Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just Finished Outlining for Crim Investigations

In related news, outlining is still awful:
I. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

II. Summary of cases glossing on this: BUT WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?

III. Conclusion - don't forget to read people their rites!
Streamlined. Efficient. Now back to watching football, enjoy flipping threw 100+ pages of Scalia verbiage . . . I think this one is going up on SBA site after exams are over.

EDIT: SwampPoodle wants me to point out that this is my ENTIRE outline for the course and not just the Table of Contents, because it might be unclear . . . OK, you win - this is my entire outline for the course . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Missing Course Evaluation

So all this course evaluation stuff has reminded me of something I tried to look into before. Those with a current access to LawWeb will notice that Alex Johnson’s Property (C,L) Spring 2008 course evaluation is missing (and has always been missing). I emailed the Law Student Records Office about this oversight last April and here’s our email conversation.
Dear [LRSO person],
The student evaluations for Professor Alex Johnson's Spring 2008 property class aren't on the lawreg website. Could you please explain their omission to me? Thanks very much.
J. Crew Model
I cannot explain why his course is missing. I will ask law ITC to look into the situation. Thanks for the heads-up.
Hi [LRSO person],
Did you find anything out by following up with law ITC? Thank you for your help.
J. Crew Model
Thanks for the reminder. Yes, I was advised that there were some evaluations submitted and they were working on getting them to appear. I will ask them about it again.
Mr. Model - I just learned that the one person in law ITC who knows about the evaluations is on vacation this week. Hence, it will be awhile yet.
Must have been some vacation since its STILL not up there. I’m not the type to jump on conspiracy or cover-up theories but this seems a little weird.

Monday, November 23, 2009

PlLA Grants ITE (Big Changes?)

All PILA members just received this email - all emphasis is added. The gist is a reduction in PILA grant amounts and reduction in the "cap" for outside income:
This weekend, the PILA Board met to discuss the 2L PILA fellowship applications it received in early November. The applications inspired PILA Board members and demonstrated a 2L applicant pool with a deep commitment to public service. The number of applications PILA received also indicated the great need for PILA fellowships this summer. PILA received a record number of forty two 2L applications this fall. For reference, PILA received eighteen 2L applications last fall.

Given the depth of need indicated by the number of PILA fellowship applications, prior to beginning discussions on individual applications, the PILA Board considered lowering the PILA fellowship amount and funding cap. After a lengthy discussion, the Board decided to lower fellowship amounts to $6,000 for 2Ls and $3,500 to 1Ls. The aforementioned numbers reflect the figures that PILA has intended for students to receive to support their public service work, after taxes. However, in past years, PILA has disbursed a grant amount that provided a cushion for taxes, namely $7,083 for 2Ls and $4,132 for 1Ls.

After a conversation with the Law School Foundation, PILA determined that the vast majority of students should not have to pay taxes on PILA fellowships, and as a consequence, PILA has overpaid students above the intended amount of a fellowship the past two years. By lowering the grant amount to coincide with the previously intended fellowship amount, PILA will be able to disburse more fellowships than it previously had believed it could this year.

In addition, the PILA Board decided to lower the funding cap to $8,000 for both 1Ls and 2Ls. This means that 2Ls can only make an additional $2,000 in income above the PILA fellowship amount over the summer, including other grants, and 1Ls can only make an additional $4,500. The Board hopes that this change will serve to increase the number of fellowships disbursed.

With a substantial decrease in firm donations to PILA this year and the fact that PILA had an additional $90,000 to disburse last year (leftover from a one-time $150,000 donation in 2008), PILA will likely have less funds overall to disburse this year. However, with the generous support of the student body, faculty, private donors, and most importantly, the Law School Foundation, PILA will disburse as many grants as possible this year. The Law School Foundation will again provide PILA with a match-plus on PILA fundraised dollars so as to support students pursuing public interest this summer.

Thoughts? We'll post ours shortly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Don't Evaluations Incldue Exams?

We've been thinking about this for a little while, with course evaluations this past week - don't forget! - it seemed to be the perfect time to post it.

