Where’s the personal responsibility?
These days, much is made of ‘personal responsibility,’ a principle, which to borrow Hamlet’s oft-used phrase, seems “more honored in the breach than in the observance.”
A week ago, the New York Times asked “Is Law School a Losing Game?”, yet another recap of a lemming-like generation of law school graduates running up huge tuition debts they’re unable to pay because they can’t find jobs.
The out-of-work, mis-employed and underemployed fledgling lawyers interviewed blame everyone – – – but themselves. Blame the law schools. Blame the ABA. Blame the law school ranking system.
Redefining the meaning of “working.”
The story also highlights how law schools mislead via B.S. Reports concluding that over 90 percent of law grads are “working” 9 months after graduation. Yeah, but working doing what? Turns out “working” does not necessarily mean working as a lawyer.
And while that’s good, honest work, there’s no chance in Hades of servicing 6-figure tuition debt and putting food on the table and a roof over their heads with low-paying work.
Blame everyone but include the person in the mirror.
Not to let off the law schools, U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings or elitist-minded Big Law firms, personal responsibility means you buck up, look in the mirror, and slap no one harder than yourself for against all evidence, having made such an incredibly self-delusional, ill-conceived career choice.
But while you give yourself a belated ‘wake-up facial,’ the ABA also should be singled out for their own continuing profit-making role in accrediting more and more law schools in the face of such a daunting law career market.
And incredibly, as though yet one more barrier to lemming entry is warranted, there’s a report the “LSAT Would Be Optional Under Possible ABA Accreditation Change.”
But the lengthy feature story in the Times contains nothing new. Law student blogs have bitched about their anger, disappointment, and despair for several years.
Any pre-law student having done proper due diligence would have/should have/could have found these online cautionary tales. I’ve even blogged about this before at “Too Many Lawyers?” and at “Lawyers aren’t unemployed, they’re solos.”
And yet the pipe dreamers persist. This latest wound reopening write-up in what passes for the nation’s most influential newspaper has also been rehashed and regurgitated all over the blogosphere the past week.
So my intent here is not to croon my own “whoa, whoa, whoa” to a tune as warmed-over as Morris Albert’s insipid song, “Feelings.”
And hell, do you even need to go to law school to “practice” law? Thanks to a news item yesterday even an “Ex-Con Allegedly Worked as Bogus Lawyer for 5 Years, May Have Watched TV Legal Dramas to Hone Skills.”
Which believe it or not brings me to what prompted this post, a movie so dispiriting you don’t want to smoke the pipe but take the pipe and join Sylvia Plath in the oven.
I think the movie’s about not taking personal responsibility for poor life choices. So this post wasn’t prompted by a newspaper article but by my misfortune in getting sucked into seeing yet another depressing albeit much critically-acclaimed film last night. It was Mike Leigh’s “Another Year.” And I have two words, “Don’t go.”
Unless you first hide the razor blades, the rope, and disregard the garden hose in the running car’s tailpipe, this “Critic’s Choice” and “One of the Year’s Best” movies is not for you. Damned jaded movie critics, you can’t trust ’em. But I take personal responsibility for seeing this movie-downer.
I know. This isn’t a film review blog but it does ruminate about life, law, and culture. And so I’ve blogged once before about movie critics’ deadened, out-of-touch souls at “Definition of a “good” movie? One that depresses a film critic.” But like the moth drawn to the irresistible flame or the lemming off the cliff, there we were again eager to see what “Rolling Stone” called “A Miracle of A Movie.”
The only miracle I saw was an audience sitting through an almost unwatchable 129 minute film that felt like it was 189 minutes.
And there we were at the end with the rest of the theater-goers walking out or standing in the lobby with those head-scratching, dazed, befuddled looks. One wag broke up his small group by proclaiming, “The book was better!” To which, everyone broke up laughing because, far as we know, there is no book!
“Tender and textured.”
Sure the movie’s well done. Sure it illuminates the human condition. Sure “it’s tender and textured” according to the The New York Post.com. And yes, the acting is top-notch. But boy, does the story suck.
But then maybe, it’s just me and scores of others in that particular theater. Interestingly, at the same theater, another critics’ fave ‘Blue Valentine,’ was also playing. Someone else in the lobby told us was “it was depressing.”
Except for the blissfully happy protagonists, the married aging couple, Tom and Gerri, and eventually, their ‘not falling far from the tree’ son, Joey, the rest of the sorry, dejected characters surrounding them are as pathetically pitiable a lot as has ever been gathered on one screen. Ken and Mary, for example, are not a pair to draw to. Neither takes personal responsibility for their own sorry train-wreck life choices. It’s compare and contrast. See the happy couple. See the rest of the ‘unhappies.’
Ken and Mary blindly meander, copiously drink, eat, smoke and pointlessly prattle about throughout what passes for a year’s four seasons. At film’s end, we non-film critic average joes are left staring at the most emotionally discombobulated sad sack woman ever as the sound is muted and the screen fades out. Talk about a ‘not feel-good’ movie.
Here’s a proposal.
But to tie things back to my beginning and to stem the march of lemmings off the law school cliff, here’s a proposal. Why not produce a movie about sorry, dejected personally irresponsible law school grads? And make sure it’s as demoralizing as “Another Year.”
Undergrads contemplating law school would be required to watch it by compassionate college career counselors. And then perhaps after having been sufficiently dissuaded, instead of being out over $100,000 in law school debt for making equally sorry life choices, these undergrads would only have to take personal responsibility for blowing $8.50 for watching a disheartening movie.