Money Back Guarantee

Criminal law tends to draw an odd assortment of interested folks, which is reflected in the comments to posts here which range from brilliant and incisive to utterly idiotic.  As regular readers know, I try to weed out the worst comments, the ones I feel are dangerously wrong or misguided (remember, this is a law blog, and non-lawyers may read something and believe they can rely on its accuracy, to their grave detriment) or sufficiently offensive and annoying that I decide to make it disappear.

Some think this is part of what makes SJ work. Some do not.  Some do except when they are on the receiving end of a spanking, where I go from being their hero to the zero in a blink.  Volenti non fit injuria. except for them.

But if you don’t like the way I decorated the place, no one forces you to stop by for a visit.  Bear in mind, anyone who wants to read here gets to do so, free of charge.  To the extent there is a price you pay, it’s tolerating me. My choice of subjects to write about. My opinions on those subjects. My experiences with those subjects.  And my sweeping up the mess in the comments afterward.  It’s not that the world is all about me, but SJ is.

After a relatively minor tussle in the comments the other day, a reader concluded with this comment:

No, actually I’ve been reading you religiously for years.  Not new at all.  I’m an actual outright sends-links-to-friends fan.

And I’ll continue to do so, because your blogging is that good… even though this exchange has been an example of the tendencies in your handling comments that I’ve liked the least.

And, again — I never asked you a question. But admitting a simple mistake needn’t be part of your running your blog the way you want.

I’m asked on occasion whether I get tired of doing SJ and will ever shut it down.  My stock response is three times a day, at least.  It’s a half-snarky response, which means it’s half-true as well.  It’s comments like this that make me regret this blawg.

As I’ve explained many times, I write because I like to write.  You get to read it because it’s here.  I do not owe you a post. I do not owe you a tummy rub. I am not here for your amusement, for your entertainment, to voice your angst toward the law, police, prosecutors, judges or lawyers.  I am not your bitch.

So you are a big fan? So what?  Do you think that gives you some sort of equity here, a right to expect me to meet your approval?  Every once in a while, someone leaves a comment to the effect of “you pissed me off, so I’m not reading you anymore.”  Aside from the pathological narcissism of thinking that SJ exists because they showed up, do they think this impacts my choices because I write to seek their approval?  Apparently so.

To those who think no lawyer would have a blog if not to market themselves, projecting your slimy view of life onto me is offensive. I fully expect that I drive far more people away because of what I write here than are possibly attracted, but that’s the price (to me) of strongly-held views. There are tons of insipid blogs trying to massage their way into people’s hearts by pandering to their audience. If that’s what you want, go find them. They will make you feel good about yourself, no matter how ignorant you are.

But if you choose to read SJ, you do so with the understanding that this is my blawg, and it will be run my way, for better or worse.  You don’t have to pay money every month for a subscription, and I couldn’t buy lunch off the fabulous riches I get for writing posts or cleaning up the mess in the comments.  But there is a price: if you want to read and comment here, you have to tolerate my vision of SJ.  If you can’t, then get lost.

This is not your soapbox. We are not on the same team. I owe you nothing, and if you think I’ve been so unfair to you that you write some passive-aggressive response to me about how I’m wrong but you will allow me to pretend I’m right, then I neither want nor need you here.

Read at your own risk. Comment at your own risk. But when you act as if you’re doing me a favor by doing either, do not expect me to be kind. I don’t go to your house and demand that you rearrange the furniture to suit my tastes. You don’t get to come here and make that demand of me.

If this doesn’t work for you, then go find somewhere else to read. Trust me, I’m good with it.  In fact, I insist on it.  As long as I plan to continue writing this blawg, notwithstanding the fabulous wealth and fame I get for doing so, it will not be to meet the approval of assholes. If you don’t like it, you can have your money back.

34 comments on “Money Back Guarantee

  1. John Barleycorn

    Mr. Fish recently dumped out a volley of his work over at clowncrack.

    There’s this one with: a kid, a bike, a king with a skull on his cape, an executioner, and two typical American voters.

    If one rewrote the caption it might be a perfect fit for the tenor of your post this morning.

    It’s April 1st esteemed host…

    Rule breaking was not part of my concise and cogent resolution.


      1. Wheeze The People™

        SHG, you are sick, man, and I mean that in the sickiest, post millennialest possible way, man . . .

        Here’s to the sick ones . . .

