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December 19, 2008

Best Movie Monologues

Reading this article in the New Scientist on artificial methods of aging wine (God help us all, by electrifying it) the Princess was reminded of a wonderful monologue from the movie "Sideways" in which Virginia Madsen talks about how she fell in love with wine. I wasn't able to find a clip of the monologue, but it got me thinking about how many great movie monologues there are out there (and how different people's standards seem to be - for instance I wasn't terribly impressed by this top 10 list, but it's probably more of a guy list).

So with that in mind, I thought I'd put a few of my favorite movie monologues out there:

1. Katherine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter.

2. Eulogy from Four Weddings and a Funeral. The video cuts off the first part of the eulogy, which I also liked:

Gareth used to prefer funerals to weddings. He said it was easier to get enthusiastic about a ceremony one had an outside chance of eventually being involved in. In order to prepare this speech, I rang a few people, to get a general picture of how Gareth was regarded by those who met him. Fat seems to have been a word people most connected with him. Terribly rude also rang a lot of bells. So very fat and very rude seems to have been a stranger's viewpoint. On the other hand, some of you have been kind enough to ring me and let me know that you loved him, which I know he would have been thrilled to hear. You remember his fabulous hospitality, his strange experimental cooking. The recipe for "Duck à la Banana" fortunately goes with him to his grave. Most of all, you tell me of his enormous capacity for joy. When joyful, when joyful for highly vocal drunkenness. But I hope joyful is how you will remember him. Not stuck in a box in a church. Pick your favourite of his waistcoats and remember him that way. The most splendid, replete, big-hearted, weak-hearted as it turned out, and jolly bugger most of us ever met. As for me, you may ask how I will remember him, what I thought of him. Unfortunately there I run out of words. Perhaps you will forgive me if I turn from my own feelings to the words of another splendid bugger: W.H. Auden. This is actually what I want to say: "Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bonel, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let the aeroplanes circle, moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows 'round the white necks of the public doves, Let traffic policemen wear black, cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East, and West. My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good."

3. Gettysburg, Jeff Daniels, Kevin Conway

4. Kenneth Branaugh, Henry V: best love scene ever:

Marry, if you would put me to verses or to dance for your sake, Kate, why, you undid me. For the one I have neither words nor measure; and for the other I have no strength in measure, yet a reasonable measure in strength.

If I could win a lady at leapfrog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my armor on my back, under the correction of bragging be it spoken, I should quickly leap into a wife. Or if I might buffet for my love, or bound my horse for her favors, I could lay on like a butcher and sit like a jackanapes, never off. But, before God, Kate, I cannot look greenly, not gasp our my eloquence, nor I have no cunning in protestation, only downright oaths which I never use till urged, nor never break for urging. If thou canst love a fellow of this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth sunburning, that never looks in his glass for love of anything he sees there, let thine eye by thy cook.

I speak to thee plain soldier. If thou canst love me for this, take me; if not, to say to thee that I shall die, is true; but for thy love, by the Lord, no; yet I love thee too. And while thou liv'st, dear Kate, take a fellow of plain and uncoined constancy, for he perforce must do thee right, because he hath not the gift to woo in other places. For these fellows of infinite tongue that can rhyme themselves into ladies' favors, they do always reason themselves out again. What! A speaker is but a prater; a rhyme is but a ballad. A good leg will fall, a straight back will stoop, a black beard will turn white, a curled pate will grow bald, a fair face will wither, a full eye will wax hollow; but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon; or rather, the sun, and not the moon, for it shines bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly. If thou would have a such a one, take me; and take me, take a soldier; take a soldier, take a king. And what say'st thou then to my love? Speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee.

5. The Fountainhead - the defense of individualism.

6. Via Tigerhawk, Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. He knows me too well :p

7. Inspiration.

Feel free to nominate your own favorites (which links if you can find them!) in the comments section.

Posted by Cassandra at December 19, 2008 08:04 AM

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Comments

Good call with #1. The Lion in Winter is the single best Christmas movie ever made. Anybody who says otherwise is a fool and a nave.

Posted by: TigerHawk at December 19, 2008 09:47 AM

I would nominate this one, although I can understand why it might be controversial around the Villainous Household.

Posted by: TigerHawk at December 19, 2008 10:02 AM

*grin*

You'd have been disappointed if I didn't stick this one up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPXVGQnJm0w&feature=related

Posted by: BillT at December 19, 2008 10:48 AM

Well what about this one from spaceballs?

HELMET: What the hell am I looking at? When does this happen in the movie?

SANDURZ: Now. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now.

HELMET: What happened to then?

SANDURZ: We passed it?

HELMET: When?

SANDURZ: Just now. We're at now, now.

HELMET: Go back to then.

SANDURZ: When?

HELMET: Now.

SANDURZ: Now?

HELMET: Now.

SANDURZ: I can't.

HELMET: Why?

SANDURZ: We missed it.

HELMET: When?

SANDURZ: Just now.

HELMET: When will then be now?

SANDURZ: Soon.

HELMET: How soon?

Posted by: Duncan at December 19, 2008 12:30 PM

Cassandra, how could you do this to me?????
Please ban me from this thread for the rest of the day.

Okay here's some of my favorites.

Moby Dick Captain Ahab and Starbuck have a couple of wee dark chats. I couldn't find a clip of the first one, but I remember it well.)

Starbuck: To be enraged with a dumb brute that acted out of blind instinct is blasphemous.

Captain Ahab (Gregory Peck): Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. Look ye, Starbuck, all visible objects are but as pasteboard masks. Some inscrutable yet reasoning thing puts forth the molding of their features. The white whale tasks me; he heaps me. Yet he is but a mask. 'Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate; the malignant thing that has plagued mankind since time began; the thing that maws and mutilates our race, not killing us outright but letting us live on, with half a heart and half a lung.

Here's Captain Ahab’s final lament to Starbuck just before the Big White Guy shows up for the last time) It’s about the first three minutes, but it’s still a real chiller.


