Throwing lawyers at a problem is always fun


I have never before heard of Greg Frankson. Apparently, he’s a Canadian poet. I have never attended any of his poetry readings. I don’t know him personally, and I don’t know anything about his life or behavior other than that he writes poetry.

Oh, except for one other thing.

He’s received a lifetime ban from a number of Canadian poetry events that I’ve never attended nor planned on attending (nothing personal, I’m sure they’re lovely occasions) for reasons of harassment and sexual assault. This was preceded and accompanied by the usual amount of soul-searching and anxiety in the communities involved. All I see is that a bunch of organizations familiar with Frankson saw the evidence, reviewed it with the sense of dread that this kind of attention usually brings, and in the end, universally condemned Frankson and delivered the only kind of punishment such groups can bring: expulsion.

The only reason I know about this, and in fact know more about the sordid behavior than I do Frankson’s poetry, is that Frankson is suing the woman who spoke out about his actions, as well as a slate of poetry organizations that took action to protect attendees at their events. He’s demanding something north of $300,000 for damages and loss of income (who knew poetry paid so well?)

Well, helloooo Barbra Streisand! What are you doing in this neighborhood?

Comments

  1. Saad says

    Classic dudebro technique. I’m hopeful he won’t win.

    But I just noticed something from that first link:

    Banning Greg Frankson from individual member series within Canada viagra online remains in the hands of the governing bodies / artist collectives that run those series.

    Wut…

    And it’s a link too. Looks like somebody messed with their page. Is PoetryGate about to start?

  2. kevinalexander says

    I just made up a poem!
    –Ode to Greg Frankson–
    I’ll leave your poems on the shelf,
    So you can just go read them yourself

    Doesn’t scan so well. Maybe someone can fix that for me.

  3. twas brillig (stevem) says

    To echo this chamber:
    Of course he needs lawyers, cuz they are infringing his freeze peach. They won’t let him talk so they are censoring his free speech. Everybody gots to listen to him with no criticism whatsoever and his lawyer is there to back him up. freeze peach freeze peach!!

    [done playacting now]

  4. rq says

    I feel sorry for the lawyer, having to work for a guy like that.
    And good for the community, I hope they get all the support that they need!

  5. congaboy says

    Lawyers, prostitutes, and proctologists; everyone loves to make fun of them, until you really need one.

  6. Big Boppa says

    He’s received a lifetime ban from a number of Canadian poetry events…..for reasons of harassment and sexual assault.

    Your honor, I wasn’t harassing her. All I said was that I once knew a girl from Nantucket.

  7. shouldbeworking says

    You mean there’s more than 1 Canadian poet? I bet he isn’t as good as Robert Service!

    Will I get sued now?


    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee

    A classic for winter time.

  8. twas brillig (stevem) says

    congaboy, here ya go:
    Q: what do you call a bus, full of lawyers, running off a cliff?
    A: A good start. *smirk*

  9. congaboy says

    Rich Woods @ 10:

    Good call.

    Twas Brillig @ 13:

    You call that a good start; I call it a good wrongful death law suit–clearly the bus company was incredibly negligent and I’m sure that cliff wasn’t properly marked.

  10. freemage says

    I stopped telling lawyer jokes the first time I realized that for every asshat weasel in a cheap suit, either defending a vile cretin or attempting to press a lawsuit that was purely vindictive, there was another one on the other side fighting the good fight and trying to achieve something that would actually resemble justice.

  11. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Guess who’ll represent Ruthanne and Rusty? A lawyer!

    Fuck off with bad jokes, you’re embarrassing yourselves.

  12. Big Boppa says

    To add to the comments about the good lawyers. I recently was involved in a wage theft class action suit against a former employer (we won – yay). The attorney who handled our case was a really great guy. You’d never guess he was a lawyer if all you had to go by was the looks of his office. He’s clearly not in this for the prestige and $$$$.

