I want controversy, God damn it


We're studying exculpation in my criminal law class, which means things like self-defense and insanity. For some reason the cases involving exculpation are significantly more controversial than previous cases. We began with the Goetz case, in which a middle-aged white guy shot and severely wounded four black youths on a New York subway in the 1980s. Acquitted of attempted homicide charges. (1)

Next up was a longish unit on battered woman syndrome, which included numerous detailed accounts of vicious domestic violence and patterned abuse resulting the wives killing their husbands, and pretty consistently being convicted even when juries were presented with expert testimony regarding BWS. (2)

Call me crazy, but I assumed that the class discussions for both of these cases would be heated, emotional, insubstantial, and all around entertaining. My first disappointment was with the Goetz discussion. Nobody really seemed to care about it. Then I realized that there are no black people in my class.

All right, fine, but a good 48% of the class are women, and over 1/6 of them went to Berkeley. So I expected the battered women stuff to raise some ire. Again, painfully calm. A few latent feminists piped up but were summarily and gently swatted down by the professor.

Tomorrow will be the test. For tomorrow, in the context of the "necessity" defense, we discuss Public Committee Against Torture v. State of Israel. Ooh, baby.

(1) This case was turned into an episode of Law & Order, but the racial element was more or less devoured by a gender element by turning the middle-aged white guy into a young white woman, and turning the request for money into a sexual comment.

(2) The chapter on BWS was my favorite so far, because it had an actual punchline. The book sets you up with all these appalling accounts of men abusing women and women being convicted after killing them, and you think that's really terrible, and then it ends with a comment by a law professor to the effect of, "We have enough trouble getting people on board with the death penalty, which is killing someone after a lengthy court trial, let alone allowing a woman to try, convict, sentence, and execute her husband in her living room."


I think battered women should be allowed to kill their husbands.

unless the women were asking for it.

lummox for lummox,

i'm inclined to agree with you provided the battered woman has exhausted other alternatives. there was one case in which the wife was physically dragged out of a social services office by her husband when she tried to file a report against him, and social services did nothing. she ended up shooting him while he was asleep and was convicted of the homicide since the danger to her life wasn't "imminent" at the time of the killing.

although BWS is presented as a self-defense style phenomenon i think it's more a matter of governmental incompetence at protecting its citizens, which speaks to issues regarding the right of protection, which in turn dovetails nicely into the second amendment. i bring this up only to point out while NOW and the NRA are at odds on almost everything else, redefining the basis for the BWS defense just might bring them into the same bed.

You know how when I got serious about my blog I stopped emailing you and developed an attitude of, 'What? Just read the blog and talk to the comments'?

Well I think you just got me back. Welcome to CH.

ps I know nothing about the law.

On the radio the other day people were calling in to talk about weird things that they eat. One man called up to say that he knew it was gross but he loves barbecued lamb balls. The host immediately instructed him to send NOW the recipe as it would provide them with an official dish.

gives a whole nother meaning to the phrase "ate my balls," doesn't it?

i gave a friend a cookbook with a recipe for bull penis once. i don't think she ever made it though.

Where do you purchase bull penis? Do you have to grow your own?

apparently deer penis soup is a delicacy in china. so is personal freedom.

in china it's a commonly held belief that eating bull penis or deer penis will improve the male vigor. however it is very shameful to actually have to admit to needing that kind of supplement. it's a delicate conundrum.

intriguing. does that mean that eating small penises will decrease male vigor, and if so, might that be an effective way of deterring child molesters and other sexual predators?

i think we're onto something here.

gerbil penis casserole as mandatory prison food. this will also be beneficial to smaller men in prison, or "bitches," who have a headache and are hoping their gentleman callers will let them off the hook.

Perhaps NOW should thus take up the cause of discriminatory genital eating habits: are a woman's genitals less of a delicacy than a man's? Could it be that there is an international male plot to discriminate against the illicit consumption of animal vaginas? Woman, rally and rise up against this gustatory oppression! Vagina- it's what's for feminista dinner.

hmm that's interesting considering that the phrases "blow me" and "eat me" refer to respectively.

that should be "what the phrases" not "that." sorry.

"eat me" is so pleading, isn't it? as if begging for gender equality on the world's dinner table. eat me, men of china and so forth! eat of my ovaries and so on!

here's one woman who's taken that plea straight to the inter-web:


A very "Stranger in a Strange Land" feeling to it. Eat of me. Very appropriate for the holiday season. Interesting to think of the transubstantiation assumed by the folklore surrounding the consumption of animal genitals. Well, animal penises and testicles, in accordance with the international oppressive plot against eating women.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on November 19, 2002 7:09 PM.

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