Media, culture, and politics from an aesthetic-materialist's perspective.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Scalia Q&A: Idiots, Hecklers, and Bad Jokes

I found this clip of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia responding to audience questions at an event in which he was talking about the role of international law in U.S. courts. As a practitioner of interpretive originalism, Scalia is vehemently against either the direct quotation or even the faintest consultation of international law to help decide U.S. cases.

The clip doesn't include Scalia's talk, but it picks up with Q&A and highlights Scalia's skirmishes with a handful of foolish, tasteless, and otherwise dim audience members. I'm a self-identified progressive, and goodness knows Scalia is in desperate need of public intellectual skewering. But this? These "critics" -- all of them college-aged, it seems -- crack terrible jokes (about Dick Cheney's hunting incident), speak as though they were forcing their words through a meat grinder, and are clearly uninterested in engaging in civil, public debate.

The worst of the lot, the first questioner, prefaces his question -- "Do you support Carl Schmitt's dogma of the unitary executive?" -- with a rambling and pompous "introduction," in which he mistakenly refers to the Justice as "Anton Scalia." When the Justice asks him if he has a question to pose, the guy says, "Plato has a question for you." This bespectacled dodo is later escorted out of the room after heckling Scalia one too many times.

No comments: