Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Flamingo Trial

You don't hear much about the Snopes Flamingo Trial. Clarence Darrow never stood a chance with that one. It had to do with the contention of Clem Snopes, a Mississippi restaurateur, that the turtle is a direct descendant of the flamingo. Snopes was being sued for false advertising by an irate customer who had ordered a bowl of turtle soup at Snopes' Oxford, Mississippi diner. The customer knew something was not quite right the moment he tasted the soup–it just didn't taste anything like turtle. So he confronted Snopes. "Suh," the man said, "I think there's been a mistake. This here don't taste nothin' like turtle soup. Tastes to me more like chicken soup."

"Ain't chicken," Snopes replied. "I make my turtle soup with flamingo meat."

"Flamingo meat!" the man ejaculated. "How you get off callin' it turtle soup then?"

"Because the turtle is a direct descendant of the flamingo. So it don't matter one bit whether I use turtle meat or flamingo meat."

Why Darrow ever agreed to take the case, I haven't a clue. When the lawyer couldn't find even one expert witness who would support his client's claim he resorted to the insanity defense. But it was hopeless, even for an attorney as skillful as the great Darrow. The jury deliberated for less than five minutes. When they returned, the judge pounded his gavel for order in the court and asked the foreman to read the verdict. The foreman spoke. "The jury finds for the plaintiff, Mr. Faulkner. But seein' as how this was a pretty frivolous action to begin with, the jury recommends an award of one dollar."

To tell the truth, Snopes didn't do so bad after all. After the publicity of the trial people began to flock from all over the state to Snopes' recently renamed Flamingo Diner for a bowl of his justly famous flamingo soup.


Post a Comment

<< Home