UVA certainly deserves some credit for allowing students to do course evaluations, and making the evaluations available to everyone. Of course, some professor fail to inform their students that such evaluations are available, and some students use the evaluations as a platform for lengthy screed against the class, but for the most part, course evaluations are a useful tool.

Or, at least they have the potential to be. The problem is, the evaluations never speak to the most important aspect of any course: the final exam. Because the exam typically will account for 100% of your grade in the course (and let's face it - everyone here, gunner or not, would prefer having good grades to bad ones), it's incredibly important for students to know what the exam is like.

For example, is it fully open book? Closed-book? Multiple choice? Take-home? More importantly, we think, is whether or not the exam was a "fair" one. Did it test material not covered in class? Was it a single sentence long? Was it the type of exam where you had time to develop your thoughts, or was it an absolute horse-race where you were pounding away the entire time? - see, these are things students should know.

It's also worth noting that many students would be interested to know whether or not a professor is perceived as being a "fair" grader. We don't want to open up the Pandora's Box on what, exactly, this might mean, but it's known to most people around UVA that some professors have the reputation of being rigorous, thorough, and fair graders. And we have heard complaints of Professors who do the opposite. Maybe this aspect is a bit more problematic than the above, but it bears mentioning in a discussion of more informative evaluations . . .

Anyway we are, of course, aware that part of the reason for the current state of affairs is that the honor code doesn't allow you talk about most exams, even after you and everyone else in the class has taken them. (Do this, and you will be kicked out of school - in theory). But that's something that should change - grades in law school are just too important for the exam system to the "black box" that it is now, we think. We understand that this could mean that professors can't recycle exams (or if they do, everyone will know about it) - or maybe the comments could be limited in some way. It's just frustrating to me that students have to go into this process - probably the most important of their (very expensive) law school career - completely blind.

One possible ameliorating alternative would be to make all professors post at least one exam that they have given in the past on LawWeb, along with the instruction sheet. While this wouldn't allow students to comment on whether the perceived grading was fair, it would allow students to have a good guess at what form the final evaluation will take before they sign up for the course. But we still think, ultimately, evaluations and the honor code should be reworked to include exams.

Anyway, as always, we welcome your thoughts - before, or after exams.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tenure first. Then...a Grammy?

EDIT: The video appears to be "removed by user" - too bad, because we really enjoyed it. - Rule 12(f)

Most of us have come to know and love newly tenured copyright law professor/juggernaut Christopher Sprigman for his classroom wit and dreamy, age-defying hair (swoon).

But as sources have told us, when not testifying in front of the US House of Representatives or crushing the road race cycling circuit, Prof. Sprigman is also an aspiring singer/songwriter in his spare time. Youtube, anyone?

Suffice to say, we're looking forward to his full-length debut (and the ensuing Libel Show parody).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't Want to Watch UVA Football Go Up in Flames Today? How About Watching Rep. Tom Perriello Instead?

EDIT: A commenter notes that the organizers have canceled the planned burning of the Pelosi and Periello effigies because of "liberal blogs". Said one of the organizers, "I’m disappointed that the story got out of hand and people misinterpreted something we thought would be a little historical lesson. They made people believe that we were committing an act of violence."

We can't make this stuff up:
In a move sure to spark controversy, the Danville TEA Party will close their "Fired Up for Freedom" rally by burning Rep. Tom Perriello and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy in response to the passage of landmark healthcare legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The event is being held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Blairs, VA at the corner of U.S. 29 and E. Witt Rd. and is open to the public.
That'll learn 'em to socialize health care!

Also, the first line of the article is priceless: "spark controversy". Ha ha.

Next time: Tea party effigy burner lights self on fire, needs government assistance to help pay medical bills.

Danville Tea Party to Burn Representative Tom Periello in Effigy [Star-Tribune]

Friday, November 13, 2009

OPEN THREAD: 2Ls and OGI - Checking In

"Of course, these callback lunches are mostly a formality, Michael. We've already decided not to give you an offer."

