Gloria Allred

LORELAI: How dare you accuse my face of that! My face is calling Gloria Allred when we get home.

Gloria Allred (born Gloria Bloom in 1947), attorney known for taking high-profile and controversial cases, especially those involving the protection of women. She represented Nicole Brown Simpson’s family during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. She has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Central Park and Washington Square Park

JESS: Just hanging out . . . in the park, mostly.

RORY: Central Park?

JESS: Washington Square Park.

Central Park, a 843 acre park in Upper Manhattan, New York, the fifth-largest park in the city. Opened in 1858, it is the most visited park in the US, and the most filmed location in the world.

Washington Square Park [pictured], a 10 acre park in the Greenwich Village district of Lower Manhattan, New York. One of the best known of the city’s public parks, it is a cultural icon and popular meeting place. It is notable for its arch, modelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and its fountain. The ground was first made into a park in 1849.

Jess says that Washington Square Park is “cooler” than Central Park. Apart from its location in fashionable Greenwich Village, it has a history of street performers, and protests and demonstrations. It has been a focal point for students, artists, musicians, and writers in the Beat, folk, and hippie movements. Robert Louis Stevenson once met Mark Twain here. Buddy Holly spent time here helping guitarists with their technique, and Barack Obama held a rally here. It’s a popular spot for filming, and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has filmed scenes here.

Washington Square Park, with its Beatnik and counter-cultural heritage, seems like the perfect place for Jess to hang out. I’m not sure if this is meant to suggest that he and Liz live in this area (if so, only with the kind of magical rent control that appears in TV shows like Friends!).

Jess obviously isn’t attending school, because he went back to New York right near the end of semester and its too late to start at a new school. This is breaking the law, but I guess he’s fallen through the cracks in the system as nobody knows where he really lives.

“Angry girl for an angry arm”

LANE: Okay. Here – angry girl for an angry arm.

RORY: Oh, cool! Thank you.

LANE: You’re welcome. [Lane puts a sticker on Rory’s cast]

The sticker Lane puts on Rory’s cast is one of Emily the Strange, a fictional character from graphic novels, comic books, and merchandise. She is a Gothic little girl with long black hair, a short black dress, and white Mary Jane shoes.

Often accompanied by four black cats, Emily is frequently depicted with crossed arms or her hands on her hips, and has cynical sayings such as “Get lost”, or “Glad you’re not here”. The sticker Lane gives Rory says, “I want you to leave me alone” – possibly the message Lane wants Rory to send to Jess.

Emily the Strange was created in 1991 by Rob Reger for his company Cosmic Debris Etc Inc, in San Francisco, and designed by Nathan Carrico for Santa Cruz Skateboards. The first Emily the Strange graphic novella was released in 2001, the year previous to this episode.

Emily the Strange bears a marked resemblance to a character named Rosamund from the 1978 children’s book Nate the Great Goes Undercover by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, but after several years of protracted legal wrangling, both sides resolved their differences.

Geneva Convention

LORELAI: You know, you’re bound by the rules of the Geneva Convention, Mother, just like everyone else.

The Geneva Conventions are treaties and protocols that establish international legal standards for humanitarian treatment during war. The singular Geneva Convention refers to the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of World War II. Lorelai melodramatically compares her being asked to wait for a meal to someone being tortured during wartime.

Rory’s Books from the Buy a Book Fundraiser

Rory buys several books at the fundraiser, but only a couple of the titles are visible. Gypsy the mechanic is volunteering her time to work at the fundraiser, and she points Rory to the astronomy section, as if Rory has an interest in this area, and Gypsy somehow knows about it. Both quite surprising things to learn! The Buy a Book Fundraiser is held outside the library, and may be raising funds for new books.

Inherit the Wind

A 1955 play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, fictionalising the events of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial. This was a legal trial in July 1925 where schoolteacher John Scopes was taken to court by the state of Tennessee for teaching human evolution. There was intense media scrutiny of the case, with publicity given to the high-profile lawyers who had taken the case. The prosecution had former Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, while Clarence Darrow defended Scopes – the same lawyer who had defended child murders Leopold and Loeb, previously discussed. Scopes was fined $100, but the case was overturned on a technicality. The case was seen as both a theological contest, and a test as to whether teachers could teach modern science in schools.

The play gives everyone involved in the Scopes Trial different names, and substantially alters numerous events. It is not meant to be a historical account, and is a means to discuss the McCarthy trials of the 1950s, where left-wing individuals were persecuted as Communist sympathisers, under a regime of political repression and a fear-mongering campaign.

Rory might be particularly interested in the play because of the focus it places on the media, with reporter E.K. Hornbeck covering the case for a fictional Baltimore newspaper. He is based on journalist and author H.L. Mencken, previously discussed as one of Rory’s heroes, who gained attention for his satirical reporting on the Scopes Trial for the Baltimore Morning Herald.

Inherit the Wind premiered in Dallas in 1955 to rave reviews, and opened on Broadway a few months later with Paul Muni, Ed Begley, and Tony Randall in the cast. It’s been revived on Broadway in 1996 and in 2007, as well as in Philadelphia, London, Italy, and India.

It was adapted into film in 1960, directed by Stanley Kramer, and with Spencer Tracey starring as the defence lawyer, Dick York as the schoolteacher, and Gene Kelly as the Baltimore journalist. It received excellent reviews and won awards at the Berlin Film Festival. It’s also been made for television in 1966, 1988, and in 1999 (starring George C. Scott, Jack Lemmon, and Beau Bridges). It seems likely that Rory watched the most recent version on television.

Letters to a Young Poet

A 1929 collection of ten letters written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, to a young officer cadet named Franz Xaver Kappus at the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt, Austria between 1902 and 1908.

