Bang-Up Sisters

BY TRACY CONN

Starring Goldie Hawn as Suzette and Susan Sarandon as Vin (short for Lavinia), The Banger Sisters is a feel-good story about two women forced to reconcile their shared wild past with the lives they have chosen to live 20 years later. Nicknamed “the banger sisters” in their youth for their propensity to sleep with the musicians whose bands they followed, the women have grown up to live separate and different lives.
After being fired from her bartending job at L.A.’s famous Whiskey A Go-Go, Suzette, shocked that her presence is not indispensable to the club’s party scene, decides to drive to Phoenix to surprise Vin. Along the way, Suzette picks up Harry (Geoffrey Rush), an obsessive-compulsive writer looking for a ride to Phoenix so that he can carry out a secret mission.
Despite Suzette’s expectations, Vini’s plans for her life do not include a reunion with her wild and crazy former cohort. Vin has dropped the nickname and married a lawyer/politician, with an expensive house in the suburbs, two daughters and a golden retriever to boot. Suzette, still the party girl and Vin struggle to relate and find a middle ground where they can reconnect.
Comfortably ensconced in suburbia, Vin fears that her past will come back to haunt her — and until Suzette’s back in town, her groupie status has stayed buried firmly in her past. Vin’s daughters, played by Traffic’s Erika Christensen and Sarandon’s real-life daughter Eva Amurri, find Suzette’s presence confusing at first, but ultimately enlightening and liberating.
Eventually, Suzette’s influence causes both Vin and Harry to loosen up and rediscover their true selves. Most of the movie’s characters learn, through her example, to put others’ expectations and their own self-imposed pressures in perspective. Suzette brings out the best in everyone around her, whether by being a muse, a reliable but demanding friend or an inspirer of romance.
The ever-lovable Hawn, elegant yet playful Sarandon, and adorable Rush poignantly demonstrate their characters’ fears of both losing their connections to the past as well as hanging on to them too strongly — of letting go of the people they once were and surrendering to the people they’ve become.
A special highlight of the film is Amurri’s performance as Vin’s youngest daughter Ginger, who struggles to pass her road test, feeling that the whole world is out to prevent her from doing so.
The Banger Sisters, despite being fairly predictable, is nonetheless funny and enjoyable. The characters’ relationships are complex and believable and their transformations were well-earned and fun to watch.

Attack of the invisible insects!

BY AMANDA GOAD

Ever feel like your life is being ruined by extraterrestrials? Invisible insects? The Orkin man? Payne Ratner’s new play Infestation, at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre through this Sunday, depicts the intersection of three personal crises in black comedic fashion.

Elwin (John Kuntz) has just moved back home after what he describes as, well, abduction by aliens. His mother (Karen MacDonald) wants him to become a doctor, or at least to finish high school. She’s preoccupied, though, with the unseen bugs she believes to be taking over their house, and by a budding courtship with Leon the exterminator (Michael Walker). Leon, in turn, thinks his professional rivals are closing in on him. The characters’ attempts to deal with their own demons, while doubting the existence of each others’, drive this wacky and unpredictable show.

Sexual tensions among the three are also important. Elwin has a severe Oedipal crush on his mother. She is desperately lonely, clinging to both male characters while peering out the window for signs of Elwin’s father, twelve years departed. Leon’s intentions become unclear as Elwin unearths clues to the exterminator’s past. Grossly extended sexual metaphors involving Leon’s pump sprayer and mother’s onion dip hold the audience’s attention against its will.

All three actors give solid performances, despite some thin spots in the dialogue in the first act and the increasing bizarreness of the second. Kuntz convincingly portrays a young man suffering from some combination of alien abduction, mental illness, adolescent angst, and a steady diet of KFC and Nesquik. The chemistry between troubled mother and troubled son is excellent, a credit to director Wesley Savick. Kuntz even pulls off a breathless soliloquy as a blind priest, a figment of mother’s imagination.

The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is almost a story in itself. Founded by Derek Walcott in 1981, before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, it serves today as a testing ground for new dramatic works. BPT is affiliated with Boston University’s Creative Writing Department and located at the margin of BU’s campus, but remains artistically and financially independent.

The arrangement neatly brings together professional actors and directors, innovative writers and adventurous playgoers, but it does have its drawbacks. The theater staff came begging for additional contributions before the start of last Friday’s show, but after its conclusion, the T platform in front of BPT was packed with oblivious BU undergrads en route to the clubs.

“Playwrights are the albino alligators of the theater community,” explained Jacob Strautmann, managing director of the Theatre, in his pre-show pitch for more money. He means that they require special care to stay alive, but also merit extra attention. The analogy seems quite apt for the disturbing yet sometimes transfixing Infestation.


Boston Playwrights’ Theater

949 Commonwealth Ave.

Boston, MA 02215

617-358-PLAY

http://www.bu.edu/bpt

The new ‘queens’ of metal

BY JEFF LEVEN

Dear Lord. I was all set to file the Queens of the Stone Age’s third and latest offering Songs for the Deaf as some sort of triumphant comeback that reinvigorated the meaning of “alternative rock” — that now vaguely cynical catch-all category that appears to include the vast insufferable legions of Nicklebacks, Creeds and Puddles of Mudd. But I was going to go the grunge route. I was going to set it up with some big sweeping statement about how the musical output of the early ’90s was actually, in retrospect, pretty remarkable before Kurt pulled the trigger and brought the big flannel machine back down to Earth. I wanted to wax nostalgic about the era of Mother Love Bone and Mudhoney, and put in a plug for the Screaming Trees’ under-appreciated masterwork Dust.

I thought this was the perfect set-up. I mean, the Queens of the Stone Age are, in their current incarnation, pretty much the post-grunge supergroup. You’ve got Josh Homme, singer/guitarist from the amazing but forgotten Kyuss, Nick Oliveri, whose career included stops with porn-punkers the Dwarves, Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees fame, a visit from Dean Ween, and of course, behind the kit, none other than Dave Grohl himself, fresh from the Top-40 airwaves for another stab at mayhem.

But then I listened to the album. The first few tracks played along with my scheme just fine. The opening moments of “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire” take a healthy blast at today’s flaccid radio playlists before Grohl rips into the drums, the big sludgy guitars take off and we’re flying. Things get a little artier and catchier on the hellhammer polka of “No One Knows,” and “Song for the Dead” is a bizarre little harrumphing dirge that leaves me waiting for the mooing guitar fill at the end of each verse. I pause and scratch my head a little at the flamenco guitar moment in “The Sky Is Fallin’,” grit my teeth and endure Homme’s little tantrum on “Six Shooter,” (the album’s only real brain fart), and by the time we hit “Go With the Flow,” and “Gonna Leave You,” we’re in pop territory. But then, just when I had this whole grunge story wrapped up, comes “Another Love Song,” and it hits me. Dear Lord. This isn’t a grunge album from the 1990s — this is a grunge album from the 1960s!

