December 13, 2017

Volokh Conspiracy has moved from The Washington Post to Reason.com and it's not just about getting out from under the paywall.

It's also about wanting to be free of the censorship of "vulgarities."

And the Volokh bloggers don't even use vulgarities in the own writing. They just want to be able to quote things like "Fuck the Draft."
[I]t's hard for me to see what value... redaction adds. And the symbolism is important to me... More importantly, we want the decision whether or not to redact to be ours, not the Post's. This is so for the familiar vulgarities, but also as to similar decisions about what to do with quoting incidents that involve offensive epithets, allegedly offensive team names and band names, allegedly improper use of pronouns to refer to various people, and much more. Once we acknowledge that it's proper to constrain our accurate reporting about one kind of offensive word, how would we effectively be able to defend our right to judge how to report on incidents involving other words?

45 comments:

Achilles said...

Sounds like censorship was the primary issue.

Bob said...

> "Volokh Conspiracy has moved from The Washington Post"

Fuck yeah!

David said...

You realize that this guy is Russian. Shouldn't someone be investigating him about something?

Owen said...

I think Volokh handled this move with great tact. He made his points without crapping on anybody in an obvious way. The intelligent reader (the kind he's looking for, and deserves) will read between the lines. Censorship was the reason.

Lifeboats away!

rhhardin said...

Vulgarities have elaborate performances. They're not random epithets.

Where is the essay on difference between cunt and pussy. Everybody knows it but can't verbalize it. Yet it's learned.

If not in the gutter, then where.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think Volokh handled this move with great tact. He made his points without crapping on anybody in an obvious way."

Once you're part of somebody's else's organization, you've got to take their interests into account. It's going to affect you. This is one reason I don't even do op-eds anymore (and why I wanted to retire). That need to be appropriate, even when no one is doing much of anything to you, is real. It changes what you say.

AJ Lynch said...

Don't the Volokhians know that "Democracy Dies In Darkness tm" ?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rhhardin said...

Where is the essay on difference between cunt and pussy.

The difference is, even when you're a star, they don't let you just walk up and grab them by the cunt.

rhhardin said...

Perhaps if there were an animal named the cunt there would be some equivalence with pussy.

Australian, probably. The sloth, the wallaby, the cunt.

Bay Area Guy said...

I like the boys at Reason. They do indeed care about ideas and the debate over ideas.

They are terrible at politics, though. Libertarians are pretty clueless about real world, concrete matters. But, it's a definite improvement over the WaPo, which is mired in establishment liberalism.

John Tuffnell said...

Ve doth protest too much.

Wait, no.

Xe doth protest too much.

No that's not it.

Ze doth protest too much.

n.n said...

You realize that this guy is Russian.

Russian-American. A minority diversity class. Let us bend our knee.

Bay Area Guy said...

Volokh is very good on Free Speech. As good as Althouse and Dershowitz.

The occasional vulgarity isn't a big deal. The Left's effort -- mostly at Universities --to suppress "hate speech" is a big deal.

Fuck the Left. Can I say that?

Rick said...

Sounds like censorship was the primary issue.

His post explicitly states the primary reason for the move is that WAPO tightened their paywall which restricts their readership more than under the previous rule set.

Rob said...

rh, the enduring mystery is why it's perfectly okay to say someone is a dick but not to say they're a c--t. Synecdoche for some but not for all.

Kevin said...

"Take away the right to say 'fuck' and you take away the right to say 'fuck the government.'"

-- Lenny Bruce

TreeJoe said...

A major loss to the WaPo. Volokh brought serious intellectual chops to them, and they are not so well endowed as to be able to afford the loss.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Great news. I have missed being able to freely look at the Volokh Conspiracy site because of the paywall.

And, yes. The censorship seems to be the biggest issue.

CJinPA said...

It's always a loss when a non-progressive leaves a mainstream media outlet. Now he'll be just another talented writer singing to the Reason choir.

buwaya said...

"A major loss to the WaPo. Volokh brought serious intellectual chops to them, and they are not so well endowed as to be able to afford the loss."

But that's not the purpose of the WaPo.

rhhardin said...

rh, the enduring mystery is why it's perfectly okay to say someone is a dick but not to say they're a c--t. Synecdoche for some but not for all.

I know what to look for but can't get the analysis right.

There's a list of dictionary meanings, and a list of connotations, and context calls out pairs as subject and predicate of some hidden statement, which statement gives the performance of the word.

Barthelme "Now this cunt you've got here is probably not worth worrying about" could not replaced by "Now this pussy you've got here is probably not worth worrying about."

