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So Where DoesThis David Post Guy Teach, Anyway?

During the brouhaha over some of my recent "Sarah Palin is an embarrassment" postings — I'm quite certain we set the Volokh Conspiracy record for number of comments on a single posting (419 at last count) — one dubious reader (who shall remain nameless - you can look it up easily enough if you're interested) asked "Are you a real law professor? which school?". Later on in the very same thread, a day or so later, the same reader wrote "I really want to know if Post is a real law prof, and if so, where." And he/she asked the identical question on a different comment thread attached to one of my other postings a couple of days later.

What's interesting about this is that the reader didn't, of course, really want to know where I teach law. If he/she really wanted to know that, he/she would have taken the 1.8 seconds it takes these days to answer questions like that; you go to Google, you type in David Post (or better - "David Post Bio"), and you find the answer to your question. (Not to mention that we have links on the side of the VC page directing you to our bios). No, he/she didn't want to know the answer to the question, he/she wanted everyone else to know that he/she was asking the question. Meta-communication, as it were — "by asking this question, I am signalling to you all that I think David Post is a dope."

There are many interesting things about this. It's one of the subtle ways that Google is transforming the way we talk to one another. I've noticed this same meta-communication thing — which should have its own name, I think — in my conversations with friends over the past several years. I participate in a very active, and quite marvelous, e-mail listserv with about 15 of my close friends from college. On the rare occasions we're together face-to-face, conversation will include questions like "What was the name of that retarded guy in To Kill A Mockingbird who was charged with the murder?", or "Was it Mondale? Bentsen? someone else? who came up with that "Where's the Beef" line in one of the debates a while back?", or "Was "I've Just Seen a Face" on Revolver or Rubber Soul?" We used to ask questions like that on the listserv, too — but no longer. They're only useful as meta-communication now — in the time it takes to write out the message, you can get the answer from the network, so why bother? Now that information-gathering is so easy, communication that once had an information-gathering function has to serve some other function, or it will disappear.

It's also interesting to ask whether, or in what circumstances, this might actually be an effective rhetorical device? Why might it be more effective to imply that David Post is a dope this way — hey, where does this guy teach, anyway? — than to just say it (hey, Prof. Post, you're a dope)? I suspect there's a tinge of elitism here — the reader was, presumably, hoping that the answer would be "Shitsville University Law School" so he/she could say — well, what do you expect from such a dope. But you wouldn't think it would be effective in this context, where all of the other readers have the same 1.8 second task if they want to actually get an answer to the question.

Mind you, I don't think this is a bad development, or a good development - it's just an "is" development, the way things now are to which we are all necessarily adjusting.

[Can't even wait 1.8 seconds to find out the answer to the question? Click here.

]

Update -- I was wrong about the record for number of comments, as Orin points out; the record appears to be 550 comments, here

mlstx (mail):
I agree, it was a signaling question rather than a search for information.

Where do you think that person went to law school?!
10.11.2008 11:22am
MichaelnotMike (mail) (www):
David Post teaches law? Why didn't somebody tell me?
10.11.2008 11:24am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Post was one of the best profs I had at Temple Law (Spring 2000, Intro to IP Law). And I'm not just saying that. He also has a PhD and clerked for Justice Ginsburg. Among cyberlaw geeks it's well known that Eugene Volokh, Lawrence Lessig, and David Post were the top three movers and shakers.
10.11.2008 11:56am
Brian K (mail):
I have to say david, that your posts are a refreshing reprieve from the posters who believe palin is a goddess and the extremely critical borderline nonsensical postings about obama*.

*not surprisingly, the same people insulting you agree wholeheatedly with DB and the other VC posters. don't you just love the smell of hackery in the morning? i sure do.
10.11.2008 11:59am
U.Va. Grad:
To be fair, Shitsville State has an excellent program in fertilizer law.
10.11.2008 12:11pm
DiverDan (mail):

Temple Law School - after previous stints at Georgetown, George Mason, and NY Law Schools.


Can't hold a job, huh?
10.11.2008 12:13pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
"If he/she really wanted to know that, he/she would have taken the 1.8 seconds it takes these days to answer questions like that; you go to Google"

Dangerous to "misoverestimate" the intelligence of internet users.
You may be leaping to a incorrect conclusion. To know that you can google, is not the same as to do it automatically as a first response. A number of times I have started to compose emails, and only partway through the process thought to try googling to get an answer. No doubt I will eventually recognize google as a first response. Who knows where the commenter is on this learning curve.
10.11.2008 12:14pm
Chris_t (mail):
Shitsville law alum, class of 2001.

Its a practictioners school for real lawyers, not an academic breeding ground for leftist radicals. :)
10.11.2008 12:24pm
Chris_t (mail):
funny thing, some guy in an article about Palin referred to the actual college I graduated from as Sagebrush U. I've taken a liking to it and have started using it.
10.11.2008 12:25pm
BlackX (mail):
Ditto on the closing the italics tag.

