Over at f/k/a, David Giacalone wonders why few people have taken a stand on Harvey Silverglate’s outrageous contention that the “Harvard Factor” has somehow killed satire in the legal profession.
Stand at my wall and start screaming “Hektor,” why don’t you?
Professor Silverglate reminds me of the guy, Dr. Pritchard I believe, who wrote the poetry textbook in Dead Poets Society. He tries to make objective the subjective art of “comedy,” despite the fact that he is not funny.
Silverglate is annoyed that so many people reacted poorly to the New Yorker cover of Barack Obama dressed up in so-called “muslin” attire. His reasoning for the backlash over the cover is that “elites” — like Obama — have become so stifled in their thinking that they can no longer take a joke.
He specifically calls out the HLS Parody (full disclosure: I was part of the show each of my three years). He states that none of the humor approaches the frankness or “brutality” of previous incarnations.
Excuse me while I stand on my desk and shout “yawp.”
Maybe back in Silverglate’s day, all the good ‘ol boys could sit around and tell watermelon jokes with impunity. Today, at Harvard and I’d imagine most anywhere else, you can still make fun of racial and gender stereotypes, you just have to be a little bit more intelligent and creative about it. Why? Because “Gee golly, them girls sure can’t drive,” just isn’t funny anymore. It’s called progress.
More ad hominem attacks on Silverglate, after the jump.
F/k/a quotes Silverglate just getting silly:
[O]ne may not safely say in Harvard Yard what is constitutionally protected in Harvard Square. The same may be said for just about every campus where there once was a hallowed hall of learning.
Harvard Yard is easily one of the best places on the planet to run your mouth without real world consequences. Clearly, Silverglate has never attempted to “parody” a townie in Southy on Saint Patrick’s Day. Satire has never been the dominion of those who desire safety. Any 1L could tell Silverglate that speech isn’t free, it is protected and that has to be enough.
Telling the truth is always dangerous. Telling the truth while trying to be funny only
increases the level of difficultly. Silverglate seems to want to use satire as a way to say offensive and hurtful things without getting in trouble. True satirists try to say truthful and insightful things regardless of the consequences.
Nobody likes “backlash,” but it is a small price to pay for laughter. I learned that at HLS.
did Harvard Law kill parody, satire & humor? [f/k/a]