It’s not just that “Another Love Song” has the frenetic orchestration and vaguely Transylvanian beat of those classic American garage anthems that populate the legendary Nuggets collections (featuring bands like the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, the Sonics, the Chocolate Watchband and many, many more). More than that, this is the song that calls into focus just how sprawling, weird, arty and compelling Songs for the Deaf really is. This is more than just the maybe-we-can-market-our-teenage-anger energy of the Seattle scene of the 1990s. No, this is the energy of an earlier and headier musical vintage — hearkening back to the dawn of psychedelic rock when the pitch and sprawl of musical experimentation was at an early zenith, where unknown bands toiled away in unknown garages making strange weird music that, for the most part, are still only the ambrosia of the most obsessed record collectors. In other words, this is an experimental garage rock album like those made in a time when rock n’ roll was still something new, weird, dangerous and beautiful.

Perhaps the greatest thing about Songs for the Deaf is the fact that it is a burst of nice, complicated blessedly heavy noise to a time when rock n’ roll is rarely so unabashedly extravagant, thoughtful, intense, or original. While most bands paper over their lack of musical prowess with an appeal to hackneyed emotivism, QOTSA are, like the Screaming Trees before them, coy and chameleonic in their perspective. The songs don’t ever sound particularly heartbroken or horny or self-assured: Instead, they warble out of the sides of Homme and Lanegan’s mouths with no particular posture to fall on. The effect is arresting — vocally, the album sounds like the chanting of twisted monks rather than the navel-gazings of yet another carefully-primped pretty boy trying to sound like Eddie Vedder or Layne Staley. Where their chants are directed is at times unclear, but if, as they say “God Is In the Radio,” perhaps QOTSA has come to finally save us from the demons of monotony.

Of course Songs for the Deaf is not perfect. As much as most critics love to love QOTSA, and as good a reception as this album has been getting, it’s not exactly the world’s best party disc. Like its predecessor, Rated R, Songs for the Deaf is a concept album in a metal album’s clothing. Sure, there are tons of heavy, gritty, mid-rangey guitars and Grohl, while slightly thin sounding, tends to drum at alarming speed. But the bizarre vocal chants that riddle the songs and the somewhat unsettling keys that the band tends to fall into hurtle the band towards the type of abstraction that fellow sludge-merchants Fu Manchu or Monster Magnet would never contemplate. Even the sonorous acoustic balladry of the hidden track “Mosquito Song” is left with a slightly strange aftertaste by virtue of its juxtaposition with the rest of the album’s sonic onslaught.

Then again, most great bands over time earn the right to put out a “thinking album” — an album where the heat and bristle gives way somewhat to exploration and ambition in the way that Led Zeppelin IV, for instance, fed into Houses of the Holy. While comparisons to Zep may as of now be hyperbolic, I suspect that time will prove Rated R to be QOTSA’s fun, loud, smart album and Songs for the Deaf to be QOTSA’s arty, loud, slightly smarter album — at moments misguided and probably slightly inferior overall, but a victory nonetheless.

Bistro of bliss

BY ALEX SUNDSTROM

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If you go to the Craigie Street Bistrot, be sure to ask the pony-tailed waiter about his trip to Niman Ranch, where the restaurant buys its pork. He will imitate the drawl of the farmers there: “We keep the fences curved, so the pigs never crowd each other… They have a totally stress-free life.” Bite into the moist, buttery pork, perfectly crispy from pan-frying and balanced with a fresh peach compote, and you’ll feel as content as any farm animal ever did.

Every element of the Craigie Street Bistro seems designed to make its customers feel that contentment. The restaurant is nestled in a quiet neighborhood west of campus, appointed with plush seats and soft lighting that make it seem like a retrofitted living room. Former Clio sous chef Tony Maws woos the neighborhood crowd seriously: Nearby residents can drop by in the morning for coffee, or use the restaurant as a meeting space when it’s not serving dinner.

Maws even offers a $29 prix fixe menu that lets his guests assemble three-course meals from about half of the menu on a given night. The house wine is also inexpensive ($13 for two thirds of a bottle), and decent for the money, although its flavor flattens out as it breathes. Whether these efforts will be enough remains to be seen: Butterfish and Café Celador have both failed in this location in the past 3 years, and both presented themselves as neighborhood restaurants.

The best way to get a local following, of course, is to serve delicious food, and Maws puts forth a promising effort. The terrine of duck appetizer ($10) is exactly as it would be at a good bistro in France: rich with duck meat, perfectly set off by sweet pickled onions and fresh pepper, and coated with an impossibly creamy layer of duck. The celery soup ($7) has a wonderfully smooth feel on the tongue, made as it is with a base of crème fraiche, but the celery flavor is too muted and it drowns in its own creaminess.

The scrumptious pork chop ($18) is a standout, among the best pork I have eaten, although the bitter greens and barely-cooked mushroom sides are not entirely complementary. The chile-marinated skirt steak and grilled bone marrow ($20) is nearly excellent; the bone marrow is rich and smooth, and has a subtle flavor that hints at browned butter without being oily.

The perfectly-cooked skirt steak it accompanies takes its chile marinade well, delivering a smoky flavor with bacon overtones. As with the pork, however, the sides are not a perfect balance — roasted carrots, crisp watercress and barely-mashed potatoes with a bit of butter are good counterparts to the steak as far as flavor goes. However, it would be easier to appreciate the variations in texture within the sides — the contrast of creamy and rough within the potatoes, the crisp watercress — if a more tender cut than skirt steak had been used.

The meal finishes on an extremely high note with an amazing peach poached in muscat ($8) and served with fresh berries and homemade ice cream. The inclusion of apricot nuts — the heart of the apricot pit used in making almond extract — in the poaching liquid tempers the sweetness of the muscat and lets the flavors of the fruit shine through.

The cheese course (market price) is dazzling. The Cervelle de Canut, a Lyonnaise cheese spread made with French white cheese and various finely-minced spices, is tangy but mild, well-paired with the bread and figs included on the plate. The Liening, an aged raw milk Italian goat cheese, starts with a nutty and almost sour flavor, then fades into creamy perfection.

Bistros in France are commonly found in residential areas, comforting the locals with traditional food prepared with passion and skill. If you tire of the loud bustle of many Harvard Square establishments, and want to pretend for a couple of hours that nothing exists in the world but your fellow diners and some well-prepared food, the Craigie Street Bistro is an excellent escape.

[Photos by Erin Bernstein/RECORD.]

Vino & Veritas: Champagne!

BY JOSH SOLOMON

At a recent dinner with some friends, I found myself droning on about the wine I had ordered for the table — the grapes, the region, of what I was reminded by its tastes and smells. One friend finally stopped me by simply asking, “Who cares?” He elaborated: “I like most wine I drink, so why bother to learn all those other details? Why not just drink and not think about it?”

That question is fair enough. If you were to slip an honesty pill into their glasses, and then ask a bunch of people who know something about wine why it’s worth knowing something about it, you might get some answers like the following: I feel like I might need to know that kind of “stuff” to be part of the society I intend to inhabit; when I go on a date/business dinner/insert-your-important-outing, I want to be able to read a wine list; I’m pretentious, and it makes me appear sophisticated (beware, particularly, these people, as they often know less than they want you to think they know and when they don’t know something, are usually unwilling to ask for assistance).