Judgment at Nuremburg: Judge Dan Haywood's (Spencer Tracy) sentences German Judge Janning (Burt Lancaster) in one of the besrt court room monologues ever delivered. This quote starts about three minutes into the video.

The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: Any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime -- is guilty. Heir Rolfe further asserts that the defendant Janning was an extraordinary jurist and acted in what he thought was the best interest of this country. There is truth in this also. Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and the death of millions by the Government of which he was a part. Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial: If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe. But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary -- even able and extraordinary -- men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them: men sterilized because of political belief; a mockery made of friendship and faith; the murder of children. How easily it can happen. There are those in our own country too who today speak of the "protection of country" -- of 'survival'. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient -- to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! Before the people of the world, let it now be noted that here, in our decision, this is what we stand for: justice, truth, and the value of a single human being.


Ox Bow Incident
The famous "conscience" scene. Gil Carter (Henry Fonda), reads a letter written by the guy that the posse had just hanged to his wife:

...A man just naturally can't take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin' everybody in the world, 'cause then he's just not breakin' one law, but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It's everything people ever have found out about justice and what's right and wrong. It's the very conscience of humanity. There can't be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody's conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived? I guess that's all I've got to say except - kiss the babies for me and God bless you...

Patton: General Patton’s (George C. Scott) opening speech to his troops: Perhaps the best monologue ever performed by an American actor.

Be seated. Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight - wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team - it lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap... Now, we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know, by god, I actually pity those poor bastards we're goin' up against. By god, I do. We're not just gonna shoot the bastard, we're going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel. Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken out under fire. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them, spill their blood, shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do. Now there's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're gonna kick him in the ass. We're gonna kick the hell out of him all the time and we're gonna go through him like crap through a goose. Now, there's one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank god for it. Thirty years from now when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you: 'What did you do in the Great World War II?', you won't have to say: 'Well, I shoveled s--t in Louisiana.' All right now, you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel and I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That's all.

And, last but not least, this little gem from
Plan From Outer Space Ed Wood delivers the most bizarre opening monologue ever, and I still love it!

Greetings, my friends! We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friends; future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, the unexplainable; that is why you are here. And now for the first time we are bringing to you the full story of what happened on that faithful day. We are giving you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimonies of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places, my friends, we can not keep this a secret any longer; let us punish the guilty, let us reward the innocent. My friends, can your heart stand the shocking facts about the grave robbers from outer space?

I'll be back with another dose later (unless I'm banned)

Posted by: Some Guy That Should Be Working at December 19, 2008 12:32 PM

Oh I knew you'd have some wonderful ones!

I have thought of so many but my hair's been on fire all morning. I just threw out the first few which came to mind...

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at December 19, 2008 12:38 PM

Captain Ahab’s final lament to Starbuck just before the Big White Guy shows up for the last time:

"Call me Fishmeal."

Posted by: BillT at December 19, 2008 01:00 PM

*chomp*

Posted by: Moby Dick at December 19, 2008 01:29 PM

Sorry, just found this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxvSYaCenq4

Posted by: Duncan at December 19, 2008 01:43 PM

I am completely irked because my sound card has died.

Posted by: Donna B. at December 19, 2008 02:24 PM

Captain Quint's Indianapolis monologue from Jaws should be at or near the top of any such list.

"Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you're in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn't know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named "The Battle of Waterloo" and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist. Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us... he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened... waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb."

Other contenders:

Hal the Computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey -

"I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you...Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two."

Robert Duvall: Apocalypse Now -

"You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end..."

Gregory Peck (Atticus Finch's closing statement), To Kill a Mockingbird -

"To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place... It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses, whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. Now, there is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewel was beaten - savagely, by someone who led exclusively with his left. And Tom Robinson now sits before you having taken the oath with the only good hand he possesses... his RIGHT. I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the State. She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance. But my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man's life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. Now I say "guilt," gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her. She's committed no crime - she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. She must destroy the evidence of her offense. But what was the evidence of her offense? Tom Robinson, a human being. She must put Tom Robinson away from her. Tom Robinson was to her a daily reminder of what she did. Now, what did she do? She tempted a Negro. She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that, in our society, is unspeakable. She kissed a black man. Not an old uncle, but a strong, young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards. The witnesses for the State, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to this court in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption... the evil assumption that all Negroes lie, all Negroes are basically immoral beings, all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women. An assumption that one associates with minds of their caliber, and which is, in itself, gentlemen, a lie, which I do not need to point out to you. And so, a quiet, humble, respectable Negro, who has had the unmitigated TEMERITY to feel sorry for a white woman, has had to put his word against TWO white people's! The defendant is not guilty - but somebody in this courtroom is. Now, gentlemen, in this country, our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system - that's no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality! Now I am confident that you gentlemen will review, without passion, the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision and restore this man to his family. In the name of GOD, do your duty. In the name of God, believe... Tom Robinson."


Posted by: Tim Abbott at December 19, 2008 03:03 PM

Great entries Tim :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 19, 2008 03:12 PM

"The Tell" by Samantha from one of the Mel Gibson movies.
'Member, this ain't one body's tell... it's the tell of us all!


"This you knows: the years travel fast and time after time I done the tell. But this ain't one body's tell; it's the tell of us all, and you've got to listen it and [re]member, 'cause what you hears today you gotta tell the newborn tomorrow. I's lookin behind us now, into history back. I sees those of us that got the luck and started the haul for home and I 'members how it led us here and how we was heartbroke cause we seen what they once was. One look and we knew'd we'd got it straight. Those what had gone before had the knowin' and the doin' of things beyond our reckonin', even beyond our dreamin'. Time counts and keeps countin' and we knows now, findin' the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride. But that's our track. We gotta travel it and there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna lead.
"Still, in all, every night we does the tell so that we member who we was and where we came from. But most of all we 'members the man who finded us, him that came the salvage, and we lights the city not just for him but for all of 'em that are still out there, cause we knows there'll come a night when they sees the distant light and they'll be comin' home."
This one from "Hellboy" with Ron Pearlman.
" What makes a man a man? Is it his origins? The way he comes to life? I don’t think so. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things… but how he decides to end them".

