We Don’t Need Courtroom Sketch Artists Anymore

Illustration for article titled We Don’t Need Courtroom Sketch Artists Anymore

Your letters:


Why do we still have courtroom artists? Also, do courtroom artists sell their paintings? If there were ever a courtroom painting in the Louvre, what would it be?


I was thinking about this back in the summer when the lady who did Tom Brady’s courtroom sketch had her rendering plastered all over the Internet. I’m all for the arts (and arty people getting paid), but having courtroom sketches in 2015 is crazy. It feels like a relic of medieval times, when village judges would hire some scribe to sketch the proceedings on a piece of birch bark for posterity. (NOTE: All history lessons in this answer are presumed history that I pulled directly from my ass.)

The only reason we still have courtroom sketch artists now is because a) some courts ban photography, and b) the media “needs” images from inside the court for coverage of the trial. First of all, fuck the media. We’re awful. Courts shouldn’t do us any favors. There are 50 photographers stationed outside the courtroom for pre- and post-trial shots anyway. They have all the coverage they need. In fact, many media companies commission those sketches. BAN THEM. Let the New York Times starve.

Secondly, if a judge ban cameras, I don’t need a sketch to get a good idea of what’s going on inside. If there’s an eyewitness account of a witness crying, I can picture a witness crying. If Tom Brady is showing up to court, I can picture Tom Brady. I already know what he looks like. I can easily IMAGINE him sitting in that courtroom in a suit, looking like he’d rather be at home polishing crystal dildos. That’s not a stretch. Every courtroom sketch looks the same! People sit there and look miserable. No one is doing jumping jacks. It’s like the worst preliminary Pixar-movie-character drawing ever.

By the way, courtroom sketches can become collector’s items (I assume the OJ civil trial has the most valuable trial art), so I think the lady who did that Tom Brady sketch wisely exploited her infamy to sell more of her merchandise. Don’t get hoodwinked by BIG SKETCH.


Any chance Harrison Ford has actually watched the Star Wars prequel trilogy?

None. Zero. I’m not even sure Harrison Ford has watched the ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy. I think he showed up to the set, did his lines, bitched about the coffee, and then skipped out on the premiere to go smoke a joint.


I said this before, but I think that Ford will easily end up being the worst part of that new movie. They showed footage of him in both trailers, and he sounds more like old Jack Ryan than old Han Solo. His job will be to show up, get the fanboys creaming their jeans, and then exit stage left so that all the cool new characters can move the story forward. OUT OF THE WAY, OLD MAN. I wanna see the soccer droid do soccer-droid shit.


What happens if Jay Cutler the bodybuilder subs in for Jay Cutler the quarterback? How many guys does it take to tackle Bodybuilder Cutler? Does he even throw more interceptions than QB Cutler? QB Cutler would obviously be in favor of the experiment, because that means he wouldn’t have to play.


Jay Cutler the bodybuilder is 5’10” and VERY top-heavy, so I assume a crowd of NFL-caliber defenders could bring him down without much trouble. There’s a reason that NFL players don’t resemble bodybuilders: Having a shitload of aesthetic musculature isn’t practical. Look at LaRon Landry. He’s built like a bodybuilder, and he’s fucking terrible. Meanwhile, Eli Manning has your neighbor’s physique and can still win a division title. You can be big, but you can’t be too big, or else your Popeye muscles get in the way of everything, and you lose dexterity.

By the way, it takes a really long time for some guys (me) to accept that resistance training and core training and all that other boring crap is better for your overall fitness than being able to bench 5,000 pounds. When I was in college, the coaches would be like, “Work the negative!” And I’d be like, “Whatever, LOSER.” And multiple reps? Fuck that. ONE SET OF ONE AND I’M OUT. Then I would go out on the practice field and get destroyed. I probably would have been better off benching a pink broomstick 500 times than trying to impress everyone with my skillz on the leg press.


