TLC: Even The Melodrama Feels The Same

One of the benefits of foreign travel and time away is a much-needed sense of perspective. Struggling with a foreign tongue, struggling to see from a different perspective, being steeped in different mores: These are all good things. Even moreso, if, as my wife and I did on our recent trip, you happen to struggle through a week or so bout with the flu.  We return to a world in all respects identical to the one we left, save only for the slight changes wrought in ourselves.
My Internet connection was intermittent. For the later portion of our trip, I was out of touch, and blissfully so. Logging back into the stream of consciousness we had fled was jarring. There were some 60 comments backed up on this blog page alone, together with an email account overloaded with messages.  Many of the comments here referred to pieces I had recently written on the Trial Lawyers College: Some thanked me for writing, some scorned me for sniping from afar and others, well, to be honest, others I could not really decipher. I would read for but a sentence or two, and then simply publish them. I am grateful to be read at all.
The most abiding impression from all the comments about TLC? Virtually all of the comments are anonymous. 
Mark Bennett, himself a TLC grad and blogger, foreswears publication of anonymous posts on his page. He requires a person to own what they speak. That struck me as unnecessarily fussy when I first learned about it. Why such a requirement?
I suppose it screens hypocrites. Several writers on this page call me out as a coward. If I have something to say, I should not say it here, they imply. I am weak, deluded, vainglorious, diseased, and other such things because I speak my mind on a page bearing my name. The folks troubled by that and calling scorn down upon me? Mostly anonymous. Go figure. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall; what has become of my two balls?"
Apparently, things are rocking and rolling at Thunderhead Ranch. There is a new board, and with it, new wounds. Old favorites have been discarded like lover's whose kiss ensnares rather than enthralls. New board members now sit and give counsel to new dreams wrapped in the same old wine skin. At the September class, students protested the fare; enrollments were so low for an October workshop that alumni were apparently invited back free of charge. If Gerry Spence be truly gone, what will attract students?
One writer contends that the college's new counsel, Rex Parris, recently told the board he has no respect for me, that if ignored, I will simply go away. So while questions have been raised about the college's financial footing, those questions shall go unanswered. Is this the same Rex Parris who wrote me but three weeks ago saying that he missed talking, and that we should remedy that soon? What credit shall I give to this anonymous gossip? Should I view an old friend's words as suspect? Was Rex merely dropping a line to tether me? Such cynicism, unless, of course, Machiavelli was right and keeping enemies close is wise policy for a courtier?
And then notes about the silencing of dissent. The college will no longer post links to web pages, having ceased doing so shortly after questions it does not want to address began to appear in print. Joane Garcia-Colson raised questions on her blog page about loyalty. Better to erase her page and others like it. Put enough wax in our ears, the new leaders seem to say, and we'll all hear the melodious hum of contentment.
Another writer tells me that I am a captive to the ranch. I cannot shake myself free, and, hence, I write, obsessively. Another near miss. For many years I kept silent about the place. But then I visited the ranch again, and what I saw and heard shocked me. Proud warriors once gathered there. Today the same place has the look and feel of of a rehab center. One newbie boasts that although he practiced law for some twenty year before becoming a student, he only became a human being after a few weeks beneath the Wyoming stars. Oh, my.
But I digress. It is my style. I am losing interest in the ranch and its doings. It's been nice to be away. And returning is always tough. Being a steward for other people's troubles takes its toll. There are only so many hours in a day, and not nearly enough days.
I will try to be kinder, I promise. But something about the rancid odor of hypocrisy stirs me. I would respect the college more if it were less evangelical in its goals: It is not I who sought the college; the college rather seeks out all of us. It wants to educate a new type of lawyer. It claims to have discovered new things, things of value. Having made such claims, it invites scrutiny.  
Ad hominem attacks by anonymous writers are merely more proof that for all the college's claims to have discovered something new, it is merely another ant heap filled with struggling creatures.

Comments: (11)

  • Did the TLC make how many a " human being",
    who be...
