Tuesday, February 28, 2006

PTN Book Club: On Beauty

Amber: "I can't decide if the depiction of Howard and Kiki's crippled marriage was artfully done or utterly inadequate. . . . Since we were never sold on the idea of their marriage, it's hard to care much when it all falls apart. But perhaps the very refusal to give us good reasons for them to be together is a deliberate choice, illustrating the emptiness of the relationship? I'm probably giving Smith too much credit here."

Donna: "Cleaning my bathrooms seemed like a much better way to spend my time, so that’s what I did. I scrubbed toilets, wiped down mirrors, washed baseboards, and for the first time ever, it actually seemed enjoyable after struggling to finish On Beauty."

Karl: "As Larry Summers resigns as president of Harvard with a big bootprint o­n his behind, the notion that a similar faculty would unanimously approve the oh-so-controversial Monty Kipps lecture series struck me as a little far-fetched."

CM: "I wanted to like On Beauty, Zadie Smith's latest. . . . But books about the trials and travails of middle-aged academics tend to bore me, and this was no exception."

Rachel: "Mrs. Kipps is preachy, annoying, seemingly an active part of her own submission. Normally I consider infidelity the greatest crime, but when we find out that Monty has been philandering I can't feel bad for the woman; she is just such a sucker I can't even pity her."

Zubon: "I read the first 5% of the book before setting it aside. If I get this far without anything likeable happening or seeing the prospect for improvement, I have better reading options."

Monday, February 27, 2006

PTN Book Club: Amber on On Beauty

Reading On Beauty brought back a lot of memories. The book is set at Wellington College, a thinly veiled version of Harvard. The transformation is an incomplete success; a liberal arts college, at least in my experience, has few of the cultural trappings, worshipful grad students, and community dominance of a Harvard. Why Smith didn't just make Wellington a university or set her book at Harvard is beyond me. It was still moderately amusing, though, to see my old Cambridge stomping grounds blurrily evoked and to play guessing games with the invented streets and squares. (More annoying was Smith's constant censoring of any details that might date the book. It's clear that she didn't want to tie the frictions in the wider world to current events, but her efforts to obscure them are so clumsy and obvious that it reads like an old British novel that gossips about Lady W---- and Mr P----.)

In contrast with Small Island, which I read last year, Smith has a decent ear for different kinds of dialogue, and for the contexts in which individuals are likely to switch between formal and informal manners of speaking. However, she's not always consistent; there were some descriptive passages where she lapsed into dialect. This seemed like bad editing.

The emotional resonance of the book varied wildly. The first chapter grabbed me immediately with the story of a young man who, dissatisfied with his own clan, falls in love with someone who provides a passport into another, much different family. This little internal drama has played itself out in my own heart, and despite being the polar opposite of young Jerome I yearned for him to find an emotional home amongst the Kippses. Alas, it was not meant to be.

And alas, we see little of Jerome after the first chapter (this is okay, because he was kind of a milksop). Instead, the remainder of the novel focuses on his parents and siblings. While these characters are fleshed out more than those in the rest of the novel (none of the Kippses ever becomes three-dimensional), they still sometimes seem flat or false. It seemed improbable that the youngest Belsey, Levi, would be so astonishingly ignorant, despite his home life and education (if your father is a Rembrandt scholar, it beggars belief if you do not know who Rembrandt is. in fact, it beggars belief even if your father is not a Rembrandt scholar.). This was one of many wrong notes that startled me out of the text: Carlene's successful concealment of a terminal illness was another. Each time she's glimpsed by a casual observer, that person immediately notes that she is seriously ill, but her family is apparently oblivious to her shuddering, twitching, and inability to walk? Even woman-hating British conservatives are not blind.

I can't decide if the depiction of Howard and Kiki's crippled marriage was artfully done or utterly inadequate. We're never sure, exactly, why these two got together, but they appear unsure why they are together as well. They've accumulated the in-jokes and know each other's behavior by heart, but little can explain the initial pairing beyond Howard's former flexibility and Kiki's former beauty. While we are bludgeoned with the fact of Kiki's transformation, nothing addresses Howard's absurd slide into self-parody, perhaps because despite the negative effect of those changes on Kiki, she still loves him until, suddenly, she doesn't. If I were Kiki, my tolerance would have been exhausted some time around the point when Howard appointed himself art censor and refused to allow representational paintings in the house. Since we were never sold on the idea of their marriage, it's hard to care much when it all falls apart. But perhaps the very refusal to give us good reasons for them to be together is a deliberate choice, illustrating the emptiness of the relationship? I'm probably giving Smith too much credit here.

