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Song Lyrics:

I'm reading and much enjoying Alex Long's [Insert Song Lyrics Here]: The Uses and Misuses of Popular Music Lyrics in Legal Writing. Here's one observation that I kick myself for not having made myself, about the Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go?: "If one's trouble is doubled by staying, as opposed to going, then one is posed with a fairly easy choice. If those are the only two options available, one should of course go. The question, at best, appears rhetorical."

David Berke:
I'm going to have to disagree here. The true question is whether the overall benefits of staying outweigh the costs of leaving. Conceivably, the unidentified benefits from staying could outweigh the costs of facing twice as much trouble.
9.15.2006 8:37pm
Tom952 (mail):
Absolutely. Classic example of poontang-driven cognitive dissonance.
9.15.2006 10:51pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Obviously the reason its a question is because he wants to stay, but staying is trouble (more trouble than going).
9.15.2006 11:06pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
I don't think those are the only two logical choices. If a person stays, then the person is standing in one place, from when he or she came. Thus, there are three choices: stay, leave, or reutn from whence the person came.

What is a "poontang?" Why do people expect an autistic reader to know words like this?
9.15.2006 11:06pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"reutn"= return

liberty, it would appear more likely you are projecting what you want (to stay) into the story and attributing your feelings to create consequences where maybe there are none in the song?? I am just wondering (as an autistic) why it is so hard for social people to just focus on the objective two (or three) choice call of the question logically without having to read all this other touchy feely fluff into it. What if, staying is not trouble, and leaving is not trouble? See, what you did is turn a simple two (or three choices) into a game of combinations and permutations, complicating the scenario unnecessarily. And it Friday night, for Heavens' sake.
9.15.2006 11:21pm
Poopstain (mail):
I don't like to talk in absolute terms but anyone who cannot immediately agree with the comments of the first two posters has obviously never been head over heels for a hot hot hot woman...... :-)
9.15.2006 11:30pm
MassRepUnsure (mail):
If he is such a big fan, he should get the band's name right. It's "The Who", not the "Who."

I forgive him, though, because of his great satire of law review articles.

Please stop laying waste to Clash songs. They are special and do not deserve to be treated glibly.
9.15.2006 11:32pm
AC:
It's John Fogerty, not "Forgarty." His editor must not be a CCR fan.
9.15.2006 11:57pm
paranoid (www):
His editor must not be a very good proofreader:
And if the music we listen to says something about us as individuals, then the music we, the legal profession as a whole, write about may [say?] something about who we are as a profession.
9.16.2006 12:05am
Eugene Volokh (www):
"Poontang," I should stress, is not my word choice -- but it is in the dictionary, just a few keystrokes away.
9.16.2006 12:06am
Eugene Volokh (www):
By the way, please note that this is an as yet unpublished -- perhaps even uncirculated to the law reviews -- manuscript. It's to be expected that it will have some errors, precisely because it hasn't been edited by a law review editor, and hasn't gone through as many author's edits as it eventually will.
9.16.2006 12:11am
Waldensian (mail):
The more important point to be made about "Should I Stay or Should I Go" is that it is the only song in rock -- that I know of, anyway -- that actually uses the word "whom":

Exactly whom I'm supposed to be
Diga me que tengo ser
Don't you know which clothes even fit me?

Pardon me if I butchered the non-English bit.

The great irony is that, in my view, the Clash used "whom" incorrectly here. The lyric is no masterpiece of grammar, but I'm fairly sure we are looking at a predicate nominative. Perhaps one could argue that "supposed" is taking an object, whom, but I don't think so. Anyone?
9.16.2006 12:29am
Waldensian (mail):

Why do people expect an autistic reader to know words like this?

Since you brought this up, I hope you won't mind me asking -- is your actual diagnosis autistic disorder, as set forth in DSM-IV, or is it another pervasive developmental disorder?

I ask because my understanding is that a diagnosis of autistic disorder requires an impairment in communication that is marked and sustained and affects both verbal and non-verbal skills. Your non-verbal communication skills -- blogging for example -- appear quite extraordinary for someone with autistic disorder.

