Guess I’m not going to get a serious answer…

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Dan Solove posted about “A Law Porn Blog” here at Concurring Opinions. I raised this query: “I’m curious, why is the analogy/metaphor law PORN?” And I’d really like to know why “porn” is the descriptor of choice for fancy brochures that law schools circulate to increase their visibility and supposedly, prestige.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Guess I’m not going to get a serious answer…

  1. Bridget Crawford says:

    Ann raises an excellent question. I have two working hypotheses.

    First, for some people, these glossy brochures are a “guilty pleasure,” like pornography. Just as noone wants to admit looking at Playboy for anything other than the articles, noone (written gender neutral, but more accurately, no male blogger) wants to admit looking at these brochures.

    Second, the glossy brochures present an airbrushed and limited view of a law school’s intellectual life, just as pornography presents an airbrushed and limited view of women (and sometimes men). The brochures do not show us faculty members who haven’t written a law review article in years or who haven’t attended conference in recent memory.  So, too, pornography rarely shows us women with natural bodies. Instead, pornography presents an unrealistic, distorted image of women’s bodies, pleasure and pain for purposes of (mostly) male consumption. Law “porn” distorts a law school for purposes of consumption by U.S. News rankers. (Full disclosure, I filled out my survey last week. If I interpreted the glossy brochures with irony, does that mean I couldn’t possibly have a false consciousness?)

    We know, however, that some real women (and men) are hurt in making some pornography. Only a law school’s budget gets hurt in making those glossy brochures.

  2. Where did the term start? If it started at a law blog, then maybe the blogger used “porn” because the blogger thought it would increase his hits from people searching for porn on google. It worked for Concurring Opinions by blogging about the Jennifer Aniston nude pictures lawsuit.

    That’s probably too strategic a theory, but maybe not.

  3. Ralph M. Stein says:

    Well, I don’t like the word “porn” to describe the crap that fills my mailbox day after day. It’s all part of trying to influence USN&WR rankings, right? And while I appreciate very much getting unsolicited reprints of articles in my areas of interest, brochures announcing prominent lectures and symposia a couple of thousand miles from my daily life do little for me. Neither do glossy items extolling the virtues of undoubtedly fine faculty, the majority of whom I will never meet and have never heard of.

  4. Ann Bartow says:

    I got an e-mail directing me here:
    Not particularly helpful or encouraging, but not surprising either.

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