I don't think On Beauty is really penetrating on any score: race relations, the academy, modernity, intergenerational frictions, aesthetics . . . the writing is skillful enough that one can trip merrily to the end, having the impression all along that some depth of insight waits, and the ending is satisfying enough to temporarily blur the realization that the meaning you sought didn't materialize. In that way, it's much like a less pedantic American Beauty. Coincidence?

Nudity returns

Timothy Sandefur responds to my previous post on male nudity. He seems to admit that at least some male nudes are beautiful, which I appreciate. But he we may have reached an impasse when he says that my contention that men are sublime means that the male nude is "admirable."

Language is tricky, and when I said female nudes are beautiful and male nudes sublime, I intended to use those terms as they are used in art criticism and to capture the distinction between this more restrictive concept of the beautiful and its more colloquial meaning of "things I enjoy looking at." As a society, we apparently don't enjoy looking at male nudes as much as we do female nudes, but is this because male images are challenging or because they are less pleasureable to look at, setting aside cultural baggage? Is something like the Shelley Memorial beautiful because it is feminine? Is this beautiful? If not, why not?

Certainly this is both beautiful and dynamic, but so is this. Defining terms such that only effeminate men can be called beautiful is a neat way to win the argument, but it's no proof that the female body is aesthetically superior to the male body in an objective way.

(Incidentally, I never fail to be puzzled by men who continually deride their own bodies. Women may hate their bodies in the specific, but seldom do you hear them claiming that female bodies in general are lumpen, gross, or weak. Men, on the other hand (because they can't seem to assert their heterosexuality fast enough?) claim that the form they possess is innately inferior, hideous, and grotesque. This is acutely noticeable when American men discuss circumcision; not only are the majority of American males in favor, they are always quick to point out that the natural state of their genitalia is disgusting and requires immediate surgical correction.)

Apparently our cultural enjoys looking at female nudes much more than it enjoys looking at male nudes, and Sarah gets to the heart of the matter by noting that this stems largely from attitudes about sexuality, not because the male form is less attractive.

Relatedly, even artistic nudity is blocked by some filtering software. There is, of course, a protest movement.

PTN Book Club Reminder

Posts about February's selection, On Beauty, should be mailed to me ASAP so they can be posted tomorrow.

I ♥ Werner Herzog

From My Best Fiend:
Kinski sometimes seriously believed that I was mad. This isn't true of course. I am quite sane, clinically sane, so to speak. . . . I was never out of my senses, but perhaps just very angry. One day I seriously planned to firebomb him in his house. This was prevented only by the vigilance of his Alsatian shepherd.
Previously here and here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Men are sublime.

UPDATE: Lots of discussion in the comments section on this post.

Timothy Sandefur asks, in re the Vanity Fair cover hubbub:
Is the preference of female over male nudity due to some objective aesthetic superiority of women over men, or is this determined simply by a person’s sexual preference? Do women’s magazines not feature male nudity because women don’t find that as compelling as straight men find female nudity? Or is it, as I think, because naked women are prettier than naked men?
As a heterosexual woman, I'd like to agree with Phoebe: women like to see naked men, and if it were not for the impact of gendered expectations about female sexuality, female consumption of images of unclad males would be much higher. (Phoebe also aptly demonstrates the absurdity of the familiar line about women being interested in character rather than physicality by taking it to its utmost extreme.) (Update: this post makes me think that transmen illustrate Phoebe's point even more keenly. How many women are willing to date a man with a vagina? It's not just gay men for whom a penis must be "the prelude to a kiss.")

The predominance of female nudes in art can easily be explained by the centuries of overwhelming dominance of the fine arts by men. Access to art training was a major factor, as unchaperoned women were unlikely to be left alone with art teachers, for obvious reasons. Similarly, until relatively recently it was viewed as unseemly for women to hire male models at all, much less nude models. Female models were easier for male artists to come by and might offer the bonus of being an easy sexual conquest for the painter or sculptor. Male artists, the majority being heterosexual, had both motive and opportunity to produce female nudes.

Setting aside the issue of whether centuries of male dominance explains the preference for female nudity, is Mr. Sandefur's correct to assert that naked women are prettier than naked men? My first reaction to this assertion was to draw the parallel between the beautiful and the sublime.

