Yale Can’t Take a Joke

A party invitation going terribly wrong.

WaPo deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus comments on a bizarre sequence of events at Yale Law:

Last month, a second-year law student sent some classmates an invitation to a party — to celebrate Constitution Day, of all things.

The student, Trent Colbert, who has the unusual profile of belonging to both the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) and the conservative Federalist Society, emailed: “Sup NALSA, Hope you’re all still feeling social! This Friday at 7:30, we will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House . . . by throwing a Constitution Day bash in collaboration with FedSoc. Planned attractions include Popeye’s chicken, basic-bitch-American-themed snacks (like apple pie, etc.) . . . Hope to see you all there.”

Okay. Nothing to see here. Why did this make the Post?

Alas, you probably guessed.

“Trap House,” according to the Urban Dictionary, was “originally used to describe a crack house in a shady neighborhood,” but “has since been abused by high school students who like to pretend they’re cool by drinking their mom’s beer together.” A popular far-left podcast, by three White men, calls itself Chapo Trap House, without incident.

Not at Yale Law School. Within minutes, as reported by Aaron Sibarium of the Washington Free Beacon, the invitation was posted on the group chat for all 2Ls, or second-year law students, of which several asserted that the invite had racist connotations, and had encouraged students to attend in blackface.

“I guess celebrating whiteness wasn’t enough,” the president of the Black Law Students Association wrote in the forum. She objected to the involvement of the Federalist Society, which, she said, “has historically supported anti-Black rhetoric.”

That seems like an idiotic overreaction from a second-year law student but, hey, 23-year-olds can be sensitive. That’s why more seasoned folks run our institutions of higher learning. This was obviously a teachable moment for the leaders of the nation’s most prestigious law school.

But what erupted on the group chat didn’t stay on the group chat. All too typically, the issue was escalated to authorities and reinforced by the administrative architecture of diversity and grievance. And that’s when things went off the rails.

Within 12 hours, Colbert was summoned to meet with associate law dean Ellen Cosgrove and diversity director Yaseen Eldik. There, he was told that his message had generated nine student complaints of discrimination and harassment, and was more or less instructed to apologize.

Oh, come on. For what?

Colbert secretly recorded that conversation, and another the next day, and the Free Beacon has posted them. The audio offers an unsettling insight into the hair-trigger and reflexively liberal mind-set of the educational diversity complex.

Eldik told Colbert that the email’s “association with FedSoc was very triggering for students who already feel like FedSoc belongs to political affiliations that are oppressive to certain communities. That of course obviously includes the LGBTQIA community and Black communities and immigrant communities.”

Sorry, but if you’re triggered by the Federalist Society, you don’t belong on a law school campus.

The administrators leaned on Colbert to think about “asking for forgiveness” to help “make this go away.” They drafted a note that they thought would suffice, apologizing for “any harm, trauma or upset” the email caused,” and adding, in language reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, “I know I must learn more and grow. And I will actively educate myself so I can do better.” Dunce cap, anyone?

So, first off—because Marcus neglects to comment on it—Colbert’s secretly recording the conversation and then leaking it to the right-wing press strikes me as both shitty and obviously premeditated. While Connecticut is a one-party consent state for audio recording and he, therefore, broke no laws, the prospect of having conversations recorded and made public undermines the trust essential for the free exchange of ideas.

That said, the notion that the mere mention of the Federalist Society—presumably an approved club at the school—is somehow “triggering” for people halfway through law school is just nuts. Still, one can at least sympathize with the desire of academic administrators to want to make problems just go away.

Alas, they went beyond asking for an apology for something that required no apology.

When Colbert resisted, saying he would prefer to discuss the issue face to face with anyone who was offended, the administrators acted on their own that same night, emailing the entire second-year class. “An invitation was recently circulated containing pejorative and racist language. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms.”

A conversation the next day was even more unsettling, warning of repercussions down the line. “You’re a law student, and there’s a bar you have to take,” Eldik said, as reported by the Free Beacon. “So we think it’s really important to give you a 360 view.”

After the Free Beacon story broke, Yale issued a statement denying that it had any intent of disciplining Colbert or alerting bar authorities down the line. “No student is investigated or sanctioned for protected speech,” the statement said.

The whole thing is nuts. A student invited other students to a party via a jokey email, people pretended to be offended by it, and school officials threatened him with repercussions. The only thing that Colbert did that was the slightest bit problematic was recording the conversation and taking it to the right-wing outrage machine. But, presumably, he did that precisely because he anticipated the absurd response from the school’s leadership.

Marcus closes by citing another recent incident on the West Coast:

Every first-year law student learns in torts class about the plaintiff with the “eggshell skull” — someone who suffers a greater injury than normal and must be compensated accordingly. But in the modern world, it seems, everyone’ skulls are susceptible to cracking at the slightest provocation. “Taking the worst possible reading and then twisting it to make it worse is a practice that is all too common,” Colbert told me.

At Stanford Law School earlier this year, a graduating student was at risk of losing his diploma after circulating a mock announcement: “The Stanford Federalist Society presents: The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection.”Advertisement

Some Federalist Society crybabies then filed a complaint about the invite’s author with the university’s Office of Community Standards for attributing “false and defamatory beliefs to persons he listed on the event flier.” The investigation was dropped, but the whole episode was pretty rich, given conservatives’ complaints about liberal cancel culture.

At Yale, the shoe is back on a familiar liberal foot. These students may be among the best and brightest, but they also need to do some growing up.

So, yes, some students are overly sensitive. And, shockingly, young law students might lean a wee bit on the litigious side. But, rather clearly, the issue isn’t so much immature students as cowardly leadership.

One fully expects that law students, who are typically 21-25 years old, will “need to do some growing up.” At places like Yale and Stanford, especially, they tend to be high academic achievers without a lot of experience outside the classroom. It’s the job of the faculty and deans to provide scaffolding so that students can learn from their mistakes.

As the fictional Professor Kingsfield put it, “You teach yourselves the law, but I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush; you leave thinking like a lawyer.” Instead, Yale Law’s administrators seem to be adding to the mush.

