Harvard joins national anti-war protest



Harvard University, together with a network of 40 other U.S. universities, participated Monday in a national day of action to protest the prospect of war in Iraq. The student protest movement, along with parallel national efforts last week, represents the most serious nationwide attempt to combat the gathering voices in support of war with Iraq.

The event, which was spearheaded by social justice organizations in the undergraduate and Divinity schools, united Harvard activists with students at colleges from Brown, Brandeis and Boston University to Berkeley, Humboldt and the University of California Santa Cruz, where students staged a walkout from class. The rally point for this broad network was Boston Mobilization, an activist group that has planned more protests for October.

According to Alex Cheney, Director of Boston Mobilization, “Students have always been the cornerstone of the peace movement” and at rallies over the weekend and Monday they opposed U.S. military action “before nonviolent negotiation.”

The seven co-sponsoring Harvard groups, including the College Greens and both the Society of Arab Students and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, brought speakers from the student body and faculty, sponsored faxes to Congress and staged a silent protest.

Nationwide, thousands protested as part of the “Not in Our Name” coalition in each of New York’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Union Square, the Los Angeles Federal Building, downtown Detroit and Portland this weekend to oppose war.

Harvard’s Associate Dean of the College, David Illingworth, watched the rally at the Science Center with approval, calling the event “well organized.” However, he would not share his personal opinion on the invasion. Nonetheless, other chief student organizers confirmed that at least some college administrators in attendance favored the activist’s position.

Most notable among the speakers was the outspoken Tim McCarthy, Professor of History and Literature, who decried the general acceptance among national politicians of a war with Iraq. He noted the lack of dissent because, as he put it, Democrats “have submitted to a warlord government.” Event organizer Paul Dexter bemoaned that “the American majority in favor of war is far slimmer than the government majority.”

Recent polls have shown that a slight majority of Americans supports sending troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

Harvard and BU Democrats both declined to co-sponsor the events, based on their party’s position. Democratic leaders in Congress and the Senate continued their support for war this week with the notable exception of Ted Kennedy, who spoke of “serious misgivings” about war with Iraq.

Speakers and demonstrators expressed a range of other concerns, from balance of power issues to “wag the dog” theories, but united in their concern for “the grave responsibility to protect innocent lives,” as stated by protest leader and College senior Shelby Meyerhoff.

Nancy Kanwisher, a professor of cognitive science at MIT, pointed a finger at the media for giving voice to the government’s choir but ignoring the stirrings of popular discord, as evidenced by the nationwide protests this weekend. Her point seemed somewhat muted by the crowd’s peppering of reporters and news cameras from national and local outlets. Professor McCarthy echoed Kanwisher’s sentiment in his speech, blaming the media for “failing to fulfill its First Amendment duty.”

The event’s origins at Harvard came from Equitas, the Divinity School’s social justice organization, and the Harvard Institute for Peace and Justice (HIPJ), a student society.

Before the rally began, Equitas provided a forum for silent protest for those uncomfortable with the rally. According to member Kendra LaRoche, “the silent protest left a sacred space for those looking to connect personal experiences of loss of life to potential loss of life in a war.”

Many of the schools participating in the day of action — including Georgetown Law Center and the University of Wisconsin — plan more events this week, include potentially large protests in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco later in October.

The upsurge in national protests coincided with a speech by President Bush in Baltimore, designed to address the concerns of war with Iraq. In the speech, the President focused on concerns about the war’s timing and the uniqueness of Iraq among nations with weapons of mass destruction. However, Bush’s speech made no mention of the protests specifically.

[Photos by Erin Berstein/RECORD]

Negotiation program reimagines WTC site


A group of students and dispute resolution specialists gathered Monday night at the Kennedy School of Government to begin the emotionally, spiritually and technically difficult process of discussing what should be done with the World Trade Center site.

The interactive event, entitled “Building Consensus Around the World Trade Center Site,” was sponsored by the Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Experts on New York City redevelopment plans, experts on dispute resolution and the general public weighed the constraints on redevelopment plans for the site as well as focusing on consensus building.

“Since 9/11, there has been no shortage of advice, feelings, thoughts, meetings,” said Maria Volpe, Director of the Dispute Resolution Program at the City University of New York.

Several ideas were floated for what should be done with the site, including the creation of a memorial park, the development of commercial or retail space and a mixture of both.

Panel members attempted to sift out a goal for the redevelopment and a method for implementing that goal. Courtney Cowart, of the 9/12 Foundation, used her personal experiences from being at the site to address her ideas for redevelopment.

“It may sound peculiar, but it was a privilege to be inside the cataclysm [during the attacks]…. It was a privilege because of what I saw in there. I saw people finding common ground in their humanity,” Cowart said.

Other panelists addressed tangible concerns. Tentatively, about $20 billion has been set aside for redevelopment of the area surrounding the World Trade Center site. Panelists attempted to create a method for allocating these funds, focusing on several projects, most notably the need for commuter transportation in Lower Manhattan.

“There has been a public consensus that has been reached in terms of transportation infrastructure. The most viable proposal has been the creation of a transportation hub,” said Marcia Van Wagner, Deputy Research Director of the Citizens Budget Commission. Transportation initiatives also focused on several other smaller projects in an effort to upgrade already existing areas such as the South Ferry Station.

Panelist Hugh Kelly, a New York City strategic consultant, stated that the lack of housing and a vibrant community in Lower Manhattan was another issue that needed to be addressed.

“It is that resident population that creates the neighborhood life,” said Kelly.All of the panelists agreed that further discussion was necessary, but that dispute resolution had the potential to play an important role in the redevelopment process.

Leon Amariglio, a student at Harvard Business School, agreed that the issue could not be resolved easily because of the different layers of conflict associated with the World Trade Center site.In the end, no final decision was reached on what should be done.

“We are not sure yet and uncertainty is a constraint. It would be nice if we could be sure about the future,” said Kelly.

A webcast of the panel is available at www.pon.harvard.edu

Songwriters’ Ball: New albums by Ryan Adams, Rhett Miller and Beck


Alternative country is dead! Long live alternative country! I never knew what that phrase meant anyway. When Uncle Tupelo recorded No Depression back in 1990, the decision to harness the country-folk ethos of Hank Williams or Woody Guthrie and imbue it with the hardscrabble garage punk of the Replacements or the Ramones just might have meant the birth of a genre. But since then, the line between an “alternative country” auteur and a songwriter who happens to have the occasional banjo or mandolin accompaniment has waned. Back when Dylan recorded Blood on the Tracks or the Stones recorded Let It Bleed, it was all called rock n’ roll anyway. And so again today, it seems that supposed alternative country acts represent a major, major percentage of that vast and curious semi-underground that consists of bands just big enough to get talked about all the time in music magazines but not quite big enough to ever hear on the radio or think of playing on TRL. And even then, though, the times they are a’ changin’ — Ryan Adams is fast becoming something resembling a household name, and as other good-looking sensitive types of his ilk (the Old ’97s’ boyish frontman Rhett Miller being a good case in point) make the move to the mainstream and established acts like Beck get folkier and twangier, the line between underground and limelight is fast fading for those in cowboy boots and acoustic guitars. The past few weeks have seen three major releases from what are perhaps the three key players in this phenomenon and for good measure, we’ve reviewed ‘em all:

Ryan Adams Demolition: After his last album Gold put him on everyone’s hot list, rumors began to abound that Ryan was working on nothing less than a four-disc follow-up. For a guy who seems to write three songs on his way out of bed in the morning, this didn’t sound impossible, even if it did sound impossibly pretentious. One disc, word had it, was a reworking of the Strokes’ Is This It, undoubtedly cut for fun between art gallery openings and cocktails with Elton John. You should probably never trust the Internet on these sorts of things, but it smacked of pure, vintage Adams — brash, funny, self-consciously brash and funny, and probably a bit too self-involved for his own damn good. Perhaps sensing the impending backlash, Adams pulled up short and instead released Demolition, a modest thirteen-song hodgepodge collected over five different sessions in Nashville, Stockholm, and Hollywood. As such, Demolition is hard to place — it just feels like a bit of a compilation — full of songs that are independently strong but collectively anonymous.

