June 11, 2004

The view from Madison.

It's another damp, cool summer day here in Madison. My lewd front-yard mushrooms have re-sprouted. My overgrown hedge is now clipped, but swarming with mosquitoes. It's a good day to hole up inside and make the big push to get my Conlaw exams graded. Monday is the deadline, finally close enough to call up the mental powers that my brain keeps firmly in reserve, try as I might to tap into them earlier. Monday is also the first day of the 5-week summer session I will be teaching to a group--I don't know how large--of students who feel motivated for one reason or another to tackle the course in 2-hour sessions beginning at 8 am, four days a week. How strange it is to cover 5% of the material each day, to wrap one's mind around Marbury not in a week but a day. But we will do it! Instead of just bumbling into the summer day around 10 am, class will already be over, and a sense of accomplishment will cast a golden glow over the rest of the day. (See? I'm an optimist).

So, time for me to engage with some bluebooks. May I recommend the other Madison bloggers over there in the sidebar? Gordon (Venturpreneur) is currently blogging from Germany, and Tonya's blogging from Italy. Nina is now in Madison, as is Jeremy, and both of them have changed the look and the content of their blogs recently. Nina is tapping the rich material of her childhood, growing up in Poland in the 1950s (here, for example), and Jeremy is taking on Ralph Nader ("He may have a monomaniacal narcissistic mental world, but it's not a monomaniacal narcissistic fantasy world")(and scroll up if "Arkanoid" is a topic of interest to you).

UPDATE: John takes issue with Jeremy's assessment of Nader's contact with reality. Let's assume Nader means to lie, as Jeremy contends, when he says "I think I'm going to take more votes away from Republicans than from Democrats." John pointed out that it's such a ridiculous thing to say that even a liar would only say it if he was out of touch with reality.

I've heard two writers recently make the same observation about the difference between writing fiction and writing nonfiction: fiction has to be plausible (and is therefore harder to write). (The writers, heard on C-Span, were Tom Clancy and Tom Wolfe.) The same goes for lying: it has to be plausible. Deliberate liars who are in touch with reality will say believable things. Otherwise, why bother to lie?

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