Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Don't Know Why You Gotta Be Angry All the Time"

Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice found my two posts about Road Rage and recommended them via links. I appreciate that, as I did work hard on these posts, even though I gave the second one a ridiculous title in an attempt to provide a little comic relief to a deep, exhausting subject.

[FYI: “Electric Bugaloo” is the name of a really bad sequel an 80’s movie called Breakdance, which likely makes the joke even less “funny.”]

The nice thing about choosing which stories about yourself get posted on the web is that you get to pick the times you say, “You doin’ o.k?” and to leave out the times you said something that wouldn’t make it past the censors on network t.v. But I’ve been down that road plenty of times too. In fact, I wrote this as a follow up to a comment at my first post on Road Rage:

The truth is if I would have arrived a few seconds later I might have seen it just like the lady did and acted the same way.

I wish I could blame stuff like this on "those people" but I've been one of "them" before too. Wasn't it Pogo who famously said "we have met the enemy and he is us?"

As I said in a previous post, I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and have tried to focus on my own anger more rather than hypocritically using it to condemn other who are acting out of it. In fact, it was a comment I wrote on Greenfield’s blog, that made me want to start taking myself and my own causes less seriously. Sometimes, at least for me, it takes seeing my thoughts in print before I realize how irrational they are. It’s those times I wish I wouldn’t have hit “post,” and would have done the email equivalent of leaving the angry letter on the shelf overnight before dropping it in the mail.

Here’s what I wrote a couple weeks ago at Simple Justice:

he's likely revealing both the way he operated as a Public "Defender" as well as a desire to show his new colleagues that he wasn't placed where he rightfully belonged right out of law school but was simply performing the academic equivalent of a peace corps mission: working alongside the public school lawyers, among the natives, to add that anthropological experience to the cv and have a nice cocktail party opener.

I wrote that because a guy named Dan Filler wrote this line about criminal defense lawyers in a post about the Supreme Court’s recent Heller decision:

“Defense lawyers may have fun with Heller for a while but I suspect that they'll soon discover little to play with, and they'll return to the bread and butter. Dramatic closings; perilous cross-examination; and of course plea bargain after plea bargain after plea bargain.”

I don’t know what set me off so much about that comment, but, as I re-read it, it’s obvious my response is more about me than him. I still don’t agree with his patronizing assessment, and wonder how he operated a a p.d., but I still protested too much in response. In fact, it was Greenfield’s response to my comment that made me reread and reconsider it. He wasn’t being critical, but his phrase “ouch. I could hear that slap all the way in New York” made me reconsider whether my take on Filler’s comment was appropriate or the equivalent of web-based “road rage.”

Since I didn’t even bother to read his whole post before reacting to it, I took it as the latter, which likely got me thinking about the subject. “Angry all the time” is not only a great song by Bruce Robison, it’s also a bad way to live and a worse way to operate as a criminal defense lawyer.


Windypundit said...

Dude. I totally got your "Electric Bugaloo" reference. You are not alone.

Glen Graham said...

I have also made comments that I later regretted. Like you, I sometimes wish I had written it out and saved it on my computer till the next day and then posted the comment. I generally just post the comment and then regret it later.
This comment is not directly on point but it does deal somewhat with the stong emotions. Prosecutors love to try to get the jury "angry" and sometimes the prosecutor is "angry" and uses questionable emotional language to attempt to incite a desire for vengence in the jury. One of the jury instructions is sometimes about not letting your reasoning be over-come by emotions. To make a rational judgment based upon the evidnece presented and not the emotions inflamed.
Yours in the Defense of Fellow Human Beings,
Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer, Tulsa, Oklahoma

David Tarrell said...

I'm thrilled that someone got that bad joke. I googled it and apparently it's been referenced a lot, on Family Guy for example.

So we're in good company and I can't claim to have originated this joke.