While he doesn’t break much new ground here, Adams displays his range with ease. “Desire” and “Cry on Demand,” are gentle, pretty musings with a certain anthemic quality to their choruses that he hasn’t really emphasized since his Whiskeytown days. Likewise, “Chin Up, Cheer Up” is a nice little dose of country charm. “Starting to Hurt” and “Nuclear” are mid-tempo rockers that manage to glisten without being overproduced. While he warbles occasionally, Adams’ voice these days can just as easily sound like a poppy slick Christopher Cross as his older, more Mark Eitzel-esque lump-in-your-throat-rum-poet persona. “Dear Chicago” and “Tennessee Sucks,” for instance, are earnest and beautiful as always, but surprisingly light in their touch. Only on the album’s closer “Jesus (Don’t Touch My Baby)” does he bellow out a heavier musing that actually sounds strikingly like what Beck is playing these days (see below), but not quite as rich- there’s a certain leaden quality to the song that robs it of some accessibility. Overall, one gets the sense that Demolition doesn’t lead in any direction in particular, but instead documents a prodigious talent faced with too many choices and armed with too many poses, gestures, inclinations, and abilities to sort it all out at once.

Rhett Miller The Instigator : Even their most devout fans could be forgiven for just assuming that Dallas’ Old ’97s are simply a vehicle for their charismatic singer/guitarist Rhett Miller in the same way that Whiskeytown revolved around Ryan Adams. Interestingly enough, in this, his second solo release (but first on a major label), Miller demonstrates that there was much more to those collaborations than meets the eye. Miller with the Old ’97s is kind of like Buddy Holly fronting Johnny Cash’s band — smart, charming pop floating blithely atop the railroad rumble of a grit-caked honkytonk rhythm section. Take out the twang, and the result is a more unadulterated and polished pop — still very smart and enjoyable listen, but on the whole a bit less interesting.

Miller’s deadpan tone and unrelentingly witty wordplay remain intact — his plaintive vocals on “Four-Eyed Girl” (the album’s true gem) rank with Old ’97s classics like “Barrier Reef” or “Big Brown Eyes.” But what’s missing in many cases is the very thing the ’97s lend to his delivery — a certain swing and bash and groove that in his solo context he is unable to replicate. Indeed, even his attempt to recreate the ’97s’ sound on “The El” just seems a bit overstudied by comparison. Miller is best on this album when he veers more into Rivers Cuomo territory on songs like “Four-Eyed Girl” or “Our Love,” and lets guitarist and producer Jon Brion unleash the album rocker within. Ironically, in some ways The Instigator bears Brion’s fingerprint as much as it does Miller’s, and clearly flourishes like the heavily-layered Blue Oyster Cult guitars on “I Want to Live” are a treat courtesy of Brion alone. Overall, one leaves The Instigator with the impression that Miller is one of those writers who feeds off of his collaborators, rather than entirely generating his own atmosphere. Certainly Miller’s recent fashion spread in Maxim and his occasional appearance on TV suggests that there are some out there set on making Miller into his own industry, but if this album is any indication, that move might be a bit premature.

Beck Sea Change: In the same way that Ryan Adams all but advertised the fact that his first solo album Heartbreaker was a response to a bitter, wounding breakup, so too has Beck been upfront about the fact that Sea Change documents a painful time in his life. But if the challenge of an artist is to take the bruised undersides, confusing thrills, and ebbs and flows of the human experience and channel them into something that has a viscerally communicative power — something that speaks to others while sharing something of the self — then Beck has served his muse well here. Better than well. Simply put, this is absolutely stunningly, beautiful. As heartbreak albums go, this is Van Gogh — effortless, profound, and realms beyond what even most talented contemporaries (like Adams) could ever hope to accomplish. That being said, perhaps the most disarming thing about this album is how pretentious it’s not. While Beck has always been prone to genre study, Sea Change has a simple coherence that transcends and even defies concept. Coming off the heels of Midnite Vultures, which was all sex and porn and camp and inside jokes, this album feels like the weightiest thing in the world, with its soft, cozy, melancholy waft and Beck’s surprisingly sympathetic low-register vocals.

on the back burner long, and I’m guessing not much was written before midnight, either. The twelve songs here tend to slide into each other like segments of a
sedative dream, elaborate but uncharacteristically subtle.

As such, no song in particular stands out as a distinct highlight — “The Golden Age” sets the mood and “Sunday Song” serves as a type of anguished crescendo, but really separating the songs is like trying to parse where one wave stops and another begins. This is a mood album — a cocoon for lonely nights, a postcard from the wee hours of a bleak weeknight, a dirge for the weary but still standing. With Sea Change Beck has finally made the transition from oh-so-smart culture vulture to genuine genius — it’s an arresting masterpiece.

Fenno: Pink army men


Monday morning. Fenno rolled over to turn off her clock alarm. She was a bit surprised to hear FNX playing “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” But maybe her head was still a little fuzzy from the Shaw Hall Crawl. Sixteen drinks is definitely my limit, she decided. There’s no way those three guys hanging around the keg were Oasis. In the shower, she heard BCN playing Barry Maguire’s “Eve of Destruction.” Just to be sure she hadn’t tuned to the wrong station, she worked the dial back to 103.3, which was also playing “Eve of Destruction,” only not in stereo.

Leaving the bathroom, she spotted a flyer one of her roommates had left on the kitchen table. “That’s it! The antiwar rally at the Science Center!” Fenno zipped into her room, dumped everything out of her rayon shirt drawer, and found what she was looking for. A few minutes later, she was outside.

Everything felt somehow different on Mass. Ave. The air had a yesteryear quality to it, and the sunlight reflected softly off the silver wheel rims of six banana-seat bicycles carrying their owners to campus, ringing bells and laughing like it was the first day of finals. The light glimmered a faded yellow, and Fenno knew this would be one of the most important days of her life. She couldn’t wait to see Kevin on her way into school —

“Crystal, turn off that voiceover machine!” Fenno yelled. “Oh, sorry,” was the reply. That Becky Slater was up to her old tricks again, just trying to get attention and making everyone else feel small. She’s just jealous, Fenno thought. Crystal retreated back onto Everett Street. Having regained control of her inner monologue, Fenno arrived peacefully at the Harkbox Café. She wanted a granola bar, but what she found there was even better.

“Hi Renée,” Fenno said to the beaming elf princess floating six inches off the ground in front of her. Renée Dall was always a treat to see in the morning. “Hi Fenno. You look beautiful. That’s such a great skirt. What’s it made of?”

“Thanks so much. It’s copies of The New York Times editorial pages from the last few months. I’m wearing them to the antiwar rally. You’re coming of course?”

The corners of Renée’s mouth turned down ever so slightly. “I really wish I could, but I have to baby-sit the Federalist Society. Without J.R. around to help, it’s so hard to find time to do anything but watch the kids.”

