For Whom This Post Tolls

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, a CPA turned marketer, Vin Messina, has taken a shine to the criminal blawgosphere.  He sends me emails asking questions or making observations about how I run this blawg or about criminal law issues. He twits about criminal defense lawyers. He even wrote a post trying to use the Gary Ostrow posts as a lesson for marketing.

I mostly ignore Vin. He can be a bit much, and the relationship is more than a bit one-sided. I get nothing out of it, except the loss of time I’ll never get back.  He uses “lol” a lot. Apparently, I amuse him.

He’s a nice enough guy, but he often doesn’t “get” the posts here. When he emails me a question, I sometimes respond that he’s “dense.” He replies that he’s not dense, but simply lacks the background necessary to appreciate why something (puppycide, most recently) is a problem.  He informs me that I ought to explain it better for guys like him, provide them with the background they need to understand it fully. That’s what I should do.

Marketing guru, Seth Godin, wrote a post this morning that made me think about this.

Is it for people who are interested, or those just driving by?

For the informed, intelligent, educated part of your audience? For those with an urgent need?

Is it designed to please the lowest common denominator?

Granted, this ultimately goes to marketing, but that’s what Godin does, so it’s understandable.  Yet, these quoted questions are the sort of thing that runs through a guy’s head as he writes.  What makes this interesting is that a reader doesn’t have these thoughts at all, and doesn’t have any reason to consider why it’s not all about him.

Vin thinks it should be about him. I don’t say this to hurt his feelings, but it’s not about him. It’s not about the guy who just showed up here today for the first time, reads one post, and feels compelled to enlighten me (or you, the other readers who might benefit from his insight) on a subject about which he knows nothing but has opinions.

On the twitters, Keith Lee of Associate’s Mind wrote that the blawgosphere has lost much of its “vibrancy.”  While I’ve come to a similar conclusion, it’s for somewhat different reasons. Keith blamed it on laziness, that blawgers just can’t muster the energy to write, and so they don’t, their blawgs go fallow and they fade away.  While there may well be some of that, I don’t think that’s the problem.

Assuming a blawger doesn’t write because “writers gonna write,” then the vitality of a blawg is more about it being fun and enjoyable for the blawger.  This is, obviously, an entirely different issue if it’s a marketing blog, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. That’s dreck, and everybody knows it. Deny it all you want, but you’re fooling no one.

The problem for the blawger goes back to the questions raised by Godin, which, twisted just enough to apply to non-marketing, asks whether the expectations and demands made of the blawger, by the day tripper, the butthurt, the person whose sacred cow just got slaughtered, the interested but not particularly knowledgeable, are worth it.  They suck the joy out of this.

Years ago, when the blawging community was still “vibrant,” there was a synergy that developed.  Murray Newman reminded me of this with a post about how, when he first started his blawg, I ripped him a new one and he nearly closed shop there and then.  Fortunately, he stuck it out.

In looking back, he noted how so much of SJ was a conversation with Mark Bennett back in 2007, who entered the blawgosphere about the same time. We would go back and forth, debating issues, problems, solutions. We got so deep into the weeds sometimes that we would forget what exactly we were talking about.  Those were fun times.  And to the extent there is an audience for whom I write, it’s Bennett. It’s Brian Tannebaum. It’s Gideon and Eric Mayer and Jeff Gamso.

These are the guys, and others because the list gets unwieldy very quickly, with whom I want to grab a beer, talk about law stuff, hear their thoughts and offer them mine.  It’s not to be dismissive of non-lawyers, who get very sensitive about the fact that they aren’t lawyers and, as they tell me regularly, “aren’t entitled to an opinion.”  They may be, but that doesn’t mean I have to give a shit.

If someone wants to read SJ, I can’t stop them. I can’t make them either. It’s entirely up to you. But if you do, and if you want there to be another post here tomorrow and the next day, then consider what you contribute to its existence. Some of you donate, which is very thoughtful and appreciated. Some of you inform me of what I can do for you, because you are the center of the universe. You tend not to donate. And some of you suck the joy out of doing this.

