The first email I received today was a trackback to our intro post from 'Cynical Joe' who challenged us to stop navel-gazing about blogging and instead write about how 'insurance lawyers' 'compound the problem' and big firms do other bad things, etc.
Well, we had our reasons for choosing those topics first, but Joe has a point. Let's talk about something real.
His post reminded me of something.
Two years ago four of us bloggers (including Denise) were profiled in the ABA. Three of us (not including Denise) had Jewish surnames.
A white supremacist linked to the article on his website and discussed each of us in turn as further proof of What's Wrong With This Country (he had trouble proving that point with me because trademark law isn't one of the real seats of power). If you read between the lines, it seems that he had had some unpleasant run-in with lawyers in his life.
Last year I wrote a piece on the Trademark Blog. The nominal subject was Michael Moore but I was making an arcane point about trademark law.
Although the post didn't express a view on Moore himself, this prompted an email from someone calling me a greedy Jewish lawyer (my guess is that he assumed that I was pro-Moore, which I'm not).
I wrote back, not contesting the Jewish and Lawyer bit but asking him what I had done to make him think I was greedy.
He wrote back and indicated that I was from New York. Touche.
He further argued that (1) Jews should show more gratitude to the U.S. for protecting Israel; (2) the rising price of oil at the time proved that the Bush family did not control the price of oil; and, (3) in his past, he had also had a bad run-in with a lawyer. I dimly recall that in his view, a lawyer had cheated him out of an inheritance.
This from his work email at a large telecommunications company, where he appeared to have a middle-management position.
But, I don't want to talk about the Jewish thing, I want to talk about the lawyer thing.
A couple of years ago a beer company had a commercial that featured 'fantasy' TV shows. One was about lawyer rodeo, where a cowboy roped a lawyer.
Imagine that commercial where instead of a lawyer, any other identifiable member of society, perhaps a minority or a woman, was roped like an animal, and then the implicit hatred behind that commercial becomes apparent.
Is hatred of lawyers socially acceptable because of a belief that they have all the power?
Is hatred of lawyers prevalent because many encounters with the legal system are involuntary, and we resent people benefitting from our misfortune?
Does the hatred 'come with the territory' and we should just suck it up?
Well, to a certain extent, probably.
But socially acceptable hatred of a class isn't good for the hated or the haters.
For example, when proponents of 'tort reform' ram through what they characterize as 'anti-frivolous lawsuit' legislation, they are counting in part that voters will not view the proposals on the merits, but will instead support it because they hate 'the trial lawyers.'
And how many people have used the expression "let's not get the lawyers involved" not because they desired expediency but because, well, because they wanted to screw you.
OK, this blogosphere is inter-active. Let's talk about how and why lawyers are hated.
And let's talk about whether lawyers can, through their blogs, practice and promote judicious thought.