Warning: This is Not the Happysphere

If you are a blogging lawyer, and you want to be read by other bloggers, know that being read by other bloggers includes being taken to task publicly when you write something dumb or silly or ill-considered or even just vapid.

If you don't want to be read by other bloggers, if you are blogging for profit or to build up your practice, please let me know now.

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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28 Responses to Warning: This is Not the Happysphere

  1. Nice post! This is a great blog. I have bookmarked it for later review under “dumb, silly, ill-considered or vapid.”

  2. Ric Moore says:

    I heard this one first in, of all places, Utah. It goes “Life is a sh*t sandwich. And, the more bread you have, the less sh*t you have to eat.”

    I think the Mormon friend got it right. Feel free to steal that one, Mark! :) Ric

  3. Mirriam says:

    How will you know which is which? And why? Are there now blogging police? Perhaps a license with full exam? Isn’t the option just not to read or have it on your blogroll? It’s one thing if information is just wrong. Then, by all means, point it out. But to razz someone because you don’t like it?

    • Mark Bennett says:

      First, I assume that any blogging as a lawyer wants to be read by other blogging lawyers.

      Second and third, no.

      Fourth, see “first.” I put just about anyone who’s not blatantly commercial on my blogroll. Even some people who consistently piss me off.

      Fifth, sometimes, sure. This place is a conversation, and “Great post!” is a conversational dead-end. Controversy, however, is not. If someone is too timid to take a little controversy, he should try not to expose himself to blogging lawyers. Controversy isn’t always about substance. Sometimes it’s about talent being wasted pandering.

    • shg says:

      During your hiatus from blogging, we had some long, often hard, discussions about this. The idea is that nobody gets to publish their thoughts publicly and get the benefit of being a self-made pundit while simultaneously being immune from any criticism.

      The marketing bloggers would always argue that they should be entitled to spew whatever served their purpose without anyone disagreeing. After all disagreement dirties their marketing effort.

      Legitimate blawgers, however, understood that by putting something out there in public, they are offering it for peer review. And while peer review will sometimes be “great post,” it can also be critical. That’s the risk we take when we express ourselves publicly. Even if it means razzing somebody just because we don’t like it. Publish and take your chances.

  4. Charles B. "Brad" Frye says:

    I think the point is almost self-apparent that a “blogging lawyer” has to know that it’s not all “happy times” and “great posts!” When I was thinking about/planning my site (which isn’t fully “up” yet) that notion took me some time to work through, and not just because there are a certain number of crazies who just hate lawyers and can be assumed to, sooner or later, hit one’s blog with negative comments. I also considered whether I could put up with the negative and the critical. I decided I can. (Hey, I’ve been practicing law since 1982 — think I haven’t heard the “critical” before? Geez. I look forward to the day when someone can tell me a lawyer joke, or call me a “bad name,” that I HAVEN’T heard before.)

    Now, as for categorizing my site as “self promotion,” or “informational” or “marketing” or whatever, I don’t know. Mixed purposes? I hope to share my ideas and, in the process, let people know what areas of law interest me. And, if they want to hire me, well, that would be just peachy keen with me. (If, that is, I want to be hired by them. It is a two-way street.)

    My blog site is cross-linked with a general site on the subject of the blog and my personal site, so, it’s fair to say that the blog is part and parcel of my effort to promote my practice. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun, and informative, and provide me something to do to keep me out of the bars, right?

  5. mirriam says:

    I think that if you write something in public, you should accept criticism, this is true. For example, if you came to my site and said “I disagree with X thing that you’ve written” I would take that for what its worth. However, if you came to my site and said “you are an idiot and imbecile or (god forbid) whiner for saying this” well, I don’t think that’s a debate or even peer review. That’s a personal attack and more likely than not, unnecessary.

    I meant it when I asked this morning on twitter if there was something between nice and douche. Is there a way to say what we want in order to have our audience actually hear us instead of being offended by it? I mean, we wouldn’t act like this with a jury. We want them to understand, to listen, to hear. If we said “fuck you, you’d better understand it, I don’t need to make you hear it” we wouldn’t get very far, would we? Or, is constructive criticism for pansies?

    • shg says:

      That sounds fine on the surface, Mirriam, but it creates a false dichotomy, since most things don’t fall on the extremes, but somewhere along the middle spectrum. Who decides what’s too douchie? Who decides what’s a reasonable description and what’s an ad hominem attack?