FILED UNDER: Education, Higher Ed
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    I mostly hire engineers, not lawyers, but I think the same applies. It’s bad enough that all but a few schools produce graduates with no practical experience and so are a net negative for the first year or so, but now administrators are actively encouraging students to become over privileged whiners viewing every interaction as a chance to make a scene.

    11
  2. Scott says:

    Reminds me of the Netflix show, The Chair, where one of the main characters, a professor uses a Nazi salute in the classroom (he was teaching literature) as a point of emphasis. It get recorded and soon there are protests on campus.

    We live in a bullying society whether it is thin skinned students or screaming parents at school board meetings. Bullies have to have their noses bloodied for them to stop.

    7
  3. CSK says:

    At Harvard Law School a few years ago, some students requested that the criminal law classes not teach abut rape or sexual assault law on the grounds that it would be too traumatizing for them.

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  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    WR, Michael Reynolds, here’s an opportunity for a satirical look at university administration, using the tragicomic travails of the formerly well regarded, Yale University as a model. Perhaps Eddie can produce it.

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  5. Kathy says:

    Has no one learned yet you shouldn’t throw parties during a pandemic?

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  6. In some ways, this all sounds like a parent having to get into the middle of a conflict between two kids and is only a big deal because of the letters Y, A, L, and E (and our general polarized society).

    That the diversity director felt the need to respond to a complaint by the president of the Black Law Students Association (as per the linked article) is hardly a surprise, is it?. Asking Colbert to apologize, or to acknowledge that others were offended is not necessarily outrageous, insofar as quelling campus conflict of this kind would be the job of the diversity director.

    I wonder why the president of the Black Law Students Association wrote this “I guess celebrating whiteness wasn’t enough,” the president of the Black Law Students Association wrote in the forum. “Y’all had to upgrade to cosplay/black face.” She also objected to the mixer’s affiliation with the Federalist Society, which she said “has historically supported anti-Black rhetoric.” Was that pure overreaction (the black face charge–I guess that is a reference to the style of the announcement?) or was there more to it?

    Regardless, yes a teaching moment all around, but also the need to deescalate. Once Colbert recorded this and made it into a national news story, de-escalation went out the window.

    Anyone who has ever had to deal with anything like this (I can think of direct, childish interactions between faculty members I have had to mediate, or, again, the aforementioned navigating hurt feeling between siblings or with your kids and their friends) knows that the outcomes are not perfect and logical, but the goal is clam things down and try to address both sides in some way.

    Look, I don’t think any of this is worth a national story, and while I am more than happy to see NALSA and FedSoc having a combined social, it is not unforeseeable that some of this might, dare I say, trigger a response.

    But hey, could we shake hands and move on instead of recording the meeting? I think that aspect of all of this is actually the most significant–that is purposefully escalating this to a major level and added a little more fuel to the national fire.

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  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    1. I believe the invitation was intentionally racist. Trying to get away with being openly racist in ways you can later claim was only unintentionally offensive is pretty much one of the main goals of College Republicans these day

    2. Further evidence that this was planned from the beginning is how quickly this became the Right Wing media outrage of the day via the Free Beacon.

    3. Expecting the Fed Soc member to apologize was indeed the wrong response. They should have been expelled for openly admitting membership in a terrorist organization.

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  8. @Stormy Dragon: While I think #3 is a significant over-reaction, I don’t think that #1 is at all outside the realm of possibility.

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  9. Modulo Myself says:

    This is dumb and nobody should be ratting somebody else out over an party invite. But Popeye’s? Come on. If you don’t get the lamest style of racism behind that, I don’t know what to tell you.

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  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    One of Fed Soc’s senior leaders (John C. Eastman) was deeply involved in the planning for Trump’s attempted coup and the organization certainly doesn’t seem to be going out of its way to distance itself from that conspiracy.

    So I don’t think it’s an overreaction.

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  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    You’d make an excellent commissar. Rigid, humorless, ready to condemn any deviation from orthodoxy. People like you will kill progressivism.

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  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    So, other things are also happening at Yale which seem worthy of talking about.

    I’m pretty much on board with Steven’s take, by the way.

    To me, it kind of makes sense if students are unhappy with certain leanings in their administration, and more prickly about things.

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    My largely indifferent take-away is that universities are trivial places, full of silly people obsessed with self-pity and righteousness. This is a change from my brief flirtation with higher education when I concluded that universities were all about business majors, and a sort of perpetual immobility machine of English professors teaching future English professors who’d go on to teach future English professors.

    Academia seemed irrelevant to me way back then, but now it seems positively toxic. These updates of college controversy remind me of reports on the to-ing and fro-ing at some church denominational congress or a Manhattan condo board. Silly, superficial, brittle, insecure people arguing over the size of the angel population on a pin. The wine is blood, the wine represents blood, the wine is only blood if you decide it’s blood, the wine and the blood and the this and the that. And we have strict rules on what sort of door knocker you can hang.

    You know, life only goes on for so long, you have to ask yourself just how much of it you’re willing to waste.

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  14. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “People like you will kill progressivism.”

    I believe you’ve met Stormy Dragon here before over the last years? Read his posts? And now you’re using him to tar “progressivism”?

    Sorry, but SD is not now and has never been anyone’s idea of a “progressive,” and he’s certainly never claimed that mantle for himself. Apparently a “progressive” is anyone non-Trumper who does anything Michael doesn’t like at a given time.

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  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yeah, I realize it’s weird I think there there should be consequences for trying to overthrow our government and installing a dictatorship instead of taking the moderate approach of just pretending nothing happened while they plan their next attempt at it.

    The first step is calling them out. If you’re still a member of the Federalist Society at this point, I’m not playing along with your “The Good German” act anymore.

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  16. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Academia seemed irrelevant to me way back then, but now it seems positively toxic.”

    Because all you know about academia comes from right-wing trolls who want to eliminate higher education. And you believe everything you read from them on the subject, because it all ties in with your prejudices.

    Here you have two very political grad students acting like dicks and a hapless administratior trying to calm things down. That’s all it is. On a campus with more than 12,000 students.

    But one of the students is a troll for the Free Beacon, he has a platform to complain about being cancelled, and Michael damns all of education. Which he knows is worthless because he doesn’t have a degree and he has a lot of money.

