Thursday, December 10, 2015

Indiana Tech lawprof andre douglas pond cummings writes fawning law journal article comparing a better-known fellow lawprof with hip hop musician Ice Cube

Indiana Tech Law bigwig and OTLSS favorite andre douglas pond cummings recently published a 20-page article entitled Richard Delgado and Ice Cube: Brothers in Arms in a University of Minnesota Law School publication called Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice.
 
What, in cummings’s expert opinion, is the armed and brotherly connection (or, intersection, to use fashionable jargon) between law professor Richard Delgado and Ice Cube? Legal scholarship, of course. According to cummings, both Ice Cube and Professor Delgado use storytelling to decry injustice, a point that cummings makes again and again in slightly different words throughout his law review article, like a school kid padding a term paper. (See Section D) My guess is that cummings’s purpose in writing this article, besides the obvious imperative of buttering up a far better-known and more respected fellow lawprof, was to portray his own scholarly domain of "Hip Hop and the Law" as an extension of the critical theory and narrativity approaches associated with Delgado. 

a.    andre douglas pond cummings

andre douglas pond cummings’s very brief career as a practicing lawyer was spent as an associate in a corporate law firm doing mergers and acquisitions work– not, say, in legal aid or public defense. However, after transitioning to legal academia, cummings found his voice (or a cynic might say crafted his persona) as a radical exponent of social justice and scourge of all things capitalized, especially his own many names. cummings taught at the University of West Virginia School of Law for a decade before moving on to notorious pseudo-law school Indiana Tech, where he holds the title Vice Dean. Much of cummings’s "scholarship" is in the areas of "Hip Hop and the Law" and Sports Law, practice fields not notably in demand in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to Indiana Tech’s 990, cummings was paid $204,445 in fiscal 2013.
 
In pursuit of his scholarly calling, cummings has traveled to conclaves in such locales as Lugano, Switzerland (where he gave a presentation on "Pop Culture and the Law"), Amelia Island, Hilton Head, and Palm Beach. While at West Virginia U., he even generously sacrificed his summers from 2005 to 2013 inclusive to play chaperone to law students for their study abroad program on "Law, Politics, and Culture," in Rio de Janeiro.   
 
B.     Richard Delgado
 
Richard Delgado became a lawprof directly out of law school, "skipping the usual period of practice or clerking." However unversed in the actual practice of law, Delgado has achieved the seemingly impossible within legal academia by making legal scholarship even more pretentious and ridiculous than it had been before. Delgado has published something like 20 law review articles framed around imaginary intellectual bull sessions between a good-hearted but aging and wishy-washy law professor and the professor’s favorite LLM student, the bold young firebrand and law professor wannabe Rodrigo Crenshaw, whose radical analysis of society and race has the professor captivated. See e.g. Richard Delgado, Rodrigo’s Eleventh Chronicle: Empathy and False Empathy, 84 Cal. L. Rev. 61 (1996). In a nicely self-aggrandizing touch, Rodrigo sometimes alludes to the importance of Richard Delgado’s work.
 
Delgado believes, as do his fictional characters, in the progressive value of "narrative" legal scholarship. See Richard Delgado, Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative, 87 Mich. L. Rev. 2411, 2441 (1989) ("Legal storytelling is an engine built to hurl rocks over walls of social complacency that obscure the view out from the citadel. But the rocks all have messages tied to them that the defenders cannot help but read"). Sadly, the impact of oppositionist narrative may be diminished when an author, however prolific, is a lousy writer and an unimaginative storyteller. In this regard, I recommend the following critique of Delgado’s Rodrigo masterpieces as well as Delgado’s overall "patronizing, condescending, elitist, egocentric narrative tone":  
 
 
Professor Delgado is married to Jean Stefancic, a law professor who holds neither a JD nor a Ph.D. Much of Stefancic’s scholarship is co-authored with Delgado. Delgado and spouse have law professored together at the University of Pittsburgh, Seattle University, and currently, the University of Alabama. Without having read every one of the Rodrigo articles– which I doubt anybody has ever done– I am willing to bet that spousal hiring in academia is not among the elitist privileges that righteous Rodrigo cares to check.
 
