Saturday, February 25, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Re-liability

I am being restricted to 750 words, as you may know, but I have fallen into the habit of providing the same material on both BLS Advocate and Flying Houses. This is unacceptable. From now on, flying houses will include what parts I "left out" of the column.

SO what was left out this time?

-That I was unreliable by not showing up to a SALSA dance event at Geraldo's on Friday night where the Harvard transferee would apparently be in attendance and where I might be able to get the answer to my question.

-That my back was in truly awful pain, that I spent 3 hours trying to move across the room to unlock my door, and then reach my cell phone, and then did not wake up until 3 PM--though I wrote this column in between 11 AM and 1:30 PM or so.

-That it is probably the worst article so far in the sense that it does not make a strong legal argument. This (along with the severely redacted Facebook Etiquette post on BLS Advocate - which, by the way, I consider the best column I have done in its full 2,900 word form here on this blog, and the worst column in its redacted form) is my second worst column - but I think it could also be considered the best for its poetic quality, reference to Marx, and random tangential quality. This is not just about reliability, but cell phones, answering machines, social life, and default judgments. Maybe I lost some of my focus along the way, but believe me, it could have gotten much, much worse. Enjoy.

It is with great irony that today I opine about reliability, as it marks the first time in my life I have ever committed the sin of the unexcused absence. I woke up at 7:30 AM and could not support and lift myself off of my mattress until after 10 AM because of horrible, horrible, back spasms. 75 minutes after I was supposed to show up, I finally got in touch with several people that work at the library. They understood, did not accuse me of lying, and covered for me.

I have noticed a lot of complaining of late about the alleged scarcity of jobs. Indeed I have written about it before. And perhaps it is no longer just an allegation – but a fact. But I would like to offer an alternative to self-pity: just show up.

A very famous man once said 90% of life is showing up. And when it comes to the practice of law, the statement is accurate (more or less). The only time you don’t show up in court is when you know you have nothing, and you would rather take a default judgment than waste your time fighting a losing battle. But when there is no more than a scintilla of hope, and you still show up, you set a good example. People will respect you for doing that. Unfortunately most of my argument rests on social and not legal grounds.

A spectre is haunting America—the spectre of communication breakdown. We have more tools than ever before to communicate with one another, but people have lost their love for the phone, and fallen for the text. Of course, everyone has cell phones, and few people have landlines, and it would follow that, a person keeps their phone on them at all times – so how come they’re more difficult than ever to reach?

Maybe they just don’t like you, or think you’re ugly. Maybe they’re “shy on the phone” and prefer to send e-mails. Whatever their excuse, it’s troubling. Every cell phone has caller ID (I think). Do you remember the days before caller ID? I do. It was a wilderness. Prank phone calls abounded. Answering machines were the preferred defensive method. I ask people, “Why don’t you ever pick up? Are you screening your calls?” They reply, “What do you mean by that?”

I may be two or three years over the median age, but I am not that old. Still, I have to say, these kids today drive me crazy! Oh, how pathetic it becomes! When, for example, I met with a certain committee a couple weeks ago, and we were waiting for all the other members to show up, and every single person was looking at something or texting something on their cell phone. I don’t have a Smart Phone and people make fun of me for only having 250 Text Messages a month to use.

Answering machines were vastly superior to voice mail because they allowed for a great deal of creativity. Your greeting could be a work of art, if you so chose. Once I left an incredibly long greeting on our family answering machine, and several of my parent’s friends thought it was just about the cutest thing in the world – could they record it and save it as their own? I have heard ONE “creative” voice mail greeting, and it sounded very dumb. The medium is not conducive.

Not only was there creativity – but there was screening. You could have that desperate moment, when you are listening to someone leave a message, and maybe they are saying, “I know you are there. Pick up.” And perhaps you do pick up – in 1993. But if it were 2012, you wouldn’t. You would be too intimidated by the prospect of telephonic conversation. You would write back a text, saying, hey I saw you called, what’s up? And then you are forced to fit your thought into 160 characters. You’re forced to be much more efficient. You’re also forced to ignore the finer details of the matter. Lose your feelings, just state the facts.

Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. He has written two novels, a book of short stories, and a memoir of his 10-month-stint in L.A. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law. He ranks in the upper 54% of his class. You may find his blog by visiting

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Note on Copyright

As you may have noticed, I have copyrighted all material on Flying Houses.

