The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

You Might Be a Gunner if....

Ava Rice has a funny post up about Gunners. Some examples:

If when you talk, you use the biggest words you can think of, and talk slowly so it seems like you're continually thinking really hard, and you make sure to reapply concepts previously taught by the professor.

If you actually read the 'suggested' reading, and reference the professor's published articles in class.

For those of you that have never been to law school, gunners are the kids that talk too much in class. They ask questions that they either already know the answer to or don't really need to know the answer to. They do this to show the professor they were able to pull some mundane detail out of the reading or did some extra work. Because, if they understand the nitpickiest comment on the dissenting opinion of one of the cases cited in the case they were supposed to read than imagine how well they understand the assigned case. They deserve an A+ for the day (or a 95 if they go to UW)!

These people piss me off. They waste time. They talk like jack-asses. They act like the professor is their buddy and no one else is in the room. There is one thing I do like about gunners though. They spend so much of their time making strawman arguments and chumming around with the professors that they are typically weak when they actually need to make an argument. Sometimes, when I feel motivated, I pick that argument.

Althouse links to an article by Law Professor Cameron Stracher that defends gunners It bothers me to know that a law professor is actually fooled by the gunners. He notes, "Now that I am on the other side of the law school lectern, however, I wonder why I ever found gunners distasteful. Is there something wrong with being prepared?" Being prepared does not make you a gunner and being a gunner certainly does not make you prepared. In fact, I have always defined gunners as students that talked too much but are not more prepared than the rest of us. They answer the questions that either everyone in the room knows the answer to or that no one needs to know the answer to. And they answer them in way too many words. There are definitely students that are more prepared than the rest and can answer important questions the rest of us could not but I would not call these students gunners.

Professor Stracher does include a fun game called "gunner bingo" in his article. "The object was to arrange gunners on a bingo card, then cross them off as each raised his hand. That was the easy part -- the hard part was getting called on by the professor and using the word "bingo" when answering his question. Doing so not only won the admiration of your classmates, but also a substantial pot of money."

You're damn right I'll be playing this in the fall.


  • The classiest way to announce victory at gunner Bingo is as follows:

    You need to be prepared, and ready to make some point (sort of gunneresque, ironically) to the professor. It should be a good point, relate to the topic, and preferably advance the discussion. You want something like this out of the professor:

    Prof: So Mr. Noonan, your point is that if the spending power is continually used, as in the minimum age drinking law, instead of regulation tied to the interstate commerce clause, as is the norm, that current Supreme Court momentum towards a more narrow commerce clause will be all for naught?

    Mr. Noonan: Bingo, sir.

    This should result in applause from all involved.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 9:20 AM  

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