On the other hand, I have known several people with Aspergers who refer to themselves as "autistic," apparently reflecting the view that Aspergers is at one end of the autism spectrum disorders. They also write wonderfully. Do you fall into this category perhaps?
9.16.2006 12:43am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
W, no my language regressed just before age 3. It's in a baby book my late mother kept. As long back as I can can remember, I always had to line up all my plastic horses, a daily repetitious ritual, until I was age 10, when I began therapuetic riding -- in those days, that was going to a rent-a-horse place, being turned loose in an arena, and learning how to ride or fall off. I am very resistant to change, anything out of the order I put it in. I always had stereotypies, like rocking. I am not very good at socializing with people (unless I am sitting on a horse), but I have special talents with relating to animals, and especially birds and horses.

I think you are assuming (wrongly) that autistics cannot benefit from higher education. The problem is, most non-autistic people go about how to educate autistics all wrong. Most of us were locked up isolated in institutions until recent history. My mother (A+ atomic physics member of MENSA), cut off almost all television and made me read incessantly. My husband jokes that he is now having to get me movies and find television shows because I don't know anything about American culture. My mother also supported my horseback riding because it took away my deficient of motor skills. I am very good only at a narrow range of subjects. I have extreme noise and bright light oversensitivities, oversensitivities to many smells (garlic is to me like daylight to a vampire), and allergies to more than 40 foods. It takes me a lot of energy to do a lot less than most other people, and then I fatigue and have to have recovery down time. Ask anyone who knows me, my autistic behavior drives people nuts.

I think you are making the mistake so many people make who refuse to accommodate my speech recogniton assistive device -- assuming (wrongly) the communication you see orally-spoken to my machine that converts it into written format (the end result) means my communication without my device is not markedly impaired. But if you want to know what people think about my unaccommodated communication, well, why don't you ask Hon. James D. Whittemore who has struggled through it.

I also think you are confusing the idea that to be autistic a person's IQ must be somewhat in the retarded range, therefore the resulting communication is non-verbal. This really stereotypes those autistics who are savants wth high IQs, but have developmental imbalances.

"Your non-verbal communication skills -- blogging for example -- appear quite extraordinary for someone with autistic disorder." And, now you have me scratching my head. Blogging is "verbal" comunication, not non-verbal communication. But I think what you meant to say, is how can a person be autistic if they can talk. Again, another unfortunate stereotype, like thinking all autistics have diminished capacity, are incompetent, or blind. I have even been called a Cyclops.

No, I do not have Aspergers, but Autism, defined by my language regression before age 3, and meeting the many other defining Criteria, which distinguishes the two. I would urge you to learn more about autism. Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson are thought to have been autistic.

But getting back to your quote of my first question, autistics communicate literally, and not from context, social clues, or somehow *getting the gist* of a conversation. If one step is left out, an autistic will not understand what people are talking about or will misunderstand the conversation.
9.16.2006 1:38am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
Waldensian, The Smiths' Handsome Devil (an excellent dirty tutor/student song) has the great line, "And when we're in the scholarly room, who will swallow whom?"

Speaking of proper grammar appearing in rock songs, Morrissey's Last of the Famous International Playboys avoids a dangling preposition: "And these are the ways on which I was raised!"
9.16.2006 1:41am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
garlic is to me like daylight to a vampire

Maybe this is one of those cultural things of which you are unaware, but garlic to you is like garlic to a vampire, too. :)
9.16.2006 1:48am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
How so?
9.16.2006 2:13am
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
I think footnote 171 is (unintentionally?) funny. This is one of the things a law review editor would (hopefully) clear up.
9.16.2006 2:22am
Jiffy:
I've always assumed that the statement "there will be trouble" did not refer to trouble for the song's narrator, but for others (perhaps the person to whom he is singing). If so, the analysis quoted in the original blog post doesn't make much sense.
9.16.2006 3:38am
Waldensian (mail):
Mary K: I appear to have offended you and I did not mean to do so; my apologies. I have three chldren, including twins with ASDs -- one with autistic disorder and one diagnosed PDD-NOS -- so I have an honest interest in understanding these things better, and am probably not guilty of the assumptions you suspect! :)

My twins lack conversational speech, so I am particularly interested in your very capable written communication skills. I have seen the word "autistic" applied to a wide range of conditions, and simply wanted to determine the extent to which your situation compared with theirs.

