Sunday, June 27, 2010

Law School Humor circa 1975

I've been going through files out in the garage recently.  I've saved a bunch of paper from high school on forward and although I should be doing something more in the realm of throwing it away, I've been fascinated by some of what has popped up. 

The following petition was posted on the door to the library in law school in 1975, my second year.  I tore it down in a fury and drafted a response, although I never put it up.  But it was interesting to come across this piece of crap recently, because at the time, it was a real reflection of a rather large proportion of  males' thinking in law school.  The names signed, of course are not valid--they're either made up or someone signed someone else's name.  In particular it was quite cruel to put Laura Haller's name down.  She was a woman in my class who was an outspoken women's lib advocate and I am sure the resentment against her ran fierce and deep.  You can click on the petition below to enlarge it.

Ralph Hork, it should be noted was a fictitious person who first ran for student office at Macalester College when I was there.  In addition to nutty campaign slogans, Ralph put ads in the Macalester student newspaper looking for brown shoes to wear with his black suit at his inauguration.  When I arrived at the University of Kentucky law school in 1973, surprisingly, I was not the only Macalester graduate in my class.  So was Henry of Henry and Brenda fame.  Henry and Brenda were a couple at Macalester that seemed to be joined at the waist.  They travelled everywhere around campus together.  When Brenda went to get seconds at meals at the student cafeteria, Henry accompanied her.  This was most unusual at sophisticated, hip, liberated Macalester, and occasioned sufficient comment that I knew exactly who Henry was when I met him at Kentucky though I had never been introduced to him.  Despite his chivalrous reputation and mild demeanor, I discovered that Henry had a wicked sense of humor. 

Henry and I, in our first semester at UK law, ran Ralph Hork as a write in candidate for the position of 3d year representative to the student bar association.  Ralph's platform was "Shoes" and one of his slogans was "Applehood and mother pie."  His posters were paid for by the 'Bring Honest Government Back to Politics Committee, Donald Segretti, Chairman' and the 'Reasonable Man in like Circumstances Committee to Elect Ralph Hork, Glenn Miller Chairman.'  And Ralph actually won the race!  So whoever put the sexist petition above together obviously thought they were clever by putting Ralph's name in as chairman.  How little they knew of true subversive humor.

In the spring of our first year of law school, we were supposed to join a legal fraternity.  Two of the three legal fraternities threw rush parties that spring.  And at least one of them, either Phi Delta Phi or Delta Theta Phi, featured strippers at their party as a means of attracting new members. 

In reaction, Henry and I, together with several other law school classmates (Larry and Mark), formed our own legal fraternity.  We called it Rho Epsilon Hork, sibling society and motorcycle gang.  Our rules were simple but effective.  All members were given the title of President, because that looked good on one's resume.  Upon graduation, members were promoted to the status of immortal because where else could you go after you'd been president. And for the secret ceremonies that we were sure a sibling society and motorcycle gang needed to have, we used Chief Justice Burger, purchased from Olley's Trolley, a burger joint up the street, as our sacramental food of choice.

Eventually by the end of second year, we were forced to realize that we had to join a real law fraternity if we wanted to pad our resumes, so we joined the third fraternity which was much quieter--Phi Alpha Delta.  There we sort of took over the place, and in the fall of third year, discovered that any fraternity on campus could nominate someone to compete as the Homecoming Queen.  So we nominated second year law student, Daryl Driver.  We thought he would be a perfect Homecoming Queen because his resume was so well done, it had gotten him into law school.  Unfortunately, the Panhellenic Council did not see it our way and he was tossed out of the competition after the first round.  Event though our hopes were dashed,  we thought we had made a statement of sorts about Homecoming and queens and what mattered in life. 

These days, as Seattle celebrates gay pride with another record breaking parade, as Washington boasts of two women US Senators and a governor, and as the voters of the state of Washington voted last fall to uphold the law permitting gays to enter into civil relationships, it is clear that at least in parts of this country, attitudes have changed markedly since 1975. 

1 comment:

Dan Matyola said...

You had fraternities in Law School? I find that strange. There certainly were no such entities at Rutgers when I was there, and although I pretty much avoid the place, I haven't heard of any there since.

Rutgers was far more politically correct by the time I got there (1968-1971). Nothing like that petition was imaginable. Then again, half the class was high, and most of the others were only interested in political protests. It made law school pretty easy for the few of us who really cared about classes and grades.

Is this you chemo off-week? If it is, enjoy the respite and come out fighting next week.