Monday, October 9, 2006

stories and Columbus Day

We know that it helps to be a good story teller when you're a lawyer.  Not "story teller" in the sense of making up stories, but "story teller" in the sense of presenting the facts of your client's situation in an interesting and compelling way.  The power of any particular story may depend on the common cultural understanding of your audience.  Stories deeply engrained in a culture rise to the level of myth.

It's one of those myths we're supposed to be celebrating today on Columbus Day.  But all lawyers know there are at least two sides to every story.  If you'd like to learn about another take on the Columbus-discovered-America story (or for that matter the-starving-Pilgrims'-first-winter-at-Plymouth story), I highly recommend a book by Michael Kurlansky entitled simply Cod.  Kurlansky does not give the Native American's view of these events, but an alternate view from Europe.  His early history of cod fishing in North America will shatter the myths you learned in grade school and remind you, as all lawyers know when we stop to think about it, that somewhere there's another side to every story, if we just dig deep enough for all the facts.

(spl)

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