Over Renée’s shoulder, Fenno spied a shirtless Brian Hooper in full face paint standing on a table, about to leap on an unsuspecting but similarly shirtless Mike Geiser, who was minding his own business while beating a drum. Renée turned around just in time. “Brian, get down!” she scolded. “Don’t make me come over there.” She faced Fenno again. “See what I mean? Well, have a good time, and remember, the Republicans want your blood!”

Fenno thought this sounded a little over the top, even for Renée. “Excuse me?”

“You know, the GOP-sponsored blood drive tomorrow.”

“Oh, right,” Fenno answered, a bit relieved. “Of course. See you later.”

Fenno looked at her watch: It was almost noon. She hurried to the front of the Science Center. She could hear the chanting before she could see anyone. “No attack on Iraq! Bill of Rights, give it back!” It rhymed and everything. This was the real deal. Fenno started chanting along. She regretted not bringing a sign. Some of the signs were very bold. They said things like, “No War!” and “Down with War!” Others were more nuanced, appealing to moral sentiment with messages such as “War is Bad” and “Why Have a War When We Could Be Smoking Some Serious Doobage Over at Alex’s House? — Yeah, It’s Okay, He’s Cool” and “Party at Eliot House this Thursday.” These kids really know where it’s at, Fenno reflected.

She had to admit to herself, though, that the “Bill of Rights” part of the chant was a little perplexing. Maybe the undergrads knew something about the Bill of Rights that Fenno didn’t. Or maybe they were saying that America had stolen Iraq’s bill of rights. That would be mean. In any event, Fenno made a note to make sure there were no soldiers quartered in her apartment when she got home. Meanwhile, she was happy to see 200 Ivy League students sending a strong message to Washington. This would be sure to get their attention. Fenno took another brownie from the organizers’ table.

Across the crowd, Fenno saw Maya Alperowicz standing near the edge of the protest and looking over her shoulder every once in a while as if checking to see if a cooler protest might develop. Fenno walked over to her. “Maya, I’m surprised to see you here. Are you against war in Iraq too?”

“Of course I’m against war,” she answered. “War is so last winter. Blockades are the new in thing.”

“But we’ve been doing something like that to Iraq since 1991,” Fenno noted.

“Right. It’s retro chic.”

Fenno thought she’d done her part for the cause. Besides, she didn’t want to miss the rally against discrimination in the military back at the Law School. What a great day, she thought. The Pentagon won’t soon forget this. As Fenno passed the construction on the corner of Kirkland and Oxford streets, she heard a construction worker whistle. “Hey,” Fenno remonstrated. “Sorry lady, but that’s some real saucy political commentary Maureen Dowd’s got written on your butt there.”

Up at the rally, Fenno knew things were off to an especially powerful start when Prof. Dershowitz concluded his address with an exhortation not to “cooperate with Evil.” Fenno could not doubt Dershowitz’s sincerity, as the principle was certainly one that had guided him in his decision to join O.J. Simpson’s “dream team.” Fenno also appreciated Professor Halley’s reminder that deep down, we are all very gay. But Fenno did not also appreciate Professor Halley’s implication that she became aroused whenever Fenno walked into her Family Law class.

Fenno realized she had to think hard about her own personal stance on ‘don’t Ask, don’t tell’ when she saw the little pink army men being passed around. She began to wonder. Army men in pink must be easier to spot and shoot at. Then again, they were very small, so they’d probably be harder to hit than regular-sized army men. So maybe the Army would consider allowing very small openly gay men to enlist as a start. Fenno pulled out one of the brownies she’d taken from the antiwar rally and gave it a good hard sniff.



On paper, Evoo never should have worked. A location at a drab intersection in Somerville, a prissy name that stands for “extra-virgin olive oil,” and an equally precious menu, with dishes combining everything from house-made kimchee to barbecued lamb in a single entrée: Better business plans than this have come from the Harvard area. Peter McCarthy’s restaurant is still going strong in its fifth year, however, thanks to dazzling, if uneven, food and curtains that hide Somerville from the customers.

McCarthy loves to play with his food; every dish on the menu is changed slightly from day to day. When his ingredient combinations work, the result is mindblowing. The barbecued rack of lamb ($26) is smoked with tea, brushed with barbeque sauce and served with fried hoisin-glazed tofu, kimchee and radish sprouts. The kimchee alone is better than most Korean restaurants would offer; it is warmed to mute the piquant flavor of its fermented cabbage, and it forms a perfect bridge between the spicier, astringent radish sprouts and the tea-sweetened lamb. Smoking lamb with tea is not terribly novel, but the execution here is perfect, the hearty flavor of lamb drawn out wonderfully by the tea, if overwhelmed a touch by the barbeque sauce.

Other genres of food are recreated with equal ease. The mild, succulent pork in the homemade garlic sausage ($9) is mated with fresh, crispy relish and a habanero coleslaw with tiny bits of sweet cornbread. The dish recalls the best flavors of food at a smoky barbeque joint, and yet makes them seem fresher and more distinct than you ever thought possible.

The showboating turns more serious when McCarthy focuses on seasonal ingredients, with even better results. He uses slices of black truffle to pay homage to the roasted-garlic porcini flan, ($13) served atop local wild hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. The best dish I’ve eaten in Boston, the flan’s heavenly light, creamy texture soaked up the earthy flavor of the porcini mushrooms. This throws the subtle variations in earthiness provided by the truffles and the moist, firm hen-of-the-woods mushrooms into stark relief. Ravioli with porcini, spinach and mozzerella and mortadella cheeses ($18) is transformed by a coulis of local tomatoes, which adds warmth, moisture and a lightly acidic flavor without overwhelming the pasta.

The Achilles heel of Evoo’s food is not impossible complexity, though it has plenty of that; one rather gets the sense that Peter McCarthy had a childhood trauma involving low sodium. A balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture for dipping bread is ruined by romano cheese, which soaks up the oil and reminds me of the last time I licked Cheeto dust off my fingers. The cutesy “Duck, Duck, Goose,” ($23) tries to balance a perfectly-seared piece of duck foie gras with a confit of duck leg and sliced goose breast, but the charred outsides of the goose breast crumble into the sherry-ginger-soy sauce and render it vaguely unpleasant. A salad of fresh beets, apples, Great Hill blue cheese and sour cream ($8) would have been excellent, but the gratuitous addition of hazelnuts, smoked bacon and fried onions made it brackish instead.

Many other dishes are returned to perfection by quick removal of the more obviously salty ingredients. A grilled Maine salmon with oyster mushrooms ($19) is splendid without the ridiculous fried potato straws atop it. A country terrine ($11) mixes pork rillette, pheasant, rabbit and duck pates into a delicious combination of a pate’s rich smoothness and the stringier meat of a rilette, but it tastes like beef jerky until I remove the prosciutto wrapped around it. Once you do, the pistachios and dried cherries embedded in the terrine shine through. The homemade pickles and wild blueberry jam are extremely impressive – how many Cambridge restaurants even make their own bread, let alone pickles?

Evoo’s desserts are less impressive than the best of its entrees, but very comforting nonetheless. The sticky toffee pudding cake with armagnac-prune ice cream ($8) was the best I had, a simple, moist end to the chaotic flavors that preceded it.

For those willing to walk 10 minutes into Somerville and eat their way around a few salty dishes, Evoo is very rewarding. The best argument is the 7-course blind tasting menu ($50), the best way to experience Peter McCarthy’s genius and constant innovation. You might wrinkle your nose occasionally, but you’ll never stop coming back.


