A few minutes ago, I went to drop off my shirt and pants and pick up my dry cleaning. I gave Jennifer the slip for my pick-up items. It’s pink and they’ve been using pink slips for some time. Then she printed out the new slip for my drop-off items. It was orange.
“Jen,” I said, “you do realize that orange is not the new pink.”
She laughed, immediately recognizing my approximate quote from the movie Legally Blonde. Then we started talking about how much we loved the movie. I’ve seen it in whole or in part at least 8 times. I told her that one of my favorite lines, again approximate, was Reese Witherspoon’s comment to reporters at the end of the trial: “The laws of hair care are simple and finite.”
As I drove away, I got thinking. Witherspoon’s two insights in the movie that help her–SPOILER ALERT–win the case are both examples of Hayek’s “local knowledge.” Thus the title of this post. (They are also examples of Israel Kirzner’s idea of entrepreneurial alertness.)
First, the clue she gets about the sexual orientation of one of the prosecution’s key witnesses depends on her particular knowledge of fashion and of common differences between heterosexual males and homosexual males.
Second, the knowledge she has about hair care helps her see through another key prosecution witness.
Feb 23 2013 at 1:59pm
“My cousin Vinny” is another movie like that. I’ve read (it’s a fact that is far too good to try check) that it is used in law schools as an example of good cross-examination. But again it depends on the woman knowing a lot about cars…way more than anyone else in the room except her cousin the lawyer and enough to prove that (spoiler alert) the getaway car couldn’t have been the one driven by the defendants.
David R. Henderson
Feb 23 2013 at 2:39pm
Good one. Actually, it’s not her cousin–it’s her fiance. BTW, I’ve seen My Cousin Vinny, in whole or in part, at least 8 times too. The one time I didn’t like it as much was when it was on A&E and they bleeped the f-word. I’m not a big fan of that word at all, but I found that that was the one movie in which their use of it added a lot.
Feb 23 2013 at 8:00pm
Both are fun lawyer movies, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms 🙂 And they’re both sitting in my dvr at the moment…
Feb 23 2013 at 9:40pm
I would dearly love to see the faces of the makers of those movies as they watch them pressed into service for the libertarian cause!
There’s a good cross examination scene like that in the original Mr Deeds goes to Town. Pixilated!
Feb 25 2013 at 3:04pm
I didn’t remember the hair care bit as it pertained to the trial. But I do remember her “statistical reasoning” about how the defendant couldn’t be the killer because she was an exercise queen and “exercise makes you happy (via release of endorphins) and happy people don’t kill their husbands!”
Feb 25 2013 at 4:15pm
The haircare bit was dis-proving the daughter’s story, because her thio perm would have been jacked up by showering that soon after her salon visit.
Like anyone but a movie villain would have gotten a perm any time between 1990 and 2010, sheesh!
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