While on the faculty of Seattle Law, Delgado starred in a promotional video for the school (along with a silent Stefancic) and stated "As society gets more diverse we need legal services of all kinds. . . . Lawyers who are prepared to perform legal services for the poor are in demand." (Video at 0:10-0:28) He then specified "writing wills for Indians on Indian reservations" as one of three areas of legal employment opportunity, the others being immigration and poverty law. (Video at 0:32-0:37) Seattle Law’s 9 to 10-month-out full-time  legal employment rate has ranged between 37 and 45% over the past four years, so it seems that a lot of young Seattle Law grads have somehow overlooked Delgado’s brilliant career advice to do estates planning for the very poor.
 
C.    Ice Cube
 
Ice Cube is a hip hop musician, screenwriter, and film producer. As a member of the ’90s group NWA, he was the lyricist for half of the songs on the controversial album "Straight Outta Compton." Ice Cube is more successful, and a better writer, than either Delgado or andre douglas pond cummings, even though he has never attended law school, taught at one, published a narrative law review article in the University of Minnesota Journal of Law and Inequality or elsewhere, or starred in a promotional vid designed to hustle naive kids into enrolling in a massively overpriced degree program at a crappy school.  
 
D.    Representative Quotes from cummings's Article, or Selections from 20 pages and 128 Footnotes of Repetition, Radical Posturing, Rhetorical Self-Indulgence, Apple Polishing, and Cultural Appropriation
 
  • "When Professor Delgado published The Imperial Scholar, its impact was a literary shot across the bow of the traditional legal academy in its aggressive repudiation of entrenched White male civil rights legal scholarship. Like a hand grenade launched into the upper reaches of an ivory tower, Delgado authored a blistering critique that condemned famed civil rights scholars for their own racism and failure to garner, appreciate, or represent the views of the very oppressed minority groups on whose behalf these scholars purported to advocate." andre douglas pond cummings, Richard Delgado and Ice Cube: Brothers in Arms, 33 Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 321, 332 (2015).
  • "From the movement’s inception, Critical Race theorists championed storytelling and narrative as valuable empirical proof of reality and the human experience, while rejecting traditional forms of legal studies, pedagogy, and various forms of civil rights leadership. Similarly, hip-hop, at its root, is narrative in form; the best, most recognizable hip-hop artists use storytelling as their most fundamental communicative method." Id. at 324.
  • "[M]any CRT pioneers employed counterstories, parables, chronicles, and anecdotes aimed at revealing the contingency, cruelty, and self-serving nature of majoritarian rule. Similarly, hip-hop revolves around storytelling." Id. at 326.
  • "The assault on the rear flanks [of the status quo] was the clarion call to every scholar of color and emerging outsider scholar and lawyer to a new and different conceptualization by which legal scholarship could be presented and legal practice conducted." Id. at 334.
  • "Ice Cube, in the same narrative format championed by Richard Delgado, spun tales and stories in his rhymes." Id. at 338.
  • "Professor Delgado and N.W.A./Ice Cube both expose and decry racism, inequality, and oppression with passion and explosiveness through deeply personal narrative." Id. at 339
  • "Both Delgado and N.W.A. identify "the cure" to their detailed experiential ills as furious storytelling—Delgado in A Plea for Narrative and N.W.A. in Fuck tha Police and Gangsta Gangsta." Id.
  • "Through narrative storytelling and funky bass lines, CRT and hip-hop seek to educate, inspire, and motivate a generation." Id. at 340.
  • "When Professor Delgado’s influence is compared to that of Ice Cube, the hip-hop generation will understand the depth of this homage." Id. at 341.