118 Beacon Street

(617) 661-3866

6-10 (M-Th),

6-11 (F,Sa), 5-11 (Su)

Mickey goes to Washington


This week features argument in the long-awaited Supreme Court case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, in which Larry Lessig and his jilted but loyal Berkman Center friends have challenged the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Passed at the behest of Walt Disney Company, which sought to prevent Mickey Mouse from entering the public domain, the Act retroactively extends copyright terms and allows for unlimited renewals, essentially extending copyright protection indefinitely. Those seeking free love on the Internet clicked their (non-Mickey) mice in protest and reached for their pocket copies of the Constitution. The legal jousting begins.

As always, Disney has capitalized on the scene. Peter Jennings is providing hard-hitting coverage for Disney’s ABC News. Those famished from intellectual stimulation find vendors selling honey jars featuring images of Winnie the Pooh. And those who believe that IP piracy is a crime can purchase stuffed dolls of Larry Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain dressed up as Pirates of the Caribbean. Walt Disney himself has been defrosted so that he can attend oral argument. He nearly found himself on the bench when he was mistaken for Justice Stevens.

The justices have also parlayed Disney’s presence into appearances on the silver screen. Chief Justice Rehnquist quickly landed the starring role in The Lion King, and Justices Ginsburg and Scalia will be headlining the remake of Beauty and the Beast. Justice Breyer’s attempt to benefit from his uncanny resemblance to Mr. Burns fell short, however, when he learned that The Simpsons is not a Disney vehicle.

Legally, things look glum for our favorite Palo Alto domiciliary. Lessig has never appeared before the Supreme Court. I’m not really sure if he’s ever even litigated a case, but since I am hesitant to make new defamation law as a mere RECORD columnist, I’ll leave that as a question mark. What I do know is that the Supremes will be salivating for the chance to teach this long-haired, ivory-tower hacker a thing or two about practicing law. And I for one will applaud their efforts. Because any “lawyer” so thin-skinned as to ban students from his preparatory exercise in the Ames Courtroom deserves to find himself in the prone position with Ted Olson looming overhead.

Adding to the Internet-hippies’ woes are their arguments and their allies. Lessig argues that the Copyright Clause has limits. For support, he analogizes the Supreme Court decisions in Lopez and Morrison, premised on the notion that there are limits to the commerce clause. One can’t help but cringe at his naivete: “Hey there Evil Supreme Court majority of five, I am trying to use your conservative revolution for liberal purposes, so please go along with me!” Imagine Rehnquist’s glee when he reaffirms that evil conservative decisions will be used for evil conservative purposes and evil conservative purposes alone, thank you.

Falling short on the merits (there is a First Amendment argument in there somewhere, to which the answer is fair use), Lessig has turned to a high-powered network of amici curiae. First are briefs written by the intellectual property professors and the con law professors, respectively. Finally recovered from their efforts to disseminate anti-Bush v. Gore propaganda, the legal academy will once again learn how to spell “ineffectual.” Even better is the brief written by economists, including Arrow, Coase and Friedman, who opine that the Act’s costs outweigh its benefits. Not eager to be told how to decide cases by anyone, let alone a bunch of out-of-work number-crunchers, the Supremes may take great pleasure in shouting, “Run a regression on this!” at a fleeing Lessig.

So have we lost hope? Will The Country Bears and Tarzan remain inaccessible to the next generation of frugal cinema aficionados?

Lessig does have an ace up his sleeve — this was an act of Congress. The Supreme Court majority hates Congress more than Sonny Bono hates obstacles on a ski course. Some say that the Federalism revolution is motivated not by a love for the states but by a hatred for Congress; some also say that Miranda is still good law because the only thing Rehnquist hates more than Miranda is Congress trying to tell him what the law is. Striking down this act would not only censure the current Congress, but censure every Congress that ever retroactively extended copyright protection — dating back to the 1790s.

There’s also Plan B. Eyeing the swing vote, Zittrain pretends to be a bright-eyed high school computer geek, sneaks into Justice Kennedy’s chambers, and begins playing a bootlegged copy of Bambi. Kennedy, always eager to prove that he’s not such a bad guy after all, pens a pro-Lessig opinion chock full of the sort of incoherent platitudes that betrays his BSA past. The Constitution is alive and well.

RECORD Editorial: Nixing sports and entertainment journal a poor decision


The students on the Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law saw one of their greatest goals crushed recently by the administration when the Journals Committee rejected the group’s application to become the Law School’s newest journal.

The Law School currently hosts journals encompassing a variety of perspectives, including the Journal on Public Policy, the Women’s Law Journal, the Environmental Law Review, the Journal on Negotiation, the International Law Journal, the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and the Journal of Law and Technology. One would hope that (aside from the scads of resume padders stocking their ranks) students who spend a great deal of their time editing, subciting and making content decisions for these journals do so because they hope to be part of a larger legal community dedicated to the field of law in question. As HLS students, they are uniquely positioned to one day have an impact on their chosen fields, and their road to making a difference starts here.

Like many HLS student groups, the Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law has been an extremely active presence on campus. The group has hosted a variety of industry-related panels. It created its own clinical program, the Recording Artists’ Project, which not only allows students to help real clients with real problems, but also can help them earn classroom credit. It has recruited a large and active membership, and many of its members have gone on to careers in the entertainment industry. Along with the student group’s activities, Professor Paul Weiler’s Entertainment, Media and the Law class continues to be a popular choice for students hoping to learn more about the field.

Yet the Journals Committee, and by extension the entire HLS administration, does not seem to think that these activities are important. Amid Committee Chair Professor Terry Martin’s various comments to The RECORD last week was at least one good shred of truth: The administration would be and has been willing to consider a number of new journal ideas, he said, but “Specialty journals don’t offer the same appeal.”

Explaining how exactly sports and entertainment is more of a “specialty” than negotiation, environmental law, technology or even international law would be a difficult semantic stretch even for most lawyers. Indeed, the study and practice of law is virtually defined by specialization. Prof. Weiler, one suspects, would likely take issue with Martin’s dismissal of a “specialty” to which he has dedicated his entire career.

The Committee’s other excuse — that there is a lack of space and full-time staff to support another journal, does not seem to hold water. Would-be Journal on Sports and Entertainment Law Editor Marina Bonnani already has made clear that the JSEL was not asking for additional resources, planning instead to utilize the independent, privately-funded model used by JOLT. Given the fact that entertainment law is a lucrative practice, it seems likely that JSEL could have supported itself easily with private funding. And, it should have at least been allowed to try.

The Journals Committee told The RECORD that there is a “responsibility to see that the journals published at the Law School reflect well on Harvard.” Based on this statement, it would appear that the Committee does not believe CSEL’s other administration-sanctioned activities — including running its own clinical program for credit and having entire courses devoted to both entertainment law and sports law — are “reflecting well” on HLS. If this is the case, HLS should presumably reconsider its support of those activities as well.

It is true that entertainment law is not generally thought of as an altruistic practice. As a new field of study, perhaps it as yet lacks the intellectual gravitas of more established fields. But unlike HLS, other top law schools have decided to lead the way and offer their own entertainment law journals. HLS has a talented, enthusiastic and thus far successful group of students here who want to do the same, without help. Surely, these students could help HLS be a leader in yet another field. It is a shame that they and the JSEL are being denied the chance to make the attempt.

Law school’s trauma


An interesting characteristic of the legal profession is that so many lawyers leave legal practice and/or express severe dissatisfaction with their career choice. It is widely known that practicing lawyers have a high rate of psychological distress. Some of these psychological problems may be endemic to the profession, but they originate in law school. Like other studies, Ann Iijima’s article, Lessons Learned: Legal Education and Law Student Dysfunction, indicates that “law students were within normal psychological ranges when they started law school, but became disproportionately dysfunctional soon thereafter, and experienced increasing dysfunction as they progressed through their legal education.”