I would love to discuss this further; if you are so inclined perhaps you can hit my e-mail link.
9.16.2006 9:49am
Waldensian (mail):

Waldensian, The Smiths' Handsome Devil (an excellent dirty tutor/student song) has the great line, "And when we're in the scholarly room, who will swallow whom?"

Speaking of proper grammar appearing in rock songs, Morrissey's Last of the Famous International Playboys avoids a dangling preposition: "And these are the ways on which I was raised!"

Leave it to the Smiths. And I think their usage not only rhymed, but was correct! Many thanks.

Morrissey is to be commended for clarity, but of course the idea that one can't end a sentence with a preposition is just an old grammarian's tale. :) And I can't resist the old standby: it's also something up with which I cannot put.
9.16.2006 9:58am
Shangui (mail):
but garlic to you is like garlic to a vampire, too. :)
How so?


Garlic is popularly held, both by European folklore and Hollywood films, to repel vampires.
9.16.2006 10:23am
Eugene Volokh (www):
For more on that, just google for garlic and vampire.
9.16.2006 12:52pm
Colin Fraizer (mail):
At the risk of being re-directed elsewhere by the blog's patron, I must ask WTF does any of this have to do with autism?

ObRockGrammar: is anyone else bugged by this line from Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die":
"But if this ever-changing world in which we live in"? What's with that second "in"?

Doesn't it just make you want to give in and cry?
9.16.2006 2:16pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Yes, that has always bugged me.
9.16.2006 2:45pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Oh yes, speaking of "From Here to Attorney's Fees," which isn't about pop music, here's another law review article with a bad pun that's not about pop music:

Stanley E. Cox, Would that Burnham Had Not Come to Be Done Insane! A Critique of Recent Supreme Court Personal Jurisdiction Reasoning, an Explanation of Why Transient Presence Jurisdiction Is Unconstitutional, and Some Thoughts about Divorce Jurisdiction in a "Minimum Contacts" World, 58 Tenn. L. Rev. 497 (1991).
9.16.2006 2:47pm
Sebastian Holsclaw (mail) (www):
"The more important point to be made about "Should I Stay or Should I Go" is that it is the only song in rock -- that I know of, anyway -- that actually uses the word "whom":


Exactly whom I'm supposed to be
Diga me que tengo ser
Don't you know which clothes even fit me? "

I'm pretty sure that is who'm as a singing contraction for "who am"
9.16.2006 2:50pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Thank you, EV, for the pointer. "Garlic is popularly held, both by European folklore and Hollywood films, to repel vampires." How would I have known?

As I said, the price to bring an autistic (even a savant) to any useful economically viable achievement through education and training, requires a hyperfocus on the skills taught at the cost of generally learned trivia more *normal* people take for granted. It is sort of the same methodogy being used now under NCLB (cut all other subject areas except teaching to the test in math and reading).

Maybe I have American cultural deficits (my husband says he is now going to have to get me a vampire movie), and have never been able to remember song authors or remember the lyrics, but on the other hand, I have read and digested more than 16,000 Americans With Disabilities Act, Rehabilitiation Act, federal preemption, and general federal procedural cases all of which are stored rather encyclopedically in my 100% photographic memory.

