Re: Guest Post - And The Rockets' Red Glare

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by Caitlin Flanagan

This is where I stopped reading. Does this count as a too-early hijack?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:33 AM
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It's got bottle rockets up the ass, so probably worth reading more. Maybe a speed reading app would come in handy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:36 AM
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I'm not a huge fan of her writing, but "the muffled thud of fire in the hole" is a pretty good phrase.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:37 AM
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You should have maybe gone to the next sentence in the article at least:

It takes a certain kind of personal-injury lawyer to look at the facts of this glittering night and wrest from them a plausible plaintiff and defendant, unless it were possible for Travis Hughes to be sued by his own anus.

It is a bit uneven, but I quite liked many parts of it. The section on falls is disturbing yet entertaining. And the discussion of the overall legal strategies of frats was fascinating to me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:38 AM
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I saw a video of that on youtube once (maybe it was sparklers). Looked like less fun than you'd think.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:38 AM
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3: I'm still not sure I understand (or that she got right) exactly what went where and in what manner it went wrong. I need a diagram.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:39 AM
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5: Less fun than who'd think?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:39 AM
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4: I read it this morning and was indeed fascinated by the legal strategy of it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:40 AM
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And by that I am attacking the presumptive level of thinking it was fun that your comment implies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:40 AM
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"Another Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Sphincter Reloaded."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:42 AM
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An Entirely Novel Way to Misuse a Colon.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:44 AM
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But, the article is much more depressing after the part where the guy burns his ass.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:45 AM
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The sentence JP italicizes in 4, and which I will italicize and put in quotation marks here, namely, "It takes a certain kind of personal-injury lawyer to look at the facts of this glittering night and wrest from them a plausible plaintiff and defendant, unless it were possible for Travis Hughes to be sued by his own anus.", is a grammatical disaster.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:50 AM
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I don't get the opportunity to talk often.


Posted by: Opinionated Anus | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:52 AM
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Is the problem just the subordinate clause?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 9:59 AM
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I applaud comment 11.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:09 AM
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That article starts strong with the butt bomb but there is a lot of mooc-booster nonsense embedded.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:16 AM
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17: Well, there's a lot of stuff embedded, anything "mooc-boosterish" is a pretty minor part as far as I can tell (you may have a more expansive definition). But, yeah, on a closer more critical re-read this morning, I overpraised in calling it "excellent." I suspect it will all end up in a book.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:30 AM
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Alpha Tau Omega? More like Eta Goatse Oopsie!


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:33 AM
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I just skimmed (long form journalism:fuck off) but it seems to be a lot of breathless claims about fraternities used to try and make interesting some pretty boring and standard points about liability insurance. Maybe someone can do an executive summary.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:38 AM
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I mean the butt bomb part was great, but from my possibly not very accurate skim it seemed like she was saying and these FRATERNITIES are SELF INSURED?!? which didn't really seem to warrant the length or tone. Edit that shit!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:42 AM
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There is indeed a fair bit of "Can't afford college? Never mind, it wasn't that great and moocs!" shite in there. I got to this paragraph and gave up:

There are many thousands of American undergraduates whose economic futures (and those of their parents) would be far brighter if they knocked off some of their general-education requirements online, or at the local community college--for pennies on the dollar--before entering the Weimar Republic of traditional-college pricing

I really have no idea what this is meant to mean. Colleges are printing vast amounts of currency? Colleges are an exciting but tragically doomed revolutionary project? Sally Bowles went to college? Colleges will be stabilised by Gustav Stresemann and Hjalmar Schacht, before being fatally destabilised by the Great Depression and destroyed by a sinister negative coalition of Nazis and Communists?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:43 AM
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I think the point wasn't so much that the frats were self insured but that they were able to put liability back on individual members or guests using comically self-serving, unenforced policy statements.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:45 AM
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22: Give it a few years and Florida State's motto will be "When I hear the word 'college', that's when I reach for my revolver."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:47 AM
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Speaking of frats, my kid is growing up. The other day, the song "I Like Everything About You" became "I Like Everything About Poop." Today, he made a frowny face and strained his neck muscles, and I asked him what he was doing. Pooping! (But not really.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:50 AM
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23: Right, things like the way that the "crisis management" plans worked. And sure, not necessarily more self-serving than those of any other organization, but they manifest in a particularly sleazy way.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:55 AM
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Speaking of growing up, it's now official: I am no longer the tallest person in my family.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:57 AM
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Congrats, old man. I'll look for the photo on flickr.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 10:58 AM
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27: by the time my kid gets off crutches in a few weeks we'll no longer be able to walk arm-in-arm, it'll be more him taking me under his wing. He's going to need a telescope to see my mother.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:02 AM
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More like Eta Goatse Oopsie!