    Should all publishing be shut down because of the assholes who dominated kidlit twitter? Should all of Hollywood be declared worthless vermin because there are a lot of creeps working there?

    Or does the blanket rule of “I’ve heard some bad things from unreputable sources with obvious agendas so we should shut down the entire industry” only apply to areas that don’t pay you?

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  17. Chip Daniels says:

    There seems to be quite a bit of fixation with petty injustices at elite colleges.

    Like, how did this go viral, compared to the vast ocean of petty injustices experienced by ordinary people at their ordinary jobs every single day?

    It always smells like a proxy skirmish in the culture war, where some high profile Twitter users pick up a story and pump it to pursue a broader agenda.

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  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    So, your theory is that @Stormy is what, part of the Conservative Pronoun Police? The Classical Liberal Pronoun Police? The Libertarian Pronoun Police? Because I’ve never seen one of those, whereas I’ve seen quite a few progressives who insist on telling me what words to use.

    As for universities, nice try deflecting to a small number of students. That’s not the issue, college kids like all kids, are supposed to go off the rails a bit, they’re young. The issue is obviously the administrations that collapse like cut balloons whenever someone manages to take offense.

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  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I wonder why the president of the Black Law Students Association wrote this “I guess celebrating whiteness wasn’t enough,” the president of the Black Law Students Association wrote in the forum. “Y’all had to upgrade to cosplay/black face.” She also objected to the mixer’s affiliation with the Federalist Society, which she said “has historically supported anti-Black rhetoric.” Was that pure overreaction (the black face charge–I guess that is a reference to the style of the announcement?) or was there more to it?

    This is actually a good point: we’ve only seen an edited version of the original invite, one provided by the Free Beacon, hardly a neutral reporter on the matter. I wonder if the whole of the invite looked like:

    Sup NALSA, Hope you’re all still feeling social! This Friday at 7:30, we will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House . . . by throwing a Constitution Day bash in collaboration with FedSoc. Planned attractions include Popeye’s chicken, basic-bitch-American-themed snacks (like apple pie, etc.) . . . Hope to see you all there.

    What was in those two “. . .” sections? Was this actually a “ghetto” themed costume party:

    Fairfield U. responds to ‘ghetto party’

    Is this another example of the right wing media tactic of taking a more serious complaint (The Fed Soc hosting a party explicitly mocking black students) and editing creatively to make it look like it’s only about some ancillary issue (the use of the word “Trap House”).

    3
  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    So, your theory is that @Stormy is what, part of the Conservative Pronoun Police?

    Literally all I said was _I_ like to use singular they when I don’t know what a particular person prefers. The fact someone stating how they write becomes (in your mind) “The Pronoun Police” is a perfect example of wr’s complaint.

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  21. @Michael Reynolds:

    Academia seemed irrelevant to me way back then, but now it seems positively toxic.

    He said at a blog written by two people whose careers have been in academia. (I mean, what is it with commenters who like to crap on the professions of the people they come here to read?).

    I would note that the academy produced the people who produced the vaccine that we mostly love around these parts.

    Are some academics assholes? Sure. But some human beings are assholes and academics are but a subset of humanity.

    And, as @wr notes, that two very young, very political people at an elite law school might be chesty and confrontational is hardly a surprise (or, really, evidence of the toxicity of academia). Hell, this isn’t even an academic conflict, per se.

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  22. @Chip Daniels:

    Like, how did this go viral, compared to the vast ocean of petty injustices experienced by ordinary people at their ordinary jobs every single day?

    Because the one kid recorded his meeting with that associate dean and the diversity officer.

    3
  23. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But hey, could we shake hands and move on instead of recording the meeting? I think that aspect of all of this is actually the most significant–that is purposefully escalating this to a major level and added a little more fuel to the national fire.

    The problem seems to be the administration wasn’t interested in shaking hands. They had an apology prewritten, pressured the student to sign it as part of a process of “character-driven rehabilitation,” and when he refused, they released a public statement declaring that the sent email contained “…pejorative and racist language. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms.” In other words, they publicly declared that they agreed with the interpretation of the handful of people who complained about the email.

    And when the student suggested discussing this personally with his peers who were offended to work things out, the response was “I don’t want to make our office look like an ineffective source of resolution.”

    So I would disagree that recording this was the “most significant” thing about this story. Secretly recording can be reasonably seen as problematic, but in my view, the facts regarding the conduct of the administration speak for themselves.

    7
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    That’s a bit overwrought, don’t you think? I don’t recall suggesting anything should be shut down. Certainly not all of Hollywood, I have a bunch of paid-up subscriptions to streaming services. I want to be entertained. In fact, I doubt you’ll find a case of me ever demanding something not be published or filmed or sung. Maybe, but nothing comes to mind.

    If I were going to criticize Hollywood for something other than their desperate recycling of any original idea anyone had ever, it would be that they do the bidding of tyrants for money. I was offered the chance to whore for the Chinese market, a big opportunity for me and for my publisher, and I refused. But I still don’t want to cancel Hollywood because I don’t need the whole world to agree with me. I’m still firmly in the ‘criticize culture’ movement as opposed to ‘cancel culture.’

    2
  25. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If I were going to criticize Hollywood for something other than their desperate recycling of any original idea anyone had ever, it would be that they do the bidding of tyrants for money. I was offered the chance to whore for the Chinese market, a big opportunity for me and for my publisher, and I refused. But I still don’t want to cancel Hollywood because I don’t need the whole world to agree with me. I’m still firmly in the ‘criticize culture’ movement as opposed to ‘cancel culture.’

    Good on you for not bending the knee for the PRC. I agree with that entirely. Add Blizzard games and the NBA to the whore list. But it is a good reminder that most of these big companies and organizations only have values when it aligns with the benjamins.

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  26. @Andy: I agree that the admin’s reaction was not the appropriate one, especially the pre-written apology. That is just gross, IMO.

    3
  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    As @Andy points out: it ain’t the kids, it’s the spineless grown-ups.

    I don’t know why you would take it personally when I snark at academia. It’s not a reflection on your erudition, hell, I’d be happy to take a class with you. I’d love to be able to download a Steven Taylor brain app. I’m more interested in the Bob Mortimer brain app, because I just love the way his brain works, but that’s beside the point.

