With a crazy glint in her eye, Yelena Bogatyreva is lunging full force at fellow contestant Varvara Rade. It is an early November afternoon on the set of the Russian reality show Mama v zakone. Clutching a heavy object, Bogatyreva gives Rade two good whacks on the head but fails to land a third blow, for her opponent fights back, clawing at Bogatyreva’s breasts and screeching like a hyena. Hair-pulling (Bogatyreva) and finger-biting (Rade) ensue, until Bogatyreva is on the floor, kicking Rade in the crotch, exposing both Rade’s cleavage and her own knickers in the process.
It is a strange scene, made stranger still by the women’s age: Bogatyreva, a petite classical music-lover, is 65, Rade is a 52-year-old housewife with frizzy blonde hair. Nonetheless, it is unquestionably real – and exactly the kind of fireworks for which Valery Komissarov, the show’s producer, is famous.
I assumed I would be widely criticized for my statement of gratitude toward the Iranian government (some observers suggested I had Stockholm Syndrome), but I was mistaken. Iranians around the globe have been especially supportive, sending me hundreds of notes. In one recent message on Facebook, an Iranian woman told me, “Sarah, watching you on TV thanking Ahmadinejad and Khomeini last year, I saw clearly the traces of pain and mental pressure on your young face. Also, I knew you being out with your friends still kept in a cell, you were trapped in a contradictory, paradoxical situation.”
Still it remains the case that 50,000 people will enroll in ABA-accredited law schools next fall, even though it seems inevitable that, for the large majority of them, this will turn out to be somewhere between a serious mistake and a life-altering catastrophe. What drives these decisions?
Imagine that you are French. You are walking along a busy pavement in Paris and another pedestrian is approaching from the opposite direction. A collision will occur unless you each move out of the other’s way. Which way do you step?
The answer is almost certainly to the right.