Kappus had written to Rilke, seeking advice on the quality of his poetry, to help him choose between a literary career, or one as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Kappus had been reading Rilke’s poetry when he discovered that Rilke had earlier studied at the academy’s lower school in St. Pölten, and decided to write to him for advice.

Rilke gave Kappus very little criticism or suggestions on improving his writing, and said that nobody could advise him or make life decisions for him. Over the course of ten letters, he instead provided essays on how a poet should feel and seek truth in experiencing the world around him. They offer insights into Rilke’s poetic ideas and themes, and his work processes.

Kappus did meet Rilke at least once, and despite his concerns about pursuing a military career, he continued his studies and served for 15 years as an army officer. During the course of his life, he worked as a journalist and reporter, and wrote poems, stories, novels, and screenplays. However, he never achieved lasting fame.

This is a book which features a future journalist – but one who yearns to become a poet. Is it a sign that Rory secretly wishes she could become a creative writer instead? Is she hoping that being successful in journalism will help her become a published author (it’s definitely a help in getting novels published, or at least considered). Is it even a hint that she will become a writer in the future, as she does in A Year in the Life, but is not destined to become famous from her writing? (Most published writers, even quite successful ones, don’t get famous, after all).

And is this correspondence between a poet and a student at a military academy meant to suggest that Rory is still thinking of Tristan, who went away to military school? Are she and Tristan actually writing to each other, or is the show leaving the door open for Tristan to possibly return in a future season, since they didn’t know how long One Tree Hill was going to last?

Willamette University of Law

PARIS: Professor Bomar of Willamette University of Law has prepared a lengthy summary that I’d like to use in my remaining time.

The Willamette University College of Law is a private law school in Salem, Oregon, founded in 1883 and part of Willamette University, which was founded in 1842, and is the oldest university in the Western United States.

It is pronounced WIL-uh-met; Paris mispronounces it to sound more like William-ette.

Professor Bomar is fictional.

Death Without Dignity Act

PARIS: And referencing their last point, which erroneously cited South Carolina as a state that has neither a statute nor common law which prohibits assisted suicide when we know that North Carolina is the proper citation, their subsequent argument falls short of even a level of speciousness due to the fact that it doesn’t even have a ring of factual truth, let alone a substance. And after all, the absence of prohibition against assisted suicide is a far cry from a statute that actually legitimizes the practice, a state of affairs that exists only in Oregon, sadly enough, under the 1977 Death Without Dignity Act.

Paris mistakenly calls it the Death Without Dignity Act of 1977; it is of course the Death With Dignity Act. Her correction of the other team on legislation in North and South Carolina is correct, however.

Willie Nelson

RORY: I talk normally.
PARIS: For the average Willie Nelson roadie, yes, but not for a winning debate team member.

Willie Nelson (born 1933), country music singer, actor, and activist. He gained critical success with his 1973 album Shotgun Willie, then both critical and commercial success with his follow up albums in 1975 and 1978, making him one of the best known country music stars, and a leading figure in the outlaw country subgenre.

He’s appeared in more than 30 films, co-authored several books, and been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalisation of marijuana. I think it is the activism for marijuana that Paris is thinking of – as if all his roadies will be stoned and speaking in stereotypical “stoner” voices.

Kevorkian

PARIS: The debate’s Friday and we need more preparation.
RORY: More preparation? Paris – no two people know more about assisted suicide than the two of us. Kevorkian called today for a couple of tips.

Murad “Jack” Kevorkian (928-2011), pathologist and euthanasia proponent. He publicly championed a terminally-ill patient’s right to die by doctor-assisted suicide. He said that he assisted at least 130 people to die, many of whom were not terminally ill, and some of whom had no physical ailment at all. He was convicted of murder in 1999, serving eight years in prison, and was released in 2007. The media often dubbed him “Dr. Death”. There was support for his cause, and he helped set the platform for reform to the law.

Lillian Hellman, The Children’s Hour, and Julia

RORY: You said you wanted to read The Children’s Hour.
LORELAI: I did?
RORY: The other night when we were watching Julia, and Jane Fonda was playing Lillian Hellman.

The Children’s Hour, 1934 play by Lillian Hellman. It is set in a girl’s boarding school run by two women, and when an angry student runs away, she tells her grandmother the women are having a lesbian affair to avoid being sent back. This false accusation destroys the women’s careers, relationships, and lives.

The play is based on an incident which occurred in Scotland in the 19th century, which Hellman read about in a 1930 true crime anthology called Bad Companions by William Roughead. The Children’s Hour was a financial and critical success, and was adapted into a film called These Three in 1936, then again under its original title in 1961; both versions were directed by William Wyler.

Julia, 1977 period drama film [pictured] directed by Fred Zinnemann, based on a chapter in 1973 Lillian Hellman’s controversial book Pentimento: A Book of Portraits. It is about Hellman’s alleged friendship with a woman named Julia, who fought against the Nazis prior to World War II. Jane Fonda plays Lillian Hellman, and Vanessa Redgrave is in the role of Julia. An image of the real Lillian Hellman is shown at the end.

Julia performed well at the box office and received generally positive reviews. However, it was felt, with good reason, that the supposedly true story must have been, at best, heavily fictionalised. At the time of her death, Lillian Hellman was still in the process of suing the writer Mary McCarthy for libel after she cast strong doubt on the story’s veracity.

In 1983, New York psychiatrist Muriel Gardiner claimed that she was the person the “Julia” character was based on. Lillian Hellman had never met Gardiner, but had heard about her through a mutual friend, so they couldn’t possibly have had the relationship or adventures together that Hellman had written about. This does seem the most likely explanation, however.

Muriel Gardiner wrote about her anti-Fascist activities in Vienna of the 1930s in a 1983 book, Code Name Mary: Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground.