Archive for June 7th, 2009

June 7, 2009

Will Blevins/’Publius’ Be Dooced?

My first reaction to Ed Whelan’s identification of “Publius” as University of South Texas law professor John F. Blevins: They’ve got a law school at the University of South Texas?

Amazing things you can learn on the Internet!

My second reaction: Is Blevins tenured? If so, why would he insist on anonymity? Professor Glenn Reynolds is not anonymous. Being a tenured professor is like being James Bond, licensed to kill. Firing a tenured professor is nearly impossible. The rare occurrence — the ousting of the fraudulent Ward Churchill at University of Colorado — practically requires an act of the state legislature and abuses so flagrant that the dismissal can withstand Supreme Court scrutiny.

So if Blevins is tenured, what are these “variety of private, family, and professional reasons” for his anonymity? If blogging cannot threaten his job security — and as a tenured professor, Blevins couldn’t be fired even if he were arrested for robbing a 7-Eleven — why would he hide his identity at Obsidian Wings? Dan Riehl sides with Blevins/”Publius”:

That a writer at a site like NRO would stoop to outing an anonymous liberal blogger is, hopefully, far more a discredit to Whelan and NRO, than it is trouble for said blogger.

In saying so, Riehl agrees with James Joyner:

Jeopardizing a man’s career and family relationships over something so petty is simply shameful.

Hmmm. Without getting into all that (I’m logging in on the free Wi-Fi at the Krystal in Acworth, Ga., and just about to head out on the 12-hour drive homeward) my question is the extent to which Blevins’ arguments for anonymity are plausible. Even if Blevins isn’t tenured, it’s not as if being a liberal is grounds for termination, even in Texas. And if Blevins were fired for blogging — “Dooced,” as they say — surely his application would be welcome at the many law schools dominated by liberal faculty.

How, then, can Whelan be accused of “jeopardizing” Blevins’ career? When I covered basketball as a sportswriter, and the ref would call a touch-foul, the coach of the penalized team would holler, “Hey, ref, no harm, no foul!”

The “no harm, no foul” principle might apply to this situation. Whelan blogs under his own name and felt that he was being abused by the anonymous “Publius.” The fact that “Publius” was relatively obscure — I’m not into legal blogging, and have seldom read Obsidian Wings — might make Whelan’s “outing” of him seem an overreaction. But I don’t presume to judge what is or is not abuse of another. If Blevins is harmed by his “outing,” he ought to be able to demonstrate (not merely assert) that harm.

Blogging under your own name in an environment where so many others are anonymous or pseudonymous is difficult. There is a reason comments are moderated here. I must consider the possibility that the vicious anonymous commenter is actually a sock-puppet for one of the many people I’ve criticized publicly.

An honest flame-war with Rod Dreher or any other of The Republicans Who Really Matter? I can handle that. What I won’t tolerate is an anonymous commenter of mysterious motives trying to use my bandwidth to attack me. (Effectively, that is. I have no trouble approving abusive comments so long as they are so self-evidently idiotic as to be unpersuasive.)

There are no comments at the NRO blogs, so the only means others have of arguing with the NRO bloggers is through their own blogs. So Ed Whelan was blogging under his own name and being attacked by the anonymous “Publius,” and decided to end his antagonist’s anonymity.

This is Whelan’s choice and he obviously believes it to be a defensible choice, but heaven forbid any liberal should ever go after Rusty Shackleford‘s anonymity. Or Smitty’s, for that matter.

And all this I say without reference to the specifics of the dispute between Blevins and Whelan. I’m just blogging from the Krystal in Acworth, Ga., and don’t have time to play blogosphere ethics cop.

UPDATE: Professor Reynolds weighs in.

UPDATE II: Professor William Jacobson weighs in. There is no truth to the rumor that Reynolds, Jacobson and Donald Douglas are ringleaders of a gang of academics who rob Seven-11s in their spare time.

UPDATE III: A commenter asks if I read Blevins’ post in which he said he is not tenured. No, I didn’t read Blevins’ post. I told you, I’m at a Krystal in Acworth, Ga., and don’t have time to read everything. But I’m sure Blevins will be all right. Just invest in a ski mask and practice saying, “Stick ’em up!”

UPDATE IV (Monday a.m.): Now that I’m home and have seen both Blevins’ post and Feddie’s post at Southern Appeal, I am inclined to believe that Whelan did the wrong thing. However, I also think Blevins is either unnecessarily concerned or disingenuous:

Professionally, I’ve heard that pre-tenure blogging (particularly on politics) can cause problems. . . . I don’t want conservative students to feel uncomfortable before they take a single class based on my posts. So I don’t tell them about this blog. Also, I write and research on telecom policy – and I consider blogging and academic research separate endeavors. . . .
Privately, I don’t write under my own name for family reasons. I’m from a conservative Southern family – and there are certain family members who I’d prefer not to know about this blog (thanks Ed). Also, I have family members who are well known in my home state who have had political jobs with Republicans, and I don’t want my posts to jeopardize anything for them. . . .

What Blevins is confessing here is that he would argue differently, or perhaps not argue at all, if he were arguing under his own name. Bingo. This is at least relevant to Whelan’s complaint about being sniped at from the ambuscade of anonymity.

Whelan risks his own reputation every time he pushes the “publish” button, while his anonymous critic risks nothing. I’ll have more to say, but will say it elsewhere.

