It’s been an awful long time since I booted up and got blogging. A lot has happened in the past month. Lets see: there was that vacation in Seaside, Florida. Then there was my final week in Alabama, during which Isadly packed up my office at UA and made my last, long drive home from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham. Next came the move to Philadelphia and Drexel University College of Law. I took a detour to the fabulous National Association of Sentencing Commissions conference where I visited with favorite crim profs Doug Berman and Ron Wright and gave a talk about the rebirth of rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system. And then back to the mines.
I haven’t had the inspiration to blog – or even to navigate to the “create new entry” page of MovableType – until I stumbled upon Stuart Elliott’s Advertising column in yesterday’s NYTimes. Nothing gets me stoked like hearing about a New Yorker discover culture in the Sticks. Elliott shops at a SuperTarget. (Hello! Is there any greater joy? Can you believe that, now that I’ve moved, my nearest SuperTarget is 193 miles away?) He’s impressed that folks in Alabama and Florida quaff Starbucks and Wal-Mart shoppers buy organic. He’s inrigued that a Super-8 motel would offer free WiFi. He’s also tickled by all the religious billboards.
The article wasn’t explicitly condescending, and perhaps wasn’t condescending at all. But if not, it certainly evidenced the kind of narrow world view that people in the various cities he visits – Birmingham, Tallahassee, Indianapolis, and the like – expect of Northeasterners. Because in the end, most New Yorkers probably read the column and thought “very interesting.” And readers from the 42 (or so) not-so-cosmopolitan states probably thought “only a New Yorker would be surprised to discover that Starbucks has drive-throughs.”
It reminded me of a classic opinion by Federal Judge Samuel Kent, writing in Smith v. Colonial Penn Insurance Co.:
Defendant should be assured that it is not embarking on a three- week-long trip via covered wagons when
it travels to Galveston. Rather, Defendant will be pleased to discover that the highway is paved and
lighted all the way to Galveston, and thanks to the efforts of this Court’s predecessor, Judge Roy Bean,
the trip should be free of rustlers, hooligans, or vicious varmints of unsavory kind….
As to Defendant’s argument that Houston might also be a more convenient forum for Plaintiff, the
Court notes that Plaintiff picked Galveston as her forum of choice even though she resides in San
Antonio. Defendant argues that flight travel is available between Houston and San Antonio but is
not available between Galveston and San Antonio, again because of the absence of a commercial
airport. Alas, this Court’s kingdom for a commercialairport! The Court is unpersuaded by this
argument because it is not this Court’s concern how Plaintiff gets here, whether it be by plane, train,
automobile, horseback, foot, or on the back of a huge Texas jackrabbit, as long as Plaintiff is here at
the proper date and time. Thus, the Court declines to disturb the forum chosen by the Plaintiff and
introduce the likelihood of delay inherent in any transfer simply to avoid the insignificant
inconvenience that Defendant may suffer by litigating this matter in Galveston rather than Houston.
Defendant will again be pleased to know that regular limousine service is available from Hobby
Airport, even to the steps of this humble courthouse, which has got lights, indoor plummin’, ‘lectric doors,
and all sorts of new stuff, almost like them big courthouses back East.