Posted by: Mike at December 19, 2008 03:22 PM

Hellboy was surprisingly good movie.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 19, 2008 03:44 PM

Not quite a monologue, but still priceless:

Man in Black: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right... and who is dead.
Vizzini: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
Man in Black: You've made your decision then?
Vizzini: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.
Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
Vizzini: Wait til I get going! Now, where was I?

Posted by: MathMom at December 19, 2008 04:02 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrnB1OMhETI

Yeah, sure, it's also because I'm a Lutheran from Ohio, but there you go. The "monologue" begins about 0:50 seconds in. And it's a twofer! It's also kind of a Christmas movie!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 19, 2008 04:15 PM

Mathmom,
Vizzini is just like my boss. He even looks sorta like that. Scary, huh?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 19, 2008 04:16 PM

Hey Don -

Did you ever consider giving your boss iocaine?

Posted by: MathMom at December 19, 2008 04:20 PM

Blade Runner Rogue "replicant" android, Roy Batty(Rutger Hauer) makes his final "living" statement to replicant hunter/policman Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Short and touching. If you have never seen this movie, shame on you.

I've seen things...
you little people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion
bright as magnesium... I watched C-beams
glitter in the dark near Tannh�user Gate.

All those moments will be lost in time
...like tears in rain.

Time to die.

And then the dude dies. Just like clockwork.


Here's another favorite movie of mine, which provides a wonderful glimpse of talent of one of the most underacted actors of the 20th Century Jose Ferrer.

Two monlogues: The first is a fine mixure of the pensive and the proud, and the second, equal parts clever, outlandish, bold, daring, and played with such an unbeliveable sense of place, presense, timing and athleticism.... *sigh* He was simply perfect.


I think that I'm winning.

Posted by: Some Guy That Should Be Working at December 19, 2008 04:31 PM

Mathmom: Yes. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqReTJkjjg


"A Man for All Seasons"

There's about 2 minutes of medieval banter, but the "monologue" by Thomas More starts about 2:34.

Giving the Devil benefit of the law. Pretty timeless, IMHO.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 19, 2008 04:51 PM

Saving Private Ryan

I'm a schoolteacher. I teach English composition... in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I've been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it's a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I've changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. And how I'll ever be able to tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan. I don't know anything about Ryan. I don't care. The man means nothing to me. It's just a name. But if... You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that's my mission.

You want to leave? You want to go off and fight the war? All right. All right. I won't stop you. I'll even put in the paperwork. I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEzNY0SLUUM

Posted by: 5:19 on Friday at December 19, 2008 05:19 PM

Bull Durham


Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.


Battle Call to Victory from 300

Long I pondered my King's cryptic talk of victory. Time has proven him wise. For from free Greek to free Greek, the word was spread that bold Leonidas and his 300, so far from home, laid down their lives; not just for Sparta, but for all Greece and the promise this country holds. Now, here on this ragged patch of earth called Plataea, let his hordes face obliteration! Just there the barbarians huddle, sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers - knowing full well what merciless horrors they suffered at the swords and spears of 300. Yet they stare now across the plain at 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 free Greeks!...The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek. This day, we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine. Give thanks, men, to Leonidas and the brave 300. TO VICTORY!


We Were Soldiers

Look around you. In the 7th Cavalry, we got a Captain from the Ukraine. Another from Puerto Rico. We've got Japanese, Chinese, Blacks, Hispanics, Cherokee Indians, Jews and Gentiles -- all Americans. Now here in the States, some men in this unit may experience discrimination because of race or creed. But for you and me now, all that is gone. We're moving into the 'valley of the shadow of death' -- where you will watch the back of the man next to you, as he will watch yours. And you won't care what color he is or by what name he calls God. They say we're leavin' home. We're goin' to what home was always supposed to be. So let us understand the situation. We are goin' into battle against a tough and determined enemy. I can't promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear before you and before Almighty God that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So help me God.

I could go on and on but I don't have time.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at December 19, 2008 05:42 PM

For me, Shakespeare gets the nod.

"If thou would have a such a one, take me; and take me, take a soldier; take a soldier, take a king. And what say'st thou then to my love? Speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee."

And to all those out there who did take a soldier, our coutry's thanks.

Another recent good one is Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly: (I added the paragraph breaks)

"This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back.

"But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean.

"You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets?

"I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.

"However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.

"From a pile of stuff."

Posted by: ZZMike at December 19, 2008 05:51 PM

I love the part where Henry says, "If you don't accept my suit, to say that I will die is true, but not because *you* refused me... and yet, I do love you."

I laugh every time I hear that one. Lots of great entries :)

I'm going to have fun watching all those clips.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 19, 2008 07:13 PM

I have thought of so many but my hair's been on fire all morning.

How bad a hair day would you call that?

I am completely irked because my sound card has died.

There's always earphones.

Cass, I think you will find this entertaining, even though it isn't from a movie.

Link

I love this guy's writing and I had only recently remembered that (after reading everything he had) I hadn't checked up on him recently.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 19, 2008 08:41 PM

No fair bringing in the bard.

He kicks everyone's ass.

Posted by: spd rdr at December 19, 2008 10:40 PM

I just watched the Oxbow clip and Don's 'Lutherans' one, too (I'm skipping around).

There are so many movies I haven't seen. It's amazing to me the way certain moments stick in different people's minds.

I haven't been able to find clips from many of my favorites. They're mostly pretty obscure and I haven't had time to try and chase the words down.

I love everything you all have put up so far. I almost didn't do this, and I'm glad I did :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 19, 2008 10:52 PM

But wait! There's more!


