Thursday, August 20, 2009

practice makes properfect

"Built it and they will come. Always wondered about the truth(veracity??) of that saying-- and this blog suggests that it is true. What that saying didn't say is.... Build it and how many will come. Must have been written by a Lawyer.

Finally finished this book called The Birthday Party- A memoir of Survival.

I took it out of the library strictly because the cover grabbed my attention and then the story looked interesting. After finally( I was averaging 2 pages a day) finishing this thing off I highly don't reccomend it.

It's about some nebishy prosecutor who gets kidnapped by some poor dumb kids and this nebishy prosecutor by the name of Stanley Alpert is not without some writing ability but he's such an unself aware coldblooded prick. He would never think so. He makes his business to say that he is a good person many times and how he takes responsibility for his elderly parents. Then, he writes things like, " My father had a stroke and all the money he saved up by hard work had to go to nursing home fees."

I think if your parents end up in a nursing home you have officially lost your rights to pretend you are good. Sure, if he was dead poor and his father was a danger to himself and no nurse could help but this guy makes enough money and his father had a stroke for god's sake. And, these dodo kids who kidnap him do give him cab fare and still he takes too much glee in them going to jail for such long periods of time.

The most offensive part of the book is when he talks about a biased judge and how adorable it is that this biased judge hates defendants etc. No, actually the most offensive part of the book is when he talks about a defense lawyer who is disgusted by these defendants and how they are not passive in the face of thier prosecution. I don't feel like walking all the way to the ladies room to quote verbatim ,but this defense attorney is disgusted that these defendants don't respect the system and what it is and what it does. These 16 and 18 years olds are going to jail for over 10or 15 years when it's clear that they are very redeemable and yet because they don't immediately submit to the blindly ambitious prosecutors they are further reviled by Stanley Alpers AKA that nasty piece of work.

A year ago I would not have found this book as offensive, and probably would just pick up on the fact that his father died in a nursing home , but now with what I know I find it hateful and Stanley Alpert to be a big gaping asshole for many reasons. The system is not a good or just system and anyone who shows it much reverance is either being phony, hasn't been in it, or just isn't picking up on the fact that this legal system business is as disgusting and depressing as any system can be. If you are sensitive to concepts such as justice or truth or evil, extreme apathy or inhumanity you will not last there.

The bitter truth is more complicated and demands much more detail and exposition, but in a nutshell: It is a system based on disposition and ambition. Sure there are some criminals that need to be put away but a lot of those criminals are the judges and lawyers trying to put people away. And, their crimes are much more egregious and shocking to the conscience than anything short of cold blooded murder or torture etc. Give me a robber over corrupt judges or lawyers any day. To have that power: To hold that gorgeous thing -- justice-- and to abuse it as they do day after day. How can anyone bear it? How can the clerks even stand that omnipresent smell of bullshit .

Of course, I'm generalizing based on my case and my innocence, but after a year bearing witness-- I feel confident that there is something deeply wrong about how the whole glorious vision in the Constitution has panned out. There is a painfully huge sense that theory and practice in this system are strangers to each other. I would love to have the time and space to really go into this because it's very important and dear to me, as they say, but I need to go downtown now and deal with this shit in practice.
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