Patterico's Pontifications


Kozinski Bashes Blogs?

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 12:00 am

If he was serious, Alex Kozinski just went down a few notches in my estimation. He was recently asked what he thought about blogs, and said:

I hate ’em. Hateful things. . . . I just think it’s so self-indulgent, you know. Oh, I’m so proud of what I’m saying, I think the world instantly wants to know what I’m thinking today. People wake up thinking, hmm, what does this person, whoever the blogger in question is — I wonder what great thoughts have come into his mind this morning that I can feel myself edified by. I can’t really have breakfast, really enjoy my day until I hear the great thoughts of Howard Bashman — I don’t think so. I go for months without ever knowing what Howard has to say. So I don’t know. I find it sort of self-indulgent. And I find it so grandiloquent.

But was he serious? Orin Kerr says:

Listening to the tape, it sounds like Judge Kozinski is exaggerating a bit for comic effect.

I’d like to think so. Judge for yourself. The audio is here. I will say that there is an awfully odd tone to his voice as he engages in this tirade, and although he is a genuinely witty guy, the above passage is not very funny and gets very few laughs.

But if you listen to the whole thing, he says that he hates all bloggers, with no exceptions — yet he clearly liked David Lat’s blog, and (I think) implied that he liked Howard Bashman’s as well.

So let’s hope Kozinski was just kidding. After all, Howard Bashman is the last guy you’d want to pick on for being flowery and self-indulgent — and his site is tremendously useful. Either Judge Kozinski was kidding, or he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about here. I’d prefer to think the former . . . but I’m not 100% sure.

15 Responses to “Kozinski Bashes Blogs?”

  1. Kozinski is brilliant. Check the Moses shot:

    Federal Dog (9afd6c)

  2. Hey, all writing is vain. So is all performing. So what’s his point?

    Xiaoding (46e4f3)

  3. As a long time blogger (I ran a bulletin board system before the Internet) I am loved and hated by Tribune Company employees. As a printer for the Los Angeles Times, my colleagues’ and myself are denied access to important company emails, so I post the messages from Dennis FitzSimons, David Hiller, and James O’Shea on my blog for all co-workers to read, and the workers at the Times are hungry for information.

    When new users visit my website and blog they are flabbergasted that a pressman knows how to blog, when the Times writers and editors had to be schooled in Internet 101.

    I had a Times executive mention to me “Something’s wrong with this picture Ed, the first thing I do after waking is log onto your blog”.

    The online users that claim they hate blogs are generally our most prolific users.

    Edward Padgett (54a9ad)

  4. Honestly, for the most part he’s right. Blogging is internet narcissism.

    Gabriel (6d7447)

  5. Kozinski’s commments are exactly, precisely right and perfectly stated.

    He captured blogging and bloggers in a single paragraph. Even though I read them myself, I at least recognize that very obvious truth.

    What’s the matter? Truth hurt?

    In 30 years, when “blogging” is being happily mocked on VH-1’s “I love the 00’s” – maybe you’ll get it. It is truly a ridiculous exercise in intellectual defecation (and not much of it qualifies as intellectual).

    Suck it up. Truth stings.

    PB (c65bfa)

  6. alex kozinski is right again. a lot of people have told me i should have a blog, but i am insufficiently presumptuous to suppose that i could form a large posse of total strangers to visit my site every day, and insufficiently diligent to keep feeding them every day. when blogging started, i predicted that it would die soon because there seemed to be more writers on the internet than there were people interested in reading them. maybe i was wrong about that, we’ll see.

    assistant devil's advocate (57745e)

  7. Here’s the irony: the elites who diss bloggers are the same elites who live and die by polls.

    “According to Zogby, 75% of Americans believe X.”

    “A new poll from Rasmussen indicates 56% of registered voters say Y.”

    “This just in: 41% of likely votes think Z.”

    Yet… while the elites prize the opinions of a thousand faceless individuals (randomly sampled and displaying no discernible expertise other than the ability to breathe air), these same elites denigrate any single voice from that sample group who would dare to speak out on his or her own behalf.

    Now if I remember my math correctly (it’s been a while), when the value of an integer is zero, doesn’t a thousand times that integer also equal zero? We’re clueless idiots individually, but when we’re polled as a mob, then we evince great wisdom?