So Fall OCI and Callbacks season for 2Ls looking to go to a national law firm has come and gone. How'd it go? Were things actually has bad as everyone was predicting, or did most people who wanted to work at a firm come away from the process with at least one offer? We're interested in compiling some informal data on the subject, so 2Ls, please answer our poll (below), and tell your story in the comments. Did you get what expected out of the process? Did you find career services to be useful? What, if anything, would you do differently?

For those who have come up empty-handed so far, you have our sympathies. Find us around and UVA Law Blog will buy you a glass of the finest, cheapest beer in the land, or failing that take you on a trip through the lackluster KFC buffet. There are many paths to success though, so look into public interest stuff and start applying for grants early. (Even if you missed PILA's fall application deadline you'll still be able to apply again in the Spring).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

. . . And that's almost a week's worth classes!

The Law School Foundation is doing an auction on eBay for a vanity license plate - "LAWHOO" (get it?!). Proceeds go to PILA - the bidding is already up to $ 556.00.

So that's pretty cool . . . but once you get the vanity plate, will you be able to afford to park it?

Parking at UVA: The Third Rail?

Monday, November 09, 2009

PILA Study Guide Sale Today

Speaking of PILA . . . of course the true gunner / value-seeker has already come and went, but you can still grab some study guides on the cheap today in Caplin Auditorium from 9-4 today. Bring money.

Friday, November 06, 2009

What Will the PILA Grant Situation Be Like This Year?

On the calendar, two important invents: first, the PILA auction is next week, November 14th - the cost is 35 dollars, which is the same as it has been the last two years (can we give a hat-tip to PILA here, who has not succumbed to the "inflation in a time of deflation" mentality that has caused the Law School to raise tuition by almost 10% in the same period? Yes we can!). Will there be another email telling students that it's OK if they get wrecked because there "no drink limit at the event" (emphasis in original)? One can only hope . . .

Second, the applications for 2L PILA grants were due yesterday at Five PM. We're going to go out on a huge limb here and say that given the economy and the effect that it has had on second-year OGI, there are going to be more PILA applications than ever before.

Which also means that a lot of students are going to go home empty handed: Although PILA has always been somewhat clandestine about the total number of students who apply for grants versus the total number who receive them, we know that last year 66 first-years and 15 second-years were awarded PILA grants, from what as a record setting number of applications (breaking the previous year's record of "well over a hundred").

There's an interesting phenomenon here: many more first-years got grants than second-years. We know as a matter of fact that many second-years were in fact denied grants (some in both cycles - second-years can apply in the fall and the spring), while many first years received them.

Will this year be different? Should it be?

Most of you have already heard my shtick on the funding process in general, but for those of you who missed it:
All students who meet the qualifications set by PILA would be given money, first from PILA’s fundraising efforts and matching Law School Foundation grants, and then from the Law School’s operating budget or endowment. However, if any of those students went on to a lucrative career in private practice (either the next summer or immediately upon graduation), then the grant would “convert” into a loan, either interest-free or with a small amount of interest keyed to inflation, and the student would have to repay the balance in full to the source from which it came.

Several law schools use a similar system, and it would have the benefit not only of strengthening the Law School’s commitment to public service but also letting students who wouldn’t have gotten PILA grants under the current system spend their summer doing good without having to take out more private loans at steep interest rates.

It should be noted (to allay some confusion) that when we say we want "guaranteed funding", we're not advocating the argument that the school should just take over funding all of the grants and give grants to everyone, at least not at this stage: that would almost certainly lead to further increases in tuition that UVA Law students can ill-afford right now (see UC-Berkeley - guaranteed summer grant funding, but $48,152.50 out-of-state tuition - makes UVA look cheap!)

