If You Can’t Fubar, Then Why Bother?

For those of you who don’t read the comments, you’re missing something quite remarkable.  An anon commenter here, who goes by the handle Fubar, has taken to offering comments that make my posts pale in comparison:

Excerpted from a manuscript initially hailed as a lost fifth book of Pope’s Dunciad, but quickly proved a wretchedly bad forgery, by a document examiner who could count.

Computer-armed, angry and witless,
Some jerk sent vile taunts to a witness.
“Slice your wrists!” is a threat?
Sayeth Kingkade, “You bet!”
Casting doubt on his logical fitness.

FIRE published the court-released docs.
(They never were locked in Fort Knox.)
“The vile taunt’s recipient
Was a witness percipient.
Lock ‘em up again!” bleat HuffPo’s flocks:

“Due process must always accrue
To me and mine, less so to you.
Tell the world that I’m talking,
I’ll be victim of stalking.
Common sense tells us that just won’t do.”

So goes forth this tale of stupidity,
And reasoning of dubious validity.
Do red faces enraged
Show their brains are engaged?
Or cerebral post-mortem lividity?

That’s just the last comment. He’s been at this for a while, and blows me away every time.  Reading Fubar’s poetry has been one of the joys of having this blawg.

In contrast, I’ve found myself lately spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with comments that range from mind-numbingly ignorant (no, it is not my responsibility to correct whatever stupidity exists on the internets) to batshit crazy to trolling/shilling to the incomprehensible “jokes” that just aren’t witty in the least to the whiny, entitled demands of children, and their post hoc anger and defensiveness when their ignorant narcissism is noted.

There will be no substantive post today.  For those who come here in search of cool news and commentary, you will be disappointed.  I just don’t feel like it, largely because I find dealing with the backend of this blawg wearing.  Not that I’m particularly tolerant to begin with, but my fuse has grown increasingly short. I’m not happy with myself because of this.

For those who know me in real life, you know that I’m not quite the curmudgeon I portray here.  It can fun, at times, to use the role to make a point, but when I find that most of my time is spent dealing with problems, it’s just not fun anymore.

That’s where I found myself this morning.  I started three different posts, but then lost interest in what I was writing.  Every once in a while, I waste the space here with something entirely meta.  Readers rarely think that maybe SJ isn’t all about them, as if they were paying good money for my efforts, and I owe them something.

Lest anyone read this and think I’m asking for advice. please know that I am not. Unless you’ve done what I do here, you have nothing to offer. Don’t do it. I will not take kindly to it.  But this needs to be fun for me if I’m going to wake up in the morning and feel the desire to write.

It used to be that my fellow blawgers would make life interesting in the blawgosphere, but most have since found better uses of their time, and no longer bother.  It used to be that interesting and thoughtful comments would make me feel that my efforts here were worthwhile, but I now find myself deluged with comments that just make me angry.  Who needs that?

I truly enjoy and appreciate Fubar’s efforts, and some others as well.  You should too.  But when dealing with readers and comments reaches the point where it’s just a burden, and I spend too much energy being angry about it, then the fun is gone.  I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

44 thoughts on “If You Can’t Fubar, Then Why Bother?

  1. Kevin

    Sorry to hear you’re so down about your site, your effort put forth and the reactions/comments of others. I always read it and enjoy it quite a bit. I just don’t comment because I’m not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be. Once again the silent majority may fall victim to loud/vocal minority.

    1. SHG Post author

      For a lot of readers, I assume I come off like a machine, cranking out posts day after day for their amusement. The view is different from my side of the computer. I wake up every morning without a clue whether I will write or what I will write about. If something moves me to write, I write.

      But I also wake up to the overnight load of moderated comments, most of which are so wildly insane and awful as to make my head explode. Some days, I just trash the lot of them. Some days, I read each one. Some days, they make me wonder why I bother. That’s when it strikes me that I don’t have to wake up to this every day.

  2. Catherine Mulcahey

    The last time you stopped SJ my withdrawal symptoms left me curled up in the fetal position next to the computer. At my age, uncurling is such a pain! Please come back tomorrow, because it is all about keeping me pain-free.