Andrew H. Benjamin’s well-known and thorough study — The Role of Legal Education in Producing Psychological Distress Among Law Students and Lawyers — also found that law school causes a range of psychological symptoms, including interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsive behavior, hostility, anxiety and depression. The Paper Chase and Scott Turow’s One L fictionally depict what has been empirically established: Law school is a stressful and often traumatic experience. Aspects of the law school experience that contribute to the emotional ills of students include the stress of grades, the competitive environment, the lack of personal time and the pressure to conform to law school’s “professional” culture. In addition, law students often identify legal education’s omission of personal values as a source of distress. According to Iijima, the academic emphasis on suppressing feelings and personal opinions results in an unhealthy internal confusion.

Women are particularly susceptible to the stresses of law school. In Becoming Gentlemen: Women’s Experiences at One Ivy League Law School, Professor Lani Guinier and her coauthors found that “[T]he women students we interviewed almost universally expressed stronger and more passionate feelings of alienation and outrage than the male students…. In particular, almost all the women we interviewed described their first-year experience as a radical, painful, or repressive experience.” Studies examining why women do not perform as well as men in law school suggest that the psychological stress imposed by the law school culture contributes to the differentiation in academic performance.

Forging a positive relationship with a professor is one way to mitigate the dysfunction of law school. This necessitates that students take the initiative to talk to their professors during office hours or to talk to other professors they would like to meet. Luckily, the HLS faculty is very accessible.

Another way to maintain emotional health is by exercising regularly. According to Iijima, “[T]here is compelling evidence that exercise would help relieve most of the emotional dysfunctions that lawyers and law students suffer, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.” Most important, though, is maintaining a sense of self and occupying your time with activities that have personal meaning.

It is important to identify and express the initial issues that cause emotional disturbances before they escalate. Law school does not have to be a place of emotional thrashing, but preventing psychological distress requires both student and institutional concern for these issues. Dr. Mark Byers, Director of HLS’s Office of Student Life Counseling asserts, “What kind of lawyer you will be is what kind of person you will be.” For most of us, our work lives will occupy a large portion of our remaining conscious hours. While some people are comfortable compartmentalizing, for others, it is critically important that the work they choose reflects and supports their personal values. It is while we are in the Law School with its tremendous facilities and support that we should make the choices that will allow us to comfortably reconcile our work selves and ourselves more generally.

The psychological stress, feelings of alienation and pressures to involve oneself in behaviors that are both intensely competitive and detrimental to both social and psychological health are very real here at the Law School. It is critical that we as law students recognize the dangers involved with our work and become proactive in addressing them. With careful thought and dedication, it is possible to avoid at least some of the expected traumas in the life of a lawyer.

Letters: Sexism at the Law Review and HLS’ corporate bias


Law Review should assume enviornment is sexist

I commend Greg Lipper on his self-critical piece on the Law Review’s procedures.

Sometimes discrimination is so normal, it becomes indescribable. In court, one theory to prove a discriminatory environment requires proof of critical moments of discrimination. In climatic terms, a five-minute downpour proves it is humid. Another legal theory turns on evidence that people acted on their knowledge of the environment. That is, the umbrellas carried in case of rain prove it is humid.

Why can we not claim simply that it is humid? Maybe we lack the language or vision to characterize environments. Indeed, legal claims present isolated, arrested controversies. However, the injury of discrimination may not be caused by critical moments (e.g. posting an outline with degrading language). I do not mean to say those moments are not injurious, but I do not consider them the essential cause of injury. The injury of discrimination may be felt daily, caused by the way we speak, think, look at each other, dress, laugh.

Duncan Kennedy writes, “You will pick up mannerisms, ways of speaking, gestures, which would be ‘neutral’ if they were not emblematic of membership in the white middle class male universe of the bar.” Seen separately, these gestures are meaningless; seen collectively, in the context of the history of law and of our Law School — seen as an environment — these gestures become highly suspect.

Perhaps we might at least make presumptions about the environment, until we can see in the aggregate and articulate harms that arise, not out of one controversy, but from the history, the patterns, the environment. For instance, the Law Review might begin from the presumption that its environment is sexist, and then ask, “How do we make this untrue?” Indeed, we know Harvard Law was a sexist environment in 1915, when President Lowell feared the “injurious” effect of educating women with the men of HLS. And we have heard about more recent examples of the Law Review’s sexist environment, including the 1992 scandal surrounding the parody of work by Mary Jo Frug. Why should we assume the environment has changed? Prove it.

— D. Hara Sherman, 3L

HLS is pro-corporate law

Adam White’s column lamenting the lack of support for corporate law at Harvard was very amusing. Saying that “HLS does take steps to promote corporate law” (with the implication that these steps are few and far between, unless I misread him) is like saying that President Bush has made a few desultory comments about the benefits of attacking Iraq.

White must be aware of the vast differential in the annual budgets of the career services office and OPIA, for example. And surely he doesn’t think that fly-out week was created so that NGOs could pay for Harvard Law students to fly to London for interviews and expensive dinners?

But what about White’s claim that HLS doesn’t actively remind students of “the importance of corporate legal expertise?” First, Harvard has one of the strongest corporate law faculties in the country, and the Dean of the Law School is a prominent corporate law scholar whose address to the incoming class was on the importance of corporate responsibility. If it’s a matter of comparison between corporate law offerings and public law offerings, then I’m guessing that White hasn’t taken a look at the course catalog lately: private/financial law courses significantly outnumber public law courses. In fact, Harvard is particularly weak in its public international law course offerings: What it has on offer is often first-rate, but there’s precious little to choose from. White specifically laments the lack of a journal devoted to corporate law, but a number of Harvard’s law journals, including the International Law Journal and the Law Review, all regularly publish on corporate law issues and private law issues more generally. And I think he can look forward to an avalanche of articles addressing the need for corporate reform in the wake of Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and the rest.

White wrings his hands over the fate of corporate law at HLS, but he should stop worrying and learn to love the small but growing public interest sector here at the law school. I can assure him that corporate law at Harvard is alive and well, and that the administration, though he doubts it, is staunchly behind training in corporate law.

What OPIA, clinical program opportunities including Legal Aid, and other extra-curricular programs do is serve to remind Harvard Law students that there are other opportunities out there. These programs are a key part of the Law School, and all are both worthy of and in need of greater support from the law school administration. None of them deserve White’s derisive commentary.

— Tom Kellogg, 3L

Not-So-Sweet Alabama


Sweet Home Alabama is a classic example of the bait and switch. Strategic editing in the film’s PR campaign entices you into thinking it’s a cute, well-written romantic comedy, but what’s delivered is a convoluted and implausible hodgepodge of a film.

Reese Witherspoon stars as Melanie Carmichael, an Alabama native with a wild streak who reinvents herself when she moves to New York City. Her life is now the epitome of urban chic — she’s a hot designer whose first show just made her the darling of the fashion world. Her boyfriend Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) surprises her with hundreds of flowers one morning, telling her each flower representing a time he thought about her the night before. Andrew, of course, is adorable, ambitious, and the most eligible bachelor in the city.

When she accepts Andrew’s marriage proposal, Melanie’s life gets complicated. Her future mother-in-law (Candice Bergen), the image-conscious mayor of New York, finds Melanie’s southern roots — and lack of visible political connections — problematic. Bergen’s character searches for dirt in order to convince Andrew to call off the wedding.

