Trolling Trolling Trolling…and a Tangent

3 05 2010

From Volokh (via Brian Leiter) comes this gem of a comment:

Former Army MP says:

There are simply things that cannot be said in the higher levels of the legal academy.

1. You are not allowed to mention anything about Jews, unless commenting on the horror of the Nazis or busting on America for not doing enough to rescue them. This is not a joke, simply do not do it. You will be punished if you do.

2. The running mate of 1. Any request made by Jewish faculty or fellow students must be followed. They want goat cheese pizza, or all Friday night events canceled? Do it and shut up. You will be punished if you do not.

3. You must never mention race at all. If it is brought up, and a comment made by a student of that race, you may agree sometimes. Be careful, best to keep your mouth shut at all times.

4. The running mate of 3. There will be times when a hate crime is committed. Never express any doubt that it happened or state that the story makes no sense. If the police or the U have proof it was faked, the story will just go away. Never mention it again.

5. Never ever suggest that most of the girls in your class will work for four years, and marry a doctor or corporate VP and jump to the baby track. You will be toast if you do.

Leiter hopes the gentleman in question is not a law student.

The Volokh post, by the way, was written in light of the recent brouhaha about an email controversy at Harvard, which raises an interesting proposition for law students to consider: just how private is that email you send, anyway?

Law students of all stripes are dependent on electronic mail to communicate with their professors, with other students, and even with potential employers.  Those of us who are student leaders (not to toot my horn) are even more dependent on it for all the discussions that cannot be brought before the organizations.

But what happens when a casual sentence becomes more than you anticipated?  Obviously if you’re sending emails making allegations about the superiority or inferiority of one race, outrage is understandable.  But say you’re in an organization, and are communicating with other members about your org budgets.  Should what you say in the email be dragged up for all to gawk at?  What if the email is only partly about budgets and partially personal?  The personal section may well be exposed too, which would affect anyone mentioned.

I guess the hard lesson to learn is that if you’re going to say something that might come back to haunt you, say it in person, and leave the emailing for serious business.

Another point relates to Facebook.  As much as I love Facebook, too many people are too fast and loose with what they put there.  Obviously, the main concern with what’s on there is future job prospects (which is why I avoid both being in pictures while out on the town and leaving pictures of me untagged if they might not be PG-rated), but also the inevitable law school drama.  You don’t want law school drama, not when these people are your future colleagues.

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