    Don’t think so.

    DubiousD (d305c3)

  8. Kozinski’s comments, and the other anti-blog comments in this thread, could just as easily have been directed at many mainstream media opinion columnists. I wonder if E.J. Dionne or George Will would be similarly written off as a waste of time if in some alternate universe they had begun as bloggers instead of in the traditional media.

    At the end of the day, it’s not the medium that matters; it’s the author and the content. Self-indulgent MSM claptrap is just as bad as self-indulgent blogger claptrap, except the former reaches more people.

    And just as an aside, as Pat has noted, Howard Bashman is the last person you can criticize as self-important or grandiose. He provides an invaluable service by compiling the most significant appellate law stories of the day in a famously terse, concise style, without any commentary. I think that Kozinski singled out Bashman is a big hint that Kozinski was kidding.

    NYC 2L (e16c0b)

  9. Over at How Appealing, Bashman says this about the Kozinski kerfuffle:

    Judge Kozinski and I supported opposite sides in the battle over whether to adopt Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which allows parties to cite to unpublished and non-precedential federal appellate court rulings. He was quite personally invested in efforts to defeat that rule, but ultimately the rule change was approved. He and I also disagree over whether the Ninth Circuit should be divided. But, the person who can best explain whether and, if so, why Judge Kozinski doesn’t like this blog (or me or my opinions on issues) isn’t me.

    Of course, to the extent that I do publicly express opinions on controversial issues (which isn’t often, and typically those issues are controversial only among fellow law geeks), and some people think less of me as a result, that’s a risk that I’ve knowingly and willingly taken. So, there are certainly no regrets here.

    NYC 2L (e16c0b)

  10. Kozinski’s comments, and the other anti-blog comments in this thread, could just as easily have been directed at many mainstream media opinion columnists.

    That is true.
    I like many blogs, and I go to them to read the opinions of those bloggers just as I may ask certain friends about their opinions.
    I think bloggers that want to create a movement -to be something more than their own voice – are the bloggers that make the blogosphere look silly.
    Before I ever get too outraged when someone puts down bloggers, I think of Kos and Greenwald and I say “yeah, I can see how you’d come to that opinion”.

    MayBee (eb1824)

  11. I think an important point has been overlooked in this discussion:
    Did anyone have the presence to ask Judge Kozinski which blogs he reads?
    I think we could repeat the Judge’s comments about most blogs we read, at one time or another. The comments here do get tedious at times; I can’t imagine what it must be like at some of the LWNR blogs, for I never look there. But, the reports carried here and at other sites are not encouraging, so why bother?

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  12. Kozinski is just feeding his ego with his comments. I’ve been in front of him several times and watched/listened to him – he is probably the biggest ego on any bench anywhere.

    Remember, he was put on the 9th Circuit when he was 35 (something that won’t happen again with the increased scrutiny). No real prior experience – just appointments.

    He is out of touch.

    Actually had a job (2a7ecf)

  13. Alex is brilliant,still a great judge, and I hope he was jesting. It would be ironic if he were serious because he’s a life-tenured blogger with the power of life or death. The rest of us get the chance to be emperors of pixelated nothingness, with the value of our opinions judged on their (usually slight) merit. Alex’s opinions carry weight that has only an incidental relationship with their truth value.

    vcox (065555)

  14. True story – when I was at Boalt, we hosted the FedSoc national convention (or some such). During the first evening’s reception, a good friend of mine (who, like all conservatives at Boalt, was continually drunk) cross-checked AK into a tray of chicken satays.

    A few hours later, we were at the bar at the Hotel Durant, where AK was staying. My friend was coming out of the men’s room, which was right next to the elevator. As AK was bending down to pick up his luggage, my friend stumbled and knocked him into the elevator.

    My friend reads blogs. I think the connection is pretty clear.

    Jack Sparks (5dca71)

  15. […] fuller context and facts after a media hit-piece has been released—after having once famously derided the utility of legal blogs: I hate ‘em. Hateful things. . . . I just think it’s so self-indulgent, you know. Oh, I’m so […]

    Are legal blogs now an essential check on innacurate Big Media reporting? « Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog © (0de2f5)

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