Friday, July 29, 2005

Writing without a purpose.

I'm in law school. Prior to that, I worked as a technical writer. And even before that, I was a journalism student. So writing without a purpose seems a rather difficult concept for me to grasp. But here I am nonetheless, jumping on the blogging bandwagon.

That said... let's move on to the legal question of the day:

In the early '90s, some idiot woman put a cup of McDonald's coffee between her legs while driving, and then sped off into the night, only to suffer disastrous burns when the coffee capsized in her lap, a result of her careless joyriding. The media coverage during the legal debacle that ensued pointed to the fact that this particular woman has suffered particularly painful injuries from the hot coffee because her skin was so old and papery-thin. And of course, the case settled. Classic legal cost benefit analysis right? (If you don't know what I mean, watch the scene from Fight Club where Edward Norton's character explains when car manufacturers actually issue recalls.)

This particular suit had lasting repercussions. Just yesterday I was sipping my iced chai at the Barnes and Nobles Starbucks, when I noticed that Mike's cup of hot coffee warned him that "the coffee you are enjoying is extremely HOT." Though I thought it presumptuous to assume that he was enjoying the coffee, I had hoped he would realize the coffee was hot without having to be told.

And all of this got us thinking. Does the warning protect the corporation from lawsuits regarding the temperature control of its beverages? Is there a waiver? Maybe some assumption of risk going on? Seeing that I don't particularly care, I don't worry about such things. But then an interesting question arose:

What about bullets? Suppose a bullet were to be imprinted with the words:

WARNING! Do not stand directly in front of. Not intended for internal use.

This is the very question Mike asked me. Of course, I looked at him and told him he was ridiculous. And he drifted off into his own little world, muttering about how it likely wouldn't protect murderers, but would protect bullet manufacturers. As if they don't have enough protection already...

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