This was done as a result of my friend, who took Copyright Law last semester and wants to practice it, telling me that I had left myself extraordinarily unprotected in perhaps the easiest medium to copy, cut, paste, and steal: text.

Daylight Savings Time, the novel, has also been copyrighted.

While Flying Houses is run as a public service to all of the book lovers of the world, I have become quite interested in the traffic stats of late. Flying Houses is more popular than ever. And it is definitely possible that some of my material is being hijacked.

I won't stand for this as Flying Houses will soon be celebrating its 4th birthday, and I have spent countless hours working to perfect a distinct style and tone to the material. If others profit off the work that I do for no pay, they will be found out and reprimanded appropriately.

That said, please feel free to share any reviews or articles on this blog. After all, I am quite happy about the traffic hitting new peaks each month. But, if you would like to re-publish something, please contact me for permission.

You may do this by commenting on any post and stating your request. I will generally not seek pay - just credit. And if you are trying to write an essay for high school or college about one of these books, please, write your own paper (and know that I will be happy to discuss whatever ideas you may have for it - Flying Houses is not sparknotes - these reviews are not academic in nature - they do, however, provide a springboad for academic commentary, and I am always pleased to discuss such matters).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Copyright Info

Creative Commons License by Christopher J. Knorps is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: I Can't Go On...I'll Go On...(1Ls Considering Dropping Out)

Now, we will stop posting the title and author. Bio will remain, but see how it is shortened. This is column #3. Column #4 will be about reliability, which is increasingly bothering me. BLS Advocate did post the last column, and I'd prefer to post this after BLS Advocate posts it, but it doesn't make a difference one way or another. The point is to get traffic I ordinarily wouldn't get, and to see the other posts (or to provide a more reader-friendly format). Enjoy.

Let me give you a hypothetical. You are 25 years old. You are a 1L at BLS. You have a “pretty good” scholarship. You’ve gotten your Fall grades. They are average – let’s say a 3.2 – you don’t know where you stand in the class but you see those scholarship renewal statistics on BLS Connect and it says you need a 3.35 to be in the top 40%. You need to do much better in the Spring if you don’t want to lose your money, and law school feels like an endless parade of reading, memorization, deadlines, obligations, and opportunities that you would be remiss to ignore. You have no idea what kind of law you want to practice and you haven’t gotten an internship yet. Let’s add into this special fact pattern that you’ve taken out $20,000 in loans (no grad plus), your scholarship covers the majority of tuition and housing, but your parents are still supporting you, and floating you spending money. Let’s say your parents are having financial difficulties of their own and they’ve mentioned the word “bankruptcy” more than once. Soon the Spring will be over, and you will have your full year grades, and you will know your rank, and you will know how much money you will be keeping or losing. And you will hopefully have an internship by then. Let’s say you do slightly worse in the Spring (because those extra two credits weigh a lot heavier than they seem), and you end up with a GPA approximating ∏. The internship is going alright – but your options for OCI are non-existent, and you hear all of this talk, endless talk, about how hard it is for a lawyer fresh out of law school to find a job in this day and age. What do you do?

In my case, I punched my sister on the arm. We were on a beach in Nantucket. She said, “I think it’s amazing how much money mom and dad are giving you. You should be taking out more loans.” I said, “I can’t believe you said that. You should know that is the main thing hanging over my head. I should hit you for that. Wait, I am going to hit you for that.” And I gave her a little “dead arm,” which any boy will recognize, hurts for about a minute, then goes away. And it wasn’t even a hard dead arm, but of course, gender stereotypes being what they are, she gets up, walks away, and starts saying I’m going to be an abusive husband when I grow up.

1Ls Considering Dropping Out: people are going to tell you things like, “it gets better” and “it gets easier” and “it gets more interesting.” In my experience at least this has been true. My first year was an emotionally devastating experience that brought me to the brink of suicide. It is perhaps worth noting that medication may be the only reason I have been able to deal with the 2L year. It truly is an exhausting experience and if you don’t have the energy or the motivation, doing two more years of this seems like a daunting prospect.

And maybe perhaps you’ve seen that members of the class of 2015 entering with a scholarship will be entitled to keep it all so long as they stay in the top 80% and maybe this seems manifestly unfair to you.