My answer was a bit different. It’s kind of like baseball. Almost anyone can go to Fenway Park and have a good time. Whether it’s the two-outs-two-strikes-bases-loaded situations in a close game, long home runs that disappear beyond the range of the lights, gorging oneself on peanuts and hotdogs, or some combination of such things, everyone can find something that will make them say, paraphrasing my friend, “I like most games I attend.” But there’s the potential for much more. When you have more knowledge about the game, you will, without question, get more out of it. It’s one thing to know that three strikes is an out, that four balls is a walk, and that the team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. It’s something else to know some history of the sport and the team you follow, why the manager might bring in a lefty for one batter, and a team’s standing in a pennant race. The more “stuff” you know, the more you enjoy watching the game.

While I was playing to my audience at the time, you could insert just about anything in the place of baseball to illustrate the point. It might be the trees you see on a hike, the history of a country you visit, or even the background of the Justice whose opinion you study. Wine is the same way.

I could serve a glass of most wines to someone who doesn’t know anything about wine, and he would probably enjoy it (particularly if it’s a young, buttery Chardonnay). But joy comes in degrees. If I served the same glass to someone who was familiar with the region, could evaluate the wine within its vintage, and had developed the ability to discern a variety of smells and tastes, that person would be bound to enjoy it far more than would the first. It is then that wine becomes fun.

If fun seems a little strong, give it a try. I think you’ll find, even with just a little bit of knowledge, that wine really is fun. And even if I’m wrong, it will at least come in handy on the date/business dinner/insert-your-important-outing.

And speaking of fun…. At the end of each column, I will try to offer my thoughts on some wines I tried out for you. Usually, they will tie in with the column’s theme. This week, alas, I forgot to get some wine before Sunday, when this wonderful state refuses to let me buy any. Since my column was due on Monday, and since there really was no theme here, you get one of the bottles I happened to have on hand (consider it a preview of my future piece on Champagne):

Perrier Jou

Fenno

BY

Fenno instinctively trusted Mark Weber’s comforting words about the U.S. economic downturn not affecting Harvard nearly as badly as it would, say, other law schools, or, say, Iraq. Little did he know at the time that in a secret ceremony just before last Wednesday’s introduction to On-Campus Interviewing in a packed Ames Courtroom, Weber had laid off 10 percent of his staff in a gruesome decimation requiring biohazard suits and high-pressure hoses to clean the carpet on the third floor of Pound. On learning that corporate fat-trimming had reached the very womb of all things job-related, Fenno felt about as secure as a Columbia summer associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges. So he resolved to carefully navigate this maiden column in a bland attempt to save his own skin. (Fenno did consider the fact that anonymity could make service of a pink slip a bit problematic, but couldn’t think of a suitable pseudonym, or at least one that made any sense.)

Aside from the minor distraction occasioned by pondering such trivia as employment, “the future,” and “oil,” Fenno thought the start of the 2002-03 school year a rather bittersweet experience. On the one hand, T.J. Duane was gone. Fenno wasn’t sure he’d be able to have fun anymore without someone to tell him what fun is. After all, it was very unlikely that Fenno would be able, all on his own, to stand in a boat and take in the views of the warehouse district of Boston Harbor for three hours, be turned down by scantily-clad Eurogirls at Mantra on a Thursday night, or order appetizers at Cambridge Common. On the other hand, T.J. had been replaced by supermodel Naomi Wolf. Fenno was pretty sure that was a good sign. Then Fenno was informed that Naomi Wolf was a Freudian slip for Naomi Klein, who, while still cute and presumably a better organizer than her covergirl namesake, was not as into boneless buffalo wings as Fenno would like. Fenno again felt about as secure as a Columbia summer associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Then Fenno was reminded that the military could recruit on campus now because of the Solomon Amendment, which apparently had been lying dormant for years but promised to freeze the job-search process with Herculaneum-like political fallout for at least a couple of weeks. With his bloodhound’s nose for political scandal, Fenno immediately recognized this as a hot-button issue. Characteristically eager to join the fray, he wanted to start by commending the Law School Administration on matching the wisdom of the Solomon Amendment with that of saving the entire University 16 percent of its operating budget. Some kind of medal from the President (Bush, Summers, Heston, whomever) was surely in order.

Next, given the slim pickings awaiting him in private-sector interviews, Fenno thought it would be similarly wise to burnish his physical fitness credentials for military recruitment. To that end, he wanted to ask the Administration if any part of the 1.7 percent of the University’s endowment saved annually by complying with the Amendment could at least help the Law School get its own gym or something. (Maybe HLS could give it a defiant name like “Hemengay” or “HLS’ Gay Thumb-in-Your-Eye Gym.”) Or maybe flight lessons, so we could be just like the lawyers on the TV show. But Fenno realized that with the Fed rate at 4.75 percent, a 1.7 percent return on any investment was nothing short of a frothing pipe dream. And he’d heard they screen for pipe dreams during the application. He doesn’t know what their policy on froth is.

He also thought it might be a good idea to mention here and there how excited he is about female supermodels.

Leaving his job concerns aside for a few moments, Fenno paused to gaze with a twinge of nostalgia upon the brand-new 1Ls flitting about campus with their heads full of actual, real-life ideas. Of course, these would soon be replaced by “doctrine,” “theory,” and Shockingly Dorky Conversations in the Hark (SDCH). Ah, the new corn from the old wheat. It seemed like just yesterday that Fenno pulled the futon off the roof of his parents’ minivan, only to realize that it wouldn’t fit through the halls of Story, much less into one of its rooms. But six years is actually a pretty long time.

Based on all his experience here, Fenno could safely predict that this new corn would very quickly grow quite pale, overcaffeinated, confused and generally pissed off. The Arthur Miller section would this year become twice as pissed off in half the time. Eventually seemingly far-away strains of “New York, New York” would emanate from somewhere under a bench in the back of Pound 101. This would start happening even before Erie, which will have moved from class number 18 to a computer-aided video lesson to be completed in Holmes Hall by the end of this week. Fenno made a note to drop in sometime to watch Miller zooming around the room like a videotape on fast-forward and talking like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Sometime in late October, much of the corn will have grown kind of mealy and thoroughly inedible. [Consider using different metaphor, or ending this one earlier, or just quitting now and playing Sega for the rest of the day.] Two-Ls will roll their eyes in incredulous condescension upon hearing their third SDCH of the week, pretending not to remember that they’d vigorously advocated the affirmative of the same question just one year ago. One of these eye-rollers will then rue the day he ever decided to eat spaghetti with marinara sauce while wearing a white shirt right before his afternoon callback at Hale and Dorr.

Another old standby Fenno knew he could rely on to keep his mind off life was class. Academics: the heart of the HLS experience. But since he considered himself more of a digit than a major organ of the student body, Fenno was glad he had a few classmates still left on campus to take notes, and that he knew how to use e-mail. He had used this device to capture the outline for Professor Ring’s tax class. He figured if he read the liturgy on his own for two hours every Monday and Tuesday, it would be just as fulfilling as reading it during class, which he’d heard was all she did anyway. What matter if he performed the service at vespers instead of nones? Does Wong really care when you pray to him, as long as you’re sincere and don’t try to look directly into his face, or try to print the whole thing out on an ink-jet printer? If a 2L on Law Review writes a case note, but no one ever reads it, did it really happen? These were just a sampling of the riddles Fenno knew he had to answer before the year was through.

