May 1, 2018

NYT column by Adam Liptak is freaking me out.

I feel like this headline is nudging me personally:

#GorsuchStyle Garners a Gusher of Groans. But Is His Writing Really That Bad?

Must I react? Or is it wiser to move quietly forward? Is Garner's writing really that bad? I don't know, does he use that word? Garner.

ADDED: "Is Garner's writing really that bad?" Oops. "Garner" makes me a lunatic. I mean: Is Gorsuch's writing really that bad?

I was also thinking about the Obama nominee who was thwarted to hold the seat for Gorsuch and thinking: Was his name Merrick Garner?

45 comments:

rhhardin said...

Gorsuch’s prose has curdled into a glop of cutesy idioms, pointless metaphors and garbled diction that’s exhausting to read and impossible to take seriously.

Metaphor drives its point home on a two-way street.

- Richard Harvey Brown, _A Poetic for Sociology_

Jupiter said...

"Ms. Varsava, who is both a law student at Yale and a doctoral candidate in modern thought and literature at Stanford,"

traditionalguy said...

I am beginning hear garner all the time now, especially on Sports Talk Radio, where it means an athlete that has become better...by garnering new skills.

Apparently you can give a man a fish, or better yet, you can teach a man to garner his own.

rhhardin said...

Modern thought means women can do it.

rhhardin said...

Modern thought doesn't involve explanations of gyroscopes.

rhhardin said...

Legal writing needs more gyroscope analogies.

rhhardin said...

Another useful source of legal metaphors is the dunking bird toy.

The Crookes radiometer as well.

Bob Boyd said...

"Is Garner's writing really that bad? I don't know, does he use that word? Garner."

Althouse wit in an ungarnered moment.

Michael K said...

Merrick Garland.

The left is really going crazier about that Supreme Court thing.

Now, when Ginsburg takes her dirt nap, it will start up again or get worse.

Daniel Jackson said...

NO. DON'T DO IT. DON'T REACT.

rhhardin said...

The Supreme Court does top-down lawn control.

rhhardin said...

The founders did the Constitution bottom-up, from common law and Roman law.

Sebastian said...

Well, as I said when our hostess brought up the recent deportation case, the repeat "invites" in his swing opinion irritated me, so there's that.

But of course, prog stylistic criticism is strictly instrumental, like their ethics and linguistics: any style that serves anti-prog purposes must be vilified.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I care far more about rights than writes. As long as he is reaching the correct results I do not care about how artfully he phrases the opinion. In that regard he is consistently better than at least 4, and often 5, of the other justices.

William Tyroler said...

I’m guessing the headline writer was making a veiled reference to Bryan A. Garner.

Darrell said...

"Ms. Varsava, who is both a law student at Yale and a doctoral candidate in modern thought and literature at Stanford,"

If I had twin Doctorates in Modern Thought and Giant Schnauzers, I would be unassailable on this forum.

brylun said...

You could be watching Kathy Griffin on "The View" rather than reading the NYT... just sayin'!

brylun said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYbS70Qddyo

n.n said...

#LiptakStyle Garners a Gusher of Groans. But Is His Writing Really That Bad?

That's one garner for a journolist. One huge garner for journolism.

Scott said...

"Was his name Merrick Garner?"

Maybe it was Eric Garner, who was summarily executed by a NYPD officer for selling loose cigarettes on the street in Staten Island.

robother said...

Originalist prose can be so, what's the word, prosaic. Nothing to compare with the poetic flights of fancy of Douglas, who made out ghostly penumbras invisible to all before him, who sniffed out emanations undetected by generations of justices and scholars.

On the other hand, validating Ignorance is Bliss' cynicism about progressive lit/crit, has anyone ever heard a disparaging word about Harry Blackmun's style, the clunkiest product of a third rate mind in 20th Century SCOTUS history?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

the left should be thrilled. We were hood-winked again.

mccullough said...

Bryan Garner is the legal writing guru who co-authored that book on legal writing with Scalia. I like Garner’s advice and tips. He was also friendly with David Foster Wallace. A guy who is buddies with Scalia and David Foster Wallace is worth reading.

John Tuffnell said...

"I am beginning to hear garner all the time now, especially on Sports Talk Radio, where it means an athlete that has become better...by garnering new skills."

Phil Garner garnered up plenty of ground balls during his big league career.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/garneph01.shtml

Probably garnered a few hot dogs along the way, and maybe a few ladies who were partial to the 'stache.

John Tuffnell said...

James Garner was born James Bumgarner. That was a bummer so he dropped the bum, saying "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

Might be conflating that quote with someone else. But we know he kept the Garner so that he could garner all those roles.

Not rolls, which is what people garner in Sheboygan. https://johnstonsbakery.com/sheboygan-hard-rolls/

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Scott said...

Maybe it was Eric Garner, who was summarily executed by a NYPD officer for selling loose cigarettes on the street in Staten Island.

He was not executed, nor was he murdered. He died due to excessive use of force by a NYPD officer. That is a bad thing, and should be dealt with as such. And we should, as a nation, discuss such issues. Honestly. If you are unwilling to be honest, then the discussion will not take place.

Martin said...

Merrick Garland.

Cute alliteration in the headline--the kind of thing we liked to do in 7th grade. But then, we 11-12 year olds were a lot smarter and better educated in 1962 than the typical 2018 NYT reporter or editor shows any signs of being.

Molly said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_tAU3GM9XI&list=RDP_tAU3GM9XI&t=28

Errol Garner.

Look at me -- I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree

Scott said...

So dying due to excessive use of force by an NYPD officer is qualitatively different from, say, dying from cerebral hemorrhage and contusions caused by a lead pellet propelled from a device held by an NYPD officer?