But let's assume for a moment that we can't do any of that, we feel that all second-years should receive priority in getting summer funding before any first-years. Here's why:
  • Historically, second-year students have a much higher expectation of making money than first-year students: in a normal economy, most of students spent their second summer at a lucrative firm job. That many won't be doing so this year is a short of an unexpected shortfall which - one could argue - means from a planning standpoint such students might need the money more. This is related to the next point . . .
  • PILA has said that one of its criteria in deciding to whom to award grants is to what extent the summer job in question furthers the student's career goals. Historically, students are far more likely to return to the place where their second-year summer is spent as opposed to their first-year summer, assuming that they are different. This means two things: First, the student would conceivably have a better chance of returning to the a summer public interest job in the same field and/or location 2L year than 1L year (we just think this intuitively true - we can't cite anything to show it). Second, there's a probably going to be greater financial need, as it's more likely that students will spend their 2L summer either away from Charlottesville or their original home (i.e. where their parents live) if applicable.
  • From a rather simple-but-broad balancing of the equities standpoint: First-years still have a shot of earning big bucks their second-year summer - and indeed, many first years who received PILA grants did, in fact, go to firms their second-year summer, and proceeded to start at those firms after graduation. Second-years spending their summers in public interest will not have the opportunity to make $ 36k+ in twelve weeks, so that should be considered. Of course, this rationale gets muted somewhat when you consider the first-years who will spend their first- and second-year summers in public interest and therefore have won't be spending either summer at a firm (which is why we believe our "convertible loan" idea makes the most sense! But that's for another day . . .)
Of course, it's certainly not our place to tell PILA how to disburse its money that its members work so hard raising. Our take on the situation is simply from a "what would be the most fair" perspective (which obviously raises all kinds of challenges on its own). So please, give your own two cents in the comments, anonymously if you wish.

PILA Website
PILA Provides Record $378,000 in Grants [Virginia Law]
PILA Sees Increased Applications for Grants (Spring 2009) [Law Weekly]
PILA, Redux (links to the coverage the Law Weekly did on the fallout from 2 years ago when a lot of folks weren't able to get PILA grants - lots of different viewpoints)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

15 minute review: Kentucky Fried Chicken

T-Pain, FFJ, Justincredible, Aquila, Rhino and I sojourned to KFC for their buffet. This KFC is up 29 near Best Buy and World Market. While the group arrived with high hopes for Colonel Sanders's establishment, we were sorely disappointed.

Ambiance: The customers disappointed. Then again, one should hardly be blamed for having only pants with paint splattered on them. Or for only owning shirts that are too small. I don't recall hearing even an instrumental version of "Hero" (or its Spanish stepbrother "Heroe") but music would have helped. Also, styrofoam plates? And you have to ask for additional plates? Come on.
Grade: C+

Decor: Not awesome. Typical fast food plastic chairs and benches militated against the interesting photography featuring the chain's founder. One particularly moving piece found Colonel Sanders adorned in white contemplating life in a green field. T-Pain told a story about gentleman from Kentucky and goats - all present laughed. Lots of signs on the windows selling KFC goods ("$1.99 Big Box!") didn't help.
Grade: B-

: Customers only spoke to team members when ordering and requesting grilled chicken. Team members performed these tasks adequately.
Grade: B+

: Greasy, tasteless, and stomach wrenching. My cohorts and I piled our plates full of mashed potatoes with gravy, chicken breasts and legs, and yams with marshmallows on top. Some off-green vegetables also made the buffet. If you asked if I ate any vegetables at lunch, I would tell you that I had cole slaw which is most definitely located on the bottom of the food pyramid. The biscuits were pretty good. Justincredible and FFJ opined that they felt sick after their meal. I didn't feel any worse then after my usual lunch of deep fryer grease. Wusses. On the positive side, drinks came with the buffet and you could get refills yourself from the soda fountain. Mmmm..... suicide drinks...Coke and Diet Coke and Lipton's Iced Tea and Orange soda in the same glass..... mmmmmm.
Grade: B-

Price: $7.89 (including drink)

Overall Grade: B-

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Go Vote Today (Plus Open Thread)

And please, vote for Creigh Deeds - unless you really think that an increase in taxes isn't needed to fix the crumbling transportation infrastructure, that working women and feminists are 'detrimental' to the family, that contraceptives should be made illegal again, and that the state's anti-discrimination laws shouldn't apply to gays and lesbians - he's the guy for you.

EDIT: Well, that's our take. Feel free to sound off in the comments if you think differently. If you have something substantive-yet-pithy to say - in the interests of being fair and balanced, etc. - we'll put it in the main thread. Thanks

Washington Post Endorsement of Creigh Deeds

Monday, November 02, 2009

LIVEBLOG: The Ciolli-White Debate

DISCLAIMER: Live-blogging is hard, we are sorry for the typos!

4.50 PM: We're here - LIVE - for the big Ciolli debate. We've gotten a green-light to live-blog the proceedings from the organizers, so stay tuned. We hear Hot Cakes his catering the reception - score! For some background, see here.

4.51: Troy Felver, the third-year in charge of the proceedings, tells us that it will be a Lincoln-Douglass style debate, with Ciolli going first and professor G.E. White going second.

5.04: We arrive. Should we ask Ciolli about his newly professed love for Charlottesville cuisine? (Thanks to a tipster for forwarding the above link to us - Ciolli, under his original moniker, highly praises the Golden Corral and other local favorites). Ciolli and Professor White are both here. Both wearing dark suits, with red ties; both look sharp. Who wins the debate remians to be seen, but they're both fashion winners!

5.08: Confused 1Ls trying decide where to sit . . . there are about 30 people here.

5:15: And we're off! Introductions abound . . . "Tonight we have a debate on whether there is and should be a duty to moderate online forums." Professor White and Ciolli introduced. Ciolli is currently working towards a tax LLM from NYU, and clerking for the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands.

5:18: Question presented: "There should be no legal duty to moderate an online forum." About 50 people here now.


5.20: "This debate is about . . . preventing the Great Fire-Wall of China from coming to the US!" He's proceeding to give a summary of the current law even though it might "disadvantage him in terms of time."

5.23: "The courts have not spoke with a unified voice. . . " he's still discussing precedent, not much razzle-dazzle, but he seems to know the law. Perhaps this is what our oral advocacy has been lacking . . . Discussing § 230, and how courts have rejected attempts to "limit immunity", and how the courts have consistently ruled that "internet intermediaries don't have a duty moderate their content."

Main points
(1) § 230 doesn't immunize direct liability, only vicarious liability - this encourages defamation victims to hold those people responsible who actually did the defaming.
(2) § 230 helps maintain a free and open marketplace on the internet.
(3) As a matter of policy we should err on the side of subsidizing speech.

5.25: Cross:

White: "Does the picture you've painted of the internet change if most of the participants are anonymous - if § 230 is meant to encourage private lawsuits, if most posters on certain websites - including Autoadmit - are anonymous..."

Ciolli: See John-Doe lawsuits - - -the plaintiffs in the autoadmit case used this with some success.

5.29: White
"Crucial distinction between the internet regime and other regimes that allow tortious recovery for speech that is treated as defamatory . . . why should the internet be treated differently, if there's accountability in other areas." And there is a free speech in those analysis, anyway.

He analyzes the major basis for protection for free speech. He attacks the "market place of ideas" argument: "Suppose someone has identified you on one of these websites in a way you do not want to be. Is the remedy for you to get online and complain about it, thereby inviting others to complain about it? To what extent is there a marketplace of ideas if one of the people is an unwilling participant?"

"I think that § 230 should be modified to include a provision that includes vigorous enforcement of federal discrimination." He also says a limited duty to moderate on the part of website hosts. Also wants direct liability for those website operators who facilitate the defamation material.

Quote of the day: "Autoadmit is not AOL!" Says it's a "niche-website for law students to discuss law school and others [sic]".

Cross pt. 2
White: It's time we create some incentives for anonymous posters - "If Autoadmit has provided or facilitated the defamatory content," it should be liable. And "Autoadmit has done that," when it doesn't delete the content, it's facilitating it.

Ciolli: Have you ever operated a website, message board, or blog?

White: No, I have not - and that makes me a better judge . . . because I have no interest.

