Law in Contemporary Society
Every morning I wake up and I watch SportsCenter while I eat breakfast. At this point I sort of only half-watch it, though, really. It's become a self-contained ritual to begin the morning. Nevertheless it's usually the only half-hour of TV that I have control over. When my girlfriend gets home it's HGTV until bed.

My favorite part of SportsCenter? is the Top Ten Plays segment that ends each hourly presentation. In the Top Ten, the show's editors condense the whole the last day's broadcast sports action down to ten "plays," which have been selected on the basis of either spectacular importance within the game in which each play took place or on the basis of their impressive display of athleticism.

The objective in every sport that I can think of is to win - get more points, less strokes, fewer mistakes than your opponent. Wins, per se, do not appear on the Top Ten, however; great plays or great moments do. Sometimes some of the Top Ten Plays centrally feature players or teams who have actually proceeded to lose the game in which they were competing! Making an appearance in the Top Ten has come to represent a sort of alternative success state, however. Winning the game or match is now just one measure of success. Making the Top Ten is another.

The Top Ten Plays have been criticized for this reason. By providing an alternate basis for success, some sports purists believe that the prominence of the Top Ten Plays in sports consciousness has diluted the importance of winning.

Whatever. This isn't the venue to engage that argument and I've talked about SportsCenter? plenty for one day. The point is that for many Columbia Law students, A grades represent not just the most important indicator of success, but the only indicator. I'd like to change that, so I've compiled my own Top Ten list. My aim is to have the very same effect in this class that sports purists fear the Top Ten Plays have on the sports world - I'd like to dilute the importance of the A by providing an alternate basis of success.

Will I succeed? Nah, probably not. Athletes care about making the Top Ten because a highly respected source has doted his or her individual athletic achievement. I don't really consider myself a highly respected source, but I'll do what I can.

If you've made this list, it's because you wrote something on this Wiki that had particular meaning to me. Maybe Eben hated what you wrote, maybe you're going to get the B- in this class, maybe your words raised the ire of your classmates; maybe you end up losing the game. But you're still enshrined on this list because instead of constantly turning over the particularities of my day I was thinking about what YOU wrote while I was in the shower, at the gym, eating dinner, laying in bed. Congratulations. You made the Top Ten. I hope you’re proud of yourself – that’s the point.

After much careful consideration, I've decided not to rank them against each other. I've also decided to select them without explaining why they resonated with me. The latter decision was made because it takes the focus off of the pieces and on to me (not what I wanted to do; the Top Ten Plays are meant to glorify the athlete) and because sometimes a particular text had a resonance for a reason I couldn't explain.

Listed alphabetically by title:

A Guide to Small Claims Court - Michael Duignan

Dropping the Gauntlet and Picking It Up - Mark Bierdz

Fear and Anxiety - Caroline White

Human Condition of Absurdity - Cindy Fang

I'm the Dude Playing the Dude - Brook Sutton

Is Familyism Any Different Than Racism? - Jeff Schatz

"Seductiveness to the Law Firm" comment within Fear and Anxiety - Ron Mazor

Selling Out - Jennifer Green

Why So Few People Care About Internet Privacy - John Albanese

Why I Will Never Pawn My License - John Albanese

If you like the idea, spread the love and add your own list.

-- AndrewCascini - 29 Apr 2010

This was great.

-- NonaFarahnik - 02 May 2010

Andrew - I really enjoyed this post. That said, I want to try a new spin on this. During first semester, when choosing electives, I read a number of the teacher evaluations. One of the ones for Law and Contemporary Society which stood out (and was one of the reasons that I chose the class) said something to the effect that the readings alone made the class worthwhile.

I really enjoyed the readings. Given that the universe of readings is smaller than that of postings, a Top Ten list might not make sense, but I figured I'd list my top 3 favorite readings. "Favorite" is a loose term, but I wanted to keep this non-academic and free of BS. My top 3 were:

1. Robinson's Metamorphosis 2. The Folklore of Capitalism (what we read of it) 3. Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story Of Wall-street

If anyone else feels like sharing, I'd love to hear what you enjoyed most (and whether you agree or disagree with the course evaluation comment that influenced my decision).

-- DavidGoldin - 21 Jun 2010

 

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r4 - 13 Jan 2012 - 23:32:09 - IanSullivan
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