Monday, January 19, 2009

All so fucking stupid

Once more unto the breach
John Mortimer was a novelist, a playwright, and a lawyer
“Doing these cases,” he wrote, “I began to find myself in a dangerous situation as an advocate. I came to believe in the truth of what I was saying. I was no longer entirely what my professional duties demanded, the old taxi on the rank waiting for the client to open the door and give his instruction, prepared to drive off in any direction, with the disbelief suspended.”
Hallin
What I argued in "the Passing of the 'High Modernism' of American Journalism" and in subsequent writings (especially Hallin 2000) was that this professional model of media did not represent the end of journalism history, but a brief episode based on very specific historical conditions which are now passing away.
The Modernism that Hallin describes as "a brief episode" is not a model of professionalism as such but a model of professionalism as objectivity. The earlier model of professionalism, one that still holds outside the US, is advocacy and that is the model we should return to. But Hallin's American modernism -still prevalent in the academy if nowhere else- allows only the dichotomy of reason and unreason, of rationalism and free-for-all. Was Mortimer an irrationalist? Is the professional model of legal practice in danger of passing away!?

1 comment:

abb1 said...

What's the problem there, I don't understand.

Some are professionals who work like a taxi waiting for the client, others are advocates passionate about a cause. Doesn't seem to me that anything necessarily is wrong with either approach; it takes all kinds.