And so, furnished with all the tools he needed to start yet another semester, Fenno was content to carry on in his naïve belief that Harvard Law School is something that only happens to other people.

HLS allows military to use OCI

BY MIKE WISER

Responding to a threat by the federal government to withhold $328 million in funds from Harvard University, Dean Robert Clark decided in late August to allow military recruiters to participate in the on campus recruiting process. Clark’s decision reversed a policy that had prevented JAG recruiters from using the Office of Career Services (OCS), because the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibits individuals who are openly gay from joining the military, prevented the military from signing the Law School’s non-discrimination pledge.

U-Turn

Dean Clark’s reversal came after a letter from the Air Force in late May said that the Air Force believed the Law School was violating the provisions of the 1996 Solomon Amendment by not allowing military recruiters to participate in on campus interviewing. Under the provisions of the Amendment, all federal funding to a university could be withheld unless “the degree of access by military recruiters is at least equal in quality and scope to that afforded to other employers.” For Harvard University, almost 16 percent of its annual operating budget could be withheld.

While allowing the military to visit the school to recruit at the invitation of the student HLS Veterans Association (HLSVA) had satisfied military recruiters in the past, an Air Force inquiry that began in December of 2001 determined that the Law School was not in compliance with the Solomon Amendment.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in the balance, Clark decided to allow recruiters to use OCS resources and to recruit through its interview process.

“I think the difference is more symbolic than anything else, because the reality was they were recruiting here and recruiting effectively on campus for the last several years,” Assistant Dean for Career Services Mark Weber told the RECORD.

Jason Watkins, president of the HLSVA, also agreed that the change probably would not make much difference for military recruiters. Watkins, who said he was “a results oriented person,” told the RECORD, “I’m not sure how much there is to be gained from official or publicized changes in policy.”

A Difficult Decision

Whether or not the change will make it easier for military recruiters, Weber said that the school’s decision came only after months of agonizing about how to respond. During that process administrators consulted members of Lambda (the gay and lesbian student group) as well as students on the placement committee for input. In the end, the administration finally decided that they would not win in a battle with the Air Force.

“I think we made a judgment that it would not be successful, given the current climate of support for the military. Also we had a sense that maybe that wasn’t the important thing to do. The more important goal is to try and bring about real change,” Clark said.

In an e-mail to students on August 26, Clark explained that, “Our decision to permit military recruiters access to the facilities and services of OCS does not reduce the Law School’s commitment to the goal of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
“Dean Clark really had his back against the wall,” 2L Adam Teicholz, president of Lambda, told the RECORD. Teicholz said that Clark’s letter to the community showed that the school does not accept the military’s recruiting policy.

“The situation must be especially galling to [the] administration regardless of their moral stance, because the military is coming in and using money to force the school to change its rules, violating their prerogative to set HLS’s internal policies,” he said, “Their job now is to see how we can put those values back as part of school policy.”

What now?

Weber said the challenge now is to balance disapproval of the military policy against the danger that they will be perceived as discouraging students from joining the military.
“We all want the best and the brightest serving in the military,” Weber said. “And I can’t think of a better place to recruit them than at Harvard. I think that a good way to implement change is by getting people in the military who have different points of view who can effectuate change from the inside.”

Lambda’s Teicholz agreed with Weber, saying that they encouraged students interested in joining the JAG corps to go through the alternative interview process. “This is not about JAG; it’s about the Bush administration’s wielding its control of students’ educational opportunities to force Harvard to compromise its principles,” he said.

During an e-mail interview, Teicholz added, “Go enlist! Just do it in a way that doesn’t tell the Department of Defense that they can push us around to enforce their homophobia.”
Off campus, opinion makers have both praised and blasted the decision. “A public untutored in the nuances of the university’s thinking might get the impression that while Harvard’s elite graduates should make policy for the military, they just shouldn’t serve in it,” one Memphis paper wrote.

On campus, it is not yet clear how supporters and opponents of the military’s policy will react to the decision. Some students (including a columnist in today’s RECORD) have called for gay and lesbian students to try to book all JAG interview slots, while others have argued that doing so would only hurt students who are legitimately interested in joining the military. Teicholz said that Lambda had not yet decided how it would react.

Letters: Gun debates, Nesson, and divesting in Israel

BY

Target shooting club founder urges more gun debates

In a RECORD story last year, Daniel Swanson said he would like to have “a public discussion with the HLS Target Shooting Club.” I would like to have a public discussion with Daniel. That’s what the club is all about. In our first year, we’ve only had one speaker — John Lott, discussing his paper on multiple-victimpublic shootings — but more speakers and debates is always better. We are in full agreement. Daniel wants to discuss accidental shootings — sounds great. I look forward to having that debate, and would enjoy co-sponsoring firearms-related events with interested organizations of any political stripe (especially if they have a bigger budget than we do).But I part company with Daniel when he suggests that “publicly advancing the beliefs” that guns can be used as a “force for good,” as I did in a recent Economist article, is at odds with making a “balanced and constructive contribution” to the gun debate. One can advance the gun debate without everything having to be a debate.

Neither Daniel, nor I, nor the Target Shooting Club, need be neutral, apolitical observers. We’re lawyers. We work within an adversarial system.

Nor does advancing the debate require that we all embrace cost-benefit analysis and compromise. In fact, I suspect that Daniel himself isn’t a compromiser. He starts out calling for “balanced and constructive contribution[s]” to the gun debate and “balancing benefits against risks” — but then calls it “incontrovertible” that child shootings are“unacceptable” and that we should “ensure that those shootings cease.” This is not cost-benefit language — benefits of gun ownership are now noticeably absent. Nor do I demand that language of him. The best debate involves details and listening to the other side, but it also involves passionate commitments and principled positions, which I hope we both have. My rule of thumb: Argue what you believe, whether it’s moderate or hard-line.

Another rule of thumb: Have fun whenever possible, whether it’s “counter-cultural rebellion” or screening movies featuring “regular people using guns as a force for good.” Please attend our debates, but also come to our screening of Red Dawn. And, regardless of your views on gun control, come shooting with us. All are welcome.

— Sasha Volokh, 3L

Alum laments this semester’s lack of Nesson

I was distressed to read in the Washington Post that students at the Law School were to be denied the benefits of Professor Charles Nesson’s pedagogy for this semester. The reports did not make clear why that was so. My experience was that Professor Nesson’s courses were among the most stimulating and thought provoking, and therefore most valuable. I remember well his Constitutional Litigation Workshop seminar, which combined sound academics and real world practice considerations. I have carried what I learned there with me since, as a litigator and law teacher. I hope this hiatus is temporary.