    If I criticize some aspects of the military does James take it personally? Maybe. In any case, no offense or disrespect was intended. But I have to say, having been dismissed often for my lack of college education, I don’t think the occasional push-back against an institution that luxuriates in snobbery, is out of bounds.

    4
  28. @Andy:

    So I would disagree that recording this was the “most significant” thing about this story. Secretly recording can be reasonably seen as problematic, but in my view, the facts regarding the conduct of the administration speak for themselves.

    On this, we disagree. That was about escalating this into a gotcha story. It is not some strike for justice nor some fantastic case of light being a disinfectant. I am not 100% convinced the whole thing was an attempt to create a confrontation.

    4
  29. @Michael Reynolds: To be clear, since text like this has no subtlety or clear tone: I am not taking massive offense. I do find broad brushstrokes to be a bit tiresome, however. (You have to admit, when you go on these rants you really don’t focus very specifically, but call out all of academia).

    I have no problem with specific criticisms. And while I would not have handled the situation as was done by the associate dean in question, I also know that when you end up dealing with these types of situations it is easy to Monday Morning QB them (not that I have had to adjudicate anything quite like this).

    Mostly I just think that it is falling into a trap to take this case and then make sweeping statements about academia, or even about Yale. There is a current right-wing push to make higher education into a joke and I think that is to our societal detriment–not because I work at a university, but because education is vital to our survival in a host of ways.

    (And I will get crackin’ on that app 😉

    6
  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    It was a trilogy called BZRK. In I think the second book I basically blow up Hong Kong harbor, but oddly enough as the book is set in the future, I had conceived of a more liberal Chinese government and had treated them pretty well. They wanted all references to China to be rewritten as references to Russia. (No, really.) Not sure how they thought I’d be able to blow up a LPG ship in Moscow. My publisher backed me fully, but there must have been tears in the boardroom.

    The weirdest such requests came from a German publisher who wanted me to turn a lesbian character straight and eliminate all religious references. Told them to fuck off, too. You start down that road there’s no natural stopping point. Surrender once and you get in the habit.

    2
  31. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I sometimes play a video game/simulation called “Hearts of Iron” which essentially replays WWII from 1936 onward, but with a lot of alternative history options. China banned the game because the – historically accurate – 1936 borders depicted in the game are “distorting history and damaging China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

    Read it for yourself.

    The woke left may be thin-skinned, but they’ve got nothing on the PRC.

    5
  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There is a current right-wing push to make higher education into a joke and I think that is to our societal detriment–not because I work at a university, but because education is vital to our survival in a host of ways.

    Yes, there is, and yes higher education is absolutely vital, which is why I can only throw up my hands and laugh when universities insist on validating the attacks. I wish all my many allies on the Left could learn to run a Red Team exercise before they feed Fox News more fodder. Maybe take five minutes and think, how will this dumb slogan or reductionist meme or speaker cancellation or Maoist re-education seminar be shoved up our butts forcing us onto the defensive?

    One very big reason Democrats can manage to lose even when the public agrees with us, is that conservatives study military history and Democrats see the world as a series of teach-ins. We divide our forces again and again, flitting from one obsession to the next, all blithely indifferent to the real danger. We wander around the battlefield, incapable of making a decision and having it stick, incapable of prioritizing. We’re a big, sloppy, undisciplined field trip, and they’re shock troops. 48 years since Roe v. Wade and Democrats are getting their asses kicked on abortion, FFS.

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  33. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think that requires assuming intentions.

    Regardless, in my view, it’s better the bad behavior of the administration was brought to light. And regardless of the student’s intentions (which I don’t think are very relevant, regardless of what they are), it will ensure that the administration cannot retaliate against the student for resisting the administration’s demands.

    I can understand that, as a dean and administrator yourself, you don’t like the idea of students secretly recording a meeting with you. But even you admit that the administration did not act appropriately. It’s not in the national news solely because the kid recorded it – it’s in the national news because the administration failed to handle the situation appropriately. IOW, if the kid had recorded it and the administration had acted appropriately, then it wouldn’t be national news and probably wouldn’t be any kind of news.

    6
  34. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I think someone would have made the original email public by now, if this isn’t the original one.

    Some people use the ellipse as a period. I have a longtime journalist friend who writes his emails to me in such a fashion. I’ve seen other people do it. It’s just an affectation.

    6
  35. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m more interested in the Bob Mortimer brain app

    Dear gods! If only to have access to his random name generator!

  36. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    On this, we disagree. That was about escalating this into a gotcha story. It is not some strike for justice nor some fantastic case of light being a disinfectant. I am not 100% convinced the whole thing was an attempt to create a confrontation.

    I’m on the other side on this one.

    A student is called into the administrator’s office because of complains of racism. This is the sort of situation that gets students expelled. There is an absolute power dynamic in play (the student has zero), and without a recording of what was actually said, the administration can make any claim they want and have the presumption of truth fall to them.

    He was absolutely right to record the conversation. Without it there’s a they said/they said scenario with an absolute power differential. He did what any good lawyer should do: he got evidence.

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  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Perhaps this was a gotcha, but does it fall into the “investigative” category or the “phony” category? The diversity official publically called the student a racist and didn’t back that up with anything approaching facts. I wonder if the student has a lawsuit as an option.

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  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: What you said.

    4
  39. wr says:

    @Andy: “The woke left may be thin-skinned, but they’ve got nothing on the PRC.”

    Yes, that darn woke left that keeps passing laws forbidding the teaching of history if it makes a single parent feel uncomfortable. Or demands that pro-Holocaust views be given equal time if one tries to teach the subject. That woke left currently led by the governors of Texas and Florida, those damn libs.

    5
  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The diversity official publically called the student a racist and didn’t back that up with anything approaching facts. I wonder if the student has a lawsuit as an option.

    Surreptitiously recording a private conversation, publishing that recording, and then claiming it as the basis for a lawsuit is like the “parent murderer asks for leniency on account of being an orphan” of defamation.

    2
  41. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    The woke left that gets violent because someone “stole” their hair style? The woke left that says taco Tuesday is destroying a native culture? The woke left that’s offended by white women wearing hoop earrings?

    Yeah… there’s some thin skin on both sides.

