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“the ethos of Legal Insurrection is much more subtle”

“the ethos of Legal Insurrection is much more subtle”

Commenter Taxpayer1234 mentioned yesterday that s/he had written a graduate school paper on conservative political blogs, and s/he was kind enough to forward it to me.

Three blogs were the focus of the paper, Legal Insurrection, Ace of Spades HQ, and The Other McCain.  Remember, everything is relative.

Here are the pertinent excerpts (emphasis mine):

Ace of Spades’ masthead contains a quote from H.L. Mencken: “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”  This speaks to the writing style of the blog, which is sharp-tongued, sometimes vulgar, and often humorous….

McCain’s blog is the most aggressively promoted of the three blogs, with frequent entreaties to “hit the tip jar” and snarky comments about other bloggers who haven’t linked to his site recently.

The last blog is called Legal Insurrection run by Cornell law professor William Jacobson….

Jacobson’s style is straightforward and low-key yet engaging.  He discusses pertinent legal issues without using legal vernacular; yet the site isn’t all about law.  Features like “The Saturday Night (Race) Card Game,” a weekly commentary on race and society, and photos of interesting/funny bumper stickers add to the site’s interest….

Even though Ace and his equally anonymous co-bloggers often use biting satire and vulgar language, this is balanced with insightful sociopolitical analyses that earn kudos from mainstream press, professional pundits, and politicians….

Robert Stacy McCain’s site, The Other McCain, has an ethos that is nearly opposite of Ace of Spades’.  McCain puts himself and his ethical and political views at the center of the blog….

Compared to the anonymous, edgy Ace of Spades and the soapbox self-promoter The Other McCain, the ethos of Legal Insurrection is much more subtle….

The patient, rational mindset needed for business litigation and arbitration is evident in the tone of the blog…

However, if the blog were too subtle, it wouldn’t be so successful.  Blog post titles like “Government Motors Energy Breakthrough—Chevy Volt Also Generates Thermal Energy” (about a Volt catching fire in a garage); “Another Day, Another Nonsense PPP Poll”; and “PolitiFact Has a Serious Problem, But I Repeat Myself” hint at the humorous content.

Jacobson’s gentle humor is combined with an obvious respect for the readers….

Grade: Well-researched, sharp analytical methodology, insightful observations.  A+


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Congrats to Taxpayer1234 for an excellent description of why LI is the favorite blog of many of us 🙂

    Taxpayer1234 in reply to Joy. | January 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    You’re welcome. It was a fun project. Methinks Aristotle and co. would heartily approve of LI.

      WarEagle82 in reply to Taxpayer1234. | January 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      But you didn’t even mention Auburn or SEC football. That would really added to the article…

        Taxpayer1234 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm

        Sorry, but the Big Ten would get in over the SEC… 🙂

        Taxpayer1234 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        Because I’m working full-time and raising a family, studying is a distant third. I’ll be 50 next month, so I’m far from the naive college student you’re implying.

        Northwestern and Purdue have been good to my family. Two of my cousins played football for Northwestern. One went on to NW’s medical school, and now he’s an Army surgeon with Iraq/Afghanistan tours under his belt. The other also completed a graduate degree at NW and today is a successful businessman. My sis earned a chemistry degree from Purdue and solely supports her children with her excellent salary. Several other Big Ten schools (Indiana, Minnesota, Penn State, Ohio State, and Illinois) awarded academic and athletic scholarships to other family members.

        I love college sports, but the college part is far more important in the grand scheme of things.

          WarEagle82 in reply to Taxpayer1234. | January 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm

          Where are your PRIORITIES! We are talking SEC football here!

          (And I never implied you are naive. I just stated that with “perpetual powerhouse” teams like Purdue and Northwestern in the conference there can’t be that much to look forward to during football season.)

Hey, what about my Auburn/SEC wrap-up I submitted? I guess you didn’t want my post to upstage this review…

BannedbytheGuardian | January 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I disagree about Stacy. Stacy & Smitty are honest & upfront. Stacy is a boots on the ground Gonzo guy with a christian bent. He gives a unique independent unfettered view wearing out the shoe leather. The guy is really there not just reading media reports.

For instance at the Iowa straw poll he was the only journalist to recognise Santorum’s family. It could have been that one of the daughters was wearing very very short shorts (!).

I don’t need to agree with Stacy – but I am grateful for his efforts. It helps me understand better & he does great travelogue on a budget.

Never ben to Ace – it sounded too partisan & nasty.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | January 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I didn’t take it as an insult to T.O.M., I think it’s part of the blog’s persona that it’s a bit over the top in terms of “hit the tip jar” etc. I wouldn’t have printed it if I thought it was intended to be derogatory.

    Taxpayer1234 in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | January 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    No, it wasn’t meant to be a diss at all. The paper was an analysis of the use of ethos in political blogs. TOM’s is more Platonic in nature, while LI’s and Ace’s is more Aristotelian.

I’ve just never been bitten by the product at “The Other McCain.” I can’t quite tell you why.
On the other hand, I love to post over at Ace with a variety of names including “Jared Loughner,” “Nancy Pelosi,” “James Shatner,” “Richard Trumka,” and “Barney Frank” to mention a few. Ace seems to invite his posters to be their most cynical, without being totally vulgar. It does have a therapeutic effect.

Thanks to Taxpayer1234 and Professor Jacobson for pimping out Ace of Spades. As for the other websites mentioned, I’ve never heard of the rest of the Internet.

Ace is really a male blog and the commenters are mostly men. If you go there be prepared for a lot of peofanity and cynicism. These are men talking to each other in most respects and they don’t tone it down for any woman who comes to the site. I go for the news and since Iam devoutly cynical mysel I enjoy the content if not some of the comments. I will say I have gotten a real education on profanity but just igore it for the most part.