Intrinsic in this view is our historical perspective of women as the weaker, lesser sex. Beauty is a property of the balanced, the pleasing, the graceful. The smooth contours and tidier genitalia of the female body meet this standard. But like many beautiful things, a female nude is not threatening. She lacks power to affect the viewer beyond the stimulation of the gaze. She exists to please: a beautiful decoration. The male nude is messier, woolier, more angular. Muscles, like the rolling thunderheads in a Turner seascape, threaten and awe us. With power comes danger, but with danger, desire. If the female nude is a lush landscape of rolling English hills, the male nude is the jagged mountain range. The women here, in their pale languor, may be beautiful, but they are not dangerous. Here, the male body retains a sense of dynamism and coiled power even while sprawled and still. One need not find the male body sexually attractive to appreciate its sublimity, but by definition a sublime image is less comfortable and more challenging than a beautiful one. Between the confrontational subject matter and the preexisting biases toward production of beautiful female nudes which aesthetically and (for the majority of creators and viewers) sexually gratify, is it any wonder that we have a dearth of naked males in media?

(Interestingly, the modern push for women to be both curvy and fit contrasts with the older, softer, more forgiving model of the female nude. Note Ms. Knightley's pronounced abdominal muscles; they seem odd in such a retrograde image. The male model's physique has probably changed only slightly, with more muscular definition becoming de rigueur. However, these shifts might make more female images sublime and increase the sublimity of male images, but do not alter the basic theory.)

New Blog on the Scene

I recommend that Snarky Bastards become part of everyone's daily blog reading routine. It's a group blog and while some of the posters are friends of mine, I wouldn't link to it if I didn't think it had independent merit. Everyone's life needs more snark!

Remembering Summers

Larry Summers, at the last Federalist Society Student Symposium, held at HLS:
His welcome was certainly warm, as he entered the room to a grand round of applause. The applause even extended to the overflow rooms, two floors away, where another two hundred attendees watched his speech and the following panel on video screens. After he was introduced, applause again broke out on both levels, and as audience members began to rise to their feet, he motioned them back to their seats: "Thank you very much, I think," he began. "Let me remind you, I am a Democrat."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Who's Who?

Help me fill in the blanks on this list of the Supreme Court clerks for October 2006 Term!
(UPDATED with new information obtained via e-mail.)

UPDATE II: Do you have information about future members of the Elect? E-mail me so I can profile everyone's favorite clerks.

UPDATED AGAIN: The list of clerks has been reposted here.

Kennedy:
  1. Dave Foster (Harvard '05/Kozinski)
  2. Mark Yohalem (Harvard '05/Rymer)
  3. Eric Murphy (Chicago '05/Wilkinson)
  4. Lisa Marshall (Yale '05/Leval)
Souter:
  1. David Han (Harvard '05/Boudin)
  2. Daniel Tenny (Michigan '05/Tatel)
  3. Bryan Leach (Yale '05/Cabranes)
  4. Boris Bershteyn (Yale '04/Cabranes)
Scalia:
  1. Dan Bress (UVA '05/Wilkinson '05-'06)
  2. Louis A. Chaiten (Northwestern '98/Sutton '03-'04)
  3. Joshua Lipshutz (Stanford '05/Kozinski '05-'06)
  4. Hashim Mooppan (Harvard '05/Luttigator '05-'06) source
Stevens:
  1. Nick Bagley (NYU '05/Tatel)
  2. Chad Golder (Yale '05/Garland)
  3. Jamal Greene (Yale '05/Guidomaniac)
  4. Lauren Sudeall (Harvard '05/Bleeding Reinhardt) source
Ginsburg:
  1. Kate Andrias (Yale '04/Bleeding Reinhardt '04-'05)
  2. Scott Hershovitz (Yale '04/W. Fletcher '04-'05)
  3. Daphna Renan (Yale '04/Edwards '04-'05)
  4. Arun Subramanian (Columbia '04/Jacobs '04-'05/G. Lynch '05-'06) source
Breyer:
  1. Stephen Shackleford (Harvard '05/Boudin) source
  2. Thiru Vignarajah (Harvard '05/Calabresi)
  3. Tacy Flint (Chicago '04/'05, Posner)
  4. Jaren Casazza (Columbia '04/Jacobs '04-'05/Wood '05-'06)
Thomas:
  1. John Adams (UVA '03/Sentelle-tubby '03-'04)
  2. David Bragdon (UVA '02/S. Williams '02-'03)
  3. Brandt Leibe (Yale '05/Luttigator '05-'06) source
  4. Adam Conrad (Georgia '05/Sentelle '05-'06)
Roberts:
  1. George Hicks (Harvard '05/Brown)
  2. Felicia Ellsworth (Chicago '05/Boudin)
  3. ?
  4. ?
Alito:
  1. ?
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?

