Monday, March 18, 2013

“Do the work”

A member of Professor Charles Kingsfield’s seminar for second- and third-year law students has just given a report using two props — a piece of “eastern erotica” and a Playboy centerfold. Kingsfield’s response: “lively, energetic, entertaining, . . . also overlong, ineptly researched, and quite shallow.” The props, says Kingsfield, are merely “a smoke screen” to conceal shoddy work. He then gives the student this advice: “Do the work, and you won’t need to do the dance.”

Do the work: yes. I’m reminded of the justly celebrated Rule 7.

These bits of dialogue come from a second-season episode of The Paper Chase, “Spreading It Thin,” which aired on June 15, 1983. Yes, the DVD is at Netflix.

Two more Kingsfield posts
How to improve writing (no. 42)
“Minds, not memories”

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