Monty Python - Knigts of the Round Table

We're knights of the Round Table, we dance whene'er we're able. We do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impec-cable, We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot. / We're knights of the Round Table, our shows are for-mi-dable. But many times we're given rhymes that are quite un-sing-able, We're opera mad in Camelot, we sing from the diaphragm a lot. / In war we're tough and able, Quite in-de-fa-ti-gable. Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable / It's a busy life in Camelot

The Holy Hand Grenade

Cleric: [reading] And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large chu...
Brother Maynard: Skip a bit, Brother...
Cleric: And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.
Brother Maynard: Amen.
All: Amen.
King Arthur: Right. One... two... five.
Galahad: Three, sir.
King Arthur: Three.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at December 20, 2008 12:11 AM

Other Peoples' Money, Cass.

*TWO* of the best monologues in movie history.

The first one, delivered with extreme impressiveness by Gregory Peck, to the stockholders of his company, whom are there to decide on the future of the company.

This monologue is so impressive you figure that there's no way it can be topped -- whatever is going to follow has got to resort to some kind of trickery...

Then Danny Devito, his "nemesis", who wants to liquidate his company, gets up, and blows him out of the water!!!

It's an incredible pair of monologues. I am sure I could find 'em and reproduce their text, but they're all the much more better in the context of the movie (about Wall Street and "creative destruction" of companies) and delivered by the proponents -- so I'm not going to. Just go rent the movie, if you haven't seen it. It's fun and it's got charm.

I will provide great quote from it, however:

"Well, for someone who has nothing nice to say about lawyers, you certainly have enough of them around."
"They're like nuclear warheads. They have theirs, so I have mine. Once you use 'em, they f*** up everything."

Posted by: Obloodyhell at December 20, 2008 03:49 AM

Well, in the words of Richard Millhouse Nixon, let me say this about that.

Lawyers don't make the law. They help us navigate it.

Laws are just elaborate rules we've developed for settling disputes without picking up a rock or a gun and splattering each others' brains all over the pavement. People like to b**ch and complain about them - how they get in the way, and how much better off we'd be without them. But they never stop to think what the world would be like with no laws, or no police to enforce them, or no one to reinforce the rather amazing systems we human beings have put in place over the centuries to allow us to do business, settle arguments, and manage competing rights -- all without resorting to violence (which used to be the preferred means of ending arguments).

I don't want to live in a world where whoever can beat me up or kill my relatives gets their way. That's not justice and it's not a recipe for a civil society. To the extent that the law and lawyers are responsible for me being able to walk out my front door each day and trust that my interactions with other humans will be peaceful and pleasant, I thank God for them.

All we need do is look at Iraq, where the legal system is still deficient and there is no confidence in its integrity, to see just how well off we are here in America. The law is a vehicle for protecting our rights without resorting to violence.

So in a very real sense, lawyers are law enforcement officers too. Without them, the law wouldn't work and without law, we would be little better than savages.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2008 12:35 PM

All of which is not to say that there aren't lawyers who don't bend the law to the breaking point, just as there are corrupt police, OBH :p

I'm not arguing that power can be abused because of course it can.

It's just that I think lawyers get a bad rap. There are many fine ones who are a credit to their profession.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2008 12:38 PM

Great Lutheran clip, Don! I think there is a reason to do a remake of that clip, in Fallujah.

Posted by: MathMom at December 20, 2008 01:03 PM

Lawyers don't make the law. They help us navigate it.

Yeah, just like the media helps us "navigate" to the truth.

Laws are just elaborate rules we've developed for settling disputes without picking up a rock or a gun and splattering each others' brains all over the pavement.

It puts up a buffer between the agrieved and the guilty so that the agrieved can say "I didn't bash his head open, the state did".

But they never stop to think what the world would be like with no laws, or no police to enforce them, or no one to reinforce the rather amazing systems we human beings have put in place over the centuries to allow us to do business, settle arguments, and manage competing rights -- all without resorting to violence (which used to be the preferred means of ending arguments).

But lawyers are the ones that will inevitably bring the new Dark Age, for a civilization cannot stand against barbarians with so many restrictions and laws that produce corruption, not transparency.

I don't want to live in a world where whoever can beat me up or kill my relatives gets their way.

Is it any better to trade it for a system in which whoever has the better lawyer can beat you up or kill your relatives (OJ) and will get their way by warrant of the better lawyer and strategic position? I suppose the lawyers limit the number of occurrences, but it is not done in the spirit of the rule of law. It is the spirit of the rule of might, just lawyerly might.

To the extent that the law and lawyers are responsible for me being able to walk out my front door each day and trust that my interactions with other humans will be peaceful and pleasant, I thank God for them.

Lawyers aren't responsible for citizens obeying the law. The consent of the citiziens in the social contract, who value living in peace over living in anarchy, is the glue that holds the social compact together. The law and the police can only assure citizens that they get more from buying into and investing in this compact rather than going lone wolf on their own.

To that extent, lawyers and the law exists to serve the people, not the other way around, Cass. Why would you thank God for a tool you use and have created, rather than thanking God for giving you the ability and the strength to use it?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 20, 2008 02:28 PM

There are many fine ones who are a credit to their profession.

Bianca, Violetta Valery, Suzie Wong, Belle Watling and Vivian Ward -- to name just a few...

Posted by: BillT at December 20, 2008 02:56 PM

...and then there are the many attorneys who read and comment here every day.

I assume, and shall continue to assume, that no offense was intended. That is the only thing that prevents me from losing my temper at a suggestion I personally find extremely offensive.

I'm not a big fan of painting with the broad brush. Right now Carrie and I are forming a small non-profit to assist wounded warriors and their families. An attorney has graciously volunteered untold hours of his very valuable time completely free of charge to help us fill out the paperwork and understand IRS regs and make sure we're in compliance with ethical fundraising practices. There are a million things we haven't thought of along the way that he has helped us with.

Another attorney has been kind enough (when I've asked him) to provide referrals for various military wives and active duty personnel who needed help - also without charge and without any thought of being repaid in kind.

If you're trying to piss me off, you're doing a bang up job.

Knock it off. I'm deadly serious here. These are my friends and people I care about and I won't stand still while they and their profession are insulted. People only uphold and obey the law to the extent that the system WORKS for them. Lawyers help ensure that it *does* work. If they were all corrupt or inept, it wouldn't function and no one would respect the law - they'd just go around it.

