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January 25, 2010

Satire

The satirist is to be regarded as our physician, not our enemy.

--Henry Fielding, 1707-1754

Physicians--like lawyers--may no longer be the great community leaders and societal architects they once were or people had hoped they could be. Both professions now breed technicians. As things get more complex, that, of course, makes sense, and we could do worse. But you still get what Fielding was trying to say.

Satire down through the ages never has had the power, on its own, to make people change things. Satire does clarify and make us think. But the law needs certainty, clarity and steadiness of tone--all kept at a consistent wave-length so we do not lose our place. We need to know the speaker or writer is 100% sober. It's not always fun. It's steady. You can rely on it.

However, you do get excited and think you are about to see some great and epic satire and commentary every time you read a pleading which begins "COMES NOW...", a letter which begins (and our favorite) "Enclosed herewith please find..." or contract which uses "said" frequently. You are disappointed when you realize it's intended to be a serious document.

Legal writing. Legalese. Can't we just "say it"?

1781-London-Strahan-01-000-t.jpg

(from past WAC? posts)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at January 25, 2010 12:55 AM

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