1. Any ideas about what was going on here? I’m stumped. This is New Orleans public defender—that is, former New Orleans public defender—Ashley Crawford:
She began working for the Orleans Public Defenders last October, and since that time apparently handled over a hundred cases without having ever acquired a license to practice law. The Orleans Public Defenders said the bar certificate of good standing she presented to the office last fall when she was employed had been falsified, and Ashley used the bar number of another attorney. She’s fired now, and facing charges.
Crawford graduated from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2016, then clerked for a New Orleans judge beginning that fall. Judicial clerks are not required to pass the bar exam, though many do.
Why would she—would anyone—do this? Now she is facing criminal penalties, and will never be able to practice law legally. It should be far easier to pass the bar exam and be admitted properly than to fake having a law license. She also has caused havoc for the judicial system: any defendant convicted while being represented by Crawford has an automatic right to a new trial.
There’s a lesson, a tragedy, a made-for-TV movie here; I just wish I knew what the lesson is.
2. More on cultural literacy...In the video project I worked on last week, the producer was giving me good-natured crap about using so many cultural references from decades past in my seminars because “most people have no idea what you’re referring to.” She, for example—I’m guessing she’s in her forties, but she looks younger—had never heard of the film “Nashville,” just the pot-boiler TV show of the same name. I told her that just as I knew all about “Stagecoach” and “Citizen Kane,” which were made long before I was born, in my teens, educated and literate people today need to be familiar with movies like “Nashville” to be able to understand their own culture and communicate about it intelligently.
Just today I saw a reference in a book review to a “Zelig-like” historical figure. “Zelig” was a strange Woody Allen faux-documentary/comedy from 1983 that added a word and a concept to public discourse. Zelig, played by Allen, was a mental patient who was a human chameleon, blending into any group or situation, losing his identity, and somehow managing to be present, and virtually invisible, at historically significant moments. Is there any other word for someone who keeps turning up at key historical moments without being essential to them? Would my producer friend have understood the reference?
A lack of cultural literacy—let’s just consider movies for now—is a serious handicap in understanding what’s been going on in politics and the Presidency since mid-2015, and accounts for much of the general hysteria and lack of perspective among the public, in social media, and the news media. The following movies are among those that are essential viewing, by my analysis, for anyone seeking to make sense out of the Post 2016 Election Ethics Train Wreck and why it happened—that is, is happening.
- “A Face in the Crowd” (1957)
- “The Caine Mutiny” (1954)
- “Network” ( 1976)
- “A Man For All Seasons” (1966)
- “The Best Man” (1964)
- “All the President’s Men” (1976)
- “Rocky” (1976)
- “Animal House” (1978)
3. Related to the list above: Here is an essay about the moral and ethical thrust of the late Herman Wouk’s novels. I recommend it.
4. Beloved Rugby’s sudden demise leads my mind to unexpected places…
- I watched “Toy Story 3” again last night with my wife. The story is ultimately about growing up, and the wrenching moment when you realize you are leaving the innocence of childhood behind forever, and there’s no going back. Suddenly I realized that this was exactly what my son was experiencing as he comforted his dog in Rugby’s last moments. Grant had always had him as his loyal companion and playmate since my son was 9 years old. Now he is 24, and the last link to his childhood was fading away before his eyes. This major life transition was right in front of me while it was happening, and I missed it.
And if I hadn’t watched “Toy Story 3,” I doubt that I would have realized what had happened at all.
- There was another story last week about a Connecticut man who killed his terminally ill wife. He shot her, and quickly confessed to police.He’s been charged with manslaughter. California, Vermont, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, have aid-in-dying laws. Connecticut, like those an extremely liberal state (Has abortion pulled the Left away from sufficient reverence for life, and toward such measures as euthanasia and the withholding of medical care from the elderly in the interests of reducing health care costs? I think so…) has so far failed to pass a law to allow terminally ill patients to die under certain conditions.
I’m certain this episode will be used to turn the tide in Connecticut, as the maxim “hard cases make bad law” will once again be borne out. I take the same position as the various disability advocacy groups that oppose such laws. Cathy Ludlum, of the disability advocacy group Second Thoughts Connecticut, said:
“What people have to keep in mind is that if you legally and medically redefine death as a treatment option, that changes a whole paradigm. For those of us who live with chronic and progressive disabilities, we oppose it because we see how medical treatment could be curtailed. At what point does society start making decisions like, ‘You’ve lived long enough?’”
Society is already perilously close to that point now.
Yet I had no qualms deciding that our dog should be euthanized to spare him an ordeal that was imminent and unavoidable, and our family considered it to be a compassionate and responsible decision.
5. “A Nation Of Assholes,” National Parks edition. I was not aware that people trashing National Parks was a rising phenomenon, or that it was becoming common to hear hikers blasting music on trails, using the rationalization that they were “hiking their own hike.” This article (Pointer: Althouse) appears to blame social media, and the idiotic impulse to take selfies while doing something destructive and stupid. One of the commenters on the article channeled my 2015 post, “A Nation of Assholes: The Ultimate, Undeniable And Crucial Reason Donald Trump Must Never Be President”:
“It seems as if some people have decided that acting like Trump is the thing to do… Rules? What rules? They are for other people and NOT for self entitled, arrogant, super special people. Get caught? Flip out, lie or pretend to be the “real” victim while seeking sympathy. Sorry, but I’m SICK of people misbehaving and not taking any responsibility for their own mistakes.”
I stand by that old post, but this is Trump Derangement. Leaders and politicians breaking rules and avoiding accountability is not only not a phenomenon unique to President Trump, he’s not even the most flagrant practitioner. Indeed, I think it’s pretty clear that the conduct of other recent leaders and politicians and the hypocrisy it represents is one reason Donald Trump was elected. The Clintons, Joe Biden, Justin Fairfax, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Schneiderman, all of the media harassers, cheating athletes—-you can add to the list as well as I can. The ethics corrupters around us are legion.
The parks phenomenon seems particularly unrelated to Trump’s obnoxious ways. If I had to find a related factor, it might be the progressive acceptance of illegal immigration, which sends the message that breaking rules and appropriating assets intended for the benefit and enjoyment of others is no big deal. Another theory: in a society that increasingly attempts to constrain personal liberty and free expression, some are tempted to use the apparent freedom of the wilderness to express their pent up frustration by misbehaving.
Ann’s reader comments on this topic are fascinating.