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Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I thought I'd take a minute to say a few unrelated things.  First, I want to  congratulate the fine folks at the FSU Law Library on their new blog, available here; I think it's a great thing that law schools are institutionally becoming more receptive to the educational value of blogs and blogging, as indicated by the FSU library blog, and the launch of ChicawgoBlawgo

Related to that, I am hoping L'affaire Drezner is nothing more than an outlier, and won't chill the desire for other prawfs to enter the fray.  My own sense is that within three years, blogging will become very common among law faculties, and will be a way for schools' faculties to communicate with their students, alumni, and stakeholders in a real and energetic fashion.  Chicago's blog is, as might be expected, blazing the trail here.

I suppose it's worth pointing out the problem that, notwithstanding the lack of barriers to entry in the blog marketplace, many of the better known academic law blogs, including this one (to our chagrin and frustration), have gender imbalances and we can't pretend they don't exist.   Part of this problem is that legal academia still has a gender imbalance (not to mention ethnic/racial ones too).   Perhaps if blogging becomes more accepted in law schools generally, more women scholars and more scholars from minority backgrounds will participate in this venture.  My sense, based only on my experience trying to steer this ship, is that time commitments (and different priorities) thwart blogging, even for a short stint.  I'm not sure what we can do to fix that, based here, but I'd be curious to hear helpful recommendations or thoughts privately via email, or on comments.

Second, I have been delinquent, and thus I wanted to extend some overdue thanks to a few of our recent guest bloggers, including Mark Fenster, Brooks Holland, Doug Lichtman, Doug Berman, and to welcome our current guest, Matt Bodie, along with some familiar returning figures, Rick Garnett (ND) and Marcy Peek (Whittier).    I am also happy to see the auspicious debut of Concurring Opinions with Messrs. Solove, Wenger and Oman.  Kaimi and Dan: we are grateful for your efforts the last few months here, and we wish you well in your new home in cyberspace, which will surely be easier to spell than this one. 

Finally, I thought I'd mention that I'd seen Spellbound recently on DVD; if you enjoy the prospects of watching South Asian-American kids from Texas being asked to spell "yenta," it's the right movie for you and your family. 

Posted by Administrators on October 11, 2005 at 11:06 AM in Blogging, Funky FSU | Permalink


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» Not Comforting from The Debate Link
Orin Kerr points us to this story in the New York Sun regarding (in Dan Markel's words) L'affiare Drezner. For the most part, it's nothing too noteworthy. But this statement did catch my eye: While refusing to go into specifics about Mr. Drezner's ... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 11, 2005 11:25:22 AM


I also had the good fortune to see the comment pre-deletion. And I agree that it is important for those of us in this self-promoting business to be sensitive to the gender effects that the activity produces. If we are putting women off especially because we swagger in an alienating way, that is helpful criticism of what we're doing.

One note of defense (we talking types are also extremely defensive): we try to earn the right to self-promote occasionally by trying to otherwise entertain, enlighten, or provoke our readers. I'm pretty confident that if we were all self-promotion all the time we wouldn't have an audience. By making our not-fully-worked-out thoughts public and opening them up to scrutiny, we earn the right to engage in a bit of self-promotion. It is no secret that one of the most gratifying parts of blogging is that people actually READ what you have to say; this is obviously not routine in the academy, as shocking as that may seem.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Oct 11, 2005 5:44:46 PM

Yes, Alice, you are right in characterizing the substance of the initial comment, and that's fine. But to be clear, I was looking for recommendations about what the blogosphere can do, and not so much reasons for its current stage, since we all have our guesses. There's plenty of introspection and navel-gazing available. What we need are solutions...

Posted by: Dan Markel | Oct 11, 2005 4:46:23 PM

I happened to see two of the subsequently deleted comments, and I'm not entirely convinced by your explanation for the deletions. At any rate, regardless of whether the comments were appropriately civil, they raised an interesting suggestion that belongs on your blog if you're really interested in explanations for gender imbalances in blogging.

Privacylaw's original comment, as I remember it, was that the activity of blogging is to some extent a form of self-promotion, and it is possible that women tend to be less comfortable with this particular form of widely publicized self-promotion. To describe this kind of self-promotion, privacylaw used a colorful word that I won't post here, in the hopes that you won't delete me too. But the substance of privacylaw's comment is worth consideration even if you object to her choice of words.

The deleted comment compared bloggers to law students who speak a lot in class. That comparison, in itself, is not an "attack on bloggers" but one that introspective bloggers should take seriously. I suspect that members of these two groups (bloggers and very vocal law students) often do share similar qualities: genuine intellectual excitement about legal issues and an eagerness to discuss those issues in a public forum; a belief that the speaker/blogger's views will be interesting to a broad audience; and yes, sometimes, a desire for attention and self-promotion. These are certainly not exclusively masculine qualities. But among law students and law professors, we may find the combination of these qualities in men more often than women.

Posted by: Alice Ristroph | Oct 11, 2005 4:39:15 PM

It's worth noting that I've deleted two, no, make that three now, mildly (though not horribly) insulting comments from a person purporting to be a female law professor -- I couldn't tell because the person chose to use a pseudonym with no real email address. As you can see from my post, it asked for helpful recommendations, not name-calling. It shouldn't be too much to ask that comments on this blog take place in civil and substantive tones. Nor do we welcome attacks on the bloggers--after all, no one is forcing you to read or comment in this blog; we're just trying to create an interesting space for dialogue among current and future friends, and if you're interested in something else, well, the Internet's a big place. I hope you understand. Peace.
Btw: our comments policy has been made clear on our about page for a long time for those who are interested.

Posted by: Dan Markel | Oct 11, 2005 3:32:10 PM

What is more startling is watching South-Asian American "parents" learning to spell "yenta"! Their dedication to ensuring the right outcome for their children was indeed spellbinding. (I know what I am talking about - I am south Asian). A lovely documentary.

Posted by: RP | Oct 11, 2005 3:23:33 PM

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