Best PR Stunt - 2010
Erykah Badu's "Window Seat" VideoNew Amerykah, Part II: Return of the AnkhPete Schulte, attorneyJames J. Scheske, attorney
Listen, Queen of the Lake: Don't think for one second that you've slipped one past all of us. We watched your video for "Window Seat," which came out right before the release of your latest opus, New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh, and we totally got the message you were putting out there in your low-budget clip about "groupthink" and the dangers that can come with being a member of the pack, rather than a lone wolf. We understood it. But we also saw you taking your clothes off in the clip until you were butt-ass nekkid, lying "dead" on the X that marks the spot where JFK got shot in Dealey Plaza. Sure, we took it at face value as an homage to Matt & Kim's earlier nude-in-Times-Square music video and a chance to pass along a message. But, more important, we knew that it was also a potentially incendiary offering—one the conservative political types in this town would too willingly jump all over. And boy did they: On the basis of a single complaint received by the cops (one that, for the record, came after the video's release, and not after its filming), you got smacked with a $500 fine for disorderly conduct. A shame, for sure. But, more than that, a small price to pay. No PR firm in the country could have given you that kind of national hype heading into your album release—and, if they could, they would've charged you at least 100 times that much. You turned a crappy situation around and made it work for you. For that—and, really, for a whole bounty of other reasons—we hope you know this much: In Dallas, Ms. Badu, you bow to no one.
Best Bit of Lawyering
When Judge Tena Callahan went full bore and ruled the state constitutional ban on same sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, lawyers for one of the gay men, known in court documents only as J.B., told the judge not so fast. Sure, it was great she was ruling in their clients' favor but perhaps there was a way not to do it on such broad constitutional grounds with all its my-Constitution-is-more-supreme-than-your-Constitution snootiness. J.B's attorneys, Pete Schulte of Dallas and James Scheske of Austin, argued that granting a divorce to a same-sex couple in Texas is not against the Texas law that bans same-sex marriage. On the contrary, it promotes Texas law because it ends a same-sex marriage. See, granting a divorce would mean one less same-sex marriage in Texas, which Texas would say is a good thing. It's an argument J.B.'s attorney made to the 5th Court of Appeals. Too clever by half you say? Well, maybe, since the 5th Court ruled against granting the divorce, but stay tuned. This isn't over yet.