For those new to the blawgosphere, which means most of you, it’s likely you’ve never seen a Blawg Review. You may have read that the anonymous Ed passed away, but that didn’t have any greater significance than any other person who was well-regarded to others but unknown to you.
It mattered to me. It mattered to others as well.
It mattered to Dan Hull at What about
It mattered to Gideon at A Public Defender
It mattered to Antonin Pribetic at The Trial Warrior Blog.
It mattered to Mike Semple-Piggot at Charon QC.
It mattered to Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion®.
It mattered to Bob Ambrogi at Lawsites.
It mattered to Colin Samuels at Infamy or Praise.
It mattered to Vincent LoTiempo at his blog.
It mattered to Howard Bashman at How Appealing.
There is a thread running through these people, just as you will find a thread running through this Blawg Review, of which I play a tiny role, coming from Blawg Review #325.1 and running next to Blawg Review #325.3 at Mark Bennett’s Defending People, and where it leads from there.
Blawg Review, the “carnival of law blogs,” as it was originally devised, was Ed’s baby, and will always be his baby. It had its ugly moments, on those rare occasions when someone signed up to do a BR but dropped the ball, to when someone decided not to use it to serve its intended purpose, but rather to showcase his friends or just himself. It happened, and it infuriated Ed.
But its heart, and Ed’s heart, was in a survey of the curious, the interesting, the thoughtful and the controversial that appeared over the preceding week in law blogs. Ed saw it as the way to cultivate the blawgosphere, to provide greater exposure to the worthwhile efforts of blawgers. The concept seems almost unthinkable today, to do all this without any potential for gain. Hell, nobody even knew Ed’s real name. How would he ever make money off it?
Although I was thought prolific by some, I was truly awful when it came to doing Blawg Review. My first one, Blawg Review #170, was universally considered the worst serious attempt ever. My second, Blawg Review #223, was done as a favor at the last minute. The person who originally signed up to do it bailed, and Ed was left with a gaping hole. He asked me to fill it, even though I despised doing BR as much as I enjoyed reading it. It turned out better, though still crap compared to the masters of Blawg Review, Eric Turkewitz and Colin Samuels.
There will be no more Blawg Reviews after today. The series is done in memory of the man responsible for it, and to honor what he did for the blawgosphere. The notion was that all involved would write a BR today that was like it used to be, before the blawgosphere was drowning in self-promotional pseudo-blogs, vapid and soulless, ending in a “hire me” pitch that would have made Ed cry. It’s not that he wasn’t all for lawyers making a living, or being well-regarded for their blawgs, but that it was the content that matters and made blawgs great, not the call to action and SEO keywords.
When I began this attempt at a Blawg Review, I started to round up blog posts that I found interesting this week, since it was pretty clear that the blawg review sherpas, Colin and Vickie Pynchon weren’t going to show up to give me a hand, and I would have to manage on my own. But as I looked through my old BR’s, and the blawgs that were included, and the blawgs that still exist, and the blawgs that no longer exist, I came to think longer and harder about what Ed did for us.
Sorry, but I can’t do the breezy Blawg Review this time. Sure, there are new blawgs that are brilliant, and interesting, and funny, and deserving of inclusion, but not enough. Want to see who I think so well of? Check out my blogrolls, which still reflect who I read and what I find worth my time.
But this isn’t Ed’s blawgosphere anymore. That’s why Blawg Review faded, because it reflected a blawgosphere that was built on synergies and connections, on friendship and disagreement. No blawger was afraid back then of linking to another blawg, as if all his potential adoring clients would flock to the other lawyer and love him more.
I trust the others who are engaged in this endeavor to honor Ed’s accomplishments and memory will be more true to form and produce Blawg Reviews worthy of Ed. Since mine was never worthy on its best day, I demur. Instead, I look back to the time when the blawgosphere deserved an anonymous guy we called Ed who made it possible for new blawgers to be seen and befriend those who were here before them. If you had the chops, and did something worth seeing, Ed made sure it was seen and provided the new kid on the block with the chance to make an impression.
The blawgers I enjoy, whether because I agree, disagree or just because they enrich my life, are to the right. Click on any of them and read what they write. Read their last post. Read all their posts. You will be better for it. I promise.
At the end of every Blawg Review, Ed required us to include this:
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, [host's name here], and instructions on how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
But there will be no upcoming issues. There is, however, more Blawg Review now, and so I send you off to Defending People for Blawg Review 325.3 which I am certain will be better than this one. This is where Ed would send me an email telling me that my BR didn’t suck nearly as much as I thought it did. That’s the kind of guy Ed was. He will be missed.