UTEP guest lecturer says It's OK to seek 'just' revengeThane Rosenbaum in El Paso Times, February 22, 2011
by Ramon Bracamontes
Contrary to popular belief, revenge is good and sometimes needed, according to a nationally known novelist and lawyer who will speak Thursday at UTEP.
"The idea of revenge is an emotional need that needs to be expressed," said Thane Rosenbaum, a law professor at Fordham University in New York. "For victims, sometimes it is not enough to just let the legal system do its work. It's OK to want revenge."
But Rosenbaum cautions that such revenge must be fair, just and within the boundaries of what is acceptable in society.
Rosenbaum will be in El Paso on Thursday for a lecture at the University of Texas at El Paso. His talk, "Vengeance: An American Obsession," will be at 7 p.m. at the Undergraduate Learning Center.
His lecture is sponsored by the university's English Department.
Ezra Cappell, a UTEP professor and director of the Inter-American Jewish Studies Program on campus, said Rosenbaum is someone every El Pasoan should hear because he is the child of Holocaust survivors.
"All of his legal work, his research and his university work touch on justice and equality," Cappell said. "He is somebody who tries to give a voice to the voiceless."
From his office in New York, Rosenbaum said on Monday that part of his lecture will examine the movie "True Grit," which is nominated for several Academy Awards. He said the film is a good but complicated revenge movie.
"Revenge starts when the law fails," he said. "That's why this little girl insists on going out to seek revenge and has to bring her own gun. She needs closure before she can go back and be a normal kid. Those are normal emotions."
Rosenbaum has written several novels, including "The Golems of Gotham" and "Second Hand Smoke." His third book on the topic of revenge will be out next year.
At Fordham law school, he teaches courses in human rights, legal humanities, law and literature. He also directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society at the university. He received his law degree from the University of Miami and a master's degree from Columbia University.