On the subject itself, though not in this case, asking people for information that is readily available is at times a way to keep the conversation going.

I wondered enough that I looked it up myself before anyone asked. Given the quality of that post, I expected Podunk U. Guess VC needed a token PDS rep.

(Note I'm not voting for either mainstream candidate.)
10.11.2008 12:45pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Brian K - "believe Palin is a goddess..." Exaggerate much? That really pushes the dispassionate discussion forward, y'know? But it's those other guys who just don't get it, right?

To the topic: Those of us who absorbed our social skills under the old system will be more likely to be influenced by such rhetorical ploys. While many of us have also developed defenses against such slyness over the years, it is possible that a google-raised generation will not even have to. The social cost of using such a ploy and being proven wrong will discourage blowhards and deceivers.

They will, of course, simply find a new strategy.
10.11.2008 12:56pm
Fub:
I suspect there's a tinge of elitism here -- the reader was, presumably, hoping that the answer would be "Shitsville University Law School" so he/she could say -- well, what do you expect from such a dope.
I am a graduate of Shitsville University Law School, you insensitive clod!
10.11.2008 1:11pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
This post really makes me wonder if "David Post" is even a real law professor.
10.11.2008 1:16pm
ggiuhi:
I thought David's post about Palin was silly; but the 'where does he teach' commenter set a new level of stupid. Will Instapundit stop linking to Volokh because you get such an influx of mouthbreathers sometimes. (And then there are the liberal equivalents, who tend to infest Bernstein's posts.)

I know politics gets people angsty on both sides, but we have standards here.
10.11.2008 1:16pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
(that was a joke. obviously. i hope.)

obviously, the idiot whose posts DP is referring to succeeded in sending only one meta-message: i, who am asking this question, am mentally retarded.
10.11.2008 1:17pm
Jerome Cole (mail) (www):
David Post is obviously a hippy and may even be involved with the Rainbow Family. Therefore, he must be forced to listen to death metal. Hippies hate Slayer!
10.11.2008 1:20pm
Careless:
huh, I wouldn't have guessed that failing to close a tag in the body of a post would affect comments made after it.
10.11.2008 1:26pm
Jerry F:
I think the reason for that commenter's question may be simpler than that. After the Palin post, chances are that dozens or hundreds of us (myself included) were asking ourselves that same question. Like me, almost all of us found out the answer by doing a quick Google search, so we never bothered leaving a comment. But out of a group of dozens or hundreds of people, it is not surprising that there would be one person who didn't think at the time of making a Google search, hence the commenter's question.
10.11.2008 1:26pm
ggiuhi:
If so he must be a bit of a simpleton then, since the sidebar links to Post's law school page.
10.11.2008 1:30pm
Careless:

After the Palin post, chances are that dozens or hundreds of us (myself included) were asking ourselves that same question. Like me, almost all of us found out the answer by doing a quick Google search, so we never bothered leaving a comment

When I noticed the association with Cato, I had to check again to make sure it was the right David Post
10.11.2008 1:37pm
Passing By:
Meta-communication, as it were — "by asking this question, I am signalling to you all that I think David Post is a dop

If that's the message this person intended, it's a safe bet they didn't attend law school. I went to a "top ten" law school, yet a good 20% of my law professors were dopes. ;-)
10.11.2008 1:56pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Careless:
huh, I wouldn't have guessed that failing to close a tag in the body of a post would affect comments made after it.


Some blogging software automatically checks and closes all tags at the end of content. Some doesn't. Failing to balance tags is a very easy mistake to make. Proof-reading the post doesn't always help the author catch the missed </i>. In the case of this post, David italicized the very last line, so the omission didn't affect his post, but only the one afterwards! That means he couldn't see the problem on "preview".

I am aware of this issue because I blog. Also, I've seen this happen in comments when a person commenting fails to close a tag.

I guess given the content of David's post is 'meta communication', I should mention that my comment didn't mean to imply anything other than "Please fix the italics". I know we are supposed to send email privately. I usually do, but I admit to laziness this time.
10.11.2008 2:23pm
jim47:
In my social circle, a common (only slightly ironic) refrain is now "If I only had an iPhone" to punctuate exactly those moments to which David refers — in online communication you would never have to try to figure the answer out, you'd just look it up, but right now you are with people, not computers, so you can't.

And I too have noticed how much the internet has changed communication. Once upon a time if you couldn't come up with a fact off the top of your head, you might have an enjoyable conversation trying to dredge it out of your memory or reason your way to an answer by putting together the other things you knew. Presumably that activity didn't become less enjoyable, but I have noticed I now seldom find myself engaging in it.
10.11.2008 2:25pm
jb (mail):
David, if you are at Temple, and Ilya is now at Penn, maybe a Philly Volokh pub night is in order?
10.11.2008 2:50pm
MS (mail):
I've noticed something similar with literary references. You still read things, even online, along the lines of "Someone once said, Nabokov I think, that ...:" Even before google, this device was meta communication, but now it can never be taken at face value.
10.11.2008 2:52pm
Hoosier:
"I'm quite certain we set the Volokh Conspiracy record for number of comments on a single posting (419 at last count) —"

Nope. The one on host-desecration went over 600, if I recall correctly.