Who's Who? II

Help me fill in the blanks on this list of the Supreme Court clerks for October 2006 Term! Do you have information about future members of the Elect? E-mail me so I can profile everyone's favorite clerks.

(Now with Soutery goodness!)

Kennedy:
  1. Dave Foster (Harvard '05/Kozinski)
  2. Mark Yohalem (Harvard '05/Rymer)
  3. Eric Murphy (Chicago '05/Wilkinson)
  4. Lisa Marshall (Yale '05/Leval)
Souter:
  1. David Han (Harvard '05/Boudin)
  2. Daniel Tenny (Michigan '05/Tatel)
  3. Bryan Leach (Yale '05/Cabranes)
  4. Boris Bershteyn (Yale '04/Cabranes)
Scalia:
  1. Dan Bress (UVA '05/Wilkinson '05-'06)
  2. Louis A. Chaiten (Northwestern '98/Sutton '03-'04)
  3. Joshua Lipshutz (Stanford '05/Kozinski '05-'06)
  4. Hashim Mooppan (Harvard '05/Luttigator '05-'06) source
Stevens:
  1. Nick Bagley (NYU '05/Tatel)
  2. Chad Golder (Yale '05/Garland)
  3. Jamal Greene (Yale '05/Guidomaniac)
  4. Lauren Sudeall (Harvard '05/Bleeding Reinhardt) source
Ginsburg:
  1. Kate Andrias (Yale '04/Bleeding Reinhardt '04-'05)
  2. Scott Hershovitz (Yale '04/W. Fletcher '04-'05)
  3. Daphna Renan (Yale '04/Edwards '04-'05)
  4. Arun Subramanian (Columbia '04/Jacobs '04-'05/G. Lynch '05-'06) source
Breyer:
  1. Stephen Shackleford (Harvard '05/Boudin) source
  2. Thiru Vignarajah (Harvard '05/Calabresi)
  3. Tacy Flint (Chicago '04/'05, Posner)
  4. Jaren Casazza (Columbia '04/Jacobs '04-'05/Wood '05-'06)
Thomas:
  1. John Adams (UVA '03/Sentelle-tubby '03-'04)
  2. David Bragdon (UVA '02/S. Williams '02-'03)
  3. Brandt Leibe (Yale '05/Luttigator '05-'06) source
  4. Adam Conrad (Georgia '05/Sentelle '05-'06)
Roberts:
  1. George Hicks (Harvard '05/Brown)
  2. Felicia Ellsworth (Chicago '05/Boudin)
  3. ?
  4. ?
Alito:
  1. ?
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?

The opposite of schadenfreude continues

Kathleen Fitzpatrick discusses the opposite of schadenfreude, a subject of some previous musings on this blog. The Times calls it Erfolgtraurigkeit (success-sadness), where "others’ success [throws] the desolation of your life into bad relief."

(This appears tangentially related to the newly coined term "idolspize" although that word seems to imply envy, not sadness, and requires a certain similarity between the idolspizer and her target so that the comparison is more keenly felt. I don't idolspize anyone; although I do feel sad when I think about people who are very similar to me who have some of the things in life that I most desire, I don't direct that emotion at my doppelgängers.)

The emotion addressed in my original post, however, lacked both envy and idolization. A key component of what I was trying to describe is the sense of offense at a universe that would permit such persons to be showered with success, no matter how superficially deserving they might be and how little I wanted that form of success for myself. A critic points out that this is actually not the diametrical opposite of schadenfreude, since it goes beyond the basic joy-sadness/damage-success formula. The Times writer, though, also seems to think that a certain sense of injustice is required for truly intense Erfolgtraurigkeit:
if I think something’s good, and it wins prizes, or gets great reviews, I’m Erfolgtraurigkeit-free: at some level, in fact, I subconsciously consider these prizes and reviews a tribute to my own good taste. When I think something’s shite, however, and it’s garlanded, I get the most terrible, the most awful Erfolgtraurigkeit: I get Erfolgtraufigkeit with Ich m√∂ chte sie mit einer Axt im kalten Blut ermorden-keit on top.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Whew!