    1. SHG Post author

      I understand exactly what you mean about uncurling, and I appreciate your sentiment. But I’m not looking for a tummy rub.

      1. Catherine Mulcahey

        Alas, you are just one of a long list of guys who won’t let me give them tummy rubs.

  3. Adam

    Just remember comments tend to bring out a tiny minority of extremes with the bulk of your readers in the silent middle.

    I read your stuff pretty much everyday and always enjoy it. Keep fighting the good fight.

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m sorry if this comes off angry, but I don’t write for amusement of the “silent middle.” I write for myself. What has the “silent middle” done to give me a reason to want to write?

  4. Todd E.

    Maybe you need to find an unpaid intern (with fringe benefits?) to screen the comments for you. If you don’t have to deal with the garbage, it may cut down on a lot of the froynlaven for you.

  5. David Woycechowsky

    You respond much better to comments with which you agree with than ones with which you don’t agree. I suspect that this blog may be changing your personality a bit, over the years.

    Off-topic: loved, loved, loved your posts (and comment responses) on Garner’s slaying. I wanted to comment, but I had nothing to add besides: “thank you for articulating your thoughts and feelings so well — I agree, but could not have expressed it as well as you have.”

    1. SHG Post author

      I respond much better to comments that express coherent thoughts with comprehensible explanations than idiotic drivel. regardless of whether they agree or disagree. Some people get this. Most don’t. Especially those who find it difficult to understand why their comments are idiotic drivel.

  6. william doriss

    Take two aspirin, and call me in the morning! Meanwhile, go for a bike ride and work it off. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel. Take your camera! Tennis anyone, or golf? Check for deer ticks. A nasty job, but someone has to do it, as I’ve said before. We readers pin the tail of the donkey on you. We trust you will find the energy to forge ahead where no blawger has gone before.
    Yea, Fubar was over the top this morning. How can any of us top that? Now time to rest and reflect without
    saying anything. Midsummer doldrums,… Even the Supreme Court rests during Summer Break.

  7. Rick Horowitz

    I get this. Not so much because of comments: my blog seldom gets them.

    But the blogging not being as much fun anymore….

    In particular, the missing, and missed, back-and-forth as we all blogged similar topics, in a stimulating long-distance educational dance. (Educational for me, anyway.) it’s why so many of my posts lately cited to your posts: you’re about the only one left who was writing anything interesting regularly.

    I wish I had your ability. My posts are hard-birthed. (I’ve one, stimulated by a post of yours from the 17th, that I’ve been trying to finish since then.) Plus, I’ve had a little bit of health issues lately, so I’m dealing with that.

    I hope you don’t stop blogging again. Lately, your posts are one of the high points of my day. Some days, the only high points. I know you don’t owe me posts! Just telling you how I feel about your writing.

    1. SHG Post author

      This is a very sore subject for me. I resent the fact that I open my RSS feed in the morning and see nothing from my brethren criminal defense lawyers. They don’t owe me anymore than I owe them, but they left me out here hanging. Sure, every once in a while, someone posts something, but the days of back and forth, thoughtful, nuances arguments and discussions, are dead.

      And the only ones left writing are the self-promoting baby lawyers writing garbage they know nothing about, making people stupider paragraph after paragraph, so they can become internet famous. Or the flaming nutjobs writing insane screeds to appeal to the worst, angriest lunatic with a keyboard.

      And here I am, the last asshole in the blawgosphere, with the silent majority telling me how much the enjoy SJ. Great. Maybe I should wash their car for them too.

      1. Fubar

        Maybe I should wash their car for them too.

        Washing cars is a steady profession,
        But boring. It cries for digression.
        Were I closer to you,
        I would buy you a brew
        To dissuade from that dead-end progression.

        The Lim’rick is my form of choice,
        To lend to discussions my voice.
        Often meter gets tough, or
        Rhyme gets even rougher.
        And on my own petard I am hoist.[1]

        That you honor me so’s divine Grace.
        (Undeserved any time, any place.)
        My job as court fool
        Is to laugh at the drool
        From the gits you so deftly lambaste.[2]

        Yet advice I’ll still offer (No bitches!):
        Let your heart lead you. Scratch where it itches.
        Tomorrow, tomorrow,
        We’ll wait here in sorrow,
        ‘Til you bless us again with your riches.