Perversely because the more literal word is less specifically literal in that context. You have her because of her cunt but it's not the idea in keeping her around. Yet pussy would seem to indicate a present intention with regard to pussies, which is not the thing being discussed.

Cunt seems to allow other things into the discussion in that context.

Yet you can't walk up to a woman and grab her by the cunt. It has to be pussy. That seems to reverse the words.

Mystery.

Mark Jones said...

I stopped reading Volokh Conspiracy in 2016. It's become All Never Trump, All The Time over there. Well, okay, not everyone--but the vast majority of the posts anymore are all about The UnPrecedented Travesty That is Trump, His Administration, And Everything He Says And Does.

rhhardin said...

Experts are against Trump because he doesn't seek their advice.

Richard Epstein is hugely anti-Trump.

campy said...

Here's hoping their dumber lefty commenters stay at WaPo.

Saint Croix said...

I had a law professor who told us not to say the F word while we were discussing the Fuck the Draft case

and his point was that it's not a word, it's an "inarticulate grunt"

and of course I said the word, because it is a word, a word that has meaning

which is why people want to censor it and punish people for saying it

and it's never been a crime to grunt or make noises

I made some sound effects just to prove my point

"that's not illegal, right?"

anyway, I got a B in that class

"you're the guy who said fuck in Con Law!"

I liked that professor though. Kept signing up for his classes. Every time he saw me he'd be like, "oh no!"

I took his Plato class. He was a big fan of Plato. I am not a big fan of Plato. "He's a slave-owner and a baby-killer and a fascist and he doesn't like free speech. I know he's smart but he's kind of an idiot, right?"

That's another class I got a B in.

I might be a dummy but I'm standing on the shoulders of giants.

buwaya said...

"I made some sound effects just to prove my point
"that's not illegal, right?"
anyway, I got a B in that class"

Its all a made-up virtual world, a MMPORG, or more comparable, Dungeons&Dragons as so much is still on paper and in person.

A shared fantasy full of detail and nuance. The only differences are that its much more boring and for some reason people in the real world pretend it matters.

Rabel said...

"There was also a second reason for our move: editorial independence. The only thing more important to us than attracting new readers and keeping our old ones is making sure that we can write what we want, in the way that we think is right.

This includes -- controversially in newspaper circles -- the right to accurately and completely quote material from cases and controversies, including when the material contains vulgar words."

Keyword: "includes". Other reasons related to editorial independence were not revealed in the post.

RichardJohnson said...

TreeJoe:
A major loss to the WaPo. Volokh brought serious intellectual chops to them, and they are not so well endowed as to be able to afford the loss.

I did a a search engine on Jeff Bezos's net worth.Jeff Bezos is now worth $100 billion. That means that the WaPo is very well endowed to afford losses. Negative cash flow from the WaPo is not going to bankrupt Jeff Bezos. WaPo losses, if any, are chicken feed to Bezos, Recall that old Everett Dirksen quote: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."

Paddy O said...

I had a student use a "bad" word in class last quarter. He apologized for using profanity. My response was that some things are profane and that fits how he used the word. My problem with swearing is that overuse waters down the word. We need words that have a level of punch, but if they're used for just anything, they become verbal tics, a way of saying "umm..." not anything more.

buwaya said...

"Jeff Bezos is now worth $100 billion."

Exactly right. Bezos alone can afford to purchase quite a few political parties outright. Add in the several others in his category.

Achilles said...

TreeJoe said...
A major loss to the WaPo. Volokh brought serious intellectual chops to them, and they are not so well endowed as to be able to afford the loss.

WaPo is a tool owned by one person. It does what that person tells them to do. That is what tools do.

Volokh was tired of doing what he was told. Maybe he will grow up and stop being a Never Trump tool. That is all he was while at WaPo. He is probably smart enough to understand he was a tool. It had to have been soul crushing.

Earnest Prole said...

Censorship is a bullshit excuse. The real reason has to be politics.

Shawn Levasseur said...

The censorship issue is a side one. It seems the tightening of the paywall (which had been more porous) is the prime reason.

The entire reason for the move to WaPo was to be on a platform where they got more eyeballs on the blog. A tighter paywall takes that advantage away.

Achilles said...

buwaya said...
"Jeff Bezos is now worth $100 billion."

Exactly right. Bezos alone can afford to purchase quite a few political parties outright. Add in the several others in his category.

It needs to be flung in the faces of Alabamians and republican voters. Bezos bought the Alabama senate election. They allowed themselves to be tricked and they will now be seating a senator that will vote how Bezos wants and not how they want.

The WaPo sourced a story from known liars to smear a political candidate after he couldn't be removed from the ballot. The other MSM outlet tools piled on the story.

