Sunday, May 6, 2007
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
I'm beginning eight days that will take me from the hotel room here in Chicago (a family wedding last night) back to Indianapolis this morning, to New Orleans tonight where I will, except for grading the 1L Contracts II exams, close out my year as a visitor at Tulane, pack my worldly possession into the Prius, pick up Alene at the New Orleans airport on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday morning, hit the almost direct northeasterly route the interstate system seems to have created between New Orleans and Boston.
Nobody will ever quite match Frank Snyder's Late Night Thoughts on Blogging While Reading Duncan Kennedy's 'Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy' in an Arkansas Motel Room but we will see if there are some legal profession insights along the way.
Here are a couple initial observations. The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago posts "An Act for the Protection of Innkeepers" in a gold frame and very nicely done matting at the elevators on each floor. The print in the reproduced section of the Illinois statute is very small. Before the doors opened, I learned that the hotel has a lien on the baggage I brought into the hotel for any unpaid charges. I wonder if there is an auction market in sweaty gym clothes?
This was a very elegant black tie Jewish wedding. I was relieved to find that but for the waist of the pants, which probably could be taken out an inch, the tux I bought sixteen years ago still fit. I like the classic white shirt and black tie look, or for a day time wedding the Solicitor General in the Supreme Court morning coat look. I don't like the vest and straight tie thing, which seemed to be big among the my son's prom-going friends.
More to the point of the blog, I am one of the world's Olympic-caliber party poopers, particularly when my dinner does not start before 10:30 p.m. On the other hand, I'm a cheap drunk, and a couple of Glenmorangies got me into a philosophical frame of mind about law and norms. The Jewish wedding actually consists of the betrothal and the marriage, and the centerpiece is the marriage contract, or ketubah. (For more on ketubot - that's the plural form of the word - see my wife's website at Pickwick Arts LLC.) There is also the custom of yichud, in which the new bride and groom have a few moments alone after the ceremony, supposedly to symbolize - symbolize, mind you - the consummation of the marriage.
All of which got me to thinking about how many layers upon layers of law and custom and ritual are entwined around what is at the core of all of this: sex.
At which point I fell asleep.