August 14, 2009

If you graduated from college at age 17, would you go to law school?

The story of Kate McLaughlin, who didn't go straight to law school. She waited until she was 19.
So why do we worry about McLaughlin’s decision to go to law school? Perhaps we shouldn’t. She certainly seems interested in social causes: “I’m an idealist; I want to change the world,” she said. “I bleed blue; I’m a Democrat. I’m an ardent feminist. I’m big on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights – Prop. 8 was a big issue for me.”

At the same time, she says being a lawyer isn’t at the top of her to-do list. Rather, she wants to be a science fiction writer. “Writing and reading are my passions,” she said. “I get the most riled up discussing fiction.”

And on law school, she says: “I’m worried I’ll hate law school because it will take up too much of my time on things I’m not interested in.” McLaughlin, who keeps a blog, will take out student loans to pay for Northwestern.
Shouldn't we all do what gets us "most riled up" — what interests us? But if you love and excel at writing and you want to "change the world," law school is a fine choice. And a legal education could be the foundation for a fiction-writing career... perhaps even science fiction writing.

Whatever. It's her choice. It must be weird to be a teenager and have the Wall Street Street journal and the legal blogosphere opining about something you decided to do.

And here's her blog, evilprodigy. Sample:
I'm a writer. First and foremost, I'm a writer. I write fantasy, science fiction and horror: specifically, I most often write historically based fantasy set in 1820s England -- because the world needs more historical fantasy that takes the messed-up and oligarchic nature of European imperialism seriously rather than further celebrating how wonderful and clever it was to be rich and pretty and white and rich in the 19th century, and clever, and witty, and rich, and pretty. Also because I like cravats, otherworlds and Judeo-Christian myth. I love fantasy. I love comics: I love fantasy comics, DC's Vertigo imprint and many of its titles being near and dear to my heart. I'm a very budding artist (possibly an embryonic artist, or perhaps a zygote artist). In other words, creativity in some form or another is my passion and my life, and has been as long as I've been old enough to know what I want out of life....

I've also had a school background of academic acceleration. And I'm Asian....

[P]eople love to dismiss the academic and professional achievements of Asian-Americans of every shape and size, and people especially love to dismiss it with the word logical. Or hard-working. Or any number of other words, and they all boil down to the same thing -- automaton. Robot. Time and time again white people dismiss the intelligence, the talent, the creativity of Asian people with these words -- "pointing out" that "Asians are only good at math," or that Asians are only good at science, and the only reason why they're good at these things is that they're Vulcans hardwired to compute (which has drastically taken away from their other human capacities, of course) -- ignoring the economic reasons why immigrant Asian families might encourage their second-gen kids to study lucrative subjects, of course, ignoring the all-around high scores. It's robotics. No other explanation. They all do math, anyway. Just human calculators. Just automatons. Just Spock, with pocket protectors and SAT academies.

I point to this astoundingly atrocious CNN article, Why right-brainers will rule this century, for an example: In "A Whole New Mind," he explains that one of the trademarks of the Conceptual Age is the outsourcing of traditional white-collar jobs such as law, accounting, and engineering to less-expensive overseas workers, particularly in Asia. But as he points out, you can't outsource creativity. Not to Asians you can't! They ain't born with it!

As you can see, as soon as an Asian starts doing something, it becomes a robot job. Even if it's the practice of law. Even if it's engineering.

My last name is McLaughlin and I have brown hair, so I have the lucky privilege of more people being willing to believe that my accomplishments are my own, that my ideas are my own, that I might actually just be a smart human being. However, my mother's last name was Kwon and I have that unlucky old friend, the epicanthic fold, so I'm still faced with legions of people willing to self-justify themselves into believing that verbal acuity is just another form of Asian Spock -- for real. People who have the nerve to say, "well, writing isn't really art." People who have the nerve to say, "well, you don't play music as an artist." People who have the nerve to say, you scored that high because you're Asian -- you skipped those grades because you're Asian -- you're good at that because you're Asian -- well, you had an Asian parent (a slavedriver) -- your mom's a tough parent (a dragon lady) -- you're Asian -- you're a robot -- you're Asian, you're Asian --

Maybe that guy scored higher than you on the SAT because he wasn't raised with the complacent knowledge that he could get into a good old boys' club whether he was Einstein or dumb as a post. Maybe that Asian engineer won the Nobel because he had a great idea. Maybe that girl has better grades than you because she deserves them. And maybe, just maybe -- maybe it doesn't take a robot to kick your lazy, self-satisfied, entitled ass to the curb anyway.
Ha ha. Excellent. Snazzy. Good luck.