Also, if you do a Google image search for Jay Cutler, the first 27 results are for the bodybuilder. Then you finally get to the quarterback. This is insane. Jay Cutler the bodybuilder clearly figured out a way to engineer his SEO to defeat Quarterback Jay. There’s no way that most people do a GIS for Jay Cutler hoping to see some rippled biceps. They want to see the Bears quarterback photoshopped with a Marlboro dangling from his lips or giving his children herbal vaccines. I’m onto your scam, Bodybuilder Jay Cutler. You can’t fool me.


Do you think you’ve already done the stupidest thing you’ll ever do?

I’ve told this story before, but in middle school I once hollowed out a peach, microwaved it, and then stuck my dong in it. But I made the peach too hot, so it kinda burned me. WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE, AM I RIGHT? No? Shit.


Anyway, that was in middle school, and there is no dumber creature on Earth than a teenage boy with a boner. But that’s almost excusable. I’ll never be as purely dumb as I was back then, but stupidity was to be expected. I was a full-grown adult when I tried to fight myself in a mirror. That was TOTALLY inexcusable. If there is a sliding scale of dumb that punishes you more for being old enough to know better, then mirror-fighting easily defeats peach-fucking. That means that, in relative terms, I have probably NOT committed my dumbest act yet. One day, at age 45, I will eat my own poop by accident, and that will take the crown.


Why the hell aren’t there seals on laundry detergent?

I know! What if a teenager sticks his dick in my box of Tide?! Anyway, I assume that powdered products are somehow exempt from FDA-mandated sealing laws. Like Bisquick! If you buy a box of Bisquick, there’s no bag inside the box. It’s just a box of powder, which TOTALLY throws me off. I’m so used to going through eight different layers of packaging that it’s a real shock to open a box of pancake mix and have it be right there, exposed to the elements. Feels uncomfortable. Someone could easily penetrate the flimsy outer layer of my shortening box and put anthrax inside. How would I know the difference? Anthrax cooks up light and fluffy, too!



Is body wash a syrup?

No. It’s body wash. Actually, never mind. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, but 90 percent of all current web traffic is people debating whether or not X thing qualifies as Y thing. So from now on, I’m saying FUCK IT. A hot dog is a sandwich. A burrito is a wrap. A flatbread is a pizza. A TRUCK IS A DONKEY. Go nuts, people. Everything can be everything. Let’s open our minds to the possibilities. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have some chips and dip, which qualifies as a cold fondue.



Do you think candy and chocolate such as Hershey’s, Snickers, Skittles, Reese’s, and all the other major brands will ever go out of business? I was eating M&Ms earlier, and I couldn’t think of a situation that would cause M&Ms not to exist.


It’s doubtful, because there are certain entrenched brands that will live on forever because of their awareness value. So even if we figure out that sugar causes butt cancer (maybe it does!), and the FDA decides to ban all sugar products, and the Mars family ends up penniless and living down by the wharf, there would STILL be M&Ms out there. Some enterprising fellow would snatch the licensing rights up at auction and then sell herbal M&M’s made from solidified Stevia, and they would be wretched. But they would still exist. Soon, the whole of modern history will just be a list of 5o or so entrenched brand names. Darren Rovell can’t wait.


When you see a head coach after a touchdown holding up “1” of “2” with his hand, is that really needed? It only seems like you see it when there’s a touchdown in a close game, and the camera flashes to the head coach after a big touchdown. Is that really the only way they communicate to go for 2 or 1?


I think that’s one of those rare football instances where, unless you’re faking a kick, there’s no need to shield your intentions from the opponent. So you can hold up the one or the two fingers openly. And frankly, I bet it feels great. At home, I’ll hold up the two fingers if my team needs to go for two. I will jump up and scream TWO! at the screen like a fucking lunatic. Really makes me feel like I’m in charge. I like the idea of young men following orders at the mere sight of my two fingers. “Oh, he’s got BOTH fingers up. We gotta move!”