  2. Robert D

    If I manage to leave a comment on SJ that doesn’t produce a response that makes my eyes well with tears from your touching concern for my lack of cogency, surfeit of insipidity, or ability to function in society, I will bronze it and hang it on my trophy wall next to my diploma.

    1. SHG Post author

      A teacher once explained to me, “if you don’t want people to tell you that you’re a moron, don’t be a moron.”

      1. Patrick Maupin


        Not being a moron is one of those things to aspire to because it’s good for you. Doesn’t necessarily correlate with external validation from other humans, although it does usually correlate with external validation from reality.

        I say this, having been told I was brilliant for doing some moronic things, and also having been told I was moronic for doing some brilliant things.

  3. william doriss

    This is a gratuitous posting; I don’t care what Barleycorn says.
    It’s best to read Barleycorn from the bottom-up, I have found.
    Sometimes it’s best not to read you at all.
    Anyway, I think he’s on the Left Coast, which is a serious handicap.
    April Fools!?!

    1. SHG Post author

      Relevant, legally sound and interesting ideas that I haven’t thought of. And I couldn’t care less if it agrees or disagrees with me, as long as reflects actual thought.

  4. Alex Stalker

    There is a lot of garbage on the internet. SJ filters the vast majority of the garbage, leaving (usually) insightful and interesting posts and comments. Presumably, due to you having to filter so much garbage, your tolerance for disagreement and criticism is low. That’s certainly justified.

    However, I suspect most long-time readers have at some point witnessed you spanking someone who they thought didn’t deserve it. Probably because you quickly jumped to the conclusion the poster is an idiot, or wasting your time, etc. Usually you are right, but sometimes you are wrong. Even when you acknowledge you are wrong, you frequently aren’t very apologetic. It’s your blog, and you can behave however you want. You don’t owe readers anything, but posters will still expect you to take them seriously when they post, and be upset if you don’t.

    I imagine (hope?) few people would take the time to write out something they think is garbage, so of course they think you’re being unfair and dismissive to them if you don’t take them seriously. Usually it’s the Dunning-Kruger effect, or you’re talking past each other, but you’re not infallible.

    I’d hate to see you quit again, so if you really don’t like the comments, maybe turn them off when you’re sure your post is going to generate stupidity and rage. (E.g., the Judge Kopf stuff.)

    1. SHG Post author

      The view from your chair looks a little different than from mine. A few things:

      1. I’m busy. I write the posts in the early morning, but have to keep abreast of comments during the day when I’m doing other things. That means I can’t spend forever pondering the incomprehensible, humor from people unknown that’s nearly impossible to figure out, arguments from anon commenters that relies on the commenter’s credibility, the stupid or batshit crazy. If somebody is coming here to comment (remember, nobody makes them, and I’m not going to their house), then make sure the comment is understandable if you want me to take it seriously.

      2. I get, and trash, a lot of comments. I have a few people who comment about killing cops at every opportunity. I have some who make no sense at all. I get a ton of non-lawyer comments who want to tell me what they think the law should be, that are just mind-numbingly wrong and stupid. But I actually find it hard to decide, and try my best to publish comments, even if they’re marginal. Yes, it all gets pretty annoying after a while, and yes, it’s not nearly as much fun for me as for you. So I get short tempered at the time wasted with such crap.

      3. I know more about certain commenters than you do, because I see all the insane comments they leave that never make it to the surface. So even though I may let a marginal comment post, there is context on my side which other readers aren’t aware of. You see only the one quasi-stupid comment. I know about the 100 others.

      4. We all suffer from confirmation bias, which tends to make people more sympathetic to marginal or stupid comments if they come out of their preferred side of the equation. I fight that urge, and am often critical of people who are on “my side” of an issue, but offer erroneous or stupid commentary. I do this for a reason; just because someone is well-intended (which means agrees with me) does not mean they get to make people stupider. These tend to be the people who are most belligerent, because they’re “on my team” and expect me to love them. When I don’t, they get very angry with me.

      5. Whether I’m perceived as unduly harsh to someone or not is a matter of personal sensibilities. I hear from people all the time that I’m too hard, too easy and just right, about the same thing. I can only do what I do. Nobody has to agree with me. Should you be the arbiter of whether I’m too hard? I can’t pleas everybody. If you can’t understand that, then I can’t help it.

      6. When I’m wrong, I say so. I don’t do it often, but then, I’m not convinced I’m wrong too often. That doesn’t make me right, but it’s my perception. But you note that when I am wrong, I’m not “very apologetic.” So you think I should go all mushy about it? How much “apologetic” do you think I should be? Is it not enough that I concede that I’m wrong, but need to send a gift? Seriously, how much of a tummy rub do you need from me?

