When I’m watchin’ my T.V.
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me
–The Rolling Stones
(FYI, this post was written while watching the NBA draft, so it is especially sloppy. I do not, however, have a good excuse for the picture of Elie after the jump.)
Fashion is hard. No one knows that better than I. Currently, I have two suits at my disposal. Two. One’s blue and stretches at the seams when I put it on and the other is brown and it billows out around me at the slightest provocation, looking for all the world like a suit my older brother gave me that I just need to grow into. Brown and blue. I try my best to religiously switch back-and-forth, but most weeks are taken up by only one of the suits. This week has been brown in case you were wondering. I used to rock a charcoal number, but that thing was so big, I appeared to be doing a very sad David Byrne impersonation.
If you’re wondering why my patented “Who gives a f&*%?” personal anecdote this week is dedicated to couture, it’s because we are on the cusp of a revolution. Not since Kriss Kross wore their Starter jackets backwards (R.I.P. the one who died) has a fashion statement arrived with such force and absurdity. And not since Mike Tyson made everyone run out and get face tattoos has a menacing athlete changed the aesthetic game so boldly. This week, Aaron Hernandez got arrested for murder. Miranda means he didn’t have to say anything. It was his right to remain silent, for christ’s sake. Something something something…FASHION STATEMENT!!!
Ed. note: This post was written before this morning’s arrest warrant was issued for Aaron Hernandez on charges of obstruction of justice. If he ends up in an SUV being tailed by helicopters, again, we’ll have more Patriots jokes.
“The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
— Karl Marx
What was I doing on June 17, 1994? I don’t really know. I was fifteen years old and I can assure you that a great deal of my day revolved around sex and the fact that I wasn’t having it. At fifteen, the mere thought of a breast could send great paroxysms of excitement through me. You have to understand, dear reader, that a boy of fifteen is less a human being than a walking, talking priapic trainwreck. Add to this lovely vision the fact that the Internet did not arrive in my small Kansas town until years later and I can guarantee you that I was probably staring at a catalog of some sort. Future generations will know neither our pain nor our ingenuity, will they? Anyway, I had not meant to go all Alexander Portnoy on you in this opening paragraph, but honesty’s cost in this case is a foul peek into a hormone-addled mind. Oh, I’m sure I went outside for at least a little bit on that fateful day. Being summer and all, I might have gone to the pool. Maybe played some basketball. Perhaps hatched a scheme to score alcohol. It’s possibly I did any number of things. The only thing I can guarantee is that for most of that day, I thought about sex. And the fact that I wasn’t having it.
On June 20, 2013, a television news copter hovered high above Boston, chasing a white SUV that didn’t appear to be in much of a hurry. Inside that SUV was a man who is currently famous for playing professional football. It is unclear whether yesterday marked a sort of tipping point like it did back in 1994. When a man famous for playing professional football instead became famous for murder.
I told my dad “Fudge you” just once. I was fifteen or sixteen and he was being a real butthole. Saying some crap about the clothes I was wearing. My jeans were too fricking big or something, I don’t know. Style, huh? Anyway, I was standing there with my big fricking jeans literally hanging off my backside, when dad starts in on me. Saying all his crap about my big fricking jeans. So I say it. I just up and say it. “Fudge you.” Life, as it has from time to time since that fateful moment, paused. And not slightly, but for, like, ten fricking minutes. Time just stood freaking still and the moments to come just waited there, I guess. Waiting to freaking happen cause time had stood still and all. Well, when time started up again, I hightailed it back to my room as my dad just stood there silently. Not a freaking word to be said, I guess. I must have sat in my room for two hours, until my mom came home and retrieved me from my self-imposed exile. “Cheese and rice, what did you say to your father? He’s sore as heck over something you said.” I told her and she blushed and I blushed and she told me I ought to apologize. She told me to pull up my pants, too. On account of my butt showing.
There are moments in life that just scream for curse words. For sailors, those moments take up their entire lives! For the rest of us, we must pick our moments carefully. One Connecticut man recently cussed a fudging blue streak all over his speeding ticket, earning the ire of the small town that issued the citation.
