Kagan Attacked With Bad Metaphor About Ice Rinks

The Judicial Crisis Network's latest broadside against Elena Kagan may be addled but it sure is entertainingly maudlin, because of the way it mines your sentimental sensitivities about ice rinks and loneliness or something.

Elena Kagan has become famous as being the dean that built the ice rink at Harvard Law School. Nostalgic images of skaters laughing and spinning away their exam troubles come to mind - Sleigh Ride, Currier & Ives, and all. In reality, it went almost unused, at least when I was a student, because there was no more than a handful of students who actually owned ice skates and had time between classes to take a jaunt around the rink. (It has since been closed due to budget issues - it was hard to justify the expense given its underuse.) It was a brilliant feel-good political move to reach out to students on campus, but it was almost entirely symbolic.

Right away, of course, you are all: "RAAAAH! HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTER, et al!" But it gets better, because this is all a big metaphor, for troop-hating: "The same could be said for her treatment of the military on campus."

Right. See, there are "two ways to interpret Kagan's refusal to allow military recruiting on campus" [Ed. note: No such thing occurred. Kagan barred recruiters from using the Office of Career Services, not "on campus."], according to the Judicial Crisis Network.

1. "On one side are those who believe it didn't really affect recruiting levels at all, because the student-run Veterans Association was able to pick up the slack."

2. "On the other hand, the ban may have actually affected recruitment."

So, basically her decision either DID NOT affect recruitment or it MAY HAVE affected recruitment. When the worst-case scenario is a "may have," it's hard to see where the judicial crisis is. Basically, it's this: Kagan was supportive of student veterans in some respects, but "may have" (always, it's "may have") inconvenienced them in other respects (which basically sounds like every single college dean in the history of higher education).

The post concludes: "She cozied up to the students who were veterans but when it came to action they were left like the lonely ice rink, out in the cold." Huh? How would you alleviate the "loneliness" of an ice rink? Isn't everything in Boston "out in the cold" for months at a time? And wasn't the original image that of lonely skaters, inside the ice rink? This really is a job for the Metaphor Crisis Network.

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