MS: ""Someone once said, Nabokov I think, that ...:" Even before google, this device was meta communication, but now it can never be taken at face value."

Given Nabokov's obsession with the "unreliable narrator," I'm not even sure we can say that he said something if, indeed, he said it.
10.11.2008 3:17pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
A bit sensitive about our pedigree, David?
10.11.2008 3:29pm
OrinKerr:
My understanding had been that the post with the most comments had been this guest post by Maggie Gallagher at 550.
10.11.2008 3:36pm
John Martin:
Advanced 21st Century thinkers do not even bother to look things up on Google/Wikipedia anymore. Why should one waste time actually looking things up? It is enough to know the answer is there. I just assume everything in Google, by reference, is part of my memory/knowledge base.

Questions, such as, "Where does Post teach?," need not be asked, answered, or even looked up. Because its in Google.
10.11.2008 3:43pm
David Warner:
Hoosier,

"Nope. The one on host-desecration went over 600, if I recall correctly."

Surely we hit the record for a non-Jukeboxed thread though, although I fear I filled that role not so admirably...
10.11.2008 3:51pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I could not help but notice that among teachers, as opposed to -- say business people -- the titles of rank are supremely important. Virtual wars have broken out about the distinctions between mere "lecturers" and "professors." It's reminiscent of the Germanic tendency to use the appellation "Herr Docktor." In other societies, the title "Engineer" is used as an honorific rather than a description of someone who has completed a course of study. I am now older than the physician whose services I use. I address him as "David" but on the phone when he leaves a message he is "Dr. XXXX."

What is it about certain occupations that make the use of titles so important? What is it about teaching law that makes where you went to school or where you teach such a critical part of your psyche that you want to devote an entire thread to trying to belittle someone who questioned -- or as you would have it, slyly impugn - you bona fides? What does that have to do with the validity of your argument? Some others have referred to your career path as if to imply that that gives your likes and dislikes more weight than others.

I met a man once who, in his sixties, could not stop referring back to his high school years as a football stud. That was the crowning achievement of his life. If he had chosen a title it would have been "High School Football Captain and Cheerleader Stud."

Congratulations "Professor."
10.11.2008 4:07pm
Henry Schaffer (mail):

word "retarded" as a description of an individual


Is there a one-word or concise description for "a person whose mental developmental age is significantly lower than the person's chronological age"?

I just read that "female" is considered somewhat pejorative, and that one should use "woman". At least that's only one word.
10.11.2008 4:59pm
Nifonged:
Most people use the term special needs, imagine Sarah Palin using the word "retarded" in a public debate. What would the reaction be?
10.11.2008 5:02pm
Lakini:
As a current attendee of Shitsville, I take offense to the pejorative usage of our school's name, just because we are not anal retentive (no pun intended), it doesn't mean we are not fine attorneys.
10.11.2008 5:16pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Credentialism is new? The imputing of talent (or lack thereof) to credentials is an old, old trick that I quit listening to decades ago. I don't care who's writing or what he's done or what position he holds, his argument-of-the-moment is right there in front of me, to be taken on its own merits.
10.11.2008 5:26pm
David Warner:
Henry Shaffer,

"Is there a one-word or concise description for "a person whose mental developmental age is significantly lower than the person's chronological age"?"

Cognitively impaired or developmentally delayed are the terms du jour, although there's been something of a backlash so mental retardation is also not beyond the pale.
10.11.2008 6:03pm
Nifonged:
This might be meta-communication, but who WAS charged with murder in "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Its been close to 20 years since I read it my sophomore year in high school and do not recall. My wife doesn't remember it either. I tried a google search, I exceeded 1.8 seconds with no luck.
10.11.2008 6:12pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Henry Schaffer
I just read that "female" is considered somewhat pejorative, and that one should use "woman".

My first thought was "You're kidding?!" Then, I realized I've heard "female" used with "that tone" in certain circumstances where it would seem more appropriate to say "women".

Anyword can be perjorative. If people start to use it as a perjorative, it becomes a perjorative.

My older sister said she new "special needs" was going the way of the do-do when my niece was in the 3rd grades. Kids on the play ground were insulting each other by calling the other kid "special".
10.11.2008 6:24pm
smitty1e:
One aspect of the problem is that information management is a challenge.
If you've changed schools, it's easy to allow misinformation.
As a Smith, I have problems, even on small networks, with name collisions.
Then there are those problematic areas, Wikipedia to pick on a more obvious one, where subjective information may not execactly be accurate.
10.11.2008 6:52pm
Brian K (mail):
Brian K - "believe Palin is a goddess..." Exaggerate much? That really pushes the dispassionate discussion forward, y'know? But it's those other guys who just don't get it, right?

thank you for proving my point about political hackery. i bet i can count the number of times you've made a comment like this to someone using "the one" on zero hands. and the "dispassionate discussion" is especially hilarious coming from someone who makes the posts that you do.



chances are that dozens or hundreds of us
hundreds? where is village idiot's exagerration detector when you need it. i highly doubt there were hundreds of unique posters.
10.11.2008 6:53pm
Nifonged:
I'm still waiting for the answer to, "What was the name of that [withdrawn] guy in To Kill A Mockingbird who was charged with the murder?"

