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August 29, 2006

Opening Comment

Okay - boys and girls - we are going to start this little conversation (if that is what we can call it) with a discussion of reality.

The purpose of this occasional rant is to comment and to instruct on the world of the law and lawyers, and the first problem we need to overcome is the fantasyland that most people envision is the American justice system. Our system is the best in the world: it functions on a huge scale and, generally, functions rather well (yes, there are the occasional aberrations, but, as in all human undertakings – consider even your own family – sometimes events just do not go as expected or required).
One major problem is that most of us (stressing the “you” here, not me) really know little of which we purport to speak.

The fundamental cause of this failure is that most of us receive our understanding (which is much too generous a word for what is meant here) from a very limited number of sources – unfortunate sources, if you will: Court TV, Fox News and CNN (regular television programs and movies are a special case we will get to eventually). Just consider the frenzy this week over the spectacularly phony JonBenet (see, we do not even need last name or place, do we? we’re all so familiar already) confessor. The news has been filled with “facts” (please notice the ironic use of the quotation marks – evidence is ONLY what comes out on a court proceeding – we, as the public, have no evidence yet, even though the television and radio commentators just love to use that inaccurate word) and numerous “experts” (notice the quotes again: always ask yourself what makes these people experts other than the appropriate network saying so – and we’ll examine this phenomenon in the next few postings) have already analyzed possible scenarios that will never be shown (unfortunately, eventually) to be even remotely accurate but which will somehow take their place in the “truth” we perceive and remember.

The key to understanding and then learning (the real message of these postings) is recognizing that these televised events are not news but are entertainment, and the supposed neutral commentators are simply entertainers, as we will discuss in the next post.

Posted by Brecher at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"A Whitman for our Time."
- Jerome Loving,
"Stephen John Mack's The Pragmatic Whitman: Reimagining American Democracy, [is] The most thoroughly informed philosophical reading of Whitman to appear in decades. Mack develops the premise . . . that Whitman shares with John Dewey a vision of democracy as a 'civic religion' in America, a profoundly secularist and progressive perspective.

- M. Jimmie Killingsworth, Texas A & M University
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