We heard through the grapevine that Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit gave ATL a shout out during a Federalist Society lunch earlier this month. According to our tipsters, “his biggest advice to any summer associates in the audience was ‘don’t show up on David Lat’s blog, Above the Law.’”
Well, the first summer associate tale of 2008 has made its way into our tips inbox from Atlanta. A summer associate at Alston & Bird decided to share his quirky sense of humor and alter ego with the rest of his summer class. Our tipster explains:
[This e-mail] was sent by an Alston & Bird summer… (as his cross-dressing alter-ego Divljan Shatterhand Steele) to the entire Atlanta summer class. The email, besides being super weird, is pretty innocuous. However, the pictures on his Facebook account could give him some serious trouble — besides the multiple pictures of him dressed in drag as his alter-ego, there is a picture of a pie with a gummy-bear swastika…
Needless to say, the email has already been widely circulated. A&B has a progressive reputation, but this might be a bit much. Given the current state of the market, Alston might be regretting hiring such a huge summer class (look at the recipient list, which likely only includes the summers who are working the first half) in Atlanta. This guy isn’t doing himself any favors.
The bizarre e-mail, involving tarot cards and multiple personalities, is available after the jump. If you’ve been wondering about the history of neckties, you’ll definitely want to check it out.
We have redacted the SA’s name and ask that you not identify the person in the comments. Feel free to refer to him as “Divljan” only. Thanks.
Here’s the e-mail with the origins of the summer’s alter ego and of the neck tie:
From: REDACTED (Summer Associate)
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 9:37 AM
To: REDACTED (A Whole Bunch of Summer Associates at Alston & Bird)
Subject: This week’s random (but very useful) information
My name is Divljan Shatterhand Steele. I am one of many many quirky characters you will meet through REDACTED. People say we look a good deal alike, but I don’t believe it. Here is a picture of me, just so you can have an idea what I look like….
A bit more about me: I was created on December 6, 2006 while REDACTED was in his first semester of law school. You see, REDACTED learned to read tarot cards from gypsies in Croatia. However, these same gypsies predicted that REDACTED would die of a massive heart attack on his 25th birthday. REDACTED did not actually die, and with this failed prophecy, he lost all faith in the powers of the tarot. Therefore, he created me to store and act upon all that legendary mysticism. So now I’m a tarot expert, and I frequently do tarot parties around the Provo, Utah area.
Now, you may be thinking, “Divljan Shatterhand Steele, that’s an interesting name!” Well, REDACTED had a specific reason for each of my names. The Steele comes from my older sister, Magnolia Steele, the world-famous Dolly Parton impersonator, who was named after the Dolly Parton movie Steele Magnolias (the spelling is from Remington Steele) … anyway, since she’s my sister, I share her last name. My first and middle names (Divljan and Shatterhand) are after famous literary characters…see if you can figure them out. If not, maybe they will be the subject of a future mailing.
Anyway, I was talking to REDACTED, and he indicated that you may be interested in a few of the random bits of information I have locked away in my head. So he asked me to liven up your summer weeks with a weekly regular email addressing a topic that will certainly be of interest to all of you. If anyone is on this list who doesn’t want to be, please just tell REDACTED, and he’ll pass the word on to me. Also, if anyone is not on the mailing list who does want to be, please apologize for us and let us know! Also, feel free to forward this fascinating document to anyone who may care!
With the introduction out of the way, let’s get to the matter at hand. REDACTED told me that last week he was telling you about his Glagolithic Croatian tie. As the history of the tie is an interesting tidbit, he suggested I cover it this week. So, without further ado, I present to you the story of the necktie.
Have you ever wondered where the necktie comes from? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer to this question is “No!” You may think it insignificant, but, as Sir Percy put it, a tie is “the apotheosis of all neckwear…[it] distinguishes the man of refinement from the merely ordinary; it sneers at the severity of the stock. It is the only item of dress that expresses true individuality. And whether is be made of lace or silk or the finest loom it thrives on ingenuity, on originality, and above all on personality down to the last skilled of twist of bow or knot”
The necktie plays such an important role in the wardrobes of so many of us. It is a magical item that turns “casual” to “dresser-up” or “relaxed” to business-like.” I feel an item of so much mystical, transformative power deserves a bit of explanation.
Well, it may surprise you to know that the tie actually comes from Croatia! That’s right, folks, it’s one of the many far-reaching inventions of that tiny country on the Adriatic!
You’ve heard of kilts, right? You may be familiar with Scottish clans having particular kilt patterns which represent their families. Well, the same was true with the Croats…the difference being that they didn’t wear dresses, they wore scarves around their necks. Whenever they went out to war (and that was a popular pastime in Europe in the Middle Ages) they would suit up with a fancy scarf around their necks to do honor to their family name.
Well, in addition to winning the “Best-dressed on the Battlefield” award, Croatian soldiers also garnered fame as great horsemen. Around the middle of the 17th century, since there wasn’t enough going on in Croatia, Croatian horsemen were hired as mercenaries to fight in the Thirty Years War (guess how long it lasted!). These mercenaries fought with valor, were commended for their bravery, and eventually made it to the Big Room, Versailles! Their mission, save King Louis XIV from a horrible fashion faux pas!
You see, some bright soul had decided that powdered wig was the way to do your hair in High Society in those years. I happen to agree, a powdered wig does have a certain je ne se quas that real hair just seems to lack. Well, unfortunately, someone else had decided that the large, serving-platter-sized starched collar was also in vogue that year. Unfortunately, wigs and enormous collars just don’t go together! All the fashionable m’lords were spending so much time and effort on their collars, and no one was complementing them, because their long, powdery wigs would hide all that work!
Enter the Croats. Not used to the Western style, the Croats didn’t know about the collar (though the wig had caught on even as far south as Croatia…there’s just no holding back genius). As they swaggered in to Court, the King was aghast! He was unable to listen as his aides described the valorous deeds of these fine horsemen; he couldn’t take his eyes off their neckties! As soon as the audience was ended, he sent his valet to bring him back a necktie a la croate.
Well, once everyone saw the Sun King’s New Clothes, it was only a matter of time before the starched collar got the axe and the cravat took over. Actually, the word used in many languages for “tie” today is some variation of “cravat,” which is based on the word for “Croat” (The Croatian word for Croat is Hrvat). It was brought to England by Charles II (who was hanging out in France while Oliver Cromwell was making alterations to the wardrobe of the English monarchy — heads were so last-season!). Once the English picked it up, it quickly spread to the far corners of the world. Though alterations have been made to its shape over the years, the necktie has become an irreplaceable piece of the well-dressed gentleman’s wardrobe ever since!
The Croats are VERY proud of their role in the development of world fashion. About the tie they say “It took a vast army for Napoleon to conquer Europe, but Croatia, with just a simple knot, has the entire world by the throat!” Just a side-note: the record for the world’s largest tie is held by the city of Pula, Croatia:
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s presentation. I welcome suggestions for next week’s topic. If anyone would like to contribute an interesting trivial tidbit, this is also welcome! Please just tell REDACTED, and he will pass them along to me. There is no subject too obscure or too trivial!
As always, if you liked this week’s topic, please tell everyone; if you thought it was lousy, please tell no one!
That looks like all I have planned for this issue! Farewell!
Divljan Shatterhand Steele
Crazy, but informative. We like it.