— Mark Kreitman ‘75

Harvard should not divest its Israel investments

I was a member of Harvard’s Investment Advisory Committee and helped to draft Harvard’s policy on investments in South Africa. As you may recall, Harvard did not follow the path of other universities by divesting from South Africa. Instead, we decided to invest in companies that promoted equality of the races in South Africa, and I think that history has vindicated the approach that Harvard adopted.I recently received word that 39 Harvard professors have signed a petition for Harvard to divest from Israel. As with South Africa, I believe that boycotting investments would hurt the situation more than help it. I also believe that it would send the wrong message to the world about Harvard’s stance on terrorism.

Israelis believe that they are fighting for their survival and that their only tentative ally is the U.S. If the U.S. or U.S. companies withdraw their support from Israel, this will only increase Israel’s sense of isolation and desperation. The end result will be that Israelis will have less reason to hope for a peaceful settlement and more reason to turn to military solutions.

As for terrorism, Israel has lost more people on a proportional basis through terrorist bombings than the U.S. lost on 9/11. After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. took the commendable position that terrorism was unacceptable under any circumstances and that anyone who supported terrorism was a terrorist. If Harvard now boycotts Israel for its response to terrorist attacks, it will be rewarding terrorists at the expense of their victims.
I, like many Americans and like many Jews, have mixed feelings about Ariel Sharon’s approach in the Middle East. However, I leave for work every morning without any fear that myself or loved ones will fall victim to a suicide bomber during the course of the day. If a neighbor of the U.S. were regularly sending suicide bombers into our country, I have no doubt that U.S. citizens would demand military action until they felt safe to walk the streets. Is it unfair for Israeli families to demand the same?

I, for one, do not know the best course of action to resolve the death spiral that we are experiencing in the Middle East. However, I do know that boycotting investments is the wrong choice for both pragmatic and ethical reasons. During difficult times in South Africa, Harvard demonstrated leadership by adopting a pragmatic and ethical investment strategy. Harvard once again has the opportunity to take a leadership position by not boycotting Israel. Please stand firm against terrorism and denounce the boycott of investments in Israel.

— Ethan Cohen, M.B.A. ‘91

Jag must go: Time for civil disobedience

BY LINDSAY HARRISON

The U.S. military ought to change its slogan. What it really means is: “Be all that you can be, unless you’re being gay.” After the military threatened the withdrawal of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding unless Harvard Law School permitted the military to interview through OCS, Dean Clark was forced to allow the employer on campus despite its formal policy of discrimination against gays and lesbians. Dean Clark did his part, writing a strongly worded letter in support of gay students and opposed to military discrimination. Students should now protest the military’s assault on Harvard Law School’s policy of non-discrimination by launching an assault of our own.

The military needs to learn that it cannot force our law school to act as a conveyer belt for the military’s own homophobia. The best way we can teach the military this lesson is by filling every interview slot with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. This strategy can best accomplish the twin goals of protesting the miltiary’s policy of discrimination and persuading the military not to engage in strong-arm tactics to advance discriminatory ends.

First, by filling each slot with individuals that are qualified but for their sexual orientation, we can demonstrate to the military that discrimination against gay and lesbian students is only causing the military harm. Imagine the interviewer’s response to the plethora of otherwise qualified candidates: “Well, you have great grades and you’re on the law review, but I see here that you are a homosexual.” While the exclusion of gay men and lesbians from combat is, in my opinion, irrational, the exclusion of gay men and lesbians from JAG is plain absurd. By marching in intelligent, capable, gay individuals, one after another, we can demonstrate to the military that they are losing out by engaging in discrimination.

Second, by filling each interview slot with gay and lesbian students, we can persuade the military to go away. Imagine hours and hours of wasted time spent interviewing otherwise qualified candidates. The recruiters sent to interview on campus will quickly realize that doing interviewing through OCS will not help fill their quotas for new recruits, and they will leave.

Opponents of this strategy argue that filling up all the interview slots with gay and lesbian students is unfair to students who really wish to become part of JAG. First, this argument ignores the possibility that gay and lesbian students really wish to sign up. Unfortunately, joining the armed forces is not an option for these students, but that does not mean that they should be deprived the opportunity to interview. Second, this argument ignores the ease with which anyone in this country may contact a military recruiter. Army JAG, Navy JAG, and Air Force JAG each has a website with detailed instructions on how to sign up. In the same way that students wishing to work in other public interest fields must take the initiative to obtain interviews on their own, students wishing to join the military may contact JAG and obtain an interview. The Veterans Association has already indicated a willingness to assist the military in conducting informal recruiting on campus, just as they have done in years past.

Opponents of this strategy also argue that filling up all the interview slots with gay and lesbian students is unpatriotic and disrespectful of the men and women who honor us with their military service. First, this argument contains a flawed understanding of the meaning of patriotism. Patriotism does not involve blind devotion to the military and support of every military act and policy. True patriotism involves love of our country and of the principles we hold dear — namely, equality and liberty. Attempting to demonstrate to the military that it should not discriminate is not unpatriotic. Second, the argument that filling the slots with gay students is unpatriotic is itself unpatriotic. It essentially tells gay and lesbian students that they should not attempt to sign up to serve. Again, this argument ignores the fact that many patriotic gay and lesbian students are denied the opportunity to enlist. Gay men and lesbians are thankful that we have a military and are thankful to those who serve. We only wish that we too could join their ranks. By filling up all the interview slots with gay men and lesbians, we can show the military the error of its ways and attempt to create a world where gay people can be patriots too.

JAG policy calls for meaningful action and discussion

BY MATTHEW DELNERO

Like many gay and lesbian students, I was saddened to hear of the law school’s decision to permit the use of OCS services by military recruiters, despite the military’s noncompliance with the HLS sexual orientation anti-discrimination policy. Partisan bureaucrats in Washington forced HLS to abandon the practice of denying military access to OCS facilities, despite the fact that military recruiters have been able to visit the campus through other channels, such as the HLS Veterans Association.

Although the Clinton administration never challenged Harvard’s policy regarding military recruitment through OCS, the Bush administration has taken a heavy-handed approach to interpreting the Solomon Amendment, a 1996 law making federal research funding contingent on the military’s ability to recruit on-campus.

The challenge now is to formulate a community response that is meaningful, sincere, and, of course, effective. I believe it is important to respond vigorously to the Defense Department’s behavior; students and faculty should be outraged that the Bush administration has forced the Law School to abandon its principled stance against discrimination. But I urge that members of the HLS community not partake in actions directly obstructing the presence of military recruiters on campus.

Throughout the summer, members and allies of HLS Lambda have engaged in meaningful dialogue regarding an appropriate response to the Bush administration’s actions against HLS. We all aspire to the same goal: to let partisan bureaucrats in Washington know that while we respect and honor those students pursuing the noble calling of military service, we reject the Defense Department’s strong-arm tactics and irrational discrimination against its gay and lesbian service members. As to how to best reach that goal, there is a fortunate diversity of opinion here.

The approach that has been most publicized, however, is that of subverting the military presence by occupying every military interview slot with gay students who are not actually interested in military service. While I share the frustration of those who advocate that tactic, I am convinced that such an approach would not serve our intended goal and may inadvertently show disregard for those students (whether gay or straight) who are genuinely interested in JAG Corps service.