And Melanie does have secrets to hide. No one in her New York life knows that she is still married to her childhood sweetheart Jake (Josh Lucas) who has repeatedly refused to give her a divorce. She reluctantly doubles back to Alabama for the first time in seven years to put pressure on her ex-husband to give her a speedy and secret divorce.

Melanie has a hard time adjusting to Alabama. She can only see the bad in the lifestyles of her family and friends, and acts condescending towards them. Business with Jake does not go much better as they clash over the divorce paperwork.

However, a subtle shift occurs within Melanie the longer she stays. Her self-centeredness, so crucial to her survival in New York, seems out of place. The power struggle with Jake reminds her of the childish games they shared as young lovers, and she comes realize that home wasn’t as bad as she thought it was. Eventually, she finds herself in a love triangle when she develops feelings for Jake.

While it has a fine premise, Sweet Home Alabama’s mistake is that its main character is not likable for most of the film. Her haughtiness toward her family and friends makes it hard to connect with her. The filmmakers could have taken a lesson from Witherspoon’s role in Legally Blonde: It was almost impossible not to like Elle Woods; it’s sometimes impossible to stomach Melanie Carmichael. By the time she finally decides what she wants, you don’t care whether she gets it because you’re not rooting for her anymore. The film also has a disjointed feel because of relationships that don’t quite feel realistic and subplots that meander.

It is refreshing to see Southerners portrayed as something other than simple-minded caricatures in a mainstream film; this movie sees some value in a slower-paced lifestyle that shows concern for others. Another bright spot was Candice Bergen, showing the same about-to-blow-my-top intensity she brought to Murphy Brown.

Overall, Sweet Home Alabama is a disappointment. It has all the elements of a pleasantly sappy romantic comedy, but lacks the heart necessary to make all the sappiness endearing.

Vino & Veritas: Cheap wine, pasta, and pizza


Here’s the situation: It’s mid-week. You finished class and three job interviews. You have an hour to make and eat dinner before a 7:30 meeting back on campus. Your options are the classic pasta with red sauce or pizza. You’d like a glass of wine too. What do you pour?

To give credit where credit’s due, it was my friend and fellow 3L Louis Tompros who suggested this situation for a column. But also to give abuse where abuse is due, Louis said something else deserving of a digression. Pasta and red sauce was one of the common mid-week meals for which he needed a wine to match. Macaroni and cheese was another. He said he tended to eat the latter with White Zinfandel. White Zinfandel, that horrible, cloyingly sweet pink stuff from California, not to be confused with good rosé, is wine for people who don’t really like wine. It should not be had with macaroni and cheese. In fact, it should not be had. Ever.

Back to the point. In figuring out which wines work well with simple pasta or pizza, I came up with a few guiding principles.

Get something cheap. There is a school of thought that claims it is not worth spending $30 for a bottle of wine when there are plenty of decent $10 bottles out there. I don’t go to that school. There certainly are plenty of decent $10 bottles, and even an occasional great one. But there are many more great $30 bottles that are worth every penny. That said, you don’t always need one. Such is the case when you are eating a rushed meal and quaffing down a glass of wine (although do keep the quaffing to a minimum, as you will miss so much of what the wine has to offer). When you lack the time to savor the wine, you probably want to avoid paying too much for it. Moreover, I often share my mid-week bottles with the kitchen drain, as I never seem to finish them before they go bad. When that is inevitable, you want the dollar-per-ounce-dumped to be as low as possible.

You probably want to avoid wines that are too complex and powerful. Assuming we are talking about jarred Ragu and Pizza Ring, the meal will be pretty bland. A meaty, complex cabernet or merlot, or a heavily fruited zinfandel, will overwhelm the food, emphasizing its blandness. Of course, the more savory the meal — moving, say, from Ragu to a homemade bolognese — the more powerful a wine it can handle. Sticking to the whip-it-up-quickly motif, however, you probably want to avoid going too hearty with the wine.

Finally, you want a rather acidic wine. This sounds more technical than it actually is; you don’t actually need to have a Ph strip handy. Higher-acid wines are those that have a refreshing, mouth-cleansing feel — like sucking on a lemon. They dry out your mouth, but quickly cause saliva to follow. Because tomato sauce is relatively acidic, your wine may seem bland, even tasteless, if it lacks acid in comparison.

So how does this translate into particular wines? Certain southern European reds are a good bet. Chianti, which comes from Tuscany and is usually made entirely from sangiovese grapes, fits the bill. The same is true of wines from barbera grapes, a specialty of the Piedmont region in northwest Italy. Both comprise a substantial share of Italy’s vino da tavola — everyday drinking wines. Both are fairly light-bodied, low in tannin, and high in acid. Other options include wines from tempranillo grapes, the chief ingredient in wines from Spain’s famous Rioja region. Less well known, but equally suitable, are red wines from periquita grapes, grown in southern Portugal.

I chose three of these to taste, restricting myself to under $10 per bottle. Apropos of the theme here, I paired them with a Domino’s Pizza.

2000 Melini Borhi D’Elsa Chianti ($9.99). This wine from the well-known Chianti-maker Melini had an almost glowing light purple color, with a grapey, flowery aroma. In the mouth, it was light, very dry, acidic and somewhat bitter. While it fit the pasta/pizza model well, I can’t say I enjoyed it much.

1997 José Maria de Fonsecca Successores Periquita ($9.99). This Portuguese periquita had an earthy, petrol nose. Its taste was fruity (berries) and sour, with refreshing acidity. It was fuller, wilder, and more interesting than the others — easily my favorite of the three.

2000 Marchesi Di Barolo Maràia Barbera Monferrato ($8.99). Black cherries, on both the nose and palate, dominated this barbera. It was far softer than the other two, with a surprising sweetness. I liked it, but thought it not particularly interesting. I got the sense that with a little time in the bottle, the cherry flavor would tone down and it would grow more interesting.

The History of Hannibal


Think Indiana Jones.

Yes, I know that isn’t the first thought that comes to mind in conjunction with Red Dragon — but stay with me.

Consider a trilogy that’s become more of a character franchise. A franchise built off a genuinely original blockbuster that had audiences riveted in their seats, with a character that has since become ensconced in pop culture lore. And after a misstep with a gaudy, grotesquely over-the-top second episode, a canny return to form — or formula — in the third installment, which closely tracks many of the elements that made the first a hit.

Sound familiar?

Those who loved Silence of the Lambs but hated Hannibal can take heart: Because Red Dragon follows the pattern just described, it will no doubt prove more palatable than its immediate predecessor. The movie gets down to business quickly, aiming for genuine scares rather than shock value; the suspense is competently sustained, and there is some very good acting in patches, though less than might be expected from an absolutely stellar cast. What it lacks is the kind of hit-you-in-the-gut impact that the original had.

For the uninitiated, Red Dragon is the prequel to Silence of the Lambs. It begins by showing how Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a.k.a. the “Cannibal,” was caught, and by whom. The FBI agent who bags him, Will Graham (Ed Norton), almost dies in the process, and subsequently takes an early semi-retirement in Florida with his wife and son. Some years later, his old boss Crawford (played here by Harvey Keitel), solicits his assistance in a case involving a serial killer (Ralph Fiennes) dubbed the “Tooth Fairy.” At Crawford’s urging, Graham picks the brain of his old nemesis, Dr. Lecter, now locked away in the same maximum-security cell where we saw him in Lambs (complete with the same personnel and the same smarmy prison psychiatrist to torment him). But Lecter, wily as ever, ends up playing a nasty double game with Graham and the killer, who regards the good doctor as his role model.

