It’s hard to argue with ‘Dirty Jobs’ host Mike Rowe; even if you are a lawyer

Television star Mike Rowe’s recent online tale about the shaming of a local shoplifter and the downright creepy reaction of some attorneys he met by chance drew some strong reactions – especially from lawyers.

collagemikerowe0630In the post last week, Rowe described how the owner of a local liquor store had posted photos of a known shoplifter in the establishment, and how two lawyers noted that the could sue the shop owner on the thief’s behalf for the public shaming.

Anyone familiar with Rowe’s public persona could guess how he’d respond to that (if you can’t imagine, check out the link here).

Naturally, he got some blowback from lawyers, including one who wrote a long response Lowe posted on his Facebook page complete with his responses.

For an idea of how sorry Rowe is for the post, he headlined the follow-up, “Shopkeepers, Shoplifters, Shysters and The Death of Shame.

Here are some excerpts.

Lawyer: “Those who love to throw stones at lawyers, complete with colorful imagery, mindless jokes, and misleading quotes from Shakespeare are bigots, just as much as those who attribute the problems of mankind to Blacks, Jews, Hispanics or Muslims.”

Rowe: … [T]o my knowledge, being an attorney is still a choice, and right now, your chosen vocation doesn’t engender a lot of sympathy. Many Americans feel this country has too many lawyers, too many laws, too many criminals, and not enough justice. Ergo, your profession is ripe for lampooning. (I do agree however, that it’s never OK to tell a lawyer joke that isn’t funny. That simply has to stop.)

Lawyer: “I gather that you identify with those who generally dislike lawyers.”

Rowe: I identify with those who are tired of seeing compliance trump common sense … I believe something bad happens to a society that accepts stupidity of that magnitude.

Lawyer: “I believe that you are straddling the line between fact and fiction, thereby misleading your readers.”

Rowe: “[H]ere on Facebook, the line between fact and fiction is wherever you choose to draw it … For all I know, you could be a fourteen-year old named Sheila, running amuck with Mommy’s laptop and Black’s Law Dictionary.”

Even with the insults, Rowe kept the tone so light, even the attorney he was responding to could hardly have complained. But it speaks volumes that one wrote in – and at such length – about what most normal readers doubtless took as nothing more than a well-told story, and one with a moral to boot.

Just how misleading is that Shakespeare quote, anyway?

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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