The devil does wear Prada, by the way.

One of my big regrets of the year 2010 is that I didn’t get to finish teaching a class through an English-learning cooperative, because my visa to work in Japan expired.

It was a fantastic class and a great group of people. We took movies that had been shown in America, and studied the language in 4 minute clips.

So the method was:

Watch four minutes of film.
Again, with the subtitle bar to see the written language.
Then, one more time.

On the fourth go-around, that’s when I got to put the flavor into the mix. I got to explain exactly what was going on. With all my color commentary and thoughts about my views on American society and whatnot.

It was like a college seminar, except I was not accredited and couldn’t give out credits for hours. (No exam at the end, either.) So it was me, and the canvas was a clip.

We had done Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. The final one was the Devil Wears Prada.

What I wanted to focus on was the callous and time-driven culture of midtown Manhattan, versus the way things are done almost everywhere else in America–and especially Middle America.

Andy Sachs represents Middle America. They really hit you over the head with that, too, in the very beginning. Miranda Priestly is definitely New York, and Emily Blunt, even though she isn’t even American, got sucked right into that whole New York City thing.

You know, if you come from far out enough in New Jersey, you pick up the scent just like it’s on radar or something. (I know that’s a mixed metaphor.)

Why that movie came to mind today is that I have been having some dealings with a New Yorker, in that situation that regular readers know from before, where I kind-of (read: definitely) got cheated of a few things back in Japan.

Well, I have been diligently doing what needs to be done. This requires a lot of reading, a lot of following rules, and a lot of following up. I expect bullsh*t out of a New York attorney. I expect it. I know it. I’ve seen it already. Plus, I went to Penn in the 1980’s, and I’ve really seen it.

So one month, I’m being told, “no, I don’t represent the foreign affiliate.” Then, surprise, Judge is getting letters suggesting, “yes, I do”. Then, I’m like, “hey what’s going on?” Then, surprise, he does represent the foreign affiliate! But won’t file a notice of appearance with the clerk.

Well, I’m a Jersey boy, but I’m not in Jersey anymore. And so the New York stuff is more smelly.

Like, this is Amish country. You have all these 400-year-old religious sects around. They don’t put things in writing, because writing means you can’t trust the person you are doing business with. Their religious ceremonies are plain. Their dress is plain. What is, is what is. (By the way, a lot of plainness is so that you don’t have distractions from the Lord’s work, but that’s another post.)

Amish country Pennsylvania has been invaded by the moderns, or the English as we are known, long ago. So it’s also a cosmopolitan place. But I don’t think that sort of New York brashness would be tolerated for long here.

To the New York fellow, who is, maybe, four years my junior out of that very same University of Pennsylvania, I am simply asking that he file a notice of appearance on the docket for that foreign affiliate. But, for some reason, he will not do that; but then, he has the nerve to make like that shouldn’t be any issue. Even though, in some jurisdictions, (and I am sure New York is in that), you aren’t really really representing someone until it is recorded on the docket.

It is no skin off my ass, whatever this guy does. But what I start to wonder is, whether the eleven objections over two supposed clients; and the dodging service during February and March; and the stonewalling the EEO for two years, is, like, telling me that, you know, this is the New York way of doing things, and that I’m just out of touch or over my head, or something like that.

And it just reminds me of Miranda Priestly.

After all, who was Miranda Priestly in the movie? Sure, she had talent. (And the real Anna Wintour, who the character was based on, has a lot of talent.) But for people on the outside, it comes to be this question: “hey, isn’t that a bit much?”

I think the people in Manhattan who have some kind of career like to puff themselves up. But I don’t understand this part about pushing the other people down. I don’t understand that; never did. OK, if you want to puff yourself up. But, what is it? Squeezing the lemon, or trying to scrape for every inch of difference, in pushing other people down?

I am sure this character on the other side of the action has some perfectly good reason for not doing what I think he was supposed to have done a week or two ago. But on the other hand, in some jurisdictions, he ain’t really representing the foreign affiliate until he first files a notice of appearance. And, you know, that part about no skin off my ass. But if he doesn’t file one, I am supposed to treat his client as if the client self-represents, at least for things like serving a notice[?] Because that’s what the docket says.

There may be some special New York practice that is totally lost on Jersey-Boy-transplant to Pennsylvania farm country. But what it actually smells like is some bullshit, and not coming from the place down the road.