James R. Elkins


 Film Basics:


Washington Post

Spirituality & Practice

Mark R. Leper

 Reading: John Batt, Law, Science, and Narrative: Reflections on Brain Science, Electronic Media, Story, and Law Learning, 40 J. Legal Educ. 19, 29-41 (1990) [on-line text]

For purposes of full disclosure, John Batt was my criminal law professor at the University of Kentucky. He introduced me to Freud, the life of the mind, criminal law, and much else. What I found in John Batt was a wildness that left him untamed by the law undeterred by law school colleagues. John Batt was a daily exemplar of what it means to think outside the box. For Batt, the law was no box, and being in the classroom with him never left us feeling that he was asking, or demanding, that we whack off some part of the foot to fit our new law shoes so we could ride off into the sunset as lawyers and live happily ever after. Every course I took with John Batt was unique and original; he reinvented everything he taught by refusing to ask us to eat legal education's warmed-over porridge. It was John Batt who left me with the idea that I might want to teach law, and John Batt who taught me, not how to teach, but what it means to be a teacher.

I think you'll find John Batt's article, Law, Science, and Narrative, while primarily devoted to the film, "Nuts," of interest for a good many other reasons as well. Batt never writes or sound like a law professor, and that makes his essays all the more engaging. Batt brings what I have come to describe as his wildness tino his writing. In the years just before I began studying with John Batt in my first year of law school (University of Kentucky, 1967), Batt published two articles you might want to peruse:

▪ John Batt, The New Outlaw: A Psychological Footnote to the Criminal Law, 52 Ky. L. J. 497 (1964)

▪ John Batt, Notes From the Penal Colony: A Jurisprudence Beyond Good and Evil, 50 Iowa L. Rev. 999 (1965)

After I finished John Batt's Criminal Law course, John Batt published still another of his seminal essays:They Shoot Horses Don't They: An Essay on the Scotoma of One-Eyed Kings, 15 UCLA L. Rev. 510 (1968). Reading Batt's essays, taking his courses, working as his research assistant, and spending time with him over the years, I confirmed again and again that of I could follow in Batt's footsteps, I'd have a fine life teaching law.


"Nuts," in Paul Bergman & Michael Asimow, Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies 297-300 (Kansas City: Andrews & McMeel, 1996)

"'Nut's' (U.S.A. 1987): the Mad Woman's Day in Court," in Omit Kamir, Framed: Women in Law and Film 160-184 (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2006)

Dustin Hoffman: Wikipedia

Dustin Hoffman on Being an American Citizen

Dustin Hoffman--On Education

Barbra Streisand: Wikipedia