“The women of the former days used to take two husbands, but the women of today (if they attempt to do this) must be stoned.”
—King Urukagina of Lagash, the earliest written law code, 2350 BC, as cited by Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet vs. the Goddess
Dean of Admissions, Georgetown Law
Associate Vice President of Graduate Admissions and Enrollment
Office of Admissions McDonough Hall, Room 589
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Re: LSAC Acct. No. L35129044
Dear Dean Cornblatt and Colleagues:
Thank you for making available application to your law school outside the limitations of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC)’s text-heavy, badly designed userface.
And review my design analyses of the online videos of a former prosecutor-turned-criminal-defender after he was accused of raping his staff and the Attorney General presiding over the state where I successfully defended my MFA researching critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo in 2008 and where, post-graduate, post-Great Recession, post six years of applying for no shortage of jobs from the candidate’s perspective, always a shortage of time combined with a dearth of prospective clients healthy enough to uphold the terms of our contracts, in 2014, I was locked up for a month of my life without due process after my family denied child abuse, elder abuse, labor trafficking, rape, homicide, and even our shared genealogy to mental juridical health authorities who then falsely accused me of complaining of “government conspiracies” for describing my personal and professional experiences relevant to the cross-disciplinary fields of criminal justice and psychology better educated and more experienced than their own geographically isolated box. Idaho’s taxpayer-funded mental juridical health system employees failed to access even Google to ascertain the difference between their definition of “delusions,” and global historic reality, resulting in me being incarcerated for the “crimes” of writing and critical thinking with the mass shooter visibly suffering the side effects of antipsychotics exacerbating early childhood trauma seven months prior to his return to the tiny agricultural community home to my graduate school alma mater, where he killed three, including the brother of a former state legislator, and critically wounded a civil rights lawyer, followed by federal prosecutors in 2016 failing to convince an Oregon jury of their conspiracy charges leveled against my third cousins for their armed occupancy of federal territory.
Before returning to review the remainder of my application:
As thrilled as I am to find a law school both located in our nation’s capital and so weary of plowing through pages of text on a screen or volumes of text-heavy print media that you encourage your applicants to produce our own videos without worrying “about how professional it’s going to look,” cheap technology combined with amateur image production results in poor communication and explains my nearly decade of visually educated unemployment instead of what should have been my professional wage-earning career, the breakdown in democratic values as two immature sides of any conflict stomp their feet and insist on the black or white “rightness” of the difference of their opinions rather than looking for the multiple shades of grey or commonalities between and negotiating resolution without the use of force of the more powerful subject over the less powerful other, and failure of the rule of law.
The legal equivalent would be don’t worry if you’ve never cracked open a law book or ever attended a law school lecture, but since you have access to a word processor, go right ahead and represent yourself without first acquiring the vocabulary and grammar of the field, okay?
One tiny example from your web presence, the rest of the nation already thinks Washington accomplishes not much in the public interest because its insiders must be drunk all the time. While I, too, used to enjoy wine with dinner when I still had the budget for it, is this stereotype how you really want to visually communicate your program to your global audience without even repairing the red eye on a badly composed photographic image?
My view from the other Washington, it looks like after the PILS full tuition waiver all you need to come up with is a legal research stipend adequate for relocation and shelter within walking distance of a Metro station so I can get to work better identifying and communicating Barbara Moulton’s goals to your intended audience and better solutions for the nation’s psychological well-being than available through your neighborhood pharmacist while absorbing your legal knowledge like a sponge. To Peter Edelman’s and Rebecca Epstein’s work on poverty and law, I bring the perspective of the designer sought by a Gates Foundation blogger to work on solving the problem of poverty without first offering me a paycheck while I was subsisting out of cheap motels on your side of the nation until my plastic gave out in 2012, and who has since been incarcerated for simply describing the results of my post-graduate Athenian efforts to find employers healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage.
Funding multiple layers of visually illiterate administration or “public-private partnerships” collecting redundant data instead of establishing design guidelines, universal basic income, and allowing artists, writers, and designers to work on creating more aesthetically appealing communities, the Gates Foundation’s results without my visually educated expertise increased dire poverty in Seattle by 20 percent, more or less, in each of the last two years, accumulating 10,000 homeless citizens in King County alone, with that number doubling again statewide, according to the foundation’s own online catalogue. Despite the efforts of the world’s wealthiest to provide a “great” education to every impoverished child to “empower” women with the tools to “lift” ourselves out of poverty, last year Washington’s Supreme Court fined its lawmakers for failing to adequately fund education in the state, and decided those Gates Foundation-backed charter schools competing from the same public grant-seeking pot as public school union labor defy the state’s constitution.
From my experiences intimately observing Idaho’s technologically, psychologically, and visually disabled mental juridical health system busily dispensing product manufactured by multinational drug cartels causing egregious global harm, I may also be well-suited for your technology and law program. More specifically, I am asking from the perspective of someone who earned her BFA by supporting the research sciences at one of the four institutions nationwide that comprised the original Department of Defense-funded ARPANET precursor to the internet and the second tier law schooling of my geneticist-turned-prosecutor ex-husband (more personal and professional “delusions” to Idaho’s mental juridical health employees empowered with the force of law but still unfamiliar with the tools of 21st century reality), when is technology going to arrive for the field of law, boots on the ground, so to speak?
Another of your projects visually gasping for my depth and breadth of skills, the area of women’s law and public policy. I confess, I have yet to read the Violence Against Women Act, but however carefully the verbiage may have been crafted and negotiated by lawmakers, in grad school from 2005–08, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 failed to protect me from the violence of a male colleague upheld by the violence of faculty and administrators ranging across the spectrum of masculinity to femininity, VAWA failed to protect me from the violence of the women in my family, who uphold the abuse of their patriarchs, the violence of women bureaucrats who uphold the violence of the state, the violence of the women who trafficked my post-carceral (both educated professional and manual) labor, or women’s violence against other women that I daily endure, violence exacerbated by the continual threat of rooflessness by other women flagrantly violating multiple Washington civil and criminal laws, or abusing their positions of power over socioeconomically vulnerable women, while cashing in their publicly funded, corporate nonprofit administrative paychecks. Having years ago noted a strong correlation between visual illiteracy and abuse, I can see from any point on the globe equipped with wifi and web browser that Susan Deller Ross has also endured considerable violence in her life:
I can deeply empathize with her logic gravitating toward the field of law to empower herself to place boundaries on her abusers. But who’s going to communicate the news of logocentric laws to even the personnel paid to uphold them, let alone audiences far removed from your legal field, in this era of rapidly and richly visual communications technologies?
Yet I also see that Georgetown Law retains an internal communications team.
Are your lawyers not allowing your designers a seat at the decision-making table, resulting in lawyers art-directing designers after you make your communications decisions? Or are you not paying your designers enough to respect their expertise as they try to help you communicate law to a global audience?
Believe it or not, because my fate was decided by an Idaho judge who could not believe the real-world value of communications to one global transportation firm while mental health staffers respected the fictions about my job-seeking experiences created by an abusive patriarch with access to the designs for nuclear weapons in his career history, I am also somewhat intrigued by your offerings in law and national security, as national security is more deeply entwined with dire poverty than stereotypical preconceptions might first assume. Of course we bring our personal and familial communications styles with us into business and public affairs. It is absurd to think that communications style or behavior attaches itself to a structure like the home rather than following an individual into his or her workplace. Is it a problem for national security when a memory engineer “forgets” about crimes as serious as homicide and his wife’s genealogical relationships in his eagerness to force his will over his sister-in-law, or is national security only a concern if Idaho-based memory makers joint venture with a Chinese firm? Or is that irrational Western fear of the Eastern Other a holdover from an earlier era, and with no shortage of today’s global technologies, may we combine visual communications, psychology, and law to mediate healthier responses to fear than eternal world warfare?
If the Gates Foundation – or any other powerful organization – genuinely wants to solve the problem of poverty in its own headquarters’ city – or elsewhere – they need to stop worrying so much about quantitative data and instead conduct what I call design research, or pay more attention to qualitative narrative data, or those in the position of power in any relationship – personal, familial, public, private, foreign, domestic – need to take a seat and get quiet long enough to listen to the less powerful, because to not hear the perspective of the other, you end up spending millions, billions, trillions on your not-hearing anyway, resulting in a badly designed world, causing incalculable human suffering, no matter the quantity of contradictory words passed by legislators.
