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Dear Amanda,

I wrote in last week with a question, and it and your reply were embargoed due to space constraints generated by a more-tedious-than-usual Fenno and reiterated scurrilous accusations against Adam White by a member of the Blah Review – if only we lived in the days where such an outrageous attack on an author’s integrity would require pistols at ten paces. Well, the original question may be stale at this point; is it advisable nonetheless to seek its publication?

Signed, BB

Dear BB,

Yeah, it probably is kind of stale. But, you emailed me three times asking me to still print it. So, is this a trick question…?

Dear Amanda,

I’m playing in a Simpsons-reference-named pit band for a local law school humor/musical production together with Juan, my exceptionally talented undergraduate bandmate from another local Simpsons-reference-named band. Last week, we had our first rehearsal together with the crew, after which some members of the musical’s creative team observed that the sound was “very spare and needs to be fuller.”

Forthright folks that they are, they determined to discuss the sound with the band at the earliest possible occasion in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, but being conscientious law students, they didn’t want to walk into that discussion unprepared. So, they decided to research the issue first – I guess because the band is somehow not the best source of information for band stuff. In any case, one member of the creative team, a certain Mr. Yokels, conducted his research by contacting a number of local musicians via e-mail, stating that the current line-up produced “not really a sound that we can trust,” and that “the band could really benefit from another, better keyboardist – one who has the capacity to play a broad range of musical styles.” The recipients of the email forwarded it to the best keyboardist they knew – who was, naturally, Juan, the keyboardist from our band. Yokels also emailed Juan directly on the recommendation of a band member from last year’s show, asking him to fill in for himself. This was the first time Juan had ever been confronted with such a request – and although Juan was gracious enough to stay with the show, it is unclear whether he agreed to it or not, due to the difficulty in ascertaining whether we are playing with the original Juan or the replacement Juan. Well, one might think that about wraps it up. However, I’ve been in lots of bands and seen plenty of firing and hiring, but I don’t think that anyone ever has tried to hire a given keyboardist to remedy supposed deficiencies in the performance of that very same keyboardist. So beyond idiocy, my question is, what is going on here?

What should I do?

Signed,

Baffled Bassist

Dear Baffled,

It seems that what you want is a sounding board, rather than advice, and in the absence of any other letters this week, I am happy to oblige. I imagine the biggest problem here is poor, talented Juan’s wounded pride. I know that I am always hurt (yet simultaneously flattered) when people write into the Record and request that I be replaced with “that class marshal with the gambling problem.” Though, now that I think about it, maybe those letters are referencing Anjan ($1400 in one night? After being up $4200? Dude!).

I guess this proves that “local law school humor/musical productions” can be pretty mean even when not intending to be. It’s great that Juan has agreed to stick it out, though I imagine he’s doing it more for you and the rest of the band than for any desire to perform under the continued direction of Mr. Yokels. Regardless of the reason for his sacrifice, it’s too late to quit the production, and more importantly, you can’t quit because I am in the position of having already purchased an entire row of tickets for the local law school humor/musical production, and if the entire band is replaced at this late a date, the quality of the production may decline. So suck it up and stick it out.

There are, however, several ways you can deal with Mr. Yokels until the production is over. Perhaps, you might just try to publicize his foible, in an effort to emba. . . Oh, nevermind. I find that a cold freeze works very well in allowing you to pretend that the offending person does not exist, which brings considerable serenity. This tactic, however, has the disadvantage of not causing Mr. Yokels much pain, unless he’d prefer that you not ignore him. If pain is the goal, a better option is that you turn everyone he knows, including his own family, against him. Or you know, just beat him up. Maybe, however, you should just go easy on him. Most likely, he was blaming Juan for his insecurities about his own performance either in writing songs or singing them. I am sure his insecurities and his attack on Juan were unjustified, and all will be well when the production rocks the house. After that, if you’re still unhappy, I hear that the head of the local law school humor/musical production has some experience at crafting eloquent apology letters. . .

Yours,

Amanda

Got problems? Amanda has solutions, and she’d love to share them in a public forum. E-mail record@law.harvard.edu.

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