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  42. Andy says:

    @wr:

    My point was that stupid performative complaining here in the US, by whatever side (and the right certainly has plenty of thin-skinned performative idiots), pales in comparison to the Orwellian heights the PRC goes to.

    6
  43. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What was in those two “. . .” sections? Was this actually a “ghetto” themed costume party:

    It’s pretty clearly a ghetto themed invitation and party, whether or not costumes are required.

    There’s a really good, upscale restaurant near me that would have a monthly “Hip Hop Brunch” where they play Hip Hop, have every menu item named after a rapper, and serve Purple Drank in styrofoam cups (their purple drank differs from the original recipe considerably, being a top shelf vodka, blackberry liquor, etc., rather than the traditional cough syrup and soda). It is either amazingly racist or hysterical.

    One of the menu items is the “NWA” (pancakes with Nutella, walnuts, and crème anglaise). It’s like that.

    There are 40-something women with silk scarves (you know the type) dancing in their seats. It is great. As the guy from the kitchen said to the bartender (I was at the bar enjoying an MC Solar, which I don’t recall the details of besides the sunny-side up egg), “Man, look at those crackers go. I never seen something so white.”

    I think the absurdity of the NWA puts this event a bit above the usual ghetto party, but I could be very wrong. They did eventually stop using styrofoam cups for their upscale purple drank.

    1
  44. I would make the general observation that we all should be cautious to be applauding the secret recording of conversations and running to media with the results.

    3
  45. @Mu Yixiao: As is known, tacos can no longer be served on Tuesdays and white women have been barred from wearing hoop earrings.

    5
  46. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I just want to note that this was a very good spot. Those ellipses are extremely suspicious, given the source.

    I do wonder what is up with my fellow white people on stuff like this. Why throw a “ghetto party”? I mean, I value the contributions of black people. I listen to jazz all the time, for instance. I’ll watch any play by August Wilson I can. I love the blues, and gospel singing. Wow, I’m lucky to be able to experience all that. But a “ghetto party”?

    4
  47. Gustopher says:

    So, Trent Colbert decides to engage in some performative assholery with his ghetto themed invitation, and when called upon to do the performative acts of contrition, balks?

    Ok, fuck him, treat it like a real racism, and kick his ass out. Actions have consequences, and if he doesn’t want the pretend consequences, he can get real consequences.

    And by going to the media, he has created a situation where anyone doing a background check on him is going to find this — which limits his options in the future, and if he doesn’t land on with wingnut welfare circuit (and this doesn’t seem worthy, so unless he is a great speaker that’s not going to happen), he will spend the next decade or two explaining to prospective employers that it was a youthful indiscretion, challenging the boundaries of free speech, and that he’s not a racist, etc.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would make the general observation that we all should be cautious to be applauding the secret recording of conversations and running to media with the results.

    My only concern there is the secret part. If you’re dealing with an HR style situation, you want everything recorded — either communicate in writing, or capture the audio and video.

    2
  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    77 years ago, 18 to 20 somethings walked straight into withering gunfire and stormed the beaches of Normandy anyway.

    These days, they’re so delicate that they’re triggered straight into collapse and trauma by emails.

    I weep for the future …

    12
  49. Andy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I just want to note that this was a very good spot. Those ellipses are extremely suspicious, given the source.

    Various articles, including the original one at Free Beacon, have a screenshot of the email with a single short redaction that reportedly was the location/address for the party. The ellipses used to quote portions of the email in the body of various articles hide nothing. And if they did hide something, the critics who received the email would have pointed it out by now.

    Secondly, it wasn’t advertised as a “Ghetto party” – and there is no mention of costumes or any kind of theme. Rather, the email clearly states it’s a “Constitution Day Bash.”

    Critics have cherry-picked the use of “trap house” and “Popeye’s chicken” and then interpreted them in a very singular and limited way that assumes bad faith. And then having assumed bad faith they then proceed to engage in a lot of dubious speculation about what the “real” theme/purpose/intentions of the party were while ignoring the other context in the email.

    And for people like Gustopher, that is more than enough evidence of supposed racism to kick someone out of school and ensure they are unemployable for eternity.

    And the school administration went along with that interpretation and assumption of bad faith by declaring that the email definitively used “pejorative and racist language” and that they condemned it “in the strongest possible terms.”

    The whole thing is a farce.

    6
  50. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Andy:

    Again, given recent behavior, does Fed Soc continue to deserve an assumption of good faith?

    5
  51. @Gustopher:

    My only concern there is the secret part.

    That is a rather huge part, however.

    1
  52. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    Critics have interpreted the use “trap house” and “Popeye’s chicken” in a very singular and limited way that assumes bad faith and then having assumed bad faith

    Why would you not assume bad faith when dealing with the right these days?

    I’m seeing a general lack of good faith coming from that quarter, between claims of socialism, tyranny, Dr. Seuss, deficits, stolen elections, etc.

    “Oh, the leopard is so cute, I’m sure his membership in the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party is just ironic.”

    3
  53. @HarvardLaw92: In all seriousness, there are plenty of brave people now (e.g., fighting fires in the west, getting people out of Afghanistan, treating people for Covid en mass in ICUs) and I sure there were assholes, jerks, and overly sensitive types in the 1940s.

    Really: the kids are alright–or, if one wants to be realist, no better nor worse than in the past (and I say that not to be argumentative, but because it is true).

    8
  54. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    And for people like Gustopher, that is more than enough to kick someone out of school.

    He was given the option of responding to his performative assholery with performative contrition — they even showed him exactly what he had to do.

    I also think people who reject vaccines out of pride and spite are at least partially culpable for what happens to them. Is that wrong?

    3
  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Nobody liked the overly sensitive whiners back then either.

    5
  56. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    The term for this is “Schrödinger’s Douchebag”: do something ambiguously racist in public so the other racists can identify you and reach out to you in private, but if anyone calls you on it, it was either a “joke” or they’re “misinterpreting”. Bonus points if you respond to anyone correctly pickup up on your intentional subtext with the “if you made that connection YOU must be the real racist!” move.

    9
  57. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I sure there were assholes, jerks, and overly sensitive types in the 1940s.

    I wonder what people in the 1940s thought about people who whine about other people whining?