Only one of those is a Greek letter.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:03 AM
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If they were old enough to die in Vietnam, powerful enough to overthrow a president, groovy enough to expand their minds with LSD and free love, then they certainly didn't need their own colleges--the very places where they were forming their radical, nation-changing ideas--to treat them like teenyboppers in need of a sock hop and a chaperone.

I find this a particularly glib and specious sentence. First, it ignores the pre-sixties struggles over students' rights on campus - and that's what they were, students' rights, particularly the rights of women. Second, it suggests that the issues were trivial - that the intrusiveness forced on women, in particular (the expulsions over minor matters, the inspections, the bodily policing, the occasional forcible commitments) were just things getting in the way of being "groovy". Third, it suggests that "I am old enough to be sent off to die, so I should have some control over the texture of my daily life" is the intellectual equivalent of "I'm too groovy for your rules, man".

This relentless retconning of the sixties generation into a bunch of stupid, selfish, hypocritical sybarites is part of an over-all right wing narrative of the past (most popular, I notice, with people who want to do away with social security and are trying to construct a "boomers don't deserve it, let's axe it" narrative).

Why is everyone so terrible? Everyone is so terrible lately, have you noticed?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:07 AM
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24 I've been wondering how all the tea partiers manage to square their enthusiasm for corporal punishment in homes and schools with 'stand your ground'. Doesn't the latter mean that when your teacher or dad hits you, you are perfectly legally justified in emptying your magazine into them?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:08 AM
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Why is everyone so terrible?

Neoliberalism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:09 AM
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Hmm, I guess I'm seeing that I am willing to gloss over a lot of sloppy, breezy writing when I agree with the overall slant and premise of something. Because, sure the sentence in 31 (and that whole part of the article) is a mess, but I barely bothered to do any analysis of it whatsoever. Not a close reader when I don't want to be.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:20 AM
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32: No, it's just that human rights kick in when you turn 18, not before. (Presumably teachers would be very careful about using corporal punishment on kids who got held back a year, or just were born at the wrong time of year.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:22 AM
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I'm afraid I don't quite understand what ass-cracking signifies in this sentence.

imagine studying Thessalonians in the ass-cracking cold of a Schenectady February

Maybe it's one of ten thousand ways the Inuit describe cold?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:24 AM
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34.last: There's an app for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:25 AM
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32: I should mention this to my wife, as regards the time she hit a nun (teacher) back. Nobody had told her that teachers were allowed to do that...


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:26 AM
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The writing in the first half was too confusing for me to follow. But I thought it got real interesting when she explained how their policy was successfully shifting liability onto private homeowner's insurance. Hoooboy would I be pissed to have reason to find that out.

I was also speculating on the effects of communal living culture. I lived in the co-ops, also a group living situation for young senseless people. I don't remember hearing about falling deaths (although I do remember that there were two from the frats that surrounded us in my years there). Overdoses, yes. Falling deaths, no. But we were also partying in multi-story houses and went on the roof regularly.

The porch/sleeping rooms sound great. I bet I'd enjoy that set-up.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:32 AM
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Frowner gets it right. Also,

First, it ignores the pre-sixties struggles over students' rights on campus - and that's what they were, students' rights, particularly the rights of women.

My vague impression is that a lot of the changes in collages and collage life were started by or gained energy from WWII veterans going to college on the GI Bill, who were both more willing to challenge the existing institutions and conventions and had a different base of personal experience than the previous generation of college students.

