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Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Repository of Brophyisms

A confession, probably not so dirty: not normally a reader of Property Prof (ok, until today, not *ever* a reader of Property Prof).  But Ben Barros was kind enough to trackback and post in response to Matt's invaluable series on casebook selection inquiries (CSI: Property!), so I ended up coming across this wonderful post on his co-blogger, the delightful and Yoda-wise Al Brophy.  The post includes some clutch material from the Brophy Lexicon and Book of Quotations from a former student at the University of Hawaii, and is worthy of reproduction, in whole, after the jump. First a little taste:

Brophy on Colleagues
- One of my fellow faculty at ‘Bama, who was also a circuit court judge, actually held the record for longest prison sentence imposed. It was in the Guiness Book of World Records. Until it was surpassed by a religious tribunal in Iran.
- I have some colleagues who don’t seem to have an off switch. So I’ll just keep working on my computer and they can keep talking but I ain’t listening no mo.

Brophy on Football
- I despise football. I hate the violence aspect of it. I don’t mind the sex during halftime, I’m cool with that. It’s just the football I have trouble with.

At the end of my first year of law school, my sectionmates and I compiled a similar list for David Rosenberg, our eccentric torts professor (a man so mysterious in manners that he forbids a picture on his HLS profile), which we framed for him and gave him during our end-0f-semester ritual of skits and gift-giving.  I can't seem to locate it right now, but I'm sure there are probably other examples of a prawf's Brophyisms that are floating out there and I'd be grateful if you could post some of them in the comments.

From Amanda Coe:

I was one of the few University of Hawaii students privileged enough to have Brophy for a visiting prof. I spent the semester taking down pearls of wisdom, here are some of the best. Thought this might provide a good brief on his personality for those who haven't had the pleasure of meeting him.


Brophy on Manifest Destiny
- In the words of the Village People, ‘This world is so jive’.

Brophy on Hobbies
- How do we protect O’s interest, who is five years old and main occupation
consists of sucking his thumb, which is not a bad occupation and one I engage in with some frequency.

Brophy on Attention Spans
- You are looking at me like you have no idea what’s in my head, but then it
occurred to me that you’re actually looking at the compuber screen in the row in front of you, so continue to watch ‘Charlie’s Angels’ or whatever you’re doing.
- I can see your eyes glazing over, and I know some of you are thinking ‘I wish that short little SOB would shut up’. You are the ones who usually come to me first for help.
- This is an exceedingly complex case.  I hope you guys are paying attention and not playing Tetris.
- Do you agree with my analysis, or do you want to go back to just ignoring me?
- Enough about Prince’s purple house.  That was a little advertisement to retrigger your interest.

Brophy on Answering Questions
- Tell me how it is.  You know how it is, don’t let me run you around the room.  Say ‘This is how it is, Brophy you SOB!’

Brophy on Holdings
- It starts out as a reasonable decision, but then the court kind of veers off into the ditch.
- It makes sense, if you read it really fast.
- When you read a case and say that doesn’t make any sense, it may not be because the case is poorly written or because you don’t understand, but rather because the rule is absurd.
- One of the things I like about this casebook is that it has poorly reasoned decisions, which make me look smarter when I point out the flaws.
- Facts are generally irrelevant.
- Much like the French Revolution, not enough time has elapsed to pass judgment on the wisdom of that decision.

- Brophy: So what’s the holding in this case?
- Student: Don’t ever accept Brophy as your landlord?
- Brophy: That’s a pretty narrow construction.

Brophy on Sentimentality
- Even CATS had to come to an end, and so we finish with Future Interests.- I have the misfortune of not seeing you on Monday, and there will be a tear in my eye.

Brophy on Family (“for those of you who are from the ‘hood, like me”)
- I’m from an absurdly poor family, and probably won’t be inheriting much upon my parent’s death. I had hoped my wife was from a more affluent family than I’m now finding out she’s from.
- I wanted to have karaoke at my place, but my wife put the kibosh on that. The important thing with karaoke is to have free flowing alcohol, which seems to impair people’s judgment. So instead I’ll be buying rounds for a few people, at a bar close enough for me to stagger home. Let me just say I am a lot more fun in person.
- Or as we used to say growing up in the ‘hood in Philadelphia, ‘open a can of whoop ass’.

