Welcome To My World

Suicide jokes, however, are fine...

Suicide jokes, however, are fine

In the ethics CLE (Continuing Legal Education) world, seminar attendees rank presenters. Ethics is a much-detested topic; if you can crack 3 (out of 5, the best), you are doing well. My scores are usually between 4.6 and 4.9.

Attendees are also invited to write comments. I recently received the survey summaries from an out-of-state seminar I taught to a section of that state’s bar. The response during an immediately after the seminar was terrific, so I expected my usual ratings. The coordinator sent me an e-mail stating that my scores were “very good overall” (4.7, in fact) but that there were “concerns about a rape joke in my presentation.”

There was no rape joke in the session. I don’t make rape jokes.

I had been talking about Donald Trump’s lawyer, in an incident I posted about here, incompetently saying that “you can’t rape your spouse.” “You can rape your spouse,” I said. “I have this image of hopeful spousal abusers reading this idiot’s comments and saying, “This is great!”

I wrote back to the coordinator and said that I wanted my objection to this characterization in my files and on the record. I know how it works. All that is remembered later is the complaint, and groups, even bars, are controversy averse. Next year, when they are deciding whether to have me speak, all that has to happen is for someone to say, “Wasn’t there some rape joke he made that we got flack for?” That would be enough; nobody would check, nobody would investigate. I would be eliminated as a potential speaker, probably for all time. They might even tell another bar association about the episode when they are called about whether to use me. “Well, his seminar was popular, but there was some problem about a rape joke he told.”

I asked to see all the surveys. The “concern” about my “rape joke” consisted of exactly one anonymous comment out of a hundred attendees.

I would estimate political correctness hyper-sensitivity by single attendees cost me about a client a year. The other members of their groups have to be saddled with boring ethics seminars because one lawyer had to prove how vigilant he or she was in being properly offended.

(Now THIS is a rape joke...and I would never tell it.)

23 thoughts on “Welcome To My World

  1. I doubt it was hyper-sensitivity. I bet they weren’t listening / paying attention and when you said “rape”, their ears pricked up and only caught part of it. Sure, I suppose that’s hyper-sensitivity, but it’s more ignorance.

        • Maybe Jack can tell us if it was. In the meantime, it’s not an unnatural conclusion.
          We live in a “rape culture” manufactured by feminists. As if there weren’t enough real rapes without inflating the figures and hyperventilating every time a woman has second thoughts about having sex. It’s a natural outgrowth of making rape meaningless that the very word is considered a violation. And very real rapes perpetrated by people the media likes are ignored or justified.

        • “Blah, Blah, Blah, Ginger, Blah, Blah,” was the first thing that popped into my mind as well. I don’t remember ever seeing the cat one. Kind of reminds me of you arguing with Charles.

          Maybe some time you can do a post on the wonderful ethics of Larson’s decision to simply retire once he felt he was done.

        • [Reply to Jack’s Sept 11 at 1:18 am]
          Leave it to Gary Larson to hit the thoughtfulness home run. Thanks for reminding me of that one. I needed the laughs, to cope with my pains.

          Is it accurate to say that you are a victim of a violation of the Niggardly Principle(s)?

          I remember yacking in a booth in a diner with close friends as a young adult (meaning: we were of majority ages, but still prone to embarrassing ourselves in public, occasionally, with our boisterousness). For decades I have wished I could remember exactly what the hell we were talking about, quietly and unnoticed, that led to one of my buddies, in a moment of ecstatic reaction, bursting out LOUDLY, in a one-word, climactic (appropriately enough!) summation of the point one of us others was making: “ORGASM!” At that moment – all my facial muscles tight, my lips stretched from ear to ear, covering my face with my hands – I stifled a belly laugh, and bent forward toward the table partly doubled-over in laughter (with the incidental lowering of my profile in the booth, in admission of my own embarrassment). My other buddy, after a quick glance around the room and roll of his eyes (all of which I caught in the split second before I closed and covered my eyes), just glared at our fellow loud-talker-using-a-sex-word, after which I overheard him grumble to Mr. Loud, in a parental tone: “That was disgusting.” I stifled more laughter, and finally sat up straight again to do my own look around the room to survey the damage. Two or three patrons were still staring over towards us, and I think I counted two subtly shaking heads, as faces turned away from us and back to their own business. Not surprisingly, Mr. Loud was defensive, seemingly oblivious to the impacts of what he had just done a moment before. To this day, I still remember him with a bewildered look and slight, coy smile, his mouth even hanging open a bit, glaring back at my reprimanding buddy with that “What? Who, ME? WHAT was so disgusting?” look. Unfortunately, there did not appear to be any reactions by fellow diners – a la the “When Harry Met Sally” diner scene, when Meg Ryan faked an orgasm – that smacked of saying to a waitress, “I’ll have what he’s having.”

