Live from Milwaukee

because this time I’ve got a hotel room with internet access.

I’m in town for this conference. I’m not an expert on governance by any means but juding by the papers I’m reading through, this is going to be a pretty wild and free ranging affair. The legal theory is especially mind-blowing for me, though I suppose it’s probably pretty pedestrian for people who read legal theory on a regular basis. Guess I’ve been missing out.

An Allegory, or Maybe Just a Simile

There is this standard scene in action movies where it’s near the end — what you think is the end — and the villain is lying in a bloody mess on the ground. The hero is congratulating his(1) buddies and/or making out with the female lead, and then the camera cuts to a blood-soaked hand, moving ever so slowly toward the gun that sits on the ground just a few inches away. The camera cuts back and forth between the blood-soaked hand of our near-dead antagonist and the celebrating heroes. The hand grabs the gun, takes aim, and BAM! you hear a gunshot. The hand is now facing up, the gun on the ground.

But who shot the antagonist?

Why, of course it was the sidekick who hadn’t fired a gun for the whole film because of some prior traumatic experience (except of course when the hero turns out to be omnicient and does it himself).

Anyway, you know the scenario. Even if you don’t watch action movies, you know the scenario.

Now: imagine that I and my colleagues are the hero. The villain is a beast called “service,” the celebration is occurring because it is the end of the school year, and the sidekick? Travel.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the new job is just like the old job: the term ends, and all those service duties that have been feeling neglected (despite my having spent a great deal of time this year on service-related matters) rear their ugly heads. The only cure is to get out of town.

But of course, no matter what happens, there will be a sequel in the fall. The villain’s offspring/friend/computer/etc. will come and get me. And if you’re an academic, it’s coming for you too. In theaters everywhere in September.


1. There are relatively few action movies with female leads that follow this formula. The only one I can think of at the moment is that weird one with Geena Davis. Can’t even remember the name. It got panned (as these films usually do) but was actually pretty good.

One reply on “Live from Milwaukee”

  1. that geena davis film was called \”the long kiss goodnight\” and it\’s really really good. it has the miscegenation problem though: though there are plenty of plot reasons why Geena Davis and samuel L. Jackson (her sidekick) ought to get laid together, when she tries it (to signal her being a \”bad\” alter ego assassin lady, because we all know that that\’s what they do, first thing they wake up–sleep with a black guy) he rejects her advances.

    i\’m glad that you made me think of that movie again. it was sort of like a femme nikita thing with some bits of wanna be tarantino (the bit where jackson gets thrown out of the car, lies on his back lighting a cigarette, and gets picked up right after reminded me of that. also, tarantino loves to see a lady using a sword or other sharp objects.

    got an invited talk at the ICR tomorrow, jonathan. wish me luck. i\’m giving the amped-up AIM buddies talk that I did at ICA.


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