Sunday, June 29, 2008
I never heard anyone cop an attitude at a juice bar. I never saw anyone whine at a juice bar. No one care about status. No matter who you are you get the same juice and the same seat and the same service as anyone else and no one expects special treatment.
You do not pick a juice bar on the basis of its name or the training of the cooks and juicers who work there. Performance is the only thing that counts; the better the juice, food and service, the more customers it has. As a customer, if you do not produce you get no juice, or anything else.
Law schools should operate more like juice bars.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This not to say there is no danger here. People are mugged, there is drug violence in the favelas and I was warned not to go in certain areas. Still, your average Brazilian seems kind, polite, humble, and honest with little interest in chiseling anyone. There was little yelling or speaking in cell phones at top volume while walking down the street. People form lines for elevators and buses.
I have heard Brazilians say they do not have race problem. On the other hand, slavery did not completely end here until the 1880s and close to 40%of the Africans taken into slavery and brought to the
What makes the race issue so complex is that
Someone wrote or said something like “
(Do not be misled by the photo of the dog my local beach. The most popular dog in Rio, as best, I can tell is the poodle. This is followed by the dachshund which goes to show that bad taste in dogs is international (As a former owner of a dachshund I am permitted to say this).
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I am finishing a month of teaching in Rio. My first trip to Brazil. I am teaching 30-40 students law and economics in the day and going to as many soccer games as I can at night. The teaching is easier going than in the States since they have all taken a course in economics. The beaches in Rio are fascinating. If you like shopping and I do, you sit on your rented chair and the "stores" come to you -- food, including set up and cook on the spot, drink, clothes, jewelry, tattoos.
There other day one of Rio's small children who are sometimes alone on the beach was near me. He was not begging nor was he selling anything. He was thin but in a way that 8 year olds are. He was also shy. Finally, I asked one of the strolling vendors to ask the child his name. It was Pedro. We shook hands and Pedro continued to sit alone sometimes venturing into the rough seas and then hovering about. After a a couple of hours Pedro left. The last I saw him he was crossing the very busy six lanes of traffic that separates the beach from the hotels all along Rio's coast line.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
"I'm not sure I understand Jeff's question. In what ways has Obama taken on "elitist mannerisms?" And, what exactly are "elitist mannerisms" in the first place? I would think that an overbearing sense of entitlement would be one of them, but Obama has exhibited that far less than McCain and even farther less than Clinton.
Unless you consider intelligence, eloquence, patience and a calm demeanor (not to mention graciousness and candor) to be "elitist mannerisms" and therefore a burden to him. I suppose in America, these are indeed burdens."
This is a good opportunity for me to explain what I mean by elitist mannerisms. (I note that the idea of "burdens' was not in my comment but in typical anonymous fashion this is once again the case of "hearing" something not said and making it an issue.) First, it is most definitely not, at least publicly, "an overbearing sense of entitlement." The whole sense of entitlement means not having to demand anything. You deserve whatever it is. In fact, one of the most important elitist traits is not showing emotion. If you show happiness, anger, disappointment, etc., it signals a weak spot and since for elitists life is one big negotiation you never show where you are vulnerable. Elitists always strive to appear to be patient, calm, and gracious. They let their workers do the dirty work.
All of those characteristics the anonymous writer values cut both ways. Sure it hard to say they are bad but they also mean you know nothing about the person. When I meet elitists I nearly always come away wondering what they care about -- what makes them happy, sad, angry. What do they really value? Is there any "there" there?
I am not sure the accompanying photo is supposed to be Obama for whom I will be voting. I just thought the caption was appropriate.
Friday, June 13, 2008
What interests me are the efforts by some to defend him (here and here). The second one by Lessig is embarrassing. Unfortunately it also is representative of what passes for sound reasoning when done by someone with the right credentials or teaching at the right law school. Faster than I think anyone can imagine institutional authority and self promotion seem to be elevated above fact finding and reasoning. It reminds me of one of my first articles. I got to a point in the article where I wanted to make a general statement like "In general courts are likely to . . ." The problem was that what I was saying seemed to require some empirical assessment and I was stumped. I mentioned it to a more seasoned law professor who looked at me and said "That is where you put the 'See e.g.' cite, list a couple of cases and you're good to go."
One of the commentators on the Lessig post captures it when he says it sounds like you (Lessig) knew what you wanted to conclude first and then essential made up a way to get there. Obviously not a law professor commentator because if he were he would know that that is legal research.
I am sure there are equally bad arguments condemning Kozinski but there is only so much of this you can read. Thus, I cannot put one of those "heres" here to send you to one of those.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
While favela are simple "areas" on tourist maps they have evidently become tourist attractions. You can pay to go on a tour. Evidently you can buy trinkets and paintings and there is some benefit to the people. On the other hand, there may be something a bit off-putting about touring to view poverty and misery -- first stop Copacabana, second stop destitution. My sense is that the people running the tours are well motivated but I am torn. Maybe every visitor to Rio, before dropping $200 on a meal, should be required to tour a favela. On the other hand, if they become an attraction does it mean the misery of some becomes a source of enrichment for others?