Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Power of Parenting and Archibald Cox

I believe that it is very important to begin brainwashing one's children as soon as they are expelled from the womb. This morning I happily realized that I have been quite successful at this. My 9-year old excitedly called me downstairs to show me the players he created for a video football game. There were 2 running backs. One was named Barack Obama, and the other John McCain. Obama ran with the ball, gaining about 50 yards. McCain - well, let's just say he didn't do so well.

Of course, I am not the only parent that brainwashes their children. Many do. I saw a story on the news today about an 12-year old child who was suspended for wearing a homemade t-shirt to school that said something to the effect that Obama is friends with terrorists. He was told by the principal that he could either change his shirt, turn it inside-out, or be suspended. He chose to be suspended. The child's father believes this to be a violation of his First Amendment rights and is threatening to sue.

Luckily for me, I took a class in law school entitled "First Amendment Law" which was taught by a visiting professor from Harvard. You may have heard of him - Archibald Cox. (If you don't know who that is, look it up). The University of Colorado School of Law is highly-regarded and very selective in their admissions process (which would explain why they didn't accept me when I first applied). After transferring there, I was worried that my intellect may not match that of the other students.

Professor Cox was tough - very tough. He had clearly spent many years using the "Socratic Method" to torture Harvard law students (it's worse than waterboarding). To my surprise, as the students began to recognize that Cox was far more challenging than other professors, they began to skip class. And I don't mean a class here or there. I mean every day. How could they skip? This was Archibald Cox! He's a First Amendment Law legend! He wrote the fricking text book! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity! What a bunch of wimps!

The problem for me was that with the resulting small size of the class, Professor Cox had fewer students to call on. And for some unknown reason, he liked to call on me a lot. (I'd like to think it was my due to my extraordinary wit and intelligence - but it wasn't). He was very old at this time and wore huge hearing aids. I was very shy back then and terrified that I would expose my ignorance every time I spoke. As a result, when called on, my voice would get very, very quiet. Professor Cox didn't seem to recognize my fear, so he would say "What ?" while fumbling to turn up his hearing aids. But the fear and humiliation were worth every second of the torture. He told us stories of his time as the Watergate Special Prosecutor (fired by Nixon) and the many times that he appeared before the US Supreme Court (more than any other attorney). It was fabulous. He was fabulous.

One day we had a visitor in class - famed photographer Annie Liebowitz. She came to watch him in preparation for her photo shoot of him for a cover of Vanity Fair. She saw me being humiliated. But I digress. I brought this up only to get to the matter at hand, which is that the Supreme Court has routinely decided that students do not enjoy the same degree of First Amendment rights as the rest of us. Bummer for this kid's dad. He thought he'd get rich being an ignoramous (oops, I mean Republican).

For more on Archibald cox, read the following article.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think it would be really cool to have a tail that you could use like a monkey." Uttered by Gunnar while watching an episode of What Not to Wear in which a weird woman walked around with a fake tail attached to her buttocks.


JIMSIGHT said...

I am not sure what is funnier, that she had a fake tail or that your kid is named Gunnar...LOL...You are not from Louisiana...LOL...

Promise, when I stop laughing I will reread the blog and the sites...LOL

SF said...

hey now, I think I should take umbrage at that Mr. Jim....I AM from Louisiana ;-)

But good on ya, B, for the proper brainwashing of the kids. Take 'em to the moveon thing on Thursday! Professor Cox would approve!

JIMSIGHT said...

What did he want those stupid tapes for anyway...LOL..

Hey Mc Cain can't run due to injuries, kind of like his non-responsiveness to e-mail.

Tinker V Des Moine...Bong hits for Jesus...diametrically opposed decisions based on the whim of the Supreme Court...

Still giggling about the tail thing..

Briana said...

Hey, what's so funny about the name Gunnar? I do have Nordic ancestry, and there was no way I was going to name my kids some kind of boring, unimaginative name like, hmmm, well, I'm sure you can think of one!

JIMSIGHT said...

Umm, let's see..Jim ah yes there's one for sure.

In retrospect I think it was the entirety of the "Uttered by Gunnar" sentecne that had me giggling more rather than the name itself.

Gunnar is a fine name indeed. Apologies all around.

Charmaine said...


It's not funny to make fun of a kid’s name.

Surely, most people would never have made fun of your parents lack of imagination in naming you "Jim".

Charmaine said...

Hey, I just noticed your name for my blog. Bratty kid sister.

JIMSIGHT said...

I prefer spinster, you just don't see old maids driving turbo bugs.