Ditch your preconceived stereotypes that limit collecting only redundant quantitative data forcing individual human beings to fit your tiny imagination-impoverished boxes and blaming those in the less powerful position in any relationship, and instead identify the root of the problem. Then you can get to work on solving it: despite the propaganda, Seattle and the rest of the nation do not have a “homelessness” problem, and dire poverty is not a problem of alcohol or drug addiction or “mental illness.” Beneath the poverty problem and self- or state-medicating and behaviors ranging from neurotic to psychotic: trauma.
America has an abuse problem.
Current domestic violence and campus sexual assault models fail for the same reason: because they isolate and label “abuser” as opposite “victim,” at best, rather than a continuum of communication between two, but where is the required curricula teaching and learning conflict resolution-? Where is the stereotypical football-player-rapist going to go after he gets booted off our campuses of higher education, current best case scenario, assuming the administrators paid to investigate and enforce do not instead sweep their abuse problem under the rug for fear of losing their funding?
Hence my solution simplifying all human communications to just five dots based not on race, national origin, sex, gender, age, religion, physical or mental ability, or socioeconomic class, but on the structures of trauma and power:
Those 30 seconds might look like effortless “talent” to you, but that’s 40+ years of experience growing up in a globally notoriously multigenerational abusive family, a BFA further informed by coursework in psychology and philosophy, a trauma-educated MFA more deeply informed by more readings in philosophy and psychoanalytic theory further evidenced by my teaching experiences in drawing studio classrooms the equivalent of clinical psychology practice, and unlimited postgraduate research opportunities available to me, watching severely traumatized individuals spin around their first 15 seconds of my conflict resolution model whenever they encounter a perspective that disagrees with their own, lacking the tools to spin their trauma monologues back around in the opposite direction, with each stop on the passive aggressive volvelle turned inside-out, as demonstrated in the last 15 seconds of my Unplay the Shame and Blame Game model. Maybe further compare my identity design process ‘before’ with Professor Ross’s ‘after’ or more examples from my painting portfolio and my logical thinking abilities against the drug-addled, enormously fragile ego of a marriage counselor in Kansas easily shattered by encountering Twitter opinions that differ from his own?
Where is the law that states employers will hire the better educated, the harder working, the better behaved, and the poorest first in a nation that sneers, “That’s just visual,” and shames or blames the poor for our poverty? And who enforces that law?
From my experiences of civil rights violations so deeply entwined with multiple homicides, I could also be drawn to your criminal law program. Analyzing the poor communications across multiple states’ law and disorder resulting in unsolved cold case and psychopharmacology-induced homicides is fascinating work; mine is the analysis that needed to be done after the mass shootings at Columbine, after Virginia Tech, or better still, before Sandy Hook, precipitating systemic shifts in education and our approach to human psychology. I would not half mind this work if I were earning the taxpayer-funded paychecks of all of the folks who should be communicating across multiple jurisdictions, departments, and campuses, connecting the disparate dots, and better understanding human psychology instead of isolating and blaming and repressing and repeating the same abusive behavior over and over and over, generation after generation. I feel like I already paid for that cog in a broken criminal justice machine with my first JD, but maybe your institution is well-branded enough to guarantee me a post-graduate living wage job with your initials behind my name?
While I appreciate that deadlines are deadlines, from my perspective I have done everything in my humble power to meet your deadlines, while patiently praying the folks who get paid to uphold your laws might stop flagrantly violating them. I am grateful to also note your support of at least one other nontraditional scholar wrongfully incarcerated. If you cannot reward exceptional effort laboring under systemic violations of law, I will do my very best to get to a place where I am protected from daily threats of violence or rooflessness if I do not comply with violence, and maybe try again next fall.
From your end, maybe you can work on finding a budget to acquire the depth and breadth of my visual communications, technology, and psychology knowledge and exceptional circumstances for your legal team?
If I could credit back to my life all of the years debited to higher education adding digital form fields to their previously analogue forms that roomfuls of administrators digitized without thought for how digital technology changes our relationships with this same data and with each other, and if any of those institutions respected my educated expertise with a living wage, then probably I would not now be applying to your program, and certainly not in such an unorthodox fashion.
Having already doxxed myself to 11 generations on my genetic father’s side to prove my identity and take back the biography stolen from me by the State of Idaho, I think I exceed your expectations for answering your date, nation of origin, and citizenship questions. I have yet to delve into my maternal Dutch ancestry, but the Dutch were not involved in armed conflict against the United States at the time of my incarceration without due process, so they did not come up in my conversations with Idaho’s mental juridical health authorities, while asking for freedom from human trafficking.
Are you hoping to attract another generation of dutiful data entry clerks, or critically thinking, technology-literate, visually literate scholars? Are you firmly committed to the graphic design of your form, or would you consider a redesign if it helped you better and more efficiently accomplish your goals?
In our era of interconnected computers and social media for the Millennial generation and beyond, likely, your candidates will have some web presence, most of this data is redundant, communications between applicant and admissions could be reduced to a tweet and confirming mention, and if you leave it to your candidates to design the visual form of the written content of our applications, then you will accomplish your goal of learning more about us than merely scanning through LSAC’s written data stripped of any visually appealing form, perhaps never clearer to me than scrolling rapidly through their application generated after more than 60 screens of data input, here LSAC’s first page placed side-by-side with the first page of my interactive résumé:
No wonder lawyers are so argumentative; you’re visually starved.
In answer to your binary gender question, when even the Pope acknowledges a “he that was her but is he” as a human being, I encourage your review of my design analysis of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and USAjobs.gov federal database aimed at helping the Departments of Justice and Education more consistently achieve their goals of basic human dignity for all students and job candidates in both meat- and virtual space.
Please do submit my design criticism for long overdue review by the LSAC Subcommittee on Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process. Is that the same committee responsible for hiring a Design Director to help their web devs overhaul their global communications decisions? Perhaps you are in a position where they will listen to you, because the Newtown, Pennsylvania, staffers do not listen to me. As if my experiences through Idaho’s broken educational and mental juridical health systems and Seattle’s poverty industrial complex are not bad enough, in my analysis of DFEH v. LSAC and their ongoing circular communications, LSAC is poorly situated to judge my conduct:
Teach for America recruits get eight weeks of teacher training after college, plus a fee waiver into law school? I sat through two days of orientation summarized by the instruction to “make it fun” in 2005 before being tossed into three years of university-level independent studio classroom teaching paying less than a poverty-level wage. How do you feel about extending your fee waiver to the designer who, in 2011, documented Seattle’s public education activists at the Apple Retail location closest to the University of Washington, and when the city’s public school teachers proved too dysfunctional to respect my visually educated expertise, instead analyzed the brands profiting from the demolition of our public education system?
You do not have to watch longer than a minute if you do not want to scroll through Teach for America’s funders, but for those viewers who do, I promise more visual reward for your time.
How I feel about 1–2-page résumés is either 1) you spend half a lifetime building your cv, only to have the rules change as you attain each level of accomplishment, or 2) that means I have two pages to entice you to further read my narrative, and 3) with 21st century media, if I have failed with the design of my un-résumé timeline showing just a handful of examples of what happens with firms, organizations, or communities that chose not to hire me or uphold the terms of our contracts, then restrain yourself from clicking or scrolling past the end of the second page:
Successful completion of coursework in the pre-digital era from Otis/Parsons and UNLV’s then-budding “tumbleweed tech” architecture program accepted as transfer credit by my undergraduate institution is visibly evident in my model for a live/work trauma recovery/conflict resolution/community revitalization concept space, Nadine, or throughout my visual portfolio.
Three years after the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree negotiating landmark $7.73 million settlement in DFEH v. LSAC for discriminating against quadriplegic test-takers in flagrant and morally reprehensible violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the staffers in Pennsylvania continue to demand more of a destitute trafficking survivor than the nation expects of the President of the United States, defeating LSAC’s written goal dated from one year before I was born “to assure that no person is denied access to law school because of the absolute inability to pay for the LSAT and other essential applicant services.”
If I were LSAC’s Communications Design Director, that settlement would have propelled me to go through their communications with a fine-tooth comb, not just rely on the outside panel tasked with reviewing the section requesting disability accommodations. Page 21 of the 30-page text-limited Best Practices Report generated on 26 January 2015 by the panel of legal experts convened to meet the terms of the DOJ consent decree and help LSAC comply with federal law describes a hectic office environment with expectations poorly communicated from overwhelmed manager to lower level staff:
Unfortunately, without management establishing higher expectations for their staffers, LSAC automatically and consistently continues to decline critical review of exceptional circumstances, thus defeating the goals of its fee waiver program.
On the next page, “when a candidate unexpectedly acquires a disability after the registration deadline” the panel recommends:
“LSAC should then waive the regular deadlines and make every effort to accommodate the candidate. The Panel understands that this recommendation goes beyond its authority under the Consent Decree but believes it is a Best Practice.”
