Home / General / Violence and sarcasm

Violence and sarcasm


This is real. Or “real,” as Zizek would say:

I am a third-year student at Yale Law School. Before law school, I attended the Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and I served in the Marine Corps. I am also a member of my school’s Federalist Society chapter. . .

Earlier that Sunday morning, my friends and I sent out a school-wide email announcement about a guest speaker event for the upcoming week. A lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group that has won numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, would be discussing Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Given that ADF has been smeared as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we expected some controversy. But what we got was over-the-top even by Yale standards.

This is going to be good.

The first condemnation was from Outlaws, the law school’s LGBTQ group. They attacked the Federalist Society for inviting ADF to campus and called for a boycott of the event. Over the next 24 hours, almost every student group jumped onto the bandwagon and joined the boycott.

So hate crime #1 I guess.

In addition to the boycott, some students said people who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. One student emailed a list of the Federalist Society board members (publicly available information) so students would know whom to “thank” for this event.

The parenthetical makes this less than the most egregious violation of the right to privacy one can imagine, but it’s the Ivy League so we are grading on an extremely generous curve here.

Does it get better? It does:

The event took place two days later. Around 30 people attended. The boycotters decorated the front door with rainbow posters, but mostly stuck to protests and support groups in other rooms. The one disruption occurred near the end of the event, when three students walked in, rifled through empty pizza boxes, and left with a couple leftovers. On their way out, one of the protestors blew us a kiss and gave us the middle finger.

Four dead in Ohio.

Compared to the undergraduate events that often make the news, our campus controversy was relatively tame.

Yeah, relatively.  You sure you were in the Marines, big guy?

But it still left scars. The amount of vitriol and cyberbullying that came their way brought a couple of my classmates to tears. Some didn’t feel safe on campus. Those of us in our third year of study continued to count down the days to graduation.

Don’t forget those cush FedSoc clerkships kids.  You can cling to thought of those like a wretched foot soldier clutching the locket of his sweetheart in a trench at the Somme.

Speaking of which, you knew this had to be coming:

This was not our first experience with campus unrest at Yale. Last year, we were embroiled in the controversy over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh—a distinguished alum of Yale Law School—to the Supreme Court. Over the summer, one-quarter of my classmates signed a petition in which they asserted that “people will die” if Kavanaugh was confirmed to the court.

Days before the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford hearings, hundreds of students (and some faculty members) dressed in black and staged a sit-in in the school’s main hallway. Most classes were cancelled, lunch was provided, and traffic was redirected around the protesters. The walls were decorated with posters saying #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord and #IStillBelieveAnitaHill.

“Lunch was provided” would be a tad over the top if this were a parody, but welcome to Trumpland.

The anti-Kavanaugh protests were a disgrace. Atticus Finch is supposed to be the role model for our profession, but these people turned their backs on his example. Law students and professors alike willfully abandoned the presumption of innocence—the core principle of our legal system—simply because they didn’t like the jurisprudence of the next Supreme Court justice.

They apparently don’t cover that tricky “criminal trial v. job interview” distinction at the nation’s top-ranked law school.

Tensions decreased slightly after Kavanaugh was confirmed, but they never went away. Every email announcement the Federalist Society sent out met a snarky, vitriolic response by progressive students.

This is frighteningly reminiscent of tactics employed by another ruthless criminal gang:

2nd Interviewer: How much did they want?

Vercotti: They wanted three quarters of a million pounds.

:2nd Interviewer: Why didn’t you call the police?

Vercotti: Well I had noticed that the lad with the thermonuclear device was the chief constable for the area. So a week later they called again and told me the cheque had bounced and said… I had to see… Doug.

2nd Interviewer: Doug?

Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

Vercotti: He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.

Presenter: By a combination of violence and sarcasm, the Piranha brothers by February 1966 controlled London and the Southeast of England.

I see a book deal in Sgt. Snowflake’s future.  Imagine if God and Man at Yale and Hillbilly Elegy and the Parris Island scenes from Full Metal Jacket had a baby.

Anyway this column will be one to remember when Aaron Haviland’s nomination comes up before the Senate in, oh, about twelve years. (Whoops, committed another hate crime there. And it’s not even 7:30 yet).






  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
It is main inner container footer text