Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

He's So Asking For It

Bloomberg News ran a hand-wringing article earlier this week, titled Hook-Up Culture at Harvard, Stanford Wanes Amid Assault Alarm. Some guys are worried about the possibility that the girl they’re with might be too drunk to provide meaningful consent, so the “hook-up culture” isn’t as full of sexytimes as reporters expect from millenials. The horror!

There’s already a barrage of articles shaming millenials for having too much sex; perhaps this is the swinging of the pendulum back toward normalcy? I’m not sure which kind of scarlet letter I prefer. They’re both a little insulting in their own way.

This one does offer a new kind of silliness: mansplaining!

Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders, said Chris Herries, a senior at Stanford University. While everyone condemns sexual assault, there seems to be an assumption among female students that they shouldn’t have to protect themselves by avoiding drunkenness and other risky behaviors, he said.

“Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad?” Herries, 22, said. “We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”

How unreasonable that people who overwhelmingly commit sexual assaults have the sole responsibility to prevent sexual assault. It’s such a burden to constantly not take things that you want when someone doesn’t literally chain it to a bike rack. That metaphor might have fallen apart at the end there, because, as Jessica Valenti put it:

Hey, Chris Herries of Stanford University was definitely not suggesting that you bike-lock your vagina. He was simply suggesting that you treat every guy like he’s going to assault you, because it’s unfair to ask men to not commit crimes.

This wasn’t just some inanity that spouted off the top of Chris Herries’s head. In 2013, he wrote a prolonged op-ed on how you shouldn’t blame victims, but you should also totally blame victims of crime. He also added “casual racism” to his repertoire:

if I’m relieved of my Rolex on the streets of Spanish Harlem at midnight, who is at fault? Clearly the mugger, but it would be logical to ask, “Why would you walk around Spanish Harlem with a Rolex at midnight? Don’t you think that’s a little risky?” I would certainly be admonished not to do it again.

Yes. Yes, this is exactly what being a woman is probably like. Either you take your vagina off and don’t flaunt it when you’re around “those people”, or you accept the fact that you were just asking for it.

Look, we all say stupid things when we’re young and stupid. This guy isn’t a failed human being because he’s 22 and has internalized the sexism of our society. I’m particularly frustrated because this guy is only 22 and he’s already so certain of this vagina bike locks and victim-blaming nonsense.

Published in Dear Future Employers on

Dollars on the Penny

Many years ago, a dentist sued his patient, an aspiring … iPhone gaming mogul, for failing to pay her bill for services. He won a default judgment when his patient apparently ignored the lawsuit. And then she got famous. Like, really famous.

She is now Kim Kardashian, perhaps best-known for her app, and she made legal news for what might be a world record. The dentist just sold his $1,600 judgment for a whopping $5,000. That’s not a typo.

Sure, most of the time, when folks buy debt, they’re not certain to collect, so there’s a little bit of a discount for the new debt holder. The rich, however, are not like you and I:

JudgmentMarketplace.com, a three-year-old site that gives creditors a forum for hawking uncollected debts, said the transaction marked the first time in the company’s history that the selling price for a listed judgment exceeded the total value of the principal and interest.

Firstly, there’s a web site for this? It’s like eBay, but instead of selling antique buttons, you’re selling legal judgments? Secondly, guy who runs this site, what’s your expert opinion on the economic ramifications of this … silliness?

He said the Kardashian judgment may have commanded a premium because of its novelty value. In other words, for $5,000, you can tell people at a cocktail party that a Kardashian is indebted to you.

Ain’t no party like a Wall Street Journal party, because at a Wall Street Journal party there is discussion about the most famous person who owes you money. #inbedby9pm

Published in It's Komplicated on

Babytown Frolics

From my favorite newsletter, NextDraft:

Attention ridiculous parents: The creator of the Your Baby Can Read program has “reached a deal to settle charges that he and his company made baseless pronouncements about the effectiveness of the program and that they misrepresented scientific studies to prove these bogus statements.”

The program has pulled in more than $185 million over the years. Dr. Robert Titzer is required to pay $300,000 in penalties. Your baby can’t read, but they can certainly count well enough to figure out who came out ahead in that deal.

In a complete and utter coincidence, I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new product, Your Baby Can Appellate Brief. Available for the low low price of “The Balance of My Student Loans.” Call today!

Published in Not The Onion on

Endocrine Disruptors

From Scientific American comes this feel-bad story. Remember how your plastic water bottle had a “BPA-free” sticker on it? That’s good. BPA is harmful and is thought to cause cancer. Surprise twist ending, the thing they replaced it with is just as bad!

“[Manufacturers] put ‘BPA-free’ on the label, which is true. The thing they neglected to tell you is that what they’ve substituted for BPA has not been tested for the same kinds of problems that BPA has been shown to cause. That’s a little bit sneaky.”

How could this happen?

Currently, no federal agency tests the toxicity of new materials before they are allowed on the market. “We’re paying a premium for a ‘safer’ product that isn’t even safer,” [University of Calgary scientist Deborah] Kurrasch says. There are many types of bisphenols out there, so part of the public’s responsibility “is making sure [manufacturers] don’t just go from BPA to BPS to BPF or whatever the next one is.”

Published in Well They Sound Harmless on

Facebook’s Fotoshop Fracas

A woman is suing because someone photoshopped her face onto nude photos of someone else. As she should. From Ars Technica:

Photographs “that depict the true face of plaintiff” were altered with Photoshop and “attached to false, phony, naked body shots, and at least one pose where there is plaintiff in a graphic pornographic-like photo,” states the complaint, which was filed on July 25 in Harris County.

“These phony photos falsely and maliciously depicted plaintiff in a clearly derogatory and false light … as some overly bold and overly aggressive sexual person, which plaintiff in fact and truth is not,” writes Ali’s lawyer.

The complaint has kind of a clumsy sound to it, but like all pleadings, it reads a little funny because it has to cover lots of legal bases. If you’re going to seek damages for harm to your reputation, you don’t want to lose when the defendant says “you forgot to argue that your client isn’t actually aggressively sexual!” That’d be embarrassing. And weird.

Published in Legal Theory on

National Deathbrick League

Via Priceonomics, How Dodgeball Became America’s Most Demonized Sport:

…the game was brought to the United States by an observant (but non-participating) missionary in the late 1800s. Rocks were supposedly substituted for “broken house-bricks,” and the game became known as “deathbrick.” During the game’s “golden age” from 1910 to the late 1920s, it was adapted as a sport at Princeton and Yale, and a “National Deathbrick League” was instituted. According to the questionable source, deathbrick is “alive and well today:”

BRB; selling my worldly possessions to journey across the country, apprentice myself to a master deathbrick player, and rise through the ranks to become the best ‘bricker the world has ever seen.

Published in It’s Nerf or Neck Brace on