The panel further recommends “using a holistic approach to the file” and clearly states, “Employing adequate, qualified staff is a Best Practice,” countering LSAC’s ongoing haphazard method of communicating with candidates requesting fee waivers.
If LSAC employs one Disability Specialist to review its worldwide business practice, then who, pray tell, is LSAC’s Poverty Specialist?
In my experience, not only does LSAC maintain no paper records of exceptional considerations, but they maintain no digital notes, which for your candidates means starting all over again at each and every contact point, regardless if the communications media is email, fax, telephone, snail mail, drone, or carrier pigeon, and even by your own admissions and fee waiver deadline standards, impoverished applicants must accomplish more paperwork in less time with access to fewer resources than America’s privileged classes.
On Page 25, the impaneled legal experts amplify LSAC’s martyr narrative that disabled candidates “wait until very close to the registration deadline to submit their requests for testing accommodations” while clinging to an entirely different set of time expectations for themselves, and blaming the DOJ for their feelings of overwhelm with meeting their goals:
Please review my résumé for some of my accomplishments on nothing more than a SNAP budget while “waiting” – more like wading through – LSAC’s convoluted, text-heavy communication of its policies, nomenclature, and deadlines.
But then again, if I were LSAC’s Communications Design Director, they would never have been sued, because I would begin from basic human dignity, instead of demanding more from folks who are structurally situated in a less powerful position in our society than the beneficiaries of white, male, heterosexual, able-bodied Protestant property owners of Anglo-Saxon descent suffering raging narcissistic disorder symptomatic of the trauma of brute survival however many generations in their personal biographies after landing on the North American continent:
If LSAC’s white, male property-owning candidates are not comfortable checking check boxes indicating their level of privilege, maybe they would feel happier in a field that does not demand, in theory anyway, personal integrity?
I can understand the logic, from the perspective of white, male property-owners, in proving an absolute inability to pay for the LSAT by requiring federal tax returns, well within their comfortable reach of kitchen, shower, bed, toilet, telephone, unlimited access to computer and wifi all under the same roof. To accomplish LSAC’s written goal of assuring that no person is denied access to law school because of absolute inability to pay for the LSAT and other essential applicant services, however, LSAC needs to start from the perspective of those of us with absolute inability to pay.
To me, this is a math problem so simple I wonder about the higher order thinking skills of the committee who decided to invert the requirements, but recognizing that a senior Micron engineer and Seattle’s poverty industrial complex administrators also struggle to follow along with these rudimentary maths, I hope my design recommendation does not trigger a fit of retaliatory rage from their committee members:
More suggestions for LSAC’s Subcommittee on Innovation and Better Design:
1. Words are inadequate to describe the horror of being imprisoned by a judge, prosecutor, police, and data entry clerks earning their paychecks as “mental health professionals” all too incompetent to use even Google – let alone LexisNexis or secure law enforcement databases – to ascertain the reality of my second husband’s career as a prosecutor or the homicide of my first husband’s third wife, all jeering at me for those so-called “delusions” according to my abusive family, then to have fled post-carceral trafficking experiences back to the ostensibly high-tech city of Seattle, racing against a clock ticking away at my 90-minute daily access to brute survival and LSAC’s June 2015 test deadline, while surrounded in a mosh-pit of pornography-consuming unwashed bodies, only for their badly designed interface to reiterate my previous last names as invalid.
Somewhat akin to my eventual undergraduate alma mater first informing me that I had not graduated from high school nearly ten years after that biographical fact.
Because the school district, in the intervening decade, had better designed their transcript form to fit to one page.
And the administrators accidentally omitted the second page communicating my accomplishments to the university.
Only 10,000 times worse.
With a little luck, and just one employer healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage, perhaps one day I can complete a cycle of paintings to fully communicate that horror to an empathetic audience.
2. #BetterDesign: what globally unique identifier might better serve as a one-of-a-kind username than strings of nonsensical alphanumeric characters when LSAC’s database has already been accessed by at least one Nadine clever enough to swap out her vowels with numbers?
Hint: the globally unique identifier also includes an @ symbol and a dot to the left of the domain.
3. #BetterDesign: strengthen your password selection by allowing full UTF-8 character selection, bare minimum, going forward into the 21st century.
4. Tiny detail, but still #betterdesign: the more logical, big-endianness of ISO 8601 date formatting to help the United States better communicate time with much of the rest of the digitized world.
5. #BetterDesign: again, gender as biologically sound slider rather than socialized fearful either/or:
Maybe even narrow the spectrum of options, as I’ve indicated, so we may celebrate the overlapping center better than we are doing with our rigid division between any two extremes-?
6. #BetterDesign: typically, I identify as single rather than divorced, and limit myself to my father’s surname. I have come to somewhat ambivalently agree with King Urukagina of Lagash, though I suspect the definition of the verb “stoned” has changed sometime during 4,300 years under patriarchal law. But after you have been held without due process by the taxpayer-funded employees of an entire state’s mental juridical health system who jeered at you for the “delusion” of your relationships via your genetic father, jeered at you some more for the “delusion” of your second husband’s career, and special victims and homicide detectives jeered at you still some more for the “delusion” of the cold case homicide related to the homicide of your first husband’s third wife, better identifying with criminal abusers instead of acting like grown up boys deserving of their long pants, weapons, and badges, and communicating across multiple jurisdictions by referring cold case homicide for more thorough investigation, and trafficking, elder abuse, and Medicaid fraud in their own neighborhood for prosecution, and these are your reasons for wanting to continue your education to better assist the severely undereducated field of law, maybe good if LSAC’s brogrammers could, in addition to permitting spaces, periods, apostrophes, and dashes in last names, also stretch their imaginations to include comma-separated multiple data items in the previous (other) last name(s) field?
Hint: to accommodate a candidate like my Mexican-born paternal grandmother, with her seven marriages to five husbands, you’ll want to make sure not to limit the number of characters for that form field.
And that’s just one screen of badly designed content and interactivity.
With analysis of form delayed until after I receive a signed contract and professional wage.
Another of LSAC’s candidate entry screens further limits your pool to young college grads:
Search as I might after one of LSAC’s Communications Analysts assured me there was a button to click to enter graduate degree(s) directly beneath undergrad data, I didn’t stumble across that whole other area of their site until uploading my data for Stanford’s application process:
From LSAC’s track record of abysmal communications, I’m guessing that means, like Idaho’s failed health and welfare system, I will have to redundantly yet again input my same data for each. And. Every. Individual. Law. School’s application-??
But I won’t know unless I wade my way through still more badly designed, text-laborious screens.
LSAC’s most insulting redundant data input asks for academic honors and awards copied and pasted from my cv as individual data form fields with characters too restricted to comfortably fit my particular data sets as an artist whose work has been exhibited across the western United States as far east as Chicago and is held in publicly accessible collections. After nearly a decade of post-Great Recession unemployment, I no longer consider these juried exhibitions to be honors or awards, just more evidence of unpaid labor:
Is it an honor when the state where you earned your graduate degree adds your painting oeuvre to its collection via trafficking theft? I consider drug abuse, slavery, extortion, fraud, and theft to be crimes, not honors. On Stanford’s application, I also omitted my bibliography that includes editorial references ranging from the hard and soft sciences to fine press publications; after all that work only netted me imprisonment by mental juridical health system employees who insisted I know nothing about basic research, why bother to input still more of my data to LSAC’s database when my data is better designed?
As the genetic daughter of a U.S. Navy and IRS tax-collecting veteran, I grew up with one of Cliven Bundy’s second cousins telling me the only two things you have to do in life are pay taxes and die.
My five-year-old self: “You don’t have to pay taxes.”
My father: “If you don’t, you will go to prison.”
Moi: “So then you would suffer the consequences of your actions, but you do not have to pay taxes.”
Ironically, witnessing this nearly identical conversation between my Micron engineering brother-in-law and my adolescent nephew first prompted me to begin speaking out about abusive behaviors handed down from one generation to the next. It seems stupid to me that each succeeding generation must suffer the abuses of the ancestors gone before rather than unpacking the baggage their parents handed down to haul around for them, teaching their offspring healthier communication, and enjoying happier, more meaningfully engaged lives.
Why expend all of your energy hoarding money and fearing death-?
If all you have to do in life is die, then what are you waiting for?
Maybe all we have to do to more fully evolve is to learn how to help each other?
My Micron engineering brother-in-law lording over his dinner table more than a decade into the 21st century: “The only two things you have to do in life are pay taxes and die.”
The 15-year-old nephew who, following his paternal role model, jeered at his school peers who had been unsuccessful in their suicide attempts for being so stupid they couldn’t even get that right: “Nuh-uh, you don’t have to pay taxes.”