That said I agree that "This relentless retconning of the sixties generation into a bunch of stupid, selfish, hypocritical sybarites" is a thing and is annoying.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:34 AM
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I really have no idea what this is meant to mean. Colleges are printing vast amounts of currency? Colleges are an exciting but tragically doomed revolutionary project? Sally Bowles went to college? Colleges will be stabilised by Gustav Stresemann and Hjalmar Schacht, before being fatally destabilised by the Great Depression and destroyed by a sinister negative coalition of Nazis and Communists?

You're over thinking it. She just means prices are going up very fast.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:40 AM
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...from WWII veterans going to college on the GI Bill

I also thought that was much of it. I can remember by dad talking about how upset he was that his grades were mailed to his parents when he was in college after getting out of the Navy and having been completely independent of them financially for at least three years. In his case, it was Korea, so I'm not arguing that the change happened right away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:42 AM
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38: Your wife hit a nun back? My hero!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:45 AM
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I'm afraid I don't quite understand what ass-cracking signifies in this sentence.

Maybe they engage in outdoor anal chugging and the beer freezes and the combined frostbite and expansion has bottle rocket like effects?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:46 AM
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a lot of the changes in collages and collage life

Used to be you would just be cutting paper for ages, you know? People had a favorite scissors they would use, and would just argue to death for their snips over the competition. And when we had a collage-a-thon, boy, the sound of all those scissors, well, oh my goodness, it was a snickety-snack, clattering cacaphony, but we thought it was heaven. You really felt like this was the collage experience you had been dreaming of your whole life. Now it's all photoshop, and it's just so impersonal. I feel like a lot of the joy has gone.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:47 AM
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44: There was mention of anal chugging (of wine) in the article.


Posted by: Opinionated Frozen Walt Disney | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:48 AM
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Come on, the ass-cracking isn't so weird. Like nobody here has had a severely chapped and bleeding ass from reading the bible when it's cold out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:49 AM
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Oops. My form memory has the weirdest shit. Anyway, I guess butt chugging wine avoids the issue of extra gas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:49 AM
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(Actually, there are several Marge Piercy novels (how do I know about the world? from novels!) which are relatively historically realistic (except for the part where the non-feminist young women have Horrible Lives or maybe die and the Free Spirited ones all find love and success) and deal with young women pushing back against the in loco parentis thing in the late fifties or very early sixties. This was very specifically in response to sexual and bodily control exercised over young women by colleges. I would rather not see this whole thing as "men were the important actors, clearly".)

Also, wasn't there a bunch of immediately post-red-scare, Beat-era stuff about students' right to host left-wing artists and speakers on campus and form political or artistic student groups?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:49 AM
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You're over thinking it. She just means prices are going up very fast.

But that's the thing. She just means that, not anything else that the Weimar Republic invokes. So the metaphor is overwrought.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:50 AM
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(Actually, there are several Marge Piercy novels (how do I know about the world? from novels!) which are relatively historically realistic (except for the part where the non-feminist young women have Horrible Lives or maybe die and the Free Spirited ones all find love and success) and deal with young women pushing back against the in loco parentis thing in the late fifties or very early sixties. This was very specifically in response to sexual and bodily control exercised over young women by colleges. I would rather not see this whole thing as "men were the important actors, clearly".)

Bold move, having the main body of the comment as a parenthetical -- but a good point. I don't know much of that history, but that's why it's worth pushing back on "vague impressions."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:54 AM
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49.last: Although written a bit later (came out in 1966), This is a fair bit of what Richard FariƱa was on about it in Been Down So Long.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:55 AM
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I dunno, college for many is kind of like the Weimar Republic. Discordant, conflicted, feels simultaneously revolutionary and reactionary, intellectual experimentation combined with moments of despair, well meaning old moderates seem boring and annoying, poverty, lots of sexual experimentation and drinking. And then it ends and you're crushed to death by the forces of reaction and stupidity.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 11:57 AM
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You left out the being kept solvent by large loans from the U.S. government.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 12:08 PM
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Also the for most people college happens in the wake of a culture and economy-decimating total war that calls the very foundations of society into question. Or, as I like to call it... high school! Heyoh!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 12:10 PM
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Actually, I quite enjoyed high school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 12:13 PM
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31
This relentless retconning of the sixties generation into a bunch of stupid, selfish, hypocritical sybarites

Fair enough, it's bad, but it's a tough needle to thread between that and treating Baby Boomers like the Greatest Generation.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 12:16 PM
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If they really were the greatest, they would have invented butt chugging.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 12:37 PM
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I read the first paragraph of the article to Smearcase last night. Tried to get through the rest but didn't make it to the interesting legal strategy stuff.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:02 PM
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OT bleg: I'm looking for a good, not-too-dry social history of the Roman Empire in the first century A.D., particularly re. early Christians in what is now Greece and Turkey. Reasonably accurate historical fiction would also be okay. (Along those lines, have any of you read Lindsey Davis' Falco series, and is it any good?)