Brophy on Colleagues
- One of my fellow faculty at ‘Bama, who was also a circuit court judge, actually held the record for longest prison sentence imposed. It was in the Guiness Book of World Records. Until it was surpassed by a religious tribunal in Iran.
- I have some colleagues who don’t seem to have an off switch. So I’ll just keep working on my computer and they can keep talking but I ain’t listening no mo.

Brophy on Football
- I despise football. I hate the violence aspect of it. I don’t mind the sex during halftime, I’m cool with that. It’s just the football I have trouble with.
- The entire centerpiece of the Superbowl is bashing people’s heads in. How can you become morally outraged when someone throws a little sex out there?

Brophy on ‘Bama
- Maybe someday you’ll meet one of my ‘Bama students. And they’ll say ‘So you had Brophy, that big SOB? Does he still hate children and animals?’
- When you folks all come out to Tuscaloosa next fall for the Hawaii/Bama game, keep in mind that if you don't wear red I won’t be able to protect you.
- Everyone at ‘Bama thinks I’m a socialist.  I don’t think you people think I’m a socialist, I think you think I’m a neo-Nazi.

Brophy on the Fair Housing Act
- The FHA relates to whether or not you have children, not whether or not you’re living in sin.

Brophy on Self-Deprecation
- I appreciate people who come up and tell me ‘Brophy, you’re a complete idiot’ and then give me a Bill of Particulars.
- Maybe you should just call me ‘Professor Blowphy’ because my class blows so much.
- Sometimes I play stupid, and sometimes I am stupid.
- The fact that I was thinking about Tulk v. Moxhay during ‘Notting Hill’ says volumes about my inadequately formed and defective personality.
- Over the years I start to think I have something to teach you guys.  Then I realize that’s not actually true.
- I am technically incompetent, slash the University has not provided me with adequate tech support.  It is the perfect storm.

Brophy on Los Angeles
- The city as in the defendant.  The city by the bay.  The city that rocks, the city that never sleeps.

Brophy on Accomodations
- My wife has taken to calling our house the ‘million dollar lizard cage’, which would be much funnier if either part of that were untrue. I like geckos as much as the next guy, but I don’t enjoy it when they try to mate with me.

Brophy on Mt. Laurel
- ‘Poor people, we don’t want you.  Stay out’.  It’s as American as apple pie.
- Mt. Laurel are equal opportunity discriminators.  They dislike all poor people equally.

Brophy on Law School
- It’s called ‘tying’.  It’s where you get something you want, but you have to
overpay for something else. Like law school. You want a degree, but you’re stuck taking this Property class that makes you want to stick pins in your eyes.
- You guys have done enough Property law to get to the point where you can strategize in the cigar smoke filled back room.
- Generally I don’t think law schools spend a lot of time teaching deception, but today we are.
- It’s amazing I do what I do given how much I hated law school.
- I’ve been told that if you write a casebook, you should put as much sex in it as possible because it’s so hard to keep people’s attention. I’m happy for every little ray of sunshine.
- It’s the morning after spring break and I’ve done everything I could to sex up the class.

Brophy on Wedding Crashers picking up chicks at funerals
- They are innovators, and I admire them for it, but I’m not willing to go there.

Brophy on Gusto’s Departure
- So who’s going to take up doing impressions of me? You may not have the same personality of the comic, but there certainly is a lot of material to work with.

Brophy's Final Thoughts
- Enjoyed it. You’re on your own. The entire class has abandoned you. Bookmark this in your mind. This is all key bar exam material.