Yay to cd for finishing the bar exam.

Another prof who's not evil

The amazing Jonathan Zittrain (an example of an HLS professor who liked to use the internet to communicate with students, unlike someone else I could name) has been guest-blogging at PrawfsBlawg. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Souter Hires Clerks

Rumor has it that Justice Souter has hired one from Harvard, one from Michigan, and two Yalies. More to come (write with your gossip!).

UPDATE: A3G has revealed the names: Dave Han, Daniel Tenny, Boris Bershteyn, and Bryan Leach. Profiles will follow.

Lunch Break Funny

Miss Doxie has another tale of Bo woe for you.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

After reading this article on professorial complaints about student email, I was all set to snark on the professor who allegedly requires that her students thank her for responding to their messages. Typical Pomona snottiness, I thought. But apparently my snark should be directed toward the NY Times; the professor was misquoted. Poor Pomona prof! She did look more like a Miss Manners type in her photo than a Cartmanesque demander of respect for her authoritah.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PTN Book Club Reminder

The deadline for posts on this month's selection, On Beauty, is one week away.

Canadians: not all sugar and spice

The Bad Samaritan story involving a Canadian family, a blogger, and a lost camera becomes even more bizarre when a "lawer" starts harassing people who have covered the story online.

Monday, February 20, 2006

May the force be with you, bar takers! (redux)

Best of luck to cd and Kathleen Sullivan, who are taking the California bar exam tomorrow (for the first and second time, respectively).

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nothing says I'm sorry like a J.D.?

Another bad reason to go to law school. (Previously)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gaslighted

I highly recommend the 1944 version of Gaslight. Ingrid Bergman has a fine turn as an opera singer (who we first glimpse performing Lucia de Lammermoor) whose debonair continental husband slowly convinces her she is mad, and Charles Boyer is delightfully evil as that Old Hollywood staple, a jewel thief. The film's title has made its way into the modern lexicon. Have you ever been gaslighted?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Call for Gossip

Does anyone have information on rising Kennedy clerks Eric Murphy (Chicago '05/Wilkinson) and Lisa Marshall (Yale '05/Leval)? If you know any of the other OT 2006 clerks, please share that as well.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ah, Harvard

Magic Cookie has this observation:
Looking at my schedule today, I realized that we have no female professors this year, but we do have two professors with "III" after their names.
A tangentially related story. In one of my law school classes, the professor, who I believe had just obtained his third divorce (at least one of the ex-wives was a former student), announced that he was looking for research assistants. Female class members, not interested in being the next Mrs. Prof, stayed away in droves. He then complained to the class after hiring four men about the dearth of woman applicants. Straight faces were kept by all, but barely.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Breyer Clerks

Without further ado, profiles of Justice Breyer's OT 2006 clerks!

Steve Shackleford (the guy on the right) is a double Harvard from Jackson, Mississippi. Like many, he dabbled in consulting and founded a couple of internet startups before deciding to follow in his father's footsteps and go into the law. At HLS, he won the prestigious Sears Prize twice and polished off his time in Cambridge by fathering twins and winning the Fay Diploma. An Articles Editor on the law review, he allegedly missed the coveted summa cum laude status by a fraction of a grade. He's not bitter, though. Shackleford summered with Goldstein & Howe and Dow, Lohnes & Albertson Wachtell Lipton before starting his clerkship with Judge Michael Boudin of the First Circuit. (His co-clerk, Felicia Ellsworth, is clerking for the Chief in OT 2006.)

Thiru Vignarajah, (shown here with his lovely wife, Rakhi, a med student) currently clerks for Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit. He is "quite possibly one of the friendliest fellows you'll ever meet." A former APDA "most eligible bachelor" and the first Sri Lankan president of the Harvard Law Review, Thiru has degrees from Yale and Kings College, London and used to work as a consultant for McKinsey. However, Thiru's not all work and no play; give him credit for initiating the recent shift by law reviews toward shorter articles (earning the gratitude of journal staff everywhere) and he was popular on the HLS law review for his attention to quality of life issues (earning the gratitude of a few dozen TiVo-loving people in Gannett House). Thiru also brought the law review's gender parity problem under control through intensive personal recruiting. He loves basketball and tries to attend every NCAA Final Four with his college roommates. Will Thiru rule over the highest court in the land? Only time will tell. Watch out for another Vignarajah to ascend to the ranks of the Elect in the future; his sis, a Marshall Scholar, currently attends Yale Law.