Thanks!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:05 PM
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58 I imagine that ways of intoxicating yourself with alcohol are like forms of sex. All that crazy stuff people think is new can probably be found on Greek vases, Indian temples, and ancient Chinese scrolls.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:07 PM
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60: Yeah, the Falco books are a lot of fun. No clue how historically accurate they are, but they're good.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:14 PM
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From a lawyer's perspective, Flanagan's discussion of parents paying for their kids' depravities is completely false. The home owners policies, not the parents' 401K, pay for both the defense and the settlement. Plaintiffs' lawyers won't bother to go after a non billionaire for personal assets because it won't succeed.

It's kind of a good thing that homeowners' policies cover your kids when they're in college. Parnets benefit whether their kid turns out to be the plaintiff or the defendant.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:29 PM
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Is 63 really what she claims? I knew I didn't need to actually read carefully.

60 -- try this survey history of the empire. I'm not a specialist at all, but I don't think you're going to get much more finely-grained detail because just not that much is known. There's a lot of stuff geared towards the history of the early church specifically but holy shit do you have to be able to know what books you're picking and can trust in any area involving the history of early Christianity, and most of that isn't really social history.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:43 PM
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It's fiction, but Lion Feuchtwanger's trilogy about Josephus was fantastic.

I read either Gibbon or Mommsen, or pick something at random recently written about Josephus for documentary Roman history. Not exactly focused the way you ask, but Juvenal is good reading, so is Petronius.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:46 PM
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I heard this book on the early church was supposed to be good. But I haven't read it. This conversation prompted me to order it, though.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:51 PM
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Oh, specifically about the early church, Gibbon's tendentious, so maybe not him for that particular subject. No idea about Mommsen's slant on the church.

Robert Graves was fun to read, but obviously deeply idiosyncratic.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:52 PM
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She says that the homeowner's policy pays for the settlement. She says the 401(k) pays for the lawyers they need.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 1:56 PM
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If she says that, she's wrong. All policies that I'm familiar with have the insurer pay for a lawyer, unless you insist on hiring your own at your own expense because you think there's something wrong with the insurer's lawyers. Obviously the insurer has an incentive to ensure that you don't just not defend the case and then make a claim and leave them liable for a ton of money.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:01 PM
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"I've recovered millions and millions of dollars from homeowners' policies," a top fraternal plaintiff's attorney told me. For that is how many of the claims against boys who violate the strict policies are paid: from their parents' homeowners' insurance. As for the exorbitant cost of providing the young man with a legal defense for the civil case (in which, of course, there are no public defenders), that is money he and his parents are going to have to scramble to come up with, perhaps transforming the family home into an ATM to do it.

Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:12 PM
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70: Yes that is what she says, but the lawyers are saying that that is not accurate.

Hey! How about that lede! ...



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:14 PM
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70: Yes that is what she says, but the lawyers are saying that that is not accurate.

Hey! How about that lede! ...



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:14 PM
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Oh. Well, that's just wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:14 PM
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73 to 70, not to 71, which is not just wrong, but, in fact, right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:14 PM
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71.2 & 72.2 brought to you by my personal credibility crisis management plan.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:16 PM
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I can't argue lawyering with lawyers, but I presume she's talking to parents and got this concept from somewhere. Is there something else out of the situation that would bankrupt parents?

I mean "the whole thing sucked, but fortunately the insurance lawyers took care of everything" is a lot different from "the insurance paid for some things, but I had to re-mortgage the house for [some other aspect of this I don't get]".


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:16 PM
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The plaintiffs lawyer she quotes says he collects from home owners' policies, not from parents. She doesn't quote anyone or provide any particular example of the parents paying for defense.

Several of her examples involve criminal charges. Insurance doesn't cover criminal defense. Parents may chose to pay for that for their alleged rapist son, although they don't have a legal obligation. Defense of a felony can easily eat up a 401K..


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:21 PM
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76 - Well, consider that this article was written by Caitlin Flanagan.

I mean, let's be clear, insurance companies can always find ways to screw their policyholders. If you've got a lot of assets, they can try to make you kick in personally some amount towards settling the claim. Or they can carp about which claims are insurable or find various other niggling ways to avoid their responsibilities. Or their lawyer can completely fuck up (rare) and you get a judgment against you that exceeds policy limits. And it's not like being in a lawsuit is any fun even if your insurer pays for lawyers. It's possible that Flanagan talked to someone (likely someone extremely rich) who got particularly screwed. And as UPETGI says insurance won't cover you if your kid rapes someone and you want to hire a criminal defense lawyer (though that doesn't seem to be what Flanagan is talking about).

But a competent plaintiffs' lawyer, trying to get money from almost any individual, would sue on claims reasonably expected to be covered by a policy and then make a settlement demand within policy limits, so as to get paid, and the insurer would handle the defense and the settlement. A good plaintiffs' lawyer wouldn't normally sue an individual on claims that aren't insurable, because it makes it much harder to collect.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:28 PM
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53 is wittier than Flanagan's entire oeuvre.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:29 PM
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Thanks for explaining.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:30 PM
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||Ukraine. Depressing. Just saw the official government tally of seventy five dead in Kiev since Tuesday. The opposition is claiming that almost that many died today alone. I made the mistake of watching a video clip of some of the violence. It looked like Ten Green Bottles except with protesters substituting for the bottles.>|


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:33 PM
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49.2: What's often surprising to me, in reading the actual history of campus activism, is how late so many things happened. The big fight about Marcuse at Brandeis was 1965, and Savio's big speech was late 1964. And there were still lots of in loco parentis repressions going on well into the 1970s at a lot of schools. (Well into now, if you count the wacky Xtian colleges.)

Everything just happened in a big rush there right at the end of the decade. As evoked by the title of the Raymond Mungo memoir Famous Long Ago, published in 1970 about events in '67 and '68.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 2:37 PM
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On Rome: Gibbon and if you have any appetite left after that, there is much that is more up to date, and more correct, but who cares, it's not Gibbon.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:00 PM
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81: some of the Ukraine footage is almost unendurable. How can they be so brave?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:01 PM
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WTF is wrong with your people? Can you not deal with clauses and commas? This thing is fucking hilarious. The point is not the point. Can you not see the photographs? This here is a YARN. I'm not a Flanagan fan at all, but she has done quite well.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:07 PM
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Gibbon:

but in the decline of Roman jurisprudence, the ordinary promotion of lawyers was pregnant with mischief and disgrace. The noble art, which had once been preserved as the sacred inheritance of the patricians, was fallen into the hands of freedmen and plebeians, who, with cunning rather than with skill, exercised a sordid and pernicious trade. Some of them
procured admittance into families for the purpose of fomenting differences, of encouraging suits, and of preparing a harvest of gain for themselves or their brethren. Others, recluse in their chambers, maintained the dignity of legal professors, by furnishing a rich client with subtleties to confound the plainest truths, and with arguments to color the most unjustifiable pretensions.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:11 PM
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83: Agreed. If you only care about the Roman Empire before the fall of Rome and not the Byzantine Empire, it's not *that* long. I think that's only the first volume or two. Admittedly, he's not a big fan of the Christianity so if all you care about is early church stuff you can probably do much better.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:12 PM
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What I thought she meant was that your homeowners policy covers the claim, and thereafter you have to pay higher insurance premiums because you made a claim. Maybe because I'm thinking about how it would actually happen.

She left out he most important thing, though. If you're going to get injured attending some college party, make sure it's in Pullman and not Moscow. Idaho tort law is very stingy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:31 PM
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Quote in 70 to 88.1. She's definitely suggesting that parents are mortgaging their homes to defend their kids from civil claims, in the same breath that she suggests their homeowners' policy will be on the hook for the judgment.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:34 PM
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I'm mostly interested in learning about what daily life was like for regular folk, so Gibbon is probably not what I need right now. The Goodman and Freeman both look interesting -- I'll check them out.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:35 PM
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Fair enough, it's bad, but it's a tough needle to thread between that and treating Baby Boomers like the Greatest Generation.

Not really. In a story like Flanagan's, whose merit is entirely in its details, these broad sociological characterizations ought not be present at all.

While I'm a big supporter of the First Amendment and opponent of bills of attainder, I think there ought to be a law against Flanagan making broad sociological characterizations. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that she's actually a decent reporter (the apparent error on homeowner's insurance notwithstanding).


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:48 PM
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I actually took a course in early Xianity, but that was 20 years ago, so probably not that useful.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:55 PM
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I think the usual definitions of early Christianity start well before 1994.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:56 PM
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94

||
So is Venezuela one of the topics we have politely decided not to discuss?
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:57 PM
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Or you could just try to move away from racist Euro-centrism


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:58 PM
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I still think there must be some reason the parents are hiring a lawyer, even if she explained it wrong. Parents re-financing or spending a 401(K) for a lawyer isn't a fact that you'd make up if it weren't in the story somehow. More likely the lawyer was for another facet of the frat-related problem, as explained to me above.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 3:59 PM
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Sorry. Really, I apologize, it just slipped out.

Now back to Said.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 4:05 PM
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94: I started to post that Venezuela was also on fire right after tkm's 81, but got distracted by work.

Stupid work.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 4:10 PM
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94 No, and I've been following it somewhat, however, for obvious personal reasons I follow events in Ukraine more closely.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 4:24 PM
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60: the Beacon at Alexandria is a delightful novel, and the history ought to be pretty good.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 02-20-14 6:02 PM
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The main characters in the Falco novels are too loving and conscious and egalitarian to be very realistic now, let alone in their day; this makes them fun to toddle along with. But I've come across classicists agreeing that Davis' background detail was solid.

49: Or even _The Cheerleader_ and _Snowy_, which are about a mainstream girl in the 1950s.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 1:55 AM
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Gibbon would not be a great source on first-century Rome, because he starts his account in AD 200. There's a three or four chapter introduction but he really only gets into the swing of things with the accession of Commodus.

The Falco novels, given their period, don't have much on early Christianity. The only reference I remember is in "Last Act in Palmyra" where Falco has an aside along the lines of "The next day our caravan encountered a band of Christians, and they irritated us so much that we beat the shit out of them with big sticks". End of reference.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 2:34 AM
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No one's suggested I, Claudius yet? No idea if it's accurate, and it barely mentions Christianity, but it's fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 5:24 AM
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If you're going down the Gibbon road, you may as well read Tacitus and have done. That is, neither of them are remotely accurate in the light of modern scholarship but they are two of the greatest writers of all time. (Also, Gibbon doesn't really cover the 1st century.) If you mainly just want to find out what went on in that period, you're probably best getting a good high school/undergrad text book, e.g. the one Halford recommends upthread.

The Falco books are excellent, though a little uneven. She slightly whitewashes the intrinsic nastiness of everyday life in 1st century Rome, because otherwise it would be unreadable, but she leaves in enough hints that you can draw your own conclusions. I haven't read Graves for 40 years, but AFAICR they're a rollicking rewrite of Suetonius that are well worth reading as long as you bear in mind that the're ficton based on a largely fictional source.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 6:09 AM
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Lindsey Davies also wrote a fictionalised biography of the Emperor Vespasian and his mistress Caenis, which is a but sentimental, but not bad at all.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 6:12 AM
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I always figure that contemporaneous fiction, or fictionalized history, may be useless as a record of events, but will work better as social history. Not perfectly, but it's at least going to tell you what a writer of the time thought an idealized version of life should look like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 7:02 AM
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Pliny's letters might be your best bet (not quite what you're looking for, but certainly closer than Tacitus or whatever). I've been out of touch with the field a while now (and this was never my area) but I strongly suspect that you're not going to find anything that meets all your criteria (1st century AD; regular-folk social history; focus on early Christians in Greece/Asia Minor; not too dry).