E.    Commentary

One cannot help noticing cummings’s fiery rhetoric, which includes images of  military assaults by scholarly insurgents armed with explosive outsider narrative grenades.  Somehow, though, I suspect that entrenched systems of oppression will withstand the onslaught of cummings's lousy writing. Who outside the academy really cares whether law reviews feature law professors’ navel-gazing slop alongside their dull as dishwater doctrinal exegeses? Both formats of legal scholarship go overwhelmingly unread and uncited by courts and practitioners. No, andre douglas pond cummings and friends are not freedom fighters attacking the fortress of privilege and exploitation. Rather, they are pampered princes and princesses of the realm, initiating pillow fights within the luxurious palace boudoirs.

Though I share some of the political commitments of the CRT authors, I am skeptical of lawprofs who propose giving so-called counterstories a central place in legal scholarship or in legal writing. The allegedly liberatory function of storytelling encounters the following obstacle: anybody can draw a dubious analogy, emote, or spin a tale of woe for their own purposes, including, say, xenophobic billionaire presidential candidates, corporate public relations specialists, religious fundamentalists, avowed bigots, and glib scammers of various sorts. With narrative projectiles flying in all directions, it might be unwise to discount the truth-seeking function of refutable or impeachable evidence, logical analysis, and reasonable inference-- which, by the way, can lead to far more radical and devastating conclusions than song lyrics or personal reflections, even those that purportedly offer an outsider perspective. Plus, are the marginalized and oppressed really so tongue-tied that they need six-figure salaried law professors to represent their experiences via anecdote or fiction?

You know, the outsider narratives presented in the scamblogs do not purport to be scholarship, and scamblog authors and commentators do not require six-figure salaries, five-figure summer stipends, or conferences in luxury resorts to present compelling personal stories  or bleakly hilarious admonitions to illustrate  the growing body of statistical info about the lack of job opportunities in the legal sector. If the crisis in legal education is ever to resolve, it will not be because andre douglas pond cummings likes to spout hip hop lyrics in his law school classes and alleged scholarship while collecting $200,000/ yr. from his ridiculous unaccredited startup law school. It will be because transparency and scamblogging assist prospective law students and their influencers in identifying and avoiding a monstrous scam.

  

31 comments:

  1. Dybbuk, your ability to actually read this drivel and not shoot yourself means you are probably far more qualified to churn corporate shitpaper than pond cum ever was.

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  2. For those who read this way-too-long post all the way through, thank you. I would like to request a certain restraint as to the tone of comments on this particular comment thread.

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    1. Fine work, Dybbuk, as always. And of course you're quite right to reject "narrative as valuable empirical proof of reality". ("Empirical proof" sounds like an oxymoron, but there's no point in discussing epistemology with pea-brained hackademics.)

      From the summary that you've posted, this piece of scholarshit can apparently be condensed to an attempted syllogism:

      Major: Critical race theory employs narrative.
      Minor: Hip-hop employs narrative.
      ————————————————————————————————————————————————
      Conclusion: Something.

      That sort of reasoning won't serve one well on the LSAT. Then again, Indiana Tech is, shall we say, flexible about LSAT scores.

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    2. So you're saying that any flamethrowing needs to be eloquent flamethrowing?

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  3. "Rather, they are pampered princes and princesses of the realm, initiating pillow fights within the luxurious palace boudoirs."

    Beautiful, Dybbuk. Just friggin' beautiful.

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  4. "Like a hand grenade launched into the upper reaches of an ivory tower, Delgado authored a blistering critique that condemned famed civil rights scholars for their own racism and failure to garner, appreciate, or represent the views of the very oppressed..."

    Hilarious. These pampered, squeamish LawProfs have never been within 100 yards of a grenade launcher, let alone a theater where they would actually be called upon to use them. This moves beyond hyperbole into abject drivel. The pen is not mightier than the sword where LawProfs are concerned. Folks, instead of sending troops to the Middle East and putting them in harm's way, all we needed was to drop a payload of "blistering critiques" and end all this terrorist strife years ago.

    If they wanted to actually help the oppressed, donating half of their burgeoning LawProf salaries to an inner-city charity of their choice would be a good start. Lead by example, and all that.

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    1. Not sure why "critiques" always have to be "blistering" in cliché-speak but apparently they do.

