October 27, 1831
There is undoubtedly a limit to the exertions of an advocate for his client. He has a right, it is his bounden duty, to do every thing which his client might honestly do, and to do it with all the effect which any exercise of skill, talent, or knowledge of his own may be able to produce. But the advocate has no right, nor is it his duty, to do that for his client which his client in foro conscientiae has no right to do for himself; as, for a gross example, to put in evidence a forged deed or will, knowing it to be so forged. As to mere confounding of witnesses by skilful cross-examination, I own I am not disposed to be very strict. The whole thing is perfectly well understood on all hands, and it is little more in general than a sort of cudgel-playing between the counsel and the witness, in which, I speak with submission to you, I think I have seen the witness have the best of it as often as his assailant. It is of the utmost importance in the administration of justice that knowledge and intellectual power should be as far as possible equalized between the crown and the prisoner, or plaintiff and defendant. Hence especially arises the necessity for an order of advocates,—men whose duty it ought to be to know what the law allows and disallows; but whose interests should be wholly indifferent as to the persons or characters of their clients. If a certain latitude in examining witnesses is, as experience seems to have shown, a necessary mean towards the evisceration of the truth of matters of fact, I have no doubt, as a moralist, in saying, that such latitude within the bounds, now existing is justifiable. We must be content with a certain quantum in this life, especially in matters of public cognizance; the necessities of society demand it; we must not be righteous overmuch, or wise overmuch; and, as an old father says, in what vein may there not be a plethora, when the Scripture tells us that there may under circumstances be too much of virtue and of wisdom?
Still I think that, upon the whole, the advocate is placed in a position unfavourable to his moral being, and, indeed, to his intellect also, in its higher powers. Therefore I would recommend an advocate to devote a part of his leisure time to some study of the metaphysics of the mind, or metaphysics of theology; something, I mean, which shall call forth all his powers, and centre his wishes in the investigation of truth alone, without reference to a side to be supported. No studies give such a power of distinguishing as metaphysical, and in their natural and unperverted tendency they are ennobling and exalting. Some such studies are wanted to counteract the operation of legal studies and practice, which sharpen, indeed, but, like a grinding-stone, narrow whilst they sharpen.
While I’m complaining, I may as well add one more. This feature of classroom teaching is one of the most difficult to manage, and it is another aspect of this profession that I think most people don’t understand. It certainly contributes to the fast burnout of many young idealists, and maybe also to the subtle but pervasive battiness of many old, successful teachers.
Rather than explaining it myself, I’ll quote from Teachers Have It Easy: the big sacrifices and small salaries of America’s teachers (Daniel Moulthrop, Nínive Clements Calegari, Dave Eggers). The rest of the book is mostly like this excerpt: brief testimony from teachers, with chapter introductions and interstitial commentary from the editors.
Julia Normand, 65, English—Goldenview Middle School,
When I was working at a law firm as a computer-support person, my typical day amounted to coming to my desk with a cup of coffee and a roll. I’d sit down and go through messages, drinking my coffee. I’d greet my co-workers when they came in; I’d make a phone call to set up a meeting and plan my day. If I had to go to the bathroom, I just got up and went. I was in charge of my own body, my own life, and my own schedule. I had certain things to get done, and if it took longer than a day, I got paid overtime for it. It was a high-pressure job in many ways, but not in terms of having thirty people needing your attention immediately and knowing that legally, I’m required to be in the room. As a teacher, if I step out of the room to go to the bathroom and something happens, legally, I’m responsible.
It’s just such a different thing. You feel like a person when you’re working at another job, and you don’t feel like a person when you’re teaching. It feels like being a train. Somebody switches it on, and it’s moving and you had better keep running. You don’t have the option to make a personal choice like “I think I’ll put this off until tomorrow.” There are thirty people, and they need things. You go with it all day.
I guess the equivalent might be if thirty people called me at the same time to tell me their computers crashed. But that’s just impossible. The network could go down and thirty people could call, but there’d be five or six of us in the IT department who would go troubleshoot it and one person would man the phones and say to people, “This is probably what we think is happening, it’ll probably be about fifteen minutes, we’ll let you know.” You work at high speed on it, but it’s not thirty people standing over you wanting immediate attention.
Teachers are required by law to stay within their classrooms. They are responsible for anything that happens when a student is in their charge. This is a reasonable requirement, yet because there aren’t reasonable breaks in school schedules, teachers often lack the basic liberties most occupations take for granted.
Few other professionals see thirty or more clients at once, all with different needs, some of whom may be determined to work counter to your goals. The combination of these factors can be stressful, to say the least—especially when there is no possibility, for hours on end, of respite.
