Dear Mr. Schaeffer:
I’m a fifth-year associate at a large silk-stocking firm. The firm has a “three strikes” policy for its associates, i.e., three screw-ups and you’re fired. According to the management committee, the dumb thing I did yesterday cost me all three strikes. I hope you can help, because otherwise I’m toast.
Here’s what happened. Do you know the rap singer “Eminem”? Although many lawyers mistake him for the chocolate candy, I’ve been a big fan ever since he found a way to rhyme a line with “orange,” something that was widely considered impossible by every great poet who’s come before. That includes Shakespeare, which is why I have no qualms about listening to Eminem in my office. Yesterday, however, the firm’s managing partner walked past my door with an important client at the penultimate moment of the song “White America”--that is, the part when the great bard hurls the f-word directly at Tipper Gore and Lynne Cheney.
Believe me, it wasn't pretty. I got hauled up for an inquisition on the 57th floor faster than you can say “Timbaland & Magoo.” As all those balding, wrinkled partners stared me down, all I could think to do was apologize for having my stereo turned up so loud. But now it occurs to me that I might have a First Amendment defense. Can you help?
Signed, Feeling Awful in Atlanta
Dear Feeling Awful:
You were right to apologize. At large silk-stocking law firms, stereos are a very bad idea, unless they are playing classical music, old Supreme Court arguments, or anything by Barry Manilow. But to drag the First Amendment into it? No way. While it’s true the First Amendment might allow Eminem to insult the wives of federal politicians without fear of reprisal by our nation’s government, this does not mean that you can rebroadcast the music without the possibility of being disciplined. Discipline by your law firm, you see, does not constitute “state action.”
I hope you understand, because I’m in no mood to explain. Be honest: did you really expect me to defend you? If so, you were sadly mistaken. Here's my advice to you: if you are going to by god be a lawyer, start acting like one. Jesus, you remind me of a china teacup—small and inanimate and easily breakable. And asking me to spend all my goddamn time solving your stupid problem! You're just like one of one of those moron associates who works at this law firm. I’d tell you to try to get a job with them, but they’re anonymous. Too bad for both of you: it would have been a great fit. You deserve to be fired.
Now get out of my sight, you pathetic piece of shit.
Your friend, Evan Schaeffer*
*Author's note: This post is dedicated to the memory of the authors of the blog And What Thanks Do We Get?, who back in the good old days of blogging used to be evil, but who have recently transformed themselves into respectable members of the blogging community. A few days ago, the What Thanks authors even participated in a blog meme. Oh, the astonishing normalcy!
If I played any part in the authors' self-bowdlerization, I apologize. I ask that they please hire a new batch of moron associates and return to being evil as soon as possible.