A total of 10ish people own ABC, NBC, WaPo, NYT, CBS, CNN, Politico etc. The GOPe machinery piled on to aid the smear with their democrat friends. All people who get their political money from a small number of people.

Rabel said...

It is highly suspicious that this change of venue is just in time for the Reason Christmas party.

Some Seppo said...


It's also about wanting to be free of the censorship of "vulgarities."


First they came for the "vulgarities".

Jupiter said...

Bay Area Guy said...
"Volokh is very good on Free Speech. As good as Althouse and Dershowitz."

He's not so good on compelled speech.

EDH said...

Volokh Conspiracy has moved from The Washington Post to Reason.com and it's not just about getting out from under the paywall.

Did Althouse just slut-shame Volokh?

Kevin said...

I had a law professor who told us not to say the F word while we were discussing the Fuck the Draft case

and his point was that it's not a word, it's an "inarticulate grunt"

and of course I said the word, because it is a word, a word that has meaning

which is why people want to censor it and punish people for saying it


"Are there any niggers here tonight? Could you turn on the house lights, please, and could the waiters and waitresses just stop serving, just for a second? And turn off this spot. Now what did he say? "Are there any niggers here tonight?" I know there's one nigger, because I see him back there working.

Let's see, there's two niggers. And between those two niggers sits a kike. And there's another kike— that's two kikes and three niggers. And there's a spic. Right? Hmm? There's another spic. Ooh, there's a wop; there's a polack; and, oh, a couple of greaseballs.

And there's three lace-curtain Irish micks. And there's one, hip, thick, hunky, funky, boogie. Boogie boogie. Mm-hmm. I got three kikes here, do I hear five kikes? I got five kikes, do I hear six spics, I got six spics, do I hear seven niggers? I got seven niggers. Sold American.

I pass with seven niggers, six spics, five micks, four kikes, three guineas, and one wop. Well, I was just trying to make a point, and that is that it's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.

Dig: if President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, "I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet," and if he'd just say "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" to every nigger he saw, "boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie," "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" 'til nigger didn't mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school."

- Lenny Bruce

Jupiter said...

In Spanish, it's cuno (pronounced coon'-yo, blogspot won't let me use alt-164, the Spanish enye character), and many Mexicans use it as an exclamation. When a high Mexican official was told that Eric Holder had allowed criminals to smuggle hundreds of guns into Mexico, and that some of them had been used to assassinate Mexican federal agents, her response was "Cuno!".

Bruce Hayden said...

“You realize that this guy is Russian. Shouldn't someone be investigating him about something?”

I think maybe Ukrainian instead, and not really Russian, but I think maybe a native Russian speaker. He seemed to have a very slight accent.

VC was the first blog I followed, and one of my favorites. EV was my favorite there, and I don’t always read some of the real Never Trumpers there. He has always had a much more dispassionate way of viewing the law. Extraordinarily bright. Someone above mentioned 1st Amdt expertise, but I have to also point out his 2nd Amdt jurisprudence - he should get at least partial credit for the Heller decision, providing the Supreme Court majority with much of its historical ammunition.

But I was moving away from the blog because it was hosted by the WaPo. Partly, it was an increasingly less porous paywall there, and partially it was absolutely horrendous blogging software, esp for my iPads. I am excited.

buwaya said...

coño - C**t

We used this word as we breathed, we mestizos. It was our defining word.
It was our word. It was our name. We were the coño kids.
Its still the thing.

Out second favorite is getting obsolete though. puñeta

IgnatzEsq said...

Not having to see the bizarrely unhinged titles for op-eds from WaPo being hawked to me makes this a positive thing in my book.

I remember, before Trump, being interested in how WaPo was growing by getting smart people from divergent places to write for them. Watching that change during the presidential campaign to snarky groupthink made me uninterested real quick.

More cruel neutrality please.

Qwinn said...

The only reason I decided to check out this post is because I just noticed that Ann removed Reason from her blogroll. No idea if it was tonight or part of a general cleanup, but its the only link I used regularly from her blog roll and tonight I first noticed its not there anymore.

Not complaining. Aside from Stossel, Reason has been in serious decline and generally no longer worth the click for some time. And it's not just because of the TDS. Gillespie ruined it lonv before Trump, even.

Michael K said...

Libertarians are pretty clueless about real world, concrete matters. But, it's a definite improvement over the WaPo, which is mired in establishment liberalism.

Yes. There is a difference between "Big L Libertarians" and those of us who think we are mostly libertarian.

Also, Establishment Liberalism" is not liberal.