February 13, 2007
Legal Oxymorons: Hey, You Live In a Glass House Too
Posted by Alan Childress
I get inevitable and immediate titters from civilians when they hear that I teach "legal ethics." Not sure I can blame them after that last story Jeff posted, forwarded from Peter Henning, or of course the one on the guy who only got a brief suspension for microwaving Max. But usually the person tittering about my course's name is himself or herself in a profession for which my oxymoronic or ironic comeback is easy, like journalistic research, waiting room patients, postal worker, stock broker, contract binder, professional musician, managing partner, radio talent, Help Desk, business school, sushi chef, I.T., golf announcer, social scientist, family planning, abnormal psychologist, or Academic Dean.
Along the same lines, I once read an ad in the Berkeley school newspaper: "Procrastination Workshop: Pre-registration Required." And I noticed last year, while in the GW "emergency waiting room" (itself ironic), fortunately for me not because of acute angina, that the doctors now uniformly pronounce it AN-gin-uh. After I figured out they meant angina, I realized the world's doctors got together one day and voted to relocate the accent mark--absolutely to end once and for all their own titter factor. The tactic likely works 99% of the time. In my case, and I do promise to grow up someday, it just put me on a five-second delay before my mind moved the accent back and they caught me tittering anyway.
Law also provides one of the language's few single-word oxymorons: Brief.
Obviously such jokes sort of write themselves. I was thinking that this morning when I read the Yahoo! teaser headline, Madame Tussauds Unveils Kate Moss Wax Figure.
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