My impression of John Oliver.

Language Rape

I like to imagine the world as it would be seen by a Martian, an outsider, who doesn't have our culture and experiences. What would the world look like to that person. For example, laying down and spending a third of our time in some kind of hallucinogenic state seems odd.

From that perspective, I started to wonder...what are lawyers? What do they do? Laws are rules, basically we figure out what shitty things people shouldn't do, then we write down, don't be an asshole and do these things. And the job of a lawyer is to then work with these written rules and figure out what precisely they mean.

But it seems like what they really do is twist language and manipulate it and figure out how to take something and make it mean something else.

Basically, lawyers are language rapists.

A lawyer would say, it's not rape, we're just massaging the language – well it's a very deep massage that the language didn't want and afterward it feels violated. To me that's rape. .

For example: The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” Congress has gone on to make all kinds of laws that abridge the freedom of speech, and when challenged in the supreme court, several supreme courts have done a little tap dance and ruled that congress can make laws abridging the freedom of speech if they have a good reason. For example, you can't threaten to kill people, that's illegal, and we all go, yeah I guess that's kind of a good thing. Then they decided to make it illegal to print and sell pornography, oh and communist literature. And the supreme court said, yeah, I mean obviously when the founding father said you “shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,” they meant you can make laws abridging freedom of speech when it comes to things you don't like such as titties and Marx.

According to these “lawyers” on the supreme court, the phrase “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech” somehow means you can make pornography and political speech you don't like illegal, but you can't limit how much money corporations spend on politics.

This is clearly language rape.

This brings me to my favorite case in the history of law.

A Panera opened in a mall. They had a contract with the mall that stipulated that they could not let in any other sandwich places. Then the mall allows another restaurant to open, and the guy who owns the Panera gets pissed and yells, “hey assholes, you weren't allowed to open another sandwich place.”

Now, does anyone want to guess what this second restaurant was? Subway? Planet Sub? Maybe McDonald’s?

No. It was a Qdoba.

Judging by your reactions, I can tell all of you people are too morally good to be lawyers.

Here's how you know that the job of a lawyer is to basically be a rapist of language. The judge didn't just throw the case out as being fucking stupid. Judges can do that. But this went to trial.

An actual trial, wherein the prosecution made the case that burritos are in fact sandwiches, and the defense had to prove that burritos are not sandwiches.

In a sane world, the mall owner could have showed up to court with burrito, eaten it, and said “wow, that was a delicious burrito, I rest my case,” and that would have been that. But we all know this isn't a sane world, and if he didn't get his own lawyer he wouldn't have known the right things to say and the judge would have made burritos and sandwiches into the same legal entity.

And what about this Panera owner? Here's a guy who runs a sandwich shop who can't tell the difference between a burrito and a sandwich. I think I know why his sandwich shop isn't doing so well. Does this guy think Taco Bell is a bakery? Does he think Waffle Tacos are just open-face breakfast sandwiches? This is a man who owns a sandwich shop, and yet he can't tell the difference between a grilled cheese and a quesadilla.

And here's another absurdity, this trial creates precedent. In essence, the decision in this case determines once-and-for-all-time whether a burrito is a sandwich. This judge by random chance is now the one member of the human race who has the power to decide if a burrito is a sandwich. I think anyone with that much power should be elected to the job. What if that judge hated mexican food, and now he is the one person on the planet tasked with deciding if a burrito is a sandwich.

In the arguments, both sides were quoting dictionaries as to how burritos and sandwiches are defined, and at some point this needs to be made into a dramatic courtroom film. They not only cited dictionaries at each other, but they both called expert witnesses. But expert witnesses are complete bullshit, because both sides will produce experts. We have a sandwich-expert who can't tell the difference between a reuben and an enchilada but he runs a sandwich shop, so trust him, he's an expert.

The US government actually has a definition of a sandwich. They need to have a definition because we have two agencies that inspect food and so they need to decide who inspects what. The Food and Drug Administration is the ones that make you label foods with nutrition facts and they inspect processed foods, soda, and things like that, while the US Department of Agriculture, or USDA, inspects farms and meat plants and the more agricultural side of things.

The USDA says a burrito is a “Mexican style sandwich-like product consisting of a flour tortilla, various fillings, and at least 15 percent meat or 10 percent cooked poultry meat.”

So that settles it right? It's a sandwich-like product. So it's...not a sandwich?
And apparently, according to the USDA there's no such thing as a vegetarian burrito?

Here's where it goes from weird to disgusting. If you package a sandwich and sell it, which agency inspects you, the USDA or the FDA?

If it's closed-face, i.e. it has two pieces of bread, then you are inspected by the FDA. The FDA does inspections daily. If however, you package an open-faced sandwich with just a single piece of bread, then you are inspected by the USDA. And the USDA inspects open-face sandwiches sold in interstate commerce an average of once every 5 years.

So don't ever eat a packaged open-faced sandwich. That's what I've learned out of all of this. Because it's legally distinct from a closed-face sandwich and it turns out that legal distinction might actually kill you.

