Monday, August 4, 2008

Lessons from Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie lists Sixty-One Things I Learned During the Sonics Trial, The Stranger, July 29, 2008.

1. I've given thousands of speeches, readings, and interviews, and once gave shit to then president Bill Clinton for claiming Cherokee heritage when we appeared together in 1998 on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. But the trial testimony in Seattle vs. Sonics was by far the most terrifying and stressful public speaking gig I've ever had to endure.
Think of that whenever you prepare a witness to testify.
12. For those of you who think that sports doesn't matter as much as literature, at least in Seattle, please count the column inches devoted to my Sonics testimony as opposed to the inches devoted to my recent National Book Award win.
I for one am impressed by the National Book Award. And I read the book, too, and it's doggone good.
42. Of course, there are plenty of things that I wanted to say—I tried to get the city's lawyers to let me say them—but I would have been objected clear out of the courtroom. If I had tried to speak as I actually speak—with a whirling and spinning and beautiful and ugly and intelligent and stupid stream of metaphors, profanity, dick jokes, insults, Whitman and Dickinson quotations, Hall & Oates lyrics, the lifetime statistics of my favorite 127 NBA players of all time, and aching grief songs for my father—I would have been held in contempt and tossed into a holding cell.

43. But my lawyer friends were shocked that I was allowed to say as much as I did. One friend said, "The judge gave you a lot of room." Yes, she did. Thank you, Judge Pechman.
What was Alexie's testimony, anyway? See Avid fan Sherman Alexie compares NBA players to Greek gods, Seattle Times, June 20, 2008; Sherman Alexie takes stand (quite funny), Seattle PI Sonics Trial blog, June 19, 2008.

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