If you can't see that, then I'm sorry.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2008 03:26 PM

And oh-by-the-way, there are assholes and psychopaths in the military. No profession is free of malefactors who damage the reputation of the larger community. How would you all feel if I started painting all military people as brutes and psychos just on the basis of the minority of bad apples we hear about in the news?

That is how the fringe Left behaves. We are supposed to be better than that. And I thought we were.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2008 03:29 PM

Okay -- snoot whapped, knocked off.

Your acquaintance with lawyers differs vastly from mine.

Posted by: BillT at December 20, 2008 03:40 PM

And I allowed that viewpoint to color my comment, which was wrong.

My apologies to the gentlefolk and to you, darlin'.

Posted by: BillT at December 20, 2008 03:49 PM

These are my friends and people I care about and I won't stand still while they and their profession are insulted.

Michael Yon is a journalist, but it is precisely because he is one or whatever he calls himself, that it becomes extremely important to point out the fact that journalism and journalists suck.

You can take this as a personal attack on people of integrity, like Michael Yon, but the point stands regardless: people in a profession or a religion, when that profession or religion justifiably has a bad rap, can either feel insulted and circle the wagons, or they can start criticizing their own profession and change it for the better.

"Peaceful" Muslims can behave perfectly fine and live perfectly good lives, in America, but so long as they don't join in destroying Islam or at least reforming it to a specification more in tune with peaceful co-existence and harmony, their religion will continue to be treated with a bad rap and Muslims will continue to be under this "cloud". All controlled by the extreme minority when the good lack all conviction while the bad have passionate intensity. The same is true of lawyers.

What was it that was said of Abu Ghraib and the military? That the military were more mad at the Abu Ghraib guards than the media, at times? That the military must hold themselves clean and to higher standards, and that lone incidents (which are prosecuted and fixed) don't represent the big picture on military honor and ethics?

Nobody, and more importantly, no profession should be put on a pedestal. The ethics of that profession and the good or evil it does, is and should be of vital importance to the members of that profession (or religion). Even more vital than the fact that criticism starts coming from outside.

How would you all feel if I started painting all military people as brutes and psychos just on the basis of the minority of bad apples we hear about in the news?

If those few bad apples made policy and were guilty of civilian massacres at general rank... then yes, that would be a justifiable criticism, regardless of where it comes from (even if it is the media). If those few bad apples weren't punished, executed, or thrown out into a lake with 50 pound steel balls attached to their feet, then yes, I would believe the military would then be classified, as a profession and as a profession that trains people in a certain way, to be brutish, full of brutes, and so forth.

Lawyers are not in this alone. There are judges, juries, and Congress involved. But they are part of the problem. And there is no denying that when you are a part of a problem, you either have a choice to help fix that problem or you can have a choice to circle the wagons and say "we don't have a problem".

Individuals are individuals, Cass. They can be good or bad. But professions are not the sum total of individuals, at least not entirely. Professions, groups, and religious organizations are represented by their extreme minority members and by how those professions and groups deal with their extreme minority members. (Cause if you don't deal with those few problems, more of them will happen until it becomes the majority situation)

No matter how good or loyal or honorable the military is, their reputation and their purpose would be forever tainted if the military punished the innocent and freed the guilty as a matter of policy and tradition. That is a simple fact here. And it is a fact that lawyers have been trained to ignore. They have been trained to ignore the fact that their client could be guilty, based upon the assumption that the system will fix this problem for them. But what if the system fails? Then we have a rather different problem. This is just one example of how the "lawyerly profession" has been corrupted.

These are my friends and people I care about and I won't stand still while they and their profession are insulted.

It is admirable that you stand by your friends but standing by their "profession"? That is complete nonsense, Cass. The only person able to defend their profession is a member of that profession. Anybody else can provide support, but it won't be as influential as a person inside saying that things are wrong and that they are going to work to fix it.

CDR Salamander talks about the Navy having "diversity bullies", notably at the Naval Academy. Why, then, is he perceived as not calling all sailors or even just the good sailors "diversity bullies"? Why doesn't the Navy circle the wagons and say that CDR Salamander is slandering good men and women, and that he needs to stop? Maybe cause he is a sailor himself, and thus knows where all the bodies are buried? But, of course, that doesn't stop the Navy from pursuing their policies, now does it. And if it doesn't stop the Navy from pursuing "diversity" policies, is it really wrong for an outsider, like me, to say that the Navy is full of diversity bullies?

The fact that an organization allows something bad to happen and either does nothing to stop it or tries to help it along, is a fact that speaks volumes on the nature of that profession or organization.

You can argue about it not being true, you can argue about external mitigating factors, or you can argue about how the internal mechanisms are trying to fix this and your criticisms aren't helping, but what you cannot argue on good faith is that the Navy doesn't deserve criticism because there are good men and women in the Navy.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 20, 2008 04:35 PM

There is a difference between criticism and blanket condemnation. The first is kosher.

The second is off base.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2008 04:51 PM

There is a difference between criticism and blanket condemnation. The first is kosher.

The second is off base.

Granted, that is true, but then why did you react so strongly to, all intents and purposes, OBH's "movie quote"?

So what is the beef, here, Cass, that you speak so strongly against? What is the blanket condemnation here?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 20, 2008 05:02 PM

Ymar, there are lawyers, and then there are lawyers. You sound like Thomas More's son-in-law.

See the clip from my comment, Dec 19, 4:51 pm.

Then go rent a copy of "A Man for All Seasons", and watch the whole thing.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 20, 2008 08:10 PM

Ymar, there are lawyers, and then there are lawyers. You sound like Thomas More's son-in-law.

You misunderstand something, Don, entirely.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 20, 2008 08:45 PM

I find it amusing that people consistently blame attorneys for all the world's ills.

First of all, attorneys attempt to represent, within the confines of laws our elected representatives have lawfully passed, the legal interests of their clients. You have a problem with the outcome? Look at the law or the client who hired the attorney. Your ire is misplaced.