I don't think glossing over what the officer did, as you did, is honest either. The further away the cause of death is from a socially-acceptable justification, the closer it is to murder, which is the least socially acceptable. So I am more honest than you are.

Char Char Binks said...

I love it!

Char Char Binks said...

Eric Garner died because he resisted a lawful arrest and fought cops knowing that he was grossly obese, had heart disease, diabetes and breathing problems, much like his obese daughter who also died of a heart attack.

As we reap as we sow, so we garner as we reap.

David Begley said...

Did that clown read Gorsuch's dissent in Oil States?

More fake news from the failing NYT.

Michael K said...


I don't think glossing over what the officer did, as you did, is honest either


I don't think blaming the officer for trying to enforce the corrupt New York State tax rules on a repeat offender is an example of honesty.

If you don't like the law, move someplace else.

The cop had no choice.

jaed said...

A couple of things:

1. Garner didn't "fight" the police. He refused to cooperate by putting his hands behind his back, but he was nonaggressive and not violent.

2. They weren't attempting to enforce the state tax rules, because he wasn't selling loose cigarettes - at least, not that day. No cigarettes were found on his body and witnesses said he hadn't been selling them. They'd been called out to stop a fight, arrived to find that a bystander* had already defused the situation, and didn't want to go back empty-handed. They knew Garner from past arrests so they figured they'd arrest him, what the hell. Honestly, I'd be annoyed too.

3. Calling it an "execution" is a misnomer. They didn't actually intend to kill him.

4. Being fat is not a crime, and "oh well he was obeeeese" is a disgraceful response to wellfounded charges of police brutality.


*The name of that helpful bystander? Eric Garner.




I guess I should at least post something on-topic.

Which is that as far as I can tell, Gorsuch had a deserved reputation for good legal writing... right up until he was appointed to the Supreme Court by a (shudder) Republican. So now the knives come out.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Michael K said...

The cop had no choice.

I don't know if the cop had a choice about whether to arrest him or not: I don't know what the policy was or who has the discretion to make that decision.

He did have a choice as to what technique to use to force compliance once the decision to make the arrest was made. In fact, based on department policy, the chokehold that he used was not one of his available choices, because it can cause injury and/or death. That's what made this a case of excessive force.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Scott said...

So dying due to excessive use of force by an NYPD officer is qualitatively different from, say, dying from cerebral hemorrhage and contusions caused by a lead pellet propelled from a device held by an NYPD officer?

From the point of view of the person dying? No. From the point of view of the legal system? Yes. From the point of view of honest citizens concerned about the role of the police in our society? Absolutely.

I don't think glossing over what the officer did, as you did, is honest either.

In what way did I gloss over it? It was excessive force that resulted, unintentionally, in death. Probably negligent homicide or manslaughter. Definitely not murder, nor execution. Those words are not only incorrect, they are dishonest.

Gahrie said...

Maybe it was Eric Garner, who was summarily executed by a NYPD officer for selling loose cigarettes on the street in Staten Island.

Eric Garner died while resisting arrest. Like most of these ginned up outrages, nothing would have happened if he had simply cooperated with the police, or not broken the law in the first place.

Gahrie said...

I bet Adam Liptak loves the writing in Roe, Lawerence and Heller...three of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history.

Dred Scott was the worst.

Char Char Binks said...

'Garner didn't "fight" the police. He refused to cooperate by putting his hands behind his back, but he was nonaggressive and not violent.'

Refusing to cooperate is the same as fighting arrest, no matter what adjectives you put on it.

Garner said "This ends today!", meaning "I'm above the law, and the police can't arrest me ever again because of my fat Black privilege!"

He fought the law and the law won.

Scott said...

Garner said "This ends today!", meaning "I'm above the law, and the police can't arrest me ever again because of my fat Black privilege!"

Oh okay, then, kill the motherfucker. And you can hide behind that shield you wear after you're done -- you're small enough.

Gahrie said...

Oh okay, then, kill the motherfucker

So you would prefer a world in which everybody could decide for themselves what laws they plan to follow each day? Where people have the right to resist arrest and the police have to let them go?

Or do only Black people get these rights and the rest of us actually have to obey the law and follow the rules?

Don't want to die resisting arrest? Don't resist arrest.

Michael K said...

the chokehold that he used was not one of his available choices, because it can cause injury and/or death. That's what made this a case of excessive force.

You may be able to correct me as I have not paid as much attention but, as I recall, it was not a chokehold. That was the accusation but it was the fact that the guy was fat and resisting and fell down.

The LAPD banned chokeholds so the cops took down Rodney King with batons and they went to prison.

The CHP officer, who was about to shoot King when the LAPD arrived, testified against them at trial and retired on stress disability.

Her name, which I will never forget, was Melanie Singer.

Char Char Binks said...

It was NOT a chokehold.

SJWs have gotten to the point of calling any physical contact by a cop on a POC above the ribs a chokehold, and anything other than letting perps simply walk away if they don't want to be arrested "police brutality".

mikee said...

James Garner. There, that should make Althouse feel better.
https://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTM1Nzk2NTA3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzEzODI0NA@@._V1_UY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_.jpg

Bad Lieutenant said...

Scott said...
Garner said "This ends today!", meaning "I'm above the law, and the police can't arrest me ever again because of my fat Black privilege!"

Oh okay, then, kill the motherfucker. And you can hide behind that shield you wear after you're done -- you're small enough.

5/1/18, 12:48 PM


The day that someone in a given society can resist arrest and get away with it, is the end of law and order in that society. If he doesn't have to stop for the cops and do what they tell him, I don't either. Next Smokey rolls up on me for texting while driving ain't going home.

It is too bad he died. Fat sick people are hard to keep alive.