      Obviously, the writer doesn’t think it’s a bad thing to say or she wouldn’t have said it. The subject of the criticism isn’t exactly the best person to decide, since no one likes having anything negative being said about them. Should we hold a public vote (and who would qualify to vote?) to decide if someone is too harsh or too lenient? Should writers be constrained by the approval of some outsider? Would you like to be the arbiter of good and evil for the blawgosphere?

      Writers make their own decisions, and invariably someone will disagree with the decision. I say that from a fairly decent amount of experience. No matter what’s written, there will be people who agree and disagree. There are a lot of people on the internet.

      And to note your final point, no matter what you write, there will be someone who doesn’t get it on the internet, even though you think you’re clear as day. That’s just how it is, and as much as we (or any of us) may not like it, we can’t stop others from reading.

  6. mirriam says:

    Sigh, I’m that predictable, huh?

  7. Sorry Lee, did you get cut off there, or was that the most lucid statement you could come up with big guy?

    • Lee Stonum says:

      Oh, sorry, thanks for noticing that I got cut off, Brian.

      I was saying how ironic it is that Scott thinks blogger’s shouldn’t be such pussys about being criticized when he specifically wanted me to stop saying what an idiot you are when you were being such a pussy about it.

      Glad to know you didn’t like the truce idea either, and if you’re ever in southern California, yes, I would like to fight you. Until then, tough guy.

  8. Lee, I never called a truce. You’re not that important. But it’s so sad to see a young angry lawyer try to sound competent when included in his childish rant is a desire for a sandbox fight. I’m just thankful for the great Southern California Lawyers I know well that belong in this profession. It helps me sleep at night when I think about the fact that you have a law license. I look forward to following your career.

  9. Mirriam says:

    Uh, now this has gotten very weird. I’m starting to think it’s a setup. Is this really how low
    we’ve gone. You are right. Not
    the happysphere. The insaneosphere.

  10. No Mirriam, its true-Lee is really a lawyer. A lawyer who wants a cage match. Just go with it. He and his chip on his shoulder don’t like me very much. I’m pretending it mattters. Will you be at the fight?

    • Lee Stonum says:

      Its a nice try, Brian. What I said was that if you spoke to people the way you do hiding behind your keyboard in real life, you’d get your ass kicked (which is true and I’m sure you either don’t talk to people like that in real life and/or you’ve had your ass kicked quite a few times). You then responded that if I wanted to fight you, you were for it. I never responded because Scott proposed a truce and you’re a twerp who I never really intended to engage to the extent I have. I never responded to that, now I have. We’re not colleagues, we don’t practice together, nor will we ever. But the offer of a nice old fashioned gentlemanly match of fisticuffs stands.

  11. Mirriam says:

    No. I will pass. My people have had enough fighting.

  12. Lee, I see your offer to um, fight, and raise you an offer to respond to you the next time you say something that matters, makes sense, or is true.

    • shg says:

      Geez, I leave you alone for a few minute and this is what happens? Aside from hijacking Mark’s comments for this, this is just utterly embarrassing. Brian, your initial dig at Lee was just gratuitous. Why open up this fight again over nothing? When Lee did it to you, I lambasted him for his pointless attack. This time, it’s your fault entirely.

      You don’t have to like each other. This online pretense that CDLs, or private and PDs, should all circle the wagons like we’re cops is bullshit. But that doesn’t mean you have to take every opportunity to snipe at each other either, especially over such nonsense.

      Mirriam is right. This just sounds insane. And Lee, do you really think it helps to challenge Brian to duke it out? There are bad things, incompetent and unethical things, done by criminal defense lawyers, and the Happysphere doesn’t want us to mention anything about it so no one’s feelings are hurt. Save the testosterone for them. You’ll have enough to do fending off those who say you’re mean when it’s worthwhile. Don’t squander it on this childish nonsense.

  13. Scott, you took from this that Lee and I don’t like each other? C’mon, you know this is how we criminal defense lawyers show deep love. After all, this isn’t the Happysphere.

    • shg says:

      It doesn’t bother me that you two are doing the mating dance, but that in the midst of a bigger issue, the challenge Norm and the Normettes pose to our calling the unethical and incompetent within the blawgosphere, your lovefest is a distraction and will confuse their delicate sensibilities, so that they simplistically conclude that we’re indiscriminately mean and brutish.

      As you know, nothing could be further from the truth. We are discriminately mean and brutish. (That’s a joke for all the very serious delicate teacups who might inadvertantly stumble upon this comment and think, aha! they are evil and I am entitled to be adored by everyone.)

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  15. Shouldn’t anyone who blogs (or posts comments on a blog) expect to have their writing read at some point? It’s unreasonable to think you can say whatever you want on the internet without it ever coming back to you.

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