In business transactions people do things all the time which may not be considered highly ethical but are entirely legal. When laws are passed to make these things illegal, we can stop them. And then conservatives will complain that the proliferation of laws has made competition impossible ;p

If someone trespasses on my rights, I have one of two recourses. I can hire someone to break their legs (not helpful) or I can sue in a court of law to enforce my legal rights. Personally I prefer the latter course of action as I don't want my legs broken every time some jackass disagrees with me. Lawyers facilitate this mode of resolving disputes. Not sure why we have a problem with this.

Law is much bigger than simply criminal law, Ymar. Most lawyers never even deal with criminal offenses so you're really reaching here. The vast majority of legal disputes are civil in nature and "guilt" doesn't come into it.

Lastly, thanks Bill :) I did assume no offense was intended.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 21, 2008 01:09 PM

what you cannot argue on good faith is that the Navy doesn't deserve criticism because there are good men and women in the Navy.

"Well, for someone who has nothing nice to say about the military, you certainly have enough of them around."

"Soldiers and sailors are like nuclear warheads. They have theirs, so I have mine. Once you use 'em, they f*** up everything."

Yeah. Why on earth would anyone object to a statement like that?

Posted by: Cassandra at December 21, 2008 01:12 PM

Ben Franklin once noted that "A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats." The last thing in the world we fish need to argue about at the moment is the relative size of thier claws.


Posted by: spd rdr at December 21, 2008 02:08 PM

More and more these days am I thinking I need to learn to keep my mouth firmly shut. :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 21, 2008 02:54 PM

More and more these days am I thinking that the more we speak out, the better. :p

Posted by: spd rdr at December 21, 2008 03:16 PM

First of all, attorneys attempt to represent, within the confines of laws our elected representatives have lawfully passed, the legal interests of their clients.

True. And it is also true that many legislative members are lawyers themselves.

You ever get the sense that this game is rigged? And if it is, do you tolerate it like you tolerate the MSM monopoly on "truth"?

It seems rather apparent to me that juries exist for no reason if all they can do is to do what the judge tells them to do and to hear two biased sides, the lawyers, both trying to manipulate the law for their own motivations.

Without an independent understanding of law or some common sense matrix to say that, regardless of what the law says, this is wrong, you don't have the rule of law, Cass. You just have the rule of aristocrats who can understand and make the law, as opposed to the majority of Americans who don't understand law and who can't make the law.

How is it that lawyers, trial lawyers or not, get to make the laws, be promoted to judges, get to decide what is Constitutional and not, and then I am supposed to believe that lawyers helping us on the fine and complex points of the law, that their fellows created and helped to lobby for, is somehow helping me in the long term? It is not a help in the long term, not any more than governments bankrupting individuals and then telling them that they can take out "government loans".

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 21, 2008 03:32 PM

Ya know, Ymar, you're right.

I'd say more, but I'm here at the office this Sunday trying to save a client's business from its own mistakes. I'm sure that if my client could have written the laws, instead of society allowing lawyers to do it, he would have made sure that his business wouldn't have been in this situation.

Of course, he could have also signed a contract to make sure that his business got paid on time. But think of the money that he saved on attorneys!

Out.

Posted by: spd rdr at December 21, 2008 03:51 PM

Yeah. Why on earth would anyone object to a statement like that?

I've already told you why this is an invalid comparison and an incorrect line of argument. Now you may disagree, but repeating it is not going to help your case, much.

The military punishes wrong doers (even if we ignore Blackwater and Haditha prosecutorial misconduct) and fixes things internally.

Lawyers don't. Bill Clinton still has his whatever legal license, it was just suspended. John Kerry still has his legal license, from law school, because somebody overturned his dishonorable discharge (Carter). These are, contrary to your claims, not "little psychotic" bad apples. They are leaders of the nation and set the standard for what lawyers are, can do, and are doing.

If the top military brass, Petraeus and Casey and all the various Admirals, could nuke villages and burn them for fun and kicks, and they just promoted time and again, you would start calling them nuclear weapons, I dare say, if not worse.

But that is what it all is. If. There is no "if" when it comes to the lawyerly profession as you put it. This is not a hypothetical. Now people may have been exaggerating for effect back in the day, in the days of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson, but that was a day when the law was still trying to gain ascendancy over lawlessness. That was a time when people like Don had a point. Today, however, they don't have a point. They worry about backsliding when historical impetus is all on the opposite of the trend. As Europe has shown us, lawlessness starts aggregating only after the precursor of too much law. It is only the laws banning handguns, the laws approving of sharia and allowing it in "enclaves", the law that punishes citizens for "hate speech", that inevitably breeds lawlessness. Because criminals can use the laws too, and if you take Don's position that you give the Ayatollahs due for Don's own sake of security, you have to face reality here. Reality here, right now, says that the Ayatollahs are using Britain's fierce libel laws to create a terror of self-censorship in order to support their other means of terror.

The opposite can sometimes be true, if tyrants take power from a state of instability, but we're talking about the Western World here, not the banana republics. At least, not yet. It is pointless to talk about "theoreticals". What does it matter to talk about the military as if they are nuclear warheads? They have nuclear warheads to use. But the nuclear warhead can't be used without consequence, thus people avoid using them. Do people using lawyers and libel laws and various other tricks Don here says must be provided to the Devil so that the Devil can more easily kill everybody except Don, fear the use of the law in such a fashion in the same way they fear the use of nuclear weapons? Of course not. Certainly the Islamic Jihad don't fear the use of either, even though they are limited in their use of nukes. But they are not limited by their use of lawyers, primarily because lawyers are expected to be used. What is the point of law without lawyers like CAIR and the ACLU orgs? But I think that is the wrong question. What is the point of law when all anyone does is follow someone else because of fear and simple self-preservation?