ADDED: Remember when Seamus Farrow went to Yale Law School at the age of 16. What's he up to now?

41 comments:

Dark Eden said...

Why do I get the feeling she's had more than one class where a nice Marxist professor explained to her why everything bad that's ever happened to asians is really the fault of the Evil White Man?

Good writer though and I almost see hope in her last paragraph.

Lindsey said...

She may be going to lawschool at 19, but that writing makes me think she's as dumb as a box of rocks.

PatCA said...

She despises White People, so she will make a fine little Democratic idealist. I'm sure a near-beer summit with Obama is in her near future.

Adrian said...

Come on, people, lay off. Who among us has never gotten a little carried away during International Blog Against Racism Week?

Anyway, she probably was just blogging drunk. She is half-Irish, you know.

daubiere said...

she sounds like an insuffrable little pinhead. lots of brains and no wisdom. wisdom doesn't make good progressives after all.

NKVD said...

Another hateful liberal - yawn.

What? Contempt? Screw you!

WV - ingeriti - a plain in East Africa, near Obama's birthplace.

William said...

She doesn't appear to have a life that has gone awry. The bare facts indicate that her life has been pleasant and pampered and that her talents have been guided and encouraged. Whatever mild envy or resentment the society at large has directed against her, she here manages to return two or three fold......China had 4000 years of recorded history to develop, say, a program for women Mandarins and failed to do so. I wonder if her criticism of China would be so barbed. I wonder why she luxuriates in her criticism of western civ and represses awareness of all the other cultures that divied up wealth and power in crappy ways.....I wish her well but why is it so necessary to slam this country in order to establish street cred as a tolerant person.

Synova said...

Ha! And what I see is an incipient libertarian capitalist. :-)

The only thing she said that was bleeding "blue" was the first bit about being idealistically passionate about changing the world and LGBT rights. Everything following was 100% merit based rewards for individual accomplishment.

Anyhoo... law school is probably an exceptionally good choice for a science fiction or fantasy writer.

Synova said...

Hm...

Seriously, people. What she hates (judging by what Althouse quoted) is that she is not given *credit* for her accomplishments.

"But of *course* you're a super-brain, you're Asian."

I can sympathize with the frustration of having your accomplishments dismissed and hard work made light of.

"If you work harder you deserve more" is NOT a sentiment of someone who bleeds blue.

veni vidi vici said...

The contrivance of her "anger" is so terrifically adolescent, mixed with all the "correct" objects of scorn and derision, that one almost wishes her surname were "Amberson", and she'd be on her way to a richly-deserved comeuppance, or at least some sort of humiliating defeat so that she might learn a little... humility.


wv = "henesthy", a cognac preferred by those who speak with a lisp.

Maguro said...

She doesn't look particularly Asian...you probably wouldn't even notice if she wasn't always going on about how horribly we treat Asians in America. Gotta establish your oppressed-minority credentials before heading off to college, I guess.

Cedarford said...

Great! A self-loathing Eurasian. Hopefully she will also rail against the patriarchal Chinese society of the 1820s.
And her self-loathing will go into novels of Asian oppression of females back then...

Maybe unlikely, but clearly someone has fed this cosseted little product of the suburbs that had her butt schmootched since age 2 on how special she is a line of multi-culti garbage....on how unfortunate and how oppressed she is in "white America, white society".

Maybe she will dye her hair black and wear fake buck teeth so she can submerge the hated white half of herself...

Sometimes prodigies that are tracked show significant emotional and psychlogical deterioration later in life. Her self-hatred does not auger well for future stability in any societal setting outside a cossetted, butt-schmootching spot in academia.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I most often write historically based fantasy set in 1820s England -- because the world needs more historical fantasy that takes the messed-up and oligarchic nature of European imperialism

Um....no. What the world needs is a whole lot of other things. However that schlock she wants to write isn't it.