Tacy Flint, (left) former Executive Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, is a survivor. She's fought cancer twice, once while wearing a smurfy blue wig. A current Posner clerk, Flint has a lovely soprano and married a fellow member of her Princeton a capella group. She's certain to be popular at the Supreme Court Christmas party; last year's carols were less exuberant than they might have been, so a strong voice like Flint's will surely be welcome.

Jaren Casazza is a curly-haired "rock star" with a passion for the arts (she founded a charity to bring together starving artists and uber-rich I-bankers). Her tastes range from Cyndi Lauper to Italo Calvino, and this NoVa native also admits to a certain fondness for the Gilmore Girls. She clerked for Judge Dennis Jacobs of the Second Circuit last year and currently clerks for #1 Judicial Superhottie Judge Kimba Wood. She summered twice at Paul Weiss. A graduate of Columbia Law School and Columbia College, Casazza has spent the last nine years in New York but will finally make a triumphant return to the D.C. area for her Supreme Court clerkship. She's also the only single Breyer clerk, so liberal gentlemen should take note!

Alito Clerks for the Current Term

Justice Alito has a glut of clerks for the next few months. The Washington Post reports that he just hired Adam Ciongoli, who clerked for him on the Third Circuit in 1995-96. Justice Alito had already picked up two clerks from Justice O'Connor (Benjamin Horwich and Sasha Volokh). He will also have the services of former Rehnquist clerk Jay Jorgensen and former Thomas clerk Hannah Smith.

UPDATE: More on Alito stalwart and Federalist Society champion Ciongoli here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's all about the billables

Last week we briefly talked about the lawyer lifestyle and how it might be improved. This Metafilter thread deals with the same topic, although there's plenty of uninformed lawyer-bashing to go along with the serious discussion.

Oh frabjous day!

Happy Valentine's Day, all. In lieu of cheap pieces of paper with mass-media characters printed on them, I will accept positive adjectives. (Via Bitch Ph.D)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pseudo-Roundup

Because I am lazy, a roundup post:

- Instapundit's niece sounds like a budding slash fan.

- Does it even make sense to have a discussion about disparities in pay between fields without talking about supply and demand for labor? Augh.

- Meanwhile, an economist dives into the advice business. I'd rather have Tyler Cowen tell me how to run my love life than have law students setting wages.

- Without having read any of the linked articles: was I the only one who saw "groin injury diagnosed at 2:15 AM" and thought that maybe this research was on the wrong track after all? (Yeah, yeah, she fell. But that's not funny.)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weekend Bake: Orange Kiss-Me Cake

In honor of Valentine's Day (which I will be spending alone in Clerksville, more's the pity), I made an Orange Kiss-Me Cake. Mmm, mmm.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Allegiances

After all of my frustrating experiences with Netflix, I finally decided to move over to the Dark Side and joined Blockbuster Online. I don't like the user interface as well as I like Netflix's, but they have already won my love by shipping on Saturdays. The in-store coupons have already come in handy as well. Suck it, Netflix!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Ayn Rand had a messed up love life?

Apparently altruists have better marriages. I don't think of altruism in love as altruism per se, but more as selfishness + a utility function that values future returns. Many things that seem like "sacrifices" in the short run are necessary to obtain happiness in the long run. Your mileage may vary.

Working stiffs

PETER: What if we're still doing this when we're 50?

SAMIR: It could be nice to have that kind of job security.

-- Office Space
I was driving home from work yesterday listening to Dolly Parton sing Nine to Five, and all I could think was how amazing it would be to find a legal job with those hours. Ted Frank discusses alternatives to the high billing, high stress model in this post.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Roberts Clerks So Far

Felicia H. Ellsworth is the newest member of the Elect, having been hired by Chief Justice Roberts. Ms. Ellsworth graduated cum laude from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 2000. She received an honors certificate from the university's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and wrote a paper entitled "Sexuality as Sin or Sacrament?" comparing Christian and Islamic attitudes toward sexuality (sounds hot!).

At the University of Chicago Law School, Ms. Ellsworth was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review and published a comment on stadium seating in movie theaters and the ADA (71 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1109). She also found time to marry Timothy Smith, a software executive. She currently clerks for Judge Michael Boudin of the First Circuit. Ms. Ellsworth enjoys Ayn Rand, the first Legally Blonde movie (boo), and CSI.

