During a session of Charles Fried’s Constitutional Law class, most students were either confused or nodding off when student James Clements’s unsilenced cell phone brought some needed levity to the session. At the time, one-half of the students thought Fried was talking about the commerce clause, while another half were convinced the session was about the First Amendment as it relates to commercial speech. Yet another half of the class confessed they had no idea what was going on.
The ringtone, purchased off the internet for 99 cents, filled the room with Will Smith’s monster 90s hit, causing many to recall their high school years and innocent dreams of being novelists, music video directors, and astronauts. Clements quickly dove for his bag, but the entire front row had begun tapping their toes. “Na na na na na na na,” sang student Chris Drake to himself. “Na na na na na na.”
Professor Fried directed an inquisitive glance at the area of the room where the sound had come from, then resumed his discussion. Following this brief interlude, the remainder of the class moved much faster.