    4
  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Actually, it isn’t,as Mu clearly pointed out. In this situation, where the kid’s future is quite literally likely to be on the line and the power differential is wholly tilted to the administration’s favor, he did exactly what he, as an aspiring attorney, should have done – he collected concise evidence and he covered his six. When that power differential isn’t slanted 0 to 100, and administrators aren’t having fainting spells over this or that delicate snowflake getting their nose out of joint over, G-d forbid, being offended, we can talk about the propriety of secretly recording someone that has your career in their hands. Until then, he’s probably going to make one hell of an attorney.

    6
  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Legitimate question: where do you keep your statue? Someone as rigidly and obnoxiously self-righteous as yourself must have a statue of themselves they keep around to genuflect to several times a day, so where do you keep yours?

    8
  60. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Again, given recent behavior, does Fed Soc continue to deserve an assumption of good faith?

    I always assume good faith unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

    Regardless, this was an invitation created by a student for an event that also included the Native American group on campus. If you want to assume bad faith for anything that is fed soc adjacent, that is your prerogative, but assumptions are not facts, evidence or truth.

    @Gustopher:

    Why would you not assume bad faith when dealing with the right these days?

    I’m seeing a general lack of good faith coming from that quarter, between claims of socialism, tyranny, Dr. Seuss, deficits, stolen elections, etc.

    See my response above. Again, you are free to assume bad faith if you want to. But an assumption is still an assumption and calling for a student to be expelled based on an assumption is, in my view, wrong.

    5
  61. @HarvardLaw92: True, but not really my point.

    1
  62. @HarvardLaw92: Ok, maybe it is the “secret and then going to the press” part.

    Let’s assume he felt the need to protect himself and so he made a recording as insurance. Ok, I can see that. But it ends up his future does not appear to have been threatened (at least there is no evidence to that end, even with the recording, unless I am missing something). So there was not need to go to the press, save to make an ideological point.

    4
  63. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    He was given the option of responding to his performative assholery with performative contrition — they even showed him exactly what he had to do.

    Is that wrong?

    People in positions of power compelling individuals to sign “confessions” for supposed moral sins that are based on bad faith assumptions is very wrong.

    7
  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’m sure, but then again I wasn’t interested in making your point. I was making mine.

    The difference isn’t the existence of these people in different eras. The difference is in how society treated/treats these people in different eras. Be a delicate whiner at Normandy, and you’d likely have been shot by your own. Be one in the 40’s and you’d likely have gotten your behind kicked until you toughened up a little.

    Be one today, and we’ll fall all over ourselves babying you on the fainting couch while you hold on to your boo-boo blanket. We encourage and celebrate, hell we kowtow to, fragility & weakness. It’s not a positive development.

    8
  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    By my read, the administration came out with its manufactured apology / condemnation and then he went to the press. He’s entitled to fight in his own defense, which he did. He didn’t take their smear campaign / capitulation lying down – he fought back. As he should have. It is yet another reason he’s going to make one hell of an attorney.

    Someone, somewhere along the line, should find the cojones to tell these kids “Suck it up, crybaby. The world doesn’t give a sh*t that you’re delicate sensibilities got tweaked.”

    It’s a great deal more kind than letting the world teach them that lesson, which it will, in a much harsher way.

    7
  66. Andy says:

    Question for Stormy and Gustopher:

    When is it ok to mention Popeye’s chicken and when is it not?

    I have one down the street and occasionally my family gets food there. In order to avoid the appearance of being “ambiguously racist in public” perhaps you can explain in detail how to mention Popeye’s chicken without being presumptively accused of being racist. Bonus points if you can explain how and when to use it around my black friends and relatives.

    8
  67. @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m sure, but then again I wasn’t interested in making your point. I was making mine.

    And, weirdly, I am making mine.

    Is it really impossible for you to just have a conversation?

    Be one today, and we’ll fall all over ourselves babying you on the fainting couch while you hold on to your boo-boo blanket.

    I guess not.

    I really do not understand your need to escalate.

    You made an over-broad statement about kids these days (and kids back then). Why double down?

    6
  68. @Stormy Dragon:

    I wonder what people in the 1940s thought about people who whine about other people whining?

    There is that, too, isn’t there 😉

    4
  69. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Is it really impossible for you to just have a conversation?

    You don’t have conversations, you have lectures and/or critiques, neither of which I assure you I am remotely interested in, which is why (as I’ve previously noted) I don’t directly engage you. Imagine how easy it would be for you to do the same 😀

    2
  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And that wasn’t escalation. It was bold faced contempt.

    1
  71. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “Yeah… there’s some thin skin on both sides.”

    Yup. On the one side, you’ve got some unpleasant college kids and a few idiots on Twitter. On the other side, you’ve got elected officials using their state power to forbid people from talking about subjects they don’t like on penalty of firing or worse. I can see why you think they’re exactly the same.

    5
  72. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Until then, he’s probably going to make one hell of an attorney.”

    Sure, maybe Amy Chua will recommend him for a Supreme Court clerkship. And then in three years, a Republican president can appoint him to a lifetime position as a judge, where he will rule with all the wisdom he has gained through his epic life.

    Because he’s white and he goes to Yale — what else do we need to know that we want him high up in the power structure?

    2
  73. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Maybe we should make all twenty year olds walk into a hail of machine gun fire to prove their worth before they’re allowed to join society. That would toughen them up fast!

    By the way, I can’t remember which war you served in. Could you remind us?

    2
  74. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “And that wasn’t escalation. It was bold faced contempt.”

    What a lovely guest you are here! I can only imagine what a delight you are at parties!

    6
  75. CSK says:

    @wr:
    Colbert also belongs to the Native American Law Students Association.

    6
  76. flat earth luddite says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Eons ago, I knew an Ocean Tech (AA) grad who worked on NOAA research vessels. I asked him what the job entailed, and his answer was that his main job was to make sure the PhD’s don’t do something fatally stupid. From what he said, that was pretty much a 24/7 gig at sea.

    As a paralegal, in many offices my primary responsibility was training ‘baby lawyers’ how to be actual, functional, practicing lawyers instead of prancing, thin-skinned, functional idjits. Again, effectively a 24/7 gig.

