech. But there is a cultural element to this as well. I've already been warned previously by well-meaning, well-connected students about associating with another particular student because of that person's expressed political views. The implication was that student is person non-grata, won't get a job, and you don't want to be guilty by association. This kind of peer pressure is very powerful and incidious when it reaches a critical mass. But perhaps it's an ever-present issue of working in a public, tight-knit and highly reputational field?

Edited by Gaius, 10 January 2017 - 06:43 AM.


#48 jjbean

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:16 AM

It was published in print, I believe. The author and cannons apologized. A "town hall" by the Dean was already held.

People have the right to criticize writing. Especially bad writing. But elements of the affair did have the feel of a witch hunt. But I suspect that may have as much to do with the nature of law school. Remember that law school is a small community, with no shortage of people nervous about reputation and job prospects. Some socially influential students harshly criticized him, and certain corners connected him with "mysogny" and "rape culture" for that article. I think someone wept at the town hall, mourning that the school is no longer a safe space. It was a short path from there to person non grata - and indeed the author did refrain from even coming to school for a bit because of the intensity of what happened.

By all means, hold people accountible for their writing. People have a legal right to free speech. But there is a cultural element to this as well. I've already been warned previously by well-meaning, well-connected students about associating with another particular student because of that person's expressed political views. The implication was that student is person non-grata, won't get a job, and you don't want to be guilty by association. This kind of peer pressure is very powerful and incidious when it reaches a critical mass. But perhaps it's an ever-present issue of working in a public, tight-knit and highly reputational field?

 

Again, the objectionable thing about witch hunts and the use of persona non grata is not the speech elements. The witch hunts were objectionable because they murdered women accused of witchcraft. We wouldn't use the expression if townsfolk had written articles about how they think a person is a witch and that person was then... made to feel socially awkward. And persona non grata is the expulsion of a person with diplomatic immunity from a country (by force if necessary). I'm being literal because your argument is basically that people shouldn't have to read/hear peaceful reactions from people to the shitty, dumb stuff they publish in a newspaper. If that's not calling for a reduction in free speech, I don't know what is....


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#49 Adrian

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:25 AM

Again, the objectionable thing about witch hunts and the use of persona non grata is not the speech elements. The witch hunts were objectionable because they murdered women accused of witchcraft. We wouldn't use the expression if townsfolk had written articles about how they think a person is a witch and that person was then... made to feel socially awkward. And persona non grata is the expulsion of a person with diplomatic immunity from a country (by force if necessary). I'm being literal because your argument is basically that people shouldn't have to read/hear peaceful reactions from people to the shitty, dumb stuff they publish in a newspaper. If that's not calling for a reduction in free speech, I don't know what is....

 

Generally when people need to resort to language like "prostrated themselves in apology", "spanish inquisition", and "witchhunt" we can take it as a given that they don't really have a strong argument.   At least, that's how we operate in our day jobs. 


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#50 Gaius

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:59 AM

I'm being literal because your argument is basically that people shouldn't have to read/hear peaceful reactions from people to the shitty, dumb stuff they publish in a newspaper. If that's not calling for a reduction in free speech, I don't know what is....


No, I made no such claim. My argument was that regardless of the reasonable opinions and arguments made over the issue, there is an unsettlingly strong social ostracisation aspect to how this unfolded. I noted twice that this perhaps may be features of the social conditions present in law school. At this point I am agnostic over how to address it, but I certainly would not endorse the above proposal of limiting people's speech.

I stand by the non-literal use of terminology.