A Micron engineer, loudly: “That’s not true.”
Whereupon the patriarch of the suburban Idaho two-house compound launched into yet another of his exercises in circular logic supporting his personal “truth.”
According to the IRS, my adolescent nephew and I are right on this one, pace the assumptions of our fathers and LSAC’s administrators. If you made less than $10,150 in 2014, you were not required to file a tax return:
Yet still LSAC assumes that a human being in North America might wade through its four pages of tightly leaded, text-heavy instructions for applying for fee waiver for 2015–2016 and somehow magically subsist on nearly half that:
Requiring tax documentation is one way of proving dire poverty. Another method is personal narrative, with lots and lots of multimedia evidence supporting my absolute inability to pay for LSAC’s administrative paychecks.
Here is what The Official LSAT Prep Test looks like after your filing cabinet and the rest of your worldly possessions have reduced to what you can carry on your back:
As you know, the LSAT is a test ostensibly designed to measure “reading and comprehension skills, the ability to organize and manage information, and analytical skills such as evaluation and criticism,” if I may quote the lawyers employed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in their Third Amended Complaint submitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on 27 September 2013.
On Page 32 of that document, I learn LSAC was in the business of forcing potentially brain-damaging medications contributing to egregious global harm for any applicants so severely traumatized by abusive experiences they might not ask critical questions of their psychiatrists while asking for additional time to sit for a bubble-sheet test, access to which may determine their future ability to earn a living wage:
So now I am kind of curious about the fiduciary relationships between the nation’s law schools, LSAC Committee-On-What-Have-Yous, and multinational pharmaceutical companies earning vast profits while wreaking egregious global harm-?
While the DOJ’s consent decree ameliorates LSAC’s poor judgment requiring potentially brain-damaging medications under high-stress situations on college campuses nationwide, the American Bar Association (ABA) or individual law schools may want to consider instead banning those same medications developed by global drug cartels eager for profit, dispensed by overwhelmed or undereducated personnel unable to think critically or listen to perspectives outside their own personal experiences without stomping their feet and insisting on the “rightness” of their lopsided opinions, or offering an online, safer alternative to 20th century Scantron meatspace technology before your next Orlando nightclub, Navy Yard, or Sandy Hook mass shooting.
Take your time.
No deadline pressure.
You’ve got the whole rest of your lives to bring yourselves up to speed on the results of my 2008 MFA thesis research. And if that’s not long enough, maybe you’ll figure it out in your next iteration.
Never mind any “emotional distress, anxiety, lost opportunity, frustration, humiliation, and loss of dignity and self-esteem” I might experience for LSAC’s inability or refusal to meet me on a level of basic human dignity, because I do not give LSAC or anyone else permission to assume responsibility for my feelings. Especially when it is their abusive or arrogant or just disorganized behavior that will not change until they are “enjoined” by the power of an authority higher than me.
As exercise in my ability to think logically, pace the creative opinions of Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals, I timed myself taking a practice test while trying to simulate testing conditions to the best of my ability in one of the atrium levels of the Washington State Convention Center, and, as I already communicated to LSAC’s communications analysts, on the first section answered all of the questions correctly that I was able to answer in 35 minutes, without any advanced studying. If anything, pace the opinion of an Idaho mental Kangaroo health Court judge, I will need to discipline myself to speed up, rather than slow down to her level of comprehension of global communications problems.
By the second or third sections I was surprised that a post-graduate testing organization offered such badly written examples for their test questions, not what I would consider to be college-level writing. Had I been evaluating similar writing samples in upper division art history and theory courses, I probably would have assigned the LSAT a C–. I hope law schools are not going to require me to dumb down my critical thinking or writing skills?
The Washington State Convention Center simultaneously boasted “free” art for neighbors and tourists:
Do you suppose that billboard’s graphic designer calculated the cost of homeless artist labor in decorating the convention center’s otherwise dirty, bare beige walls?
The Washington State Convention Center is nonetheless a welcome – if not entirely welcoming – reprieve for homeless citizens from Seattle’s notorious rain after the downtown librarians have forbidden us from using the state’s taxpayer-funded job resource – two-hour daily max – computers for applying for jobs like this one by coming up behind me and raging that I could not have open both a web browser and a word processor simultaneously and threatening me with three-day eviction from the “public” library if I did not comply with limiting my full-time job of job-seeking to just 90 minutes per day while typing my research proposal to this prospective employer:
With my visual credentials, you might think I would be better qualified for the Supreme Court’s Curator’s Office, but alas, the Justices pay no more for those interns than Idaho pays its toilet scrubbers.
Seattle’s disdain for its poorest citizens is by no means limited to librarians, social workers, or school board directors. Before his remarks were removed, a reader calling himself “ginoturrella” added to a recent article describing the latest public-private-partnership effort to quantify sleeping on pavement in the world’s wealthiest nation by commenting:
“Why do you need to calculate these subhumans. Tomorrow there will be even more in Seattle with the way the city government hands over the working mans [sic] taxes to them. How do they repay society? The mother fuckers camp out in public. They piss and shit on our streets. They stink our public places up with their subhuman lifestyle. Send all these mother fuckers to Vashon Island. Build a FEMA camp there, and keep them there. Have the government make them work, then in the end make soap out of the son of a bitch’s. [sic] The working man is superior in every aspect to the homeless leach [sic] of Seattle genetically, mentally, physically, and morally. Bring back eugenics NOW!”
Dissatisfied with the inaccuracy of my choices on the second and third sections of my first practice LSAT, I had again risked the library experience to pick up a study guide.
Through the lenses of LSAT logic, denied LSAC’s fee waiver, which prohibited my ability to attend their bubble-sheet test venue in between sleeping on dirty mats on dirty floors at Seattle City Hall and Seattle Center, I analyze the circuitous illogic of my post-carceral communications with a Micron engineer, whose accusations that I am “psychotic” and “delusional” for refusing to perform household labor for less than the cost of toilet paper remain unchallenged by Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals, wherein he demonstrates his continuing struggle to think rationally and essentially confesses to the crime of human trafficking, sharing his inability to regard me as anything other than an object, e.g., something less than human, a slave to perform his tyrannical bidding:
Here a senior engineer at Micron with access to the designs for nuclear weaponry in his work history readily identifies with the martyr narrative of an unemployed drug addict, an abusive mother and grandmother of grown children and adolescent grandchildren well on their way to lifetimes spent in and out of prison, jail, and psychiatric facilities, demonstrating in vivo the abject failure of state-sanctioned multinational pharmaceuticals to provide remedy for the trauma of early childhood incest abuse followed by young adulthood rape, unless their goal with their complex cocktails of antipsychotics, opiates, and mood stabilizers is to keep their test subjects ever precariously positioned on hair-trigger rage, and gloats about his success seeking vengeance against me for placing healthy boundaries on his abusive behaviors.
The main point of his argument? That, as a survivor of familial abuse, rape, and human trafficking, I cannot be a victim of further criminal behavior, and I am solely responsible for not just my own behavior but also for the behaviors of anyone in positions of power over me:
His argument relies on the necessary assumption that I did not go to the police to flee more trafficking, or that local police could be counted on to provide refuge for victims of trafficking and domestic violence:
One flaw in his logic that my traffickers lacked a method of communicating with me before deciding amongst themselves how to divvy up my worldly possessions, his own email communication:
A second flaw is email communication from his wife, my genetic sister, prior to the theft of most of my worldly possessions.
A third flaw was speakerphone communications between a drug addict screaming at me in exchange for scrubbing her toilet for perhaps the first time it had seen clean in many months and my genetic sister encouraging that post-carceral trafficker to reward my work with immediate rooflessness rather than our previously agreed “until you get on your feet” renegotiated to two weeks’ notice.
A fourth flaw in the logic of a senior electrical engineer at Micron, a global manufacturer of memory chips, who continues to be confused, long after he threatened to cut off my access to his household wifi if I continued to apply for jobs while also reaching out to my mother and my other siblings for leverage mediating our conflict over time management, household labor, and toilet paper, that the web is world wide, rather than contained under his personal dictatorship, is that we are living in the era of Google. While in our previous communications my brother-in-law vehemently argued that I would more rapidly find employers healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage without an online portfolio or access to telephone or email, as a 21st century job applicator, of course I maintain an active presence on social media: everyone, everywhere in the world might communicate with me at any time as long as they can remember my first and last names.