What a self absorbed twit.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Oh goody, another immature lawyer.

There are plenty of those already.

Adrian said...

"Gotta establish your oppressed-minority credentials before heading off to college, I guess."

I'd bet it was during college. It's hard enough to stand up and think for yourself as a young adult, a fourteen year old trying to impress Miss Brodie has no chance. I'd bet some professor really pulled a number on this one.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Synova said: The only thing she said that was bleeding "blue" was the first bit about being idealistically passionate about changing the world and LGBT rights. Everything following was 100% merit based rewards for individual accomplishment.

So, she fits right in with the Democratic party, of the rich are evil, except when we do it; private jets are evil except for congress; profits are evil except those gotten through carbon offsets; etc.

Of all the ultra-liberals I knew in law school, I never knew one near the top of the class who wanted to "spread the grades" around.

Cedarford said...

I could add, that this may be a case of a young woman with serious Daddy issues. Notice that she and the Mom live in Irvine, while white Daddy is consigned to Ladera Ranch.
And evil patriarchal Daddy did not pose for the picture. Just Mama-san.

http://www.ocregister.com/photos/mclaughlin-age-school-2522035-parents-college

And in the family portrait hanging above the mantlepiece in the background, it is just Mama-san hugging her special child..the bad Daddy whitey is not in the portrait.

Deeply associated with LGBT issues? Maybe heterosexual Daddy ruined everything!!....Mama-san said you just can't trust men...white men, especially!

fivewheels said...

She's a bit of a snotty kid, sure, but she's a kid and entitled to it for maybe a couple more years. And a lot of that Asian stuff rings pretty true, speaking as someone whose last name is not McLaughlin and does not pass for non-Asian.

I've seen that strange prejudice go both ways. I was just about the laziest Asian kid you ever saw in junior high, but they still selected me for math competitions when I was getting a B in algebra. That's kind of ridiculous. It was benignly (but still stupidly) racist. When I started to do better in high school, yes, anything I accomplished was discounted. I vividly remember getting back a test upon which the teacher wrote "This is not acceptable." It was a 94 out of 100.

And let's not even talk about getting screwed by reverse discrimination in college admissions at the very same time you're still getting primary discrimination thrown at you every day. Sheesh.

If she really is smart, when she matures she'll see how this kind of stuff gets you away from the left.

(Varano: A size of coffee at a froufrou joint.)

Synova said...

I sort of liked that bit, DBQ.

Historical fiction set in the 1820's in England tends to be highly sanitized. It's also usually romance. Authors will put some feminist sentiments in and have their heroes objecting to the mistreatment of a horse and call it good but it's pretty much all about being rich and beautiful and wealthy and titled.

I'll admit that because she proclaimed she liked cravats I'm assuming that she's not entirely unaware or lacking a sense of humor.

It sort of reminded me of one of those novels that turned the misplacement of modern sensibilities and token protests about the treatment of horses and chimney sweeps on it's head by having the heroine explain after she fainted from a lack of air that while she sympathized with her friend and was more than willing to bail her out of jail after a suffragette protest, she continued to wear a corset because she felt it made her look nicer.

So I'm dealing on associative warm feelings.

Quayle said...

A self made woman.

She built herself ex nihilo.


wv proons - the new laxative for hope and change.

Maguro said...

Fivewheels - I think the joke is that Asian guys are always being pulled over by the cops and asked math questions.

fivewheels said...

I wouldn't joke about Driving While Asian. Try traveling through Detroit in a Mazda sometime. If I were Skip Gates I'd have been shot.

(singet: "sing a song, singet loud, singet strong...")

Methadras said...

Hmmm. The law and fiction. A marriage made in...

chuckR said...

A clarification - no Asian engineer will ever win a Nobel - in engineering. Neither will any engineer of any ethnicity because there is no such prize.

This does give me the opportunity to pass on a great saying I read on Classical Values

Physicists dream of Nobel prizes
Engineers dream of mishaps

Hendrik Tennekes

and my addendum

'cause our shit has to work

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

I think she should go to medical school, work in U.S. slums and prisons, sprinkled with time in Africa and then, with experience as her muse, she can write about the dispossessed.

Alex said...

She's fat & ugly so who cares!

Joseph said...

She's a great writer.

RLB_IV said...

