October 14, 2006

Question most often asked of a blogger.

In my long experience. Can you guess what it is?


The Drill SGT said...

1. How do you find the time?
2. How do you chose your topics?

Dave said...

1. Do you blog in your p.j.'s?
2. Do you blog in a stream of consciousness?
3. Do you outsource your blogging?
4. Is your name really Ann Althouse?
5. What's your real name?
6. Do you look like the picture on your blog?
7. Are you a paid shill for the Bu$Hitler Administration?



peter hoh said...

My vote: How do you find the time?

k said...

1. Where do you come up with your ideas?
2. Where do you buy your fabulous shoes?

Johnny Nucleo said...

Do you prefer iceberg or romaine lettuce?

What is the number one export of Peru?

Have you seen my car keys?

Zeb Quinn said...

How much money do you make off of it?

Ricardo said...

1. Who does your photography?
2. How did you learn about computers?
3. Isn't all the coffee (and wine) bad for your health?
4. Now that you're successful, why haven't you moved to Hawaii (Arizona, back to Delaware, any place warm)?
5. Blogger, blogger, off the wall, who's the fairest one of all?

Ann Althouse said...

I need to get out of my little world. You've gotten close, but you still haven't hit the exact question that lawprofs ask me.

The Drill SGT said...

"Question most often asked of a blogger."

is not the same as

"but you still haven't hit the exact question that lawprofs ask me."

Ah, don't change the rules on us. You implied the most often asked question to the generic blogger, not you personally asked by other LawProfs.

Noumenon said...

Is that, like, a hobby for you?
Are you on MySpace?
How many hits do you get?
Do you make any money?
Are you blogging this conversation, ha ha ha?
Do you know Wonkette?
Do your students read it?
Does your boss read it?

Anonymous said...


Ricardo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Drill: Well, I did say in my experience. This is why I need to get out more. Your first guess was actually very close, it's just that you're thinking of the time question from the perspective of a person with a different attitude than I'm encountering.

Alan said...

"This is why I need to get out more."

The variety of topics you post about makes your blog interesting...it's almost like getting out more. :)

Ricardo said...

1. What's the payoff? (Or some variant: Does it help your career? Is there money in it?)
2. Why do you do it?
3. How much time does it take?

vnjagvet said...

You must spend a lot of time on your blog. Is it worth it?

Oxbay said...

Why do you waste your time with that?

Anonymous said...

Have you ever slept with Andrew Sullivan?

Ann Althouse said...

Ricardo got it. #3. Here's what I feel like they are really saying: You must be spending too much time on that and falling short on something else. I could be a popular blogger too if I were willing to put that much time into it, which I'm not, because I'm better than you.

So you can see why the question kind of bugs me. I hear it too much, and I read those statements into it. I need a good comeback. Answers I've actually used:

Traditional stock answer: It's a trade secret.

The tirade of questions: Do you mean actually writing or also doing all the reading that I would probably do anyway? And does rereading it and checking Site Meter and Technorati count?

Boring: A lot.

I need a stronger comeback!

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Garage Mahal said...

Do all the thread-clues end with Barrett? We have 3 weeks left...

reader_iam said...

1. No more than it should (/needs to).

2. Enough.

3. Or, perhaps, a quote from either "Through The Looking Glass" or "Alice In Wonderland":

a. "If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does."

b. "It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place."

c. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" (My personal favorite reponse when asked certain types of annoying questions [though I don't get asked about blogging]: it throws them every time, especially the literate, who get the idea that the SHOULD "get" it, but don't remember why.)

Ricardo said...

I think that "underplaying" the amount of time you spend on the blog would serve you best. It implies that your first priority is (of course) your lawprof career, it implies that you are so bright (which we all know) that things like this come naturally to you, and it will drive them "nuts" trying to figure out how you do so much in so little time.

So, my suggested response would be: "Oh, less than half an hour a day. It's just one of the many things I do."

(And thanks, but I didn't really get it. You pretty much gave it to us in the clue to drill sgt)

reader_iam said...

"How much time do you spend following sports?"

Ernst Blofeld said...

"Not that long. It's really just a release from the novel I'm writing and training for the Ironman."

AJ Lynch said...

My Guesses are :
1- Why do you blog?
2- Why do put all your personal stuff out there?
3- Is it hard to do?

Hollywood Freaks said...

The Zero Boss said...

"Have you ever slept with Andrew Sullivan?"


AJ Lynch said...

Shoot, you posted your answer swered before I posted my guesses (anmd I still got the wrong answer). FYI Professor my guesses were based on the asumption that the questions came from a neutral group and not from an obviously jealous group of co-workers.

I'd suggest a retort that bursts with uber-confidence. Remember that song "I got the music in me". You need something like that that just says "you got the goods" and you can't help but share it! Plus you should add how you have always been more productive that the average bear! That will shut them up.

Anonymous said...

So the gist of this is that when folks (and when I say folks I mean other professors) ask the oft repeated question (or its variants), "How do you find the time" what you hear is, "I can't believe, you, a well respected law professor, would stoop so low as to engage in activities better suited to angry loners typing in their pajamas, personally I'd have the time to do that if I wasn't otherwise engaged in far more intellectual activities, but really aren't you ashamed that you waste your precious free moments this way?".

A snappy comeback for that?

Once I stopped caring what pretentious snobs thought about how I choose to spend my time, I was amazed at how much free time I had for all sorts of fun activities. You should try it some time.


I hired the same outfit that supplies all the dozens of Indian computer techs that pretend to be Prof. Glenn Reynolds. They're really really cheap, plus they kick in the tech help at no additional charge.


I know you are, but what am I? (that one works for all occaisons)

Robert said...