And now it’s not just a huge freaking deal, but also a possible crapstorm of constitutional proportions…
Lionel Messi should blame his tax problems on ‘the accountant of God.’
Being caught for tax evasion seems like a fairly high-class problem to have. Like finding a place to dock your yacht or having gout. Al Capone, of course, is the patron saint of tax fraud. And syphilis. And Geraldo Rivera televised spectaculars. But mostly of tax fraud. And then there’s Wesley Snipes, who is the modern-day tax evader par excellence. In researching this post, I just found out that Snipes was released from prison just this past April. Welcome back Wesley!
So yeah, evading taxes tends to be, like, the sport of Kings. Capone and Snipes. Snipes and Capone. Any way you cut it, you’re in a pretty select group when you don’t pay your taxes. I, myself, have never had the chance to evade taxes as the IRS has never come after me all that hard. One of the perks of being destitute, I suppose. My cramped studio apartment is hot in the summer and cold in the winter and during all four seasons smells like old cheese. The McDonald’s sign outside the window keeps my girlfriend awake at night. But seriously, I could brag like this for at least two thousand words.
What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that the very idea of evading one’s taxes is as foreign to me as the game of soccer, a game in which I share the estimable opinion of the Prince of Soul Glo, Darryl Jenks: that’s a real cute sport.
Which is why it is fantastic that I can explore these two alien worlds concurrently. Let’s talk Lionel Messi. Let’s habla fútbol.
We’re going to talk about a$$holes today, class. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the way in which our society exalts certain bullies — the successful ones, I guess you’d say. If you’re laboring under a mountain of garbage work at a big law firm right now, you’ve probably run into a few of these. They’re your bosses. Because, if there’s any rule more reliable than gravity, it’s that the legal profession is thick with barely-functioning sociopathic goons who are sadistic to a degree rarely seen on Animal Planet. These a$$holes are lauded for their rainmaking potential and their ability to camouflage any recognizably human trait hidden deep within themselves. They are terrible and they probably run your life. So it goes.
But another class of individuals not far removed from the Biglaw freak show are those coaches (especially football) who are recognized as geniuses. Those successful coaches who look across the human landscape and only see so much raw material. So many interactions that must be scripted and manipulated in order to win some g-danged ball games. Genius has never been so depressingly common. But it’s from this class of individual that we build great hoary temples of cliche. Management principles, warfare strategies, motivational seminars, successories, visualization and actualization. This mountain of detritus is sustained by a steady stream of manure emanating from our nation’s greatest a$$holes. This, of course, is not meant to tar all coaches with this brush. Many coaches manage to retain some shred of their humanity while navigating the make-believe combat of their chosen sport. These coaches are usually losers, of course. But still. They exist.
Mike Gundy is not one of these exceptions. Mike Gundy is an a$$hole.
“In four minutes, it would be another hour; a half hour after that was the ten-minute break. Lane Dean imagined himself running around on the break, waving his arms and shouting gibberish and holding ten cigarettes at once in his mouth, like a panpipe. Year after year, a face the same color as your desk. Lord Jesus. Coffee wasn’t allowed because of spills on the files, but on the break he’d have a big cup of coffee in each hand while he pictured himself running around the outside grounds, shouting. He knew what he’d really do on the break was sit facing the wall clock in the lounge and, despite prayers and effort, count the seconds tick off until he had to come back and do this again. And again and again and again.”
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a longish piece on just what in the hell was happening at the IRS office in Cincinnati. A Kafkaesque tale of bureaucratic intrigue, the treatment does little to tell us why in the hell we care just what in the hell was happening at the IRS office in Cincinnati. I’ll leave that determination to the qualified pundits and their punditry.
But what the Times article does do is shine a light on what it means to be a lawyer. What it means to others and what it means to us. Completely by accident, the mess at the IRS tells us how important lawyers are. And how impotent we are. This makes little sense even as I type it. But bear with me. Please. It is not often that meaning comes so nicely gift-wrapped.