For the ones who don’t give a damn whether SJ is around tomorrow or not, carry on. You are the lowest common denominator, and there is nothing to be done about you.  For the ones who want to see another post here tomorrow, try not to make this as unpleasant for me as possible.

And for those who just showed up today, get a feel for the place before deciding to leap in blindly or inform me what I can to do make your world better.  As for Vin, keep on trucking, dude.

42 thoughts on “For Whom This Post Tolls

    1. SHG Post author

      I can’t quite figure out if he was just clueless or had a point, though when pushed, he turned out to be the typical bullshit. Bear in mind, if someone doesn’t know about something, it doesn’t exist to him, which entitles him to make ridiculous assumptions based on ignorance. After all, ignorance is the currency of the internet. And wasn’t he with the Portlandia PD’s office?

  1. bmaz

    Yeah, Portland. And appears to have been around for 12 years or so, so not a rook. But, crikey, if twitting is influential, we are all Jedi masters. So, I ain’t buying his BS.

  2. John Barleycorn

    Well War too, was always at its best with at least six members as its associated member band offshoots like The Animals, The Low Rider Band and Eric Burden’s various adventurs could never quite capture the full flavor.

    What are you gonna do…?

    1. bmaz

      How the hell did you get a link, much less a You Tuber, past the Get Offa My Lawn Troll Greenfield??

      Inquiring mindless like me want to know……

      1. John Barleycorn

        To do so I would have to go on journey to reassert my existence as the non-definition of relevant around here which is possible and tempting but also might get me banned, even though I never send emails to the esteemed one, so you never mind your pretty little head about that or go find my secret hollandaise recipe somewhere in the depths of the esteemed one’s back pages.

        BTW are you Mr. Emptwheel? If so, you should train that Millennial Lab of yours to ferret out all the future rabbit hole indiscretions in Emptywheel’s back pages. I was damn near gonna go drunken four wheeling down the rabbit hole yesterday over in her backyard at her non-definition of relevant post while going virgin warrior in the woodshed and grab a me few logs and do some smoking out at the bottom of those rabbit hole comments about homeschooling in the back pages of that post she put up about some very interesting second circuit bowl movements that had nothing to do with homeschooling but were on a topic that is particularly endearing to me (which the esteemed ones ignores all too often so I have to go sleep around) but I figured I might freak her out.

        Anyway the esteemed one likes his back pages to stay on topic unless you are a familiar stray, so I best stop barking and remind everyone that a case of American whisky is cheap but the next time you get stranded at an airport in Latvia for a few days, because you were trying to smuggle cases of American whisky into the country, the experience of reading the entirety of the esteemed ones front page archives is priceless, especially when drinking vodka.

        After a few thousand posts or so you will get a pretty good feel for which ones might be worth checking out the back pages too. But as a general rule of thumb he don’t really much give a shit about us that inhabit the cheap seats. But to his credit he ain’t as mean as his wit and he is in fact capable of making some exceptions for his high standards in his back pages every once in a while for some new strays, but really you just got to be lucky and have good timing.

        Other than that you got to come with the goods and have the experience to back them up which is why his front pages can be particularly interesting and fill up the cheap seats not to mention sell out his box seats and suites now and then.

        P.S. He can be cranky but that’s his problem. Hell, if he would listen to me more often and take a step or too off the reservation he would be fielding calls from Rolling Stone this afternoon about his new band and writing me a check for the new bobble heads and t-shirts his new band is gonna need for their Styrofoam cooler tour. But don’t you worry…. if his old band mates don’t feel the love simmering out there in the high and low places throughout the country he is sooner or later gonna figure out a way to energize a whole new crew. Failing that he might say fuck it and sell me his URL and I will post up all the Dusty Springfield you got bmaz but no football links unless the ticket holders are in litigation with the ownership because the players are in litigation with the ownership because they don’t get bonus money for all the on field celebrations they feel necessary to preform on every first down even thought they are behind by twenty points.

        Worse things could happen but word to the wise its best to tread carefully when the esteemed one gets in a spooky funk.

