Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A defense of Iowa Law blogs

Well, given the recent turn of events and how Iowa Law blogs have come under fire, there are a number of arguments to be noted from the comments people leave:

1) The bloggers are harming Iowa Law's reputation.
2) You should be careful about how your blog could affect your career, and your chances at one.
3) People think that just because a blogger's identity is exposed, this will enact an automatic censor on that person.
4) Some people out there believe that they are authority to critique or rank other blogs.
5) If you feel the need to gossip about classmates or professors, don't leave evidence (there's the widespread belief that law school is much like high school).

Here are some of my thoughts on these themes:

1) The above statement could very well be true. Sure, some people may see some of these blogs and believe that we are a crappy school with nothing better to do than gossip about others in this medium. However, I prefer to think that the main audience will take what they read with a grain of salt, and will not be prey to such broad generalizations, as one comment put it. The chances are good that if someone is reading this kind of blog, they're a law student, faculty or soon-to-be law student. I think that the people who comprise this audience will tend to realize that just b/c some blogs are a certain type that they are not representative of the caliber of the student body/school. I also believe that some bloggers simply use their blog as an opportunity to vent, or create some kind of reflection of law school, as they see it. Sure, they could learn to exercise a little discretion when discussing their peers or teachers. In any case, to me it seems like a creative endeavor. Besides, didn't someone say any fame is good fame?

2) I agree wholeheartedly with being careful about letting your blog affect your career. For pete's sake, don't thoughtlessly append your bloglink to your resume without first giving careful review to what you have written, and deciding if you have written anything to be ashamed of, or something that would create the impression that you do not know how to conduct yourself as a professional.

3) The truth of this depends on the nature of the person. If they really are a coward, then maybe exposing the identity of a blogger will keep them from making such distasteful/unpopular comments in the future. But there are those who will stand by what they said no matter what. Is it misguided stubbornness, or strong confidence that is to be applauded? The fact is, once you cross that line and put into print someone's identity linked to their blog, they have nothing left to lose. There's really nothing they can do, except stand by what they said and own it.

4) This really amuses me. Iowa law has spawned so many blogs now that it has even spawned a few that rate the other blogs. Who are these people? And what do they base their judgments on?

5) Yep, it seems best to play it safe. It is definitely true that the law school is like a pressure cooker that gives much fuel for this type of behavior, but the least you could do is not get caught at something that others may find "reprehensible."

Overall, I am fond of the Iowa Law blogs. Even if they seem puerile to others, the fact of the matter is that they are often a TRUE reflection of what many people are thinking or feeling. Please don't tell me that you have never had a thought or comment that was not politically correct, and had a good chance that others would find it offensive. Does anyone realize that all some of these blogs do is express what many have already thought? Maybe what upsets people so much is that there are some who dare to be so brutally honest that they expose those aspects of human nature that most would prefer be left concealed.