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    2. Dougie Fresh fancies himself a writer for stringing clichés together, mixing metaphors and mangling grammar along the way.

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    3. Using a hand grenade as a metaphor for scholarship is peculiar indeed. It suggests that within Dean Cummings resides a psychological imbalance accompanied by a serious moral deficiency. His relentless, belligerent self-assertion is reminiscent of the morally depraved "law and philosophy" professor Brian Leiter, who holds both genuine scholars and legal practitioners in thorough contempt.

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  5. This is the opposite of useful scholarship. On one end of the spectrum we have researchers writing studies about, for example, new drugs or developments in other useful fields; on the other end lies this - a "scholarly" article that is nothing more than sycophantic, inter-academy brown nosing.

    The shameless nepotism apparent at the U of Alabama's law school is also interesting. How do you get a job as a tenured lawprof with nothing but an MA from an unspectacular school? Be married to another tenured lawprof, of course.

    This woman has literally none of the qualifications law schools value: no high law school class rank, no law review, no preftigious T14 JD, no few years in biglaw - she doesn't even have a PhD in a nominally related field.

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    1. Useful scholarship is exceedingly rare. Most anything truly useful is published as a third party or given away for free on the internet these days.

      But this...this stuff is indeed another level even compared to the usual barely worthwhile driven that the aristocracy puts out to justify all the government welfare they shamelessly take.

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  6. Great parody of law-review drek! And you did it without footnotes! Oops, no law review will publish it!

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  7. Excellent work! It's almost beyond comprehension how out of touch with reality both Cummings and Delgado are, although Delgado takes the prize, recommending that students at a TTT get a job writing wills on an Indian reservation. I'm no expert, but I'd wager that on the list of problems on most Indian reservations, the lack of proper estate planning is way down the list.
    And Cummings...there was a very interesting poet years ago who signed his work "e.e. cummings" and his poems are worth reading. The Indiana Tech imposter's drivel, on the other hand, ought not to ever be published.
    Kudos to you OTLSS for bringing this pretentious nonsense into the light.

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    1. Hacks getting $200k per year tell their charges to work for poor people.

      But poor people don't have money to spend on legal services. If they did, they wouldn't be poor.

      For that matter, poor people don't need much in the way of estate planning. But writing wills on reservations might well involve law beyond the ken even of a reasonably competent lawyer who writes wills all the time, to say nothing of a typical nincompoop coming out of Seattle or Indiana Tech. I pity the Indigenous people set upon by these "lawyers".

      There's a person named Ice Cube? And he's not even a law professor? That sounds like the sort of thing that Dougie Fresh would come up with.

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    2. Delgado takes the prize, recommending that students at a TTT get a job writing wills on an Indian reservation. I'm no expert, but I'd wager that on the list of problems on most Indian reservations, the lack of proper estate planning is way down the list.

      One, hilariously enough, the job market is so glutted that even pro bono work writing wills for ungrateful Apache drunks is competitive and can require connections. Two, the tribes themselves are often corrupt and nepotistic (Sensing a theme here). What do you think your odds are of getting an actual paid job are if you aren't a member of the tribe? Third, in case you missed it, hundreds of years of the American government getting behind the tribes and giving it to them up the wazoo means that the tribespeople don't have much money to give you. Especially not enough to pay off your $150,000K loan for that priceless degree from Cow State University.

      This is why I consider apprenticing for a septic pumping company to be both more remunerative and more spiritually rewarding than going for a bozo J.D. The industry is not glutted, partly because the government hasn't spent decades frantically subsidizing shit pumpers. There is still money there. The economy would have to go off a cliff before people stopped pumping their septic tanks. Furthermore, mobs of adolescent lemmings DON'T aspire to a life of pumping liquid feces out of the ground. Very few people want to do it, and demand is high. This is what you are looking for if you want to get a decent paycheck (And to feel like you are useful and wanted. The psychological drag of being repeatedly told that you are worthless and unwanted is as bad as the debt). Even smelly trades work with a solid paycheck will feel a lot better than decades of worthless, low-paying shitpaper shuffling for clients who don't like you and blame you for their problems. At least customers are happy when they throw a wad of cash at the septic guy and he makes the poop go away.

