Rampant masturbation

How distressing! X-wing and Arac, one of you must explain to me the purpose of the enigmatic but seemingly common literature/art to law school progression. I’ve never understood how one would go from one of the pinnacles of human experience to its lowest ravines.

Shakespeare didn’t like lawyers.

To start with, we avoid being bigoted about professions and try to view people as individuals instead of generalized groups. After that, I looked at a lot of the ways I viewed the world and wanted to do in it. I’d love to make a living off of myart, certainly, but the odds of surviving as a published novelist or a musician aren’t very high, especially when you’re not going for whoring what’s in (romance novels, et ceteras) and instead writing whatever you want and hoping that gets published. Also, this is something that cannot really be instructed. Beyond grammar and a few notes about how to generally form a plot and things, writingis up toyou to learn. If you go and learn it from a book and a teacher in college, you won’t be a writer, you’ll be a parrot of the book and writer you learned it from. Hence, creative writing majour is out.
So, I would make a living off my art witho uta college degree in it. Now, what if this doesn’t work? I need somethign to fall back on, a job that can support me while I practice my art on my own time. Something that will give me the means to live comfortable and work at my art, even if it dosen’t end up published and universally hailed as the greatest piece of fiction of my century, et ceteras.
Now, I’d like a job that makes some sort of a difference, at least on a small elvel in the world. Therefor I don’t want to go get a business degree and be a paper-pusher, or go get an English degree and end up as an editor. Fixing typos isn’t my idea of making a difference.
I ended up with several ways to go; medicine, which I decided not to go into for various reasons, including science being my weakest and least favourite (those are probably connected since I ditched over half of chemistry) of the genral fields of study, and the generally unfavourable way it’s gone for my parents when they were involved. The next option was politics, but politics is one of those things you can go in trying to make a difference, but it won’t often directly. I could go for a political science majour and write speeches for third party candidates who aren’t generic scumbags, or majour party candidates who are, and in the end not get much of anyplace. Plus, I’m too honest and too far from the moral pristinity needed to ever run for much of an office myself (I mean, shit, I’ve had sex with black ladies. Without being married. Whole bunch of votes gone right there if that comes out, and I’m not particularly anti-drug, although addiction is bad).
Which left me with a third direction to go: Law. I won’t end up a high-priced defense lawyer, I’d be interested in going to economic law, environmental law, or constitutional law. I’d like to be the one involved in the massive lawsuits against the kickbacks of governmental-corporate relations (look who received almost all the contracts for rebuilding in Iraq, for an example of this), corporations using near-slave labour to produce products, union disputes, and such for economic. In constitutional law, I’d be one of the lawyers, hopefully at supreme court level, arguing against things like the Patriot Act.
My other option is teaching, but I’d like to do that at a college level,so I figure I might as well go for the law degree and if I don’t end up being able to practice law as I would like, I can always work towards teaching it at a university.

And even if I can’t go any of those ways with law, maybe the 984 and Merlin would let me into their firm. I’d be down with that.

Or Jews. Your point is?

EDIT: I’d like to second X-wing’s request for any application tips to Law and Pre-Law programs. Because everywhere I’m looking at is on the high end of selectivity, so that would be good to know.

Sil can hate lawyers all he wants, but when he needs one…

Shakespeare also only went to primary school. Where am I more likely to accumulate general human experience: during the secluded knowledge-overkill of an English PhD, and my subsequent years in the ivory tower, or doing something where I interact with ordinary people (clients) and highly intelligent people (lawyers) on a daily basis?

A poem is an argument that should be, as Auden put it, ‘democratically available’. The role of a lawyer is to make a powerful argument that a common jury can understand. I can’t imagine a job that would provide better poetic training.

A Creative Writing PhD, on the other hand, would provide a more focused education, but afterwards I’d be stuck at a mindless desk job, or at best grading confessional free verse for the next thirty years.

Finally, if you examine the biographies of major poets, you’ll see that almost none started out as academics. Goethe, for instance, went to law school, became a practicing lawyer, and meanwhile wrote vigorously. He gave up law after The Sorrows of Young Werther made him rich and became a duke’s advisor.

The lack of modern dukes notwithstanding, Goethe’s path is sufficiently appealing for me.

I didn’t mean to say that one needs a Ph.D to write literature. Infact, the “Creative Writing” Ph.D, or even major, is to my mind, one of the funniest and absurd ideas I know of. However, while reading the great literature must be the only path to success, undergraduate study in literature seems to me either a good apprenticeship or at least a pasttime, as well as providing you the option of teaching, at least in high school, which usually let you gain your M.A. while you teach full-time. (Also, a degree in English is much more useful in acquiring jobs of all sorts than you’re lead to believe, if the innumerable people who tell me so aren’t lying.) I probably plan to teach high school English to support myself at least until my novels are published. It just seems like the easiest job to me.

