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Thursday, November 20, 2003

We presented our negociation case in legal writing today. The assignment is to take a basic setup (ours was "Two unmarried people adopting a foreign born kid") and make it much, much more complicated. Then resolve it. What we came up with is a Chinese orphan who is a musical prodigy, being raised by Buddhist monks, is going to be adopted by a couple in the United States, one of whom works for Nike, to be the Nike spokesperson for the new line of Nike guitars. We involve, at various points, the parents, Nike, the Chinese government (whose side I get to argue), the US State department and, of course, the monks themselves.

After we gave our negociations and the like, the class gets to ask questions. Our presentation took maybe thirty minutes, so we expected to leave class early... in fact, we DESIGNED our presentation so we could leave class early (a previous group did a huge theatrical production which was really, really boring... we resolved that, even at the cost of some points from our grade, we would not be that dull.) I vastly underestimated the inability of the class to grasp relatively simple concepts. By the end of the Q&A session, I was just being openly hostile towards people's questions. (APDA side note: James correctly summed it up as "like watching a down-four round at a novice tournament") The following is a collection of some of my favorites (as close to verbatim as I can remember):

Q: Wait... why would the monks be involved at all? The Chinese government is the one who decides if he can leave the country or not.
A: The monks are still his legal guardians, and as such, they are also important in the question of his leaving the country.
Followup Q: But... can't the Chinese government just take the kid?
A: Yes. Yes indeed. The Chinese government can just slaughter all of the monks, because they care so very much about FedExing him over to the states.

Q: Why doesn't the Chinese government just keep him in the country and promote him there? (This was repeated roughly five times)
A: There's a fundimental profit margin issue here. If the Chinese government is paying the kid the money, and then returning 10% to themselves, they LOSE money. If they send him to the US and get 10% of his profits from there, they make money. Also, what exactly do you expect him to endorse in China? Tanks? "Just Crush It"?

Q: Wait, don't Buddhists believe in silence and not speaking? How can he be a musician?
A: Buddhist monks believe in quiet reflection. This doesn't mean they don't know how noise works, or that all buddhists have to be silent. Priests take vows of celibacy, that doesn't mean all Catholics are abstainant, as the Irish chefs of yore can attest.

It went on like that.

cranked out at 5:22 PM | |

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