To set the scene: Genji is the emperor’s son, but of the wrong mother, so he’ll never be emperor himself (but he’s the coolest, best-looking guy around, so pretty much everybody loves him and wishes he could be emperor instead of his brother). His mother was his father’s favorite, and she dies while Genji is a boy, leaving the emperor distraught. He finds a much younger woman to replace her—she enters the story at 16 when Genji is 11—and Genji takes a liking to her. A very strong liking.
Her name is Fujitsubo. Her gentlewoman is Ōmyōbu. Now, some years later, Genji is about 18:
Princess Fujitsubo was not well and had withdrawn from the palace. Genji felt deep sympathy for His Majesty, whose anxious distress was evident, but he also ancitipated feverishly now, at last, a chance for himself, and he no longer went out at all. At the palace or at home he spent the daylight hours daydreaming and those after dark hounding Ōmyōbu. How Ōmyōbu brought off their meeting is impossible to say, but to poor Genji even these stolen moments with her seemed quite unreal. To Her Highness the memory of that last, most unfortunate incident was a source of enduring suffering, and she had resolved that nothing of the kind should ever happen again, yet despite her obvious consternation she remained thoughtful and kind, even while she continued to resist him with a profound dignity so far beyond the reach of any other woman that Genji could not help wondering in anguish why it was never possible to find in her the slightest flaw.
How could he have told her all he had to say? He must have wished himself where darkness never ends, but alas, the nights were short now, and their time together had yielded after all nothing but pain.
“This much we have shared, but nights when we meet again will be very rare,
and now that we live this dream, O that it might swallow me!”
he said, sobbing; to which Her Highness compassionately replied,
“People soon enough will be passing on our tale, though I let our dream
sweep me on till I forget what misfortune now is mine.”
Genji could not blame her for being in such torment, and he deeply regretted having caused it. Ōmyōbu gathered up his dress cloak and so on and brought it to him.
There, did you miss it? You can hardly be blamed if you did. But she’s pregnant on the next page! (There’s no other reference to the “most unfortunate incident,” but there is a translator’s footnote suggesting that “stolen moments” contains a verb for “seeing,” which implies sexual intimacy.)
Her highness continued to lament the misery of her lot, and meanwhile she began feeling more and more unwell, so that she could not make up her mind to go straight back to the palace, despite a stream of messengers from there urging her to do so. No, she really did not feel herself, and her silent guesses at what this might mean reduced her to despair over what was to become of her.
She rose less and less during the summer heat. By the third month her condition was obvious enough that her women noticed it, and the horror of her fate overwhelmed her. Not knowing what had actually happened, they expressed surprise that she had not yet told His Majesty. She alone understood just what the matter was. Women like Ōmyōbu or her own foster sister, Ben, who had attended her intimately when she bathed and therefore had before their eyes every clue to her condition, did not doubt that something was seriously wrong, but they could not very well discuss the matter, and Ōmyōbu was left to reflect in anguish that her mistress’s fate had struck after all. To His Majesty, Ōmyōbu presumably reported that a malevolent spirit had obscured Her Highness’s condition, so that at first it had gone unnoticed. This was at any rate what Her Highness’s own women believed. His Majesty was deeply concerned about her, and the unbroken procession of messengers from him inspired mingled dread and despair.
But no need to fear, at least so far. I’m only about 200 pages into the 1100-or-so pages of The Tale of Genji, but the little boy has been born, and though the narrator tells us he looks just exactly like Genji, the emperor and everyone else seem to think that since Genji is so damned beautiful, how could anyone else so beautiful fail to look a lot like him? The little tyke even appears to be on the road to becoming emperor himself one day.
(And this book—ostensibly written by a Japanese noblewoman about 1000 years ago—continues to be excellent and entertaining, and of everything I’ve read in the last year would be my most unreserved recommendation to any amateur lover of books.)
There are these people with the remarkable predilection, after having discovered a television show that they like, to get all the DVDs and to make their way through the whole series crazy fast. I’m not one of these people. Two people I follow on Twitter who reported starting on The Wire long after I had finished the first season have now finished the series while I’m still in the middle of Season Four. I have no doubt that it is among the best shows in the history of television, and perhaps it is the very best. And I own the complete set of DVDs. I’m just lousy at regular DVD watching. A dog-eared book on the coffee table or night stand? No problem. Magazine that imposes itself on me, presenting its most recent installment into my mailbox each week or month? I’m scanning the table of contents before making it back up my driveway. The unending flow of blogs regenerating in Google Reader? To the point of distraction and unfortunately beyond, I’m on them. But I just can’t figure out this serial DVD watching. I’d probably do better if I were trying to catch its weekly television broadcast—or even aware of a growing Tivo queue to prune. But it’s always there, neither growing nor diminishing, no urgency at all, tucked away on a shelf. Maybe I should set it out in a more obvious place to get my attention.