          We guys never again went together to that diner.

  2. Like it or not, Jack, some things you just have to leave alone. I am a walking encyclopedia of historical anecdotes that could spice up an otherwise boring speech or presentation, or illustrate the sometimes family-unfriendly points you have to make as an adult.

    However, I don’t use any of them in person or anywhere I can’t restrict the audience (like facebook) or be anonymous (like here), partly because some are simply too controversial, partly because some of them are a bit shaky historically, partly because a lot of them involve “traditional” heroes who might offend someone simply because they are white and male or because they have something in their background that might disqualify them from being held up as exemplars. The last thing I need is someone to say I mentioned Washington or Jefferson in a favorable light so I must be a racist, or I mentioned 9/11 (to illustrate bravery) or the crusades (to illustrate the power of faith) so I must be an Islamophobe, or I mentioned Columbus in a favorable light so I must be a chucklehead who isn’t up-to-date. Sometimes it’s dangerous to even correct a factual error made by someone (revisionist black or feminist history) or point out that things are not so simple as they make them out to be (Ireland, Andrew Jackson, the run-up to the Civil War), because they will become irrational and simply scream at you or worse.

    I am starting to get to the point where I don’t care, however, political correctness has become too oppressive, and if someone gets offended I will just match him scream for scream, curse for curse, etc.

  3. I would ❤️ To hear u speak mr. Wallace! Are u ever in Scottsdale or near by states? I’m in profession of beautifying women – dedicated to this blog too.

  4. New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard

    According to Judge Richman’s opinion, Giraldo self-identifies as a “male-to-female transgender person.” When she was taken into custody at North Kern State Prison, she was evaluated for placement for the duration of her sentence. She was classified as a Level III inmate with 36 points, which gave her a “primary placement recommendation” to be placed at California Medical Facility or California Men’s Colony, institutions with experience in handling transsexual inmates, where they “are relatively safer… than at other state prisons.” Despite this recommendation, she was sent to Folsom and put into general male population.

    “Within a week of her assignment to FSP, an inmate employed as a lieutenant’s clerk requested that plaintiff be assigned as his cellmate,” wrote Richman,” which request was granted. Beginning almost immediately, and lasting through late January, the cellmate ‘sexually harassed, assaulted, raped and threatened’ plaintiff on a daily basis.” Then this first cellmate introduced plaintiff to “his friend, another inmate, who in late January requested that plaintiff be transferred to his cell, which request was also granted.” Just weeks later, this second inmate “began raping and beating her, again daily.” Although Giraldo reported this abuse to prison officials and begged to be transferred to a different cell, her requests were ignored for several weeks.

    Finally, after suffering a rape and attack with a box-cutter by her cellmate on March 12, 2006, she was moved to “segregated housing.” This was just days after she had told a correctional counselor about the abuse to which she was being subjected, and pleaded to be moved to a different cell, pointing out that her original classification meant she was not supposed to have been assigned to Folsom. The counselor’s reaction was to tell her to be “tough and strong,” and the counselor discouraged her from taking any further action, returning her to the cell. Just two days before the final incident, she had also spoken with a medical employee, who noted the conversation in her file but took no steps to report the matter to authorities, because “I don’t want to get him into trouble.”

    Giraldo was moved to a unit for psychologically troubled inmates, but lived in constant fear that she might be sent back to general population and placed with another abusive cellmate. She was released on parole after filing her lawsuit, shortly before the trial of her claims was to take place.

    The state argued that there was no general duty under tort law for prison officials to protect inmates from attacks by other inmates.

    Inquiry into a death, Coroner J Abernethy, Wednesday 21 July 1999. Ref: W308 201/99 JI-D1.

    December 1997. After an appearance in a Local Court, bail was refused and Ms M. was remanded in custody. Late on 22 December she was transported to a remand and reception centre where that night and into the morning of December 23 she underwent induction assessment. She was identified as transgender by the welfare officer and it was determined she should go into a “protection” wing. Having spent December 24 in court Ms M. spent December 25 and 26 in “strict protection”. During this time she was brutally raped at least twice during daylight hours. The attacks were so vicious that two other prisoners took the unusual step of reporting the incidents and giving sworn evidence. On December 27 Ms M. was found dead in her cell hanging by a shoelace.

    Thank you Jack for doing what you could to make the acceptability of prison rape obsolete.

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