Happy Halloween y'all!
I wanted to ponder the ghostliness of the scamblogger movement because it is a frequent point of contention for boomers and a point of attack for deans and professors. As we all know, a few professors have tried to "out" scambloggers in an effort to silence them.
The boomer/professor argument generally seems to go something like this: "If you can't sign your name to something, your argument is not legitimate." They stand by this no matter how excellent the writing and analysis posted by a scamblogger. It is the classic ad hominem attack of "you're too yellow for me to bother listening to." It also allows the scammers to avoid direct discussion of the overwhelming facts that have now exposed the law school scam.
Furthermore, stories of "outing" a scamblogger always surface online, and it serves as a warning shot to anyone else who may dare to cast a stone at the ivory tower. The parallels to other protest movements and battles between the classes throughout history cannot be clearer. The rich professors desperately try to cling to their wealth and power and to snuff out any prole who gets out of line.
Of course, it also turns those professors into some of the most know and most hated people on the law school scam circuit (see Prof. Leiter). For some, it becomes the most defining characteristic of their online presence.
Needless to say, when a professor values knowing the identity of a critic over the content of his criticism, this obsession exposes the shallowness of her understanding of the problems facing law schools and the legal profession. The idea that the identity of a writer is more important than what he writes has long plagued academia. Whether it be a liberal arts paper or a work of literary fiction -- or a law review article -- most professors judge quality based on the CV of the author and not based on what she says. So, it makes sense that this logic translates to the online discussions about the major problems associated with law schools and the legal profession.
Interestingly, these professors seem to have total ignorance (or feigned ignorance) toward the role that anonymous dissent has played in the development of democracies around the world, including here in America. They also discount the reasons behind the anonymity of the majority of scambloggers, again feigning ignorance toward the risks that many of us take by perpetuating the message that law school is a scam.
Those scambloggers who are not lucky enough to be self-employed or protected by tenure face other retribution by old-school boomers and plain old nasty bosses who have financial ties to the law school industrial complex. Also, scambloggers may face retribution by judges, bar association members, and a number of other people who just want to maintain the status quo. While I often think that many people over-estimate the fear of retribution -- it is a legitimate fear. (Then again, I say, "fear not!" There isn't much more that the powers-that-be can do to screw us further.)
So, on this Halloween, I wish to acknowledge all of the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins of the scamblog movement by saying, well, "trick-or-treat!" The free-falling applications and the zombie-schools -- those that should be dead already but still lumber along -- are attributable in large part to scambloggers and the plaintiffs and lawyers associated with the highly-publicized scam-suits.