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Spam Jurisprudence

Not the jurisprudence of spam, but jurisprudence as spam.  Pierre Schlag (University of Colorado) has just posted “Spam Jurisprudence, Air Law, and the Rank Anxiety of Nothing Happening (a Report on the State of the Art)” to SSRN.  It’s an acutely self-referential essay on the vapidity of contemporary legal scholarship:

In 1969, I saw The Endless Summer. It was a surfer movie about two guys (Robert and Mike) who traveled the world in search of the perfect wave. High art it was not. Plus the plot was thin. And it’s for sure, there weren’t enough girls. But there was one line which, for my generation, will go down as one of the all-time great movie lines ever. And always it was a line delivered by some local to Robert and Mike, the surfer dudes, as they arrived on the scene of yet another dispiritingly becalmed ocean. And every time the genial local, always and forever smiling, would look at Robert and Mike and say, “You guys reeeeeaaaaaaaally missed it. You should’ve been here yesterday.” I mention this because this pretty much describes the state of contemporary legal scholarship: It’s almost totally becalmed. It’s not happening. It’s Air law. Spam Jurisprudence. The essay describes the how, the why, the wherefore.

It’s an amusing read, but as a diagnosis of the perpetuation of hierarchy and privilege in the legal academy it’s not quite as much fun — or, for my money, as insightful, as Frank Snyder’s self-referential essay “Late Night Thoughts on Blogging While Reading Duncan Kennedy’s ‘Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy’ in an Arkansas Motel Room.” But read both for yourself.