Bless the Finals System

Nowhere, in no time, under no circumstances would anyone ever go up to a judge, give him a hypothetical suit involving crazed, drunk bus drivers, enflamed sheep, rock climbers, falsely imprisoned trespassing customers and a balding farmer and ask the judge to, without his books, clerks or any other written material, state the ruling common law, weigh both sides of the case and make the correct judgment according to the ruling law concerning every minute detail of the case within three hours. NO ONE. "That would be stupid" you say. Right you are, friend.

But, you may have guessed this already, that's EXACTLY what they try and do in Law School Finals: surmize whether or not one has learned the law, or at least guessed at what one's professor thinks the law is, and give the professor a close approximation of what the professor wants to hear. All in a frantic race to type more than the other guys sitting around one for the next 180 minutes. Yep. Exactly how it's going to be in the "real" world! Oh, and did I mention that this three-hour exam determines upwards of 95% of one's grade, or approximately the rest of one's professional life? The thought of being pidgeon-holed into a crappy career for the next 40 years because of my first year Torts final gives me the willies. But that very well may happen.

If that is the case, I will be leaving the state of Utah in early February, moving to my cabin in Montana and writing the next great American novel. Or at least a highly addictive children's novel that appeals even more to adults (in the vein of Harry Potter) and rake in the millions from Hebgen Lake. If, in fact, I pass my first semester of law school and end up in a government job, what's 40 years anyway? That's like 1.5 Kurt Cobain lifespans. Flashpan and a little smoke, and I'll be cruising the Mediterranean with the Mrs. with a sweet 401(k) and a handful of Roth IRAs. I aspire to then wear only brightly colored Hawaiian shirts tucked into my mid-thigh Khaki shorts, tied back with my leather braided belt, and my smattering of wavy silver hair kept safe from the breeze underneath my mesh-back baseball cap. To accompany me will be my trusty videocamera and my lovely 5th wife. (I have commitment issues, what can I say?) What a happy day that will be.
On a happier note, had a fun birthday. Weird, but 24 feels a lot like 23 did, as well as 22. Can't wait to get back to the SLC on the 21st.


Apocalypto--With every New Beginning there must be an Old Idea

And with that Old Idea, Credit must be given where Credit is Due An interesting thing happened as I was perusing the internet today. It seems like intellectual property is as fictional as the authors that cling to it in this internet-enfused world. Go ahead, and read this!! Mr. McCarthy, I loved your review of the film "Apocalypto," and just wanted to thank you for consistently producing such quality, in-depth reviews of the movies being produced in Hollywood. But as I was perusing through other reviews on the internet, I became concerned that another reviewer has potentially lifted ideas and even text directly from your own work, claiming it as his own. You can read the review at http://www.emanuellevy.com/article.php?articleID=3896. [For your reading pleasure here is the link to McCarthy's "Apocalypto" review: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117932232.html?categoryid=31&cs=1] As an English major and current law student, I know how serious an allegation plagiarism can be, but I could not ignore the similarities to your structure, content, and even word choice. To make your life easier, I've set down text from your review and Mr. Levy's. Yours: "Chief among them is Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), an athletic young man who has long flowing locks, sports tattoos, designed body scars, large ear adornments and a sort of chin plug, and wears nothing but a well-fitted loin cloth." Levy's: "The saga’s hero is Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), a handsome young man with flowing locks, tattoos, and body scars, who wears a loin cloth." Yours: "These guys are more heavily decorated than the locals, with bones through their noses and elsewhere. Two members of what the press notes identify as Holcane warriors stand out: the leader, Zero Wolf (the supremely imposing Raoul Trujillo), whose left arm and head are festooned with human and animal jaws, and the sadistic Snake Ink (Rodolfo Palacios, fantastically hateful), who, restrained from killing Jaguar Paw by Zero Wolf, instead murders the captive's father in front of him, launching an antagonism that runs through the picture." Levy's: "The village’s tranquil life is abrupted by the attack of brutal marauders, Holcane warriros, who sport bones through their noses. Their leader, Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo), is accompanied by the sadistic Snake Ink (Rodolfo Palacios), who instead of killing Jaguar Paw, murders the captive's father in front of him, thus launching the yarn’s chief conflict." Yours: "With his surviving fellow villagers, Jaguar Paw is bound and marched off through the jungle, but not before he's secreted his very pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernandez) and little son (Carlos Emilio Baez) in a deep pit, promising, rather against the odds, to return." Levy's: "With his surviving fellow villagers, Jaguar Paw is bound and marched off through the jungle. Just before the attack, Jaguar Paw manages to hide his his pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernandez) and their young son (Carlos Emilio Baez) in a deep, dry well. He promises Seven to return before she gives birth, and miraculously he does. " Yours: "the prisoners later pass by a haunted girl with "the sickness" who warns about the coming "blackness of day."" Levy's: "In one of the film’s most bizzarre and haunting scene, while moving through the forest, the prisoners pass by a young girl plagued with "the sickness," who warns about the coming "blackness of day." The exact meaning of her doom propehcy is never explained." (My comment: he obviously didn't pay careful attention to the movie, because that prophecy does make sense with the total eclipse of the sun. Mr. Levy must have been busy reading/lifting your article at the time) Yours: "One notable aspect of the characterizations is the general attitude toward death. The Mayans as portrayed here naturally fear it like anyone, but they accept it, just as they acknowledge physical pain as an everyday aspect of life." Levy's: "Historians will have a field day with this picture, which takes liberty with facts and portrays the Mayans in a naive, idealistic way. They are peace-loving people who accept death and physical pain as integral part of their lives." Yours: "Production is a wonder. Dean Semler's camera moves relentlessly through the densest of foliage and over the roughest of terrain on locations near Veracruz and in the rainforests of Catemaco, with some additional shooting done in Costa Rica and the U.K.; Gibson clearly knew the impact the lenser of the second and third "Mad Max" films could deliver. More remarkable still is that pic was shot on the new high definition Genesis camera system. Without a doubt, "Apocalypto" is the best-looking big-budget film yet shot digitally; one can't tell it wasn't shot on film." Levy's: "The sets, costumes, makeup, body and hair designs are extremely elaborate and detailed. "Apocalypto" is one of the best-looking films to be shot digitally. As he proved in the “Mad Max” films, Dean Semler is an ace lenser, and here his camera moves restlessly and relentlessly through dense forest and other rough terrains. Accoridng to the notes, the picture was shot on locations near Veracruz and in the rainforests of Catemaco, with additional shooting in Costa Rica and the U.K.." (Yes, and apparently those notes were from your article.) Anyway, I'm always sickened by dishonesty of this sort, especially from someone who holds himself out to be on par with professionals such as yourself. It is completely up to you, but should you pursue further action, I'd love to be appraised of it. Again, thank you for your quality work, and best to you and yours in the upcoming holiday season! Eric Vogeler I know, I know, for those of you who have copied and pasted from the internet and tried to pass it on as your own work, I have news for you: That is dishonest and illegal. We just had a highly respected law student at BYU get expelled from the program with a permanent black mark next to his name for this. Plagiarism is bad. Plagiarism is a crime. Plagiarism is ugly, and it is pretty hefty to be throwing around here. I would hesitate to make some kind of frivolous accusation, especially after finding out that Mr. Levy is a professor of film and sociology for Arizona State University, but I just couldn't get over the similarities in these two reviews. It's hard to argue against Mr. Levy's credetians, but Mr. McCarthy is Chief Film Critic for Variety Magazine, and highly respected in his own right. Something fishy is going on... I'll keep you up to date as this all unfolds... Oh, and ps--finals week at the Law School sucks.