Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ain't Got No Jobs

The economy is bad for everyone these days, but no one has it more ironically bad than money-grubbing law students with average grades who thought we were golden because we got into a decent law school and passed Torts.  By our third year, we were supposed to be overwhelmed with Big Law job offers, 100k starting salaries, open-tab happy hours, and the warm, safe, vaguely-sexist comfort of membership in the greatest Good Ol' Boys Club in the world: The Georgia Bar. 

But that hasn't happened. Law students everywhere who, two years ago, had every reason to expect a big desk and a parking spot and their own secretary can't even get an interview with a non-profit.  And as graduation approaches and 70% of us are unemployed (SEVENTY!), our law schools are starting to freak out, too.  The fewer employed graduates, the lower the schools drop in the rankings.  In fact, UGA was just featured on "Above the Law" because our Dean is begging alums to hire us.  Dean White's appeal was primarily notable because it seems like the first helpful job-getting gesture the law school has attempted on our behalf.  General economic conditions may be to blame, but our perception is definitely that our career office hasn't done us any favors. 

In frustration and response, a classmate of mine authored this sad, hilarious cover letter.  I omitted his name in case of future Senate Confirmation Hearings, but I thought you guys might get a kick out of it. I don't think it's too inside-jokey for even my non-law school readers to enjoy, too. 

 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sheehanigans

One of my dearest friends (and fellow Emory grad) Ben Sheehan made this awesome video eulogizing Conan's short-lived run on NBC. 

One sentence summary: if a Jewish Rick Astley parodied a late-night talk show to the tune of a 90s R&B tribute song that sampled an 80s pop ballad, it would look a lot like this:



He did all his own stunts (except lighting the menorah - fire hazard)!  Ladies, contact me privately if you want his info.  Not all at once, now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

'Mo Money, 'Mo Problems

Last week, CHiPs pulled over a swerving car in Sacramento and arrested the driver for drunk driving.  But a DUI was the last of this dude's problems: the driver was Roy Ashburn, a Republican California State Senator.  He was drunk because he'd been partying at a gay club, and there was an "unidentified" male passenger in his car.

What may be most remarkable about this incident is how typical it is: there's been no shortage of Republican gay sex scandals in the last decade.  Even if you narrow the list down to just elected officials (sorry Ted Haggard, no one voted for you) you've still got a buttload of homosexual hypocrites. I'm taking guys who have repeatedly voted against equal civil rights for gays (Ashburn even voted against a no-cost-to-taxpayer Harvey Milk day) and have then been discovered soliciting gay sex. For example:
So, how do frauds like these guys affect the gay community? Is it splendid to expose (and often expel) a hypocritical homo?  Or are these scandals reducing legitimate gay relationships to a detrimental tabloid?

The wesbite blogACTIVE.com's whole mission is to out gays. They solicit and investigate tips about closeted Washington insiders and publish their allegations. The 2009 documentary Outrage praised blogACTIVE founder Michael Rogers and other "closet-openers" for "holding public officials accountable for hiding their truths."

That site (and let's be honest, common perception) suggests that many gay rights supporters advocate forcing conservatives out of the closet.  Their rationale might simply be that politicians shouldn’t lie; and if a politician lies about something as basic as his sexuality to people as close as his family, who’s to say he isn't lying about his legislating?  We (moral America) disparage even heterosexual adulterers on these grounds.

But outing homosexuals seems to bring a juicer, more satisfying triumph, a glorious “I told you so” moment.  I think the gratification stems from two sources: one, it proves that “there are more of us than you think.”  Sanctimonious Republican churchgoers who claim they've never met a gay?  Guess again!  And, the train of thought goes, if they associate with gays, the bible-beaters might find ways to relate to them and start wanting to protect their interests. (Law dorks: could Justice Powell's gay law clerk haved changed the outcome of Bowers v. Hardwick if he’d just told Powell he was a big 'mo?)