But I know two kids who dropped out. They both seem relatively happy. One of them is going to get his M.B.A. The other is working as a paralegal and from what I can tell by her status updates, is partying more than ever. Law school was “not for them” and maybe their grades were not so high – but I do believe whether it is “for you” is the most important factor to consider. Ability to pay, potential for future success, the quality of the summer internship experience, and general comfort and ease with your classmates and professors are other important factors to consider.
I flirted with dropping out up until October 20, 2011. I was able to make a relatively substantial improvement in my grades in the Fall, I am on my third very positive internship experience in a row, and I just had the most important interview of my law school life. I may not be on moot court or a journal or place even in the top 33%, but my post-grad job search anxiety is nothing compared to what it was a year ago. I told everyone I am going to get by on my charm and it feels like it is working. But who knows – come back to me in a year and ask me how I feel then.

Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. He has written two novels, a book of short stories, and a memoir of his 10-month-stint in L.A. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law. He ranks in the upper 54% of his class. You may find his blog by visiting

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: The Curve

My second column for BLS Advocate has not yet been posted, so instead I offer you this preview, because I am too anxious to post. It still breaks the limit by about 100 words, but I think it's closer to appropriate. Be sure to check out the next column, which will be on the topic of 1Ls considering dropping out.

As I learned from my column last week, I am limited to 750 words on BLS Advocate so the previously-cited language about the elements of Intentional/Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, which I intended to include in every column, will be referred to via re-direction to that article. It is perhaps worth noting that I did not receive “a lot of hate mail” but I did receive a note of concern for my well-being, and a somewhat transcendent comment on my blog. “Thomas Cooley” obviously missed my point. This is not a column about academic success – or rather, that was not a column about academic success. This one is.

For people like “Cooley” that think top 55% at BLS is mediocre, I wish I could challenge them to come into one of our classes and see what they are up against. BLS, like so many schools beneath the top 50 before them, secures the seats in their class by offering merit-based scholarships. That many of these students (myself being one) may lose a significant amount of money by failing to finish in the top 40% is of vague concern to the prospective student. After all, I had the option of going to Loyola Law School, with a scholarship that was some $12,000 higher, but with the requirement of staying in the top 33%. It was a very tough choice between the two—and to this day I’m not sure I made the right one, because who knows, circumstances being different in L.A., I might have done very well during my first year—but ultimately LLS and BLS are practically identical twins on opposite coasts. But this isn’t an article comparing the two – it’s about The Curve.

It is worth noting, however, that Loyola Law School raised all of its students’ GPAs by .3333 starting in the Fall semester of 2010. BLS then did this after Fall semester grades come out for 2010. Loyola said it was done as an indication that their students are so strong and that they deserve a better reflection of that in their GPA. BLS said something to similar effect – but really, this has no effect.

The result of raising the GPA comes with the equal result of raising the cut-off point for scholarships. Recently the 2L class ranks were re-calculated because the transfers had not been included. I moved up 1%. It’s only 1%, but now I’m only 4% away from moving into the next level, which will recover 80% of my scholarship. I need to do the math for that today, to determine what grades I need to get.

I go back to my challenge to “Cooley” and want to mention my friend that transferred to Harvard Law School. First, she was not the only one to transfer to Harvard, nor was she the only one to transfer into a truly prestigious school. Second, at her going away party, I told her, “I am going to friend you on Facebook and I am going to ask you to compare Harvard and BLS after you get your grades. How much harder was Harvard than BLS?”

Her response? None. (Reliability will be the topic of column #4, but if she eventually responds, I will be sure to post a comment to summarize her experience.)

To be sure, The Curve is an instrument by which the institution of law school negligently inflicts emotional distress upon the student. Some schools, such as UC-Berkeley Boalt Hall, only use a system of passes and high passes. I believe there is another law school that has almost done away with grades entirely. A new school like UC-Irvine keeps its class super-small and its student-faculty ratio super-low (the class of 2013 has 83 students; the school employs 35 faculty members). UC-Irvine is the only law school that never sent me a rejection or acceptance letter. I am sure it would have been a rejection. As far as I can tell, they also use The Curve, and their median requirement for each 1st year class is a B+. BLS does not state this outright, but is probably close to the same.

In summary, The Curve is an outdated model that keeps the top 10% going into places like Skadden. The top 10% may be qualified to work at Skadden, but so may someone in the top 65%. The latter person may be the better investment, for it is not always true that the best students make the best attorneys (in the same way that the LSAT is not the most reliable indicator of first year success). Maybe Skadden et. al. should think about offering “bargain basement” salaries of $90,000 a year to non-OCI applicants. I’d take it.

Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. He has written two novels, a book of short stories, and a memoir of his 10-month-stint in L.A. None of his creative writings have ever been published in print form. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law. He ranks in the upper 54% of his class. You may find his blog by visiting It consists primarily of book reviews, a dozen or so film and music reviews, a few pieces of sports journalism, and a light smattering of “special comments” about the study of law in 2010-2012.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Facebook Etiquette

I have recently become involved with the BLS Advocate. All readers should check out because they've got some pretty cool stuff up there (check out the classifieds). I proposed writing a weekly column entitled "Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress" about the various distresses inflicted upon law students by third parties. At bottom, I guess, all of these columns could have the bottom line of determining if there were a tort cause of action against the third party. The topic this time is Facebook Etiquette. So, I guess, Facebook is the third party. Could they be liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress? No way-unless the circumstances were exceptional. But could they be liable for negligent infliction of emotional distress? Probably not - just because, as my little intro points out, it's a tough case to make as it is...

I had to edit this down to 750 words for the BLS Advocate, but I present it to here, in its unedited full, 2,916 word glory:

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Facebook Etiquette
By Christopher J. Knorps
Restatement of Torts, Second, section 46: “One who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress.”
Comment d:
“Liability has been found only where the conduct has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
“Almost all states have adopted the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but only a minority of courts have been willing to recognize an independent cause of action for emotional distress alone against defendants who are no more than negligent. (Shapo, Principles of Tort Law, 3d ed., 381)


Introductory Note to First Column

First of all, let me say, it’s good to be back. This is my first piece of journalism written in a school-sanctioned medium in more than eight years. I have missed the opportunity to make my voice heard, and while there may be plentiful amounts of my own writing at, that website hardly registers in the national consciousness. This is not to say that the BLS Advocate registers in the national consciousness, but it is at least a resource that other students can use to recognize that they are not alone.

This column is entitled Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress because it may cause that in the reader. To be sure, I have never shied away from writing about controversial topics, and I have often paid the price. I expect to get a fair amount of hate mail after every column I write – but my goal is to inspire thoughtful comments that can start a conversation about reasonable values that we can all share as law students. Given its ubiquity, I felt that facebook would be the best topic for my inaugural column.

The Incident Giving Rise to this Column

On February 1, 2012, I posted a two-and-a-half minute video that was recorded on February 1, 2004. This video was shot in my dorm room at the 13th St. residence hall of NYU. The video was shot very late in the evening and involved some eight people. I narrated that we had all gotten married. Many of us were drinking and/or smoking cigarettes. I was two-and-a-half months shy of my 21st birthday, and most of the people there were under 21. A close relative of mine was also there. I wrote, “Happy 8th Wedding Anniversary!” and included the names of the four people that I had been married to that evening. I posted this around 11:00 PM and went to bed.
Around 6:00 AM, my phone beeped twice – two text messages. Next, it started ringing. I let it go to voice-mail, heard that a voice-mail was left, heard the phone ring again, let it go to voice-mail again, heard that a voice-mail was left again, and finally got out of bed. I saw the texts were from my close relative. “Take it down,” was all I needed to see to know what was up. I powered the phone down. Then, consumed by guilt and unable to fall asleep, I turned on my computer, went to facebook, and untagged everyone from the video. Then I was able to fall back asleep.
But not for long. The first thing I did after waking up a couple hours later was to check my e-mail and facebook. I also listened to my voice-mails, found there were four, heard my close relative call me an “asshole” in one of them, heard my close relative’s significant other leave a message that was very measured and polite, and finally heard my close relative crying, apparently walking on her way to work, about the horrible thing I had done.
In an e-mail, another friend in the video sent me a polite explanation, saying that he was an employee of the federal government, and he had actually just had a meeting about these sorts of things, and how people should protect their reputation at all costs, most especially on facebook. His argument held more water to me – and I took it down. My close relative continued to text me. I told her she had little reason to fear disciplinary action. She said she didn’t fear disciplinary action, but she took my lack of concern to be an affront to the reputation that she had worked very hard to build and maintain as a 27-year-old female in her workplace. I wrote, relax, it’s gone. I wanted to add, you can take that stick out of your ass now, but did not want to cause any greater ire.

Perhaps it is worth noting that another person in the video, a PHD candidate, did not object whatsoever, but rather commented on it nostalgically, saying it was a perfect representation of her college experience.