As previously documented, Chief Justice Roberts has already hired George Hicks for OT 2006. Who is George Hicks? A3G briefly profiled the Jeopardy! winner here (photos!). Mr. Hicks wrote and acted in the HLS Parody, wrote for the HLS Record, and also was notes editor for another publication. Although he was originally hired by then-Judge Roberts, Hicks spent the last year clerking for the fabulous Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit. So: George Hicks: Hoosier. Gunner. Hunk.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Markets in Dersh

I guess Harvard Law School's $35,000/year tuition is a bargain after all. That would pay for one public appearance by Alan Dershowitz. As a 1L, I had three Dershowitz appearances per week for thirteen weeks. That's $1,365,000 worth of Dersh! And for the low price of $70, I bought some hornbooks to actually learn criminal law!

No wonder the law school had to restrict the number of times professors could cancel class. (I heard that before this rule was in place, Dersh and other profs went AWOL for TV on a regular basis, for obvious reasons.)

Somewhere in here there's an Enron joke to be made

I recently acquired a new board game that consumed a large part of my weekend: Power Grid. It's a German game based around building power plants and supplying cities with electricity. This game may be the most unabashedly geeky one I've ever played; it's like SimCity without any of the creative aspects of building a town. The box is hysterical, especially if read in a fake German accent, although luckily the rules are translated well. From the box:
Earning money with electric power? Earning lots of money with electric power? A very good idea!!! ... Certainly nuclear power is very exciting and as long as government will manage the nuclear waste there will be a lot of profit. ... Over 200 wooden pieces included.
You can play it online. (Alas, no wooden pieces.)

Solicitation

Does anyone have information on rising Kennedy clerks Eric Murphy (Chicago '05/Wilkinson) and Lisa Marshall (Yale '05/Leval)?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Summoning the dead

Strangely, just 24 hours after I discussed Raffi's clerkship-long hiatus with a fellow law blogger, this post appeared on Waddling Thunder.

Tuesday Morning Quarterbacking

Is esprit d'escalier applicable in a professional context?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Alito Hires Clerks

The questions about Sasha Volokh's fate may stop: according to A3G, he and fellow O'Connor clerk Ben Horwich have been hired by Justice Alito.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pretty good day so far

There are few things more delicious than a Coca-Cola Slurpee. One of those things is crispy duck.

Friday, February 03, 2006

PTN: the new home of Supreme Court clerk gossip

I am honored that Article III Groupie has temporarily delegated the duty of stalking The Elect to this little blog. In the grand UTR tradition, I will profile the chosen ones, starting with those closest to me: the HLS grads of 2005. If you have any information about these fascinating individuals, please e-mail me. (Anything scandalous will be put in a blind item.)

Scrapbooking for the patriarchy?

Maybe it's just my cynical feminist side talking, but it strikes me that these scrapbooking women have found a perfect way to fulfill their urges to pursue creative hobbies without risking being accused of "selfishness" for directing thousands of hours and dollars toward something that has nothing to do with their roles as caregivers.

Grisly fate for actor averted

It's not all hostility, chaos, and murder for Werner Herzog. (h/t Karl)

UPDATE: Photos of the crashed car here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Where is Jill Carroll?

Her headscarf may provide clues.

Oscar!

John Scalzi has a really good post on this year's Oscar nominees. I actually was underwhelmed by both Wallace & Gromit and Corpse Bride, but who knows if Howl's Moving Castle deserves to win. I don't have an informed opinion on most of the acting nominations except that Philip Seymour Hoffman is always awesome and deserves a small Caribbean island, not a dumb statuette.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What federal rule of civil procedure are you?

YOU ARE RULE 12(b)!

While you might be a defendant's best friend, you
aren't exactly polite to others. You have
seven separate grounds on which to dismiss a
plaintiff's case. You are a bit paranoid,
since if you fail to raise your 12(b)(2,3,4,
or 7) in a motion or a pleading with one of
the other 12(b) defenses or a 12(e) motion,
you waive those objections for the rest of
trial. Some might say that 12(b) is the
biggest bully of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, but hey, somebody needs to keep
the peace. You might not be the most popular
guy in the office, but you're probably the
most important.

Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

In the criminal justice system, you're considered especially gorgeous!

For that special someone: Law & Order: SVU valentines.