July 14, 2010
Barack Hussein Einstein at HarvardBy James Lewis
There's a funny story about Barack Obama at Harvard Law, both funny-ha-ha and funny-peculiar. It involves one of those cloud-borne Himalayan intellects of liberalism, Professor Larry Tribe, the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law at one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States. Tribe is the legal giant who is always a bridesmaid but never a bride for the Supremes.
And yea verily, the Professor met and held converse with The Blessed Lightworker Himself back in the nineties. The story doesn't say if they were both stoned out of their minds when they got together, but it's the only explanation I can think of. What happened is so weird and so discreditable to all concerned that I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Still, nobody in the liberal media seems to get the joke...which tells you a lot.
Professor Tribe, it appears, made it really big in academic law by writing trendy postmodern articles like "Toward a Syntax of the Unsaid: Construing the Sounds of Congressional and Constitutional Silence," "The Constitution in Cyberspace," "Toward a Metatheory of Free Speech," "Trial by Mathematics," and even "Seven Deadly Sins of Straining the Constitution through a Pseudo-Scientific Sieve," which turned it all into self-parody, because pseudo-science is exactly what made Larry Tribe's big reputation. This academic disease is commonly described as "physics envy." It arises out of academic inferiority complexes, with everybody wanting to do fake physics because that is real science.
If you remember those old po-mo days, that kind of stuff was standard pomotwaddle designed to impress innocent young students and the Board of Trustees. No sane person believed it. Alan Sokal famously hoaxed a po-mo journal into accepting a nonsense physics article, and then revealed their ignorance to the world. Postmodernism never recovered.
Professor Tribe comes right out of a great comedy tradition of long-winded professors spouting obvious claptrap to fool the suckers. Shakespeare used that gag with Polonius in Hamlet. Groucho Marx used it. Molière became famous for his "scholar" in the suckered Bourgeois Gentleman. Greek and Roman comedy writers used it. Every humorist in history has used that shtick, because it's funny. But it takes a postmodern professor of law to make it real.
By the '90s Larry Tribe had risen to become the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, based on the depth and profundity of his cockamamie legal scholarship. I guess. And then, a magical moment in history when great minds meet...it was Michelangelo and Leonardo, Plato and Socrates, Larry, Moe and Curly.
Barack Hussein Obama Barry Soetoro, Jr. walks into Larry Tribe's office.
Now you can't blame Obama for this one. Poor kid, he just wandered into the big professor's office one day, right off the beach at Waikiki by way of LA and Columbia, a real stoner with a chip on his shoulder about race, because that was the in thing to do. It was a great time for radical chic. Racial rage was the way to get into Harvard in the '90s. Here was a black guy, or close enough, and he had a radical idea for Larry Tribe: Why not apply Albert Einstein to Constitutional law? I mean, why not?
Long sucking sound on a fat joint.
Creaky voice from Barry: "Pass it on, man..."
Larry creaks back, "Yeah, man, good s--t."
Barry: "Cosmic! Like, it's Relativity...or Quantum...or ummm... suthin...Albert Einstein, man...lookut..." (laughter all around).
Suddenly, they both have the same idea.
Larry and Barry in unison: "Let's do it, man!"
I wasn't there, but it's the only thing that makes sense.
So Larry wrote up his Harvard Law Review shtick on "The Curvature of Constitutional Law," and the rigorous peer review process at the Law Review went into high gear, and yes, they okayed it. A real contribution to constitutional law.
Through the magic of Google Scholar, you can dig it out and pass it along to your friends. It's destined to become infamous, right along with that German physics lab that started eco-freaks around the world jumping in unison at one second past midnight, 3/31/2008, to make the planet ring real loud. Pass it around, folks. A lot of them tried it, but not quite enough to jar the earth out of orbit. Too bad.
Now, any high school science teacher could have told Professor Tribe how the curvature of space bears on constitutional law: It doesn't. There is not a smidgen of relevance. None. Physics and the law only get together around bloodstains and such, and even then you have to slug your way through chemistry and biology to get there. Wiser heads should have told the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, "Don't even go there, Larry -- you'll become a laughingstock." There are real scientists and engineers at Harvard, not to mention students, who can instantly spot the difference between science fantasy and the real thing, and neither have anything to do with the Constitution. So much for getting on the Supremes, Larry. Just don't do it! Don't even think about it.
Larry wrote it up anyway.
Physicist Frank J. Tipler has described Tribe's paper as "crackpot physics," but that was too kind. This is pure out-of-your-mind stone-head Amateur Hour. It makes sense only if you're hallucinating really badly.
And Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. got only a footnote. ("S--t, man, only a footnote? What's the matter, I'm the wrong color or sumthin? You don't want Hussein on that article? You don't like my stash?")
This may be why Elena Kagan was clowning it up for the cameras at the Senate Judiciary Committee rather than for Professor Tribe. Obama never forgets a slight. Plus, even Harvard should be able to spot arrant nonsense from its tenured faculty after three or four decades of reading it. Plus, Larry Tribe looks too heterosexual. Three strikes, you're out!
Still, the lowbrows in Obama's White House and the WaPo still look with superstitious awe at that magic moment in the '90s when two Renaissance Minds met and sparked off a stunning new insight into constitutional law. The stoners at Harvard Crimson were duly impressed, and Moveon.org thought it was Totally Awesome, Man. The Washington Post apostrophized,
Ah, the sophisticates of D.C. were in bliss. Only physicists and engineers around the world were getting rolling fits of the giggles. Axelrod and the WaPo are still honestly proud of that Einstein-and-the-Constitution story, so much that they publicized it in a WaPo puff-piece for El Jefe Supremo. The WaPo and the White House are still dumb enough to believe it, and they have never heard from a real-life high school science teacher to tell them it's all bull pucky.
In Romania under the Ceauşescus, the state-run media portrayed Nicolae as "The Genius of the Carpathians" and attributed scientific breakthroughs to his wife Elena. We haven't gone quite that far, but the media cult of the personality surrounding Obama is trending into self-discrediting territory.