If you click past the first page or two of Google search results for my name, as of today you can still find evidence severely weakening the argument made by an Ada County Prosecutor before a mental health court judge – on the record – that I have no knowledge of basic research, including one global expert in RNA – that’s the acronym for ribonucleic acid, essential to all life forms – who has complimented my ability to think “like a scientist,” one generation removed from the Nobel prize, and a cell biologist whose accolades include a position as former CEO and director of Huntsman Cancer Institute and Guggenheim fellow, both acknowledging my support of their research endeavors published by Oxford University Press, even if Idaho does not respect the research of its own graduated students.
If you keep poking around a little further, you might still find an image of the springback-bound guestbook, companion to the stationery set I designed and built for the wedding of the sister of the prosecutor I supported through law school and daughter of two former FBI employees – evidence that I attempted to introduce to the court from my design portfolio proving that my actual, biographical experiences are not the “delusions” determined by Idaho’s broken mental juridical health system staffed with poorly educated employees who base their decisions on the difference between reality and mental illness by how closely their personal life stories correspond to their clients’ biographies rather than more logically searching public record to ascertain matters of fact – included on a site designed “Web 2.0 before there was such a thing” and hosted at Stanford University by a former professor who was concerned about digital conservation “before others gave it a thought,” until June 2009 when Conservation Online was axed from Stanford’s budget as that institution wrestled with the Great Recession and decided history and the humanities could skip a generation.
Or never return.
Did you already know that springback bindings were originally designed for account ledgers?
What would strengthen a Micron engineer’s argument that I simply “abandoned” my entire oeuvre that includes but is not limited to one-of-a-kind bespoke furniture that I designed and built; oil paintings of a caliber arguably on technical par with Gerhard Richter, a living master of 20th century painting whose prices on individual works fetch in the multiple millions of dollars, on canvas and birch panel, some of which I float-framed in hardwoods joined with splines; unsewn folios from my MFA thesis research on critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo, designed, printed on 100 percent cotton rag mould-made paper, hand-bound, and exhibited in Moscow and Chicago in the same year ushering in global socioeconomic collapse that history describes as the Great Recession; my You Have Seen Me series of drawings only partially exhibited because the gallery hosted by the flagship institution of higher learning in the same state with a heavily lobbied but miserably undereducated mental juridical health system also lacked adequate space to exhibit evidence of my hard work and sacrifices to obtain an education despite that institution and my globally notoriously abusive family seeming to do everything in their collective powers to deny women access to higher education or make our own decisions about which jobs to apply for; not to mention the queen-sized pillow-topped mattress and box springs that I briefly shared with my prosecutorial ex-husband, that son of ex-FBI parents, purchased prior to our marriage with funds from my support of the research sciences throughout my college and his law school careers – pace the opinions of Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals – and personal papers including my birth certificate, tax records, divorce papers, and film photo negatives and hard copy printouts of media sources no longer archived online that could have aided investigators in their rushed, one-sided, or incomplete 1997 investigation of a cold-case homicide finally under prosecution in Arizona, but not until five months after Idaho homicide detectives jeered at me for that “delusion,” basing their logic on the claims of a Micron engineer suffering raging narcissistic disorder with his synapses failing to fully fire across their gaps, unable to form rational arguments:
1) if I had not gone to the police,
2) if the police had not made arrests from the household where I was fleeing more abuse, continual petty thefts, threats, and trafficking,
3) if the police were not already very familiar with that household,
4) if the hospital responsible for her psychiatric care had not also called the police to remove Rebecca* from their premises in the same week that I fled,
5) if the state’s contractor responsible for providing psychotherapeutic care and paying her bills had not refused further service that same week in response to yet another of Rebecca’s rampages,
6) if the police had not warned me to call 911 “if she gets like that again,” but did not listen to me explain that 6a) she is almost always “like that” and 6b) (what I thought but refrained from speaking: sorry to rock your predominantly white, predominantly male, very likely property-owning, albeit poorly educated world, but) I do not have access to a telephone,
7) if one police officer had not personally chauffeured me, my computer, and my cat to a relatively safe house on the other side of town,
8) if the state or state-sanctioned psychiatrists responsible for Rebecca’s licit drug addiction had instead provided life drawing and painting lessons, journaling, healthy diet and exercise, a well-designed or aesthetically appealing environment, intensive psychotherapeutic care, and education in healthy communications for yet another victim of early childhood incest, the topic of our family conversations that most incensed my brother-in-law, provoking his diatribe describing me as “psychotic” after I commented, much like Freud before me, on the sheer volume of victims of early childhood sexual abuse whom I have encountered in my post-graduate attempts to seek colleagues healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage,
9) if Rebecca had not, raging from her front porch, a lit cigarette inches from my eyes, threatened me with physical harm and forbid me access to remove my property from within her property,
10) if Rebecca had not changed the lock on her public storage unit in an attempt to extort money from a destitute woman by holding my property hostage within her rented property,
11) if I had not gone to the storage unit to plead with the property manager to allow me access to remove my things from within Rebecca’s rental unit, bringing with me proof of my identity and proof that the portfolio contained therein was a result of my education and hard work, and could not possibly belong to a poorly educated victim of state-mandated pharmaceutical abuses,
12) if the storage unit staffer’s eyes had not glittered with the greedy prospect of fattening his business bank account by trafficking in stolen property, and referred me to the county sheriff,
13) if that county sheriff’s deputies did not have an already well-established reputation with victims of Idaho’s constitutional rights violations for encouraging abusive parents to beat their children with sacks of oranges, and
14) if the court had not misdirected me to that same sheriff’s office, and that same sheriff circularly redirected me back to the court, providing no relief for Idaho’s trafficking victims:
What weakens a Micron engineer’s argument that his goal is to “save” possessions of value to me is his circular logic that he will decide for me which of my possessions I value even though I “abandoned” them, while threatening me with still more – albeit redundant – losses if I do not comply with yet another of his deadlines that might seem rational from his white, male, property-owning perspective, but from the perspective of a multiracial, destitute woman, a perspective he must take into account if he hopes to accomplish his stated goal for me to reclaim my property, a deadline so unreasonable as to be irrational, commanding me to return from two states away on a budget of zero dollars to retrieve possessions while subsisting without a roof under which to arrange them, which further weakens his main point, that I am not a victim of criminal behavior and that I simply “abandoned” evidence of my education and hard work that I value:
My brother-in-law’s actions might be resolved/explained with elementary knowledge of human psychology: repressing his anger against his mother, whose abusive communication skills I both observed in her interactions with others and bore the brunt of while subsisting under the same roof, the narcissistic subject self transfers his rage for his mother onto the nearest available woman or mother-substitute-object, oftentimes any woman he meets throughout adolescence and onward into young adulthood, then to his wife, which explains simply enough for a lay audience to understand the dysfunctional tug-o-war, in this one anecdotal example, of my brother-in-law’s and my genetic sister’s marriage, both spinning around their individual passive aggressive volvelles with no strategies for negotiating conflict beyond pouting or raging their individual martyrdom, providing for their children codependent or abusive role models, rather than interdependent, mutually respectful, healthy human beings. In my tenuous position as the destitute sister and sister-in-law in their housing compound, I made a handy scapegoat for their lack of self-awareness or emotional immaturity or what the pharmaceutical industry enjoys profiting from describing as “mental illness,” or what I would describe as simply abusive communications or bad behavior, monkey-see, monkey-do, passed down from one generation to the next without putting in a tremendous amount of self-awareness work.
