Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 22:37:53 EDT


Subject: Re: "the royal I" ???????????

Bethany writes:

I realize that my J.D. degree disqualifies me for a discussion of

the extent to which lawyers are full of you-know-what; nonetheless, I

want to comment on Bob Wachal's comment on Jack Ford, whose

comment I did NOT hear. I don't know the context in which Fod

apparently included an underling's actions in the word "I," but

the usage seems unexceptionable to me. Lawyers, like some

other people -- i.e., corporate executives -- are responsible often

both for acts they commit and also acts that they have office staff

commit. I can even imagine saying "I did thus-and-so" when I actually

had a research assistant do part of thus-and-so. Or am I missing the

point, Bob?

I'm pretty sure I saw the NBC Nightly News in question, and it wasn't Ford's

own use of "I" that was at issue, but his discussing (in his role of highly-

paid legal Simpsonian poobah) the use of "I" by one of the medical examiners

(Fung?) to describe the collection of material (blood) by an underling who was

evidently a novice. If I'm remembering correctly, it was the novitiate status

of this woman that led to a lively exchange in which Johnnie Cochran dismissed

her as a "rookie", the prosecution objected to that as a slur, and Judge Ito

reminded everyone that some rookies have been MVP's (as opposed to MOP's) in

their rookie year (thinking, perhaps, of Vida Blue or Fred Lynn, although he

wasn't asked for the exact precedents). I better stop before someone asks me

to move it all to the forensic.lx list. --Larry

P.S. Oh, I forgot. The point. This would not constitute a royal "I" so much

as an "I" of concealment, hoping to get away with a possible misjudgment of

allowing a rookie, or novice, underling to (mis?)handle evidence in the trial

of the century. The royal "I" per se is more like a scientist using a first

person singular in appropriating the work of junior colleagues and graduate

students, I'd think. (Apocryphal as such tales always are.)