I’ve been thinking about a lot of stuff this past quarter. Isn’t it awesome that my reference for time is entirely based on the academic calendar? One thing I’ve learned from Madeleine L’Engle’s treatise on mitochondria, physics and love, A Wind in the Door, is that time is just bonkers. Always you’re thinkin oh I’ll have enough time to respond to that email, I’ll have enough time to read the 5 back copies of the economist sittin on the living room table, i’ll have enough time to center myself and get back to my blog that i haven’t been writing in nearly enough because you know what law school takes a lot of motherfuckin time.
so i would like to talk all about everything, but instead i will talk about nothing. i came up with two really great metaphors this week. itd be better if i could draw it out but who knew macs dont have paintbrush? i actually did know this cus i was trying to draw this picture once so i could send a coded message to someone and not have like, the word “_____” turn up in my email if the feds ever search it. teachable moment: erase your shit. warrants are so two thousand and late. yeah. i see you wordpress. i dont trust you either.
but basically imagine this: a stick figure tryin to hold itself up by its head. or i guess it could be a marionette puppet trying to be its own puppeteer. i guess this metaphor isnt that original.
the second one is this: so basically, someone hands you a puzzle and no directions, and you ask for a key to the puzzle and they hand you another puzzle exactly like the first. and youre like, oh, well, this is unhelpful.
they both stand for the brain!!
i was doin oral arguments this week on this made up case we were workin on in fed lit, based on this documentary, Titicut Follies, about a mental hospital in Massachusetts. And basically, the hospital is pretty questionable, and the doc is supposedly about informing the public about how awful these patients are being treated but in the meantime it shows them naked and bein totally demeaned and force fed and basically showed all the things you wouldn’t ever want someone to know about you if you were in a mental hospital. And I watched the real doc when we started the case quite a few months ago, and I was like, this is crazy, no way, this shouldn’t be shown. But as luck would have it, I was assigned to defend the film company and three months later, was 100% convinced that the film should be shown, it was protected by the first amendment, it’d be good for the patients cus it’d educate the public, and the law was basically on my side.
And i was preparin for my argument and writing my opening statement that i will not lie, was pretty dramatic, and i dont even watch a lot of court room dramas, and suddenly i remembered that i was fucked up in high school. i may have thought about this because this past weekend i was engaging in some herbal refreshments (nestea and the like) and i had some pretty terrible moments realizin that i’m sort of becoming a suit in the small subtle insidious ways and forgetting my roots because, as one of my wisest friends has counseled me time and time again, in order to get power, you gotta go through power. and going through power is not like getting shot in the face you know. its sort of like gettin taken out to eat at really nice restaurants with really good food every night. you start likin it and you stop thinkin about what it was like to not be at really nice restaurants every night and you stop bein able to really feel what its like to not be doin that. and you start only seein the people at the nice restaurants and becoming friends with them and seein how they think about the world, and youre like, ok you guys are all smart as shit, and youre having a good time. but you stop thinking about the people who aren’t eating there and how they think and how they feel and what the world looks like to them. and that is fucked. because they are you. i am you. you are the world.
do you know what i mean though? i know what i mean, thats going to have be good enough for all of us at the moment because i am runnin out of time.
basically, i remembered bein in high school and being scared and sad and worried all the time about bein different and not having any power and not knowin what was going to happen to me and how awful that felt and how that feelin isnt something that just goes away for everyone cus not everyone gets to go to the places that can make you start feeling powerful and stable and like you can be in control of your life and can enable you to figure out that youre not the fucked up one, class structures and racism and homophobia are the fucked up things and youre not weak for feelin scared and vulnerable youre just human. but i remember bein in that place and just feelin awful all the time that everyone was lookin at me and judging me and thinking i was different and like i didnt’ have anything to protect me, not money or coolness or anything. and maybe the lowest point of that time was when i got suspended from high school when i was sixteen cus i was so confused about everything and didnt really understand myself and i got sent to an alternative school where i just felt even more confused and because i had like steel defenses and never talked to anyone about anything, i just felt totally humiliated that i was there. and the only solace was that at least the only other people who knew i was there were the teacher and other kids who were in that same place.
and here i was, arguin for these guys to be broadcast over the world even though theyd be fuckin humiliated, because the law was on my side, and like, whatever, they’re just some guys and it this is the law, it’s the first amendment, it’s art (i know that’s a whole other argument).
and i still dont know what i think the right answer is. ive got one legal answer and one emotional answer and, like more and more of the law i learn this year, i cant reconcile them.
so, i know we cant just live life based on our emotional reactions to things but i also know that just thinkin about what’s legal and not thinking about what’s right and how shit feels to people doesn’t do any good either. and i ALSO know that the only thing telling me whats right or not is my own values, my own judgment, and thats flawed. and whats MORE, i know that the legal answer doesn’t exist outside of its own moral framework, either. a lot of cases just feel like judgment calls, and i dont agree with them. and im tryin to find something other than just my own judgment for why i think they’re wrong, but i can’t yet.
bottom line: the only thing i have to count on to pull me out of a vast moral abyss is my own judgment. the same may be true for you. the same may be true for justice kennedy. yikes. and its pretty fuckin useless because my judgment is just me, and its imperfect and its flawed and it cant pull me out because when i sink, it sinks too. and the only thing ive got to help me figure out my reasoning is my own reasoning, and im not so good at reasoning through that yet.
see? full circle. full loop? strange loop? bad metaphor, thats for sure.