I’ve got a few weeks away from school, so maybe I’ll finally finish. I would like to go back to the beginning, but maybe that’ll have to wait awhile.
Thoughts on seasons two and three:
(1) Most intriguing and perhaps most unlikely character: Brother Mouzone. Where can such a man come from, and can he even be? A neatly-dressed, bow-tied and jacketed, eloquent Muslim killer-for-hire who reads all the same magazines I do. The allusion seems to be, at least superficially, to the Nation of Islam (or perhaps their paramilitary wing), but no such affiliation is ever mentioned by name; and his showing up to provide muscle for a drug operation doesn’t seem to be a good fit. I immediately wondered about his background, about the world that could have produced a Brother Mouzone, and hoped the series would be up to exploring it, but it seems not to be.
Ah, but they do say where he is from: New York. Of course. And he is thus one more facet (maybe the plainest, actually) of the nebulous but recurring role of New York City on the periphery of The Wire (and of Baltimore?). In Brokeback Mountain—I don’t remember whether the movie or the short story or both—either Jack or Ennis wonders exasperatedly what people do who find themselves in their situation, and the other says he doesn’t know, they must go to Denver or something. Denver might be Athens or Babylon, it’s fairly close but strangely far away, quite like here and full of people from here but bigger than here and more complicated and mysterious and maybe frightening, and just as much of the rest of the world as of here, or maybe where the rest of the world and here meet, so really not like here at all. This might be something like the relation people have with nearby cities everywhere; but Baltimore is itself a city, its inhabitants not rural people, and yet something like this relation seems to be what the hazy presence of New York City on the horizon means in The Wire. And of course Brother Mouzone is from there. I want to know about his world, but The Wire just places it in New York and doesn’t have the audacity to go there. I suppose he stands in for the bigness of the world, and for the non-exhaustiveness of The Wire‘s depiction of it—that the Barksdale empire should have connections all the way to NYC and to people like Brother Mouzone!—but I’m not sure whether to think his mysteriousness is a strength of the show, or if its inability to account for him is a weakness and its appeal to him a gimmick. I do want to like him, in either case.
(2) After my growing excitement and awe over the first season, my first impression of the second, taken together, is that it seems to be less of a whole. This is one reason I want to go back to the beginning, since I’m not sure whether this impression is accurate or an artifact of viewing the first season without many expectations and then placing the second into the context of the first. But it seemed to me that the show could have finished after the first season and been a complete entity, and an admirable work of art, while the second season had a different rhythm and sent out more narrative threads. It occurred to me that the first season, at least in outline, might have been made without expectation of continued funding, but that the second season was anticipating the continuation of the series. I don’t know whether it happened that way, but that’s how it felt to me. At the end of the first season, the second might never have come, or it could have come and done anything; at the end of the second, I thought I could tell basically how the third would have to start.
(3) The feds are generally presented as being hyper-competent, having unlimited money and resources, and being utterly uninterested in what’s going on locally. Their distance, their powerful but transient influence, their mysterious depths and mostly superficial depiction, make their role not entirely unlike that of New York. (If ever there is anything like a deus ex machina in The Wire, it will be connected either to New York or the feds.)
The way the feds deflate the local investigation into The Greek was maddening, and though it’s not hard to believe that this is often quite how it works in such a vast web of bureaucracies and competing interests, I want to believe there’s a better way. So this guy is helping you with information in your investigation into international terrorism, and he’s under investigation for unrelated crimes by another agency. Tip him off and spoil their investigation, or communicate with that agency? I suppose if you’re dealing with very sensitive stuff you don’t want to create any new possibility for leaks. Also a possibility is that you don’t give a shit about that agency or their investigation. But really? Is this how it has to be? Can there be no better way? (That may be a fairly characteristic reaction to the show in general, I guess.)
(4) In the way that the first season is clearly about the drug trade and the Barksdale empire, and the second is clearly about the longshoremen, the third season is not so clearly about anything. From what I had heard, I anticipated its being similarly focused, but on city politics. It seemed instead to be more like a return to the first season, but with a newly expanded scope. Is this because local politics is by itself less whole and delimited than the drug trade or the docks? Because, quite the contrary, it is too isolated, and would too much change the character of the show? Because the one-season-one-setting paradigm is wrong?
(5) Perhaps the most obvious foray into concrete public policy debate is the “Hamsterdam” plotline. They make it unambiguous several times, someone or other saying in disbelief to Major Colvin, “You legalized drugs.” And despite the unsubtlety of that repeated assertion, I appreciated the subtlety in their depiction. The “legalization” does have immediate and obvious beneficial effects, but they don’t shy away from the ugliness, either, which makes for a more fair-minded look at the problem of drugs and the law than most.