Over and over he reiterates the issue of “abandonment.” In Lacanian analysis, it is not my things I have abandoned, it is a Micron engineer who feels, once again, abandoned by the “mother.” It is of further psychological interest to note, of my possessions he chose to retrieve from a drug addict, he arbitrarily decided that my journals represent greater work effort than paintings, drawings, printmaking, or bespoke furniture, and that his own biological mother kept copious journals. Coincidentally. The narcissistic subject self describes his feelings of “abandonment” as he oscillates from childlike pleading with me for “selflessness” to inform sooner rather than by his later deadline two empty-nesters with two side-by-side, four-bedroom, two-car-garage suburban houses with such severe hoarding issues they do not “have room” for a few boxes of journals that I never asked him to retrieve, implying that my brute survival is somehow “selfish” – because a destitute, homeless woman fortunate to escape with the clothes she could rapidly stuff into a couple of suitcases is taking up too much space on the planet for that “loving” family of psychiatric fantasy – and threatening me with still more losses, patterning his manipulative and controlling behavior after his parents’ severely dysfunctional relationship with their access to capital versus household labor rigidly divided by traditional gender roles:
Avoiding my direct questions about his ongoing struggle to set priorities to accomplish his household goals which I deliberately worded to infer its parallel, that he is neither qualified nor competent to set my professional goals for me, and further is no longer in a position, long after I fled his abusive compound for this very reason, to dictate my priorities, and how did he and his wife came to decide which of my possessions have value and which do not, a Micron engineer blames me for his own behavior, whining, “We were forced to make decisions…” (Emphasis added to note his passive use of the verb to force.) Forced by whom? How could a destitute, multiracial woman possibly “force” a white, male property-owner whose domestic violence was exacerbated by the violence of the state to make decisions about my own property without first communicating with me, or to make decisions about my property at all? If I were to “force” an abuser to do anything it would be to arrive at my classroom prepared to sit down, shut up, and take notes, before going home, deeply engaging in his homework, and returning to class asking critical questions, contributing to the classroom discussion. If he did not want to be hampered with my possessions, why not act like a grown up, place a boundary on an abusive stranger – a psychiatric patient defined by state authority as “mentally ill” and the violently abusive mother and grandmother of criminals – and explain that her business with me is not his business? His logic that they “were forced” parallels the reasoning that an abused wife “makes” her husband beat her, an incapacitated victim “asked for” her rapists’ criminal behavior, or a homicide victim “triggers” her killer’s murderous rage by using a word not to his liking:
In an earlier email describing me as “psychotic” to family members and again misusing that same psychiatric term to describe my behavior to mental health “professionals,” a Micron engineer’s abusive behavior parallels the reasoning of the homeless, chain-smoking men who sit for several hours of their day – every day – outside Seattle’s women-only public bathhouse as their strategy for evolutionary success, then describe me – or any of the impoverished women who reject their sexual advances – as “mental patients.” Every once in awhile, the facility’s staffers tromp up the stairs to street level to shoo away those men for us.
When this sign unexpectedly greets me, I get to continue on my working day without paycheck or shower despite earlier reservation:
The name-calling behavior of a senior Micron engineer also parallels the logic of a man I met recently who seemed friendly on first meeting at an area foodbank, offered to buy me a cup of coffee, but soon proved unable to set his priorities or maintain his own calendar, spending longer on voicemails and texts than I anticipated spending at our coffee appointment, his communications ever more demanding and controlling while, inexplicably, he was unable to commit to a time and location to meet – “Tell me where you live. I’ll come pick you up.” – until I realized I no longer cared to meet, because I do not prioritize freely meeting with men who do not listen to me, and texted so with the goal of ceasing the multiple times daily deluge of emotionally needy masculinity. One last text from the would-be paramour indicates I achieved that goal:
A Micron engineer’s inability to see me as a human subject rather than an object under his command further parallels the logic of serial rapists and killers in their relation to their victims, citing the 20th century expertise of my adopted eighth cousin twice removed Ted Bundy speaking in the third person while explaining feminist theory to white, male journalists Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth from within a Florida prison:
“Since this girl in front of him represented not a person, but again the image, or something desirable, the last thing we would expect him to want to do would be to personalize this person.”
From his argument that “Rebecca didn’t have the money to pay rent on the storage unit,” you could validly infer that I needed or wanted to leave my things in her storage unit, when, in reality, for a very brief few months covering the time period in question, I had another place to live, roof overhead, room to live with my things. Until I discovered that, guess what, I had encountered yet another abuser/victim unrecovered from the childhood incest she endured at the hands of her Mormon priesthood-holding father, while her church and community leaders looked the other way and her mother blamed the daughter, now in her seventh decade, who enjoyed my gourmet cooking, minor household repairs, sidewalk snow-shoveling, cleaning, laundering, pet care, and empathetic psychotherapeutic listening labor until I placed boundaries on her bad behaviors spitting in my face and, much the same problem I encountered in my abusive brother-in-law’s compound, imperiously demanding immediate attention to her impulsive and oftentimes contradictory household goals for more hours than seemed to me to be fair in exchange for a roof overhead, wifi, and the opportunity to scrub her excrement-splattered toilet seat, or more labor trafficking, further interfering with my job search or my ability to accomplish my own priorities, and she began to fear that my job-seeking might result in me “abandoning” her, so she replicated her biological mother’s behavior by ordering me out of her house first:
Sufficient assumption for my brother-in-law’s argument that “you and Rebecca could have agreed to let you sell some of your stuff”-? That anyone in Idaho invests in art purchasing when they can more easily traffic in stolen property, or that Rebecca was in a position of authority over me and my property, another slavemaster, or the 21st century term for human bondage, or exactly what I meant when I claimed to his neighborhood police department that a senior electrical engineer at Micron trafficked my labor in exchange for not so much as access to toilet paper, tampons, and cat litter, while announcing his intentions to claim me as a “dependent” on his tax return for that year:
The irrational reasoning of an abusive trafficker continues with his argument, “I hope you weren’t planning to retrieve your stuff from the shed [?] when Rebecca wasn’t looking because that might be stealing.” Confusing trespassing or breaking and entering for theft, the Micron engineer again demonstrates the logic of a human trafficker; in his mind, Rebecca owned me and my property. By law or sense that I used to think of as common, how could I possibly “steal” my own work?? (Further note that the last time I saw my furniture and oeuvre, my possessions were divided between Rebecca’s house and an offsite public storage unit, not to be confused with the uninsulated shed on her property where her grandchildren slept and partied with their licit and illicit drug-addicted gang affiliates.)
The systemic principle match to a Micron engineer’s circular logic was President Kennedy’s last public bill signing, just 22 days prior to his assassination. Pennsylvania Representative Tim Murphy’s update, medicalizing trauma, rather than better funding the arts and the humanities research at least as well as we fund science and technology, if not warfare, will further empower the pharmaceutical industry and undereducated and/or abusive families to accelerate their violence against the individuals in the most vulnerable positions in those families, which is to say the most vulnerable citizens within a society whose privileged classes still enjoy describing themselves as belonging to a democratic republic: as young as their pre-K children, the elderly, disabled, women, homo- or transsexuals, non-white races, people with religious or political views differing from the patriarch, and the last category of oppression that the great boot-strapping myth-makers have yet to protect as equal citizens: the poor.
Because we are still living in an era when some men believe it is acceptable to call women crazy bitches, mental patients, or psychotic when we express opinions that disagree with their own, and, very often – yes, still – men are situated in a position of power over women, or surround themselves with women who uphold or imitate that abuse of patriarchal power, Murphy’s Law will cause unquantifiable harm to future generations of Rosemary Kennedys.
How am I doing so far with LSAC’s bubble-sheet logic?
Now that I’ve fled the “Kennedys of the redneck set,” as my genetic brother used to describe our family, who’s going to teach the sons of Micron engineers that the spacing between the letters works the same way in CSS as it did in the days of coppers and brasses?
LSAT logic is one way of analyzing a Micron engineer’s communication, but legal problems are simultaneously communication problems: the abusive patriarch desperate to prove me “wrong” follows the passive aggressive volvelle of my conflict resolution model Unplay like clockworks, hence the value of design, psychology, and technology to legal practices ranging from criminal justice, public policy, poverty and women’s law, to national security.
After I just managed to meet LSAC’s late filing deadline for their June 2015 test, I followed up with a fax sent 02 June 2015, describing my exceptional circumstances, submitting their Verification of Nonfiling as per their fee waiver instructions, as well as the last document I filed with the IRS, a 2011 extension to file, explaining that I had fallen so far below the federal poverty guidelines that I had not filed a tax return since 2010:
Maybe LSAC never received my fax in Pennsylvania, despite fax confirmation report from a homeless women’s day center in Seattle, Washington, or maybe LSAC’s Poverty Specialist misplaced my fax? Maybe LSAC does not prioritize destitute applicants, as desperate as they are to pay off their $7.73 million fee for their ADA violations?
1. As badly as LSAC manages to organize its own analogue and digital communications, LSAC might want to refrain from offering directions for navigating the IRS website, which is actually surprisingly navigable for a federal agency. As you can see, the IRS has reorganized its menus sometime since LSAC designed their print collateral.
2. Regardless, LSAC was right, the IRS does not release certificate of non-filing for the previous tax year until mid-June, or subsequent to LSAC’s June test date, but once again LSAC and the IRS both assume property owning privilege for online transcript requests:
LSAC’s receipt of my faxed fee waiver request letter seemed to be confirmed via email sent 04 June 2015 from one of their Candidate Communications Analysts, although, in her rush to pick out keywords on the screen rather than slow down her reading enough to comprehend my communications, she misunderstood that I was asking to register for the June test date, rather than asking for a waiver of their fees, including late registration fee, given my extraordinary circumstances as a trafficking survivor fleeing constitutional rights violations:
Instead of rereading my letter as I requested, or presenting my appeal to LSAC’s committee responsible for more thoughtfully considering my eligibility for both fee waiver and likelihood of success through law school and beyond, next LSAC’s communications team simply rote-repeated instructions I had already read on their web communications collateral; under no circumstances does LSAC waive its late registration fee.