    As a outsider, you might expect Yale graduates would do better, but by and large, you’d be disappointed. Of course, YMMV.

    2
  77. steve says:

    Things don’t exist in a vacuum. I doubt very much that this invitation just appeared out of the blue. I am betting that there is some context and that in that context the guy thought it likely to provoke a response on which he could capitalize. The kid is now a right wing hero. Nice law clerkships for him. I don’t know what it takes to make a good lawyer so cant comment on that, but I strongly suspect the leader of the Black Law students will make a crappy lawyer. I think she probably got baited and took it hook, line and sinker.

    Popeyes? I am the only one aware of the culture wars surrounding Popeyes and Chik-fil-A? Conservatives go to Chik-fil-A and liberals go to Popeyes, or at least they don’t go to Chik-fil-A. Yes, the world is that silly. (I think Popeyes has much better chicken since the best chicken is served on the bone. However, Chik-fil-A has much better service and their shakes are awesome.)

    Steve

    1
  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Speaking of the overly dramatic … 🙄

    7
  79. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Bold faced contempt for grievance culture, but then again I suspect you already knew that when you replied.

    7
  80. JohnMcC says:

    @steve: And don’t forget that potato waffle thing!

  81. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    perhaps you can explain in detail how to mention Popeye’s chicken without being presumptively accused of being racist.

    The basic-bitch Trap House shit is what gives it away. He ain’t being subtle.

    People in positions of power compelling individuals to sign “confessions” for supposed moral sins that are based on bad faith assumptions is very wrong

    I think of it more as “here, shithead, this is what you do to make it go away.” The guy can follow or not. They’re throwing him a bone before starting the rest of the process. Does he want it to go away, or does he want to try to prove a point? Up to him.

    3
  82. DrDaveT says:

    @Andy:

    I always assume good faith unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

    So, in the specific case of the Federalist Society, this means…? We have met these people before.

    2
  83. Franklin says:

    So I haven’t read the billion comments here, but compare this to the incident at the University of Michigan and the professor Bright Sheng showing a production of Othello in class, which included Lawrence Olivier in blackface. Sorta! (Not in in a minstrel way.) Outrage machine kicks in, prof can’t teach the class anymore. He’s not even a member of the FedSoc.

    Long story short, the onus should be on the students who were supposedly triggered to prove how they are being currently harmed by a movie made well before I was born, much less them.

    6
  84. Ohwell says:

    @Andy:

    The administrators did not have a prewritten apology but suggested language and said they would help him draft it. Saying he would apologize to anyone who came forward was a copout designed to redirect the issue and make it unpleasant for anyone to actually deal with it (I agree recording the conversation was not a problem, I don’t know why the author harps on it).

    The email was thoughtless and racially insensitive but the administrators make it clear that no formal charges are being issued, conservatives are the ones caterwauling here.

    2
  85. Ohwell says:

    @steve:

    No one’s doubting your ability to play dumb.

  86. Ohwell says:

    @wr:

    Article says he’s native American.

  87. Ohwell says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Why, if you have nothing to hide? It wasn’t a conversation between friends or lovers and he broke no laws.

    1
  88. Ohwell says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There were lots of people whining in the 1940s too, the “Greatest Generation” is just another conservative myth.

    2
  89. Ohwell says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Do you actually know anything about history beyond the Hollywood version of it?

    3
  90. Ohwell says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I have no problem with the recording but he was never in danger of being expelled in fact they say twice explicitly that no formal charges are being filed. (I don’t think the student did this just to start an incident).

    3
  91. Lounsbury says:

    @HarvardLaw92: As an anecdotal support to this and to the whinging thin-skinned privilege that US Unis and academia are certainly promoting from what I see from the American office recent grads hires: a Columbus kerfuffle I was sucked into responding to.

    As my firm makes international day holiday notices (with the primary purpose of letting US know about office closing for other holidays and vice versa) we had an utterly idiotic kerfuffle over the poor HR girl tasked (sitting overseas from America) with this. She sent Columbus day notice (with the naïve best wishes included, a silly touchy feely thing she does, hardly worth comment). This provoked outraged – yes outraged emails from some “socially conscious” millennial-age staff about celebrating murderous blah blah and insisting that a new announcement be made celebrating Indigenous People’s Day… The poor HR girl then reissued with apologies for an entirely non-existent (relative to the US Federal and the specific USA jurisdiction) holiday, merely causing confusion except among the thin-skinned woke gits.
    And I had to intervene to lay down the policy that regardless of country, any such notices would use only and uniquely the official legal name as per national law of a holiday. All over an idiotic and pointless holiday that as far as I can tell is of interest only to poorly learned Italian Americans with thin skins and to equally thin-skinned woke Left oriented ‘socially conscious’ immature twats.

    While of course Internet elevates trivialities for punching the over-clocked chimpanzee tribe outrage hormones, this internal incident from freshly out-of-Uni staff rather suggests to me a genuine reality to the silly coddled outrage culture.

    Of course the commentators SD and wr do their best to heroically contribute to the brave-thin-skinned tribe’s reputation.

    6
  92. wr says:

    @Lounsbury: “Of course the commentators SD and wr do their best to heroically contribute to the brave-thin-skinned tribe’s reputation.”

    Well, we’re certainly grateful that you’re here to explain just how superior you are to every other living creature. I’m sure your “office” people appreciate that, too.

    4
  93. George says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    1. I believe the invitation was intentionally racist. Trying to get away with being openly racist in ways you can later claim was only unintentionally offensive is pretty much one of the main goals of College Republicans these day

    Can Native Americans be racist against Blacks? If racism refers to systemic racism, Blacks have more power (and influence, cultural and political) in American society than Native Americans have.

    Native Americans were wiped out so thoroughly that they’re rarely even mentioned.

    2
  94. @wr:

    What a lovely guest you are here!

    Indeed.

    He also doesn’t understand that he is here only at my forbearance because he mostly plays nice with others and does provide a perspective. Why he can’t engage with me like an adult is a mystery.

    4
  95. @Ohwell:

    Why, if you have nothing to hide?

    Because the purpose of such a recording, when given to the press, is to try to embarrass someone, not to protect oneself. It lends itself to selective editing and other problems.

