Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gordleyian Knot

Leiter's reporting that Gordley is leaving Boalt for Tulane. Has anyone had him who can comment on the departure? I mean is this as depressing as when Bundy auditioned for the Hastings deanship or is it one of those, ding dong we can hire some young blood?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, who's Gordley?

3/07/2007 10:41 AM  
Blogger Mad.J.D. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/07/2007 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Mad JD. So the bloggers here are no longer content with merely attacking students. What you said is very inappropriate and should be removed.

3/07/2007 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was 2:34 PM a faculty member posting?

3/07/2007 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was 2:34 PM Brian Leiter?

3/07/2007 4:28 PM  
Blogger Mad.J.D. said...

No disrespect meant. I learned a lot from Gordley, and I assure you I am not the only student who legitimately worried about his health. I hope he takes care of himself. Generally when I attack someone, I don't begin by calling him/her a genius.

Can't remember ever attacking any students or faculty, but thanks for trying to be my compass for appropriateness.

3/07/2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, um, just coming upon this discussion I have to agree with 2:34. The references to living to hard and the potential influence of New Orleans imply that you think this guy has some sort of substance abuse problem. I don't really know this guy's relationship with students, but it strikes me that students wouldn't know him enough to know what's really going on even if we can observe health status. You've been pretty sucessful with this blog, so I imagine that your statement could, actually, damage this guy's professional and personal reputation. If that's not of interst to you, then consider taking your comments down.

3/08/2007 10:43 PM  
Blogger Mad.J.D. said...

*Sigh.* At the urging of the well-stated, well-intentioned comment from 10:43 (as opposed to 2:34, who seemed hyperbolic and altogether off-base), I took my comment down, but I resent having to do it.

Let me be a little more clear about my thoughts on Jim Gordley’s departure. He is a nationally renowned legal scholar. His method of teaching is very impressive. He operates with no notes in front of him, and no open book to prompt him. In fact, he comes to class completely emptyhanded. He is simply that familiar and comfortable with the material he teaches, and he can quote from the cases with ease. He will be an asset to any faculty and student body.

Professor Gordley also has some observable health problems. I assure you that, as limited as his students’ relationship with him is, many students have seen enough to be concerned. I will spare readers the specific details; they are not really important to my point. My first reaction to the news of his move to Tulane was to question whether New Orleans is the best city for Professor Gordley to live and work. For anyone googling his name trying to dig up dirt and happening upon this thread, I do not mean to imply that he has a substance abuse problem. New Orleans has a reputation, statistically and anecdotally, for being one of the unhealthiest cities in the U.S. in terms of nutrition, obesity rate, communicable disease, addiction, and many other public health yardsticks. My original thought was that if you can’t maintain good health in BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, your condition is going to be that much worse in New Orleans. But I am probably oversimplifying. Forgive me.

I wish Professor Gordley the best. I hope the move will ultimately be be good for him, Tulane, and Boalt—-he gets a change of scenery, Tulane gets a big-name scholar in the fields of comparative law and comparative torts, and maybe Boalt can diversify its faculty, which I always see as a plus.

3/09/2007 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MadJD, your rationalizations for your earlier comment are still inadeequate. You should have thought more carefully before making those inept comments publicly about the professor in question. I hope that the Washington Post's reporting regarding Auto Admit has given you pause.

If you're denying that you meant to imply that the person in question has substance abuse problems, or that you meant to imply that he is in any reasonable danger of getting "communicable diseases" or "addictions," then all that's left in the litany of health problems you rattled off regarding New Orleans is "nutrition" and "obesity." Indeed, you not-so-stealthily tried to switch gears in your last post from implications that the professor had substance abuse problems to indirectly suggesting problems of this nature by placing "nutriton [and] obesity rates" as the first two New Orleans maladies that our good professor must dodge. I have no idea what the truth of the professor's medical condition is, nor is this relevant to my analysis, but you aren't left with many other avenues of the person's "hard living" that you initially alleged, so it's quite likely that this is what you were "concerned" about.