Prior HLS policy on military recruitment provided the perfect balance between idealism and pragmatism: Those students wishing to interview with the JAG Corps could do so through the Veterans Association, while the school maintained its principled stance against the military’s irrational discrimination towards its gay and lesbian service members.

Under the new HLS policy, however, military recruiters will participate in the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process and presumably will not opt to use the Veterans Association’s services. If, however, all interview slots are filled with students not actually interested in a position with the JAG Corps, then those students genuinely hoping to interview with the military may be disadvantaged.

While it is possible that the military will add more interview slots in response to the seeming surge in demand, there is no guarantee that they will. Rather, aware that they are caught in a dispute between Harvard students and the senior leadership in Washington whose orders they must follow, JAG Corps recruiters may simply opt to abandon their efforts at HLS. While the departure of the recruiters may initially seem to be a victory, such a position ignores the need to support and honor the men and women of our military while we express our opposition to the Defense Department’s harmful and unproductive discrimination against its gay and lesbian soldiers. Signing-up for JAG Corps interview slots in protest fails to serve that delicate balance.

Despite my disagreement with the tactic of signing up for JAG Corps interview slots in protest, I look forward to participating in other expressions of dissatisfaction with the Defense Department’s violation of HLS anti-discrimination rules. My colleagues in Lambda, as well as many other students and faculty members, are considering a variety of promising actions. We all agree on the necessity of a visible presence that expresses opposition to the Defense Department’s irrational discriminatory policies.

The Dean’s open letter to the HLS community, in which he demonstrated sensitivity and thoughtfulness in explaining the unfortunate change in OCS policy, was a laudable first step. Going forward, the law school could host a forum regarding the discrimination against gay and lesbian soldiers in the military. HLS may also wish to initiate or participate in future legal challenges to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and/or the Solomon Amendment.

Through these and other actions, we will hopefully accomplish what the Defense Department has sadly failed to do: the honoring of all the men and women, both straight and gay, who have valiantly served the United States in its armed forces.

Orientation and the Fleet Bank Man

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

If there was one phrase that kept getting repeated over and over again during the week of 1L orientation — aside from “it’s really nothing like One-L or The Paper Chase, we swear!!” — it was “here’s another very, very important piece of paper for you to read very, very carefully.”

This year’s registration seemed to require a wheelbarrow to take home all the brochures, flyers, handbooks, guides, maps, floor plans, and encyclopedic volumes about Ethernet.

We got stuff like the helpful “Playing it Safe: A Guide for Students, Faculty, and Staff,” which introduced the handy R.A.C.E. acronym for fire safety: Rescue. Alarm. Confine. Extinguish. As opposed to my initial guess, Run Away Carrying Everything.

Plus we got goodies from our new friends at Lexis and Westlaw. It took me a minute to figure out why Lexis had a sweepstakes where you can win a Lexus. And then, after way too many minutes thinking about it, I got it. Lexis, Lexus! Those legal research tools sure are funny.

I don’t understand their competition yet. But from what I’ve heard, I’m surprised their tables at orientation were allowed to be right next to each other.

Westlaw’s coffee mug probably edges out Lexis’s notepad for best bribe of the day, although I don’t really understand the fake velvet case. Kind of matches the Fleet Bank sunglass case. They’ll go great together in my trash can.

Along with my new Fleet Bank ATM card, which I really only signed up for because I felt bad for The Fleet Bank Man. All alone at his table, surrounded only by Fleet Bank paraphernalia and forms with really small print.

The first time I passed by the “please, please, please sign up for an account” table, The Fleet Bank Man was polite. “Have you signed up for your free Fleet Bank account yet?”

By the fifteenth time I passed him, I felt pangs of guilt as I saw other students mocking him. So I finally stopped, if only just to listen.

“Get a free mouse pad, keychain, and white board.”

Wait a minute. Did he say mouse pad, keychain, AND white board? Not “…OR white board?” How could anyone be passing this up?

“But I don’t know my mailing address,” I said. “Leave it blank — just put your name and we’ll find it,” the Fleet Bank Man said. “Or not even your name. Just your mother’s maiden name and the last 3 digits of your favorite number. We’ll figure it out.” Sounded a little desperate to me.

But I didn’t know the half of it. The next student who passed may have been the straw that broke the Fleet Bank Man’s back. He tried to walk by, but The Fleet Bank Man notices everyone. I overheard the other day:

“Have you signed up for your free Fleet Bank account yet?”

“I’ve already got a bank account.”

“What bank?”

“Bank One.”

“But we’ve got an ATM right there on campus.”

“That’s okay. I’m happy with Bank One.”

“Did I mention we’ve even got an ATM right on campus?”

“I’m happy with my current bank account.”

“Happy? How can you be happy when we’re the only ones with an ATM right on campus? Do you even know what “happy” is? You don’t until you’ve signed up for your free Fleet Bank account.”

“Sorry, I’m really not interested.”

“Wait! Bank One gives children tainted candy on Halloween! And pushes elderly people out of their wheelchairs! And we’ve got an ATM right on campus….”

I think the Fleet Bank Man may need to take advantage of the Office of Student Life Counseling. Which, incidentally, has a lovely brochure.

Law Review Posts More Low Female Numbers

When the Class of 2004 Law Review members congregated as a group for the first time this August, they found that a surprising three-quarters of them shared a common characteristic — they were men. Despite a “double-blind” selection process and recruitment efforts geared towards women, only 11 of the 43 successful 2L applications this year were those of women.

The percentage of incoming women this year is the lowest it has been since 1995, when the numbers also stood at 11 out of 43. In the years between, the figure has hovered between 30 and 50 percent. In 2001, 17 out of 46 editors chosen were women; in 2000, the numbers were 18 out of 41.

These dramatic figures — especially given that women make up 44 percent of the class of 2004 — have led Review members to question why the numbers turned out the way they did. However, the very mechanisms that are intended to ensure anonymity and fairness during the selection process inhibit efforts to unearth the root of the problem: Whether women are simply self-selecting out of the application process, or whether something much deeper is going on.

“What is frustrating to us is that it has been important historically that the application process be extremely confidential,” said Law Review treasurer, 3L Allison Tirres. “We have a double-blind process in place which stands in the way of our trying to gather the data that might be helpful for figuring out, for example, whether women simply aren’t taking the competition.”

The Law Review makes every effort to ensure the selection process is totally blind. Applications are filtered through two layers of numerical assignments before they are read by as many as six different editors. The process is so secretive that even after it is complete, the identities of those who “graded on,” who filled the discretionary spaces pursuant to the Review’s affirmative action policy, and those not chosen at all are never revealed, not even to the members themselves.

Included in the application materials was an optional demographic survey not used in the decision-making process. However, “not even a majority of applicants filled one out,” said Tirres, rendering it difficult for the Review to gauge from the surveys how many of the 171 completed applications came from women.