Ciolli: So would you be a better judge of medical malpractice because you have no expertise in that?

White: Well, I teach medical malpractice - "the doctors help set the standard, but they have to adhere to it - they don't get blanket immunity under § 230, so the analogy fails!"

We gotta award points to Ciolli on that one - we were not convinced of White's response as to why the analogy "fails"; Ciolli still made a valid point that there are unique challenges to moderating a website, which might necessitate immunity.

5.43: Ciolli Rebuttal
Talks about how people use defamation suits to harass, and rarely win. Getting rid of § 230 immunity means innocent victims and more potential for harassment.

"I don't believe in internet exceptionalism," or that § 230 treats the internet any differneltly.

5.46: Prof White Rebutal
It doesn't follow at all that because it's hard to win a defamation suit they shouldn't be brought at all.

Makes a pretty good point that we have a sort of "double-immunity" because have immunity for the site operators and effective immunity for the posters because they are anonymous!

Social mores argument: "What kind of social mores are we creating by this regime. It seems we are encouraging people to sit with the privacy of computer and say as many mean and inappropriate things as they want with immunity . . . it is the perfect setting for ... warped fantasists . . . and misogynists"

5.51 Ciolli Rebuttal #2
Notes that the intermediary site operator can't even tell whether the content is defamatory (and its often difficult to do so). . . and you want him to be obligated to remove it and face liability?

Questions (we'll type up the good ones)
Q: What standard for website monitor liability?
White: "I think the standard should be a reasonable care standard...not strict liability"

Q (Another UVA professor): Makes a point: "anonymity on the web is mostly an illusion." Describes how the anonymous commenters were unmasked by IP-tracking. Says that double-immunity discussed earlier is a myth.

White: There's software that can prevent this, though!

Q: But few people use it. Makes an analogy to copyright law, how § 512 has created a "heckler's veto" - "People say horrible things on autoadmit, but when you democratize speech, that's what happens."

Ciolli: "I agree". Read my article on this called "Chilling Effects"

White: The best remedy for bad speech isn't always "more speech." "Doesn't it follow that if you democratize [offensive] speech fully you democratize values where there are none."

"If we have a society where we allow anyone to say anything, then the next step is we have a society where we allow anyone to do anything?" Appalled by people hiding behind anonymity to make speech attacks on Autoadmit...

Ciolli [responding to a question about Autoadmit "ruining people's live"]: "It wasn't my website, and I wasn't moderator."

Our question: Mr. Ciolli, What would you have done differently w/r/t to the autoadmit debacle?

Ciolli: There was a lot of confusion about my role in Autoadmit [explains how he didn't have the ability to delete threads]...The Washington Post ran an article that said that Autoadmit was responsible for the T14 talent site [That posted the girl's photographs]. Even the [Virginia] Law Weekly was claiming that I was posting the comments that were offensive. . . "The major thing I would have done differently would have been to take a course in media relations."
ED NOTE: For some support, the Law Weekly said: "Anthony Ciolli, a third-year law student at Penn and then co-administrator of AutoAdmit, commented frequently about the “Top 14” contest." Presumably that is what Ciolli takes issue with.
Uh-oh. White says that the University of Pennsylvania Law School had a discussion with Ciolli to take down the threads, Ciolli says "That's not true." White says, "that's what was reported in the papers." Ciolli responds, "But it's wrong. You can't believe everything you read in the papers, and that's not true."

Q: "It sounds to me like this was more than 'hurt feelings' . . . these woman's live were ruined."

Ciolli: "Well I've experienced both sides of the aisle here." [explains the defamation he suffered]. But filing a defamation suit is not always the answer . . .

Q: "But . . . there are no women who post on autoadmit, ever!!" The questioner seems pretty mad.

Ciolli: "The posts should have gone down, I agree." But he goes on to say he's debating the legal duty, not the moral duty, and points out the questioner has confused the terms of the debate. Reiterates that he would take the posts down, but he doesn't think website operators should be legally required to do the same.

