Category Archives: Readings

Vaclav Havel

BBC reports that Vaclav Havel has died at age 75.

His book of essays Living in Truth, and especially the essay The Power of the Powerless likely would be high on any list of works I have read that left an imprint.

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Read Me

The colleagues have been busy:

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Two Great Essays at Jotwell

I try not to use this blog to promote my other projects too often for fear of becoming a broken record.  But sometimes I cannot resist.

Over at Jotwell we’ve been publishing a whole lot of interesting reviews of recent scholarship relevant to the law, and I could be bragging about it every week.  But the two most recent essays have been particularly extraordinary, and I recommend them to everyone.

Sex/Power/Law is Robin West‘s review, for our Jurisprudence section, of Marc Spindelman, Essay, Sexuality’s Law,  20 Colum. J. Gender & L. (forthcoming 2011). It begins like this:

Marc Spindelman’s essay Sexuality’s Law, forthcoming in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, is one of the most extraordinary pieces of legal writing on the interrelations of law, culture and sexuality to appear in a law journal in well over a decade, perhaps much longer.

It ends with:

This is writing that matters, that serves truth, that responds to injury, and that restores one’s faith in the legal academy; this is what legal scholarship can be.

And the stuff in between is well worth your time.

Banana Republic.Com is Frank Pasquale‘s review, for our Cyberlaw section, of Jonathan Zittrain, Ubiquitous Human Computing, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, vol. 366 no. 1881 3813-3821 (28 October 2008):

Wasn’t the internet supposed to solve these problems? Wouldn’t a “wealth of networks” guarantee opportunity for all, as prediction markets unearthed the “wisdom of crowds?”  It turns out that the net, while mitigating some forms of inequality in the US, is accelerating others.  Jonathan Zittrain’s essay “Ubiquitous Human Computing” examines a future of “minds for sale,” where an atomized mass of knowledge workers bid for bite-sized “human intelligence tasks.”  Zittrain explores some positive aspects of the new digital dispensation, but the larger lesson is clear: without serious legal interventions, an expansive global workforce will be scrambling for these jobs by “racing to the bottom” of privacy and wage standards.  This review explains Zittrain’s perspective, applauds his effort to shift the agenda of internet law, and argues that trends untouched on in Zittrain’s essay make his argument all the more urgent.

This review is a little longer than our usual fare, but it’s a rollicking read about a very important subject.

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I So Don’t Do This Networking Stuff

How to Save the World, a blog I generally like, has a repulsive essay, The Ten Keys To Effective Networking.

The item is repulsive in part because it credibly argues that careers are furthered by treating people as means rather then ends, by selling yourself in a soundbite, and the display and exchange of favors. I’m fine with the exchange of favors stuff — I’m not that much of an ivory tower guy — and I understand that there are times in life when you have to sell. But the idea that you “prune your networks” (abandon people who are not useful), and “understand that every conversation is an implicit contract” (nothing can be abstractly interesting?) is just too much like what I least liked about living in Washington D.C.

And yes, there are a bunch of neat people I’ve met over the years that I wish I kept up with. Life just gets in the way.

[Original draft 3/21/2004. As part of my blog redesign, I’ve been going through draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010: I was reminded of this last night: we went to a very swanky law school event at an large and quite elegant home some small ways south of here. The guest list was studded with important people and large donors.   I didn’t recognize many of them, and ran away from one of the few I did — a right-wing local congressperson — since it seemed like an occasion where I should be polite.   We spoke to a few people we knew.  We went home.

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Elves are from Europe, Mortals from Cleveland

ElfpunkEurope and Faerie [Update: link fixed] suggests that “the entire genre of elfpunk is really about the way intelligent and sympathetic Europeans and Americans view each other today.”

There’s at least enough truth in this proposed metaphor about modern fantasy with elves and cities to make a very entertaining blog entry, even if I’m not 100% certain — well, not even 50% certain — as to which of the elves-at-the-gates books I’ve read for which this sort of works qualify as elfpunk.

(spotted via 0xDECAFBAD).

[Original draft 3/29/2004. As part of my blog redesign, I’ve been going through draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010: I should have deleted this one, but I love the title.

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Well, He Should Have Said It

Edmund BurkeThere is a web page devoted to tracking down the source of the quote “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (or words to that effect). It is pretty amazing.

[Original draft 10/30/2009.  In preparation for my blog redesign, I found draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

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Delusion Points

Worth Reading: Stephen M. Walt, Delusion Points in Foreign Policy.

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