The social compact that prevents people from needing to kill each other is valuable, but the argument that we need lawyers for it belies history. It is when you give your power to form social compacts to some other person or organization, that you have no real control or understanding of, that things start turning into feudalism. Certainly there are arguments for feudalism, but I believe we should have gotten past that point in human history by now. The same arguments were made by aristocrats and nobles, that the serfs needed knights and kings to protect them from external foes. The fact that this was mostly true, however, didn't make it better for human beings along the continuum of history. Nor did it prevent the excesses of medieval politics.

So now we call ourselves a civilization, an advanced one at that, where we need lawyers to maintain the rule of law for us? It sounds rather prototypically insane. What kind of society depends upon those who have no stake in the outcome, lawyers, to handle points of honor? What kind of society depends upon lawyers and the police, for self-protection and the protection of their families? Is this a serf society or one built by rugged individuals, frontiersmen and women?

There is a distinct line here between 'separatism', which is the Code Pink, Berkley, Leftist bullcrap that says "I am better off by myself" and a recognition of the human condition: that peace treaties and social compacts are first made between individuals. The police don't stop us from killing each other. The police only stops us from killing strangers. Strangers we don't know and haven't made a compact with. In a hunter gatherer society or an Arab tribal society, that would mean the "Outsider" is the enemy, period, cause you can't trust the stranger to abide by the same codes as you do. The police makes us the guarantee, and with the lawyers and judges and the whole "justice system", that these "strangers" who call themselves the same name that we call ourselves (Americans) won't violate our code or our rights. So we don't have to launch a first strike on them and cut off their heads in the middle of the night for fear that they will do the same to us.

That, contrary to Don's claims, isn't giving the Devil the benefit of the law, it is giving people who are innocent of any crimes except the crime of being human the benefit of the law. The fact that the Devil, Al Sadr, or Osama may be classified as "human" is just something of happenstance, but it in itself constrains our actions for laws don't exist that only applies to specific "user specified" demographics. That is not a law so much as a whim, a dictatorial, feudalistic, absolute monarchist whim at that. Adults recognize this reality and they recognize that because the law was never designed to protect evil people, a law that protects evil people over good people will eventually not be a law any longer. That is a fact of human self-survival. People are not going to tolerate it for long, and if the locals can't change it, like in Iraq, somebody outside your country will. And it was not the law that hanged Saddam Hussein, in the end. It was people, by their own actions, through their own social networking and agreements. Lawyers sought to defend Saddam Hussein, for what else would lawyers exist for?

Now if that was all there was to law, it would be great. Everything has its up and downs. Some night the wheat scythe may get the wheat and sometimes it may get your hand. *shrugs* It would be like the Wild Wild West when civilization first came to them. Yes, very annoying to have to give up some of their own traditions and laws, such as voting rights for women or the social equality bid or polygamy, but civilization is going to be better, in the long run, for future generations and that is worth it, even to independent minded folks.

Lawyers make that dream into something that is laughable. It is laughable precisely because a society going more and more towards where lawyers and judges control law is not a society that is going to create a better world for the next generation. That is a fact, a historical trend even, and not a hypothetical. This is going to happen, for, after all, it has already happened. And even if actors or philosophers or writers like Mark Twain "exaggerated" in order to focus the "angst" of the common man against this foreign creature called the "lawyer", it does not change the reality we hold here today. Exaggerate all they want, for that is their right, but the truth shines without the need of any of it.

I'd say more, but I'm here at the office this Sunday trying to save a client's business from its own mistakes. I'm sure that if my client could have written the laws, instead of society allowing lawyers to do it, he would have made sure that his business wouldn't have been in this situation.

As Madoff and Fannie Mae have already proved, lawyers like you aren't stopping them from "writing their own laws". So what good are you, spd? Good as you are, what good are you when it comes to the lives of millions of Americans?

Btw, I don't mind you feeling self-righteous, Spd. We all feel proud of our own accomplishments and prejudices, but I don't believe it has anything to do with you, personally. Or even your business friend that perhaps thought the law could benefit him, the Devil, more than his competitors, also maybe the Devil (which is pretty funny and ironic. Law is nice in that both sides could be at fault, which argues that the advocacy system is more for government balancing than the sustainment of the law. Unless you wish to make it so. Do you wish to make it so?

Ya know, Ymar, you're right.

I'm glad you agree with me, but is double talk really that beneficial to lawyers? Ordinary citizens dissemble probably as much, if not more, than lawyers do, but is it really that beneficial in the courts?

Bookworm and Don, two lawyer friends and associates of mine, have said that clear language makes for much better law and certainly an easier brief to read. Were they wrong, Spd?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 21, 2008 04:14 PM

P.S. A couple of minor notes I thought should be mentioned for clarification and elaboration:

Certain of my claims on Kerry should be taken in this context.

"Finally, what enduring precedential contributions did John Kerry leave in the law of Massachusetts from his practice there from 1977 to 1982, either as a prosecutor or a lawyer in private practice? A Lexis-Nexis search of all reported Massachusetts civil and criminal appeals (in a database going back at least through 1972, well before his bar admission) does not find his name among counsel of record on even a single appellate decision.
V. Kerry from 1983 forward

It's now clear enough to me that unlike his running mate, John Kerry has never been much of a trial lawyer; rather, he's always been a prominent member of the subspecies Lawyerus Politico. That's well and good, I suppose — except for the fact that he's trying to use his awfully thin credentials as a prosecutor as a basis for his Presidential campaign.

The natural reaction that Sen. Kerry's supporters will likely have to this post will be to argue George W. Bush's pre-political credentials. I've written before, at my usual tedious length, about why I'm personally glad that Dubya didn't get into Texas Law School and went instead for a Harvard MBA after finishing up his TANG service. Governor-elect Michael Dukakis and Lieutenant Governor John Kerry celebrate their 1982 election victory.If you're less impressed than I am with how that MBA and his business experience helped prepare him for his current job, you're welcome to that opinion, of course; Bush should be, and is, running for re-election largely on the basis of how he's done as President, not what he did in 1968-1971 or 1976-1979.