Sidelines are insane places, and a football team consists of many rotating units, so teams need a relatively simple system to make sure the right groups are shuttling on and off the field. How many times have you seen a team burn a timeout because some idiot was still running off the field and would’ve triggered a 12-man penalty? Sometimes, it’s easy to outsmart yourself and have some elaborate signal system that ends up confusing your own players more than the opponent. So if you can boil a signal down to a mere finger, you do it. I’m sure Bill Belichick holds up THREE fingers when he wants to go for one and a closed fist when he wants to go for two. The cipher is unbreakable.



If Donald Trump had a team of scientists develop a cheap, safe, FDA-approved, 100-percent-successful Hangover Cure, but refused to release the product or formula until he’s elected president, would we see a Trump victory? Would it be a landslide?


No, because Advil and water work just fine. I had a hangover on Sunday, and I chugged about a gallon of water and swallowed three Advil and defeated that hangover through sheer SCRAP. Just kicked that hangover in its ass. I don’t need Trump and the NANNY STATE to take care of my hangover for me. I built a damn WALL. On my own.

If a presidential candidate is gonna buy my vote (NOTE: This is illegal!), it has to be something more valuable and direct. In other words: money. I want direct payment. It would probably end up costing me money in the long run, but fuck it. I’d gladly take a pile of real cash waiting for me when I walk out of the booth. Thanks to federal electioneering laws, politicians can only buy you off via indirect means, like tax cuts. That’s bullshit. I WANT AN IPAD. Gimme free swag and the presidency is yours.


By the way, outside of buyoffs, I would gladly vote for any president that makes any one of the following promises, and has ironclad proof that they can fulfill the promise:

* “I will send a person to Mars to die.”

* “I will arm-wrestle Putin shirtless for the oil rights to Syria.”

* “I will make first contact with the aliens.”

* “I will build high-speed moving walkways in the sky.”

* “I will force Queens of the Stone Age to tour North America and North America only, in perpetuity.”


* “I will put a Korean taco truck on every block.”

* “I will outlaw autoplaying videos on the Internet.”

Just give me one of those things, and I’ll love you more than any president that’s ever existed. That goes for Trump. I will legitimately vote Trump into office if he says he’ll spend tax money to kill a man on Mars. Newt Gingrich got dumped on for promising everyone a moon colony. But what if he had pulled it off?! THE JOKE IS ON US. We could be eating McNuggets in the Sea of Tears right now, man. We fucked up. If I ever ran for president, I would ignore ALL of the issues and just hammer home two or three super-awesome future-y things. We’ll still have racism, but there will be hoverboards. VOTE ME.




If you got a text message from a totally random number that contained what appeared to be lottery numbers, would you buy a ticket? I would. So stupid to not spend the $1 if it’s me from the future texting myself. Or just a random person trying to move lotto tickets.


I would not, because texts from unknown numbers completely freak me out, especially if the unknown number purports to know who I am. Like, every so often, a friend of mine will change his number and then text something like, “Hey man, how’s it going? How are the kids? They liking school?” and then I text back WHO IS THIS, like I just got a phone call from Charles Manson. And then they explain and I feel better.

I can handle spam emails, but when you get spam text messages, it just feels that much more intrusive ... like the people at BIG PENIS PILL finally found a way to reach you directly. I feel so violated.



Has there ever been a less accurate indicator of future success than the Heisman Trophy? I wonder about this every year as NFL teams and ESPN drool over the Heisman winner. Look at the winners since 2000:

* Marcus Mariota

* Jameis Winston

* Johnny Manziel

* Robert Griffin III

* Cam Newton

* Mark Ingram

* Sam Bradford

* Tim Tebow

* Troy Smith

* Matt Leinart

* Jason White

* Carson Palmer

* Eric Crouch

* Chris Weinke

Discounting the two rookies, six are absolute busts (Weinke, Crouch, White, Leinart, Smith, Tebow), one will probably go down as a bust but has been riddled with injuries so some people still believe in his chances (Bradford), and only three have had any type of decent career so far (Palmer, Ingram, and Newton). I’ll give RGIII and Manziel the benefit of the doubt, but it sure seems like they’ll end up as major busts as well. What gives? Is the transition from NCAA to NFL that incredibly difficult that even the best college player can’t make it half the time?


