Denver Bar Association
September 1999
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Docket Elite-less Strike Back

by Marshall Snider

The Denver Bar Association’s Docket has long been a recognized source of cultural advice for its readers. The Docket has never been shy about telling people where to eat and drink, what cigars to smoke, what to read, what movies to see or what recordings to enjoy.

Unfortunately, much of this advice has come from The Docket’s resident intellectual, Greg Rawlings, and is not representative of the sentiments of the entire committee.

It is worthwhile to heed Greg’s advice on things artistic. If Greg says that The Recognitions by William Gaddis is rewarding to read, even if it is unintelligible and endless, I say go ahead and read it. Greg’s listings of the best movies and recordings are impeccable, even if the rest of The Docket committee members have never seen or heard any of them.

It can not be denied that Greg’s tastes are on the avant garde side. Which is fine. However, readers may be misled into believing that The Docket committee as a whole subscribes to the same eclectic preferences. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As a whole, the members of The Docket committee are pretty much an every-day, lunch bucket, beer-swilling group (to be fair, Greg swills beer as well, but with much more class than the remainder of the crew). Most of us have never seen a Kurosawa movie, let alone put one on a “Top Ten” list of black and white films. If you polled the members of the committee, you would find that their favorite movies include such pop fare as “M*A*S*H,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” something with Clint Eastwood or Woody Allen in it, and two Spielberg movies.

And Thomas Pynchon may indeed be the greatest writer in the world today. At least, that’s what Greg tells us. I wouldn’t know him if I ran into him at the Tattered Cover bookstore. At The Docket we sit around and read each other excerpts from books written by John Grisham and Frederick Forsyth, so what would we know about great literature?

Our musical tastes are equally pedestrian. If we had to rank our favorites they would include the likes of Eric Clapton, Lyle Lovett, The Traveling Wilburys, The Eagles, The Grateful Dead and The Dixie Chicks. Of course, we agree with Greg that CDs by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison are necessary if we are stuck on a desert island, but who are these groups on Greg’s list called “Death of the Replacements” and “Cracker?” Did Greg make these up? And even if he didn’t, why would we want to listen to a song titled “Eurotrash Girl”? Classics like “Truckin,” “Desperado” and “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” have served us well for decades, and anything more intelligent just won’t do. The bottom line is that Docket member Doug McQuiston plays the bagpipes, which should tell you all you need to know about our collective musical tastes.

So don’t be surprised when you see the next Greg Rawlings review or “favorites” list, which includes nothing but artists and works you have never heard of; neither have we. We are just plain folks here, ingesting the pablum fed to us by pop culture, and liking much of it. Greg’s tastes may broaden the horizons of all of us, but that does not mean that they represent us. I point this out on behalf of the intellectually average on the committee, all of whom I know join in this sentiment, though are afraid to admit it. It is too late to deny our populist tastes. Everyone already knows that Paul Kennebeck, Dennis Walker and Loren Ginsburg laugh out loud at Dave Barry columns.

The Docket will continue to serve its readers by reviewing music, film and literature. I just doubt that you will ever trust anything we say.

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