This has gone way past 1.8 seconds.
10.11.2008 7:13pm
Splunge:
Post muses that "meta-communication" layered on top of your precise words is a new Google-era phenomenon?

You misunderstood my posting. I didn't mean to suggest that meta-communication was a new phenomenon. I meant to suggest that this particular example -- of asking an easily googlable question as a way of making some other point -- is new. DavidP

Goodness, let me introduce you to some fascinating concepts: metaphor, insinuation, implication, allusion, symbolism. Been around since Cicero laid quill to parchment, at least, and probably since Eve made an artful statement about the snake to imply it wasn't her fault about the apple.
10.11.2008 7:23pm
David Post (mail) (www):
Boo Radley was the "developmentally disabled" guy I was thinking of — though it turns out my memory was even worse than I thought: the defendant in the murder trial was Tom Robinson. See the wikipedia entry here
10.11.2008 7:26pm
Nifonged:
Thanks, I thought Tom was charged with rape, but I could be wrong (although wikipedia agrees with me, a "murder" scenario makes little sense given Harper Lee's theme). you're right - rape, not murder. my mistake. DavidPI also thought Boo's "situation" wasn't clear-cut, that is he may have had some disabilities or he may have been just affected by his overbearing family life - the option was open for interpretation.
10.11.2008 7:33pm
pluribus:
Excuse me, Moneyrunner43, but do I detect a bit of inconsistency in your cynical post?

First, you allege that, "among teachers, as opposed to -- say business people -- the titles of rank are supremely important." Then you cite as an example, your "physician," without indicating that he is a teacher. Your second example is a "man" who, "in his sixties, could not stop referring back to his high school years as a football stud." Was this man also a teacher?

I'm not a teacher, a physician, or an ex-football stud, but I do detect a resentment in your post that you seem unable to support with your examples. If teachers are so gol-darned obssessed with titles, and you are so willing to hand out examples, why don't you give us some examples of teachers to whom "titles of rank are supremely important"?

Do you like to be disagreeable to make a point, or just for the sake of being disagreeable?
10.11.2008 7:47pm
byomtov (mail):
I could not help but notice that among teachers, as opposed to -- say business people -- the titles of rank are supremely important.

You've never noticed that business people attach importance to titles? Look again. Why do you think "President" became "Chief Executive Officer," which metastasized into "Chief Operating Officer," "Chief Marketing Officer," "Chief Dishwashing Officer," etc. Why do you think the title "vice-president" is virtually meaningless in many organizations, and we have scads of "Managing Directors," "Senior this and that," and so on?
10.11.2008 8:07pm
pvd (mail):
pluribus: I'm not Moneyrunner43 but let me give you an example from a UMD prof Doctor from twenty years ago.

PVD: Professor Tillsbury? (wanting clarification on a question in a Speech and Personal Communications class)

Dr. Tillsbury: You can call me Lee (or Leigh - never actually inquired) or Dr. Tillsbury! (walking away)

PVD: Hey, asshole!

My future wife was in class. It amazed her that I still managed to get an "A".

And my title is business owner. I have a lot of other titles, some required by law but that's the one that counts for me.
10.11.2008 8:20pm
wm13:
Isn't it entirely possible that the commenter to whom Prof. Post refers was employing a rather more focused rhetorical strategy that Prof. Post credits? Temple is a lot less prestigious than the schools where most of the other Conspirators teach, and less prestigious than the almae matres of many (most?) of the VC readers.

It's a good thing that this isn't abovethelaw.com, or we would have had a dozen comments pointing that Temple is totally TTT. In fairness, they would say the same about my current firm (Seyfarth Shaw), though not, praise God, about my alma mater.
10.11.2008 8:49pm
wm13:
I'm realizing that my previous comment isn't clear as to rhetorical strategies. It seems to me quite possible that the person who asked where Prof. Post taught law (i) knew the answer, (ii) expected that readers would do the google search to find out, (iii) expected that readers, having done the search, would be mildly disdainful, and (iv) most important, expected that this whole strategy would be more effective than merely saying, "Prof. Post teaches at a third tier law school."