Perhaps it is also worth noting that this same close relative saw what I had written on my younger sister’s facebook wall. My younger sister is seventeen years old. She is waiting to hear back from University of Chicago. She is very smart and will probably be very successful in her career, perhaps because I had to move back home in 2008, and lived with her for two years, and was able to give her a fair amount of good advice. But I digress. The controversial post was a joke, sort of. We had gotten into the habit of playing Mario Party 8 on Wii. For those unfamiliar, Mario Party 8 is a game where you can have up to four players. You pick a character (Mario, Luigi, Toad, Toadette, Yoshi, Peach, Boo, Daisy, Dry Bones, Wario, Waluigi, Hammer Bro, Birdo, or Blooper), you pick a board (Tycoon Town being one of my personal favorites—as the strategy involves investing coins in hotels and gaining equity that determines how many stars you are entitled to and carrying as little cash as possible, so that when you have zero coins and land on a red space, and are supposed to lose three coins, you lose nothing –we shout “discharge!” when that happens and it is fun for all), and you pick how many turns you will play. Each turn ends with a mini-game, which takes about two minutes or so. The goal of the game is to get as many stars as possible. It is one of the best games for a real party and if anyone has a copy and wants me to play I will gladly put off writing my paper for Employment Law a few hours longer and play as many turns as you like. Moving on…we had gotten into the habit of playing 50-turn-games of Mario Party 8 – my younger sister, my younger brother, and me. I wrote a message to the effect that, we were reserving the television on December 23, 2011 from 6 PM – 1 AM for two, back-to-back 50-turn games of Mario Party, and that I would supply the adderall. When my father returned from the airport with my close relative in tow, he took me aside into his office and said, “Take all that stuff down! Don’t you realize that it is a violation of federal law to hand out prescription drugs? You are seriously jeopardizing your career by putting up crap like that!”

This prompted a response on my status a couple days later, to the effect that, people should realize that what I write on facebook is not meant to be taken seriously. Approximately half of the time, I am joking. Before you judge me based on what I write, please ask me what I meant. Context is everything.

With that long preamble in mind, I will now address the role of facebook in the typical law student’s life.


Before there was facebook, there was Friendster, and before there was Friendster, there was myspace, and before there was myspace there was…..nothing? Hardly. Before myspace there were chat rooms and dating sites – social networking in its infancy – and perhaps another brief story (this one truly brief, I promise) will be illustrative.

It was 1996. We had just gotten America Online installed on our home computer. I had gone on chat rooms with other friends before, but now I could do it on my own. I thought I had to pick a cool name. I looked at my shoes. Nike. Nike is kind of cool, but too obvious. How about I substitute a D for the N, and add the year? Sounds great! So, Dike96 became my screen name. When my parents found out about this, they were quite upset. It prompted this conversation with my mother: “Mom, what does Dike mean?” (It is worth noting here that there are two definitions of the word—and actually, with the spelling I used, mine was the more innocent of the two—but the internet has never been a place where double entendres are ignored). “It’s a derogatory term for a female homosexual,” she said. My parents were quite concerned that I would go into chat rooms with such a screen name and become an inevitable target for online predators – arguably still something of an obscurity in those days. The screen name was deleted, and when I got my own computer in December 1997, I started going by jckchicago on AIM.

What does this story illustrate? I don’t know. I joined Friendster and myspace sometime in 2003, and I joined facebook in early 2004. I like to think of myself as something of an “original” member who has held fast through the years and changes, and who has never compromised his artistic integrity by censoring anything he has posted (with the exception of using ****** to fill in swear words). People tell me I’m hard to find on facebook. This helps me feel less vulnerable. That I have two different names, which is confusing, is another factor that helps me feel safer than others when posting questionable content.

Law School and Facebook

In law school, you will go to events held by the career services center. They will tell you take anything that is even the least bit questionable off of your wall, and out of your photos or videos. They will tell you that it is not worth it to risk losing what is probably the most important job search of your life by leaving up some stupid picture of coughing out an ocean of smoke after a massive bong rip. The picture may be funny – yes – but it will automatically disqualify you for consideration for any job – especially one where they require a drug test (note here: USPS interns are required to take a drug test – you’ve been warned). It is monumentally stupid to allow anything that could potentially result in a reputational compromise to be seen by anyone, especially those in charge of hiring at a firm.

But what if no one actually searches facebook to spy on your profile? What if they can’t see your profile unless you accept them as a friend? I think most people are aware they can change certain privacy settings to avoid these kinds of situations from happening at all.