        FN 1: See what I mean?

        FN 2: Once again, with feeling.

          1. Wheeze the People™

            SHG, my poetic license is crumpled and in disrepair, but I would be more than honored to oil up and sharpen my trusty rusty poet’s saw and go mano-a-mano with Fubar everyday in the comments section until one of us cries, “Uncle Fester” . . . For nothing more than your amusement . . .

            At the end of each post, you can declare the topic withing the post that you would like us to wax poetic about . . . Then it be on like Donkey Kong!!

            Think West Side Story meets 8 Mile . . .

            Or maybe kinda like the show Iron Chef, when the contestants must make a tasty multi-course meal using one ingredient throughout, sometimes the ingredient is shirako (fish sperm — yum) or natto (rotten, slimy soy beans) . . .

  8. Wheeze the People™

    THE END IS NIGH?? . . .

    So sayeth SHG,
    That the comments are infested,
    With ticks and fleas,
    Leading to a nasty case,
    Of writer’s Lyme disease?? . . .

    Or maybe just existential angst,
    Caused by commentariat brain farts that are really rank,
    Written by minds that are a wee bit blank,
    No air freshener can reduce the stank . . .

    But somehow, me thinks,
    Greenfield will live to write another day,
    To slay more dragons,
    In his curmudgeonly way,
    Up so early,
    Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,
    Though not always happy or even gay . . .

    But when the time comes to drop the final curtain,
    On this one fine blawg,
    One thing is certain,
    Simple Justice veni, vidi, vici,
    In the darkened auditorium,
    I’ll rise from my seat for a rousing ovation,
    And tip my hat to our modern-day Medici,
    As it is better to have loved and lost,
    Than to not have loved at all . . .

      1. Wheeze the People™

        Poetic license?? . . .

        From the Urban Dictionary:

        1. (adj.) The quality of being whorish and/or trashy or the appearance of bearing said quality.
        2. (adv.) Any instance where the aforementioned quality is displayed to the Nth degree.
        3. (n.) A ghetto-fabulous greeting of sorts used by the intellectually and creatively impaired.
        4. (adj.) Having an attitude that is particularly not cared for by the general population.
        5. (adv.) Displaying the previously stated attitude.

        See, it fits . . .

  9. RAFIV

    What the F*** Scott! Every day, when I sip my coffee with my vapid under-caffeinated bovine stare, I expect to have at least TWO SJ posts. What the hell am I paying you for! You ain’t on my side. You ain’t doing nothing! I want a new blog! My cousin told me you were a sh*tty blogger because you ain’t got no paywall. My cousin’s blogger always gets posts out in the morning and it is behind a paywall. F*** this! I am going to tell Blogger you ain’t posting like you supposed to.

    So, anyway, when is my next date? Call me back.

  10. lawrence kaplan

    I know I’m no FUBAR, but here goes:

    Your goal is justice to serve,
    And from it I’m sure you won’t swerve.
    As for those who distort it
    And those who contort it,
    Continue to fight them with verve.

  11. Mark Stoval

    “And here I am, the last asshole in the blawgosphere, with the silent majority telling me how much the enjoy SJ. Great. Maybe I should wash their car for them too.” ~ SHG

    From a post on cops a week ago or so and now this post; I get the feeling that you really don’t want comments or interaction from those of us that are not lawyers. I get the feeling that you especially don’t want interaction from those who think that the government enforced legal system of the US is the problem rather than “bad eggs” in the prosecutor’s office. (not that they don’t make a bad situation even worse and not that judges and cops don’t add to the mess)

    I am wondering if you even want those of us who might not be able to “give some back” to even read your blog.

    I am a proponent of libertarian law in the style championed by the late Murray Rothbard and others. So, obviously I find the whole edifice of non-justice you describe here nearly daily horrifying. But since you appear to think that our present system would work “if only we could get good, honest people” in charge — then there seems to be little way to interact with you.

    You an asshole? I doubt that. I had the honor once of being called “nasty and vicious” by a blogger (that went on to win a Pulitzer) for defending my views against some of his very progressive buddies in the comment threads. The question is — what do you want out of the comments here? Why the extremely tight moderation?