Especially this strategy would more effective with Prof. Post's supporters, who would check his credentials assuming that they were in line with the other Conspirators, and be disappointed. Because I have noticed that, right or left, all lawyers (including law professors) are obsessed with credentials.
10.11.2008 9:01pm
pluribus:
PVD, I can't see you from here, but I can see that king size chip on your shoulder clear as day. Your professor said you could call him by his first name and you responded by calling him an asshole. That's real class. And so witty, too! And you can't help reminding us that you got an A and a wife out of your intermperance. Way to go! Pardon me if I find your modesty underwhelming!
10.11.2008 9:16pm
Joel Thompson:
David,

Hence the website http://www.justfuckinggoogleit.com/ :)
10.11.2008 9:26pm
LM (mail):
David Post,

Whether Sagar (why pretend we don't know his name?) was being sincere or sarcastic brings up another subtext percolating through internet comment threads, i.e., how and how well we perceive each other's intentions without the familiar cues we rely on in more traditional venues. In particular, how much evidence do we require to infer bad faith? Based on the dearth of internet civility, I'd say "not enough," and I think you may be making that mistake with Sagar.

As you probably know, I interpreted Segar's question the same way you did, and I criticized it. Sagar then insisted that the question was sincere. I don't think it should matter whether I believe that; only whether it's at all plausible, and if so, then what? You mentioned that Sagar asked the same question on another thread. Was that before or after you, David Warner and I pointed to the answer in the Palin/Patriot thread? If after, then Sagar is screwed, and the rest of this comment has only general applicability. But if it was before, can we really rule out that the thought never occurred to Google for the answer? I do know people, and I'll bet you do too, who learned only fairly late in life how to visit and participate in sites like this one, and maybe how to pick up and send some e-mail, but that's about the extent of their cyber-literacy.

I'd argue that if Sagar claims to be sincere and if Sagar's sincerity is at all plausible, it's in our interest to give the benefit of the doubt. That doesn't mean I'm abandoning my skepticism -- I do in fact doubt the question wasn't meant to send a message whether or not it sought an answer -- but the cost of treating it as sincere seems a lot lower than the alternative, which is what we have now. And that's an environment where the most belligerent, cynical reactions to every comment get voiced to our constant detriment.

(FWIW, I'm not saying you shouldn't have used Sagar's question to make your point in this post. I'm not sure how I feel about that. But I do think you could have sent a more constructive message by at least mentioning that when challenged, Sagar repeatedly professed sincerity.)
10.11.2008 10:51pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
For all you Temple bashers, US News &World Report ranks its law school as a Tier 1 school and it is tied with Pepperdine.
10.11.2008 11:20pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
And if I must reveal my pro-Temple biases, I have JD, MBA, ('99) and LL.M ('01) graduate degrees from Temple. And I am currently happily employed as a full time tenure track community college professor.
10.11.2008 11:25pm
LM (mail):
BTW, and with all due respect to Maggie Gallagher's impressive ability to provoke the villagers, the record of over 600 comments was, as Hoosier pointed out (but was too lazy to get the link), here.
10.11.2008 11:25pm
LM (mail):
Jon Rowe,

Wm13 doesn't do his elite alma mater any credit by suggesting there could be persuasive value in identifying one's opponent as an endowed professor "only" at Temple Law School. That would be patently absurd even if David wasn't also an IP expert in his own right. [bad pun intended]
10.11.2008 11:46pm
Cody:
Were I Post, I'm not sure I would have been so quick to try and prove I was a real law professor; it would only make my remarkably vacuous posts about Palin more embarrassing.

(Also, is it me, or was Post astonishingly incoherent? Apparently being a "mover and shaker" in cyberlaw doesn't automatically translate into being able to string a coherent paragraph together about the impact of technology on communications...)
10.11.2008 11:53pm
pluribus:
Cody:

Also, is it me, or was Post astonishingly incoherent?

No, it is you.
10.11.2008 11:58pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Hay DAvid, your dum!
10.12.2008 12:08am
U.Va. Grad:
though not, praise God, about my alma mater.

They'd say that about your alma mater, and mine as well. They say it about pretty much anywhere that's not HYSCCN.
10.12.2008 12:08am
David Warner:
Nifonged,

It's called a senior moment. Some day you, too, will share the joy.
10.12.2008 1:48am
Sagar (mail):
Prof. Post,

Wow! I don't know if I should be honored to be the main subject (or object) of a post or should feel a bit of shame for causing those kind of feelings and reaction in you. I am thinking back a bit about my behaviour and comments while reading your post, but I don't think it is a conniving conspiracy via meta-communication to cast aspersions on your academic pedigree. Just Occam's razor. So, instead of trying to psycho-analyze what I did or tried to do, I will just let you know the sequence of events (as best as I can remember, without going back to the posts/comments and their timeline).

When I first saw the Palin post (the level of logical reasoning in it certainly was not up to the level of a lawyer, let alone a law prof) I made the comment (part question, part insult, may be) and there were several similar direct insults - which you seem to prefer (if just called you dumb) without the meta-communication - but you didn't respond to any questions or comments. So there was a thought that may be this was a trick post (I didn't know you).