If you think more murders are in store, you’re right. If you think the movie milks the prequel factor for all that it’s worth, you’re right about that, too — down to the last, totally shameless line of the movie.

Lecter is at once the main draw and the main problem of the film, and it shows in Hopkins’ performance. He’s practically patented the character, and at times he rides the fine line of self-parody. The whiff of ham may not be entirely his fault: What made him so effective in Lambs was the fact that we didn’t know then what he was capable of, except by oblique references. (How chilling was Jodie Foster’s simple response “No, you ate them,” when he pointed out that he, unlike other killers, didn’t keep mementos of his victims?) The menace was more sheathed — so when he finally did strike, it was all the more terrifying. By now, even if you haven’t seen Lambs, you know where the demon lurks. You can hear it in his voice. It sounds flatter, more sibilant, more decayed and repulsive than in Lambs, even though that film is supposed to come later. It’s especially jarring by contrast with the brief pre-imprisonment sequence at the beginning, when we hear him discourse in perfectly normal, non-Hannibal Anthony Hopkins diction.

That sequence, incidentally, underscores the difference between the two films. Those polished cadences, and the impeccable table he lays for his guests, pose a darkly humorous contrast to the macabre amuse-bouche he’s serving them… but in a way, the zap is gone. As in Indiana’s Last Crusade, we know the game. We get sly humor in place of that indefinable sense of unease, of not knowing what to expect, that haunted us in the first episode.

This is not necessarily always a net loss. There are witty touches, particularly in the opening scenes, that add a welcome sparkle to Red Dragon. But the rest of the film tries too hard both to recreate the psychological probing of Lambs and to dish up a conventional Hollywood recipe for suspense thrillers. After some colorful detours, it falls into the all-too-familiar rhythm of the standard cat-and-mouse plot involving a serial killer and the cop trying to catch him, partly livened by crisp direction and a clever nod to Hitchcock’s Psycho.

The weird rapport between Lecter and Graham is potentially as thought-provoking as that between Lecter and Clarice, but here it’s less subtle because of the way the plot is structured. Ed Norton is merely adequate as Hannibal’s pre-Clarice protégé. He does have one moment at the film’s climax where he shows a glimmer of the talent that’s made him a star — a moment that would otherwise be rather hokey, but which he makes work. As for the rest of the cast, Fiennes is a surprisingly compelling psycho, and brings dramatic heft to even his most absurd bouts of (literal) scenery-chewing. Keitel is merely rote (Crawford here is far less interesting a character than in Lambs), and the ubiquitous Philip Seymour Hoffmann pops up as a sleazy tabloid journalist — amusing in a cheap-laughs sort of way, though he, too, has a fine moment where he bursts into brilliance.

It’s the women who are wasted in this movie (posing another unfavorable contrast to Lambs), with the gifted Emily Watson trapped in a stunt casting as a blind woman who falls for the Tooth Fairy, while the equally gifted Mary-Louise Parker fills the stock role of Graham’s long-suffering wife.

In the end, Red Dragon succeeds on its own terms. It is scary and suspenseful, in a flashier, less enigmatic way than Silence of the Lambs. (The difference in the titles is telling.) It painstakingly reminds us of why Hopkins’ Lecter has left such an indelible mark on the popular imagination. But it also suggests that it may be high time for Hannibal to leave the building. Three courses is enough.

When it comes to corporate scandal, place blame where it’s due


“Boss, that suit looks great on you.” CEOs used to smile when hearing that; lately, though, the CEOs aren’t grinning — especially when they hear it from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (HLS ‘84) and the boys at the S.E.C.

Last week, Wall Street’s worst nightmares filed some of their most deeply-impacting lawsuits in recent months. But while some of them — the S.E.C.’s criminal and civil actions against Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow — threaten to bring to justice a man who spearheaded an effort to defraud market players of ludicrous sums of money, one of them — Spitzer’s suit against a number of tech CEOs — at least threatens to crash down upon parties without a showing of actual moral culpability.

The documents uncovered throughout the various Enron and Arthur Andersen investigations detailed a near-Gordian Knot of managerial ignorance — intentional and unintentional alike. The knot, once unraveled, displayed a board of directors that looked past a staggering list of off-balance sheet entities and ineffective managers, management more effective in lining its own pockets than creating value sufficient to justify the stock price, and auditors who approved off-the-books ventures that were questionable in light of accounting standards (let alone any standard of “ethics”), that reveled in its ignorance then as much as it does in finger-pointing now. The one party who is utterly unable to claim ignorance in these matters is Fastow, who, in the words of the criminal complaint, “took advantage of [his] simultaneous influence over Enron’s business operations and the SPEs as a means secretly and unlawfully to generate millions of dollars for [himself] and others.”

Whether or not the Fastow prosecution leads to subsequent prosecutions of CEOs Lay, Skilling, or any other related parties, champions of market accountability can cheer the indictment of Fastow, which stands as a reminder that the S.E.C., under the watch of the oft-maligned Harvey Pitt, is not finished in its quest to bring corporate malefactors to justice.

The Fastow indictment stands in stark contrast to the recent lawsuit filed by Spitzer against the executives of five major telecoms. All five defendants are charged with “misstat[ing] or omi[tting] material facts regarding the sale of securities to the public.” In each case, the executives received shares of “hot IPO stocks” from Salomon Smith Barney, implicitly (though never explicitly) in return for subsequent work with SSB’s investment banking arm. Moreover, SSB researcher Jack Grubman supplied the market with inflated evaluations of the defendants’ respective firms in this quid pro quo. Because investors were misinformed by the defendants’ failure to disclose their relationship with the investment bank researchers, Spitzer seeks, among other damages, restitution in the amount of $28 million in profits from the IPO stocks and $1.5 billion in profits from the executives’ sale of stock in their own companies.

Sixteen pages of the 29-page complaint detail the relationship between SSB’s research and I-bank divisions as well as the inappropriately high ratings awarded by Grubman to the companies in question. All in all, it would be a marvelous indictment of the seemingly indefensible Grubman … except that it’s not an indictment of Grubman. Despite pages and pages of detailed explanations of Grubman and SSB’s fraudulent acts, Spitzer fails to offer a single explicit example of conscious fraud perpetrated by the defendants.

Spitzer is not light on implication of such. Throwing about assertions that “[T]he executives who received the hot IPO shares were in a position to determine or influence their company’s [other contractual engagements with SSB],” or that, for example “Ebbers’ (and the other defendants) receipt of IPO shares predated (the companies’) retention of SSB for banking services,” the implication is clear: The IPO distributions caused the subsequent business.

But, in sharp contrast to his depiction of Grubman, Spitzer does not explicitly charge the defendants with malicious acts (although he assured 60 Minutes this Sunday that the complaint is not exhaustive). Indeed, under New York’s Martin Act, one of the statutes under which the defendants are charged, the proving of actual intent to defraud is not necessary. Spitzer need only prove by a preponderance of evidence that the defendants withheld the information and that the information was material to market perception of the value of the stocks.

That’s the essential difference between last week’s lawsuits: While the S.E.C. suits bring to justice someone who appears to have consciously robbed shareholders, the Spitzer suit, while viable under New York law, may extract over $1.5 billion from defendants even if it is shown that they did not act out of malice against the shareholders. That does not render the prosecution inappropriate under the law, but it does leave the public to ask: Will we be satisfied when we have punished those who declared war on our 401(k)s and mutual funds, or will we send the weight of the state crashing down upon those who might have acted wrongly — despite a lack of hard evidence to prove it? The law may empower the public to extract the gains from these CEOs, but at what point do we lose the moral high ground?

