Moral sanitation workers

In “Jurassic Park” the lawyer character was eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex while sitting on a toilet in an out house. In the theatre where I saw the movie, everybody cheered.

Isn’t there something about this scenario that bothers you? In our hearts we find room for so many different ideologies, ethnicities, ways of thinking and being. Hell, last year Tom Cruise played a sympathetic Nazi, ferchristsakes. But lawyers? No, not lawyers. Those folks be dinosaur bait. When bad things happen to them we laugh, we cheer, we run around the room and do the antler dance. We wait with barely restrained glee for terrible events to befall lawyers everywhere they may appear in pop culture, whether it be movies, books, theatre, comic books or bubble gum cards.

But what exactly is their crime? Why the intensely focused cultural hatred toward our advocationary class?

I submit that we are actually engaged in a collective act of deflected self-hatred. We use lawyers to do our dirty work, and then we blame them. Heaven forbid we should blame ourselves. Particularly in America, where lawsuits are only slightly more common than bathroom breaks.

We sue each other in our courts of law, and then go out for drinks together afterward. When questioned, we shrug our shoulders ruefully and say “well, you know, those lawyers.” It’s no wonder they are paid so well. They are our ethical buffers, cleaning up the Stygian stables of our collective litigious excess and then conveniently taking the blame.

Not to put too fine a point on it, lawyers are our moral sanitation workers.

4 thoughts on “Moral sanitation workers”

  1. I concur. I’ve never met a lawyer who has given me any reason to think any less of his/her chosen profession. I read the following article last week on

    which reports on a $20 million donation made to the school of Law at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. It seemed to me like a wonderful gift that the public should be proud of, and yet the most recent comment posted went something like: “Lawyers? Why would we need more lawyers? We need more front-line medical workers, more tradespeople…” and went on to complain that lawyers do very little to contribute to society, etc.

    To be fair, the poster had a point: we do need more doctors, nurses and tradespeople in Canada. Yet that is no reason to demean the value of such a generous gift; one that will permit dozens more students per year to pursue their dreams of lawyerdom at Dalhousie. The comment was unfortunate and unnecessary.

    Oh, and btw: I was eleven when Jurassic Park was in theatres. It was the first movie with any amount of gore that I saw on the big screen. I can remember my knees going quite weak when the lawyer got eaten… 🙂

  2. I also remember this joke from a live standup performance by Rowan Atkinson in his early touring days (I think this was at the Boston University’s Huntington Theatre). This was a joke where he played the devil and was welcoming people in hell and was lining them all up. At one point he says “Can we have looters? Pillagers? Over here. Thieves? You can go in there. And lawyers, you’re in that lot.” Interestingly I got an audio version of this joke he performed in the UK where he simply replaced the word “lawyers” with “bankers”. 🙂

  3. Well, well, well. I guess it is very common, for most unconscious people, to blame somebody for the things that go wrong in your life, or things you want to change while getting somebody else to do the work. So lawyers are the perfect “tool” to use for such purposes. It is not as personal if some lawyer sues someone for you – you can always say: well my lawyer wrote you the letters and handles the case I have nothing to do with it, I just hired him so I get what I should or change what was wrong. I personally think it’s great to have lawyers around, and as you pointed out, the client is responsible for the way the lawyer approaches a case. If you want a lawyer who does his work “mean and dirty” you will find one. Anyhow I find it so interesting and bizarre that this blaming and taking a distance from those actions is taking place.

    Lawyer’s beside- what strike me the most are conversations I overhear between two people, when I walk down the street, sit down in a bus or hear someone talking over the phone. The blaming and complaining goes on and on. Most of the time they talk negatively about a person who has done something wrong, or has a bad personality, or because that person is doing such and such so they can’t act nice or can’t be successful. Gossiping about people is a way to try to feel superior to others-it is so common. It bores me!!!! I guess if one would be able to sue their colleague for not acting ”right”, or for any misbehavior, we would have even more lawsuits. Take conscious responsibility for your actions, get a little help from a friend or a lawyer if you are in need, but reflect about yourself a little bit more before bad talking and acting upon it without questioning. Let’s stop pointing fingers…for a change.

  4. I laughed because the guy was in an outhouse, not because he was a lawyer. (Actually, I don’t even remember that he was a lawyer.)

    That probably has something to do with the fact that I was 12 at the time, though.

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