    Look, if the notion is that meeting like this should be open fora to the public, cool, but on-sided recordings coupled with publication in the partisan press is not good-faith behavior.

    And the whole “why be afraid if you have nothing to hide” rarely ends well and is frequently a road to abuse.

    2
  96. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Being completely honest, deference (which you seem in some ways to expect) isn’t in my toolbox. I treat you as just another commenter, not as king of the sandbox, I consider what you have to say no differently than I would if anybody else had written it, and if it merits contempt, I give it the same degree of contempt I’d deliver if someone else had written it. As I’ve said before, we’re not in your classroom, and I’m just absolutely not going to act or behave as though I were.

    I’m just not awed, in any way, and disinclined to pretend that I am (which is why I never, and will never, comment on any thread you post beyond the pro-forma daily forum.) I actively avoid them.

    If that’s reason to toss me overboard, then so be it *shrug*

    1
  97. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Lounsbury:

    We had one of that sort somehow manage to evade detection until we’d already hired her. The tirades in response to perceived slights and dialed up to eleven outrage concerning various social justice issues which tweaked her comfort level were both legendary and disruptive. Since she seemed more concerned with being a crusader than she did with being an attorney in a firm whose entire book is basically corporate work, we helped her pursue that quest by shoving her out of the door. Nobody misses her.

    4
  98. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ohwell:

    Could you be any more vague?

  99. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I treat you as just another commenter, not as king of the sandbox, I consider what you have to say no differently than I would if anybody else had written it, and if it merits contempt, I give it the same degree of contempt I’d deliver if someone else had written it.

    I don’t think you treat our host the way you treat any other commenter. Am I wrong? Who else do you routinely treat with contempt?

    In fact, I think if you routinely treated someone other than our host this way, he would be very likely to kick your ass to the curb.

    Also, it’s been 30 years since you graduated from Harvard. Don’t you think it’s time to develop some other personality trait for your nom du comment? Have you done nothing else notable or amusing in the past 30 years?

    Might I suggest:
    – Contempt Factory
    – Legal Seagull (I just like the rhyme, even if it is a little forced)
    – These Boots Were Made For Licking
    – Porqua, Porcupine?
    – Chili con Tempt

    4
  100. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Just another smug Harvard asshole who thinks that treating his inferiors with common courtesy is far too great a burden for one so important.

    2
  101. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “Why he can’t engage with me like an adult is a mystery.”

    Well, you don’t make enough money. You teach at a school that isn’t Harvard. And yet somehow you have the temerity to disagree with him instead of knowing your place.

    Good thing you’re not Black…

    4
  102. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ” The tirades in response to perceived slights and dialed up to eleven outrage”

    Let me guess — she wanted the occasional bathroom break? She expected overtime when you worked her 80 hours a week? She objected when a partner grabbed her ass?

    It is appalling what the true rulers of the world are forced to put up with these days.

    1
  103. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Who else do you routinely treat with contempt?

    You can’t be serious. You? Wr? Stormy? The rest of the Bolsheviks scattered among the commentariat here (which doesn’t include our hosts). You get actual contempt, which is to say that 99% of the time I just roll my eyes at whatever you’ve said and move on. He doesnt. He might get dismissive if I’m not really interested in what he has to say (which I admit is the norm, which is also why I avoid him). I’ve read the interaction above several times, and for the life of me, I can’t see any rationale for being aggrieved unless it’s failure to show some expected level of deference, which I’ve already noted isn’t going to happen.

    But kudos to you and Bolshevik #2 for your skill at toadying. Well done.

    4
  104. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    I’m sure he can speak for himself as to his grievances. It’s abundantly obvious where yours stem from, Comrade.

    The rest of what you’ve written isn’t worth replying to.

    4
  105. Gustopher says:

    @PriceyExclusiveLawSchool92: If you roll your eyes at the comments and ignore them, you aren’t treating me with contempt, you are treating your screen with contempt at worst. You aren’t treating me at all.

    The question wasn’t “who do you have contempt for?” it was “who do you treat with contempt?”

    Did they not teach reading comprehension at Harvard in the early 90s? You might want to take a continuing ed class at your local community college, and… hey, then you could freshen up your handle!

    2
  106. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s more I’m treating your point of view, your ideas, your beliefs, your contribution – the things that constitute *you* beyond the essentially blank sheet bag of biological processes that make up corporeal existence – with contempt. I don’t know you personally, therefore I have no basis for treating *you* with contempt, but to the extent that your ideas and thoughts, your beliefs, reflect who you are as a person indeed your identity as a person, is there really any material difference?

    What constitutes the greater degree of contempt – having been considered, then dismissed, or never having been considered in the first place?

    For what it’s worth, I get that you dislike me. The boulder sized chip on your shoulder makes that abundantly evident. I just don’t care. Feel free to rant if it makes you happy, I suppose. I ignore that too.

    2
  107. @HarvardLaw92: There is nothing in our interchange above that required you being an ass. Nor was there anything in my responses to you that were anything other than civil.

    Adults can have a civil conversation without being jerks, or so one would think.

  108. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Kindly identify specifically where you believe I was being an ass, please?

  109. @HarvardLaw92: It’s the part when a fairly anodyne conversation makes a turn toward personal and goes hard to contempt. It would seem to me that we could discuss the issue with contempt being necessary (and the part where you then have to detail your grievances against me is just the cherry on the sundae).

    But in simple terms most people find unnecessary contempt to be a known hallmark of behaving like an ass.

  110. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Again, where did I show you contempt? I’d legitimately like to know exactly where that occurred, so that I can understand what I am evidently missing. If you are referring to this (since you cited it):

    Be one today, and we’ll fall all over ourselves babying you on the fainting couch while you hold on to your boo-boo blanket.

    I should think it would be obvious that wasn’t directed at you, in any way.

    I showed contempt for grievance culture and the whiny kids who make it up, but that was never veiled to begin with. That was the whole point that was being made in the first place. I’m an attorney. Make the point – defend the point. I’m geared for argument much more so than I am geared for conversation.

    If it’s the whole “overly broad” thing, I thought that was both sophomoric and situational, along with a tad pedantic, so I blew it off in response. I tend to do that. Mea culpa.