"Oh goody, another immature lawyer."

Amen

Irene said...

Northwestern! Maybe she can take some clincals with Bernadette Dohrn.

Joe said...

Who the fuck cares? This is one of the most vapid things I ever tried to read. And people wonder why newspaper readership is down.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I vividly remember getting back a test upon which the teacher wrote "This is not acceptable." It was a 94 out of 100.

I remember similar things. Not to discount your troubles, but this also happens to white kids who somebody decided was smart.

And let's not even talk about getting screwed by reverse discrimination in college admissions

This is indefensible. My daughter went to a magnet school-like program in Memphis. They have stringent requirements, but they find a way to squeeze in every student who qualifies. The kids might be squashed together, and spill over into the elementary school next door, but every single kid who qualifies gets in. I have to think that admissions don't have to be a zero-sum game such that an Asian kid has to be 150% better than perfect to get anywhere, not to mention that we need to make optimal use of all of our resources, and turning away that smart Asian kid from a good school is a stupid thing for society to do.

Excellent. Snazzy. Actually, my thought was "immature". It reads like the writing of every other fairly literate girl her age - and having, myself, a daughter of 22, who has written fanfic stuff and whose friends write, I recognize the style. If she's going to make it as an author, she will have to do better.

Crimso said...

I don't know, chuckR, she didn't specify which Nobel. According to an old SNL skit, Carter was a nuclear engineer and a damned good one.

And those dreams of mishaps. Those aren't dreams. They're nightmares.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Prof. Althouse, please, please forward her resume to me ASAP. My firm is always looking to hire such dispassionate, humble people.

But you need to get moving, get moving on the double! Because that 11-year old media reporter who got an exclusive interview with Obama will snap up this feisty woman in an instant. I've got to get to her first.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/08/14/Child-TV-reporter-interviews-Obama/UPI-98131250269591/

Freeman Hunt said...

She's not a self-absorbed twit. She's nineteen.

The depressing part is that we take such bright minds and indoctrinate them into Statism. Hopefully she sees through that when she's had some life experience. She's obviously very smart.

Alex said...

I was initially hoping she'd be a hottie, but then saw the pic and thought oh well that's why she's so angry and bitter!

Freeman Hunt said...

And lucky Mr. Farrow looking like his mother. Not just because she is beautiful but because it would not be pleasant to see someone you are estranged from every time you look in the mirror.

Freeman Hunt said...

From the article:

Tales of child prodigies often strike us as a bit, well, strange. We find ourselves looking past the accomplishments (mapped genome of pet bunny at age 7!) for hints of dysfunction, overbearing parents, hidden emotional disorders.

We do? That's not very nice. I don't know why anyone would assume those things of someone as a consequence of her being smart.

WV: mabignsf: My Big Not Safe For... what? I am so curious.

fivewheels said...

Laura: "this also happens to white kids who somebody decided was smart."

Perhaps, but the issue here is why would someone decide you're smart? Probably some evidence, not just because you're white. And in my case, there was plenty of counter-evidence to suggest that I was an idiot if you weren't pre-judging.

If you look a certain way, an A is merely expected, it's never anything to be praised or encouraged. And you get tired of seeing your grades treated differently from those earned by others in your class in a blatantly race-based manner.

Dark Eden said...

"Perhaps, but the issue here is why would someone decide you're smart? Probably some evidence, not just because you're white. And in my case, there was plenty of counter-evidence to suggest that I was an idiot if you weren't pre-judging.

If you look a certain way, an A is merely expected, it's never anything to be praised or encouraged. And you get tired of seeing your grades treated differently from those earned by others in your class in a blatantly race-based manner."

Translation: Don't cockblock my oppression here whitey! Just shut up and be guilty of all that is wrong in the world!

fivewheels said...

Chill out. No one's talking about oppression. You're just looking for someone to slam because you're too knee-jerk to realize or care what side they're actually on.

raf said...

Self-pity is an addictive indulgence. Why has it become a social virtue?


My first step to recovery came from a book. "Poor Jubal, he doesn't have anybody to feel sorry for him, so he has to feel sorry for himself." But it is so easy to fall off the wagon. Bonus points for identifying the book.

WV: sorys. Self explanatory, I think, and, oh, so appropriate.