Annnnd we're out. We'll try to make the formatting look better later.

: Both sides had good arguments and so its difficult to say who "won" the debate. That said, we tend to side with Ciolli in that we agree that website operators should not be legally obligated (though they probably should be ethically/morally obligated) to remove offensive and/or defamatory content - primarily on the chilling effect argument: web operators will end up remove a lot more than what is "necessary" to cover themselves, and this will probably impede the effectiveness of first amendment protections. We also think that he made a good point w/r/t to the fact the current system allows for would-be plaintiffs (and did in fact allow for the autoadmit plaintiffs) to recover against the "anonymous" defamers / harrassers; it's very difficult to be truly anonymous on the internet . . .

And yes we are sorry again about the typos - don't forget this is a liveblog.

Today is the Last Day to Sign Up for . . .

* The tuition payment plan - if you want to pay your tuition in installments (time value of money, plus we need the capital to bet on the Redskins). There's a 35 dollar fee though - go here and log into SIS for more info.

* Getting your yearbook photo taken in WB (10-2 today - - - pizza!)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Doe Boy Fresh

So everyone seems to have agreed that the Great Spat of 2009 between UVA Law Blog and Virginia Law Weekly is over. Except that I keep getting called out in VLW. In the spirit of communion though, I'll let this go. And like all media outlet versus media outlet disputes, both publications have to go back to their regularly scheduled (on in the case of this blog, when Rule 12(f) writes something) programming.

In this line of thinking, I offer you the timeless words of one Big Boss Teddy R, or as the US History textbooks know him, Theodore Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Uplifting, isn't it? With that in mind, I humbly submit the following columns I would enjoy reading in the VLW:
1. Andy Samberg – funny or not? Compare his 3 A+ music videos (Dick in a Box, Jizz in My Pants, I’m on a Boat), 2 B+ videos (Throw in on the Ground, Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions), and the truly bizarre Like a Boss to his inability to host an entertaining awards show. Since nobody watches SNL anymore I can’t tell you how funny he is there.

2. Who really was Shakespeare? Was he homosexual? How was his name actually spelt? Is it spelt or spelled? People have spent decades trying to answer these questions without reaching definitive answers. My take is that I’d rather just enjoy the plays that constitute the foundation of Western literature than go poring through 16th century court records looking for evidence that the guy bought land or received a dowry. But that’s me.

3. The origin and continuing phenomenon of "Say It To My Face." Why do people still use this tired refrain? My working hypothesis is that it’s a pretext for unthinking bullies with big muscles to engender violence on their thinking antagonists. We’re watching it play out in the media right now between Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas. For those of you who are not as NBA-obsessed as me, here’s the back story. Magic is publishing a tell-all (or if you prefer, kiss-and-tell) where he claims that he allowed Isaiah to get left off the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and worse, that Isaiah spread a rumor that Magic was a homosexual after Magic revealed he was HIV positive. Isaiah has responded with the classic Say It To My Face retort: “I wish [Magic] would have had the courage to say this stuff to me face to face, as opposed to writing it in some damn book to sell and he can make money off it.” For what its worth, I think Isaiah has the better of Magic but that Isaiah is an absolute sh**bag.

4. Our generation’s relationship with online chatting. We were the first folks to have AOL, communicating about middle school bulls**t over dial up internet. We matured into AOL’s less expensive and exclusive AIM and have recently transitioned full time to Gchat. I suppose technically some people use Facebook chat, but I haven’t found any utility for it (You want to stalk high school classmates, not talk to them). The burning questions answered in next week’s VLW - how will we fulfill our online chat fix in the future? Will we ever kick the habit? Does Gchat count as saying it to his face?

5. Couples costumes - cute or depressing? Is it cute when the couple still like each other; that is, before the dreary boredom and sexlessness of marriage kick in? Or is it always depressing? Does it depend on the type of costume? Undergrad was a long time ago now, but I think we had a pledge wear this costume for some "pledge opportunity" or another. And yes, this bullet point was an excuse to post that link.

As always, feel free to ignore me.