From Woolf’s Orlando:“A silly song of Shakespeare’s has done more for the poor and the wicked than all the preachers and philanthropists in the world.”

I think we can include lawyers and political activists of all type along with them. The world is changed (if it ever is) though art and aesthetic pleasures, not through law suits and intellectual’s circumlocution.

Also, words of Yeats’s come to mind, “From dialogue with others we get rhetoric, from dialogue with ourselves comes poetry.”

BSc or BMSc at The University of Western Ontario. MD at… somewhere else. I’m still looking into it. I plan to specialize in either Physiology or Medical Science.

one of you must explain to me the purpose of the enigmatic but seemingly common literature/art to law school progression. I’ve never understood how one would go from one of the pinnacles of human experience to its lowest ravines.
What you see as the pinnacles of human experience, I see as the majors of science rejects. If you can study complete bullshit for four years and end up in law, then hey, that’s not so bad. It’s definately not cutting edge, though.

Silhouette: Speaking as a high school student, I really can’t stand most people my age. I’d take a bullet before an offer to teach high school, as of my current frame of mind. Second, I read literature on my own. I don’t need, and would rather not have, a teacher telling me what is good and what I should read, and what is not good and what I should not. I’m heavily against the idea of an established canon of literature. People should read what they like and what has meaning to them. If somebody can draw out an existential statement on the banality of civilized life from Conan the Barbarian, but just wants to shoot themself reading The Scarlet Letter (both would be entirely justifiable opinions, although the former a bit of a stretch, in my opinion), then they shouldn’t be reading the Scarlet Letter. Anyway, that’s my sort-of-out-there literary opinion, but still, that is not the way I’d like to go in college. Nothing against literature majours, it’s just against my feelings on the subject.

Hades: Isaac Aasimov reads your ‘science rejects’ comment about literature, and he would just like to give you a big hearty glass of ‘shut your mouth, you ignorant bigot,’ from beyond the grave. Well, those weren’t his exact words, but that was the general feeling he gave.
Second, I really don’t think your point is in any way defensible, partially because it really isn’t very logical, partially because it’s such a sweeping generalization, and partially because it requires a long, opinion-based philosophical debate about what parts of civilization really have merit. I rejected science, not the other way around. I understand it’s important, it’s just not what I want to learn. I have no problem understanding it, I had the highest final grades in my chemistry and biology classes with no cheating and the worst attendance record in chemistry, and while grades aren’t everything, that does show that I understood what was going on. Although, you will probably have some response about how I’m lying/it doesn’t show that at all, that’s okay. I’m not going to argue this one out, I’m just telling you that I don’t agree.
Anyway, semi-glad you’re back, sorry I’m not in your illiterate new world order.

Weiila: I’m really, really sorry. All the other times I asked where people went, they didn’t come back. Why did it have to work this time, of all times!

EDIT: The 984, I’d be cool with that, especially considering you’re four or more years ahead of me, in the Lawyerin’.

You guys misunderstand. I don’t think literature and art are bullshit. I think the literature and art you study in college are bullshit.

I got through James Clavell’s entire asian saga (5000 or so pages of unconventional writing) not because I hate literature, believe me. I also happen to be an artist.

While I can appreciate the value of art and literature, I wouldn’t waste my time getting a degree in one of them. If I wanted to become a lawyer, which I sure as hell don’t, I’d major in philosophy and minor in math. If I wanted to become a writer I’d read critically and practice writing until I was good enough to get published, because that’s how every writer worth their salt made it.

In a literature class you’ll typically be asked to analyze ancient work that’s already been analyzed to fucking shit so the prof can compare your ideas to the accepted standard and grade you like you just wrote a fucking math test.

In a writing class you’ll typically be given a set of forms and genres and be asked to write into them as constraints, instead of just letting your creative mind soar while other people worry about categorizing your work.

So while it is a goal of mine to eventually write some great fiction, it’s that kind of bullshit that kind of makes me want to shoot myself in the face when it comes to lit and writing classes. In the meantime, I’ll pursue an MD because it’s actually worth the paper it’s printed on.

Yeah, then I misunderstood. I agree with this, pretty much, as my whole rant on the canon earlier.

This is exactly what I hate about ‘art’ classes. I completely agree with you on this.

EDIT: Oh, and should I bother reading the Clavell novels other than Shogun? I love it dearly, but I’ve heard the others are nowhere close to as good.

I found Tai-Pan to be mediocre compared to Shogun, but that may be because I’m so entranced by Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries and I don’t really give a shit about Hong Kong’s history.