So, if you're saying that someone who is obese and has health problems related to that obesity puts himself in danger by moving to New Orleans because the "diet" there only worsens such conditions, then I say, What the hell? I assure you that you can stay in Berkeley and eat yourself to death. Indeed, in our age of globalization and cheap mass shipping and widespread availability of cheap corn meal products, I assure you that any American city, town, and perhaps village offers plenty of opportunity for Americans to choose a bad diet. If you're implying that the soul food of New Orleans will be the death of such risk-prone individuals, I remind you that New Orleans is an international city with a tremendous diversity of cuisines. Even if we make the questionable, stereotypical assumption that New Orleans disproportionately feeds its diners-out unhealthy soul food, I assure you that Oakland's respected, traditional soul food restaraunts can provide a Berkeley-ite with heaps and heaps of overly buttered grits, sugary, fatty sweet potatoes, and deep fried chicken.

So, moving to New Orleans is no more a guaranteed death wish on the nutritional front than staying in the Bay Area.

If you seek to make extra-academic points about why a professor might choose to teach law in New Orleans rather than California, perhaps you'd start with the high-minded assumption that the professor wants to do his part to rebuild New Orleans's institutions by joining the law faculty of one of the city's finest academic institutions.

3/09/2007 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mad JD, as the original objector to your comment, I must say I am also puzzled by the things 3:14 notes. Moreover, I feel that your mea culpa actually raises the same issues as the original post, albeit in a more long-winded manner. It is not showing fondness or respect to post negative things about someone on the internet, whether they are about excessive drinking, excessive eating or just general unhealthiness--especially when the statements are largely based on mere "observation." I am also a bit puzzled about why you thought my initial objection was hyperbolic and off-base. It was inappropriate (as in disrespectful and unkind) for you to post negative things about your professor on the internet and it is wrong for you now to post additional negative things in your follow-up explanation. A respectful and reasonable response at this point would be to remove all comments beginning with your initial comment. It is amazing how insensitive people can be to the fact that publishing unkind and disrespectful things about someone on the internet is the same as saying those things to every person who reads them. Perhaps Google should start a sensitivity training program for bloggers (and perhaps for anonymous commenters as well).

3/09/2007 6:57 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I love how both critics are repeating and even adding on to Mad J.D.'s points. Yeah, that's totally responsible. Oh and New Oreans is also known for its healthy cajun cuisine. But I guess if apply 3:14's logic then the existence of a single cajun restaurant in the Bay Area would render both areas equally "unhealthy." You guys crack me up.

Gordley's a tenured prof who has accepted a senior offer. His professional reputation is set in stone. And comparing Mad J.D.'s comment to the stuff on XOXOTH is about as productive as calling people on this blog republican fascists.

3/09/2007 9:08 PM  
Blogger Mad.J.D. said...

Good lord.

I'm picking up different things from my two critics here.

2:34/6:57, I think your first comment was hyperbolic and off-base because you wrote that "the bloggers here" aren't content "merely attacking students," which implies that me or any other poster gets kicks attacking students. In fact, the bloggers get attacked much, MUCH more than we attack. Which is fine. If I couldn't take it, I would stop posting. But you're just wrong about me attacking people (except for the Hastings guy who emailed his prof. I sort of attacked him. What can I say? I though he was ridiculous. I feel kind of bad about the way it shook out but I didn't write the absurd email - it's his cross to bear). Second, I didn't attack Professor Gordley, which you also imply. I made a reflexive, off-the-cuff remark. Such is discourse on the internet. Someone asked who he was and I responded the same way I would have if someone asked me to my face. Perhaps that is a mistake due to the permanence and accessibility of blog comments, which is why I took that comment down and replaced it with something that I thought reiterated my original observation is a less ambiguous and less offensive way. What I was not trying to do was somehow bolster my original comment with supporting data or do some kind of backtracking. Of course I realize that it is possible to be unhealthy in Berkeley, or healthy in New Orleans. I'm not an idiot. (But thank you, 3:14, for the empirical soul food data.) I attempted to explain that my first comment was my FIRST thought upon hearing the news, not the carefully realized revelation of some great truth. I didn't want to erase it with no explanation because I think that's sort of cowardly. Instead I tried to qualify/clarify it. I suppose I could have taken the initial comment down and done nothing more, but I took umbrage when people suggested that my comment was meant as an attack. Mostly because I really liked Professor Gordley.

I'd also point out that the exact phrase I removed because it was deemed too insensitive was reintroduced by 3:14. Good thinking. But since you dredged it up again, "living hard" to me means not taking care of yourself. Analyze it however you want. I explicitly disclaimed any implied allegation of substance abuse, because that was not the main thrust of my comment, whether or not you believe it. And you know what? I didn't stealthily shift gears! I softened my comments because people thought they were too harsh. What do you want from me? To not be honest about someone because he is a professor? To say he's the picture of health? Sorry, no! Because you know what? He's an unhealthy guy, and that's a key part of my (and many students') impression of him. I'm not apologizing for that--poor health is not a character flaw and I don't mean to imply that it is. I don't know how much clearer I can be: I HOPE HE TAKES CARE OF HIMSELF. Does that really sound like an attack to you? As for basing something on my "mere observation," again, I don't know what you people want. I could give you precise examples and gory details, but I have a feeling you'd fault me for that as well. So what'll it be? The more you keep pressing, the more we'll have it out. If you want this thread to go away, I suggest you leave it be.

3/09/2007 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't publicize online a professor's alleged health problems on the happy occasion of his achieving a faculty appointment, particularly on a blog that holds a reasonably prominent place in the legal academic online community -- especially if I liked the professor in question.

I suppose MadJD has learned a lesson from which we can all benefit.

3/10/2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't sound too self-righteous there 5:43. All Mad JD did was express legitimate concern for a professor. If you had a class with Gordley, I'm pretty sure you'd have immediately thought the same thing as Mad JD with respect to Gordley moving to New Orleans. There's nothing wrong with expressing concern for a professor on a blog. And it's not like this hurts his reputation in any way. Gordley is more than capable of doing that on his own with the stories he tells in class.

3/10/2007 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 1L at Tulane. Gordley is my Contracts Prof. I was googling to see if I could dig up old exam material for his course at Boalt. I stumbled here.

Just a couple points that I wouldn't ordinarily bother with if I didn't think so much of James Gordley.

He is a born teacher, perhaps the best teacher I've ever heard.

He is as endlessly patient in office hours as he is clear and engaging in an 80-full classroom.

It is a bit surprising that a world-renowned scholar would come across in the hallway as so genuine and unfailingly humble, even toward his most clueless students.

The man's decency positively shines. And it fits perfectly in New Orleans.

His humor is dry, whip-smart, and often self-inflicted. Taken at face value some of his jokes might lend themselves to a point or two mentioned above. I can say the man looked healthier this morning than he does in photos past. Beyond that I don't really care to know what anyone might be claiming about his well-being. Suffice it to say, if my daily encounters with him gave me good reason to be concerned for his health, I would be concerned indeed. The man has single-handedly kept my spirit alive in law school.

I understand that Gordley, as a comparative law scholar, was primarily drawn here for the civil law program. Tulane is incredibly fortunate to have him teaching here, and I hope he finds the city to his liking. I doubt any of you take those comments about NOLA's "unhealthy rep" seriously enough to question why else a well-traveled gentleman like Gordley might enjoy life in a cultural mecca.

10/18/2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I had Gordley here at Tulane for Obligations II and not only is he brilliant and a wonderfully warm and encouraging professor and human being, but his health appears just fine. Thank you very much, New Orleans is a wonderful place for us all to be.

5/29/2009 3:45 PM  
Blogger Cptn Cooter said...

I have Gordley for Contracts at Tulane. His story about how he came to Tulane is actually really simple - and he told us this himself in class. He was on a vacation with his wife in the Big Easy - they had never been here before. He always talks down about California and how he didn't like living there. He loved NoLa so much, that he turned to her after a couple days here and said, "I really like it here. Would you want to live here?" She said yes, so he got a gig at Tulane.

12/04/2009 1:20 PM  

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