Monday, August 22, 2011

The Prissification of Law Profs: Leiter, the Scam-man, and Commentators

I am feeling ashamed of being a law professor right now. First you have the author of the law scam blog who was too prissy to identify himself. Go figure, you're a fucking law professor. What is another law professor going to do to you? Snub you at one of those meetings at which everyone one is looking over everyone elses' shoulders in case there is someone else in the room whose ass it would be better to kiss.

And there was the prissiness of the discussion about what should be made of his effort to be anonymous and other matters already discussed a zillion times. Just replay tape 54. Really is this high school? And then it is followed by even more.

But Brian Leiter takes the cake in this prissing contest. Evidently he is deeply offended and, thus, has launched an extended ad hominen attack on poor timid Mr. Scam-man. Oh, my goodness! For example, according to Mr. Leiter, Mr Scam-man is "notorious in the legal academy." Ouch, now that is big. It's about as important in the scheme of things as being notorious in a Denny's kitchen. And he notes of Mr. Scam-man's accusations, which admittedly are exaggerated, " "None of this warrants the absurdly offensive description of American legal education as a "'scam.'" When was Mr. Leiter appointed the protector of the virtue of American Legal Education. Where was he when Hester needed him? And then, we find that Mr. Scam-man is a "failed academic." I have never actually followed the logic that a "failed academic," even if that is true, cannot observe and report on what he sees. But, if Mr. Scam-man is a failed academic and his record is the standard, he joins 95% of the other law professors who
few people know and even fewer people give a rat's ass about what they write or say.

And now a personal note. I really want a comment on this post. And this comment must say this: "Jeff, you've been duped. This was all Performance Art." I really want to believe this because if it is not true, Mr. Scam-man has only scratched the surface and everyone in on this kerfuffle, including me, needs to be spanked just enough to get the priss out.

11 comments:

eric said...

Jeff, you've been duped. This was all Performance Art.


There, feeling better?

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Thanks Eric. I am always that last to know. And, yes, I feel better. For a bit I thought Leiter was channeling Nancy Grace.

Anonymous said...

lol hilarious post.

Anonymous said...

This is typical of the legal academy. If you don't agree with someone's opinion/viewpoint (usually because that person is threatening the mediocrity of the status quo), silence dissenters with character assassination, rather than having heated discussion/debate.

Whether or not Scam-man and many,many angry and unemployed law students are correct, people like Leiter have handled this like dirty politicians, rather than intellectuals/academics. Par for the course.

liberal dissent said...

The funny thing about Leiter is unlike Scam-man (and the blog here), readers of Leiter's blog can't leave comments, presumably because they would likely dare to contradict the towering intellect. This is a guy who sees academia as a set of high school cliques, obsessively ranking schools and philosophy departments, with one of the main qualifications apparently being whether the department or school made the brilliant decision to hire Leither himself.

I do think, Jeffrey, you're being a little harder on Scam-Man than he deserves. Most of what he's said anonymously he's also said publicly already.

Jeffrey Harrison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey Harrison said...

I do not mean to be hard on Scam-man. In fact I applaud him. It just seems weird to be anonymous when all of this is so unimportant.

Anonymous said...

You do have a lot of reasons to be embarrassed, Jeff.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Yes, I know but this post is not about all those other reasons.

Anonymous said...

If it's so unimportant, then why is the blogosphere up in arms about this? I think Scam-man has admitted to academia's dirty little (poorly hidden) secret: professors are overpaid, legal education (and many other grad degrees, for that matter) aren't worth the pricetag, and students are being actively lied to by admins to keep the good times rolling. This all seems highly important to me. Scam-man had good reason to stay anonymous. What good could come of biting the hand that feeds?

Jeffrey Harrison said...

The misleading statistics issued by law schools is important but very old news. The whole thing needs to be investigated and reported.
As for overpaid professors, I think it should be assessed professor by professor. The law school blogosphere is up in arms because in the tiny world of law professors, who are desperate for gossip, this makes them feel important. For a tenure law professor to remain anonymous seems silly to me. In fact, I would say the propensity not to "own" what is said is symptomatic of a dysfunctional system.