NYU Law Karaoke E-Shaming Ethics Verdict: Approved

Horrible music

Above the Law has posted an e-mail sent to the NYU law school community to reprimand and shame a law student’s dorm neighbors who kept the student awake into the wee hours on a week night, singing karaoke. Most e-shaming is excessive, vindictive and unfair, but I think this is an example of the best of the breed:

Date: Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 4:20 AM
    Subject: An Open Letter to the Occupants of Mercer #[redacted]
    To: Law School Exchange

It is now 4:20 a.m. on a Friday morning. You got back from what I assume was Bar Review about a half-hour ago, at which point we embarked on a musical journey through some of the worst drunken music taste and singing abilities this unfortunate soul has had the misfortune of enduring. At first I assumed it was only an after-party, which for a while progressed to karaoke, the most mortal of sins, but now based on the cacophony and number of sources of noise I’m convinced you just have a 10 piece drum set and your friends all brought amps over for band practice. This was not my first route. I spent 5 minutes standing outside your door knocking, [to] no avail. I was just down at the front desk telling him of my strife, and apparently the best he could do was send a porter when one became available. That was 15 minutes ago now. Since I’m clearly not getting to sleep any time before you, I figure that my best option to round out the night was a good-old-fashioned public [shaming].

I really didn’t want to do this, but seriously. I knocked really loudly, and for a long time. And you’re just being the most phenomenally outrageous a**holes right now. So fuck you, sir.

Your music is awful. Whatever frat house your deficiently developed super-senior ass was finally kicked out of after university policy mandated you leave clearly had the right idea, and if it were up to me I would do the same. Unfortunately you apparently somehow bought your way into another 3 years at NYU, where apparently you were also able to pick up some expensive speakers, much to my and the building’s chagrin. In all of our interests of peaceful coexistence, sleep, and avoiding frivolous litigation, I implore you: shut the fuck up.

I have 9:00 AM class, you dick.

I approve. The lesson being taught here includes respect, fairness, empathy, consideration, good citizenship and  accountability, all values that in a community setting like a university campus are worthy emphasis, repeatedly and often. The shaming is not excessive for the offense: there is no excuse for blasting out one’s neighbors (apparently with the Union Gap or something equally hideous) without prior permission or at least notice, and refusing to respond to the complaint outside the door (or having the sound amped up so high that a solid knock can’t be heard) is beyond any reasonable excuse. Moreover, classes just started: the e-mail is timely and useful for establishing some basic rules of comity.

As for the incivility…I tend to think it’s warranted for style and emphasis, and if not, excusable at 4:20 AM from an author who is trying to be articulate while having atonal versions of “Red Rubber Ball”  drummed into his skull at eardrum piercing levels.

Besides, anyone who blasts karaoke in a dorm that late on a Thursday night is a dick.


Pointer: Above the Law

Graphic: Lifehacker

7 thoughts on “NYU Law Karaoke E-Shaming Ethics Verdict: Approved

    • I like Gary. But he could really sing (still does, in fact), and I have heard some awful amateur attempts to sing Union Gap songs. I do think his band could have come up with just one hit that wasn’t a clone of the others.

  1. I was with you right up until you The Cyrkle reference. Red Rubber Ball, even when sung badly, is better than 3/4 of the stuff that’s come since.

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