No, it’s just that college football is a much different sport from the NFL. The rules are different. The way rosters are put together is much different. In college ball, there are more teams, and there’s a much bigger discrepancy between the best players and the worst players. Hence, different systems and tactics can end up flourishing. You don’t necessarily have to be a pro-caliber football player to be great at college football. Tommie Frazier was probably the best college football player I ever saw, but he never made the NFL because of blood clots in his leg. And even if he had, he probably wouldn’t have panned out, because he was an option QB. Too often, college players have their legacies dictated by whether or not they had a successful pro career, and that’s not always fair, because the two sports diverge so dramatically.

This is why NFL scouting is such a clusterfuck. If you watch film of Peter Warrick tearing shit up at Florida State, but you never see a defender get anywhere near him, how do you grade him? Do you hope he can get separation from NFL corners and still do all that cool shit? Or do you downgrade him and miss out on a potentially spectacular talent? You can run as many combine drills as you like and still not know the answer definitively until you draft him, put him in real pro games, and watch him fail. On a related note: Peter Warrick was fucking terrible.


So it’s not that the Heisman is cursed or that it turns its winners into GLORY BOYS who are always seeking out the next award banquet. Mostly, it exists to anoint Lee Corso’s favorite QB on any team that goes undefeated playing a bunch of cupcakes. Fucking Gino Toretta.


Some of these NFL receivers are pretty stick-like. What would happen if one of them caught a pass while in mid-air in the end zone and was struck by a defender hard enough to snap in two with his legs landing knee down in bounds and his upper body landing out of bounds but maintaining possession of the ball? Barring the endless tributes and the fact that the game would obviously be cancelled at that point, would it be a touchdown catch?


Do the dismembered legs hit the ground first? If so, TOUCHDOWN. If not, then we got ourselves a problem. They’d have to consult the replay, and then we’d have to see if the upper torso entrails hit the sidelines prior to the severed knees. And did the torso make a football move? That’s important. Then the refs would rule it incomplete and Al Michaels would do that thing where he laughs derisively to let you know he thinks this is all a bunch of bureaucratic liberal horseshit. One day, Al will finally just cut loose and scream out VOTE TRUMP on the air.


Let’s say you have a regular 9-5 job, working in a normal office. If your company gave you the option to work NFL football hours instead, would you take it? Meaning you’d work the three-plus hours Thursday night, work the 10-plus hours of football on Sunday, then again Monday night for three-plus hours. That’s roughly 16 hours a week, and you’d get paid the same as before. Say for the sake of this argument, everyone in the company has to work those same hours as you choose, but to make sure actual work gets done, you will not have internet or social-media access at work. You would not work during the off-season, and you’d start work again in August when the pre-season games start. So basically, you never get to watch the NFL again (including playoffs), but you work considerably less hours.


You’d also have to work Thanksgiving! And the Super Bowl! SHIT. I mean, you’d basically have to take those hours, because it would give you a full offseason and five days off a week. Then you’d take a second job to make supplemental income, and then become angry and bitter, and then kill yourself. But still! SUCH GOOD HOURS. I wouldn’t be able to resist.

It would be kinda similar to working a waiter job. If you’ve ever worked at a restaurant, you know that the bulk of your hours are spent working nights and weekends, when everyone you’re serving has already finished their work and is out enjoying life, while you still have to bus tables and then work the dishwasher until 1 a.m. Then you get off of work and do 50 shots and smoke eight joints simultaneously to catch up with the rest of humanity’s drunkenness. It’s a miserable existence.



