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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Posts Tagged ‘Pop Culture’

The Age of Miranda

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |



If you’re like me, you found yourself pleasantly surprised yet ultimately dismayed that the full season of the NBC show Aquarius was available to stream this weekend. (For the record, pleasantly surprised was because it’s a good show worth the watch, but ultimately dismayed since binge watching a season wasn’t on the to do list, and yet…) Any law students watching—and obviously lawyers too—certainly would’ve perked up because a certain important case kept getting name dropped in the first few episodes, though the show never actually followed through with the proper wording.

Unlike pretty much every other Supreme Court decision, Miranda v. Arizona has managed to infiltrate prime time in a big way. Tune in to a police procedural, any police procedural (but not those that jumped to the silver screen) and at some point in time, you’ll hear the familiar speech, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything said can and will be used against you in court of law. . . .” Set in 1967 Los Angeles, the characters in the first episode aren’t terribly familiar with that “new, uh, Miranda thing.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one pulling a Monica during the following exchange in episode 1:

Hodiak: I can’t remember it [the Miranda warning] exactly.

Shafe: You know it?

Hodiak: Do you?

Shafe: I got the, uh, card they handed out.

Just goes to show, from Jay-Z lyrics to network prime time, Crim Pro is everywhere.

Mark Your Calendars. Awesomeness is Coming.

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


Oh man. These are some exciting times. I’m not talking about the soon-to-be law graduates (although, you know, congrats) or the so-to-be-finished-with-finals 1Ls and 2Ls (again, congrats). No. I’m talking about how the legalverse is pushing into pop culture in a big way. The foreseeable future is looking to be all sorts of exciting.

July 11: Supreme BFFs Hit the Stage

Yes, The Originalist, the play about Scalia’s time on the Supreme Court, will be playing through the end of the month in DC and it looks all sorts of awesome, but do you know what’s better than a play about Scalia? A comic opera about Scalia and Ginsburg. Scalia/Ginsburg will have its world premiere at the Castleton Festival and word is that RBG herself will be there. Needless to say, I’m waiting with bated breath to find out whether either or both will eventually make their way to Buffalo.

July 14: The Return of Atticus!

I believe is was LL who first said, “Don’t call it a comeback/ I’ve been here for years.” Nothing is more true when it comes to my beloved Atticus. Scout and Jem’s dad has always been around, but we’re going to be getting some new material come July when Harper Lee’s much anticipated (friends and family have told me that perhaps at this point it’s too much anticipated, but I digress) Go Set a Watchman is published.

October 27: NOTORIOUS

There’s a Tumblr. There’s a tattoo. Now come October, there’ll be a book. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a reminder that only the cool kids nap during the State of the Union.

Late 2015: NOTORIOUS-er

There’s even more RBG to get excited about. News broke last Friday that Natalie Portman is going to be playing none other than RBG in the movie On the Basis of Sex.  The movie is scheduled to go into production in late 2015 and will (obviously) go on to win all the awards.

Stage-Side Service

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


If there is one thing one could take away from the Trojans back in the day—you know, other than stealing someone else’s wife may lead to the downfall of your people—it was to beware Greeks bearing gifts. Well that lesson has evolved in the 21st century for performing artists to something along the lines of beware fans waving papers.

Music artist Ciara had been schedule to perform at a bar called The Factory on Friday night in L.A. The following night she was scheduled to perform at LA Pride. Per her contract with LA Pride, Ciara was prohibited from performing on Friday night. The singer’s rep claims that notice was given  to The Factory about the conflict in commitments, but The Factory decided to sue Ciara for breach of contract. How convenient for the process server that everyone knew where Ciara was going to be Saturday night.

A video from Ciara’s concert this past Saturday night shows a “fan” holding up papers, which the singer took while performing on stage…and seconds later dropped.

With the video making rounds to entertainment gossip websites, this could prove to be a teaching moment to today’s youth that “you got served” is a phrase that has meaning beyond b-boy b-list movies.

A Quotable Situation

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


According to some sports movie I’ve never seen but have heard referred to enough to make me feel confident in quoting it, “If you build it, they will come.” As with many a catch phrase or tag line, pop culture has taken that and morphed and spoofed it to the limit. (See, e.g. use of “Ding Dong the witch is dead” in relation to the recent passing of a historic figure, and “Where’s the beef” in relation to a certain equine eating panic.) Now there’s a new twist on that sporting enticement, and it’s all thanks to one of the Dakotas. Because, according to that state, “If you bribe them, they will come.”

South Dakota’s got a problem. Within the state, 65% of lawyers live in four urban areas. Since rural folks need representation too, SD became the first state to offer subsidies to lawyers who commit to practicing in rural areas. Come June, up to 16 lawyers can partake in the program. In exchange for a 5 year commitment, each lawyer will receive a $12,000 subsidy. In addition to the state, counties and the bar association will be kicking in to fund the program.

Now only time will tell whether or not South Dakota will become this century’s Horace Greeley, urging the graduating masses to, “Go rural, young lawyers. Go rural, and pay down those debts.”

Shaken, Not Stirred

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |

Harlem Shake

It’s a classic story. Artist creates song. Song becomes pop culture craze. Legal dramas ensue. If you have managed to avoid the Harlem Shake thus far, congratulations and you’re going to have to share how exactly you managed to do it. At this point, there’s almost a Seuss-esque quality to the videos. You can do it by the sea, you can do it at UB. You can do it with Bevo, you can even do it on a pla—wait no?

The Shake found itself on shaky ground when the FAA began looking into whether safety regulations were violated during the filming of a video while a plane was in flight. Going beyond mere investigation, this month five individuals were arrested in Russia for making their own Harlem Shake video while dancing on a World War II memorial.  In Australia, fifteen miners were fired after posting their Harlem Shake video online. Who knew that thirty seconds could cause so much trouble?

But trouble isn’t just on tap for video-makers. With all of the exposure the song has gotten, two artists have come forward claiming that their voices were used in the song by writer and producer Baauer without their permission. Within the thirty-second clips for all of the videos, you can hear rapper Jayson Musson say “Do the Harlem Shake!” while reggaeton artist Hector Delgado says, “Con los terroristas.”  Both men are seeking compensation from Baauer’s label, Mad Decent Records.

Unfortunately unauthorized sampling comes up every so often in the music world. (Just ask Vanilla Ice what happened when he asked people to check out his hook while the DJ revolved it.) But even with all the surrounding drama, people are still into the song and making videos. So, so, so many videos…