Saturday, November 25, 2006

First to speak

One of my favorite legal rules comes from contracts. If someone manifests a revocation of an offer before acceptance, the offer is revoked. If someone manifests an acceptance before revocation is manifested, the offer is accepted.

The Farnsworth casebook writes: "When offeror and offeree meet at a railway station, is it absurd that their legal relations can depend on who speaks first?"

I love that quote because its a great question. I think the rule is so perfect for American society in its own way. It teems with culture. That was have established a system where it is a little race in order to set up or destroy a cooperative unit. I like it because it is petty and although very detached from a natural state (assuming nature as basic tenants of survival) but so fully ingrained into culture.

Our culture detaches us from the only drive we had before: survival for reproduction and attaches us to so many odd games and trivialities. Its not that I dislike them, I play the culture game probably more than most, although I would like to think I am a bit more aware than most of what games are being played and why.

My favorite part about the rule is that it captures some of the funniest tendencies of American relationships. I think that Seinfeld provides limitless explication on some of these, but notably: Can a person someone refuse an offer to break up? Can someone avoid an offer to break up? Is control in a relationship defined by the person most likely to end it? And pertain to the quote above, how some relationships seem to be a race to be the first person to call it off without offending cultural norms.

PS - I am studying...like...a lot.... And its getting way too natural to write in an outlining shorthand, so send k ?s if you want answs.

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