As a nostalgic fellow, I miss the early days of personal blogging. Throngs of intriguing writers unveiled weblogs, each thinking that he or she might somehow achieve a worldwide audience. Some did. Each day, I would devour the latest posts on the cinema, politics, and of course, the law. In 2002, shortly after graduating from law school, I started my own personal blog. The experiment was a delightfully self-indulgent mess. One day, I would offer my thoughts on the genius of Miller’s Crossing, and the next, I might debate jurisprudential issues great and small (ranging from the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act to class actions challenging late fees charged by mail order CD clubs). On occasion, I would lament the closure of the Celis Brewery or bemoan the existence of the Star Wars prequels. Andrew Sullivan once linked me when I unearthed Ann Coulter’s 1987 student law review article. But that was not all. In the summer of 2004, I chronicled the production of Pleadings, the independent film I wrote and co-produced. I quibbled with another blogger about the superiority of Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” compared to the original by Trent Reznor. All in all, I was publishing posts regularly and enjoying the editorial process of doing so. Those were the days, but sadly, they were not to last. I shuttered the site in 2005 because, as it does, life got in the way.
I would return to legal blogging a few years later. For the past five and a half years, I’ve edited and contributed to Abnormal Use, a products liability blog, which has been honored as one of the nation’s top legal blogs by the editors of ABA Journal. We recently published our 1,500th post, which is no small feat. In fact, if you can believe it, we’ve published a post every business day since January of 2010. All the while, it’s been a great joy, and there have been a number of wonderful surprises along the way. In addition to being cited by Scientific American, we found ourselves quoted in The New York Times. On one occasion, the actor Wilford Brimley left me a voicemail, while on another, we interviewed cast members of My Cousin Vinny. I’ve created a list of some of my favorite Abnormal Use posts, and you can peruse that collection here.
I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether it be as the steward of a legal blog, a member of the editorial staff of my college newspaper, or a freelance film critic for a long forgotten online magazine. I’m also fond of sharing bits and pieces of my life on Facebook and Twitter (including brief thoughts on the state of the law, live music, or craft beer). But, as you might suspect, the limitations of social media thwart efforts to offer richer commentary. You can’t extol the virtues of Chungking Express or analyze the abstrusities of federal case law in 140 characters. So why try to do so?
In this world of status updates and tweets, some friends have found success with longer form think pieces. These days, my old friend Tamara Tabo contributes scholarly articles to Above The Law and other legal websites. Each week, she chooses a newsworthy legal issue to explore in detail in a thoughtful editorial. Another old friend, the prolific Ryan Steans, has blogged regularly for the past twelve years (first at The League of Melbotis, and now, at The Signal Watch). All these years later, he still authors comprehensive reviews of works of cinema and comic book literature. Few bloggers are more admirable than the indefatigable Walter Olson, who has maintained his Overlawyered blog since July of 1999. I first encountered Walter’s website in 2000 while surfing the Internet at Baylor Law School’s law library and read it to this day. I admire what all of them do and feel compelled to attempt something similar in this new enterprise.
Accordingly, I intend to revisit my early days of personal blogging. I won’t write each day; I may not write each week. I will suffer no deadlines, no unfeasible posting schedule, and no pressure. But when the urge strikes me to recount my fondness for Chungking Express, editorialize on some arcane point of constitutional law, or reminisce about days of yore, I shall do so in detail on this site. In essence, this effort will serve as an expansion of my commentary on Facebook and Twitter and allow me to share some thoughts without the mighty constraints of the tweet or status update.
One thought on “Mission Statement”
I concur, Cash’s version was better.