Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tomorrow at 8:45 I'll be at the Kings County Supreme Court, answering a juror summons. I postponed once before, and to postpone again you need to show up in person with an actual reason... so I figured this time I may as well just do it and hope it's either (a) quick, or (b) something to write about. I was a "telephone standby juror," which meant I had to call tonight to find out if I have to report. I have to report. I'm really hoping it's only one day and out, but I honestly have no idea how this stuff works. Is it true that I can give some dumb answer to a question ("I believe we should all take law enforcement into our own hands") and get out? Or is that just what people say? And do I want to get out? That is, is it interesting? Is it fun? I haven't seen any stories written about jury duty. Is there material there? Should I start an "Anonymous Juror" weblog? Would anyone care? Would that be against the rules? I have so many questions. :) In any case, I'll report about how that goes tomorrow, hopefully in an entertaining way.

One more thing. I wasn't going to write about this, but I've gotten more than a handful of e-mails asking me what I think about the New Yorker piece revealing the author of the weblog Underneath Their Robes as a lawyer who works as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Newark. Read the New Yorker piece for background if you haven't seen the blog. I was a little surprised that the reaction to the reveal yesterday tended toward the negative, with people saying they thought it was creepy that it was a guy writing from the perspective of a girl, and talking about shoes and clothes and things like that. I just think it's pretty cool he was able to create a compelling and convincing character. The blog had a following. He had a fresh angle that was different from anything else out there. He did a good job, or at least good enough to make Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker want to write about him. There are people much better equipped -- and perhaps few people less equipped -- than me to talk about whether it's appropriate for an Assistant U.S. Attorney to be writing a blog about federal judges, and my gut tells me it's probably not a great career move on that end, but it seemed like that discussion took a back seat to the "ooh, it's a guy writing as a girl" thing, which just surprised me a bit. Look, clearly my opinion of all of this is colored by my own experience. I remember the absolute fear that I felt the moments before the piece about Anonymous Lawyer hit the Times website last December, not knowing what the reaction was going to be, and feeling genuinely concerned that it would turn out very differently than I'd hoped. So I couldn't help but feel bad for this guy as the reaction started to trend negative, and he had to pull his site. For all I know, great things are happening for him today. And if so, good for him, this guy's been writing a fun site that's gotten some traction and taken a fresh angle and gained loyal readers. The ethical questions about the blog as related to his job, yeah, I guess I see the argument, sure... but the gender-switching thing just doesn't strike me as all that creepy, but actually fairly impressive. That's pretty much all I've got on this one.

No, you know what, I'm going one more step on this one. Like I said, for all I know, great things are happening for him today. But the fact that he pulled his site, and all this stuff on How Appealing, make me think they're not. And that sucks, even if you can make the argument that he brought it upon himself. It's just a weblog. He didn't reveal any government secrets. It shouldn't be the kind of thing that screws up someone's life. And I have no reason to believe that's what's happened. But I can't shake the feeling that something's wrong about this. I can't really articulate what I mean. I don't know. Again, it might just be that it all reminds me that, damn, I got really terribly lucky with the Anonymous Lawyer stuff and things could have unfolded in a terribly different way, and I would have been real screwed.

So where do we go from weblogs, now that we're seeing a new reveal every week? Podcasts? Internet telephony? What's the next cutting-edge communications technology, and who wants to play with it with me? Weblogs are so Hebrew Year 5765 it's not funny.