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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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Life Imitates Law: Are There Things People Won’t Let Happen?

Posted By Bobbi-Jo Dobush, Monday, August 28, 2017
Life Imitates Law: Are There Things People Won’t Let Happen?

After the recent domestic terrorism and displays of white nationalism in Charlottesville and after a robust public discussion about the appropriateness of the resulting political response, I've been re-reading a book I’ve thought about often in recent months. With jarring accuracy, Nathan Hill’s The Nix, (aside from being one of the best books of 2016), covers a huge range of topics, including political response to violence. Although much of the book is set in the late 1960's, there are many ways that The Nix is – to my dismay – relevant in the 21st century.

Hill fictionalizes the 1968 Chicago riots and, at one point, Hill’s character of Walter Cronkite calls the police, “a bunch of thugs” for “beating kids senseless” and “taking off their badges and name tags and lowering their visors . . . to become faceless and unaccountable.” Hill’s Cronkite is made to recant by the forces-that-be because politicians, (including the Chicago mayor), want to justify the violence as a necessary response to a perceived threat. In the book, there are also TV viewers around the country who feel “jazzed up” and “edgy” watching this violence from the safety of their comfortable living rooms, and who feel like protesters “had it coming.”

While obviously not a perfect analogy to recent events, the normalization of hate-fueled violence perpetuated by people whose lives and bodies – and rights to do as they please with those lives and those bodies – are not, and have never been, up for debate or legal scrutiny, feels like a mistake we should have learned from and left in the past.

But I’m leaving something important out: Despite heavy subject matter, The Nix is actually a very funny book that may make you laugh out loud. Hill credits his, “own thinking about how contemporary America is, in some ways, totally absurd,” for the book’s humorous overtone. I, like Hill, am a believer in laughter as coping mechanism, and at times even a solution. But over the last year I’ve been feeling the absurd slip toward the terrifying.

Hearing my mounting dismay, my dad told me last year, “It’s going to be okay – there are things that people won’t let happen.” I didn’t feel immediately comforted because the things I feared were already happening, and continue to happen. However, if people resist the pull of apathy and refuse to bury their moral compasses, if they prioritize equality and access to justice and resources, then – even now – there may still be terrible things that won’t happen because people won’t let them. That is, as long as we remember that each of us is one of those “people” and we must use all available tools (literature, law, humor, empathy) to protect each other, the things we love, and the most vulnerable among us.

Bobbi-Jo Dobush believes that sharing our diverse passions for example the arts, the ocean, or salsa (the condiment) can positively influence our practices. 


Tags:  Art  domestic terrorism  Literature  Nathan Hill  riots  The Nix  violence  white nationalism 

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My So-Called First World Problems: 5 Must-Reads for Feminist Bookworms

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 Must-Reads for Feminist Bookworms

 

The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan

 

If you read one book on this list, choose this one. The book criticizes society for confining women to their sexual biological roles as wives and mothers, and explores “the problem that has no name:” The widespread misery of women in the 1950s and 1960s, despite material comfort, marriage and children. Friedan argues that women need to find and nurture their identity beyond that of a wife, mother, and homemaker.

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo

 

Believe me, I debated whether to put this book on the list at all, but this book was one of the two most impactful I read in 2015, so here it is. (The other was Ghettoside by Jill Leovy, and if you have any interest in policing or social justice, close the blog and order Ghettoside right now.) Distilled, Ms. Kondo’s message is simple: Get rid of all your crap. I did. Fewer clothes, dishes, cosmetics and books litter our space, and the reward is a calmer home. It’s a quick read – just commit to her method, and Marie Kondo will truly offer you life-changing magic!   

 

Men Explain Things to Me -- Rebecca Solnit

 

This book is for any woman who has ever had her expertise on a subject dismissed because she is a woman.

Mansplain: To explain something to someone, characteristically by a man to a woman, in a matter regarded as condescending or patronizing. Example: Man explains that women did not write in the Middle Ages, to Kathryn Maude, a woman with a PhD on medieval women’s writing.

This book of essays explores the centuries-long history of men silencing women into submission, of men questioning the veracity of women. A memorable exchange details a man at a dinner party laughingly telling the story of his neighbor running out of her home, naked, screaming that her husband was going to kill her. While the man recounting the story clearly views the naked woman as crazy, he is incapable of imagining that her affluent husband might have been homicidal. Solnit astutely points out that what was a funny anecdote to the story-teller illustrates the potentially fatal consequences of disbelieving women.

 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

 

Grab some peppermints, crawl out to the fire escape, and dive into this classic coming-of-age tale. The heroine, Francie Nolan, overcomes the uglier realities of life in Williamsburg through her love of books and writing. The attentive reader will love, admire, and empathize with Francie and her family. Available at any decent bookstore or library.

 

Saturday Night at the Pahala Theater -- Lois-Ann Yamanaka

 

An obscure book of colorful poetry, Saturday Night at the Pahala Theater explores the deprivations and adversities of an Asian-American girl growing up in a poor family in Hawaii. Prosaic enough to guarantee an enjoyable reading experience for the poetry skeptic, Saturday Night explores a rarely contemplated slice of Americana.

 

Rebecca Zipp is currently reading The Woman in Cabin Ten, and aspires to read the following: The Power and the Powerless; Russia and the Russians; and, When Affirmative Action was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, all of which have been sitting on her night table for a minimum of six months. 

Tags:  books  Feminist  Friedan  Kondo  LCB  literature 

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