June 7, 2009

Rule 5 Sunday

by Smitty

…And so spaketh The Other McCain on the plains of Blog: ‘There shall be a Fifth Rule. Of the rules this shall be number five. Betweeneth the fourth and sixth shall it lie.’ And he heldeth both arms up and said: ‘Everybody loveth a pretty girl’. And there was joy throughout the Nets of Inter and in the Spot of Blog.—A reading from The Book Of Stacy, 2:3

Thus, on the Seventh of June, Anno Margretti 2009, did The Camp of the Saints hand down a lesson to all meretrīcēs blogarum.—Mumblings of the Porch Manqué, 14:9

Rule 5 has never had any sort of exploitative element. While leaning towards the ladies, we take time for gentlemen, too. It’s a positive, no-stress review of the human form in the abstract. Erotic interpretation is subjective and left to the reader. Furthermore, we don’t typically put the pictures in our roundup, prefering to send traffic to various blog-adelic suspects out there in the webby-nets.
However, Playboor last week violated our refined sense of taste and justice, as you probably know. You can’t even find the trash on, not that we’d waste time on it. But we will enjoy a special feature before the usual Rule 5 roundup entitled:
10 Conservative Women With Whom We’d Like to Enjoy a Beverage, and What We’d Say

  1. Michelle Malkin

    It’s great to have met you at the DC Tea Party. You’re not #1 on the list for nothing. You’ve endured more abuse than most of the list, with the exception of the curiously-missing-from-this-list Ann Coulter. We’ve got your back, lady.
  2. Megyn Kelly

    Lady, you rock. Watching your delivery on Fox, where you don’t hesitate to flog Bill O’Reilly about the head and shoulders, is a treat. Remind me not to upset you, for all being on the receiving end of the chewing would nearly be worth it.
  3. Mary Katharine Ham

    Truly a gift in the humor department. I saw you on Blogger’s Row at CPAC. This post is a great excuse to link some Ham Nation.

  4. Amanda Carpenter
    I can’t lie. I haven’t read your articles in the Washington Times. Or your book. But your presence in the list and the title of the book indicate you’re worth talking to. Press on.
  5. Elisabeth Hasselbeck

    Heaven send you strength, lady, for dealing with the nitwits on The View. My reaction to all that would involve Cousin Smith, Uncle Wesson, and something uspeakable.
  6. Dana Perino

    How did you do it? I could not have dealt with the Washington press “corpse” without sounding like a cross between Dennis Miller and a bad hangover. You really put the ‘C’ in classy.
  7. Laura Ingraham

    I’ll confess not to be much of a talk radio listener, but your presence here indicates you’re jabbing the proper nerves. Keep it up!
  8. Pamela Geller

    Atlas Shrugs continues to take the fight to the opposition. Thanks again for your effort in bringing Geert Wilders to DC to speak during CPAC.
  9. Michele Bachmann

    Thank you for showing more sense and leadership in Congress than my own local piece of work. You’d make a better Speaker than Princess Pelosi by at least an order of magnitude. Hopefully the voters concur and Do The Right Thing.
  10. Peggy Noonan

    Please, please, please use your bully pulpit properly, and veer away from the foppish centrism. You’ve the eloquence and the audience to do much good in the struggle to restore the Constitution to relevance.

And now, back to the usual hijinks:

  • First prize in the race to get to the Latvian blonde parade (in my Google Reader) went to The Purple Center.
  • Jillosophy had a Norma Jean roundup.
  • Donald Douglas linked the 10 Hottest Liberal women in politics. Completely comfortable in his masculinity, he posted some Hugh Jackman for the ladies. He also had a post on Sugar Daddy Dating. Includes some ABC video. Possibly I’m too cynical, but it seems semi-obvious to me that this ‘service’ is targeting dudes with names like ‘Spitzer‘.
  • Wallet Pop had a post about Starbucks Meets Hooters. All about the bean.
  • Bob gives us Kari Byron, and seems to mention something about finding erotica in H.R. Giger’s work. Bob, we need to talk. No, we don’t. Less said, the better. *shudder*
  • Dustbury moves us away from Giger and in the direction of chicks with guns, a helpful palate cleanser.
  • Iowahawk shows us the rear view of an American classic, and a redhead as well. This may require a Stray Cats moment:
  • Carol at No Sheeples Here helped to keep the Carla Bruni photo inbounds. Thanks! She followed that up with some Robert Mitchum
  • The Elder of Ziyon posts a picture of a woman in a bikini with a hookah. I had some cherry flavored tobacco once from such a gadget. Once.
  • Clearly Nebulous appreciates Angie Harmon.
  • Lance says that Monica Bellucci has been in the news. We must trust Lance for both taste and content. Except where metal bikinis are concerned. And dudes with funky fingernails and hairy chests. We’ll consult Fausta for those questions. 😉
  • Mr. Jeffords contributes some Raquel Welch that we agree is spot on.
  • In sporting news, Right of Course continues a tennis tradition.
  • The Pirates Cove contributes some retro cheesecake.
  • Now, if you’ve never seen a lovely brunette in heels…with a pitchfork, check the WyBlog for some Garden State action.
  • Paco breaks the silver screen tradition, but with an excellent reason.
  • Political Castaway remembers D-Day with a look at the contemporary military.
  • Dustbury offers some Dolly Parton leg bait, which we gladly take.

Dan Collins suggests the addition of Liz Stephens of Breitbart TV. ToM counter argument: “We got no counter argument.”

Update II:
The Patriot Room contributes General Sideburns McSassafras with a monologue that I may or may not have completely understood.

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