No doubt you’re getting as tired as I am of reading about Mary Anne Franks. Unfortunately, she’s turning into the gift that keeps on giving, and sometimes in ways one would never imagine. This isn’t another post about her reinterpretation of the First Amendment that would permit her to criminalize speech that makes her feel bad, so don’t get all huffy on me.
Both Mark Bennett and Ken White put on their coolest lawprof hats and tried their best to behave in a respectful fashion to address the failings in Franks’ model law and her facile spin on that part of the Constitution that stood in the way of her slaying dragons. And while their efforts at lawprof-speak failed to compare with the real McCoy, they did a fine job of maintaining a respectful tone, much to my amusement.
For their efforts, they got smacked. After Bennett tried again to get Franks to stop deflecting and avoiding his argument, Franks responded:
But the repeated lie that I have not addressed counterarguments is tedious. What you mean to say is that you feel I’m not giving your objections enough attention. I hate to disappoint you, but this will continue to be the case unless you make better arguments.
Lie? A curious choice of words. Apparently, Franks thinks well of her argument. Those who do not are liars. Having already gone a few rounds, Bennett threw in the towel.
I recognize that you think those of us who will actually be responsible for litigating these issues are only barely worthy of a response. I’ll bother you no more here with tedious practical matters, but I look forward to seeing you and Prof. Citron write something scholarly—rather than politicized—on the subject.
And the thoughtful Mary Anne, reading that Bennett will “bother” her no more, replies:
Sadly, Mr. Bennett, I do not have endless amounts of time to read everything that people write about me or my ideas. I also do not have time to review basic principles of reading comprehension or logic with every commenter with an axe to grind.
See how fabulous it is to be Mary Anne Franks, requiring “endless amounts of time” to read all about her? So special. So important. Not at all a nasty little twinkie. Bennett is compelled to note the obvious:
A very ungracious reply given that I already said I was done here.
This calls for an apology, right? But of course, except not exactly the apology one might expect. In her final comment (number 37, since Co-Op lacks links to its comment), Franks responds:
Mr. Bennett, if you are in fact apologizing for your past rudeness, I accept your apology. I’m sorry if you find my responses to you rude – such delicacy of feeling on your part is surprising given the tone of your comments here – but perhaps you are simply unaccustomed to calm, sustained disagreement.
You can’t make this stuff up. All said, the practitioners have been remarkably kind to Mary Anne and her lapdog, while she’s been far too offensive for a young academic of little consequence who is not well-received within the Academy for the poverty of her intellect and has a nasty disposition (yes, while lawprofs may not be inclined to speak out publicly against one another, they do offer their views privately).
But she’s now gone into a flight of fantasy and landed in some alternative universe. I’ve strained to find something, anything, to explain her seeing an apology (forget reason to apologize) from Bennett. What kinda drugs is she taking?
Mary Anne wants to bullet-proof herself, allowing her to call her detractors “misogynists” and whatever other name comes to mind, while whining like the baby-lawprof she is about how people are being mean to her. We’ve played this game long enough, trying to walk delicately around her sensitivities so as not to diminish her as a special little snowflake.
If she wants to call names, she gets called names in return. There are a few things this mess has conclusively shown: Mary Anne Franks lacks the intellectual prowess to withstand scrutiny. Mary Anne Franks is infantile, nasty and entitled. And if the rest of the Academy doesn’t show some guts and call out such intellectual dishonesty and mean-spirited attacks, you have forfeited whatever claim you might otherwise have to the respect of practitioners.
I hope this makes you cringe. It should.
Interesting Aside: At Concurring Opinions, Gerard Magliocca announces a new experiment where comments will no longer be allowed at Co-Op, and instead people can email the author of a post and the author can pick those emails he/she deems worthy and respond to them in a separate post.
This certainly sounds like a handy way to deal with uncomfortable comments. No clue whether anything relating to Mary Anne Franks contributed to this experiment.