No Paper for You!
there are a few times in ones life when raw emotion just
overwhelms ones own rational inclinations to exhibit utter
restraint. some find it easier, some find it harder. today
i witnessed someone who was great keeping her proverbial
"shit together" throughout the entire year. her name was
katherine which is kind of weird cos she's asian. i don't
know, katherine just isn't a very asian name. maybe katty,
but katherine? i'm thinking protestant. well all of my
insistence that names adequately categorize people by their
race aside, katherine is quite good at not displaying any
in fact i don't think i've ever seen her really interact
with anyone in the law school and i only really know her
from the volunteering at the immigration clinic (see
previous journal). anyhow, she's nice but has the usual
reserved demeanor that you picture a slightly corpulent
asian girl with glasses having.
anyhow, today was our torts exam. what a mother fucker i'll
tell ya. this was the only exam for which we were not
allowed to have any sort of paper or anything. normally for
the exams you're allowed at least one sheet of paper on
which you can write everything from case law to restatement
rules; however, our torts teacher who apparently is the
child of satan himself told us that she would not allow us
to use any sort of material.
this of course meant that we had to learn each and every
rule and exception thereto, no easy feat let me tell you.
after about 4 days of pretty much consistent studying my
group and i had a pretty good grasp on it all. in fact i
remember joking with them how horrible it would be if
someone didn't know about the "no material" rule and relied
upon some paper for the rules and exceptions.
well katherine relied on that paper. there she was off in
her little corner as usual. "exam time, please clear your
we all cleared our shit so that only our laptops were
humming in front of us. all of us except for of course
katherine, who apparently hadn't noticed that she was the
only one with paper. really it was kind of funny cos i
could just sense everyone glaring at poor katherine as if
she were trying to get away with it all (although i firmly
believe she knew nothing the entire time). i think if the
proctor hadn't noticed the rest of the class probably would
have had her head on a stake.
but the proctor noticed.
"miss. please clear your desk."
katherine was flabbergasted. clear her desk? of what? she
helpless looked around her, but didn't know what she was
"the paper miss. you're not allowed any study material."
and at that moment i saw a world come crashing down. from
my angle i had a great view of the devestation taht creeped
from one corner of her mouth to her left ear, sort of like a
slow plague spreading across her face.
"no study material, miss. you aren't allowed any papers."
at this she spread her handds to the rest of the room. at
that katherine knew her fate was sealed as she saw everyone
else. and for a sheer second i thought it was going to be
fine and she was just going to wipe the paper listlessly
into her bag.
but oh no, katherine did not wipe the paper.
"THIS ISN'T FAIR! I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT WE WERE
ALLOWED MATERIAL! WE'RE ALWAYS ALLOWED MATERIAL!"
now it was quite understandable that she felt consternated.
i went to every torts class and only heard about not being
able to bring a sheet of paper through a friend. the
teacher definitely did not make it clear in class.
katherine was seriously buggin' out by now and was already
starting to cry. the proctor was also starting to freak out
too, not sure if she would have to physical restrain katherine.
but alas poor katherine just sat there sobbing for maybe a
minute (one of those weird quick sobs that i thought only
actors were capable of) and then it was all good. the iron
face came move her and she just stared straight ahead.
actually it was kind of creepy.
anyhow, i felt really bad for katherine cos she's a really
other than that i got called out for generalizing too much
after the exam. my group got together and i was saying how
asians are normally really prepared and show even less
emotion than we austrians. always looking to jump on my
ass, tristan got all holier than thou saying that
generalizations like that were horrible (to be perfectly
honest i think he just wants to impress and bed sarah who
was sitting with us).
but i decided to take him up on that cos i was a bit annoyed
by how hard the exam was.
what's so wrong about generalizations? i think they're a
real time saver and secondly they are just that.
generalizations. i'm not necessarily imputing that specific
characteristic on the individual (so long as i get to know
them and they dispel the generalization). really i think
generalizations and stereotypes are real time savers.
anyhow, i was saying this part in sarcasm and part just to
twist tristan's nipples in front of sarah, but he started to
get all into it (i don't think he got my sarcasm at all).
he started railing against how that's how discrimination
occurs when people view others by their skin and not the
humanity within them (he actually said that, you'd think he
was MLK all over again).
but you see that leads to an unreasonable assumption. and
that's that i woudl actually treat someone according to a
generalization rather than as an individual. i use
generalizations for two purposes. 1.) to make fun of people
in journals 2.) to make fun of people to their face
(provided they know me and they won't kill me).
if i generalize about someone based on a characteristic
attributed to a larger group they are a part of i don't see
how that's necessarily an affront to the individual. in
fact it is a blind and myopic stance to take to say that
people are devoid of influence of the larger group they are
a part of. if you were to generalize that i was an uptight,
overly rationalizing, immoral, law student, you'd be
somewhat right. except for the immoral cos i'm amoral.
anyhow, i think in the abstract generalizations are a
product of our society as the people who are generalized are
as well. generalizations are great time savers and every
stereotype has a bit of truth to it.
nevertheless, tristan and i came to an agreement that we
were glad that there were no muslims in our vicinity so that
there was no chance of a terrorist attack. at least there's
one generality that we can all agree on.