Thursday, September 17, 2015

Law School Flash Mobs





My students surprised me today with a flash mob performance that I think was spontaneous. I asked a question and as a group they performed John Cages 4'33". You may enjoy a stirring rendition by clicking on the little underlined text just above this. It's not as good as the performance by my class which was the best I have seen.

This flash mob incident made me think of other law school flash mob performances.  We have one every month in the form of a faculty meeting. Sometimes, completely out of the blue, it will be a performance of MacBeth although the actual play is understated in terms of treachery that  often appears in faculty meetings. The characters are all there. The amazing thing is that the cast is so fluid that at one meeting the person playing Duncan may take the role of one of the witches at the next. Sometimes there are cameos by wannabe Tony Sopranos but, luckily they are neutered. Remember that whiney guy from Friends, Ross? Cameo Ross impersonations are very common and people are really good at pretending they do not just want to swat him or her.

Virtually every faculty meeting has significant elements of The Crucible but it is most pronounced when hiring or tenure and promotions decisions are discussed.  There is intense scrutiny with political philosophy being the way in which one is possessed and the goal is to do away with those possessed in the "wrong" way.

Sometimes at social gatherings everyone just starts doing the minuet.  The are dainty and respectful even of the people in whose backs they may have recently inserted a knife. The dance is something to behold.

But the best and longest lasting flash mob performance because it happens every day for at least the last ten years is a law school wide rendition of Catch 22. Yes a massive confluence of problems that cannot be solved without creating another problem that itself would require a rational response to solve but rationality is in short supply. I think this captures it best.

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