        Happy reading… Could be the esteemed one is just depressed because he doesn’t have a real tractor to move all the snow that is coming this winter.

        1. John Barleycorn

          Well, I guess I can summarize, even though concise blows and cogent is out of style these days, seeing as how cross gender references of inspiration make me look sharper than David Bowie and I must admit that special dispensation might makes some of your regular readers jealous while plain infuriating others. And I actually do derive a twisted sort of deviant pleasure from this, that isn’t really right but whatever… And after all, a few times a month I do in fact realize that the SJ back pages are not all about my efforts to hypnotize you into ignoring the disadvantages of the hard landing.

          TLDR: Winters coming… You should really buy a backhoe that has a cab with at least twelve speakers and a modern amplifier. Blue tooth connectivity would be a bonus but then again cassettes tapes should never die in a shoe box. And just because I am always concerned about your mental health, duck tape a few eight track cartridges on the ceiling. These come in handy to pass out to curious children that are new to the neighborhood. I will sell you some pretty nifty “red button” stickers to paste on them if you like.

          Well there you have it. I knew I should have been concise and just posted up a Steppenwolf tune or easy Rider clip. But fuck it!

          Here you go…keep the “art” coming tough guy! Even the box seats are paying attention once in a while…

          P.S. I am going to stop wearing a rubber when I sleep around.

  3. B.J.Bear

    So this is your private boys club. How KEWL. Do you dudes have a secret password and handshake?Are your periods in sync? I bet you are all so fun to hang out with. I wish I could and then I realize no thanks you are an asshole or lawyer it may be redundant.

    1. SHG Post author

      Why? You keep insisting that you’re never going to read SJ again, and then boom, you’re back and commenting. Do you ever keep a promise?

    2. Marc R

      The majority of law school students and recent grads are female. Are they assholes and part of the boy’s club? Does Scott go on your “internet marketing consulting seo google ppc sigma ninja pmp” site and talk about how that profession is a vampire cave preying on producers?

      Lawyers are all assholes? I guess if you or your family get in a serious accident caused by another’s negligence, get wrongly charged with a crime or have a sponge left on your stomach post surgery you take it all in stride as a part of life? Lincoln, Darrow, Nader, Ted Olson, and the PDs and legal aid workers and thousands of other attorneys are all assholes?

      The difference between a smart ass and an asshole? The asshole doesn’t suffer you as a fool.

    3. bmaz

      I have never synched up periods. Though I am careful with semi-colons. And, yeah, I would hazard a guess that there might be worse people to hang out with. Granted, maybe not much worse, but, hey, we are trying to all get better…..

    4. Mort

      Our Esteemed host said something once that is quite fitting here, and I hope that in my failure to recreate it I do not do it injustice, or speak out of turn…

      It was words to the effect of ‘I know I seem arrogant and condescending – it comes from having knowledge and experience.’

      He speaks like this because he knows what he is talking about, and is taking time out of his day to both share his knowledge with us and to wade into the festering pile that are the comments. You know how to get good page rank on google. Guess which actually helps people more.

  4. Ammon J

    There are times when one can feel the victim of ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ – that there are too many sharing and it is spoiling the commons for all – when it may simply be that we want a private club, but without the bother of building walls, fences, etc. In that sense, along with the true meaning of the right to free speech, sometimes we have to accept that if we choose to make a thing public, then the public can obviously get involved.

    That isn’t advice, nor even a suggestion, by the way. Merely an observation.

    Those gentle encouragements to tweet and share with each post are invitations to bring new eyes to the blog, so one cannot be too upset when newcomers call and actually care enough to get involved. Well, one can, of course, but one won’t get that much sympathy.

    You write: “But if you do, and if you want there to be another post here tomorrow and the next day, then consider what you contribute to its existence”. The words “gift”, “horse”, and “mouth”, come to mind. When people offer their comments freely, it’s worth every cent – and whatever you can make it worth. But it is always a sign that you are moving people enough that they took the time (though not all movements are in a direction one appreciates, naturally).