    At “wattsupwiththat dot com” which is by far the most read blog on climate issues, they have volunteer moderators who help Mr. Watts so that he does not have to look at every darn post. I have seen other moderation policies over the years. I think you are overworking yourself on moderation. (but then I have never seen those comments that you toss — perhaps they really are horrid)

    By the way, when I went to college they told me that anyone who believed the continents moved were “bat shit crazy”. Now “continental drift” is believed by everyone and has been renamed “plate tectonics” since no one wants to remember how we treated the few “bat shit crazy” scientists that were trying to get us all to see the truth. The Greeks had a myth about Cassandra that comes to mind.

    One final thing. There is no reason to have an on-line persona that does not match the real you. Be yourself; whatever that is. And if this comment is mind-numbingly ignorant then by all means toss it in the bit-bucket. We can’t all be brilliant.

    1. SHG Post author

      Many comments here are from non-lawyers, but so too are most of the comments that are tossed. Non-lawyers tend to have a great deal of trouble staying on topic (they want to connect discrete issues with grand issues and pontificate about the INJUSTICE!!!), promote their dangerously erroneous grasp of the law (this is a law blog, people who read it think the information they see here is reasonably accurate) and want to use it as a soapbox to promote their political agendas. It is not.

      So, it is not that I don’t want comments from non-lawyers, but I don’t want comments that fail to meet these criteria. I have some bottom-line beliefs, one of which is that it is wrong for lawyers (myself, in particular) to make people stupider, whether directly or through the content that appears in my comments. Non-lawyers feel no responsibility for writing something, say pseudo-legal advice, that’s completely wrong and having someone mistakenly think they know what they’re talking about (or are a lawyer), act upon it and get hurt. I find that intolerable, and won’t allow it. Non-lawyers can’t use my blawg to harm people with stupidity.

      Sometimes, people struggle with what it means to stay on topic or add comments that illuminate, because they are blinded by their political views so that they can’t see how their views aren’t the most important, illuminating, worthwhile comments ever. These are people who really shouldn’t be commenting here.

      As for my being someone I’m not, I think you missed the point. My curmudgeonliness comes off more extreme here than it does in real life. It’s the nature of the medium, not because I’m faking anything. Writing is a very difficult medium of communication, as it relies on a skill level on both sides, and I can only control my side. As the saying goes, I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

    2. Kathleen Casey

      SJ is for Scott’s enjoyment. It is also a service for us. In the heading of this blawg is his motto. What Do You Think? I invite thoughtful comments… . Thoughtful comments are part of the fun. We need to enjoy thinking to participate. Anyone who deals with the public knows this: For some people, thinking hurts. So they don’t think. So he screens the locusts out. That’s a mitzvah! Besides, his blawg, his rules.

  12. Turk

    Poetry in law blogs
    Visions of f/k/a and
    Infamy and Praise
    Dance in my head
    Blawgs can be art.

  13. William Keech

    I hesitate to comment, and that’s a good thing. The wonderfully ruthless moderation and pointed critique of comments make room for an intelligent, lively debate by what appear to be some of the most insightful criminal defense and constitutional lawyers in your country. This is one of the very few blogs I have encountered where the comment section is both readable and informative.
    I appreciate the many links that point to background information both within the SJ blawg, as well as to credible external sources. Frequently I find that a single post will point to several interesting threads, to the point where I now have well over a hundred open tabs in my browser, the majority of which are SJ pages.
    I found this blog through Popehat, and you now have led me to also appreciate the words of your compatriots Gideon, Turk, Bennett and others. In this context it can be said that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts.
    While it is shocking to see the extent of the degradation of civil liberties and the rampant abuse of authority, hope can be found in your brilliant, beautiful constitution, and the dedication and knowledge of those of you fighting to restore its protection.
    Thank you.

    1. SHG Post author

      …where the comment section is both readable and informative.

      I catch a lot of grief for my ruthless moderation, but this is what I hoped to achieve, to make it the sort of place where substantive discussion can happen while being inhospitable for the crazy and ignorant. I try my best to let as many comments post, even if they’re marginal, because of my inclination toward more speech rather than less, but it’s one of the hardest parts of trying to keep SJ viable. It’s exhausting.

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