During her last week here at Above the Law, Kashmir Hill and I went out to lunch. In her usual, insightful, Kash way, she said to me, “When you first started here, I thought your hatred for law school and lawyers was just your schtick. Now I see that it’s not. You really don’t like them.”
No doubt. It sounds like hyperbole, but I really probably hated 50 percent of the people I went to school with or worked with. And then I probably had no opinion (but assumed the worst) of another 30 percent. So, during my time at law school and in a Biglaw firm, I felt hostility towards eight out of every ten people I met.
Why? Because lawyers suck. Because normal-thinking law students who desperately want to turn themselves into people who think like lawyers are some of the worst people on the planet. For God’s sake, read a warning label. Read the DMCA. Lawyers did that.
I made my friends. As for the rest, Shannon Sharpe once said, “I’ve never called anybody ugly. Do I think people are ugly? Yeah, I think he’s ugly, but I’ve never said that… Is he my friend? No. Did I ever view him as a friend? No. Do I view him as an acquaintance? No. Do I like him? No. If I see him in a snowstorm, his truck is broke down, mine is going perfectly, would I pick him up? No.”
Regular readers know this already. And there are a bunch of people nodding and saying, “Right back at you too, tubby.” But I bring this up now because your inclination is going to be that the young man we’re about to talk about is joking. You’re going to think he’s saying things for effect. But when a man posts a screed to his law school listserv to explain how he hates most of the people he goes to school with, and that he wants to be a writer and not a lawyer, I believe.
You should too….
This letter was posted this morning on the Yale Law School Listserv. “The Wall” has been featured here before, but never with such… profane focus. Here’s the opening (there is a lot of profanity here, profanity that I’m not going to bleep out because it kind of ruins the vitriol and also it would take too much time):
Dear tYLS or tWall or whatever dumb shit you call it these days:
I am a second-semester 3L. How exciting. In a surprising turn of events, I decided I want to work for a couple of years at a law firm but eventually try to become a published author, or, if that fails, get a Ph.D. and try to become a professor.
Why am I telling you all of this? It’s because I wanted to thank you all for inspiring me to follow my passions and my dreams. Specifically, these passions and dreams are writing and making fun of people.
I realized I hate law and politics. Why? Because I literally hate like 90% of you, and honestly I don’t really feel like going down the path that involves being stuck with even more people like you who literally have no sense of humor and get offended over literally everything. You think Clarence Thomas hates YLS? Clarence Thomas ain’t got SHIT on me.
Preach on. I’m guessing this guy is Republican (but calls himself independent or libertarian or something). I’m guessing that not based on specific grievances, but just because every now and again, Yale has this effect on conservatives. Not that it matters to me:
I’ve watched as you guys get offended over the dumbest shit and wax political over the dumbest shit. LOL. I mean wow, and seriously, this fucking school. If the sticks up your asses were any larger, you guys would give Muslim extremists a run for their money. I thought Muslim terrorists were pretty bad for getting offended to the point of wanting to cause physical violence over a drawing, but I’m willing to bet there are a couple of words I could throw out there on this forum that would turn even you guys into rabid angry dogs. Anger. And Hatred. Over a WORD. A FUCKING WORD. USED OUT OF CONTEXT. I’ve come to realize that even at the smartest, most “enlightened” institution, students can be literally retarded and have no basic grasp of logic or rationality.
Yeah, I mean, this is how lawyers and wannabe lawyers kind of think. Wannabes get “offended” over really minor stuff. Lawyers sue over minor stuff. Successful lawyers get rich by sweating the small stuff.
The kid is a minority. I can speak from some experience that being a minority at law school, watching all these other people try to twist and bend into a conformist box that you need to be in to get a Biglaw job or a feeder-judge clerkship, made me want to vomit.
You guys openly judged me for not speaking out after the Yale DKE scandal, telling me I didn’t care enough about sexual assault and feminist causes. For your fucking information my sister had been sexually assaulted the winter before, and I had written my senior thesis, law school personal statement, AND 250 on human trafficking/sexual assault. You guys then criticized the shit out of “monster” parents like Amy Chua and other tiger mothers after the Battle Hymn/WSJ incident, not bothering to think perhaps you might have been seriously offending some Asian students, who, like me, may have grown up under similar circumstances and still loved our parents and knew our parents loved us. To show you why that is offensive, imagine the extremist reaction if someone on the Wall criticized black or Hispanic culture. I’m not sure how criticizing Asian culture is any different, but I guess we don’t count as people. Finally, in the coup de grace, you guys criticized me for being a flake and giving up on my public interest dreams and going corporate. Little did you know the reason I decided to go corporate was because my parents, who are making less than $20k to support 4 students (i.e., family of 6), declared bankruptcy the summer before law school and I thought as the oldest son it was my responsibility to do something about it. The affirmative action “debate” was the camel that broke the straw’s back, and actually, that was the first important step that pushed me towards trying to realize my dreams of writing for a living.
For me, it was the Kiwi Camara “nig” protest that made me irrevocably done with law school and all the people in it.
Our guy curses a bit more, and then he ends with pretty much my entire theory of writing on Above the Law:
In a slightly more serious note–if I could convince even just ONE of you uptight motherfuckers to just relax a little bit, learn to laugh, stop getting so offended over everything, and stop being so judgmental and hypocritical and hurting other people’s feelings in the process, the burnt bridges would be so worth it.
I mean, here’s the danger for this guy, as only Billy Joel can explain it:
And there’s always a place for the angry young man
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand
He’s never been able to learn from mistakes
He can’t understand why his heart always breaks
His honor is pure, and his courage as well
He’s fair and he’s true, and he’s boring as hell
And he’ll go to his grave as an angry old man.
Nothing is quite as sad as the angry old man (or blogger for that matter).
You can read the guy’s full letter on the next page. I wish him the best of luck. It’s not as easy as it looks to make a career out of being a hater….