Friday, December 22, 2006
Posted by Alan Childress
As Jeff Lipshaw posted on cloying Christmas carols [what is this "Christmas" of which you speak, Jeff?], and our reader hotly debated which ones annoy most, I was reminded that my brother Rory last week attended a fourth grade presentation in Dallas of Dickens' "A Holiday Carol." It featured The Ghost of Holiday Past, The Ghost of Holiday Present, and...you get the picture. It also had kids dressed up as trees and forest animals. I don't remember that in the original Dickens either but congratulate the Dallas schools for uncovering that long-lost Dickens original draft and using it instead of the usual and better-known one that was the result of blatant over-editing and product placement. As Rory points out, as to the holiday carol, it is literature. (Honestly, though, we agree that the trees and woods creatures were a nice touch, and Rory did not find the performances at all cloying--that was just my segue added.) I think "carol," anyway, is way too gender-identified. Maybe "A Holiday Rap"? "A Holiday Wrap"?
Professors out there may have already noticed, but it is a natural law of The Craft that when we profs are at an airport or on the plane, we always run into a student or former student. If we are actually stuck in an airport for a day and have our exams with us (never checked through), we still can't pass the day grading them with a student around. That is so (or the perfect excuse) even if the student is not one in our own class -- something about no customer-tour windows in the sausage factory. So instead I recounted 'A Holiday Carol' yesterday to Tulane 3L Jason Hammer, a student in Professor David Katner's Juvenile Clinic (David's clinic, you can imagine, is doing especially heroic work right now representing accused and troubled teens during a time in New Orleans when the criminal justice and related systems are Katrina-impacted). I meant to add that the new, improved Dickens line-up now also offers:
- "A Tale of Two Suburbs"
- "David Copperfield Without the Magic"
- "Moderately Depressed House"
- "Oliver Twist: Not That There's Anything Wrong With That"
...and of course the classic "Some Expectations: But Mainly We Want You To Have A Good Time, No Pressure."
Anyway, Jason told me something more inspiring than Dickens and on-point to the blog (not that he knew about it): he told me how appreciated the 70 McGeorge law student volunteers and those from other schools are to the Gideonizing project he (with other clinics from Tulane and Loyola, as we posted here and here) is working on. But he added a point that, to me, shows that such pro bono activity is not just grass roots sacrifice, though it may start that way: Jason says that part of the funding (over $10k), to make those 70 students' volunteer trip to New Orleans possible, came from a decision by the McGeorge dean [that's Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker] to forego mailing alumni holiday cards this year and instead support the student initiative. Now that's a holiday carol, or an update on Dickens, I'd never get tired of hearing.
Here's a link to a real-time student blog of two of the McGeorge volunteers in NOLA on their holiday break. It's fascinating and detailed. For example, 3L Drummond McCunn reports on "a new run-around today" and notes, "We ended up in Magistrate’s Court. This is where we had met the heavily accented Commissioner the day before. The two public defenders were glad to see us." 3L Kimberly Slater writes : "Especially humbling were the tales from Angola State Penitentiary, site of the movies, 'Dead Man Walking' and 'Monster’s Ball.' The inmates there were brought to the interview room in shackles, wearing orange jumpsuits. Most of the inmates have been writing their own motions, and have yet to see an attorney. It was very difficult for most students to imagine what their daily lives were like." Keep up the good work, Kimberly and Drummond, as well as David and Jason in their own much-needed clinical projects. Worthy of an end-of-play toast from Ideopathic-Short-Stature-with-Growth-Hormone-Deficiency Tim.