Letters from Berkeley: Finding a personal revolution


I sometimes find myself in situations that make me wonder what I would have done if I’d lived in a Soviet-bloc country in the Communist era. I’d like to think I would have been a dissident, reading and writing banned material, helping to work toward nonviolent revolution and freedom from a monstrous system that amazes me still with how it perpetuated itself even though nobody liked it.

It seems more likely, though, that I’d have been passive, acceding to the game without making any waves, breaking rules only in my imagination. Maybe I’d even have joined the Young Communists, or been an informer, or a rude shopkeeper. See, when I look at the dichotomy of autonomy-belonging, I like to say I’m the autonomous type. But then I look at situations like this:

I was sitting in one of my seminar classes last week and, having a moment of utter boredom, let my eyes wander around the table and to the professor in the front. He was standing pressed back against the chalkboard, both arms crossed over his solar plexus. His tie was crooked, and his face gleamed with a faint sheen of sweat.

I looked around the room and discovered that every single person in the room was “matching” the professor. Every person except the woman with the laptop and myself had their arms crossed, their shoulders hunched. The woman with the laptop crouched behind her screen as if it were a shield.

Experimenting, I opened my body — arms and legs uncrossed, feet planted on the floor, spine straight, shoulders back. And my third chakra — the energy center smack in the middle of the solar plexus — felt hard as a rock. I wanted to hunch my body over again, cross my limbs, and protect myself. From what? Probably the vibration of pain everyone was in.

Bodily discomfort, I have learned, is a communication indicating that a change is desirable. The change I wanted was to pick up and go do any of a number of things I was fantasizing about during class — mostly running along the lines of sleep, food and masturbation. Looking at everyone in the class, it seemed no one wanted to be there, not even the professor. So what kept us going? Some strange Communist-type game told us we had to keep plugging away, without making any waves.

I read something once about how the split between one’s authentic being and one’s social self is the basis for alienation — the root of the feeling that one cannot do anything. That disjunction in the relationship between facets of one’s own self is reflected in an individual’s inability to break free of the lies she is trapped in and perpetuated through social agreement.

The third chakra is sometimes described as a person’s center of power in relation to the physical world. I’ve seen it as my self-esteem, how I feel about myself in social relation to the world. This is in contrast to the fourth chakra, the heart center, which is the source of self-affinity — how I love myself. When I become my social self by orienting my perspective through the third chakra, I identify myself with whatever social game I’m involved in — law school, legal career, citizen, whatever. The lie is that if I keep grounding through my social self, I’ll stay in the game, and maybe even win it. The problem arises when the esteem society has for me by playing the game doesn’t match up to my affinity for myself. When the game loves me but I don’t, that’s when the pain comes in, as validation must come entirely from the outside.

Why do I not high-tail it out of unpleasant situations like boring classes I learn nothing from? There’s that oft-heard saying that the point is to be in the game but not of it — in other words, not to match the vibration of pain felt by the vast majority playing the game. The way to unmatch is to make sure that space of self-love equates self-esteem. As usual, balance and holism is key — not thinking about how to compromise between facets of self, but looking at how they are part of the same body, each a reflection of the whole.

I haven’t figured out how to do it yet. But there’s a revolution in the making somewhere in me, and it seems part of the key to allowing it to happen is self-love no matter what, even if my more romantic side calls most of what I’m doing in school a sellout. It doesn’t have to be — the peace comes from being comfortable wherever I am in present time.

Spinning Into Butter


Spinning Into Butter, now playing at the Theatre Cooperative, dredged up really unpleasant memories for me, and I had to call the police after the show. Yet I highly recommend it. Sound crazy? Well, I’ll try to explain, but you should really just come see it.

Spinning stars Korinne T. Hertz as Sarah Daniels, a young white woman working as Dean of Students at secluded (fictional) Belmont College in Vermont. Early scenes depict Sarah’s struggles to keep the students and her administrative superiors in equilibrium. Then word arrives that an African-American freshman has received a nasty racist note. More notes ensue. The college must address the problem, and Sarah’s balancing act becomes much more challenging.

Playwright Rebecca Gilman’s masterful script weaves one-line zingers into a tapestry of realistic scenes showing the interplay of academic and personal politics with the dean’s professional actions. The character who seems closest to understanding Sarah’s perspective is a campus police officer (Anthony Dangerfield). Professor Collins (David Rabinow), Sarah’s patronizing former lover, along with status-conscious Dean Kenney (Lida McGirr), and tweedily pompous Dean Strauss (Fred Robbins) show a credible disregard for the needs and wants of students as they hasten to put on a “campus forum thingy” and preserve the school’s reputation.

Meanwhile, Greg Sullivan (Ron Rittinger) effuses eagerness to start a group called Students for Tolerance, especially if he can include it on his resumé for law school. Sophomore Patrick Chibas (Carlos Folgar) resents Sarah’s recommendation that he represent himself to the scholarship committee as “Hispanic” rather than “Nuyorican.” The already high dramatic tension rises another notch in the second act, when the racial slurs’ perpetrator gets caught, and Sarah finally speaks out about her own feelings on race and racism.

Gilman avoids the common earnest-young-playwright trap of trying to answer the questions she brings up. The characters constantly force themselves, one another and the audience to question when liberalism is really a mask for intolerance.

Watching this powerful fictional account, I found myself recalling long-buried wounds and making new mental connections among the bigotries I’ve seen, felt and tried to address. I graduated from a tensely divided Virginia high school, made a hobby of staffing the gay table at college diversity fairs and spent two years Teaching for America, so bridging cultural divides is clearly a priority for me, but I think this show also reaches out to those who have addressed such issues less directly, perhaps over years of half-listening to the political correctness debate. Spinning Into Butter (the title refers to the story of Little Black Sambo, told by Dean Strauss as an attempted metaphor for Belmont’s plight) shows how talking about racial differences is sometimes a laudable end result, sometimes a beginning, and sometimes, if done badly, worse than nothing at all.

The Cooperative’s actors are well-cast and highly competent. Sarah broods at her desk very well, though her intensity of reaction to both friends and foes seemed a little lacking in the first third of the play. Professor Collins speaks so quickly when agitated that I missed bits of Gilman’s powerful dialogue. Greg Sullivan could be many of my 1L classmates. Perhaps the strongest performance came from Folgar as the angry young man of color. However, since all the other characters (and actors) in this show are white, I was troubled by the sensation that Carlos was speaking for all non-whites at Belmont, and that distinctions of perspective among African-Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic groups were being eluded.

The play premiered in 1999, but has already been performed at Lincoln Center, at London’s Royal Court Theatre and several other American venues. Gilman received the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays for Spinning Into Butter, which she wrote with a grant from the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

The multitalented director of Spinning Into Butter, Lesley Chapman, also serves as artistic director for the company, answers the phone and sometimes works the concession stand at intermission. The set, comprising Sarah’s sparse office and decorated by Alicia Gregoire, remains constant throughout the thirteen scenes of the play. Three small risers place the audience closely around the stage. This intimacy, however, was disturbed several times by music and sirens from outside. I had been excited about venturing into the swath of north Somerville previously seen only during the cab ride from the airport, but this faded after urban bustle disrupted my dramatic experience — and especially after I realized my bike had been stolen off a signpost during the show.

Despite the anguish it caused me, I was really glad I saw Spinning Into Butter. I recommend it to anyone for whom talking about race has ever led to guilt or shame or sorrow, to anyone wondering what the life of university deans is really like, and to anyone seeking an impetus to serious thought with a few laughs along the way.