by SE 10/9/13
In this last Sunday's New York Times Magazine beginning on the page right after the traditional penultimate crossword page the heartless editors decided to place the so-called annual list of the "super-lawyers" - the top attorneys in the NY Metro area, including, as if it was a new reality game show, the rising stars. I have always thought this list which has been published in other print publications over the years to be just more hubris on the part of an already bloated and much too compensated profession; a paid advertisement which is open to any and all lawyers in the New York City area - mostly Manhattan, where the clients with money live and work- there must be a million lawyers give and take the thousands of politicians and in any case the list as constituted
this year adds an additional 120 pages to the paper's magazine section coming as it does right behind the life-sustaining Sunday crossword puzzle which this past Sunday made it most inconvenient and downright impracticable to fold the paper properly and in an appropriate and traditional compact and comforting manner in which I am most accustomed to so as to best meet the always anticipated challenge of the weekly puzzle. The added bulk made the folded page warp, made it quite gibbous as a matter of fact, impossible to fill in those boxes neatly so you had to open up the full page, the full two pages for the puzzle was on the verso necessitating the use of a table so the page would lie flat! Really, an inexcusable inconvenience. No wonder the Giants lost their fifth in a row. The set-up was all wrong. But there's something else: There's an additional 120 pages as I say, small type names and on almost every page is a lovely photo of selected partners and members of individual law firms- sometimes two to a page. Not every law firm mind you but those somewhat smaller ones seeking a bit more exposure - especially in such a classy showplace- to announce and show themselves. I am - as my irregular reader knows- an old grouch who spends most of his time with his trusty mutt, Willie the Sleeper, in a cabin in the woods in upstate New York waiting for his wife to return from her part-time minimum wage (UNION!) job at a local chain-grocery (and all this JOYFUL MOOCHER can say is thank God for SNAP)- being an artist of extraordinary depth and feeling does not pay the rent these days - and because I have so much or so little, depending on your outlook, TIME on my hands I tend to notice certain little things like these almost family-like portraits of smiling attorneys in their Armani-like finest white-shirted attire ( and the men are dressed nice, too) and what you notice or more to the point what you don't notice and upon further consideration of subject and place is that in the so-called most polyglotted, diverse, celebrated melting-pot metropolis that ever existed on this unfriendly planet a celebration (of a sort) of what should be a honorable and a most aspired to profession suddenly in this context becomes such an obvious symbol of just how segregated (still) and apart we (us) are as a society, as a nation. Look on these lists and portraits and ask yourselves and myself and all why in all these pages you can find only three (3) photographs of law firms- among just the "super ones"- that include at least one African-American - and one photo that does include several brothers and sisters is a firm based in Brooklyn, all the the rest in Manhattan. Am I the only one who takes affront at this or thinks it bespeaks volumes? So pleased they all are with themselves. To paraphrase Joltin' Joe- ah, to be white and a lawyer in Manhattan. Better than pinstripes.