Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

It is a beautiful Easter 2010 here in OurTown, USA. 

It's one of those perfect Spring days, like happy Easters tucked away in the recesses of my memory.  I was out before dawn this morning to look at the papers and drink coffee with my pals.  The continuing media attention to the sex scandals connected to the Vatican was most notably dealt with by Maureeen Dowd's brilliant evisceration of Pope Benedict in the Easter edition New York Times.   If you didn't read it, you can catch it at the link.

One of the things I've been thinking about is how we only see the surface of things,  for instance if you think about a trial from the perspective of a juror, the juror doesn't see all the thought, argument, analysis, stupidity (well, they see some of this,) and preparation that goes into what is permitted by the judge to be heard and seen by jurors.  Likewise, the house that I sit in is 100 years old, and while in the +21 years I've lived here, the Blonde Super Lawyer and I have rehabilitated and built aspects of the structure, for the most part we see walls, floors, ceilings and doors.  It is only when something goes dreadfully wrong that what lies beneath, the 85% of what constitutes the house is revealed to us.  Everything we think we know is like this. 

Over the weekend, Apple, released it's new iPad toy (just imagine the thought and architecture underlying this computer!!,) and many of the news sites around cyberspace where I troll for the stories I write about, here, feature silly little accounts of their locals waiting in line to get one of these things.  I'm not a luddite, or I wouldn't be writing this blawg--but, I can't help but find coverage of the local passion for this technology ludicrous.  In fact I was listening to my Apple "Touch" on through the car stereo on the way to coffee this AM--but, that this "story" is in every "news"-paper seems a lot of like product placement when even the august NYT is busy prepping an application for this device.  The Boys at the 'Bucks and I were talking about the first mobile phones, and I related how I remember some guy coming into a local restaurant many years ago hauling one of those zero-haliburton brief cases which wiht great effort he wrestled onto a table top from which he withdrew a steel phone that looked more appropriate to a battlefield setting than a bistro.  I recall laughing-out-loud thinking, sarcastically, "yeah, that's the wave of the future."  And yet the most technophobe of my pals is at the beck and call of a cell phone.

While I doubt that the iPad represents anything more than a technological "tipping point" or as we use to say, consolidation--we are now at a place in the law business where one needs to be technologically adept, for not just research but for basic communication not only with colleagues but with the court.  I came into the business in the days of "onion skin" carbon copies; nowdays in my W-2 job I spend a great deal of time slimming down old files that are stuffed with that product.  We are in the process of going completely paperless.  Oh, we still generate a lot of paper (often, simply out of habit,) but in many venues, paper is superfluous.

What do we lose?  In my opinion we are losing a lot.  Things that matter to me are disappearing, arts are being lost, and with the disappearance of structures, we are losing the wiring, the plumbing, the infrastructure that makes up the 85%.  Oh, sure, we are gaining information, and computer power, and instant access;  and, maybe a great deal of what we are losing, should have been lost.  But it makes me sad and it scares me a little that my daughter can read and text faster on the Blackberry "Curve" but I doubt that she could type or for that matter, hand write and mail a standard letter without great difficulty.  In our rush to embrace the future, lots of stuff is being kicked to the curb without us first asking whether this is a good thing.  We are losing context, content and as a result the foundation of our cultural edifice. 

In someways I am connecting these developments to what we see in the news, and in my fleeting glimpse of television--the artless trash of un-"reality" shows have supplanted many efforts at well-written and well-produced entertainment.  Content is disposable.  My reaction is to contribute to this fray at Bad Lawyer.   Perhaps this reactiveness is why I am such an avid fan of Gayle's Bard Blog.  Gayle writes about classic content with an eye to cultural and historical context.

I expect these next few weeks will determine which direction I take both here at Bad Lawyer and in my bad little universe.  This beautiful day was a lovely reminder of promise and hope and of Springs past and I hope forward.  I hope your holiday was at least as lovely as mine.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you, BL. Since we are of an age, I too am often dismayed by the radical changes underway that are altering the way we communicate, write, and even think. We are losing things, for sure.
    But I'm reminded that the same thing happened when oral cultures gave way to writing. In ancient Anglo-Saxon societies, itinerant poet/bards were the keepers of history. They went from tribe to tribe, singing heroic songs about the past and reminding the people who they were, are, and could be. Then came the "scourge" of writing, and everything changed. Even the stories themselves. For example,we hate when people repeat themselves when telling a story, but ancient Germanic peoples loved to hear the same phrases repeated over and over. People remembered things better that way. When writing came, we could use memory for other stuff. Spoken oaths meant less--but soon signatures replaced them. Then came the lawyers, to make sure people did what their signature said they would!
    We lost the Beowulfs--and probably countless other stories that are really lost forever--but we got Shakespeare and Tolstoy and James Joyce. Soon we may lose them, too. But if the past is any indication, we'll gain something new and wonderful in their place.

    Or not. I guess I'm just feeling hopeful on this sunny spring day, still pilfering my kid's Easter candy and thinking about possibilities.