Ooh! I know!

"Are those real?"

elliot said...

People ask questions?

Bleepless said...

When your peers ask or say anything about blogging, they really mean, "Well, you must have tenure."

bearing said...

Are you quite sure that "How much time does it take?" doesn't mean, "Gosh, that sounds fun. I wonder if I could carve out enough time to have a blog myself?"

Todd said...

Hey wait, why is a raven like a writing desk?

Ann Althouse said...

Bearing: There's nothing of that in the conversation. Do you know many lawprofs? Because that attempt at verbalizing the thoughts of a lawprof is crazily naive.

reader_iam said...


See--it works! It gets people off track: They think you're loco, or they start wondering if there's a real reference (or both, or ....). In any case, the goal is to deflect the annoying question with a sense of humor and of the obscure.

Todd: I'm not making fun of you. It's just that your comment was oh, so perfect.

When I have used that obscure-yet-snappy riposte, the answer in my mind was the straightforward one, which is to say that which is contained in the continuance of the conversation at The Tea Party between Alice and the Mad Hatter, who posed the riddle and then later answered: "I haven't the slightest idea." (To which Alice retorts, "I think you might do something better with the time," she said, "than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers.")

Just now, when I checked to see how easily Googled the answer would be, I was treated to this site, which actually contains speculations about what a raven and writing desk have in common. (Gotta follow the link: Even Aldous Huxley weighed in on the topic, at one point in time.)

I. Love. The. 'Net. And how often posts on this blog lands me in tangents or places that remind me why that's so (which, in turn, is why I keep coming back here).

reader_iam said...

"land"--I added the "posts on" but didn't make the obvious adjustment... .

vh: maxoilfy

(I haven't the slightest idea--how that relates.)

Johnny Nucleo said...

There is no comeback. I mean, I'm sure there are many, like, if the question came from a male law prof you could say, "How much time do you spend watching porn?" He will get all pissed and utter a stammering denial, but he will be lying, and you will have zinged him, but what's the point?

If they don't get it - this whole blogging thing - by now, they will never get it. They are not it-getters.

They should be asking themselves a few questions. Like: How many of them can claim to contribute to the popular dialogue about politics, culture, and life in general in the United States of America at the dawn of the 21st century using a new and wild medium in its infancy with reverberations beyond our ability to measure? How many of them can claim to entertain thousands of people and provide a unique forum for debate, discussion, and jokes? How many of them have fans?

Perhaps they view these things as gauche. The old guard always does.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the great suggestions. Somewhere along the line, I got to thinking my real answer is: That's the big cliché question. Ask me something interesting. You know the main reason I blog is so that the conversation can be about something I think is interesting. It's my cry of exasperation that real life isn't more interesting, and now, here you are -- in the flesh -- making it obvious all over again.

Theo Boehm said...

Ann, that last sentence. Ouch!

That is, of course, exactly why I'm interested in the blogosphere. But I could never say out loud what you just wrote. The thought has occurred to me, but not, I admit, with such elegant asperity.

I think we all should take that retort under advisement and resolve to blurt it out when the time comes.

James Wigderson said...

The question I still get is, "What's a blogger?"

When I get asked about the time it takes, I say, "It helps that I drink a lot."

When I get asked why I write, I respond, "I do it for art."

no1special said...

I find the time because i have no life. NO social stimulation, no friends, or at least no friends that don't live in the computer. Teaching has become 'easy' so to speak and therefore unforfilling. My blog gives me the life i never had..... and then you must ask why they don't blog.

of course they're tiny little minds won't know for sure. Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but it does work from time to time.

Ron said...

How's about "I can do it while I'm doing my cardio."

I think your reply would make non-bloggers think that blogging makes you misanthropic!

Finn Kristiansen said...

When law profs ask, with a certain tone, "Well how much time do you lose blogging?" you answer:

Oh please. It's like a nocturnal emission. I can do it in my sleep and lose no time at all. I love it. Know what I mean?

They will grow uncomfortable, wanting to know what you mean, even perhaps knowing what you mean, but not wanting to agree that they know what you mean.

Ann Althouse said...

no1special, that might be a good answer if the question were "How do you find the time?" The question is, however: "How much time does it take?"

jinnmabe said...

I'd say "oh. maybe 5, 10 minutes. You should try it." Then they'll either try and take longer than 10 minutes, in which case they'll think you're cooler than them (though they'll never say anything), or they'll stop after 10 minutes and have a crappy blog. Either way, you win!

You were trying to win, right? I mean, the whole point of a comeback is to WIN, isn't it?

no1special said...

Ann,,sorry, i guess i was thinking of the implication of the question....anyway, i'm just glad to b here

tom faranda said...

And the #1 comeback is:

"Not enough. If I had more time, I'd really have a popular blog."

That's what I say when asked.


Evansville Observer said...

My favorite answer to the question of how I find the time is: "I write in my sleep. It is so natural and efficient that way." The line is delivered after a wry smile.

The reason a person asks the question is out of a "Scarcity" accounting mode, a zero sum game, where if one is creative, one must be subtracting this from a numerically productive life.

Ivan Illich, who I have been reading lately, suggests that a lot of the credentialled life is filled with these folks. You say, Ann, that you wish daily life could be more interesting-- you are in your blog connecting the dots of the larger interesting world that you wish to share with us--that's what education is really all about---and that is why we find it interesting, and also something we need.

The irony is that law profs do not normally have this range do they? Unless they major in art somewhere along the way. It's normally the "point" not the hundreds of points that connect on the comment line.

Still...yes....the question does get annoying after a while.

Anonymous said...

I'd figure your number one asked question would be something along the lines of:

Do you know Sippican?