62 - January 2012
Social Media – “Morose On-line Persona Syndrome” (“MOPS”)
Does your on-line presence bear an uncanny resemblance to the person that your spouse has been describing all these years?
Some people take to Facebook and Twitter like ducks to water and are forever making comments and appearing to be genuinely enjoying the repartee. I was sure that I could banter with the best of them in an engaging, amusing sort of way. However, I have discovered my on-line persona to be miserable and withdrawn. Generally, I cannot think of anything that I wish to say.
For me social media, at the time of writing or maybe just this week, is Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Youtube and Google +. There are others but they do not appear as prominent to me at this time.
In social media there seems room for all sorts, including those with “Morose On-line Persona Syndrome” (“MOPS”) which rather than a personality disorder is probably the default position for 90% of us. I do say something from time to time. But it is disconcerting that Facebook and especially Twitter seem to offer 15 seconds of fame rather than the usual 15 minutes, as entries disappear so quickly. For MOPS the important thing is to have a presence. This means putting up a profile, photographs and video clips. It is the type of thing that someone could do for you once you had vetted the first one, although I just get on with it.
A presence includes video content on Youtube. I was told just to grab a video camera, do a quick minute and get it up there. I have seen others create video content effortlessly but this has not been my experience.
If you are generally miserable in real life, going on line may feel like home and after the initial effort you can sit back and dolefully observe.
Extract from "How to Make a Funny Legal Presentation ... and other things that they did not teach you at law school" a book by Paul Brennan to be released shortly. Click here for books, eBooks and CDs by Paul Brennan.
(c) Paul Brennan 2012. All rights reserved.
Are you approaching Valentine's Day with the usual cynicism but feel compelled to go along with it?
Click here for our new Lawyers in Love blog for cartoons and comment; or
Challenging The Powers That Be
In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus was a captain in the French army. Born in a German border town and being Jewish, he was the sort of person who could be a German spy but wasn't. When a note giving plans of French military secrets was discovered in a waste bin in the German Embassy, Dreyfus was court martialed, found guilty of treason and sent to Devil’s Island for life.
In 1896 the real culprit, a French major, was identified by a Lt. Col. Picquart. The army had imprisoned the wrong man. If you have ever been on a committee you will know that it is far preferable to cover up rather than admit mistakes, especially if they are serious or make you look stupid. It really is a matter of how far you are prepared to go. Here, the army were forced to act when the culprit was accused in parliament. They court martialed the Major but acquitted him. Then they court martialed Lt. Col. Picquart, convicted him of forging the evidence against the Major and he was sent to prison.
Helpfully, an underling boosted the evidence against Dreyfus by manufacturing it.
In 1898 Emile Zola, a famous writer, published a newspaper article called J’accuse detailing the cover up. Such was the popularity of this edition that it was reprinted again and again causing a paper shortage. Zola was tried and found guilty of criminal libel but escaped to England.
There were riots as the public divided between those who thought Dreyfus innocent and those who thought that, being Jewish, he must have done something.
In 1899 the army pardoned Dreyfus. He was guilty but forgiven and released from prison.
In 1904 Emile Zola was poisoned for being a bit too outspoken and Dreyfus was inconsolable at his funeral.
In 1906 Dreyfus was exonerated by the Supreme Court as was Lt. Col. Picquart who was eventually to become Minister of War.
Dreyfus remained in the army and fought in the First World War, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He died in 1935.
Be it a government department or the tennis club, if you challenge the decision of the powers that be, do not expect an easy run even if you are innocent. But with time and persistence you can prevail.
(c) Paul Brennan 2012. All rights reserved.
2012 Annual Legal Cartoon Competition
Win your own copy of
Please submit your own legal cartoon or a caption for this competition by email, to
Q1 Can it be about my own lawyer?
A1. Yes, but only if he or she has a sense of humour. So, probably not.
Q2. Will I receive a bill?
A2. No, it is absolutely free. Although, if a bank becomes a sponsor a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice may be required.
Q3. Can accountants enter?
A3. See A1. (above).
Q4. Am I allowed to criticise the judges and say that they do not know what they are doing?A4. Yes, but they will deny it.
Click here to read the Rules of the competition which shall be binding for all entrants.
This year's Judges are:
Vickie Magic, Managing Editor, Business Matters Magazine. www.businessmattersmagazine.com.au
Geoff Moller, MBA FAIM, Business and Marketing Strategist, Management Consulting, VESTRA Business Advantage www.vestra.net.au
Paul Brennan, Brennans solicitors http://www.brennanlaw.com.au
Each year Brennans solicitors sponsors Employees Legal Awareness Day on 13 February. A worldwide celebration of the advantages of keeping your employees legally savvy.
Can you never decide what to buy the legal person in your life as they are so fussy and difficult?
Disclaimer: The content of the Law & Disorder eZine is to give you legal basics and in some instances, included unashamedly to try and make you laugh. In law, it is sometimes difficult to work out what is serious and what is just for fun. Therefore, if you plan to do anything legal, rely on your own lawyer’s advice or instruct me to look at the particular facts of your case. Not only will I deny responsibility for the legal content but also for some of the jokes.