  13. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Well, let’s just remember that he was never convicted in a court of law, therefore we must abstain from judging Frankson ourselves. If there was wrongdoing, then there would be charges, right? Meanwhile, PZ is a great big poopyhead and is guilty of libeling Greg Frankson. I know this because it’s totally rational and abstaining from judgment in this instance is totes different than abstaining in the first. Just take my word for it. I’m a skeptical poet.

  14. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I feel sorry for the lawyer, having to work for a guy like that.

    …do attorneys actually have an obligation to accept a given civil case in Canada?

  15. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Lawyer jokes aren’t really any less unpleasant than Polish jokes, or gay jokes.

    I think lawyer jokes are closer to “white people” jokes than either of those, frankly.

  16. Ogvorbis says

    rq @7:

    I feel sorry for the lawyer, having to work for a guy like that.

    The lawyer can always say no.

  17. rq says

    Ogvorbis
    Sure, they can – but someone needs to do the job, and it’s not always going to be the person who most wants to do it.
    All I’m saying is that, being who I am, I wouldn’t want to be in the lawyer’s position.
    If the lawyer is as much of an asshole as Mr Poet, I’m sure they’ll get along swimmingly. In which case my feeling-sorry-for is probably wasted. But oh well, it’s my feeling-sorry-for to waste.

  18. rq says

    Azkyroth @24
    Still not okay to joke about them dying in large numbers, or dying at all, or being murdered, just for being lawyers. :P

  19. rq says

    Also, I hope Frankson loses his suit, because the poet community deserves has the right to be harassment-free, too.

  20. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Sure, they can – but someone needs to do the job, and it’s not always going to be the person who most wants to do it.

    Actually, no: while everyone should be entitled to a criminal defense, a person seeking to prosecute a civil suit – especially one that’s facially frivolous, like this one – has no reason to be entitled to representation. Frankly, if the culture and professional standards of the legal field were such that people who are trying to use the legal system as a weapon of offense could expect to not find accomplices among the profession, most of the humor in “lawyer jokes” would evaporate.

    Still not okay to joke about them dying in large numbers

    But it is with certain other privileged groups, apparently….

  21. Suido says

    @Azkyroth #29

    while everyone should be entitled to a criminal defense, a person seeking to prosecute a civil suit

    Are people entitled to a civil defense?

  22. Fern says

    @Suido #30: Do you mean are people entitled to government-funded legal representation in civil cases? My understanding of Canadian law is no, they’re not, except in very limited circumstances (some child custody cases, for instance).

    As far as whether there’s an obligation for an attorney to take a case as long as the potential client can pay, I don’t see anything that would indicate that such an obligation exists in the Code of Professional Conduct for Canadian attorneys. It certainly doesn’t work like that in the U.S., where I practice, and it seems to me that such a rule would be untenable anywhere.

  23. Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending says

    FYI, the current Barristers and Solicitors oath:

    Barristers and Solicitors
    I accept the honour and privilege, duty and responsibility of
    practising law as a barrister and solicitor in the Province of
    Ontario. I shall protect and defend the rights and interests of
    such persons as may employ me. I shall conduct all cases
    faithfully and to the best of my ability. I shall neglect no one’s
    interest and shall faithfully serve and diligently represent the
    best interests of my client. I shall not refuse causes of complaint
    reasonably founded, nor shall I promote suits upon frivolous
    pretences. I shall not pervert the law to favour or prejudice
    anyone, but in all things I shall conduct myself honestly and
    with integrity and civility. I shall seek to ensure access to
    justice and access to legal services. I shall seek to improve the
    administration of justice. I shall champion the rule of law and
    safeguard the rights and freedoms of all persons. I shall strictly
    observe and uphold the ethical standards that govern my
    profession. All this I do swear or affirm to observe and perform
    to the best of my knowledge and ability.

    http://www.lsuc.on.ca/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=9720
    My understanding of the oath is that we are obliged to take on any reasonably founded case, unless the nature of the case or of the client is so repugnant to us that we believe we could not perform our job well.
    This was done, according to my jurisprudence professor, because lawyers have pretty much a monopoly and therefore should not turn away a case lightly. That would keep people from access to the system. I was taught that if a client had a case that I felt was based on a correct legal argument (even if it was a weak argument) and I was not in a conflict of interest position (say, had acted for the other side at some point) then I had to take the case.
    There are some nuances I haven’t covered, but generally, if I were capable of handling the case, then I had to take it on.