Tim Tebow is one of the most polarizing figures in America. And for good reason. While a good deal of America finds him to be a media-created proselytizer with the foot speed of a backup Tight End and the arm strength of a backup Tight End, the rest of America is stupid. And this is coming from someone who sported quite the Tebowner when the Broncos embarked on their unbelievable run with Tebow at the helm two years ago. It was magical. It was exhilarating. It was a tremendous run of defensive football.
There are always athletes that explain something about our culture. Our divided self is on full display every time Floyd Mayweather fights. It was on display when OJ Simpson literally got away with murder. Bird and Magic did something similar, if on a lesser scale, in the 80’s. The common thread, in case it isn’t already obvious, is that our polarizing sports figures have largely explained a black-and-white America. Our problems with race, that old American bugaboo, have often found their expression in sports. And for good reason as most men in this country pay more attention to sports than they do politics or entertainment or law or any other bullshit thing that isn’t debated on ESPN’s First Take. If men have a problem in this country, that problem will find its way into our sports.
But what of Tebow? Why do we debate him? Why do we care about a bad quarterback? Why do you care?
On Tuesday, I wrote about my own student loan debt. And how someone needs to do something quick about it before it, and things, get out of control. It took a great deal of personal responsibility on my part to own up to the fact that the government needs to bail me out. While I agonized over the decision of whether to come out against my own financial ruin, I eventually decided that if I could save one student from a lifetime of crippling debt, one adult from poverty, one person from pawning off their Billy Ripken f**kface baseball card just to buy eggs, well… I hope that one person is me.
In related news of Randian pluck and rugged individualism, America’s baseball teams have been swallowed whole by a hungry horde of destitute billionaires. The latest in this very proud lot is the Ricketts family, who bravely spent close to a billion dollars of someone else’s money to buy the Chicago Cubs. This week brought news that the clan may move the Cubs out of Wrigley Field, their home and frat boy toilet for close to one hundred years. And why is such an iconic urinal being threatened?
Because the owners of the Cubs don’t have as much money as they pretend to have. And because someone must pay. And that someone is someone else.
I am supposed to be paying something on the order of $2,500 a month in student loan repayments. I currently make a shade over $55,000 a year which, after taxes, comes out to a tick under $3,200 a month. Please don’t mistake me for a braggart, dear reader, as I am a man much like yourself. I get up every morning and slip my cheap suit on one pant leg at a time. Just like you! It’s just that, after my threadbare suit is hanging from my gaunt frame, I have dozens of dollars to my name. Dozens.
If you are reading this website, you are well-acquainted with the state of student debt in this country. Above The Law, once a bastion for bottles, models, bonuses, and benefits, covers the hangover now too. The hangover is a useful start for any consideration of debt in this country, as it turns out. Shot through with the morality that only the descendants of Puritans can muster, debt in this country is treated not unlike a sexually transmitted disease or pleated pants: it’s moral turpitude that led you here.
Remember kids, banks will never ever ever forget your student loans. They may forgive them, though. As if they’re handing out papal dispensations from on high, banks are passing moral judgment even when your duties as a debtor may be discharged.
This is the moral universe we currently reside in. And it’s one that has seriously warped consequences.
In honor of last night’s first round of the NFL Draft, I decided to scrap my usual routine this week. That routine consists of combing the internets for sports stories that ever-so-slightly touch on legal matters and bringing those stories to you with a healthy dose of deranged non sequiturs. This column rarely makes sense and when it inexplicably does, it may be even more unreadable. No matter, as last night’s auction of human beings gave me an idea that, I hope, will really knock your socks off your now-naked feet.
Because football players are largely detestable human beings, I thought it would be interesting to take a stroll through the last twenty years of NFL drafts to recount the first round draft picks who have had scrapes with the law. From felonies to misdemeanors to a sidebar on the bizarre physical specimen that was Mark McGwire’s brother, herewith is the Rap Sheet Roll Call of the NFL Draft, Round One. The 31st and 32nd picks do not have a twenty year history and were, thus, omitted.
All facts cited come from the players’ Wikipedia entries, unless otherwise linked. Because I’m not going to the trouble of hyperlinking everything while the NFL Draft is on.
Let’s talk Mel Kiper’s hair and Mark Mayock’s lateral lisp…
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.