Chronicles of Higher Education

“Off the Cuff”

by Paul Handley

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who has not spoken from the bench in six years, broke out of his self-imposed slump with an amazingly nuanced argument about the impending death of the state of the U.S. college system.  Ironically instigated by some case about someone getting killed or something.

A question arose regarding the qualifications of a defense lawyer who happened to be a Yale law school graduate.  At that point, apparently Thomas had heard enough, even though there had never been any previous indication that he could ever hear enough.   He cut off the state’s attorney for Louisiana with a slashing finger across his throat, gave a halt sign to a stuttering defense attorney and put a beefy arm across Scalia’s mouth.

Thomas stated, “With a nod to Otter of Animal House, we shouldn’t be here for a murder that may or may not have been committed or whatever the constitutional issue may be.  What should be indicted here is the entire U.S. educational system.”  Thomas is also a Yale law school graduate and famously placed a fifteen-cent cent sticker from a package of cigars on his Yale law diploma.  Raising the questions, what is the connection between public figures and cigars and does anyone believe that a package of cigars can be purchased that cheaply unless they were pre-used in a public figure-like manner?

Justice Thomas asked, “Who gets in to these elite schools?”  Other Justices raised their hands and Thomas said “Shut up.  That was rhetorical.  The smartest students?  Again, rhetorical.    Only a few have parents that can afford private schools jacked up tuition or have a Daddy Warbucks (that’s a theatre reference for you cultural elite, though I prefer the cinematic Little Oral Annie).  Others that have a leg up to piss on everyone else include:  ability to attend high schools supported by higher property taxes; strivers that joined clubs and went to Saturday night test prep sessions after Saturday morning Stanley Kaplan entrance exam classes; legacies; a parent that can kick in 3 million for that new geology building where their friend’s kids from Saudi Arabia were thinking of attending; and celebrity students that majored in theatre.  Seriously, how smart do you think James Franco and Jodie Foster are, although, I do admire her remake of The Beaver.  Not as good as the original, but what can you do with Mel Gibson?”

What were you doing when you were 17?  Normal stuff like playing sports or peeping in windows?  I wasn’t in a position of authority yet to harass anyone, so I was really into porn mags that I stuffed under my mattress.  My best friend and soul mate at that time was a sex doll, named Diamond.  I used to pretend that she said my mattress was so high I could practically guide jets landing at the local airport. She was so funny.

“Are elite schools even all that?” Thomas asked.  Profs send grad students to teach class while they do research.  These big shot profs never even showed their faces in undergrad classes once they were finished passing out the syllabus.  They would send in their graduate students to do all the heavy lifting.

The defense attorney had mentioned LSU in a derisive manner.  How is LSU or any school any different   from the so-called elite schools?  Do students at LSU read the cliff note versions of Torts?  I submit to you that they read the same exact textbooks that are not in any way shape or form phonetically enhanced.  Not that I’m against artificial enhancement.  There are a multitude of schools that charge huge tuition rates and have a greenery encrusted campus, but a library smaller than SE Western Duluth State.

As Justice Thomas stood and raised his fists, the rest of the Court, including the jaded court reporter rose for a standing ovation.  The reporter was so overcome, that Thomas’ words would have gone unrecorded if it were not for a visiting professor on sabbatical who wanted to insure that Thomas was never invited to his elite University for an honorary degree.

So stirred was Thomas by the subject that he stepped outside for some air, hanging out between the Corinthian pillars.  A disingenuous reporter asked, “How would you repair colleges given your antipathy toward solutions such as affirmative action and your votes to tilt the entire power structure to the Right?”  Thomas became sullen and marched off to a neighborhood bodega, returning to the courtroom with coffee and a cruller.

In the interim, Scalia waxed rapturous, “Not only is he a porn aficionado, I’ve been telling him for years to let the world see his rhetorical skills. The idea that he’s my puppet is ludicrous or you may substitute any of the insults that I have used in my dissents.  I don’t want to get bleeped here.  Associate Justice Clarence Thomas or AJCT as we call him back in chambers is constantly berating me for my gratuitous, flame throwing comments, that I term bon mots toward attorneys that I deem ideologically subversive.  That dude runs the show.   If anything, I’m his lackey.

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