business at hand, He denied McLaughlin’srnmotion to let Julia attend LatinrnHigh on an interim basis while the suitrnproceeds. “The harm to the plaintiff,”rnhe declared grandly, “is less educationalrnthan psychological. A 12-year-old canrnbounce back. If she is successful, somernday she can return in triumph.” Perhapsrnat a 10th or 25th class reunion. No onernexplained why, if the benefits of Latinrnare mainly “psychological,” so many studentsrninsist on attending. And if it is sornimportant for blacks and Hispanics to attendrnLatin High that quotas must wedgerntheir entry, why is it inconsequential forrnthe Julia McLaughlins of the worid? Addressingrnsuch questions has been beyondrnthe court’s grasp since equal outcomesrnbecame its shibboleth.rnTen days later, in late September, as arnkind of exclamation point, MichaelrnMcLaughlin was dismissed from Lane,rnAltman & Owens. The firm wrote out arndismissal agreement that McLaughlinrnwas required to read to the media: it saidrnhe was let go for refusing to spin off therncase to another attorney. Before he vanishedrnfrom the papers, McLaughlin toldrnme the situation had been “a typicalrncase of p.c,” and, in fact, senior partnerrnDonald Bloch had already let the truthrnslip out. One day before the official noticernwas read, Bloch was quoted as saying,rn”many partners were concerned thatrnhe [McLaughlin] was challenging affirmativernaction.”rnAre things really so sensitive? They arernwhen blacks are involved, and at Lane,rnAltman & Owens, high-profile blacksrnhad become very much involved. OnrnJuly 1, 1995, the firm, previously knownrnas Lane, Altman, merged with that ofrnHenry Owens, a well-known civil rightsrnattorney and former chapter president ofrnthe Boston NAACP. Owens, with hisrnnew firm for all of seven weeks, reportedlyrnwas irate that McLaughlin had challengedrnthe Garrity plan.rn”He told me that my suit was a matterrnhe would not tolerate,” McLaughlinrntold reporters. “Henry was upset thatrnMichael was involved in an affirmativernaction matter,” Bloch acknowledged.rn”He felt that if a member of the firm wasrninvolved in a case like that, it would bernunethical for him to comment on or litigate”rnaffirmative action cases. “We feltrnbetrayed by Michael,” added senior partnerrnRobert Rosen. McLaughlin had torngo. No one asked if he felt betrayed.rnSince then the suit has disappearedrnfrom the media. While Judge Garrityrnstudies the depositions and the backstagernhorsetrading grinds on, JuliarnMcLaughlin attends Boston Academy.rnThe School Committee has meanwhilernadmitted that absent the quota, BostonrnLatin High School would be 88 percentrnwhite and Asian and 12 percent blackrnand Hispanic. But, so what? After all,rnit’s only a psychological inconvenience.rnEugene Narrett is a professor of Englishrnat Framingham State College and arncolumnist for The Middlesex News.rnLetter FromrnSturgisrnbyD.K. BiainardrnThe Last PioneersrnWe stopped for gas and food in Chamberlain,rnperched on a bluff above therngrand Missouri River. A clear late summerrnThursday evening in South Dakota,rnand we were halfway to the Black Hills,rnwhere on Saturday the 55th annual SturgisrnRally and Races—one of the worid’srnlargest congregations of Hariey Davidsonrnaficionados—would kick off.rnHaving spent, more or less by accident,rnthe first two months of the summerrnworking in sleepy Sioux Falls, I hadrnjumped at the chance to accompany arncoworker and his girlfriend on a longrnweekend of camping and voyeurism inrnthe old West. And now, as Mike and Jillrnrefueled on coney dogs and root beer atrnthe hilltop A & W, I was sitting on arnpeeling wooden slat fence, watching thernsun expire behind the bluffs on the westernrnbank of the river and listening to thernroar of Hariey engines washing up fromrnthe exit ramp 100 feet below.rnI was thinking that when Americansrntravel these days they prefer the jetlinerrnor the recreational vehicle, hermeticallyrnsealed machines in which one can voyagernfrom coast to coast without ever havingrnto expose oneself to the elements save onrnthose long walks to the shuttle bus orrnthrough the x’IcDonald’s parking lot. Arnperfect yellow half moon was riding lowrnover my left shoulder, and on the swaybackedrnbridge below, a succession of disembodiedrnred taillights dimmed andrnwere swallowed up by the black mass ofrnhillside on the western shore; I foundrnmyself humming the lines from an oldrnWillie Nelson song; “Cowboys are specialrn/ With their own brand of misery /rnFrom being alone too long.”rnSaturday morning finds me still in thernbackseat of Jill’s Toyota, seat belt fastened,rnas we roll through Hill City, wherernsquat brick buildings with wooden verandasrnand facades painted green, red,rnyellow, crowd together along the mainrnstreet. To the Easterner it looks like thernset of a cowboy movie, only where thernhorses should be tied outside the localrnsaloon, some two dozen Harleys push uprnagainst the wooden sidewalk. The anticipationrnbuilds as we roll on, skirtingrnRapid City, and majestic silver-whiternthunderheads 1,000 feet high roll acrossrnthe sky from the southeast.rnA ten-minute crawl through twowheeledrntraffic—this year’s rally was expectedrnto draw more than 300,000 peoplernin nine days—takes us from thernoff-ramp to within three blocks of Mainrnand Junction. We find a place to parkrnand promptly lock the keys inside Jill’srnToyota, a blunder from which, to believernthe pre-trip hype—and the T-shirtrnstretched across an extremely broad backrnwhich informs us that “Friends Don’trnLet Friends Ride Jap Bikes”—we shouldrnbe lucky to escape alive. But the biker galrnbehind us promptly offers us the use ofrnher AAA insurance.rnOur car troubles sorted out, we thankrnour tattooed benefactress and walk downrnJunction past bars, a makeshift tattoo salon,rnand stalls hawking leather gear, helmets,rnand commemorative T-shirts tornMain Street, where hundreds of bikesrnback up to the sidewalks and hundredsrnmore rumble slowly up and down thernstreet. The scope of personal philosophiesrnemblazoned on T-shirts is asrnimpressive as the number of Stars andrnStripes flying from rear fenders, coveringrneverything from polities (“Gun ControlrnMeans Hitting Your Target”) to pets (IrnLove Cats: They Taste Just Like Chicken”)rnto parenthood (on a tike-sized Tshirt,rn”Lm Here Because MommyrnMissed Her Cycle”).rnThe mid-afternoon heat reaches 100rndegrees, but despite our hunger we passrnup the open-air food vendors on MainrnStreet, holding out for a cool bar withrnbiker-sized burgers. Lured by some Texasrnblues spilling into the street from a loud-rnMAY 1996/33rnrnrn