Then I read your other post where you stated you taught law for 10 yrs (paraphrasing), so I kind of flippantly commented, "so you are a real prof; but where?" (you know, I asked a two part question and got part of the ans, so the rest was due). You and others (incl. David Warner and LM) suggested I should 've googled. It didn't occur to me to google your creds in the middle of commenting and then comment based on that - somehow sounds like "opposition research" that politicians do! In my mind, there was a discussion - you posted something and several readers commented or questioned you, and kind of expected a response from you (I know there is no right or expectation on our part that you must respond - but hey, this was a conversation). I did notice the top-right part where you all have your names listed, but the Heading says "contacts" - so I just assumed those would popup the email app - until someone (LM?) mentioned them. You guys might want to modify the heading to "Bio" instead of "contacts". In retrospect, my question was rude to you and appears to have touched a nerve. I am sorry.

But in your post you make an assumption that I was trying to be elitist (lefty readers here seem to think people who are not jumping on obama wagon are anti-intellectuals - so it was interesting that you thought I was the elitist trying to belittle you creds!). If I had to guess, I would have placed you in a top-tier law school (with your condescending and dismissive attitude) looking down at non-intellectual pols and their supporters. Had I seen your bio, I might have said something snarky about your school or your stint for Justice Ginsburg ...

Finally, I am not a republican and not a McCain-Palin supporter, so it is not like I have a personal stake in this thing. And I don't think you are such a high profile figure that I should resort to subtle meta-communication to undermine your reputation! However, as brilliant as you reportedly are, your Palin posts do not do you any favor. It reminds me of Paul Krugman, who supposedly was a brilliant economist but his BDS clearly affects his ability to write reasoned political commentary (this is also in response to your student who vouched for you as one of the top three movers &shakers in your field).

To the guy who wondered where I went to law school: I didn't. My post-graduate degrees are in engineering and MBA. Since this was a political post, I didn't think I needed to be a lawyer to comment.
10.12.2008 4:35am
lucia (mail) (www):
Sagar--


so I kind of flippantly commented, "so you are a real prof; but where?"

That you characterize your comment as flippant supports David speculation about your intention to communicate something using meta-content.

My post-graduate degrees are in engineering and MBA. Since this was a political post, I didn't think I needed to be a lawyer to comment.


You don't need to be a lawyer to comment. Many who comment here aren't lawyers. I'm an engineer.
10.12.2008 12:52pm
lucia (mail) (www):
David's contention. (Some day I will learn to proof-read.)
10.12.2008 12:55pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
Cool post.

I particularly like your liberal use of the catchy "meta-" prefix. It made me feel like I was reading some establishment, Continental stuff. Good times.
10.12.2008 1:26pm
Ken Arromdee:
Apparently my comment was deleted, but let's try rewording: When people think you've said something that's particularly unintelligent, having a job which is normally associated with intelligence, like law professor, becomes an ironic contrast. Someone who asks where you're a professor is pointing out this irony, not actually wondering where you're a professor.

Posting that anyone who wants to can easily find your credentials misses the point.
10.12.2008 1:35pm
Ben Franklin (mail):
In addition to being a dope, Post has an exaggerated notion of his own self-importance. I googled the phrase he suggested and there was no information about his biography on the first page other than a link to this blog entry on VC. The next link was to some David Post who is a musician of some sort. I didn't bother searching past the first page since it is not a subject of any interest to me. A dope with a law degree is still a dope.

It is also telling that Post assumes the poster was hoping he taught at a cow college. My impression is that people with Ivy League degrees are held in much higher contempt by the general populace. There are reasons for this but given his lack of self-awareness I doubt that Post would understand them.

As far as not directly calling Post a dope I suppose that if one doesn't want his post removed (not really a concern of mine) it is best to approach the subject tangentially. I don't think it is a stretch to say that Mr. Post has greatly lowered the quality of the VC by his whining (I am too a law professor, as if that compensates for the low quality of his arguments) or by his carrying water for the baseless attacks on Palin when Obama can literally call for intanticide and is given a pass due solely to the color of his skin and the political party he is affiliated with.

Every enterprise on the internet has trolls who generate hits by posting patently absurd things and generating controvery. They are the intellectual equivalent of shock jocks. That seems to be the roll Mr. Post has assumed here. It's a shame it has come to this but I bet VC traffic is up as a result.
10.12.2008 2:00pm
David Warner:
Nifonged,

"Have you read Post's posts (again, no pun intended)?

I'll refrain from personal comment, but David Post has no business commenting on Sarah Palin's intellect."

It's his blog, he can cry if he wants to. As my own mother seems to be infected with the same anti-Palin bug, I can vouch for the fact that it does not necessarily correlate with intelligence.

And they may turn out to be right. I just humbly contend that there exists insufficient evidence to jump to that conclusion. Those who do I suspect are too quick to dismiss exculpatory testimony for reasons having little to do with a disinterested evaluation of the facts in hand.

I admit to being too slow for reasons of my own.
10.12.2008 3:01pm
Hoosier:
Shitsville Uiniveristy = Notre Dame in 10-12 years.