Fair enough, yet on 13 June 2015 (five days after LSAC’s June test date and, according to its own instructions for fee waivers, two days before the IRS releases verification of nonfiling for the previous tax year) their automated communications system sent me another email ominously warning that a hold had been placed on my file:
Of course I complied with LSAC’s warning to cancel my registration for the test that had already occurred–??
Whereupon LSAC’s communications team contradicted its automated communications recommending that I cancel my registration for their June test date, and asked me to review their internal data management:
In an effort to comply with LSAC’s instructions for fee waiver at the earliest possible date determined by the IRS, on 15 June 2015 I snail-mailed to that agency my request for certification of nonfiling, no small feat when your budget includes neither cost of a standard U.S. #10 envelope nor a United States Postal Service stamp, and you are subsisting in a mid-sized walk walk walk U.S. city walk walk walk and largely limited to walk walk walk pedestrian walk walk walk transportation.
Ignoring the Best Practices Panel’s recommendations for using a holistic approach to requests for accommodations to meet federal law or LSAC’s own stated goals, next LSAC fired off a barrage of bewildering one-sided communications directing me not to reply, while ever-increasing in its hostility:
First, a bill for its services:
Second, a notice of hold, pending payment, necessarily assuming I still have access to credit cards:
Finally, a third automated email informing me that LSAC had not received my tax documentation less than two weeks after the IRS is first able to release certificates of nonfiling for the previous tax year as LSAC already knows, and I am now liable for its fees:
Do you agree with me that LSAC’s expectations for the IRS are maybe a tad high?
By 01 July 2015 I gave up on LSAC’s potential to resolve conflict via letters on a screen, and was finally able to reach one of its telephone operators, whereupon Misty confirmed the correct fax number 215.504.1432 for sending fee waiver requests matched the number on my fax confirmation report, though she also claimed that LSAC had not received my fax sent nearly a month earlier, contrary to the earlier communications of another of LSAC’s Candidate Communications Analysts. I again explained dire poverty, requested fee waiver, and she repeated the requirement for IRS certificate of nonfiling.
Not until their Form 13873-T postmarked 21 August 2015, that I did not receive until one. Luxurious. Roundtrip. Metro. Bus. Ride. Later, on 25 September 2015, did the IRS inform me that before they may send me a certificate of nonfiling, first I will need to file yet another of their hard copy data entry blanks, Form 8822, updating my address they have on file, or duplicating the data I already sent to the IRS in June, but on a different form, leaving inadequate time to address the gaps in communications prior to LSAC’s October test date:
Their press release dated just several days prior to their postmark, 17 August 2015, indicates that the IRS, like LSAC, may be struggling under their staggering mountains of data. Or maybe I just asked at a bad time for the IRS to communicate back to me data that they only receive from me, so that I might pass along that same data back to LSAC, confirming my dire poverty because LSAC suspects that impoverished folks behave with their same lack of integrity as wealthy folks abusing their positions of power over the impoverished masses, setting unrealistically high expectations for me while keeping their expectations for themselves in the gutter.
Mixed in with an unrelenting barrage of marketing blasts from cross country law schools as visibly desperate for writers and graphic designers as they are for tuition dollars until I logged back in and unchecked that option, LSAC’s follow up instructions for their October test date demanded fees for either showing up or ditching their party:
Why bother to RSVP if you have no way of tipping the bouncers at the door and your inconsiderate host is going to charge you one way or another?
And once again, lost in their internal lingo, or chattering to themselves, LSAC’s communications team fails to communicate what being marked “absent” means to an adult external audience-?
Will I get sent to the principal’s office?
Will he paddle me?
Or offer to pay me a professional wage?
Refreshing your memory, LSAC’s 03 October 2015 test occurred just two days after a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in neighboring Oregon, by a young man reportedly going by an online moniker “lithium love.” According to my journal notes, I awoke at dawn that morning on a dirty mat on a dirty floor at Seattle Center, in a shelter facility hosting between 50–80 other women sharing two toilets and one sink, to observe uniformed police rocking back and forth on their heels, smirking, called by staff to evict another homeless woman, a lawyer suffering either a genuine psychotic break or the visible side effects of antipsychotic medications.
An earlier time, during one of her lucid moments, I asked that lawyer what she was doing for her trauma recovery. She paused before answering, as if surprised by the idea that trauma can be actively worked, that human beings can provide and receive care, or give ourselves care and attention:
“Not reading case law.”
I feel as comfortable reading case law as literature as job descriptions as LSAT study guides as time- and date-stamped confessions from human traffickers, whichever, it’s all just text to me.
Sure enough, minus a Poverty Specialist or a Communications Design Director, LSAC’s database still lists me as absent:
I don’t know what that means to you, but, as you can see from my coincident event calendar analyzing Moscow’s 2015 mass shooting while building on Jung’s synchronicity theory, to me that means 36 years to the day precisely after the lawyers defending my adopted eighth cousin twice removed lost their motion to suppress testimony that relied on oversaturated television coverage and then-fashionable but psychologically suspect hypnosis technique to retrieve eyewitness “memory” in the trial that led to his Florida execution; 43 years after a witness traumatized by a kidnapping experience picked a fairly average-looking brunette white guy of medium height and medium build out of a police lineup in Salt Lake City, where he was studying law at my undergraduate alma mater; and 323 years after a Harvard president published his scathing rebuke of the use of “spectral evidence” in the courtroom, not because it is scientifically unsound, but because he believed the devil might take on the appearance of others in the minds of spiritually oppressed and sexually abused young girls, LSAC added further evidence supporting the question at the crux of my 2008 MFA thesis research into critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo: is it the presence of abuse, or the absence of nurturing?
LSAC allowed Ted Bundy to sit for their bubble-sheet test. Unlike the visually illiterate schizophrenic that Seattleites elected to their school board in 2011, Washington’s former Governor Daniel Evans must have paid him at least enough to come up with their fees, in addition to writing a letter of recommendation for him to network to the next chapter of his career.
If you’re looking for evidence of my ability to handwrite under time pressure, first the venue, a church hall in suburban Seattle generously donating another floor – this one was even carpeted – for destitute citizens to rest our weary heads overnight until Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) sporadically paid staff decided to take out their frustration with their difficulties visually attracting an external funding audience on the only adults in Seattle more vulnerable than themselves, and issued a group eviction and shelter closure in a failed attempt to force its client members to a sleep action in front of the houses of either Mayor Ed Murray or King County Executive Dow Constantine, a setting nowhere near the class-privileged luxury of LSAC’s accommodating law schools nationwide:
Written during a late-night, impromptu meeting for the second or third evening in a row as demanded by staff’s ever-changing implementation of its contract “rules,” while a shouting match that led to near fisticuffs among some of the residents carried on all around me, I nevertheless managed to assess the problem, rebut the argument, and because perhaps only 10 or 12 homeless citizens had returned to that location after SHARE’s previous night’s threat of shelter closure, still managed obtain eight signatures including my own – here blurred to respect their confidentiality – for majority approval prior to dawn evacuation:
Our newly “elected” leader that evening took his position seriously, though he misunderstood leadership to mean his turn to stomp his foot and insist on his “rightness” rather than hearing the perspective of all of the residents, some of whom vehemently disagreed with his opinion. Still, he reviewed my meeting memo, hands trembling with the telltale twitch of lithium overdose, his reading further slowed by Washington’s inadequately funded education system, and likely history of illicit drug use to self-medicate early childhood abuse, taking longer to read than it had taken me to write until I thought he might not make it through or surely could not comprehend, but instead, he sought me out later, his eyes aglow with praise, “You wrote exactly what happened!”
As I had known from the outset, my rebuttal failed to sway the opinion of SHARE’s abusive staff, so with no mediating judge in higher authority, I lost another suitcase worth of clothing, wasted precious bus fare, and another half day of my life roundtrip when, of course, they yet again failed to deliver our possessions to the location or by the time they promised.
The clothing I have not missed, as that is readily replaced through Seattle’s communal generosity, but the time of replacing resources essential for brute survival, and $200 in cosmetics and especially a mirror, on the other hand, not easily substituted, useful tools in that ongoing struggle, particularly one clad in a sturdy compact designed and built by Lancôme… Unforgivable losses in the face of unrelenting societal narcissistic aggression: a pox on six generations of William Linne’s descendants, should the earth be so unfortunate as to host them.