It's not negligent homicide, it's just an advanced case of inside-out syndrome where the intestines decide to leave the body.

So it's all settled then. A burrito is not a sandwich. Fuck you Panera guy's lawyer, because you just got paid thousands of dollars because you convinced an idiotic sandwich shop owner that burritos are sandwiches and then put us all through this ordeal of language rape.

And here's the worst part. If tomorrow a Qdoba opens up in a mall, and the Qdoba makes a deal that says the mall can't bring in any other burrito places, and then the mall lets a Panera move in, the Qdoba owner could sue, because we have only legally settled that a burrito is not a sandwich. Whether or not a sandwich is a burrito is legally unsettled ground. And I bet you that somewhere there's a lawyer who is trying to date-rape the word burrito so he can make tens of thousands of dollars on a stupid lawsuit. And if the Panera guy shows up with just a sandwich and common sense and no language-rapist on his side, then the judge will rule that sandwiches are burritos.

Then we'll live in a world where a sandwich is legally a burrito, but a burrito is not legally a sandwich.

Here's some more language rape for you. Subway Footlongs. People started measuring them and many weren't a foot long. Some were right at 11 inches. What Subway should have said was, bread rises and expands when you cook it, so it's not always going to come out exactly at precisely 12 inches, but we do our best and you'll find that many come out longer than 12 inches and we're not systematically trying to screw you over.

Instead, what they said was: 'SUBWAY FOOTLONG' is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway® Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length.

Not intended to be a measurement? That'd be like if the McDonald's quarter pounder weighed way less than a quarter pound and McDonald's said, “the name just describes how heavy it looks.”

Here's another example of language rape. The 2nd amendment. Hopefully I won't be shot by the time I finish this. 

The 2nd amendment is a single sentence. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Now, a lot of people like to forget the first half of the sentence. In fact, in the Lobby of the NRA headquarters, they have the text of the 2nd amendment on the wall. Or, they have the second half of it. They conveniently leave off the first half that talks about militias, because they couldn't be bothered to put the whole sentence.

I'm no language rape expert, but when you spend the first half of a sentence saying that a militia is good, I think that is relevant to the meaning of the second half of the sentence. That's what punctuation is for. If these are unconnected thoughts, you would use a period.

The modern interpretation of this, by the Republican Supreme Court is, and I quote, “The second amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.”

What they're saying, these brilliant language-rapists of the highest caliber, is that the 2nd amendment means “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” and that the first half of the sentence is meaningless and is just there because the founders felt like saying that militias are nice, especially well-regulated ones.

That would be like if I wrote a law that went like this:

“Farting being one of life's simple pleasures and also a necessity for comfort, the right of the people to pass gas shall not be infringed.”

And then the supreme court decided that this meant that companies could release all the toxic pollutant gases they felt like because they have an unlimited right to pass gas.

And when somebody says, isn't that sentence about farting? Antonin Scalia says, “oh no, the founders were just saying that they liked farting, but unconnected to that, and in the same sentence for some reason, they also think unlimited pollution is a fundamental right. They're unconnected thoughts, that's why they're separated by a whole comma.”

If the founders wanted to give us all the right to bear arms unconnected to anything to do with militias, then the second amendment would have said: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” But they didn't just say that!

There's an earlier draft that said:

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Let's break that down:

A militia, what is a militia, why militias are good, therefore militias should be able to exist, and you can't make Quakers join the militia.

Every bit about this is about militias, not rednecks with AR-15s. And if it's all about the militia, it also says “well regulated militia.”

So it seems to me that the amendment is saying “you have a right to form a militia, as long as it's well regulated.”

A few years ago, the city of D.C. Passed a law that banned handguns and it was challenged and went to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court struck it down because the Republicans on the court ruled that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, therefore you can't ban handguns.

If you interpret the second amendment this way, then doesn't that mean you can't make laws banning any kind of arms? Tanks, Napalm? Can I own a tomahawk cruise missile? Can I own an ICBM and a missile silo? You know, for self-defense.

Well. . . Actually, you can own a flamethrower if you want. We have no regulations on flamethrowers. You don't even need to pass a background check. You can buy a flamethrower online.

According to genius language rapist Antonin Scalia:

“Obviously the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried, it's 'to keep and bear,' so it doesn’t apply to cannons,”

Okay, so I have to be able to hold it. I've seen Arnold Schwarzanegger hold an 8-barrel Gatling gun. So according to Scalia, what guns you can own depends on how strong you are.

He goes on to say:
Scalia: “but I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can take down airplanes, so that'll have to be decided.”

Fox News Person: “How do you decide that if you're a textualist?”

Scalia: “Very carefully. My starting point and ending point will be what limitations are within the understood limitations that the society had at the time.”

So Scalia is saying that it might be unconstitutional to ban heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles if his gut feeling is that people in the 1780s would have been cool with it.

Which do you think is more likely: that the founding fathers wanted to give everyone the right to own any weapon, no matter how powerful, just as long as they could physically carry it, OR that they wanted to make it so that we had a right to form a well regulated militia?

Which of those two options seems like something that was thought up by complete fucktards?

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