In my last post, I asked any editors reading this to contact me about a "review of reviews" of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book. This is hope over experience. When I look at the site meter to see what kinds of searches lead (a very small number of) people to this blog, they apparently are:
- People interested in spanking, either researching the law of child corporal punishment or else straight interested in adult spanking porn, apparently because I once mentioned on this blog a book on human rights and corporal punishment of children
- People interested in porn related to (clothed) female guards and (naked) male prisoners, apparently on the basis of a legal memo posted to this blog and written by one of my research assistants on court cases dealing with the conflict between prisoner privacy rights versus cross-gender employment rights in prisons
- People interested in photographs of nude adolescents by Jock Sturges and David Hamilton, apparently because of a post mentioning a book review I had done on nude photography in the TLS back in the 1990s.
You catch the drift. Those searches account for a very sizable percentage of hits on this site. Among the academic searches, the largest part seem to be:
- Students searching for help on just war theory for term papers - there is a dependable surge toward the end of each semester on exactly this topic, and related matters like Michael Walzer, laws of war, etc.
- Enquiries about the celebrated international legal scholar Martti Koskenniemi - apparently, a brief post I wrote about his work is cited somewhere on Wikipedia
- The occasional international legal scholar who thought he or she was going to Opinio Juris!
I'm not quite sure what I intend this blog to be, and since I only occasionally have time to post, I only occasionally think about it. I'm not really interested in the sort of comment on the news blogging, but tend instead to think of it as a sort of open filing cabinet or public notepad. Why it should be an open notepad, rather than, say, actually taking notes privately then working them up into some polished public article or presentation is a very good question to which I have no answer.
I can say that every one of my serious, professional editors - we're talking TLS, NYT magazine, LAT book review, etc., superbly professional editors of impeccable judgment - has thought that blogging was bad for my prose style - accentuated the worst habits toward verbosity and sanctimony and bad jokes and whining and believing that first draft is good enough for last draft and that kind of snide aside that so deforms much blogospheric writing, combined with an informality of language that infects everything else in a bad way. So. I don't actually deny it. One editor friend told me that as far as he could tell, this blog really served as a sort of advertisement for myself - one the one hand, pure self-indulgence, and on the other, a way of disseminating my work, such as it is, in the brave new world of intellectual production in which, unless you are much more important and famous than I am, no one quite knows the rules for distributing high level, uneconomically self-sustaining academic cultural production. All that is probably about right. I'll try to think harder about this - later. I have some real work to do!