To obtain the privilege of sleeping on the floor of that Lutheran church hall, first I had to pass a screening interview held in a dank basement office accessed via a door from one of downtown Seattle’s alleys reeking of human urine and littered with the detritus of drug abuse, then find my way up to the University District where any given evening’s shelter residents met up at a bus stop at a specific time to take a specific route to travel en masse to the suburbs following SHARE’s convoluted entry requirements. The first evening, while waiting for the bus to arrive, a woman waiting at the same stop edged closer to me, and whispered of another of the shelter residents, “Did you notice he has a knife?”
I had, wondering how our society had so miserably failed that a graduate school graduate was waiting for a bus for the privilege of sleeping on a floor in a roomful of knife-wielding strangers. Terms like “gang rape” and “train” ran through my head, while I watched from my periphery the flick-flick opening and shutting of the switchblade. Maybe it would be better to sleep at the downtown women’s only shelter run by public-private partnered staff who thinly manage to rein in fistfights among the residents and almost nightly police or medics arrive, as close as I hope I ever come to lodging in a women’s prison-? Or maybe better to set one foot in front of the other and just keep walking through the night until I am able to arrive at a social group competent to uphold the terms of its contracts and settle its differences without the use of force-?
“I think his motion is more reflexive than threatening,” I responded to my companion bus passenger, wondering how she might have responded to me if I had asked for shelter on the floor of her cosy apartment.
Would she have welcomed my presence that evening, or would she have edged away from me too?
On 19 October 2015, two weeks after LSAC noted my absence, I attended a “Red Ink” meeting at SHARE’s office downtown off the same urine-drenched alley, as per the requirements of my contract for locker storage space down yet another alley in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood home to global tech giant Amazon. Here the same staff who had earlier jeered at me for “being anxious to tell her story” in an earlier meeting prepping for a meeting presenting their case to public-private partnered funding decision-makers struts his design strategy skills:
Many of Seattle’s homeless residents then disrespected another hour of their lives vehemently arguing over using just the “right” words on a letter to city and county officials, despite over a decade of attempting the same strategy, failed tactics identical to those deployed by the city’s visually uneducated school teachers.
Feedback from another of SHARE’s board members exiting the meeting, she too cautioned against telling my story, urging me to stick to a bullet point list dictated by staff who had ground their budget some $50,000 or more into the red, and confessed she had not really listened while I was speaking, but the one thing she had heard me say was the problem wasn’t homelessness. The problem is disdain, or narcissistic aggression, precisely as I had identified in 2012, the problem the Gates Foundation has been unable to solve without my visually educated help.
“Perfect!” I answered, “That’s exactly what I wanted you to hear.”
Little did she realize, without a visual outline of my oral data, I had been running through a brief bullet-point summary of personal narrative examples of the narcissistic aggression of folks in power over me leading to my destitution.
From my perspective, prior to speaking before an audience of potential funders, I had earlier done my design research, attended an earlier panel discussion on Seattle’s “homelessness” problem hosted at the local campus of Antioch University, and listened while those well-heeled funders asked for personal narrative experiences from the homeless community. The disdain for poverty or class divisions continue down through the classes, and is perhaps never greater than among the street community: a guy with 20 bucks is worth more than the guy who has only $5. A woman with no dollars is worth nothing. Education and ever-increasing job skills have no value in this era of toxic capitalism when potential employers still want me to bring them all of those skills as well as cash.
In light of the ABA’s wavering indecision whether to continue to require LSAT scores for law school admissions, with some schools recruiting from a broader (and deeper?) pool of applicants by accepting GRE scores, thank you for considering an MFA portfolio combined with my post-graduate experiences as at least 10,000 times again more challenging than LSAC’s bubble-sheet test for assessing my ability to think logically and to perform well in law school and beyond, necessarily assuming your school is well-branded enough to help me network to employers healthy enough to respect your curricula with a living wage.
Thank you for accepting recommendations directly to your office.
Your disciplinary action question is worded a little more specifically than Stanford’s, which they combine into one with academic standing. I responded to their question about academic disciplinary action as truthfully as I recalled from memory without the benefit of digital or analogue files stolen during my post-carceral trafficking experiences, but your phrasing has prompted still further self-reflection.
From the link I provide from the first page of my résumé, I already analyze the disruption of my graduate studies during my first semester and continuing through three years of graduate school at an institution with some faculty and many academic administrators either passively or actively contributing to a campus climate of drunken debauchery, sexual assault, and mass shootings.
Wrapping up my second year of graduate scholarship and teaching, my department shifted my teaching assignment from foundations drawing, a college-wide, first-year prerequisite, to second-year major-specific graphic design, a surprise to my peers and students who knew me only as a painter or printmaker, not realizing I had experience applying visual literacy from my undergraduate fine arts background combined with coding, web design, book making, and slapping out ads at a regional daily newspaper.
A surprise to me as well, as at that time even I didn’t recognize graphic design as a professional field, asking the tenured graphic design faculty, “What do you want me to teach?”
With an entire summer between semesters to answer my direct question, she still failed to provide me with textbooks for her program – some of which I already included in my library, a few I added from the campus bookstore to my collection at my own expense – or even a course syllabus, sample assignments, or grading rubrics for my advance review, let alone Teach for America’s eight weeks of training for its recruits. Instead, she belatedly scheduled a meeting with me at her home periodically disrupted by her shrieking at her young son, but not until maybe a week or a few days before fall classes resumed, a pedagogy she carried with her into her graphic design studio classroom, while assuring me that I did not need to be well-versed in updated versions of Adobe’s software; design is not about software, the only point on which she and I agreed.
Regardless, you do need to be familiar with the tools of design, if you’re going to teach it, much as my undergraduate architecture faculty introduced me to T-squares and triangles, and art historians to art history and theory. So I went out and bought myself an Apple laptop, loaded up with Creative Suite prior to returning to campus that fall. Questions I had in class, the tenured design faculty responded with martyred sighs or eye-rolling. On rare occasions when she praised her students’ work at crit, they frequently attributed their learning and responsiveness to my earlier, in-class feedback, whereupon she would glare at me and quickly change the subject or move onto the next student’s work.
Miserable trying to replicate her pedagogy in my own classroom that first semester of teaching graphic design, at the holiday break I met with her to obtain her prior approval to approach my second semester teaching graphic design process, emulating my undergraduate design faculty, a ranking Distinguished Professor within the University of Utah’s Graduate School of Architecture with degrees from the University of Washington and Yale, and other members of my undergraduate faculty who had inspired me, rather than her haphazard product approach of passing out assignments, then waiting until the final week before their deadlines before racing around the room practically pushing her students’ mousing elbows for them.
What I learned from that experience is that process learning, or critical thinking, works on a campus with rigorous academic standards with students who strive to excel and faculty who set clear and high expectations, not so well in a program with low or no expectations that students will perform their own work, both in- and outside the classroom. Watching their peers leave her classroom without homework, my students that semester understandably rebelled against my higher expectations and lesser authority. Rather than scheduling regular meetings with me to better clarify her expectations for teaching and learning graphic design, she eventually complained to our department chair that I was not following her curricula, while paradoxically she had continued her disorganized behavior from the previous semester, oftentimes providing me with an assignment only the night before or even between classes the same day I was to deliver teaching her material to my students. Replicating his ineffective leadership from my first semester of grad school, my department chair commanded me to appear in his office with less than 48 hours’ notice the same week that coincided with my deadline to install my MFA Thesis Exhibition.
If I recall correctly, I emailed back, suggesting more reasonable calendaring options. Instead, the Department Chair replied with a letter worded a lot like a Micron engineer, that my offer to meet with more realistic notice meant he “was forced” to reassign my graduate teaching position for the dwindling month remaining of my three years of graduate school. Dated April Fools’ Day, containing incomplete phrases or sentences that wandered off with punctuation somewhere between a full stop and an ellipsis, I read his letter less as disciplinary action, more as a racist joke from faculty angry with me for inviting a visiting Haitian kindergarten teacher into my classroom to conduct primary design research to better identify a problem on our way to designing solutions for it, rather than skipping merrily forward to produce pretty floral posters commemorating horrific events like the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl or 9/11.
From my perspective, I appreciated the extra time to focus away from babysitting in their badly designed graphic design program and toward completing, successfully defending, and exhibiting my thesis in two states. As you can see from my unofficial graduate transcript downloaded a full year later, I still graduated in good standing, although there is a slim possibility my graduate alma mater might retain my department chair’s inarticulate letter in my personnel file, so I am grateful for the opportunity to share my perspective first.
Optional diversity statement
All of your optional questions are deceptively simple, thus very good, thought-provoking questions. I wish you allowed your candidates to answer them all. But your instructions say only one. So here goes nothing: