Questions during office hours


I told the students that I would have office hours on Thursdays from 1 to 4, and that they should stop by. I told them they should feel free to come and talk about anything, not just material from the class. The Fulbright program wants the scholars to engage the students in a cultural exchange, not just to lecture. Over a dozen of them took me up on my offer, and sat in my office for over three hours! 


Here are some of the questions and comments from students during my first office hours:


  • Why did you quit being a lawyer, and start teaching? (because of June and July. Actually, a great question, with an easy answer for me: I fell in love with teaching while I was getting my LL.M.)
  • Do you know the show Boston Legal? (to which I responded, I am Denny Crane)
  • Who is my favorite actor? (Obviously, William Shatner)
  • What do I think about the U.S.'s relationship with Taiwan? (Very complicated (I punted))
  • Tell me about your daughters. (They were very interested in hearing about them, and were all eager to meet them.)
  • Do you know the history of China? (as I admitted to them, some, but not much. I explained that Americans don't see much about China on the television, the way they see shows about the U.S. However, I cautioned them not to believe everything they see on U.S. TV shows, such as Boston Legal (I shudder to think that anyone would believe that law is actually practiced in the U.S. the way it is depicted on Boston Legal.)
  • What do you think about people selling DVDs on the street? (It's bad, but it happens in the U.S., too. I told them I thought that when Chinese artists, musicians and directors started demanding to get paid, then there would be more enforcement of copyright in China. One student summarized it best: when the internal demand for stronger enforcement increases, so will the enforcement of IP laws. As I pointed out to the students, for the first century of US copyright law, we did not grant protection to foreign authors. Dickens never got paid a dime for the publication of his books in the U.S. Once the U.S. started becoming an exporter of copyrighted works, then we began broadening the scope of protection for foreign works).
  • What do you think about Open Source software? (I said it's a neat idea that depends entirely on their being a strong copyright law - the GPL only works because it is backed up by copyright law.)
  • Do you know Lawrence Lessig? Have you read Lawrence Lessig's book Code? (Yes, but not personally. And Yes, I read "Code", which is an excellent book)
  • We would like to show you around Wuhan. Would you like to see the Provincial Museum? (Yes! and can you also take us shopping, so that we don't get ripped off by the street vendors (or as we Fulbrighters put it, paying "the foreigner" tax).