Gai-jin was great at times, but every so often I’d hit a chapter that I’d end up reading just to get to the end. It takes place in the mid 19th century so it doesn’t have all of the same magic Shogun did. There are very few memorable characters compared to Shogun, and it’s Clavell’s longest novel. There is also realtively less action.

King Rat is possibly the best book I’ve ever fucking read. If you read nothing else from the saga, I hope it’s this. It takes place in 1945 in a POW camp on a Japanese-occupied island in the pacific, if I remember. It’s not a typical POW novel, though. You won’t get a bunch of shit about the ho-hum of every day life in the camp. The characters are unique and colorful and some of the twisted things they do are pretty intriguing, if a little disgusting.

Noble House is a continuation of Tai-Pan and partially of Gai-jin. It takes place in Hong Kong again, in the mid twentieth century, so it’s pretty modern.

I don’t remember much about Whirlwind, but it’s so rare anyway that I doubt you’ll want to bother getting your hands on a copy.

The only book other than Shogun that I absolutely recommend is King Rat. If you can stand a little grind, Gai-jin is great too. If you can’t find a reason not to read the whole saga, do it. Clavell at his worst is still really damn good.

Edit: This is just my opinion, though. You might find value in different places than I did. The only way to know if you’ll like one of his novels is to read it.

If you think you don’t have anything to learn from Sophocles, you may well one day put your eyes out with a pin.

I liked Shogun better than Gai-Jin. Gai-Jin really should have been two separate novels. Also in Gai-Jin, more than any of Clavell’s other novels, he explores people’s motives without anything actually happening.

As for Sophocles, you can learn more from your own life than any novel. I was supposed to read him for Humanities I but didn’t.

One of the great things that comes out of Oedipus Tyrannus is the idea that the answer to the whodunnit in the play was he himself. The same thing with the story of him answering the Sphinx - he gave an answer that was technically correct, but he failed to realize the question was about him in the first place. If you want to draw some sort of message from the play, it’s not about sin, sex, or an existential struggle against the will of the gods, but introspection. So yeah, look at your own life. That’s what
Oedipus was supposed to do, and didn’t.

The difference between you and I is that you’re satisfied to read anything on that list of books your prof hands to every student in the class, and nothing more. In the end, your “education” in philosophy and literature will only mean one thing: you can drop the same names as your teacher and everyone else in his clone army.

I really do suggest going to a real book store and looking through titles that might be a little less popular than what you’re reading. Read the synopsis, or read a few pages, and decide if you like it enough to buy it. Instead of heading straight for the literature and philosophy sections, go straight to the bargain shelves. It’s amazing how many great $50 harcovers I’ve found for $6 at my local book stores. Expand your collection if you really want to talk about literature. My scope of reading is pretty small, but yours is still tiny by comparison.

A note on philosophy, thinking circles around yourself does not make you wise. Philosophy isn’t useless, but the way you’ve been using it has something to that effect. Be careful, and stop being so damn elitist. It got me nowhere.

So where was I going with this again? Oh yeah. Fuck Sophocles.

Here’s an idea, stop changing the fucking subject. Have your little debate somewhere else.

Personally, I’m done with school because I’m just recieved my MOTHERFUCKING BATCHELORS DEGREE. YEAH! I can’t even legally drink and I have a batchelors!

As an English major with a Philosophy minor, I (mostly) agree with Hades.

Merely because I focus my reading on the universally acclaimed literature of the past 400 years doesn’t mean my reading is limited. First of all, my reading is entirely self-directed, with the influence of the great writers I’ve read previously. I read what appeals to me, sometimes from the back cover, sometimes from reading or hearing about a book second-hand.

I am puzzled with your contention, Hades, that the scope of the canon is somehow lesser than the various forms of modern genre fiction; it seems books join the canon for being wider (and when I say “join the canon” I mean that they inescapably influence later strong writers). There is also the fact that I do read other books who most, let alone my hero Bloom, wouldn’t dare suggest as canonical or even good.

And where did I “use philosophy” as if it were some kind of black magic? I disdain almost all philosophers except some pre-socratics and some existentialists and I hold the idea of reason in general contempt.

I’m fairly certain that’s not in line with the post Epic/Rinn gave just four posts earlier.

Are you familiar with the comic strip Penny Arcade? You know the one where Gabe says something really, really fucking stupid, and Tycho’s brains start coming out.

Well, speaking from experience and while calling 9-11, that can actually happen. And does. And just did.

Its alright Arac, I’ll find a treatment for that. For us both.

Man that reminds me of a certain someone that said “logic is for the weak”.

Aside from that: I’m sorry Zep :frowning: