08/08/2005: Reactions to the revelation, "I'm a philosopher...."
Over at Thoughts, Arguments and Rants, Brian Weatherson has a most amusing thread on laypersons' reactions to learning that one is a professional philosopher (or graduate student in philosophy).
Profuse apologies to co-blogger Brock Sides, who has a contribution to that thread (follow the link, then search in your browser for Brock's name), but given my previous profession, this is, hands down, my favorite story in the thread:
Five or so years ago I was on a panel of prospective jurors being questioned by an attorney for the defendant:However, this one comes in almost tied:
Attorney: What is your profession?
Me: I am a philosopher
Attorney: Philosophy? Is that a "helping profession"
Me: Its more like a helpless profession
Judge (laughing): This is no place for jokes..your out.
This is a story from Chris Lubbers at the University of Florida:Unfortunately, the person telling this story doesn't tell us whether it was the prosecutor or defense counsel who exercised the motion to strike Chris as a juror.
Prosecuting attorney during voir dire: It says here that you are a graduate student in philosophy, Mr. Lubbers. What does a graduate student in philosophy do?
Chris Lubbers: We analyze the strengths and weaknesses of arguments.
He was immediately rejected as a juror.
Along the same lines of thought, one of my two nominees for "Most Realistic Scene Ever Filmed In A Major Motion Picture" is the "first date" scene from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. In that scene Bruce Lee (who was, in fact, a philosophy major at the University of Washington before making it big as a martial arts teacher and actor) is on his first date with his soon-to-be wife, Linda. They are sitting at a restaurant bar engaging in small talk:
Linda Emery: A philosophy major? Now, what can you do with a philosophy major?While I know that there are many scenes in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which did not actually happen, I know in my heart of hearts that Linda and Bruce had that exchange. I know it because, in the few dates I had in college, I had that very same exchange with my date. In each and every one of those dates.
Bruce Lee: You can think deep thoughts about being unemployed.
Since I know that a few of you are going to wonder, my other nominee for "Most Realistic Scene Ever Filmed In A Major Motion Picture" is a scene from A Few Good Men. In that scene, LTJG Dan Kaffee (Tom "I'm nuts" Cruise, wearing PT gear) is conducting fielding practice with his softball team while LT Dave Spradling (a Navy prosecutor, in uniform, played by Matt Craven) is standing near Kaffee; the two are negotiating a plea agreement as Kaffee hits ground balls at his infielders. You may remember the scene for containing this scintillating bit of dialogue:
Kaffee: It was oregano, Dave, it was a dime bag of oregano.I know that this scene is Absolutely Realistic, because in my Navy career I've actually been one of the participants in this scene. The Dave Spradling character, though, because I'm a lousy softball player.
Lieutenant Dave Spradling: Yeah, well, your client thought it was marijuana.
Kaffee: My client's a moron, that's not against the law.
Len on 08.08.05 @ 12:04 PM CST