Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thoughts of the day

Happy Independence Day! Our nation is 233 years old today.

The New York City fireworks display will be on the Hudson River this year and should be viewable from my home. The show will begin at 9:20 pm.

Hard to believe how fast the time goes . . . 10 years ago today, I watched my most meaningful Independence Day fireworks display surrounded by fellow new cadets during Beast Barracks at West Point.

Gotta check this movie out: The Hurt Locker. I wonder what Luke thinks of it?

NYC Prep is Bravo's newest reality-based soap opera. It's the diegesis of 1999 movie Cruel Intentions come to life with over-indulged, narcissistic, hedonistic, jaded NYC youth. The show caught my attention because one of its leads, Taylor, is a Stuyvesant High School student. The high school-aged stars are obnoxious as portrayed, but I don't find that to be abnormal. Teenagers - even ones who grow up to be admirable and respectable adults - are often obnoxious and normally self-absorbed. They are that way because teenagers are in a metamorphising phase, physiologically and socially. As a 30-something, I would encourage teens not to be any more inhibited in their teen years than reasonably necessary. Be daring - explore, try, and learn. As adults, it's our role to enforce standards and rules when teens challenge them, but we should do so with the understanding that their behavior is part of a critical learning curve for them. The world portrayed in the show, although set in my hometown, is alien to me. When I was at Stuy, we didn't refer to ourselves as "public school" and I at least wasn't aware of New York City prep schools. There was us - Stuy kids - and then there was everyone else. We didn't view any high school in the city as above us; we were elitist and thought of Stuyvesant as a school of valedictorians (e.g., see the movie Frontrunners). I'm willing to make the allowance that Stuy kids who interact more with prep school kids may think in terms of public versus prep school, but I still find the "public school" versus "prep school" references odd coming from Taylor.

My big news. I'm starting law school in the fall. I was accepted to Rutgers Newark, Seton Hall, and New York Law School and waitlisted at CUNY Law. I'll (most likely) begin my studies part-time while continuing to work full-time, but the priority is school and the clock is ticking on how much longer I'll stay in my current job. By the time I start my classes, I will have given two years to this job, a reasonable amount. It's been interesting work, I've been proud to do it, and I think I've done my job well. But it was never meant to be a career. Why law school? I need to specialize and focus on a trade wherein I can develop subject matter expertise, and the law is a suitable profession. I still believe in the importance of creation, with the doing, innovation, and activism, and I understand the law profession is often viewed as antithetical to that - the elevation of rhetoric over real production. But I also believe that creation requires policy and legal coding to make it secure and sustainable over the long term, and falling short of that mark turns creation into wasted effort. Therefore, I hope to become a practical combination of lawyer and activist. To develop my marketability as an SME, I may also try to add another degree along the way. At present, JAG and criminal prosecution interest me the most as career fields, but I'll keep an open mind entering law school as to my eventual specialty. First things first: the 1st year of law school is absolutely critical and I'm not a good student, so I'll need to focus fully on what's in front of me, be smart, and work hard. I'm getting another chance to discipline my mind and make something worthwhile of myself. I'm excited and very nervous.

I recently rewatched Simpsons season 2 episode The Way We Was, the story of how Marge and Homer met. Add it to the formative cultural influences from my youth that shaped my romantic idealism. Homer's reaction to Marge (on youtube) after he watched Marge and Artie Ziff dancing as Prom Queen and King reminds me of my reaction to Traci's rejection:
[Homer sobbing.]
Marge: Homer?
Homer: What?
Marge: Why are you doing this? Why can’t you accept that I’m here with someone else?
Homer: Because I’m sure we were meant to be together. Usually when I have a thought there’s a lotta other thoughts in there—something says yes, something says no—but this time there’s only yes! How can the only thing I’ve ever been sure about in my life be wrong?
Marge: I don’t know . . . but it is!
In fiction, Homer's faith in his future with Marge was vindicated. In real life, my belief in Traci's and my future together wasn't.

The Steel Helmet is a 1951-made Korean war movie. Having served in the ROK and inherited the mission from the GIs who fought the Korean War, I have a soft spot for movies about the Korean War (except MASH, which wasn't really about the Korean War). The movie makes the important point that while the injustices suffered by American minorities - as represented by a WW2-veteran black medic and a nissei 442nd RCT veteran - are real, it's more important to approach American history as a progressive evolution and confront our nation's competitors in the wider world by standing together and sacrificing in common cause as members of the same tribe. The movie also reminds of the sacrifices demanded of WW2 combat veterans, still traumatized by the last war, who were brought back to fight in a possibly more brutal campaign a few short years later.


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Anonymous Half Sigma said...

Those are all crappy law schools, you will NOT get a job if you attend any of them. Forget it.

If you can't get into a Top 14 school, it's probably not worth it. If you can't get into at least Fordham in NYC, it's definitely not worth it.

7/05/2009 11:32 PM  

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