The other (bigger, better) reason is because outing hypocrites proves that homophobes doth protest too much.  If a politician's anti-gay votes stemmed from shame and fear, not legitimate policy concerns, his votes are less valid. (This is the "he who smelt it, dealt it" approach to social politics.) So, one could argue that outing gay politicians has a positive effect on the gay community because it undermines the legitimacy of anti-gay votes and forces homophobes to confront their gay neighbors (gaybors).

While that may be a valid contention, I still think these scandals do more harm to the gay community than good.  First, the sex is almost always associated with crime, such as prostitution (Craig, Schrock), soliciting someone underage (Foley), or even drunk driving (our friend Roy Ashburn).  "Out" homosexuals are portrayed as sex-crazed men waiting bathrooms to perform fellatio for the right foot-tap.  One blogger complained the Ashburn scandal "underscores the already false concept floating around that gay men are pedophiles, preying on our young, out cruising for drug-fueled sex with anything that moves..."

Second, the subsequent sheepish, self-loathing apologies that these politicians deliver continue to treat homosexuality as deviate and shameful. They are "deeply sorry" for their actions; they are "praying on it" with their families; and more often than not, they are resigning from their position. Good riddance!  We'd ride 'em out of town on a rail if we didn't think those dirty homos would enjoy it!

Now sure, these phonies owe apologies to their constituents and their families for lying and sneaking around and giving illegal underage bathroom blow-js.  But their apologies don't clearly delineate between being sorry that they're liars or sorry that they're gay.  Inevitably and deliberately, these politicians still use language that condemns homosexuality.  They still make religiously-charged, family values statements that suggest that while they've sinned, "when they take the time to pray on it, [they can] turn themselves into good, hetero boys all over again."

Now, we could say a lot about how American society isn't ready to elect an openly gay Republican, or, as Mark Foley complained, if you're "out," being gay becomes your whole identity.  Thus, these politicians argue, they have to conceal and repress and deny their sexuality if they want the political job of their dreams.  But my point is just that these lying, cheating, arrogant, deviant dirtbags are a poor proxy for the majority of normal, loving gay relationships. And when we read more articles about guys like Roy Ashburn than the gay next door, America's opinion of homosexuals can't help but be skewed.  And the more we're skewed, the more gay rights are screwed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Avatarded

I thought about writing an Avatar review for the blog, but I never did because a) there's not much more to say about a movie so obvious, derivative, and superficially allegorical that real, PAID bloggers haven't already said, and b) I was kind of drunk when I saw it, so I may have missed some plot points.

Luckily for all of us, there's a comprehensive, on-point, and hilarious video review by this comedian/filmmaker named Mike Stoklasa.  He narrates the video as a character the Daily Beast called "an elderly schizophrenic who talks like a cross between Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers and The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill."  I think he sounds like Frito from Idiocracy.


The two-part, 18 minute Youtube video seems a little long, but it's totally worth it, I promise. (His 70 minute Phantom Menace review was a viral hit). So check it out: 


 

(Thanks to Twombly for the find. And for seeing Avatar with me.) 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Infomercials

I have really low celebrity standards. My biggest celeb crushes have always been on not-so-big stars. Even my "Celebrity 5" list (you know, the one from that episode of "Friends" where couples gets to pick five celebrities they're allowed to sleep with if they ever meet them) is mostly made up of B-Listers.  (Except for Christian Bale, but I developed my crush on him way back during Newsies and American Psycho -- is that messed up? -- long before his ridiculous Batman voice catapulted him to the A-List.  Also, any girl who says she wouldn't bone Christian Bale is lying to you.)

So, it's rather fitting that I have a crush on this minor-celebrity/blogger/comedian/This-American-Life-guest-contributor/Brooklynite named Gabriel Delahaye.  His hilarious blog is now defunct, but it was around long enough to feature this awesome sketch:


(Did you guys notice the cameo by Jenny Slate, who just joined the cast of SNL? You may recognize her from the "Turded Allll in My Ski Pants" entry earlier this year.  Because you read my blog religiously, I know you do.)

Inspired by Gabe and Max's use of awkward, deadpan technology advertising, my friend Emily Loeb and I created some tribute videos. Today, in honor of Em's birthday,  I thought I'd post our versions on the blog, too. These were filmed in Brooklyn (keepin' it real) on New Years Day 2008, entirely improvised, and unedited (because we don't know how to edit things). Enjoy:

video



video

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Banning My Boomstick

Today the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, a follow-up Second Amendment case to 2008's Heller v. D.C.. The status of the Second Amendment is uncertain, so constitutional scholars are following this case closely. But McDonald isn't just for dorks! Here are some reasons why you should care about the outcome of this case:
1. If you are Lil Wayne: if this case applies the Second Amendment to the states, there's a good chance that next time you're busted on your tour bus it'll just be for the coke and weed! Not your guns! Watch out, America, ridin' dirty could get a little cleaner.

2. If you are NOT Lil Wayne: the outcome of this case may (if SCOTUS decides not to be pussies) tell us if states are allowed to prohibit gun ownership. 

So, now that you're interested and not just reading this because your DSL is being super slow and your porn is taking forever to load, a little explanation about what's is up with the Second Amendment.  To ensure you're engaged, I'll also insert pictures of some hot chicks with guns. But seriously, it's kind of interesting:

Basically, the Framers of the Constitution intended our country to be way more federalist than it is today (ie, the states had lots of power and independence). So, when they drafted the Bill of Rights, those rights only applied to the federal government. After the South tried to secede during the War of Northern Agression (jk, the Civil War, lol), Congress was like, "maybe we should add a bunch of Amendments?"

The juiciest of these is the Fourteenth Amendment, which, despite reading pretty simply, has a few clauses in it that have completely changed U.S. law.  One such clause reads "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."  This is known as the "Due Process Clause."  It may not seem like much, but it has been used by SCOTUS to authorize just about anything they can possibly think of.

But wait, you're saying, I'm no mathematician, but I thought we were talking about the SECOND Amendment not the FOURTEENTH Amendment!  Yeah, you're right, chillax, there's more. So, after the Civil War, it started to seem pretty dumb that all these awesome Bill of Rights Amendments only applied to the federal government. SCOTUS finally decided to say that the FOURTEENTH Amendment, via the Due Process clause, could APPLY the other Amendments to the states, i.e., incorporate them.*

But SCOTUS isn't always as smart as we give them credit for, so instead of incorporating all of the Amendments to the states at once, they did it one by one (and sometimes sentence by sentence - the First Amendment alone took at least half a dozen cases to be incorporated).  So guess which Amendment hasn't been incorporated?  THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS! And that very issue was argued today before SCOTUS!! And we don't know what's going to happen!!!

Suspenseful, right???

SCOTUS has been notoriously lame about addressing the Second Amendment.  In 2008 (more than 100 years after the court started "incorporating") they FINALLY heard a case purporting to incorporate the Second Amendment, Heller v. D.C..  But they sucked it up -- while Heller was considered a victory for gun-rights advocates, all it really did was say that the Second Amendment applied to individuals, not just the military (thanks to some super annoying reasoning about "prefatory" and "operative" clauses).

So, the decision in McDonald has the potential to change a whole lot: SCOTUS could finally incorporate the Second Amendment, restricting states' ability to ban guns, or they could deny incorporation once and for all, leaving states free to regulate guns as they please.  Either way, there's a huge possibility that McDonald v. Chicago will help the Second Amendment go out with a bang.

*There was originally another option to apply the Amendments to the states, the "Privileges or Immunities Clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment.  But The Slaughterhouse Cases put the kibosh on that in 1873.  Some people think Slaughterhouse should be overturned and we should reevaluate Privileges or Immunities, but it seems unlikely that SCOTUS will go that route. However loosely it fits, we're probably stuck with Due Process.