Fairly viewed, of course, John Kerry isn't a career lawyer, but a career politician. And he's running for the top position in the nation's Executive Branch, not for a seat in its Judicial Branch. Even though in his career in the U.S. Senate he's been noted more for quasi-prosecutorial investigations than nuts-and-bolts lawmaking, he hasn't, strictly speaking, been engaged in the active practice of law since 1983. That no doubt explains why Sen. Kerry's membership in the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently on "inactive status." When I phoned the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers today, I was advised that Sen. Kerry's inactive status goes back at least as far as 1996; how much earlier than that, their computerized records would not readily reveal."

I assume the blog author is a lawyer, of one sort or another. While I do not belittle the author's work, I find it rather disappointing that only lawyers have the special interest and connections that allow them to pierce such veils as this. And it didn't even have to do much with law, just with the stuff lawyers would have knowledge of and which Kerry would have sparked some suspicion on. I also find it disappointing that no lawyer organization, the ACLU included, came out and spoke against him the same way the Swift Boat Veterans did. Do lawyers just not care about this sub-species called Lawyerus Politico? Is it just "well and good"?

Do lawyers get more emotional about people like me raising questions and creating challenges as I am doing here, or do they get more emotional about people like Kerry, who makes them look far worse than I ever could?

But let's not pick on Kerry too much. He's not too bad, since he doesn't have the power he could have had. Thanks to the Swift Boat Veterans, in part. While I am disappointed in the profession of lawyers in speaking out, I understand their limitations. Lawyers don't have the tools to punish their own, aside from the bar deal and what not. Even though veterans can't speak out against their Commander in Chief or the chain of command in public, without severe consequences, I am happy to say that they do care enough to do their duty to their profession. I honor them for that. Atrocities like Mai Lai will always happen, but I feel better knowing that there will always be men who will stop it: both literally and years after the fact in a war that they had never signed up for.

Link

Unless you wish to make it so. Do you wish to make it so?

A final clarification. The question is only meant to ask whether Spd wants to make it about himself or the people he knows. Both are honorable positions to take, but they will change my response, necessarily.

After all, I don't have the luxury of behaving emotionally on these issues. The law deserves a better argument from me, and lawyers, both good and bad, deserve the fullest use of my reason and cognition. Regardless of my views towards these subjects, I believe I have to hold myself to higher standards than they who I would criticize. That is the only honorable position present here, for me at least.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 21, 2008 04:36 PM

The law, such as it is, should affect all equally, Ymar, reagrdless of circumstance. Emotions are reserved for juries.
This is how we roll.

Posted by: spd rdr at December 21, 2008 04:49 PM

Link

I don't know how you could have stood to watch Apocalypse Now, Bill. I didn't see it in full, maybe I should, but from what I know about it, it certainly seems like a great North Vietnam propaganda production.

The Ride of the Valkyries in that clip should demonstrate what I mean.

For some reason, Americans must be greatly entertained from seeing US military pilots and soldiers slaughtering defenseless villagers. Either that, or Hollywood has some accounting practices that can make Madoff die of shame.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 21, 2008 05:29 PM

The law, such as it is, should affect all equally, Ymar, reagrdless of circumstance. Emotions are reserved for juries.
This is how we roll.

Is that your answer to my question: "Unless you wish to make it so. Do you wish to make it so?"

Is "emotions are reserved for juries" your answer?

Given that the law does not affect all equally, lawyers and judges and politicians and crooks included, is that how you all "roll"?

I hear a lot of "should" and theoretical "ifs", Spd. What I don't hear is a lot of solutions or proposed fixes and reforms or even acknowledgement that there are problems that lawyers are best suited to fix.

Why do lawyers prefer to blame other people instead of themselves? Are they, the lawyers, not responsible, just as much as the justice system of judges and jurors, for emotionalism and bad law? Or are lawyers immune to the basic human condition that sways juries?

I would like, at least, a small attempt at answering some of these fundamental questions, Spd.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 21, 2008 05:43 PM

These are, contrary to your claims, not "little psychotic" bad apples. They are leaders of the nation and set the standard for what lawyers are, can do, and are doing.

Citing two non-practicing lawyers as your "argument" is less than convincing.

In fact, it's utter anecdotal bullshit. And in point of fact, people get away with things you wouldn't believe in the military every single day Ymar. You just don't hear about it. Trust me on that one. We catch some of them. But General officers don't fry.

It is not a help in the long term, not any more than governments bankrupting individuals and then telling them that they can take out "government loans".

Gee. You're right, Ymar. Let's just eliminate those troublesome middlemen and go back to the more direct system - the rule of the strongest (aka, if we have a dispute, I send my goons - assuming I have them, to beat the crap out of you).

Much better. Because the current system is so "unfair" that there is no "law".

Christ. Visit a third world country sometime and tell me how we have no law.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 21, 2008 07:35 PM

Sorry, guys.

I'm as sick as hell, and not fit for an argument.

I should have stayed in bed.

Posted by: spd at December 21, 2008 07:41 PM

Why do lawyers prefer to blame other people instead of themselves? Are they, the lawyers, not responsible, just as much as the justice system of judges and jurors, for emotionalism and bad law? Or are lawyers immune to the basic human condition that sways juries?

I would like, at least, a small attempt at answering some of these fundamental questions, Spd.

What in the hell is going on here?

If this is what my site is turning into, it's time to just wipe it the hell off the Internet. We don't behave like this to each other.

I don't understand what has gotten into you Ymar, but my one ironclad rule is no ad hominems. I am not sure what in the hell gives anyone the idea they have the right to call anyone on the carpet to defend their entire profession but that isn't happenening on my site. I wouldn't tolerate it against the military and I won't tolerate it against anyone else either. It's wrong.

If you want to keep this line of discussion up, continue it offline. You've managed to derail a fun thread with something very ugly. Nice work.

Well no thanks. Not here. Not on my nickel.

And spd, you have nothing to apologize for. In fact, I owe you an apology for not putting a stop to this earlier. Sadly, I was not here.

The comments are closed. Merry f***ing Christmas.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 21, 2008 07:49 PM