Alls that means, is I could perform the work tasks of a law associate perfectly, but not the social lunch out when American cultural trivia becomes the topic of discussion. But, I am open to anyone who wants to mentor me on becoming more cultural with songs, television, and movies ...
9.16.2006 3:05pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
W, you did not offend me. For one thing, you did not call me names, like a *blind Cyclops* or *vampire.* I am pretty busy today, have to get a motion off to 11th Cir., but I will hit your email later (over the weekend). If people would stop trying to *cure* people of autism or eradicate or ridicule people who have it, and actually give autistics access to the assistive technology, higher professional education, and opportunities *normal* people, autistics could rise to the occasion. And I really owe it to my Mom for cutting off everything except the incessant reading and horseback riding. I have to add, I was always allowed to read topics of interest far above my reading level, like Scientific American at age 7. Which points up the dumbing down defects inherent in the NCLB standardized testing craze. But I can't say I agreed with my Mom at the time ...
9.16.2006 3:31pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"opportunities *normal* people"=opportunities *normal* people take for granted. (my speech recognition sometimes truncates off a few words).
9.16.2006 3:32pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
I should also mention, and this is a little more relevant to the earlier VC Commitment phobia thread, a major point of marital discord with my husband is "the garlic problem" -- he is Italian.
9.16.2006 4:06pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Poontang." See, autistics have a hard time with slang, too because slang is not literal, but at least (having googled it) the term does not appear to apply to autistics like the repelling characteristics of garlic.
9.16.2006 4:12pm
Nobody Special:

By the way, please note that this is an as yet unpublished -- perhaps even uncirculated to the law reviews -- manuscript. It's to be expected that it will have some errors, precisely because it hasn't been edited by a law review editor, and hasn't gone through as many author's edits as it eventually will.


A startling quotation from Professor Volokh, given his extreme distaste for law review editors' edits.
9.16.2006 4:28pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
This thread has taught me the most important lesson of my entire legal career. An Epiphany -- The reason I can never gain accessibility to the granting of a petition for cert to address the inaccessibility of standardized bar examinations no autistic can pass (e.g., "Hum a Few Bar Exam") due to the reliance of such exams on the assumption everyone has been exposed to American culture, is my failure to cite the right music lyrics about the Americans With Disabilties Act to the Supreme Court (e.g., "Another Brick in the Wall"). Fortunately, autistics desiring bar admission possess the admirable characteristic of perserverence -- as they say "The Rolling Stones, like cockroaches, [and autistic bar applicants,]defy extinction." Thank you, EV, for this most important lesson.
9.16.2006 4:49pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
The problem with law review editors (which I was one of, 3-4 years ago) isn't that they introduce mistakes. They're actually pretty good at finding mistakes. The problem is all the other stuff they introduce, like needlessly complicated citation and clunky language.
9.16.2006 5:04pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Nobody Special: What Sasha said.
9.16.2006 5:32pm
qetzal (mail):
The Live And Let Die line really bugs me too. Thus, I have trained my ear to hear it as,

"And if this ever-changing world in which we're livin'..."
9.16.2006 5:49pm
Colin Fraizer (mail):
Qetzal,

Yeah, in my driving sing-alongs, I sing "And if this ever-changing world in which we li-ive..."
9.16.2006 5:58pm
triticale (mail) (www):
Garlic reduces the fat content of blood, thus making it less nourishing to vampires.

As to the question asked by the Clash, my answer has always been "Yes."
9.16.2006 6:29pm
Maureen (mail):
"Should I stay or should I go" is always a yes, I should stay because trouble is what we are designed to seek. Trouble is what hones our skills, trouble is what polishes our character, so...I say a big NO to Pelosi and her gang. It will not be better for the GOP to lose seats in the House or the Senate. They should stay even if they are fumbling the ball too many times, with practice they will get better. The "coach" is doing what he has to do given the limitations of the team's "owners" to understand the profound challenge (that we all face) but especially him. I hope you don't mind my posting, just stumbled here from Andrew Sullivan's blog. I'm also a Special Education teacher (currently inactive) so the "autistic's" thread was fascinating. I did my student teaching with "autistic" students and I have to agree that education is always trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Can't we just for once stop trying to "peg" everybody and just "Let it Be"
Enjoyed my visit :>
9.16.2006 7:15pm
Jason Fliegel (mail):
The line in "Live and Let Die" ends with the words "live in" because "live" does not rhyme with "give in."
9.17.2006 12:58am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Garlic reduces the fat content of blood, thus making it less nourishing to vampires." My husband says it also boosts immunity, but it repels away autistics, and apparently vampires (as I am learning).
9.17.2006 1:28am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Are vampires also repelled by basil and Black Sea Russian caviar?
9.17.2006 2:05am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
Why didn't Paul just sing "...world THAT we live in"? Did no one point this out to him?
9.17.2006 4:31am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
On the use of whom in rock music:

Right before the chorus in Cake's The Distance: "And thinking of someone for whom he still burns"
9.17.2006 4:50am
alurker:
Goggling "Mary Katherine Day-Petrano" is also interesting.
9.17.2006 12:31pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Goggling "Mary Katherine Day-Petrano" is also interesting."

