BY KARL CHANG
So, originally my title was supposed to be, “Myths and Facts in the Global War on Follies,” and not a homage to Lord of the Flies. But Roger Pao, Editor-In-Chief of The Record, he says to me, “Karl, I like this, but you need to man up. We’ve got standards here at The Record. This article needs to be at least twice as “balls out,” before I can even consider printing this. Your title needs to let Dean Kagan know, this isn’t one of those articles she can just skim. You need to tell her to suck it, in the title.” And I say, slightly blushing, “Roger, please don’t use that kind of gendered language around me. We need to be respectful of Islam and Dean Kagan, and I think some people, myself included, interpret such language as uncouth and unbecoming a serious law student.” And then Roger looks over at me, soulfully, and we have this total “Risky Business” moment, and he’s like, “Look, the bottom line is sometimes you just got to cut loose, and say, what the …” And I sheepishly shrug, and I say, “what the …”
The Global War on Follies is rife with myths and misconceptions. Now that I’ve successfully defeated Kagan and her Folly, I thought I’d apply the insights and experience I’ve learned to help clear the air surrounding GWOF, as we experts in counter-folli-ism like to call it.
Let’s go over the facts and then debunk the myths.
Fact. On October 6, 2005, “Arvin Abraham,” heaping slavish praise on the Kagan-ator, writes a column in The Record begging the Dean for late night coffee.
Fact. On October 25, 2005, Dean Cosgrove announces that late night coffee will be provided. Cosgrove adds smugly, “Never let it be said that Dean Kagan doesn’t read The Record…”
Fact. On November 2, 2005, Someone foolishly attempts to say that Dean Kagan doesn’t read the Record. In a harrowing “almost-said” situation, your stalwart muckraker narrowly, but nevertheless successfully, prevents it from being said.
Fact. On December 19, 2005, construction begins on a flawed, useless, 8-inch deep swimming pool in Jarvis Field.
Fact. On February 9, 2006, dubbing the fanciful construction “Kagan’s Folly,” I wrote a scathing attack in The Record. This artful denunciation weaves expert ridicule with a tasteful, subtle “big dick” joke (well, as subtle as eight inches can be).
Fact. On February 16, 2006, The Record publishes no response by Dean Kagan. Dean Cosgrove sends out no campus-wide email in response to my bold, truth-telling column.
What’s that I hear? What did you say Dean Kagan? What? Did you say something? No? Maybe Dean Cosgrove, you got something? No, nothing you want to share with rest of class? Okay… Wait, do you all hear that? Is that…the sound of victory? Is that what that sounds like? Because me totally calling you out, and you not saying anything in response, that kind of makes that sound to me. It’s kind of like a little ring-ity-ring, ring-ity-ring.
Myth. “We’ll never win the Global War on Follies.”
They said this about Kagan’s Folly. Naysayers said nay, you may beat it back, 8, 9 months out of the year, but it will return. Did anyone expect the overwhelming lack of response from Dean Kagan? If victory is possible against Kagan’s Folly, it’s possible against Follies everywhere. Here’s my bold prediction: we’re going to kick so much ass in the global war on follies, that we’ll make Tom Brokaw remember that the “Greatest Generation” was mean to black people.
Myth. “Follies are a tactic, and you can’t fight a tactic.”
Some people say, follies are a tactic, and you can’t fight a tactic. I say that follies are a barbaric human practice. Slavery, fascism, and communism, once all of these were thought legitimate foundations for a society. All three were banished to humanity’s hinterlands. I say it’s high time we added follies to that list.
Myth. “The global war on Follies is not a ‘war.'”
Professor Heymann thinks the word “war” is just a metaphor. Professor Heymann, I’ve got a questions for you. What do you say when a small, innocent 1L looks up at you, misty-eyed and asks you “why?, why?” while pointing at Kagan’s Folly. Is “war” just a metaphor for that young, world-weary 1L? Is the pain of that 1L any less real because you want to play a name game and call it an “international police anti-folly operation”? Sorry, that was more like three questions. While you’re pondering those questions, I’m going to do the hard work of fighting GWOF.
Myth. “By aggressively fighting the GWOF, we’ll create more Follies leading to a vicious cycle of Follies.”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner whine about how fighting Follies was counter-productive and we’d create more Follies from our heavy-handed response than were there in the first place, I’d paint you a picture of Mo-, um, Jesus Christ on a bicycle. Let’s consider what happened. When I vigorously attacked Kagan’s Folly, was there a violent counter-reaction? Did the “law school street” rise up and riot? Did the Kagan create a bigger Folly in response to my column? Now, let’s consider what would have happened if I hadn’t written my column, how many fanciful architectural creations would have sprung up since then? What would the campus have looked like, riddled with follies? Would we even be able to walk across campus?
Myth. “Poverty is the root cause of follies.”
Empirical studies have shown zero correlation between poverty and follies, once one corrects for the level of civil liberties in a country. On an operational level, it is even more apparent that poverty doesn’t drive Folly-builders. Follies cost money. Do you have any idea how much money Kagan’s Folly cost? That wasn’t cheap immigrant labor building that thing. This is Cambridge; we’re talking white people, we’re talking big, burly union guys with medical and dental. Only the richest law schools, with plasma screens instead of bulletin boards can afford the luxury of follies. Impoverished law schools simply don’t have the money, and must spend their money on basics like buildings and professors.
In conclusion but unrelatedly: Look, I don’t know how this works, but I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I should give some sort of speech at graduation this year. To that end, I’m announcing my candidacy to give a speech at HLS Commencement 2006. God Bless America.
Karl Chang, 3L, is from Houston, TX.