Given the importance of this data to understanding the problem, Law Review president 3L Bert Huang said the Review would consider consulting an independent third party to review the list of applicants to provide an accurate gender ratio of applicants, which he perceives as a “critical piece of information” to have in understanding the issue. In addition, Huang said that although the current 3L editors voted last year not to make the optional demographic survey mandatory, the current 2L editors could consider making it mandatory for next year’s competition if they wished.

If the low number of women is an issue of recruitment, 3L editors were particularly disappointed given their recent efforts. Last spring, the Review held special information sessions for women, hoping to address specific concerns of women about life on Law Review and to attract more of them to take the competition. In light of this, 3L Executive Editor Elizabeth Kennedy felt disappointed and worried when she learned of the gender ratio among 2L editors. “Our efforts to prevent the percentage of women from slipping [even lower than in years past] just didn’t work, and that is dispiriting,” she said.

An alternative explanation for the gender imbalance on the Review is that the 2L editor positions reserved for those who “grade on” adversely affect women. Prior to the institutional changes made to the first year experience, the top three applicants from each of four sections were evaluated for admission based 70 percent on grades and 30 percent on the writing competition. Last year, the two applicants with the highest GPAs in each of seven sections graded on, increasing the number of grade-on spots from 12 to 14.

Several studies, most notably one conducted in 1994 by Professor Lani Guinier from a sample of University of Pennsylvania law students, indicate that men earn higher grades than women on average in law school and by the end of the first year are more than three times as likely to be in the top ten percent of their class. Similarly, a Law Review gender task force formed in 1996 found that the median GPAs of women who applied to the Review were lower than those of men.

Two-L editor Amanda Straub sees this issue as an important starting point to correcting the gender imbalance. “We should question why [the imbalance in first-year grades] is so,” she said. “Are pedagogical strategies not as conducive to the way women learn? Is the format of the average 1L exam unfavorable to the way women think? Maybe these disparate numbers point to a greater problem in the law school as a whole.”

In addition to these larger institutional questions, this data has made some Review members reconsider the role grades play in the selection process. Eliminating grades from the process altogether was considered in 1996 in the wake of the findings of the task force, but the proposal was rejected 47-21. In light of this year’s low number of women editors, Kennedy suggested it may be time to “rethink our entire selection process. . .Perhaps we should reduce or eliminate the role grades play in editor selection,” she said.

Various editors have also speculated that inherent biases in the substance and structure of the competition could provide another possible explanation for the low number of women. However, as 2L editor Corrine Irish explained, “These are just guesses. It’s really hard to say without investigating the issue.”

One potential remedy to the under-representation of women on the Review is the addition of gender as a discretionary category to the Review’s affirmative action policy. Currently, the Review reserves seven to nine discretionary spots for which they can take into account an applicant’s physical disability or membership in a historically underrepresented or disadvantaged racial or ethnic group.

Last winter, the Review seriously considered a proposal to add gender as a category. The change was initially approved by the then-2L class of editors but was ultimately rejected when voted on by the Law Review at large. Although the low number of women in this year’s class has prompted editors to re-engage in the affirmative action debate, members still have mixed feelings.

“There are strong feelings among the editorial staff on both sides of the affirmative action issue,” Tirres said, “which is not surprising given that we are on a law school campus, where these things are hotly debated.”

“It would be unfortunate to use only an affirmative action remedy but permit the competition to continue to be corrupted, if that’s the case,” said 2L editor Meaghan McLaine, “but if it isn’t feasible to take a holistic approach, I’d support a systemic one like affirmative action.”

Huang said it was important to guard against knee-jerk reactions. “I think it’s easy to react and say, ‘What great irony — clearly it was a mistake [not to add gender as a discretionary category],’” he said. “But I think there is a lot of learning and data-gathering, a lot of looking into what the task force in 1996 found, before we can understand the situation. Once we have that information, we will have the material for a serious and open discussion about what is the right thing to do.”

Regardless of what the Review chooses to do in the future, many members expressed concern that the 11 women in this year’s class feel welcome. “I was afraid that [the 2L women] would feel isolated or have a negative experience on the Review either because of their small numbers or because they would immediately find themselves, simply owing to their gender, in the center of a controversy that started before they joined us,” said Kennedy.

To guard against that, 3L women editors have made special efforts to reach out to 2L women. Tirres and Huang arranged for 3L women to contact 2L women before they even arrived on campus, and 3L women hosted a women’s night during orientation.

Thus far, 2L women report positive experiences despite the low numbers. “Working on Law Review has just been a wonderful experience so far,” said McLaine. “It’s an incredibly friendly and open environment, with a lack of competitiveness that is refreshing after the stresses of 1L year.”

Two-L Alice Wang agreed. “I’ve had a great experience so far. The women in my class are very active and vocal, so it doesn’t seem like our small numbers are detracting from our experience as a group.”

Perhaps what the 2L women lack in numbers, they compensate for in strength. As Kennedy noted, “They seem to me to be a particularly strong and confident group of women.”

Five win Sears Prize

BY LEA SEVCIK

In a couple of unusual twists, this year’s Joshua Montgomery Sears, Jr. prize went to five recipients rather than four, and all five of the recipients are on the Harvard Law Review. Together, the five have pretty impressive resumes: starting an equity fund, pursuing Ph.Ds, even an attested interest in professional skiing.

The prize is awarded annually to two 1L and two 2L students with the highest grade point averages, which at HLS means over an “A” average. This year, three 1Ls received the prize due to a tie. The 2L recipients are Michael Shah and Michael Gottlieb, and the 1L recipients are David Landau, Christian Pistilli and Jared Kramer.
Despite their academic similarities, this year’s recipients differ in many surprising ways. They range in age from 22 to 27, they all study in different ways, and their paths to HLS could not have been more diverse.

A Closer Look: The 2Ls

Michael Shah has the unusual distinction of having won the Sears prize twice, and is thus likely to graduate at the top of his class. Yet Shah is not eagerly embracing an illustrious legal future. He will not be clerking next year, and after a summer split between Wachtell in New York and Susman Godfrey in LA, Shah says he is still considering investment banking.

When Shah finished his pre-med major at Harvard University, he wanted to “get started in life” rather than pursuing a lengthy medical degree. He spent a year at the London School of Economics getting his Masters in finance and economics, and immediately put his skills to use. Together with two other LSE students, Shah started a private equity fund that raised over $2 million. It was only when the equity markets crashed that Shah decided to go to law school.

Today, Shah is still keeping involved as an investor and a financial and legal advisor in his friends’ startups. One of his current projects is an artificial sweetener called Sucraslim, which has no calories and is safe for baking. “We’ll be rolling out the infomercials in the next couple of months,” he said.

When it comes to class, Shah says, “I try to take things that are useful if I don’t end up practicing law,” like secured transactions and real estate.

Michael Gottlieb graduated from Northwestern University with a political science major and a thesis on the diplomatic norms of the Association of South East Asian Nations. He twice won the National Debate Tournament in college, then spent a year in Boston coaching debate at Harvard University.

As a 1L, Gottlieb was an “HL Central person,” participated in the HLS Democrats, and helped to found the HLS American Constitutional Society. In his 2L year he researched for Professor Laurence Tribe and kept busy with the Law Review’s articles committee.
He also went the law firm route last summer, splitting between Jenner & Block and Cleary Gottlieb in D.C. Next year he will be clerking for famed Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the Ninth Circuit. Beyond that, his plans for the future are hazy, although he says that “I loved D.C., that’s probably where I want to end up.”

So if Gottlieb could do anything in the world right now, would he still study the law? “I doubt it. I’d probably still be interested in the law, read Supreme Court decisions. But I’d probably be a professional skier.”

The 1Ls

David Landau majored in social studies at Harvard College, was editor-in-chief of The Independent, and wrote his thesis on how presidents gather support in the Ecuadorian legislature. He then went straight through to HLS, where in his 1L year he was a subciter for the International Law Journal.

Landau admitted that he was “miserable” for part of his 1L year. He found HLS to be a “pretty cold place sometimes,” and he missed the “academic buzz” of college. He also didn’t take an immediate liking to law. “It’s something you have to become perhaps more committed to, understand better before it becomes interesting,” he said.

Landau said his work on Law Review has helped him to like law school better. “It’s neat to be in a smaller group in a school like this.” Also, “you see what people are doing on the cutting edge of legal scholarship, it gives you a very different exposure than what you see freshman year and it’s usually much more interesting.”

Despite his legal success, Landau’s plans may not include the law: “I’m not doing recruiting this fall. I want to teach, and I’m seriously thinking of a Ph.D in government. I almost did that before coming here.” Next summer he hopes to work for professors: that would give him a better idea of whether or not he liked legal research.

Haverford College grad Christian Pistilli focused on Kant and pursued a philosophy Ph. D at the University of Pittsburgh. But the “tough road” to a Ph. D lost its appeal when Pistilli decided he wanted to become involved in the world in a more practical way. He left his degree behind and traveled to Maine to join the Senate campaign of Democrat Mark Lawrence against Olympia Snow. When Lawrence lost, Pistilli went to work as a paralegal at Hunton & Williams in New York, then made his way to HLS.

Pistilli found HLS a natural fit: “Law school splits the difference between grad school and politics,” he said. Pistilli added that he enjoyed his first year experience: “Lots of people come in with low expectations and expect it to be tough. I found the people wonderful and the class work not as bad as I was lead to believe.” He loved his professors: Professor David L. Shapiro was “brilliant and terrifying,” while he found that Professor Lewis D. Sargentich’s jurisprudence class presented “the closest thing to what I remember really liking about philosophy.” Pistilli also became a subciter for the Journal on Legislation and joined the HLS Democrats.

This summer, Pistilli worked part time for his torts professor, Jon Hanson and also enjoyed “being a bit of a bum” and doing some leisure reading. Where would he like to end up? “I don’t want to run for office, but I can see working in government or on the Hill, or teaching.”

Princeton grad Jared Kramer was well on his way to a promising career in computer science until four months before his 1L year, when he chose HLS over a computer science Ph.D. He still sometimes feels “not quite at home” in law school. “I find it very frustrating not to have any answers. In computer science you’re either right or wrong or too stupid to find out, and either of those three are comforting.”

Still, Kramer enjoyed his 1L year. “The constant argumentation is interesting and stimulating,” he said, adding that “the non-quantitative nature of law is both good news and bad news, but the people are good news.” Kramer subcited for the Journal on Legislation last year, but this year he plans to be involved only with the law review “to placate my girlfriend who lives in New York.”

In his spare time this summer, Kramer also found the solution to a computer science problem that he had stumbled upon on his professor’s website. Jared’s professor urged him to publish the solution, a task that Jared is currently coordinating with another person who discovered the solution at the same time — a professor at Northeastern University.
Jared spent the summer at Fish & Neave in New York, and this summer he hopes to work for the Department of Justice. In the long term, Jared is “more of an academic,” although he is also drawn to litigation.

The Surprise of the Prize

Most Sears Prize winners attributed their good fortune to chance rather t
han design. Gottlieb says: “One of the reasons I was so shocked about the whole thing, and why I never expected to win the Sears Prize, was because I got rejected from HLS the first time I applied, and in off the wait list my second time. So I never really thought I’d be in the running for an award like this.” As a result, he says: “I was literally shocked when I got my grades.”

Landau said he was also caught off-guard: “I thought I’d done pretty well, but you never think you’re going to do that well. I feel like in many ways it’s just luck.”
Kramer agreed: “I didn’t think I did that well in Crim Law and I ended up doing best in Crim Law. That just goes to show that you have no idea what happens when you get out of an exam.”

Tuition hike: Bad economy and rising costs blamed

BY JONAS BLANK

Along with the usual stress of exams, students this past May were treated to a nasty surprise: The largest tuition hike since 1995. A May 13 schoolwide e-mail from Dean Robert Clark brought students the bad news that full tuition for the 2002-2003 academic year would be $29,500, a leap of 7.3 percent from last year’s $27,500. Along with the Law School’s estimated living expenses of $17,900, that brings the total cost of a year at HLS to $47,400.

Clark’s e-mail detailed a number of reasons for the increase, including the hiring of Professors Ryan Goodman and Guhan Subramanian, funding the new pro bono office, and adding another full-time OPIA employee. Compounding the Law School’s problems was the abysmal year on Wall Street, which resulted in a paltry two percent increase in endowment income, which is the money that the University allows HLS to spend out of the interest on its endowment. Even though the Law School kept its costs from rising too much

Harvard commemorates September 11th

BY JONAS BLANK

On a somber, breezy afternoon yesterday, over ten thousand students from around the University gathered to participate in a memorial service commemorating the September 11 attacks.

Held in front of the Tercentenary Theater in Harvard Yard, the service featured devotional readings from many of the world’s religious traditions. Four students read passages on the theme of remembrance, while four more read on the theme of hope. A choral performance, composed by University junior Carson Coonan, came in between the sets of readings.

The subdued crowd spilled across the quad onto the steps of Widener Library, some students sitting, some sobbing lightly. Many students bowed their heads throughout the ceremonies.

University President Lawrence Summers spoke last, delivering a charged message that urged students to respect diversity and work for change even as he drew sharp political distinctions.

He called last September’s events “a calculated plot to murder innocent, unsuspecting people… because they were members of this national community enjoying the fruits of freedom.” Echoing many of President Bush’s speeches of the past year, Summers said that the terrorist attacks “reminded us of the eternal existence of evil.”

Summers’ speech also reflected on the nature of the University and its role in the search for truth. He called for students to recognize the “moral clarity” of the fight against terrorism in all forms.

“We debate the nature of truth,” Summers said, “but there are some truths beyond debate.” He urged the assembled students to, “advance our common purpose by refusing to excuse or legitimate terror.”

Summers called for respect for diversity and tolerance, as well as for the men and women fighting terror around the world. Acutely aware of the surrounding academic environment, Summers repeatedly implored students to look for positive solutions.

“Ultimately, we will be judged not by what we oppose, but what we work towards,” he said.

Summers’ remarks concluded with the tolling of the Memorial Church bell, which lasted for two minutes.