Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Make-Work at Georgetown? [Updated Below]

When I was employed in the corporate world as a cost accountant, I sometimes had work that was interesting on a theoretical level, and sometimes even enjoyable on a practical level.  But the worst part of those corporate gigs was that there wasn’t enough actual work to fill most days.  The result was a bunch of make-work, particularly inter-departmental meetings and special projects dominated by corporate lingo about stakeholders, internal customers, thinking outside of the box, and driving the business.  The exact language changes over time, of course, so that consultants can keep selling their schemes to corporate management.  (You can learn about that scam in this wonderful book.)  But the make-work was enough to make me sick to my stomach or put me to sleep—depending on my mood on any given day.

On the other hand, one of the best things about being a self-employed criminal defense lawyer is that every bit of the work has real meaning.  If it didn’t, I wouldn’t do it because I don’t have to do it.  Some days require 12 or even 14 hours of work.  On other days, there’s very little work to do.  And when that’s the case, I don’t have to create any make-work to look busy.  Instead, I can write, take a nap, watch TV, or (rarely) do something healthy like go for a walk.  (I really should do more of that, my doctor tells me.)

I have a hunch that academic bureaucracies, including those in law schools, are a lot more like the corporate world than the self-employed lawyer world.  Take Georgetown, for example.  They hired a professor or lecturer who presumably checked all the boxes when coming on board.  But then, before he started the gig, he tweeted something along these lines (paraphrasing): It’s unfortunate that Biden has committed to a SCOTUS nominee of a very specific skin color, because there are a lot of minority candidates with different skin colors that could be better candidates.  By focusing on only one skin color, we’ll get a lesser nominee.

You can read the actual tweet here.  As you might expect, this sent the liberals at the law school – or, in other words, it sent the law school – into an absolute frenzy.  The result?  A four-month investigation into the tweet!  The “investigation” was done by the DIE (diversity, inclusion, and equity) people.  It’s sort of like putting a bunch of cops and former cops on the jury in a cop-shooting case.  But I digress.

The point of this post is this: just imagine the make-work that was created for the “investigators” on the DIE committee who “investigated” a single tweet over the course of four months!  Can you imagine?  The meetings and emails and findings and reports must have been filled with words like “our community” and “safety” and “inclusive environment” and “harm.”  I suspect that, just as in my corporate days, any person outside of DIE who might have been roped into that “investigation” would have started out being sick to their stomach from the onslaught of buzzwords and distorted language, but then, by the second month of the four-month affair, would have been fighting off sleep due to the sheer absurdity and irrelevance of it all.

As for the lecturer or professor or whatever he was, well, he was ultimately cleared, but then resigned.  For some reason, he didn’t want to go through these months-long “investigations” every time he said or wrote something.  But given that the DIE investigations presumably don’t require his participation or even attendance, I don’t see why he would mind.

Now, back to some real work.

Update: The former lecturer's name is Ilya Shapiro.  He appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight shortly after I wrote this post.  Here's the link in case the video doesn't appear below. 

No comments:

Post a Comment