I’m now working my way slowly through Season Four. The understanding of the public school system is remarkable, and not just of the classroom, which movies and television are notoriously bad at. The look of the school, the meetings. Oh, the meetings. Watching the school scenes, after trial-by-fire in Mississippi, is unspeakably bizarre. It manifests physically. I feel dazed and slightly giddy, utterly enthralled. Mary goes noticeably pale and sweaty, and wants to turn it off.
Original above, translation below.
संजय उवाच ।
एवमुक्त्वा ततो राजन् महायोगेश्वरो हरिः ।
दर्शयामास पार्थाय परमं रूपमैश्वरम् ॥ ९॥
अनेकदिव्याभरणं दिव्यानेकोद्यतायुधम् ॥ १०॥
दिव्यमाल्याम्बरधरं दिव्यगन्धानुलेपनम् ।
सर्वाश्चर्यमयं देवमनन्तं विश्वतोमुखम् ॥ ११॥
दिवि सूर्य सहस्रस्य भवेद्युगपदुत्थिता ।
यदि भाः सदृशी सा स्याद्भासस्तस्य महात्मनः ॥ १२॥
तत्रैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नम् प्रविभक्तमनेकधा ।
अपश्यद्देवदेवस्य शरीरे पण्डवस्तदा ॥ १३॥
ततः स विस्मयाविष्टो हृष्टरोमा धनंजयः ।
प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं कृताझ्जलिरभाषत ॥ १४॥
अर्जुन उवाच ।
पश्यामि देवांस्तव देव देहे सर्वांस्तथा भूतविशेषसंघान् ।
ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थमृषींश्चसर्वानुरगांश्च दिव्यान् ॥ १५॥
अनेकबाहूदरवक्त्रनेत्रं पश्यामि त्वां सर्वतोऽनन्तरूपम् ।
नान्तं न मध्यं न पुनस्तवादिं पश्यामि विश्वेश्वर विश्वरूपम् ॥ १६॥
किरीटिनं गदिनं चक्रिणं च तेजोराशिं सर्वतो दीप्तिमन्तम् ।
पश्यामि त्वां दुर्निरीक्ष्यं समन्ताद्दीप्तानलार्कद्युतिमप्रमेयम् ॥ १७॥
त्वमक्षरं परमं वेदितव्यं त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम् ।
त्वमव्ययः शाश्वतधर्मगोप्ता सनातनस्त्वं पुरुषो मतो मे ॥ १८॥
अनादिमध्यान्तमनन्तवीर्यं अनन्तबाहुं शशिसूर्यनेत्रम् ।
पश्यामि त्वां दीप्तहुताशवक्त्रं स्वतेजसा विश्वमिदं तपन्तम् ॥ १९॥
द्यावापृथिव्योरिदमन्तरं हि व्याप्तं त्वयैकेन दिशश्च सर्वाः ।
दृष्ट्वाद्भुतं रूपमुग्रं तवेदं लोकत्रयं प्रव्यथितं महात्मन् ॥ २०॥
Having spoken thus, the Great Yoga Lord Kṛṣna
Showed Arjuna his highest lordly form,
Many mouths and eyes, many marvelous sights,
Many divine ornaments, many divine weapons upraised,
Wearing divine garlands and garments, divine scents and oils,
A God composed of all wonders, endless, facing all directions.
In a sky of a thousand suns that have at once arisen,
Such light would be as the light of this Great One.
In the body of the God of Gods, Arjuna saw
The whole world standing there together, divided in many ways.
Then, in amazement, hair standing on end, Arjuna
Bowing his head to the god, making reverent gesture said:
“I see gods in your body, O God, and all kinds of beings come together,
Lord Brahmā in a lotus-seat, and all the seers and divine snakes,
“Many arms, bellies, mouths, eyes— I see you in all directions, endless form.
No end, no middle, no beginning of you do I see, O Lord of All, O Form of All.
“With crown, with club, with discus, a mass of splendor, shining in all directions,
I see you who are hard to see completely, shining immeasurable light as sun or fire.
“You are the imperishable, the highest to-be-known, you are the highest refuge of all,
You are unchanging protector of eternal dharma, you are the Eternal Person, I understand.
“Without beginning, middle or end, with endless power, endless arms, eyes of sun and moon,
I see you, with mouth of burning fire, lighting all this with your splendor.
“All between heaven and earth is filled by you alone, and in all directions.
Seeing this, your marvelous and awful form, the three world tremble, O Great One.”