    Some give you amusing opportunities to mock or cross wits, others insights into another’s thinking, and some may merely offer the opportunity to check that your delete button is still working. To that extent, they are all contributing something, aren’t they?

      1. Ammon J

        Irony is more akin to someone consistently taking an adversarial tone and then writing a post of woe about how others seem to be at cross-purposes and not helping. You set the atmosphere and tone. If what it leads to is not what was desired, that is ironic.

        My own comment would only be ironic if you understood my motives and the comment, ironically, was likely to have the opposite effect.

        Irony is in the fact that I’ve only been visiting because Vin’s posts about your blog show up in my stream.

        That I have a fondness for curmudgeons made me read the whole posts even when they seemed rather biased toward only seeing the negatives. That I understand such feelings, and the rather depressing places they lead, made me respond to your open invitation to comment.

        In all truth, my comment was reactive. Thus the true irony, if you dislike the comment, lies in what you gave us to react to.

        1. SHG Post author

          Your comment is gibberish. You are operating from a place of ignorance, that you think your having read this post matters to me. That’s because you’re a narcissistic fool, who believes that everyone else is a narcissistic fool like you. This post was for people who are readers here. You’re not. You don’t exist. You’re the day tripping asshole we wish had the intelligence and humility not to comment, and frankly, not to read. You contribute nothing and never will.

          And you read this because of Vin? Makes sense. Spend your time in places where you’re wanted. Here, you’re an ugly, nasty pimple in need desperate of popping. But never again waste my space with your narcissistic gibberish.

          1. Ammon J

            You think my comments are *for* you? They are not. They are for whoever gets value from them. That’s unlikely to be you.

            You seem to think I didn’t read your post. You are wrong. You seem to think I didn’t understand it. You are doubling down on wrong. MY comment was made in full understanding and knowledge of your post, and made anyway. For an intelligent mind that would make them seek first for the correct meaning. But there’s that negativity creating the cognitive bias.

            I came with neither expectations or demands, and commented in the same vein. So while day-tripper in this particular yard I may be, and endeavoring to be a polite visitor, I still did not fit the description given.

            You seem to need to re-read your own post to give context to my message, or are making some very invalid assumptions. The fact is that I am acting as you asked of me yourself, in writing.

            “For the ones who don’t give a damn whether SJ is around tomorrow or not, carry on. You are the lowest common denominator, and there is nothing to be done about you”

            Frankly, my dear, I don’t.

            As you have made abundantly clear, this is your personal yard for your personal enjoyment. If the enjoyment is so fleeting that a lack of others catering to *your* narcissism could make you stop, then perhaps you are doing your “personal enjoyment” wrong. That’s for you to decide.

            I don’t care. But one more, or one less, self-indulgent blog won’t make a huge difference to the blogosphere.

            But that negativity of yours is often a sign of depression. That I don’t wish on anyone.

            Don’t worry though, I won’t bother to comment again. I’ve done all I wished to, and you’ve done nothing to encourage me to care for your wishes.

            1. SHG Post author

              And the inevitable defense. The problem is that this is a law blog, and lawyers tend not to be impressed with an asshole. You don’t care, but you still have to spew your nonsense.

              And yet another irony, after saying “I won’t bother to comment again,” you do exactly that. Damn, the clueless are predictable.

              But there’s still one irony left. You comment here because you want others to read your words of wisdom. Now if anyone cared if you existed, they could read your words of wisdom on your blog, from you directly. But they don’t. You come here, where there are people who read, because no one gives a shit what you have to say, and want to use my soapbox to pontificate because you have none. Nobody reads here because they want to know what some marketeer named Ammon has to say. Nobody.

            2. Mort

              They are for whoever gets value from them. That’s unlikely to be you.

              Or anyone with a triple-digit IQ.

              So none of the regulars here.

              I write more comments and then close the window without submission than I can count (and fewer than Scott would prefer, I often suspect). Just because the thought entered your mind doesn’t mean it has value.

              In fact, in your case, I believe it means the opposite.

          2. Vin

            “And you read this because of Vin? Makes sense.”