(Sorry. That should read: "Shitsville University at Overpriced." To avoid confusion with Chicago State University.)
10.12.2008 3:45pm
Hoosier:
By the way: David's academic credentials are irrelevant. He knows how Tom Petty fits into The Law. (And I'm not talking about his arrests for possession.)
10.12.2008 3:46pm
Hoosier:
David Post--Sorry to contradict you and Orin. But the Host Desecration thread reached 607.
10.12.2008 4:32pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I'm the one who asserted Lawrence Lessig, Eugene Volokh, and David Post were the movers &shakers in Cyberlaw. Let me tell you one important component in my making this assertion. I teach a copyright heavy course at Philadelphia University part time (in addition to my full time community college job) and Lawrence Lessig was brought in as a guest speaker. When chatting with him I mentioned I had Post as a law prof and that was where I learned most of my copyright knowledge. Lessig said Post was a friend and that when Cyberlaw was just emerging as a new field, Post, Lessig, and Volokh taught a course together to (I think) lawyers. Post is fit to walk with Lessig and Volokh. Are you? All three of them have clerked for Supreme Court Justices. Have you? Post has a JD and a PhD (both from top universities). Do you?
10.12.2008 5:43pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

David Post--Sorry to contradict you and Orin. But the Host Desecration thread reached 607.

Still right and still lazy.
10.12.2008 6:32pm
David Warner:
Jon Rowe,

"Post is fit to walk with Lessig and Volokh. Are you? All three of them have clerked for Supreme Court Justices. Have you? Post has a JD and a PhD (both from top universities). Do you?"

Well, I do put my pants on one leg at a time, so I'm thinking I could manage the walking part. As to the others, there's a reason Post sings the lead and I'm in the chorus. I'll even forgo the etymology of "clerk" argument and concede your point.
10.12.2008 6:41pm
pvd (mail):
pluribus:
Your professor said you could call him by his first name and you responded by calling him an asshole.


Then I did not communicate effectively that it was an either/or proposition; that is, he would condescend to allow me to use his first name or I could use his title but was not permitted to use a term, professor, that he (evidently) considered beneath him.

For calling him "Professor", a term that I feel conveys respect, I was dressed down in front of the other students present. It was not an acceptable response from him and a rather interesting exchange developed from both his snottiness and my insolence. Yes, a prudent 17 year old would not have made that comment. My reference to grades was an attempt (obviously poorly done) at humor.

I have the pleasure of dealing with a large number of highly educated individuals in a professional capacity and have remarked on many occasions that I enjoy working with individuals much brighter than myself. Additionally, many of these individuals are also close personal friends. By highly educated, I mean that approxiamtely 25 percent of my clients are PhD's and another 15 percent are engineering professionals, most with advanced or multiple degrees.

However, after many years of observation, I maintain that many (a significantly size minority) of the individuals that populate academia, as contrasted with the enginnering professionals, are in a state of suspended development. The engineers are far more likely to focus on the facts presented rather than engage in substantial debate over trivial issues. They're also far less likely to take offense in a negotiation process than a member of the academy - there is less reliance on the appearance of authority and greater reliance on facts.

My suspicion (and I do not have anything other than anecdote and personal observations to offer as proof so it is very subjective) is that the environment of the university which is usually organized as a vertical hierarchy that fosters prestige struggles similar to juvenile cliques (this phenomenon is not limited either to juveniles or to academia). This is not unusual in an organization wherein every level has a defined status and assumes caste-like properties. Indeed, the military with its rank system is another excellent example of this behavioral model and the one that I find quite analogous to academia.

And, finally, to the chips on my shoulder. I suppose that for all of your lack of knowledge of me, I should still value your opinion. Yet, with no disrespect meant, that opinion is in opposition to those that I work with and with whom I choose to spend time.
10.12.2008 7:34pm
MikeS (mail):
"I've Just Seen a Face" was on the Help LP in the UK and the Rubber Soul LP in the U.S. Since the CDs follow the U.K. LPs' playlists, it's on the Help CD.

Did you really not know that? Honestly, kids these days.
10.12.2008 8:57pm
John S.:


I could not help but notice that among teachers, as opposed to -- say business people -- the titles of rank are supremely important. Virtual wars have broken out about the distinctions between mere "lecturers" and "professors."


On an interesting aside, a former VP of engineering at my company would always insist that he not be introduced as a VP. I never asked exactly why, but I presume it's because customers/clients/interviewees treated him differently based on title, and it conferred a benefit to not be singled out with a high title. He interviewed me, and I never realized his rank until I saw his office for the first time.

This would say, at least for a single point in the engineering community, that titles can actually be a hindrance.
10.12.2008 9:02pm
pluribus:
pvd:

I have the pleasure of dealing with a large number of highly educated individuals in a professional capacity and have remarked on many occasions that I enjoy working with individuals much brighter than myself. Additionally, many of these individuals are also close personal friends. By highly educated, I mean that approxiamtely 25 percent of my clients are PhD's and another 15 percent are engineering professionals, most with advanced or multiple degrees.

