Monday, November 7, 2011

Cross Examination

When I was in the 8th grade, I had to read To Kill a Mockingbird for school.

The book was okay, and I don't remember a whole lot about it, but one thing I vividly remember is how excited I got when the trial started and the defense attorney deftly picked apart a witness' testimony. He asked probing questions, logically deconstructed the witness' claims, presented conflicting evidence, and caught them red-handed in a lie. It was my first experience with that kind of rhetorical chess match, and I was heady with excitement.

I had fallen in love with logic.

To this day I still love those kinds of court room scenes in movies and books where an attorney gets someone to admit something that seems innocuous, gets them to verify it again and again, only to use their own words against them. There's something so powerful and compelling about catching someone in a logical fallacy or an outright lie.

Above all, I love truth. And I love it when people can extract truth in clever and intelligent ways, especially from those trying to hide or deny it.


So I am absolutely loving the climax of the Stieg Larsson Millenium trilogy. I'm at the end of the third book, and Lisbeth Salander and her lawyer are using brilliant logic and cross examination to catch all the mean, evil bastards in their own lies and smoke screens. I'm listening to the audio book during my commute to work, and every day I can't wait to get in my car to hear what's going to happen next.

It is the culmination of three books' worth of intrigue, machinations, and people trying to out-think each other. The main character, Mikael Blomkvist, is a reporter who values research, doing your homework, and evidence to prove his claims.

As a librarian, I like that kind of hero.

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