            Dear lord, is my personal brand taking a beating or what? 😉

            1. SHG Post author

              It’s not your branding, but the difference between the people who will read your marketing blog versus a law blog. Different folks have different interests, and one doesn’t necessarily (obviously) translate well to the other.

        2. Sgt. Schultz

          The irony is that you are exactly the dumbass who has no clue what SJ is about, yet feelz his empty rhetoric is so worthwhile that he has to spew it. The irony is that you prove exactly what SHG is saying, yet are too blind to realize that you’re the joke.

            1. SHG Post author

              Boom. The “I won’t bother to comment again” comment. Protip: cute responses only work when you’re not an obvious dumbass. Otherwise, they are laughing at you.

              And now, you won’t comment again, because you’ve got nothing worthwhile to say that justifies my wasting my space on you.

        3. Miles

          Ammon, he was much too kind calling you clueless. You show up, project your SEO scumbag grasp of the internet onto SHG as if you might have any inkling of his motives, and then behave like butthurt asshole?

          You’re not clueless. You’re a flagrant narcissistic nutjob. Go run to your fellow marketeers and tell them how mean the lawyer was to you and how he didn’t appreciate your genius.

          1. SHG Post author

            Yeah, he was definitely the poster boy for marketeer asshole. And yet, another irony. As you guessed, he ran over to Vin’s blog, where Vin wrote a post about me, to tell Vin that I wasn’t smart and didn’t appreciate his genius. That’s the beauty of the internet, every asshole has a safe place where no one will tell him he’s a fool. And Vin gave him a nice tummy rub.

            1. Sgt. Schultz

              Just took a look at that Vin blog. It’s amazing how they all do the same thing. He runs over there to whine about you, and Vin gets on his knees and blows him. They’re always the same. Amazing.

            2. Vin

              Im calling Patrick Zarrelli unless you take this and the blow job comment below down.

              Then Im going to move to Australia so I can sue Google. 😉

              Good stuff. And yes, my readership doubled. 😉

            3. SHG Post author

              You need Zarrelli’s number?

              And tell Ammon I’m sorry he didn’t like me. He’s very important to me, and I want him to like me. But from a distance.

            4. Vin

              So basically, when I was giving Ammon a blow job, followed up with a tummy rub, and telling him that because you don’t care, your side of the argument would always be “your clueless, go fuck your self”, I was wrong? 😉

              Cmon man.

              Is it even a legit conversation when the position of the other side is “your a narcissitic asshole with a 2 digit IQ who doesn’t deseve the corn from my shit”?

              I didn’t respond to Ammon because Im a gutless wonder who can’t tell a fool he’s a fool. I responded to Ammon the way I did because, well, SHG, you said it in your intro. You can’t get that time back.

              I was trying to tell him that this is your world, boss, and that arguing, unless SHG holds you in high regard, is an effort that goes beyond futility.

              That’s why I don’t argue here. Not because Im afraid of any of you. But because I don’t like to beat dead animals.

              Aside from that, was I sucking your dick and rubbing your tummy when I wrote a blog about how you are a life changer?

              I love you man, but I have yet to see many of your minions take you to task either. If I was on my knees with Ammon, Sargent Schiltz is doing what? Bravely telling SHG he’s an asshat and should shut up?

              No. He’s feeding you fruit and fanning you with a banana leaf while he’s full of SHG cheek to cheek.

            5. SHG Post author

              Don’t feel guilty about it, Vin. You’re allowed to think and do whatever you want. And while some of my more vulgar commenters use oral sex allusions, I hope you will be more circumspect. This isn’t a porn site, you know. Sgt. Schultz tends to be very supportive of me. Sometimes, too much so. Others can be more critical. Others let me know when they agree or disagree with thoughtful reasons grounded in substantive commentary.

              Some just make empty noise. But in their world of empty noise, they think more highly of their noise than I do. My answer isn’t “fuck you.” That would be crude and uncivil. My answer is to shrug, because it means nothing to me. There’s a huge difference.

  5. Mirriam

    Your butthurt form is not a fillable PDF. You’ve made it too complicated to actually complain about being butt hurt. This makes me even more butt hurt.

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