Monday, January 10, 2022
To honor Sidney Poitier we watched "The Lilies of the Field" last night. What an odd movie. I don't think I knew, or at least I didn't remember, that the nuns were East German refugees, which gives the whole thing a strange spin- they escaped godless Communism and that alone seems to reinforce their faith. More than that, though, Who is Homer Smith? Where did he come from? Does he actually experience any sort of spiritual growth or transformation? From the outset he is so easily persuaded to stay on that we have to question whether he has changed at all by the movie's end.
Thursday, January 06, 2022
I am presently representing a defendant in a Child Victims Act matter, somewhat of a departure for me. I don't mean to suggest for a moment that the sexual abuse of children is anything but horrible, but the sheer number of these cases is staggering. The lawyers who are representing the plaintiffs (I have represented plaintiffs in these sorts of matters myself once and a while) frequently seem to be over-valuing the damages potential- many, many of the plaintiffs appear to have dealt with the trauma successfully, and I get the sense that a fair percentage of the plaintiffs and their lawyers are opportunistically looking to collect on the tort de jour. I don't doubt that most of what is claimed happened, and I also believe that it was harmful to the victims- but I wonder about the quantum of damages, and once again I am forced to wonder if quantum correlates with the ability of the defendant to respond in damages.
Wednesday, January 05, 2022
For some reason I just thought about the late Emily Remler. I haven't listened to her in years, and now I have remedied that. I did not know that she'd been married to Monty Alexander, who I have been spending some time with. I suppose the universe is telling me something
Tuesday, January 04, 2022
This review of Knocked Out Loaded is so good I want to be able to come back to it again and again. I think about Bob Dylan kind of a lot, and what I think is that his great subject is how to live authentically. On his early recordings that means looking at post-WWII America and trying to come to grips with why it was like that when its promise was something completely different. This is probably projection on my part: if the other thing I think a lot about is law, the American legal system, and particularly Constitutional Law then what that means is that I am struggling with some of the same questions in a narrower context.
Of course there was always more than just the social justice stuff going on. Young Bob Dylan, like all versions of Bob Dylan, was a great romantic, which means that he is always in a sort of quantum state, a particle and a wave, in love and heartbroken, angry, sad, elated, rueful. This is, I think, why his work is so different than anyone else working in his chosen form. It must be strange for him: his subject is himself,. his own greatest invention, but somehow the world keeps shouting at him, "You are writing about us." Sometimes, though, the world shouts, "This is not about us." When that happens we get Greil Marcus' great remark, "What is this shit?" (Does Greil regret that remark? Probably not.) Knocked Out Loaded is one of those moments when the world wanted something else from Dylan, which doesn't make it good or bad, or accessible or anything other than what it is: an artifact, a message sent but perhaps not received.