    Did the TLC make how many a " human being",
    who before they went to Wyoming,
    were not really a human being ?
    Also, some post as Annon, because blog
    owners, are like little God's, they can control
    boards, in so many assorted ways, not
    to say Norm does, but it happens
    I know more about Wyoming than about
    any who have posted on Norm's Blog
    board, and some aspects of human
    beings covers a wide swath.
    Sad, TLC views people who arrive as sub- human,
    then after dipping them in the method,
    presto, some new chemistry converts
    them to hominids.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 8:16 am by Anonymous
  • Thank you for your continued posts about TLC. You ...
    Thank you for your continued posts about TLC. You may not realize it but many alumni come to your blog for info and to post their thoughts because TLC will not provide any info. And many are afraid to post on the TLC list serve because of the board members who prowl same looking for discension so they can weed the non-believers, and the non-worshippers out.
    I can't believe Rex Parris contacted you a mere three weeks ago but claims you should be ignored and are having no impact on TLC. I would watch my back if I were you.
    The anonymity of our posts say alot about the "safety" of TLC. No one is safe at TLC. Say the wrong thing, befriend the wrong person and you will be gone.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 9:19 am by Anonymous
  • The title of this blog piece is appropriate. The m...
    The title of this blog piece is appropriate. The melodrama feels the same because it is the same. TLC isn't going to change and any one who believes it will is deluding themselves.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 9:28 am by Anonymous
  • Norm, other distinguished grads, TLC:
    I have CLE ...
    Norm, other distinguished grads, TLC:
    I have CLE requirements, and I often pick out some new place, new experience, to get CLE, & often I find that some legal semimar is put on from a slant or perspective of those funding, or the speakers picked out to run the programs.
    Would you all recommend that I go to the TLC Ranch.
    I am sure I could write an application that would blow the socks off of any reviewers.
    And, get in. But, would it be worthwhile, enriching.
    Now, the reason, I ask, is my life is such, that I don't want to be hooked into any long term commitments if I were to go there, I have other irons in the fire, so to speak.
    But, I have to say, in looking at TLC, I did some other googling.
    It seems that the biggest cool aid drinkers were Norm, and Rick Reno, and like some method impact it had a true believer hold / halo around 'em---for a stint. Then, it seems down the road, some other thing triggered(like a Nam flash back) a different reaction.
    I admit I am human, and this thing about humaness, and even Gerry has posted on it sticks out: "the trick is to remain human", so says Gerry.
    I got news for you I sent in my DNA, seeking to establish my roots, and the National Geographic send back and said they did not have the data base to make any findings.
    My wife jokes with me, presto, that proves it, I am the missing link.
    She wanted to swab my blue ribbon bull dog's cheeck, and send in his DNA to see what was going on. I had to threaten legal action, it may ruin the families chances at the DAR membership
    I would give my full name/ address, bar #, etc, but I am afraid that my hurt my chances to get into the RANCH.
    I have been through Dubois many times, usually on my way to the Tetons, or Yellowstone.(summer vacations).
    I am proud of my law degrees(2) from established U's, I even got one one on a prestigious GOV Fellowship, where uncle Sammy paid the full freight. But, Gerry tells us those degrees were a fraud, and tells some they need to learn how to be human.
    I have never had trouble being human, that is my nature, it was from day 1.
    You think Bill O'Reilly has some stories about the Nuns, well, I got better ones.
    In any event, can you all tell me, would it be worth my time, and money to get inside the RANCH/ TLC fence ? I already broke away from 1/2 time watching my favorite NFL team, on Sunday, to seek to get your sage advice. Thanks for any replies. here(WWWW- NORM SITE, & if Norm will put up, in full, etc., and if even any in-put from Norm, now that the rose pedals(Indian Paint Brush) is off the buds at the ranch, in view of some latest musings, etc. By the way,
    my religion and spiritaul place, currently such as is its changing state of grace, is none of your biz, and I am not going to tell you if I ever had Rev Wright as my Minister, or Rabbi Tanenbaum, or ever was in the Blue Mosque at key times.
