The best I can tell this is not a parody. Behold the quality of intellect that is matriculating at our elite law schools now and tremble before it!
Over the last week, much has been said about law students’ petitioning for exam extensions in light of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers. Students at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Georgetown University Law Center and several other schools requested that their administrations allow extensions on final exams for students who have been confronting the aftermath of the recent failed grand jury indictments of the officers who killed the unarmed black men.
In response, opponents of exam extensions have declared that to grant these requests would be a disservice to the students. Law students, they argue, must learn how to engage critically with the law in the face of intense adversity. Drawing comparisons to events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and other times of intense turmoil, these opponents portray today’s law students as coddled millennials using traumatic events as an excuse for their inability to focus on a three-hour exam. In essence, law students are being told to grow up and learn how to focus amidst stress and anxiety—like “real” lawyers must do.
Well yeah… sounds like they have a point there. It’s not like something bad isn’t happening somewhere all the time. There is nothing special about this point in history other than how comparatively placid it is compared to what has been the norm through most of human history. If you want to make a case about how awful things are then you are going to have a hard time of it when we have lynchings, world wars and plagues to go along with the normal auto accidents, rapes, murders and strong arm robberies for comparison. Somehow people managed to not beg off their studies through all of those things.
Speaking as one of those law students, I can say that this response is misguided: Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness.
And stompy feet. We have stompy feet. They always worked on mom.
Although over the last few weeks many law students have experienced moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion, many of these same students have also spent days in action—days of protesting, of organizing meetings, of drafting emails and letters, and of starting conversations long overdue. We have been synthesizing decades of police interactions, dissecting problems centuries old, and exposing the hypocrisy of silence.
We get it. You have been whinging about things you don’t understand, watching re-runs of Girls and generally making a nuisance of yourselves by being the whiny, misguided, juvenile little asswipes that you are. What you haven’t done is looked at the data of black on black and black on white crime and drawn the proper inferences. Nor have you looked at the evidence reports from the Michael Brown case — which you might know how to analyze WERE YOU TO GO TO CLASS!
He goes on like that for a bit just to make sure everyone understands how really, really upset he is.
Where some commentators see weakness or sensitivity, perhaps they should instead see strength—the strength to know when our cups of endurance have run over and when the time for patience has ended.
Is that a regular, run of the mill cup of endurance or is that a +4 cup of endurance? My bet is that in his case it is the sippy cup of endurance. You see, he is claiming he is strong because he doesn’t have much patience or endurance. Certainly not enough to take an exam, or study for it.
Our focus and critical thinking are at an all-time peak while the importance of our textbooks is at a low. It is not that law students are incapable of handling their exams. It is that we are unwilling to remove ourselves, even for a few days, from this national conversation.
I haz a sad. Can I be excused now?
And by our analysis, responsible members of the legal community can no longer defend our criminal justice system as exemplifying fair process when that system so frequently produces the same unjust result—life drained from an unarmed black body by a barrage of government-issued bullets.
I would love to see this special snowflake apply his theories of policing to the Michael Browns of the world. Give this guy a badge and a gun and let him show us how it is done. What could possibly go wrong? I mean, he assures us he has it all figured out.
And what does he mean by “and by our analysis?” What sort of system does he propose where people can attack cops without taking the risk of being shot? That I want to see.
We recognize that this is a moment for change. If not us, then who? For most of us, we know that if we get lower grades this semester, this cost will have been worth the importance and privilege of joining a national movement to fundamentally reform this country’s approach to law enforcement and criminal justice. But just because we are willing to pay this price does not mean we should have to.
Yeah, you are down for sacrificing for the cause alright Sunshine. You are really giving up a lot there… by trying not to give up anything. You have that bravery thing down pat. I bet the 82nd Airborne Division, Social Justice Brigade assigned a recruiter just for you.
And I can’t wait to see what ideas you have for reform. I am sure they aren’t unrealistic at all. I am sure they are well grounded in decades of hard won experience on the streets or in the criminal justice system. I am sure you have drawn on your abundant life experience and deep knowledge of history and the law to arrive at a solution that no one before has ever considered because you are just that special and it would be a damned crime if we made you attend class and miss out on all of that. What fools we would be to deny humanity the solution to problems that are “centuries old” when your little, arrogant ass has all of the answers. And all we have to do is postpone your exams! Somehow, I don’t think you can hold up your end of the bargain. I bet we could postpone the exams and absolutely nothing would change due to your actions.
OK, that is all I can bear. He goes on for a bit longer but really, what is the point? The guy is so full of himself, so desperate to be part of something grand — while so empty of knowledge or the ability to reason dispassionately that it is painful to even read. Given that this is the sort of stuff they see fit to print at the Harvard Law Review I can see how Obama got a position as editor. They seem to screen for intellectual lassitude and moral vacuousness coupled with an overweening and completely unjustified arrogance. Simply put, this is what happens when everyone gets a ribbon.
My daughter is at a phase where she is a bit of a hypochondriac. She is going through puberty so her hormones are starting to crank up and every sensation is new and intense to her. But at the same time she has no basis for comparison, no way to judge the seriousness of what she is experiencing. If her lip tingles after using her nebulizer then she thinks she is having an allergic reaction. If she has a bump on her neck then it is something terrible. She knows just enough to know that there are bad things that can happen but not enough to be able to judge what is happening to her. Her new thing is that one of her legs is shorter than the other. This last I intend to rectify by the simple expedient of a tape measure.
I do not mean to make light of her sufferings. They are real. She just doesn’t have any way of knowing if what she is feeling is unusual or significant because she has no life experience. I think our brains are really, really plastic as children and can absorb everything. But at a certain point we start to be able to remember and to obsess over things whereas our attention spans were shorter as children. I went through a similar phase as a child so I am sure there is some chemical imbalance at work in our family as well.
But the point is that this student at Harvard is just as ignorant and just as incapable of judging the import of these events as my daughter is to determine whether she is in the early stages of anaphylactic shock from an adverse reaction to her medication. But the difference is that my daughter is 11 and will grow out of it. These Ivy League kids never do because everyone has always humored them rather than instructed them.
And now they want to beg off the instruction.
Legal Insurrection also has a take on this.