My, my, I am impressed! And yet with all of your many, many distinctions (which you are so articulate in detailing here) you are still so humble! I hope nobody has called you an asshole lately.
10.12.2008 9:51pm
pvd (mail):
pluribus:
And yet with all of your many, many distinctions (which you are so articulate in detailing here) you are still so humble! I hope nobody has called you an asshole lately.


It actually happens on a regular basis. I'm in a profession where, if I do perform competently, one party will be invariably be unhappy with me. Such is life.... everybody has an opinion. I put stock in those of person I respect.
10.12.2008 11:12pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
pluribus:


Excuse me, Moneyrunner43, but do I detect a bit of inconsistency in your cynical post?



The use of "excuse me" is one of those phrases that are used to mean exactly the opposite of what the words say. You are not looking to be excused; you are using the phrase to contradict. And I don't think that "cynical" means what you think it means.


First, you allege that, "among teachers, as opposed to -- say business people -- the titles of rank are supremely important." Then you cite as an example, your "physician," without indicating that he is a teacher. Your second example is a "man" who, "in his sixties, could not stop referring back to his high school years as a football stud." Was this man also a teacher?



No my interlocutor, I used the example of a physician as ANOTHER occupation in which titles are considered very important. I was using the man in his sixties as an example of another individual for whom history and pedigree was overwhelmingly important. Someone else brought up the military in which rank is extremely important and where having gone to a service academy is also important. So you see, I was associating law profs (and not just law profs) with those for whom titles and credential are unusually important.

If there is any doubt at all about that, simply refer back to the reason for this thread as well as some of the responses about law school tiers, who clerked for whom and all the other little rank pulling that is done in academia. As a non-academic watching this from the outside it is instructive and -- I think- mildly amusing.


I'm not a teacher, a physician, or an ex-football stud, but I do detect a resentment in your post that you seem unable to support with your examples. If teachers are so gol-darned obssessed with titles, and you are so willing to hand out examples, why don't you give us some examples of teachers to whom "titles of rank are supremely important"?



Why do you think for a moment that I "resent" the scramble for status and hierarchy that is exhibited by academics? I'm merely observing and my observations are not even that original. Books and movies have been written about it. You may want to read "Lucky Jim;" it's a wonderful comedic novel about academia. As to people for whom titles of rank are important, exhibit "A" is our host.


Do you like to be disagreeable to make a point, or just for the sake of being disagreeable?



I'm not trying to be disagreeable, but VC if filled with people who are busy making disparaging remarks about others. Post seems to have an obsession with Palin. Unless you are his sock puppet, I suggest that you let him fight his own battles.
10.13.2008 9:16am
EconomicNeocon (mail):
Well said, Ben Franklin.

I googled Post's suggested search ("David Post Bio") just now. In addition to hitting this thread, the only other hit was to some tv.com link.

David Post. Wrong about VC comment records. Wrong about Google hits. Wrong about Palin.

I am EconomicNeocon and I approved this comment.
10.13.2008 1:53pm
pluribus:
Moneyrunner43:

I'm not trying to be disagreeable, but VC if filled with people who are busy making disparaging remarks about others. Post seems to have an obsession with Palin. Unless you are his sock puppet, I suggest that you let him fight his own battles.

I'm nobody's sock puppet, but when I come across a phony message on this blog, or anywhere else, I reserve the right to identify it. I take it you don't just resent teachers, but also doctors, ex-high school studs, and VC posters who don't agree with you. Your problem, not mine.
10.13.2008 2:05pm
Hoosier:
pluribus--I don't want to get into any sort of angry exchange. But I've been in academia my entire adult life, and I can assure you that the obsession with rank and title is alive and well. Remarkable, really. I can give you some examples if you want. But they are really very embarrasing to someone in the profession.

If by "teachers" one means primary and secondary teachers, then I think things are very different. In fact, that's part of the problem with the profession. People tend to be more attracted to careers that allow for "recognizable" advancement. An attorney can become a partner. A regional VP can become an executive VP, then president of X. Corporation. An assistant prof. can become an associate, then full.

But a teacher who does not go into administration will retire as "a teacher." In other words, if high school teachers are obsessed with rank and title, they are blind.
10.13.2008 3:17pm
Roger Sweeny (mail):
A Jewish law school? :)
10.13.2008 4:49pm
pluribus:
I'm not at all angry, Hoosier. Your post is quite reasonable, and I'm in no position to agree or disagree, since I'm not a teacher and, when I was a student and rubbed up against lots of teachers, I confess I didn't notice the "obsession" you speak of--but maybe it's there. My problem with Moneyrunner was his argument that, because his physician and a sixtyish ex-high school stud he knew seemed to be status conscious (in the case of the ex-stud there was no rank or title involved at all, just memories of high school days), it proved that teachers are that way. I thought it was a logical non-sequitur. 'Nuff said.
10.13.2008 4:56pm
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