Well, I have never been goggled before, but many have googled my legendary disability assistive technology Americans With Disabilities Act civil rights struggle, which really is no different in kind than that of Terrance Hallinan and Virgil Hawkins. See, Hallinan v. Committee of Bar Examiners, 65 Cal.2d 447, 55 Cal.Rptr. 228, 421 P.2d 76 (1966) &Harley Herman, Anatomy of a Bar Resignation: The Virgil Hawkins' Story, An Idealist Faces the Pragmatic Challenges of the Practice of Law, fla. Coastal L. J., available at link.

And your point is ...? That you don't like people who have the courage to stand up for their civil rights, especially people with disabilities who are *different?*

So, what else is new?
9.17.2006 2:29pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
alurker, (a name unsuccesfully attempting to convey some meaning of value, and notably failing to incllude an email address), I would like to teach you a lesson, perhaps you have not yet learned.

To borrow the words of Brian Tamanaha, Sept. 16, 2006 post over at Balkanization, and apply it to those courageous individuals with disabilities fighting to free the chains of prejudice, isolation, and denial of equality of opportunity for which they have been robbed for more than 200 years by others:

"In a familiar movie scene, the Devil appears before the dying man with a compelling proposition: 'I will save your life,...in exchange for your eternal soul.'"

This signifies the *deal* several State Bars make with a handful of disabled people and the majority of *normal* people to allow the privilege of attorney licensure -- in exchange for selling out the civil rights of all the other disabled people by agreeing to do Americans With Disabilities Act defense work or in exchange for never raising the ADA at all, and in fact putting down those unpopular people who raise it.

"Predictably, a weak character will take the deal. And the audience knows that, even though he has bought some extra time, he is lost forever."

And this, is the fate of those who cooperate to discriminate against and exclude all the other worthy disabled people who keep knocking at the door of opportunity, only to be denied again and again.

"The hero, who loves life just as dearly, feels the temptation, but ultimately says 'no,' knowing that death is preferable to losing one's soul. The audience applauds this decision, for living--and sometimes dying--with integrity is what defines a hero."

One such hero was the great Thurgood Marshall, who had the courage to help Virgil Hawkins fight the Jim Crow laws of the deep South.

The lesson for you is, keeping my integrity in this 16- years long disability assistive technology civil rights struggle I have fought to break down the irrational barriers of prejudice and hate that effectively keep autistics out of the Bar and Bench, is far preferable to losing my soul, as have so many who refuse to tear down this 200-year old Wall of irreparable harm toward America's disabled.

Alls you do by attacking me, is advance my cause.
9.17.2006 3:08pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Folks: I realize the original post was just a joke. Still, some things are off-topic even for a joke. The character of one of our posters is off-topic. The Americans With Disabilities Act is off-topic. Autism is off-topic. A bit of off-topic digression isn't bad, but often (including here) the off-topic material hijacks the whole thread. So if you want to post about song lyrics, humorously or otherwise, please do; but leave the other stuff for other venues.
9.17.2006 4:33pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
I did not initially hjack the thread. A person made an inquiry about my autism. I answered the inquiry. Then came a very unprofessional personal attack. Why do you never stop the personal attacks on people, and instead add punishment on the disabled victim who is defending off the attack? Is it not possible for an autistic person to just post on blogs like everyone else withou becoming the target on anti-disability attack? I for one, hope someday Congress sees fit to pass a disability hate crime law, and maybe that will take care of these types of attacks.
9.18.2006 1:40pm
pocketnovel (mail):
For the record, I (and arguably other posters in the thread) would have never known Mrs. Day-Petrano is autistic had she not mentioned it herself. And I can't say I really see the reason for her mention of it in the first place.

Most pertinently, I'm more puzzled over what the hell a jail guitar door is.
9.18.2006 10:22pm