Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

There's an article in this week's Harvard Law Record about how law students interested in the arts fell pressured to hide it. An excerpt:

"There are almost no law school organizations devoted to the arts (the Drama Society and its delightful Parody is a rare exception). Arts groups outside Harvard Law School seldom poster here because it is a waste of paper. Law students do not have time for fluffy artsy stuff. After class we must attend events that prepare us to be the political leaders of the world. Good preparation involves gaining legal, clinical and research experience, schmoozing with VIP speakers and attending info sessions that enable us to suck as much as possible out of the resources Harvard offers....You will be surprised how many of us possess talent in music, dance, acting (not just the people in the Parody!) — but keep it secret while dutifully pursuing the political life through our legal studies."

Nonsense! The author has it backwards! I find it hard to believe that there's a secret underground cult of Harvard Law students who want to dance and sing but feel ashamed to admit it. The reason why there's a dearth of artistic expression (and, actually, I would argue that really there isn't this dearth at all!) is because this is a law school, and most people here are interested in the law.

The aforementioned Parody had a cast and crew numbering approximately 60. Add to that a half dozen a cappella singers who weren't in the Parody, a half-dozen more involved in a Gilbert and Sullivan show this past fall, an improv comedy troupe of about a dozen (although I'm not totally certain they still exist... since they rejected me in the fall, I haven't anything about them...), and a handful of musicians I'm aware of who play in University orchestras, we're probably getting close to 100. Out of a law student body of 1800, 100 evidencing a substantial interest in artistic pursuits -- and the number is probably higher, since I'm sure there are lots of off-campus things people do I'm just not aware of -- isn't an embarassing number. After all, the self-selection here is awfully high -- most people interested in the arts probably don't want to be lawyers. And the idea that people feel compelled to hide their interests because of peer pressure to be focused, interest-free law students is gobbledygook, I think. I think it goes back to the joiner / non-joiner distinction from my posts over the last few days. The joiners are doing artistic things, without a doubt. The non-joiners aren't doing anything. If law school is forcing people to hide their artistic side, they're doing a great job, because I just don't see it.

And the suggestion that organizations don't poster here because it's a waste of paper? I think it's just laziness -- the Parody sold something on the order of 1500 tickets over 5 nights, the a cappella concert I was in this past fall practically sold out... I think if we knew about more events going on across the campus, law students would go no less than any other group of students. This article, while well-intentioned, I just think is plain wrong.