Saturday, January 20, 2007
Posted by Alan Childress
Robert Rosen (U. Miami--Law) has posted on SSRN a paper, "A Few Good (and Angry) Men (and Woman)." It is a chapter in the 2006 book about lawyers on film, Screening Justice--The Cinema of Law: Significant Films of Law, Order and Social Justice (Rennard Strickland, Teree Foster & Taunya Banks, eds.), and examines the 1992 Reiner-Sorkin movie A Few Good Men. (More on this interesting book to come...) Here is Rosen's abstract, in which he apparently can handle the truth:
I discuss the privilege of lawyers to display anger and to evoke anger in others. For example, in this film's dramatic climax, an angry lawyer angers a witness during cross-examination, who angrily “confesses.” I consider the uses of anger in acting like a lawyer as well as the emotional lives of lawyers.
I also discuss the normalizing of the angry lawyer. In A Few Good Men, anger is accepted as necessary to motivate lawyers to perform at their best. As with some athletes, there are unfortunate spillover effects. But, A Few Good Men instantiates cultural norms that reinforce angry lawyers.
These norms both help foster the “incivility crisis” in the legal profession and inhibit efforts to mitigate it. I argue that recognizing and attacking these norms must be part of the legal profession's response to the incivility crisis.