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Re: graphic design and law

From: James Souttar <ancient-AT-urizen.com>
Date: 19 Apr 2001 17:23:48 UTC   (01:23:48 PM in author's locale)
To: "The Graphics List" <graphics-AT-lists.graphicslist.org>

>Well, we already have the defendant brand, in the sense that the drunken
>college rapist is cleaned up, hair cutted, jacket-and-tied in order to
>present a much nicer appearance in court. Oh, he couldn't have done what
>she said (that hussy!--wonder what she was wearing when it happened), he's
>so clean-cut looking.

On the one hand, we see this as 'manipulation'. But on the other,
we're quite resistant to the idea of reducing the impact of these
things. How could one remove all presentation from legal process?
Probably only by getting witnesses to tick yes or no questions on a
multiple choice form (agreed by both counsels) - so that the jury
could form no impression of their appearance, intelligence,
persuasiveness etc. But there would be tremendous resistance to this
idea, and rightly so.

In a real sense, our legal process is 'trial by rhetoric'.
Unfortunately, we also like to believe it is 'trial by empirically
proven evidence' (no doubt to feed our sense of being 'rational',
'scientific' creatures). To some extent, the two are in conflict.
Perhaps some future generation will see our system, which can convict
or acquit a person on the basis of how well they present themselves,
to be as primitive as we see the 'trial by fire' (or whatever) of the
middle ages?


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