  24. unclefrogy says

    while waiting in a line in a stair well a group of people past us one man had a big button pinned to his coat which said “I smell shit must be a lawyer around”. I saw it and laughed. The women behind him said as she past and he’s a lawyer.

    uncle frogy

  25. says

    There are clever jokes at some group’s expense, and then there’s just mean pseudo-jokes. People dying or smelling like excrement are in the latter category. Ask yourself: could the target potentially laugh along with you?

  26. Artor says

    I learned most of my best lawyer jokes from a lawyer. He had quite the repertoire.

    What’s black & brown & looks good on a lawyer?
    A Rottweiler.

    Why do lawyers wear neckties?
    To keep their foreskins from rolling up and suffocating them.

  27. chigau (違う) says

    I, too, learned the ‘best’ lawyer jokes from lawyers.
    But, I, too, will stop using them.
    (even though lawyer jokes are almost all punching up)

  28. neverjaunty says

    (even though lawyer jokes are almost all punching up)

    No, they’re just ‘not punching down’. And they’re particularly fucking stupid coming from people who rely on lawyers, and legal organizations, to do things like prevent fundamentalists from kicking down the wall between church and state. Or, on the macro level, to defend people who are being harassed by douchebags trying to use the courts as a weapon.

  29. rq says

    Why do lawyers wear neckties?
    To keep their foreskins from rolling up and suffocating them.

    Yes, yes, we know, all lawyers must be men. I always love a little sexism on top of the lawyer-bashing.

  30. rq says

    *flails arms at self*
    I meant to address the gendered nature of the joke in my 38, though I admit, my first reading yielded up the implication that all lawyers are men. Apologies, it’s almost noon and nearly naptime. :P

  31. kevinalexander says

    IIRC Lewis Thomas talked about the days before antibiotics when doctors couldn’t actually cure anyone of anything. There was also no health insurance. You only called the doctor in desperate circumstances so doctors were associated with much unpleasantness and as a consequence there were some very nasty doctor jokes, pretty much the same ones now told about lawyers who, of course, you only call in cases of much unpleasantness.

  32. says

    Lawyer jokes are like Jewish jokes – best told by the people themselves.
    Despite my deepest green and red (in the European sense) convictions, I have to say that some of the nicest, kindest people I’ve met in the course of my work as an interpreter have been lawyers, cops, and prison officers.
    On the other hand, some of the biggest shits I’ve ever met have been (according to themselves) liberal, progressive, tolerant types.

  33. theobromine says

    #35/38/39 – not only sexist, but rather antisemitic as well, which I find odd given that law is one of the stereotypical Jewish professions

  34. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    Greg, son of Frank
    (Frank in name
    not demeanour)
    sidewinds out of scrutiny
    behind a human shield
    bellowing “Assassin!”

  35. David Marjanović says

    IIRC Lewis Thomas talked about the days before antibiotics when doctors couldn’t actually cure anyone of anything. There was also no health insurance. You only called the doctor in desperate circumstances so doctors were associated with much unpleasantness and as a consequence there were some very nasty doctor jokes, pretty much the same ones now told about lawyers who, of course, you only call in cases of much unpleasantness.

    But in that case lawyer jokes wouldn’t be limited to the US. Lawyer jokes, and advertisements for lawyers, are limited to the US; and frivolous lawsuits are much rarer elsewhere.

    Over here, lawyers just… never come up in conversation.