Amanda Coe

Posted by Administrators on May 17, 2007 at 12:28 AM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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I can't take credit for compiling this, but Jonathan Zasloff was known at UCLA Law for his seersucker suits, collection of bobbleheads, colorful lectures and "Zasloffian wisdom":

- You beast!
- ...and because this is a Torts class
- Suck it up!
- That'll buy you a nice little roast.
- Not only does a smile make a lousy umbrella, an umbrella makes a lousy umbrella.
- My first thought was Roland v. Christian. My second thought was, "Ow!"
- Damn you, Zasloff!
- Ambiguity is your friend.
- Embrace your freedom.
- Now that you're all experts...
- We love the book. The book is truth. The book is light.
- Not stuff you want to be chugging on a hot summer day.
- Life is Torts.
- That’s a bad thing. Value judgment on my part.
- Let’s bracket that.
- Let’s unpack this.
- Garden-variety, plain-vanilla, white-bread negligence.
- Causing me the death of a thousand screams.
- You can see the Cope v. Scott court as Goldilocks.
- Justice Holmes. Not a people person.
- …which would be bad.

I haven't really touched torts since, but I remember being taught so well that I can remember most of the cases and doctrine--and I was entertained to boot. And when I go on the market after the SJD I'll probably put it as one of my first-year courses I'd like to teach. We gave him a custom-made bobblehead of himself in a seersucker suit as a class gift, along with this compliation of quotes.

Posted by: Dana Nguyen | May 17, 2007 1:44:40 PM

Professor Steven Gey, as compiled by loyal members of the Professor Gey Facebook group, founded by Scott Edwards:

A few classic Prof. Gey quotes:
“Suit was filed by The Alabama Free Thought Association – Not a Large Group"

“Poor people – if they would just go away we wouldn’t have to worry about them."

“Michael Nedow is an atheist, a doctor, and a lawyer. Everybody hates him."

“A zoo turned away kids with Down’s Syndrome because the zoo keeper was afraid the kids would scare the chimpanzees."

"You can steal from the legislature, and from the aged, blind, and disabled, but not the court. Don't mess with the court."

“You’ll have plenty of time to proofread your exam if you can write as fast as I can jabber."

"An injunction isn't helpful...they're almost dead, they're old!"

"According to the FCC, you are no longer men, you are non-women."

“The good nature of the people had been aroused... and you can tell." - In reference to nudist literature

"Mr. Constanteneau's concrete injury was sobriety. . . a fate worse than death."

"Blah blah blah blah blah gobbety gook."

"The family that porns together, stays together"

"If you are married to Martha Stewart, you are OWED alimony"

"I think Scalia's right!" (Whoda thunk?)

"I can't wait to read the exam answers
on this stuff. I might as well start drinking

Posted by: Bart Motes | May 17, 2007 8:46:51 PM

A fellow HLS grad compiled some Rosenberg quotes from 1997-2000 on this webpage.

Posted by: Stuart Buck | May 18, 2007 10:03:07 AM

Stuart, thanks for the link to that. Let me at least share some of Rosie's crazy quotes from when I had him in the fall of 97. Perhaps this will help explain to my wife what I've had to endure in my past, and she'll be more prone to forgive...

Torts, Fall 1997
Compiled by Jon Rose
"Become physicists - Do something useful for the world."

"You don't learn anything in law school, any law school; this one is just the best of the bunch."

"Courts are smart people, but they ain't physicists."

"When you grow up to be a judge, you won't know anything either."

"It blocks your mind from contributing if you think about this garbage."

"Get out now if you want to contribute."

"Once you really get educated...not here."

"It's not meanness to ridicule stupidity."

"I am here to disabuse you of the idea that there is anything sensible being taught by those who could teach you something sensible."

"I never complain about the rich getting more since I aspire to their ranks."

"Fluoride is a commie plot."

"I was trying to beat you down, but I haven't managed to do that."

"You're wrong, and you're at the wrong school." (to a student expressing concern about the disadvantaged)

"That's why I spit on due process!"

"Here you are in the third week and you're already talking like you were never here." (This is a compliment.)

"The Coke and everything else I was drinking...using..."

"I'd trade all my wealth -- well, maybe not all of it."

"If I had a B2 bomber, I'd roll it out in the sunshine and I'd never have any problems."

"White paint would have done the same job." (referring to the $33 million renovation of Langdell Library)

"I have no interest in how you turn out. I'm not going to make any more money because of it and that's all I care about."

"Maggie ran a war and then taught George how to run one."

"To put it as pompously as I can..."

"Frahnce. Did you catch that? Frahnce. This is a multicultural setting."

"People at Yale, okay, they have such mush for brains that it doesn't make any difference."

"Am I wrong? No, of course I'm not."

"There are good weirdo types. People who like fast cars...like the Viper."

"I like velcro, and other people like due process."

"It cannot be done, Captain, the ship will fly apart!"

"I'm just here trying to cheat you out of your tuition."

"I like you...but then you're paying my salary."

"What, did you read the case or something? Keep it to yourself!"

"I don't mean to stereotype the English, but it's empirically true."

"Rip up those briefs, rip up those memos, throw away your casebooks. Free yourselves!"

"I'm just an outsider. I'm a country lawyer."

"No, really, what's your real name?" (To Solomon Noh)

"Constitutional Law is the last resort when you really have nothing else to say."

"I love [the law]. It's the next best thing to war."

"I assume that the admissions committee only let in those of you who are Commies."

"You're going to be short, blind and dead before your time. God, it's great!"

"I watch television instrumentally. Not for fun."

"You're not going to cheat your clients...most of you."

"Not all of you have mowers yet, but I hope you will. 'Cause they're wonderful!"

"I drink and mow separately. That's my policy."

"You may say to yourself, 'Gee, there's nothing particularly odd about this, so why am I paying tuition?' Tough!"

"You should think only about the body snatchers when you hear something like that!"

"I'm motivated because I hate these people."

"Put as little time as possible into the LRA project as you can and still graduate from this institution. You can cite me on that."

"Good! Makes the exam so much easier to grade."

"They laugh at you. Everybody's laughing at you."

"Your questions are extremely good, because this is my answer which is even better..."

"Nothing you haven't already thought of, folks, but it's too late for a tuition refund."

"I used to have shoes that tied with Velcro. I can't tell you how wonderful they were."

"People who dribble about due process, let them have shoes that tie with Velcro, and then they can see how wonderful things could be."

"Let me plod along and confuse."

"This is a crushing blow to the Stalinists. Observe this moment!"

"In any event, that's just a side point." (following lengthy diatribe)

"This is your future in this law school. A lot of dribble about justice, a lot of dribble about fairness."

"I get nothing for this because I detest him." (referring to Professor Michelman after plugging his Constitutional Law class)

"Two kinds of people: Those who carry guns and those who dig."

"The meek will inherit at least the tenements in New York."

"I will kill you out there because I love to kill."

"There's good reason we don't cover slander in this class."

"Who said I don't teach anything about slander?"

"Slander is going to be a big part of this class, because I have to keep you awake."

"Why can't these people just lift weights?" (referring to sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome)

"I don't care what happens in the real world!"

"I'm not paranoid in believing that the fact that we don't have any heat in this classroom is indicative of the Stalinism running rampant in this university."

"I was going to try to say something nice about the Dean, but it's impossible."

"Go ahead, take [Prof.] Larry Tribe, take your hearts, put them on your sleeves and sit there and whine."

"I'm not paranoid. They're out to get me." (on the third day of no heat)

"Did I ever tell you I ran a railroad? It was the Cuban railroad."

"Go to any river in the United States and see if you don't come up with a car that's been thrown in there to get insurance coverage."

"Eat your turkey, prepare yourself to govern and control in ways no one ever dreamt of."

"You don't like defendants, you don't like business, you don't like capitalism, you don't like America!"

"It's not me. It's not Crazy Dave."

"I will from time to time read about what you do and I will probably laugh".

"My friend, this is not the Soviet Republic of Cambridge."

"I'm going to be able to rest easy and say 'I tried.'"

Posted by: Dan Markel | May 18, 2007 3:30:34 PM

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