I haven’t been to The Other McCain but will in the future.

Legal Insurrection is the best blog I have ever been to. The host is a real gentlemen and also very humorous. There is very little profanity. What little there is is usually asterized out. The commenters are polite and informative. I really enjoy this blog.

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to BarbaraS. | January 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I don’t know, you go to the Facebook page and there are plenty of ‘ettes (as in Moronettes) posting stuff. I was actually kind of surprised. I agree, however, that its a testosterone rich environment.

” … the ethos of Legal Insurrection is much more subtle …”

And the jokes about Meghan McCain’s breasts are much more supple.

Congratulations for being awarded “Top Law Blog” among Doug Ross’ 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Award Winners. You are joined by some famous folks.

The “Sweater-Full-of-Mischief” Award for Humorous News Blogging went to Ace o’Spades but Robert Stacy McCain didn’t show up.

I’m actually a big fan of both LI and Ace; I haven’t picked up the Other McCain habit yet, but I check it occasionally. LI is like a really good discussion in my college’s cafeteria. AoS is like a really good discussion backstage at a comedy club. (My blog is like the annoying 15-year-old at the record store asking you what it was like to listen to Dokken unironically.)I enjoy both. We’re lucky to enjoy that kind of range in the dextrosphere.

The three blogs are very distinct, thank goodness. It is wonderful to have a variety of styles representing conservative opinion, not to mention a variety of perspectives.

Having said as much, I have never been comfortable with McCain’s relentless begging, and equally relentless self-pity. He is a good writer, and God bless him for his activism, but he detracts from his strong points with those quirks and others. His criticism of this blog was very discouraging and off-putting.

Ace is simply brilliant, as are his co-bloggers, and the site is very entertaining as well as often profound.

I disagree with the current pro-Newt point of view of LI, but that is simply part of the intense political process conservatives are undergoing. This time around has been a doozy for all of us. Myself, I have been wildly enthusiastic for four of the candidates in turn, and have arrived at The Unthinkable, working up to support Romney.

LI is always enjoyable, intelligent and good-natured. It is astonishing one man (with some help) puts it all together every day.

Bitterlyclinging | January 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Sometimes the black flag is all that men have left.
Consider David Gregory’s assault on Rick Santorum today for Santorum’s assailing Obama’s ignoring the slaughter of the people in Iran and Syria while Obama simultaneously promulgated new Islamofascist governments in Egypt and Libya.

“There is a time for every purpose under Heaven.
A time to build up and to tear down
A time to scatter stones and to gather
A time to laugh and a time to weep
A time to dance and a time to mourn
A time to be born and a time to die
A time for peace and a time for war”
Your parents and grandparents knew this well.
If they had forgotten, NBC television network repeated it for them once more on March 8, 1953 in a television documentary first to make sure they knew.
That was NBC then, today we have Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, and David Gregory to soothe us into our torpor.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Bitterlyclinging. | January 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Yeah but there is never a time for Tucker Carlsen.

    He could not even hold up a small petard , never mind hoist the Black Flag.

    Oh & Mommie has his dinner ready.

Cowboy Curtis | January 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Never really got into McCain’s site. I check it out time to time, but its never really grabbed me. My “must check 15 times a day” blogs are Ace’s, LI, Hot Air, and Insty. While all are conservative/libertarian/hippie-punchers, I think each are distinctively different, though all are headlined, or co-headlined, by lawyers. Ace’s is like the blog I think I’d probably write if I had a mild mescaline habit. Hot Air is as snarky, but more tame. Glenn Reynolds seems to compete with Cormac McCarthy in his later works to see who can say the most with the absolute fewest number of words. LI tends to be more on point and less far-ranging than the others, and my only real criticism is the glaring lack of a pic-heavy thread on the lovely and talented Andrea Tantaros—which if you ask me, that last part is all that keeps it from Instapundit-level traffic. Damn near ruins the place.

    Browndog in reply to Cowboy Curtis. | January 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I like your list-

    Myself, (minus 12 times), is the same as yours, except replace Intsy with Weasel Zippers.

    Intsy I check at night–once.

    usually for an update on nano-technology-lol

Further, my only problem with this blog, is that the host has yet to write something I disagree with.

“Yup, me too” isn’t really worth the trouble, is it?

Aw shucks gee whiz, Professor! Thanks for making me (in)famous!

I had to do a class presentation on this, also. The professor and my classmates, all liberals, were surprised and furious that I dared bring conservative thoughts into their academic bubble. (Yeah, it was fun!)

[…] hated. This problem was once more brought to my attention last night when Smitty e-mailed me a post Professor William Jacobson wrote at Legal Insurrection, which touched a raw nerve.It seems there are people who resent my very presence in the […]

Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | January 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

I actually want to read the whole thing.

I miss being in school. I don’t miss the tuition costs.

[…] I just have to get a solid shot of a great 2012 bumper sticker! Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

I frequent all three of these sites (among several others) daily and wanted to say a work on TOM’s behalf. What has drawn me over time to become a daily reader at TOM is at least in part the insight into the work of actual reporting. I have enjoyed the perspective of a long time reporter looking at politics close up.

While TOM does flog the tip jar, TOM also makes it very clear the direct correlation of content to financing. While I am used to passively consuming information, it is pretty clear on TOM that on the ground reporting involves sundry costs that must be defrayed (which is something that I otherwise do not think about).

    Taxpayer1234 in reply to forsooth. | January 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I totally agree, and I said as much in the paper, citing McCain’s incredible risk of quitting his job and cashing in his 401(k) to blog full-time, all while raising 6 kids. Anyone who doesn’t admire that kind of courage is foolish, indeed.