When I excitedly picked up my tickets to historian Garry Wills‘ talk about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates early last week, I was overwhelmed by the eerie sense that I was probably going to be single forever. Yesterday was also Constitution Day, by far my favorite federally-mandated holiday that was snuck into a 2004 Omnibus spending bill.
Even though celebrating the Constitution and plummeting the mean age of the attendees of yesterday’s lecture attendees may jeopardize my romantic future, it wasn’t a bad day for me. My fellow ILR sophomores spent Labor Law completely dissecting a 1944 Supreme Court decision on the nitty-gritty details of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. I love details and I love politics, so it should be perfect, right? Part of my problem this week was the mysterious cold that has affected the entire university. However, I still spend approximately half of the class thinking I should be a lawyer, and the other half realizing I’m in way over my head and I have no idea what any of Section 8(a)(5) actually means.
At least I’m not alone. ILRies (“I Love Reading”) generally don’t bat an eyelash at three hundred pages per week in our history classes, but the eight-page Supreme Court decisions are throwing many of us for a loop. I’ll spend most of my weekend with the study group trying to figure it all out… hopefully outdoors because you have to take advantage of weather like this before it slips away.
I’m happy I went to the Wills lecture. He raised the point that modern audiences watch our leaders’ interviews and listen to speeches looking for gaffes rather than paying attention to substance or even rhetorical flair. Sad but true: my daily readership of Wonkette can only confirm it. I haven’t decided if that’s a natural consequence of our media and attention spans or it has more to do with journalism itself: the “grilling” format employed by my Sunday morning heroes. At least I know what to listen for this weekend!