      I once explained to a young law student, who complained that I didn’t show her the “respect” she thought she deserved, that I indeed showed her a great deal of respect by the very fact that I acknowledged her existence. Lawyers of my vintage don’t have to spend our time engaged in unpleasant discussion with law students. We do so as a courtesy. And yet, I’m expected to rub everybody’s tummy so nobody’s feelings get hurt. If that’s what’s needed, you can all go fuck yourselves.

      When you pay me for the pleasure of reading SJ, then you can gripe. Otherwise, you can kiss my ass.

      1. Alex Stalker

        I’m not asking for tummy rubs, and I’m not trying to gripe. As you have made clear many times, and I agree, it’s your blog, you can do whatever you like with it. Frankly, I think you run it pretty well. So there, have a tummy rub from me, you old curmudgeon. (Not that you care.)

        Just don’t forget that we lowly commenters, in our ignorance, don’t see the view from your chair. My post was just trying to explain how us idiots could sometimes think you might be unfair.

        I apologize for my preternatural ability to unintentionally piss you off. I would never purposely ask for you to get all mushy about anything.

        1. SHG Post author

          I’m not pissed off. I don’t think of commenters as “lowly,” and the point isn’t that it’s my blog. Obviously, it is, but if it was that simple, I wouldn’t have gone to the effort of explaining things to you. I can well understand why many people think I’m being unfair.

          Maybe now you can understand why it’s different for the many people who comment versus the one guy who has to write this blawg and deal with the comments. Or maybe I’m just a mean bastard.

          1. Alex Stalker

            False dichotomy!

            But seriously, I understand. I would never take on the sisyphean task of trying to filter even a tiny corner of the internet.

            1. SHG Post author

              Et tu, wolf? Yeah, dealing with pissed off commenters may not always be a total joy, but the vast wealth and fame makes it all worthwhile.

      2. william doriss

        I still think it is a testament to your prowess and a feather in your cap that you are attracting civilians (non-lawyers) to your blawg site. Sometimes in life, we set out to do one thing and wind up doing something slightly different–or entirely different, as the case may be.
        Explaining the law and legal process to the masses of asses is a nasty job, but somebody has to do it. That somebody is apparently YOU. If you have to crack a few eggs to make the omelette, well then so be it. The sizzle is sometimes better than the steak: Two Julia Child kitchen metaphors for you. You do not have to apologize or explain. “Never explain, never complain!” Furthermore, once explained, that should be sufficient. You don’t have to go over and over worn-out ground when you can link-back: Until such time as the policy changes, or you get taken out in a leveraged buyout!?! If WaPo can pick up Volokh Conspiracy, well maybe The Times could pick you up?
        Am certainly not the first or the only to think of. And then you could retire to a life of leisure: Sell antiques and Georgian silver on the side and on weekends.

        1. SHG Post author

          It’s a new day, so you get a new comment. I’m curious about something, Bill. What makes you come here when my Connecticut brother, who shall remain nameless (that’s a hint, Bill. Take it.) who panders to the nutjobs, unduly emotional hand-wringers and ignorant that I find difficult to tolerate, would seem a far better and more inviting fit?

          1. william doriss

            Do we have to answer that? Incidentally, there’s another Bill in the comments section. Don’t confuse me with him. If we cannot say something “nice”, we won’t say anything. Anyway, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Let’s just say, we like the Empire State and root for the Yankees. As for CT, we discovered it to be a Bermuda Triangle of the Mind and find it intolerable as well. A former governor is in trouble again. Surprise! Your site was chosen by default. We check out others from time to time, searching for the perfect blawgsite. Hope that answers the question. Less is more.

  5. Bill

    Some professors give everyone an ‘A’, others make you earn it. I had a little trouble figuring out the SHG comment algorithm, but my best guess is ‘if you don’t have something interesting to say, shut up until you do’. By my own reckoning, this very comment has a 90% probability of the deletion bin 😉 It’s easy to build up a blind spot to our own annoying tendencies – I’m actually grateful for the memo.

  6. Fred

    Get back to work, drama king!! I need me some blog posts to read while I take an extended bathroom break in the courthouse.

      1. Fred

        I also read the aptly named Poophat blog when visiting the undersanitized courthouse restroom. My superior intellect is no longer amused by the “Fuck Judge Johnson,” or “COP KILLA” scribbles in the stall. Thank God for smart phones.

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