    Thank you for any sage and helpful ranch advice, old HANDS.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 10:14 am by Anonymous
  • Anon:
    By all means go. Great experiences there, a...
    By all means go. Great experiences there, at least they were for me, and I learned some, too. You'll reach your own conclusions about whether it was worth it, but you are curious and life is short. I say jump in.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 10:52 am by Norm Pattis
  • Is Parris the Dick Cheney in the TLC Bush Administ...
    Is Parris the Dick Cheney in the TLC Bush Administration?
    Posted on October 19, 2009 at 3:24 am by Anonymous
  • Yes, Landcaster, by way of the
    Snake River
    he digs...
    Yes, Landcaster, by way of the
    Snake River
    he digs fly-fishing does't he ?
    The old guard vs. The Cyber Blog chattering
    nay- bobs of, oh just grow up and get a life
    reality- ville.
    The drama- Rama goes into the
    5th dimension, fed by the Blogger
    Cultist Cutie Clique.
    Does Cyber blog-ville have
    any connection to reality ?
    Rex Parris may be correct
    all the cyber static here won't amount
    to anything in the real world.
    But, Mike now thinks Norm's blog
    is his real world.
    So, now the harping on rich sucessful white
    guys, will be offered up as the
    standard faire.
    Thus, Dick Cheney, Gerry's Teton
    neighbor. @ limited times,
    is morphed into the latest on a Rex
    Grow up get a life, more projection by
    Mike's cyber nattering nay- bobs of
    negativity, who are now looking
    for Jesus figures at some L. A mall,
    after getting disillusioned at the Ranch.
    Posted on October 19, 2009 at 6:02 am by Anonymous
  • One of the anonymous posters just rambles and make...
    One of the anonymous posters just rambles and makes no sense. Too much cool aid perhaps?
    Posted on October 19, 2009 at 10:40 am by Anonymous
  • I found no cases on lexis, when I searched on mike...
    I found no cases on lexis, when I searched on mike( Cernovich).
    Is the guy even a lawyer who spends much time in court cases, in real courts ?
    He sure is floating around the blog, name dropping Spence, with his claim he attended the Spence this, the Spence that, the Ranch here the ranch there.
    Could it be that Mike is one of those big hat no cattle kind of guys.
    He even brags he is the one who nagged Norm to attend Spences 80th birtday.
    How many have paid to attend a birthday, are Norm and Mike the big ticket guys on this ?
    Yep, Norm comes back from his Euro trip, and the mirrors were all changed around, some window in to matters via Mike, and his unreality in ZOO-LU, cyber lands.
    No wonder Rex is saying it is all a nothing, all this cyber chatter of guys like Mike.
    But Mike has this refrain, it says more about you.
    No Mike, it says your standing as a real trial attorney is not much in the way of real world stuff, and accomplishments, but you got on the Ranch, and milked it for your cyber exploits, so that is your deal.
    Doesn't Norm know that, why is he keeping so quite on that, too ?
    We know Norm is a real trial attorney with many accomplishments.
    But on Mike, well Norm can be used by him for his Mikey Mouse cyber exploits that is up to Norm.
    If this is not true, what are you big trial accomplishments that can be independently confirmed Mike, you must know that Norm's blog is not a court appearance.
    Posted on October 19, 2009 at 12:06 pm by Anonymous
  • Mike:
    who is calling the kettle black. ?
    Your and ...
    who is calling the kettle black. ?
    Your and Norm's piece's must not
    be rants, is it now what you accord as some
    Bibical pearls of wisdom, thrown before
    And, Annons make no sense to you,
    because you are deeply endowed in
    the Spence method, annointed by
    the master Spence.
    How Spensian is it all, drama- Rama, with
    no feeling of the real.
    Posted on October 20, 2009 at 3:03 am by Anonymous
  • As soon as the Guess Jeans Mogul arrives here, th...
    As soon as the Guess Jeans Mogul arrives here, things should spark up.
    stay tuned.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 8:55 am by Anonymous

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