Moreover, what if no one wants to search facebook for your profile? What if you’re not the sharpest tool in the NYC Legal Market and you’re not going to be considered for any jobs, period? Then, what’s the big deal? Is the NYPD or District Attorney’s office going to search your profile, see some picture that may be probable cause for a warrant for possession of marijuana, and bring formal charges against you? No! Is your goofy younger brother going to think a joke about taking amphetamines to have the fortitude to make it through 100 turns of Mario Party is funny? Yes!

Maybe it’s worth noting that my friend count on facebook used to match my LSAT score, and my weight (somewhere in the low-to-mid 160s) and is now, two years later, up to 433. Obviously, being in school when you are on facebook can have a huge impact on the number of friends you have. My younger brother and sister, for example, have over 800 (perhaps my sister has over 1,000). Do they really know all of these people? I don’t know. But one thing is certain: the more friends you have, and the better you are at expressing your love for them, the stronger your “intangible asset” will be as we wade through this technologically-driven age. But I digress.

This is my criteria for being a facebook friend: you have to have had a meaningful conversation with the person you seek to add.

That is the only rule I abide by. I do not refer to myself as Christopher John or Christopher Jack or John Jack or Jack Johnson or C. Jack or Chris K. or Jack K. I use my name as people know me. I do not fear the facebook police, and neither should you.

Privacy is within the “penumbra” of rights recognized in the Constitution by the Supreme Court, and while this privacy generally refers to sexual matters, it should one day be expanded to cover communications on facebook. Facebook has just gone public. There’s $5 billion in shares out there. Of course, it’s your choice what you put out there, but honestly – why are you on it?

You are on it because everyone else is on it. You have cell phones because everyone else has cell phones. You text constantly (and have an unlimited number per month) because everyone texts constantly. You share pictures of cute kittens and puppies because everyone shares pictures of cute kittens and puppies. You are on it because you want to keep up with the friends that you don’t see everyday, or to take the friendships with those you do see every day to another, more surreal level. But also, you are on it just to stay connected – to “network” if the need arises (and that need will arise, if you believe that recent trends in the employment schemata are here to stay). And you are probably on LinkedIn for the same reason, but probably realize that facebook is probably a stronger tool than LinkedIn.

Now, I am on LinkedIn, and I post almost nothing on my profile (I don’t even think I have a picture yet), but there, I will exude professionalism. I am professional enough on facebook. I list all the places I have worked and I have no shame about what I post, who I tag, what I comment, or what pictures I retain in my profile.

But that day, back in December, when I wrote that status about asking before you judge, I added a hash tag, as has been my practice in comments or status updates deserving of some further witticism. The hash tag on this day in particular was, #iamnevertalkingtoanyoneeveragain, which is what Kafka wrote in one of his journal entries. The problem is thus an existential one that goes to the very heart of colloquial conversation with a friend, or classroom commentary – anything I say may be subject to someone else hearing without my expressed consent – and my reputation is bound to suffer, one way or another. Better not to speak, better not to say anything, better to sit quietly in our rooms for all of eternity, never speaking a controversial word, never composing an inflammatory sentence, waiting, quietly, for the polite offer of a job.
Of course, that’s not the way it is. I know I’m crazy. I know you won’t listen to me. So go on, keep telling everyone you’re so happy in your relationship, that you just got engaged, that you just got married. Tell people to look at your wedding photos and have them comment about how absolutely beautiful you look. Wish people a happy birthday when facebook tells you to do so. When you have a baby, take many pictures and post them often, so friends can keep commenting about how cute they are. When you get accepted for a prestigious fellowship, announce it to the world, so that everyone can congratulate you.

However, never announce that awesome grade you got in Evidence – that would be rude. Also, never go on personal attacks – it is just tres declassee. Finally, preach your politics to the most obnoxious degree possible. Point out how dumb Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry are, and decry homophobia, racism, and all other morally reprehensible positions, so long as your views fall in line with the norms endorsed by your influential associates, colleagues, and peers. Never admit that the view opposite yours holds any water whatsoever. Follow these rules, and success will be yours.

Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. He has written two novels, a book of short stories, and a memoir of his 10-month-stint in L.A. None of his creative writings have ever been published in print form. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law. He ranks in the upper 55% of his class. You may find his blog by visiting It consists primarily of book reviews, a dozen or so film and music reviews, a few pieces of sports journalism, and a light smattering of “special comments” about the study of law in 2010-2012.