Revisionist History podcast with Malcolm Gladwell | E1/S3: Divide and Conquer (Transcript)

Divide and Conquer with Malcolm Gladwell

Episode 1| Season 3| Revisionist History
Length: 42 mins | Released: May 17, 2018

Malcolm Gladwell: Not long ago, I had a dinner party at my house. My friend Michael Ryan came. He's a lawyer and I was talking to him about my love of Law Review articles, which is genuine by the way. Here's a profession trained to find meaning in the particular and the arcane, to make the implausible plausible, to defend the indefensible. I mean, how are those not the perfect ingredients for a good read?

Malcolm Gladwell: Plus law review articles have epic footnotes. Scores are settled; subtle, lawerly jokes are made, and the really outrageous arguments are slipped in just for the benefit of the reader who wants to wade into note 136 on page 87.

Malcolm Gladwell: I go on like this until Michael Ryan kind of rolls his eyes because that's what lawyers do. I never know whether it's modesty or self-hatred, but as you can imagine, I persist and, finally, Michael says,  "Well, you're right. There are moments of genius in law review articles. Let me send you two of my favorites."

Malcolm Gladwell: The next morning, in my inbox, is an email from Michael Ryan with two attachments. I read the first and I think,  "That's pretty cool," and then I read the second and my jaw drops and I say out loud,  "What?!"

Malcolm Gladwell: My name is Malcolm Gladwell. Welcome to Season 3 of Revisionist History, my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood.

Malcolm Gladwell: The definition of a shaggy dog story is an extremely long-winded anecdote characterized by extensive narration of irrelevant incidents and terminated by a pointless punchline. Halfway into this episode, you're going to think that this is a shaggy dog story. It's not. This dog is not shaggy.

Malcolm Gladwell: You wrote this paper how many years ago? 15 years ago?

Michael Stokes Paulsen: Yeah. What is it, published 2004?

Malcolm Gladwell: 2004.

Michael Stokes Paulsen: Yeah.

To see the full transcript, go here.

Transcripts for the entire Season 1 - 3 podcasts of Revisionist History are available here.

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