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 7:52 AM
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Oh, hey, what about Josephus? I haven't read him, but I know him as the first century historian that moderately well educated Protestants read for religious reasons, which suggests both that it's on the topic you want, and not too hopelessly unreadable. I'm sure it's not all that reliable for actual accuracy, but it might get you some quotidian sense if the period.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:16 AM
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I read Josephus years ago. He's kind of an asshole, but it was a good read.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:17 AM
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Good read as far as history and ancient text goes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:19 AM
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For this particular period, for social history, it's worth keeping in mind that a lot of what's known (maybe, these days, most) comes from archaeology and classical writers are particularly unreliable, or at least need a lot of interpretation, as social history sources. I mean Josephus is about as reliable as just reading the New Testament for giving you a sense of social history of the period -- not zero, but you probably wouldn't want to just dive in and read without guidance.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:23 AM
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Right. Huge asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:27 AM
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108: I meant to say 'moderately well educated nineteenth century religious Protestants'. Just that that's where I've heard of him, as what an autodidact Methodist weaver in a George Eliot novel might be reading.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:27 AM
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Not really useful for the original question, but the early christian scholar blogosphere is surprisingly good.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:52 AM
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Regardless of who ends up paying settlements, I thought it was pretty useful in revealing that fraternities, despite their stated principles, pursue an active strategy of exploiting their members' trust to ensure when bad things happen the blame always falls somewhere else. I didn't read all the way through, but presumably this is the kind of structure that enables them to avoid addressing systemic faults, like the porch / roof issue, or sexual assault.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:55 AM
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but the early christian scholar blogosphere is surprisingly good

Once you get back past the first millenium archive.org's snapshots get a little spotty, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:58 AM
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And I'm sure someone is going to cackle at my mention of fraternity principles, but I'd imagine a lot of fraternity people do in fact see themselves as an association based on a cooperative ethos. Not that I have any experience.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 8:59 AM
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I wasn't actually thinking of the structure as a betrayal of principles or anything so grand. I was more astounded that the "we have policies against drinking" was convincing to anybody in the entire legal system.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 9:12 AM
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104

Suetonius was fiction!?! Next you're going to tell me not to believe everything I read on Gawker.

What Graves did that was fun was take all that material and recast it as an almost-believable conspiracy theory.

I'm also a fan of Procopius ("The Secret History"), especially such stuff as the actual eyewitness testimony that Justinian was actually a "fiend in human form."

Don't shatter my illusions on that one, please!


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 9:17 AM
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118.last: that bothered me too and I'm not buying that those policies are the silver bullet she suggests they are (without ever really coming out and quite saying how they play out in specific cases; or I may have missed that, I only skimmed). I'm having a hard time believing that a fig-leaf alcohol policy is going to be of great value when e.g. your lack of balcony railings is at issue.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 9:18 AM
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120 -- I agree that seems dubious. And the error about the duty to defend under homeowners' insurance is significant enough (in a piece mostly about tort liability, if it wasn't specifically about liability who cares, but it was and that's a huge thing to get wrong) to cast doubt in my mind on the other conclusions she makes. At a minimum if i were advising a fraternity national org I wouldn't say "oh yeah that wafer thin no drinking policy is definitely a get out of jail free card.". But I'm still not going to go back and actually read the piece.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 9:26 AM
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Justinian was actually a "fiend in human form."[dubious - discuss]


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 9:27 AM
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In the end, I think Ile approaches my view in 85. Despite Flanagan's wrongnesses and grating things like the stupid sociological generalizations, I think she gets it quite right on this pernicious little piece of our world (which stands as a minor but quite telling symptom of the greater ills of our society and world). Maybe some day Roger Angell will write a deeply-felt piece on it. But he won't and wouldn't have.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 11:56 AM
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Procopius' Secret History is positive proof that the plural of anecdote is not data.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-21-14 12:05 PM
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Late addendum--good critical review of the overall direction of the piece and the "fraternity-industrial complex" from Katie JM Baker (I'm not familiar with her) in Al Jazeera--"Don't faze me, bro."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-14 9:37 AM
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Ooh, I now have a huge crush on the article in 125. Thanks, Stormcrow!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-24-14 10:30 AM
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NNM to Harold Ramis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-24-14 11:15 AM
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Or NMM. Poor guy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-24-14 11:16 AM
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