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  8. Law schools need to focus on getting students jobs. That should be the top priority.

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    1. Doesn't matter how much they collectively "focus." There is only a finite number of entry-level jobs, and a substantially higher number of law school graduates. The only way law schools can increase the number of jobs is by hiring their own graduates, which they're already doing.

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    2. And they certainly don't hire them at salaries that can support the payments on their debt. And those jobs don't last long, since their whole purpose is to pad the data on "employment" at the tenth month after graduation.

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  9. "andre douglas pond cummings’s very brief career as a practicing lawyer was spent as an associate"

    Cut off the last six letters.

    "Much of cummings’s 'scholarship' is in the areas of 'Hip Hop and the Law' and Sports Law, practice fields not notably in demand in Fort Wayne, Indiana."

    Or anywhere else in the world. But that didn't stop Indiana Tech last year, when it had not even 60 students, from letting that fake teach a course on "Hip-Hop and the American Constitution".

    "According to Indiana Tech’s 990, cummings was paid $204,445 in fiscal 2013."

    And he was worth the cube root of that figure.

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    1. So Cummings deserves slightly less than $60 per year? Or do we take the cube root of the year as well?

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    2. "andre douglas pond cummings’s very brief career as a practicing lawyer was spent as an associate"

      Cut off the last six letters.

      ----------------------

      andre douglas pond cum?

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    3. Oh, I hadn't thought of that, Lois. I had in mind "was spent as an ass".

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  10. The flagship law review that I edited would never have accepted this ass-licking encomium. Admittedly that publication (which still printed a load of shite) was far more sought after, and got far submissions, than a third-string rag from the U of Minnesota. Even so, there can be no excuse for publishing Dougie Fresh's asinine scribbling. I can only suppose that the editors were eager to pander to Delgado.

    For that matter, why the hell have Delgado's pretentious, condescending, and downright horrible "Rodrigo chronicles" been allowed to disgrace the pages of law reviews? I couldn't get through two pages of one of them without feeling the urge to vomit. Like that born-with-a-silver-spoon-up-her-ass fake McElroy, Delgado lives vicariously in a low-grade fictional "narrative" world centered on a godlike intellectual (guess who) with a fawning protégé(e).

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  11. When it comes to anything uttered or published by law "professors," follow Public Enemy's Flavor Flav when he sung "Don't Believe the Hype!"

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  12. Stefancic apparently has no qualifications whatsoever to teach law: she hasn't even studied law, for Christ's sake. She probably knows a damn sight less about law than almost any ½L at, say, the U of Iowa.

    But law is so magical and miraculous that someone who doesn't know shit about it can nonetheless get a job teaching it—particularly if Hubby or Wifey happens to teach at the same institution.

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  13. Mo' Money, Mo' Problems.

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  14. To me, Cummings, his law review article, the mutual admiration society amongst these so called "professors", and the determined eschewing of the "academy" of anyone with legitimate legal experience, to name only a few symptoms, tell us just how terribly sick is my profession. As a practicing lawyer, I simply despair at the near clownishness of these people. And yet, those that fill the "academy" are still taken so seriously by so many people who should know better. I'm not sure the people highlighted in this article have much to offer high schoolers much less future lawyers.

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    1. We serious lawyers deserve a share of the blame, Tricia, for allowing the "profession" to fall to ruin.

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  15. Thank you, Dybbuk, for exposing Dean Cummings' enormous financial interest in the continued operation of a scam law school. Those poor students in Fort Wayne are forgoing at least a million dollars in wages this year. In return, they are being deceived by a charlatan about what it means to be a lawyer, just so he can put a fraction of their losses in his own pocket.

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  16. In response to the comment above, the academy is slowly starting to realize that law school is should teach students how to be actual lawyers. Change is slow but it's occurring.

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