Roger Goodell surprises the world and announces he will enter the presidential race as a GOP candidate. Does he become the Republican frontrunner?


YES! He’s perfect. He’s not a career politician, so he’s an “outsider,” but he’s also well-connected both politically and financially, and could easily amass a substantial corporate war chest. Plus, Goodell is a crummy public speaker, and that’s a big advantage. Mangling words lets people know you’re REAL, and not some polished huckster. Good ol’ Rog. Now there’s a plain-spoken man who will put America back on the right track. YOU’RE SUSPENDED, IMMIGRANTS. I guarantee you that he has been approached about a political career. And I’m sure Rog has been like DURRRR THAT’S NICE BUT I’M FOCUSED ON FOOTBAW DURRRR, which only makes the donor base want him more!

I would pay three dollars to have Roger Goodell run for President. It would be better than seeing the NFL actively fire him. Watching the Ginger Hammer sputter his way through debates and clumsily handle issues with brute force would bring me unbridled joy for the next 13 months. He should do it. Who else are they gonna pick? Trump? Carson? Ted Cruz? Ted Cruz would lose 45 states. They need the Hammer. DUTY IS CALLING YOU, MISTER SON OF A SENATOR.



Sometimes I’ll get hungry right after I brush my teeth before bed, which is super fucking irritating. Usually if I eat anything, it’s a small bowl of cereal. Do you think it’s okay to just go to bed after doing this, or do you brush your teeth again?


You have to brush your teeth again, because the sugar will linger in your mouth and eat away at your teeth, and then you’ll wake up looking like a British person. I have kids, and they constantly try to get away with eating a bowl of cereal after brushing, and then I say to them, “No. The kitchen is closed.” And then they cry, and then I cave, and then they eat a bowl of Frosted Flakes and get 60 cavities simultaneously. It ain’t right. Always brush last. And then brush in the morning to get the cobwebs out.


I have a habit of calling my friends “chief,” “amigo,” and “bud,” usually in a text or an email. Here’s my question: when you name-replace with one of these glorious titles, does it always make you sound like a prick?


Aw, man, I always use “amigo.” Sometimes I even throw down a GRACIAS instead of thanks. It’s my personal flourish. It lets people know I’m being friendly and casual. We can talk MANANA about our Vegas trip, amigo.

If you’re texting with a friend, you obviously can’t use their full name, or else everyone will think you’re a serial killer. Your best options are:

  1. Preferred nickname (“What’s up, D-Box?”)
  2. “Man” as in “Yo, man”
  3. Nothing, since the person receiving your text already knows you’re addressing them.

Everything else is probably awkward and unnecessary.


How many drug dealers in history do you think 1) made over a million dollars during their career, and 2) were able to get out of the business with their safety, freedom, and money all intact?


I want to say zero, because that would make me feel good about being 100-percent straight and working as a legitimate blog businessman. But no, there are probably a handful of guys who got in on the big drug boom and then cashed out before things got hairy. They’re probably on a beach in Turks and Caicos right now, sipping fruity drinks and driving cigarette boats and sleeping with beautiful women. CURSE YOU, PABLO. Curse your hedonistic bad-boy lifestyle! All this time I’ve been living like a sucker.

Email of the week!


When I was a kid, my older sisters would always con me into getting something for them that was upstairs or on a different level of the house than them. This is how the conversation went:

“Hey Robby, will you go get _____ for me?”

“Um, no.”

“I’ll time you.”

And then it was off to the races. Worked every time. They said it was one of the saddest days when that stopped working. Found out years later that they didn’t even actually time me. Just told me some random number when I came back bright-eyed and out of breath. Are there any other cons like that you used/were used on you by siblings or your kids? Looking back, I always wondered how I fell for that so much.


Kids can be so evil.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter@drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also order Drew’s book,Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Courtroom sketches by Jane Rosenberg. Photo via Getty.