Like weeds, they popped up around the blawgosphere yesterday. Blawgers (and bloggers) who want their fans to vote for them in the ABA Journal’s annual beauty pageant. Trying so very hard not to appear desperate and pathetic in their quest for validation, they humblebrag, they gently ask, they call to action, they ask for votes so that they can prove their worth.
The win has been worth paying for votes, or as was the case when a blog from New York Law School was in the mix, marshalling all tuition payers to vote up their baby. Lawprofs have laid bare their souls for the honor of being able to claim they are the sexiest academic in the blawgosphere, while n00bs have grasped their eminence to pontificate about how they make their magic happen.
In some jesting on twitter by Mark Bennett yesterday, the Trial Warrior, Antonin Pribetic, who masquerades as a Canadian blawger named Edith, offered a simple truth in moment of uncommon clarity (not uncommon for Nino, but for twitter):
He’s quite right. We are many things, but nice isn’t among them. Others are nice. People like nice. Nice is prized, as it makes people feel good about themselves, feel part of the tribe, feel welcome and valued.
I hesitate to speak for Bennett, though I’ve come to know him pretty well over the years, and I have enormous respect and admiration for Mark (which explains why I refer to him frequently), but I never sought to make you feel welcome and valued. Maybe it’s a character flaw on my part, or maybe it’s because I’m “dark,” as a psychologist who knows nothing more about me than appears in my writing has diagnosed.
If my purpose here was to curry favor, to make new friends, to enhance my brand, it would definitely be in my best interest to be nice. Maybe I could have a Sally Fields moment. How good would that make me feel?
But that’s not why I write. It’s not that my purpose is to make enemies, though it seems to be a strength of mine, but that I write because of the desire to express some views about things that matter, and things that matter cover a fairly broad gamut for me. If someone is ugly, I call him ugly. Even if it’s a pal like Mark Bennett, and I know he’ll do the same for me.
Rather than belabor the point, I add (and I’m not particularly proud of this) that I went through the list of blawgs/blogs that made the ABA 100 this year. Some are great. Some suck. Some are dangerously bad, but only a lawyer would realize it, so I can forgive the ABA Journal for not noticing. There were far better blawgs that didn’t make the cut. Some are inexplicable, like Jeff Gamso’s For The Defense, some, like Gideon’s A Public Defender, likely due to sporadic posting, and some, like Dan Hull’s What About Clients?, for ulterior reasons that are, well, small. I doubt any of them would feel more manly for being included, but it’s unpleasant to feel unworthy. Particularly when the list is replete with dreck.
If you want nice, go elsewhere. There are people happy to give you nice. If you aren’t sure where to go to find nice, the ABA Journal has been kind enough to give you a list, with a few mistaken inclusions in there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. So go out and find someone who embraces you, appreciates you and welcomes you. Knock yourself out.
* Badge courtesy of Eric Mayer at the Unwashed Advocate.
Update: Brian Tannebaum, deeply offended by my post about being mean not including mention of him, has provided me with additional visual evidence.
Still awaiting more visual images involving cute kittehs.