The Legal System Through the Eyes of Hollywood: Good or Bad?

Author: Dale Cohen Open Scene:  An old, hot shot attorney in an expensive suit who has been retained by a billionaire is negotiating with a young, idealistic attorney representing a poor shop owner. The old attorney grimly explains that his client has the money to drag out the trial for years and the shop owner’s only chance for coming out of the situation with anything to show for it is to accept a pathetically small settlement offer. Whether it’s a civil trial or a criminal proceeding, Hollywood is riddled with tales of the trials (pun intended) and tribulations of individuals caught in legal system.  Most stories involve soulless lawyers attempting to manipulate the technicalities of the legal system in order reach some sort of legal result which totally circumvents any commonplace understanding of how individuals understand the concept of moral justice.  Of course no story would be complete without the protagonist,


How and When to Cross-dress While Studying the Law

First, I asked my girlfriend to see True Grit with me. “No.” she replied, and there wasn’t any more discussion about it. Her tone had implied “you should know better”. So I went to my roommate. “Definitely!” he answered, “let me just call my girlfriend and ask her if she wants to go.” “No, no, no, no.” I explained. “This is a no girlfriend affair.” “Well, obviously,” he told me. “I’m just asking her for the points. I know she’ll say no.” For all its art, brilliant story-telling, and beautiful cinematography, True Grit was still a cowboy film. And all four of us knew what it would ultimately be about: an infantile masculine fantasy: justice, retribution, wrongs righted through conflict, action, and the super-heroic. I often wonder what the (undoubtedly non-violent more sophisticated) equivalent fantasy is for women. Resolution not through physical altercation but talk? An involved tale about an


Time For a Change With Parker Spitzer

Author: Michael Cromer The Parker Spitzer show has posted weak numbers since the show’s start in October 2010. While CNN hoped the numbers would improve, the Parker Spitzer show is only averaging 468,000 viewers. At the same 8 PM time slot that Parker Spitzer airs, Fox News is averaging 2.6 millions viewers and MSNBC is averaging 874,000 viewers. Interestingly, while Parker was out for a week due to a lung infection, the overall viewership for the Parker Spitzer show doubled. Although the turmoil in Egypt may have had to do with the increase in viewership, this was without a doubt the show’s strongest viewership since it launched in October. There can be no denying that the numbers have increased since Parker’s absence and there has been much speculation that CNN may be looking for a replacement. It seems to me that it’s time to make a change with the Parker


Vigilantism in Film and Life: A Review of True Grit

Author: Matthew Devack There is no doubt that we love a great revenge tale. They appeal to our innate desire for justice. After all, shouldn’t everyone get what they deserve? True Grit tells a straightforward tale of vigilantism and revenge. In True Grit and The Truth About Revenge, Thane Rosenbaum suggests that the success of films such as True Grit demonstrate the possibility that such revenge tales reflect true justice. The article thus asks the question, has the legal system been wrong in outlawing vengeance? While vengeance fits perfectly with our ideal system of true justice, it does not fit with reality. The moral justice depicted in revenge films depends upon a certainty in the criminal’s guilt. How good would we feel about the death of True Grit’s villain if we weren’t certain of his guilt? In reality such absolute truth is rarely available and where it exists our legal