Monday, May 14, 2007

Jury Duty

Cornerstone of our democracy, or totally pointless?

The day begins with a short film. Folks in period costume are about to chuck some sap in a river to determine if he is guilty or not. Solemn, supposedly medieval, but in fact more like early Madonna as remixed for elevator, music sets the mood. We, the assembled jurors of New York County, are meant to experience (like Kurtz) the horror! the horror! of that bygone age, trumped by Democracy!!!

Or not. I can't say that in the course of the day I ever felt the spirit of '76 coursing through my nether regions. My innards were, on the whole, unmoved. I was briefly in danger of winding up on a trial of somebody suing the city for negligance because she tripped over a curb two weeks after September 11. I told the lawyers in voir dire that I wasn't feeling impartial about this (I wanted to strangle the plaintiff's attorney, which at least would have given him a legitimate case). I was not selected.

It all felt quite weird. And it's not over yet.