"Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." - Martin Luther King
This week's book of the week deals with the conflict surrounding justice, the law, and human nature. The title is Contrary Events of Philosophizing the Opinion for the Law. It was inspired from the American Law Review of 1883, which I purchased from the 25¢ shelf at our local used book store Reader's Corner. I was fascinated with the subject matter... and as I browsed the text, the title was derived from a word pick of one page of the book.
|The title page|
The soft and supple weathered leather cover with gold tooled lettering was irresistible. Inside, the first page was signed by Leroy Fyournais, July 1884. Once inside, the beautiful book becomes the mouthpiece of justice and it's exquisiteness is overridden with legalese and some pretty silly thinking.
|gold tooled lettering on a black leather cover|
|signed and dated...|
Contrary Events of Philosophizing the Opinion for the Law is a folded book with 8 panels and a separate 2-panel book of Addendum nested inside. Like the law, this book appears to be straightforward, but can actually be a bit confusing, misunderstood, and pointless. Pages are digital copies of a few pages from the American Law Review of 1883. The pages were doodled on with a Sharpie marker. Pastepaint images of windows, spirals and the word JUSTICE appear on many of the pages... lines connect in random ways... with shadows and ghost prints incorporated in the imagery.
|On the shelf...|
The book opens to black book cloth which is reference to a judge's robes. Inside the center of the main book is the separate book Addendum. When there is law, there is always addendum, revision, and fine tuning... sort of.
|the open Addendum and the black silk of the opening Contrary Events...|
Open the book by flipping down the first two pages and the doodle imagery moves across all four pages. The references to ladders, paths, windows, stitching and concentric circles are against the backdrop of the law book text and the stamped word JUSTICE.
|Fold down the first two pages...|
Fold up the top two pages to reveal 6 pages and more doodles. The emotional noise of the book, as depicted by the doodles and stark black, white, and gray paste paintings expresses the conflict and inexplainable thought processes of human nature with regards to justice, society, and the law.
|fold up the next two pages|
Open the two side panels of the middle pages to finish the book and see all 8 panels of the main book. The word JUSTICE is stamped in several places on the book.. sometimes straddling several pages. The idea that the laws are built on earlier laws is intended to be shown in the movement of text and imagery between pages. The background text, from the law book, is a variety of legal cases, opinions, and explanations of the law of that time...including Fraudulent Mortgages of Merchandise; Marriage and its Prohibitions; Proof of Handwriting by Comparison, and the Married Women's Property Act. Actually, some of the cases are somewhat relevant to today's issues...
|fold the middle panels outwards...|
One quote from the American Legal Review of 1883...
"There have been in the history of our national legislation but two or three instances of well matured and extensive legislative acts. Among these must be mentioned, and perhaps first and highest of all, the Ordinance for the Government of the North-Western Territory, which antedates the constitution itself. The next in importance is perhaps, the Judiciary Act of 1789. We have also had three successive bankruptcy laws, which have been in their turn repealed, the last and most lasting of which was that of 1867. Possibly the most important instance of recent national legislation was the adoption of the Revised Statutes of the United States. In that volume, for the first time, all the acts of Congress of general application and concern were collected, arranged and codified. The legal profession in this country will never know through what a persistent struggle the enacting of that body of laws was brought about. They will never know how much they owe for the existence of the book called the Revised Statutes of the United States to Luke P. Poland, of Vermont, who was first to propose the measure in the Senate, and who afterwards for years had charge of the subject as chairman of a special committee of the House to which the subject had been committed. His labors in comparing, revising, and correcting that great work reach the hands of the profession without any assumption or acknowledgement of credit to him; but, having reference to his connection with it, it may be said that he has written his name upon the statute books of the country as no other man of recent times has. It is a singular fact that that great piece of legislation was enacted by the Senate without a single line of it being read in that body."
|tattered and well used.. the front cover of the American Law Review of 1883|
Our American justice system is one of many entities which require the act of hope and determination. Understanding is debatable... but there is always hope, determination, and.... the Contrary Events of Philosophizing the Opinion for the Law.