The Academic Feminist Witch Hunt

An audition for a blogging spot at Feminist Law Professors

By Marc J. Randazza

“Feminist Law Professors,” is a blog that throws cyber-tantrums at the notion of anonymous speech on the internet. (more and more) Their comment policy prefers that the authors name themselves, of course.

But, when they decide to start an academic lynch mob, these rules go out the window, and on go the masks. They bring us this anonymous criticism of Adam Cohen, a Yale Law professor who published a Time magazine article criticizing Judge Judith Raub Eiler. The author elected to remain anonymous, so lets do two things… lets call the Irony Police, and lets call her “Professor Useless Twat,” because that is about as fair as her criticism of Professor Cohen.

Here’s some of Cohen’s criticism of Judge Eiler.

When a defendant showed up on a traffic charge, Judge Judy delivered a zinger: “If you drive like an idiot ’cause you’re late for work, you’re gonna have to pay for it.” Then she piled on: “You can see your picture on the headlines of the Seattle Times, stupid young man who shouldn’t be driving.”

Another defendant recalled that the tart-tongue jurist humiliated and bullied her until she broke down in tears. “She frequently interrupted answers with insults,” the woman recalled.

This bullying Judge Judy was not Judge Judith Sheindlin, the tough-talking former New York City Family Court judge who has the top-rated judge show on syndicated television. It was Judge Judith Raub Eiler, her real-life doppelgänger, who sits at a county court in Seattle. Instead of high ratings and rich syndication fees, this Judge Judy’s aggressive demeanor earned her a five-day suspension without pay courtesy of the Washington State Supreme Court. (source)

Cohen criticized Eiler for being demeaning to litigants, especially pro-se litigants. Cohen applauded the fact that Eiler suffered discipline for her behavior, and said it should have been stronger medicine. He wasn’t basing his position on the reading of entrails from dead animals — the Washington Supreme Court backs up Cohen’s position.

But since Judge Eiler has a vagina, here comes Professor Useless Twat, accusing Cohen of gender bias, akin to calling a black person a “nigger.” (Well, using an illustration from a gender discrimination case in which the judge made that analogy).

What? Really?

Yes, Professor Useless Twat played the “nigger card.” Mind you, its not that she used the word, as I said last week, but what a card to play in this round of poker! Professor Useless Twat’s point was to accuse Cohen of criticizing Judge Eiler for not being “feminine” enough — as if civility in the courtroom is a “feminine” characteristic. (And somehow the “nigger card” made sense to play there).

Well dress me up in drag and call me Sally, because as caustic as I am on this blog, I know how to use my “courtroom voice” when I am in the sacred space. Courtrooms are places where you should exercise civility — even when dealing with idiots, assholes, and useless twats. Courtrooms are what we have instead of dueling fields. The lawyers and the parties are expected to be nice to each other, or at least civil. If that makes me “feminine” when I’m in court, well, fine… gimme my skirt.

When a judge refuses to show civility – especially to pro se litigants, who might not exactly know all the rules, then she deserves to be called out for it. She deserves to be criticized for it. She deserves to be disciplined for it — whether she has a vagina or not. And that was Cohen’s point. Gender wasn’t an overt subject, nor even a subtext, in his article.

There may be intelligent arguments against Professor Cohen’s article. If there are any, calling him a “sexist” sure isn’t one of them, and playing the “nigger card” is just plain retarded. Doing it from behind a mask is unforgivable.

Professor Useless Twat’s critique is bad enough in a vacuum, but lets remember the habitat in which law professors must survive. The politically correct police run the show. You must fall over yourself demonstrating sensitivity to race, gender, and whether a guy wears panties under his suit. “Racist” or “sexist” are labels that end careers in academia, and when one law prof throws them at another, the intent is abundantly clear — this bitch is pissed off about something and wants to fuck over Mr. Cohen. No, what Mr. Cohen did is not the equivalent of calling the judge a “nigger.” But, if useless twat wants a nice analogy, her piece is like going back to 1950 and calling Cohen a “Communist,” or a “faggot.” Either one could end his career, if anyone took it seriously, and she damn well knew it.

And in academia, if he dared to defend himself, Cohen would run the risk of just pushing the barb in deeper. I don’t know Cohen. I might actually hate him if I met him (or I might think he’s the greatest guy ever). I don’t care. I feel compelled to defend him, because it is obvious what Professor Useless Twat is trying to do. I don’t know what her real issue is with Cohen, but there isn’t a shred of honesty in her accusations that his work is gender biased.

40 Responses to The Academic Feminist Witch Hunt

  1. Tara King says:

    ahhh this almost made me laugh out loud and gave me a nice break from the lovely Shaw case we are currently beating to death in Wills.The irony about what happens on, at, or whatever with the Feminist Law Professors Blog is that they conveniently apply a double standard. I’m going to take a guess and probably say that the poor driver in question was a “white man” since that would allow for the lack of critical analysis into this method of adjudication. When I hear pro se litigants or one driving too fast to get to work, I think of a variety of circumstances that most likely do not merit the application of “acerbic irritation”nor this particular man having his driving privileges called into question. It seems that suddenly because it is a female in charge that all questions of privilege, power and humility become moot. Arguably depending on the distribution of acerbic irritation based on gender– it could be a reversal of Kitty’s dominance theory( though I am sure my fellow feminist friends would say impossible due to the pervasive nature of patriarchy–yet I am not convinced especially since I find Mackinnon ironically uses patriarchy or her dominance theory as a covert means for subordinating the agency of certain women such as, ummm I don’t know, let’s say porn stars…)I won’t get too into it–but some of this bullshit feminist rhetoric is what makes me want to cover my ears and scream blah blah blah– especially when my fellow feminists apply an arbitrary standard premised on gender–if a male judge said the same to a female defendant the complaint would be reversed and shit would hit the figurative fan. Marc you nailed the bottom line and that is–there should be a level of decorum maintained throughout the adjudication process, irrespective of who the individual is… People wonder why I have a blatant aversion to some feminist theory–please. Dear fellow feminists: STOP using the rhetoric you seek to destroy when it benefits you– or at least contextualize the hell out of it. K thanks.

  2. […] Law: no one could object to a piece that says, in effect, “judges ought to act in a civil, professional manner when on the bench”, right? You’d be wrong. (hat tip: Randazza) […]

  3. […] friends at the Legal Satyricon have a good recent example. Yale Law Professor Adam Cohen wrote a piece in Time magazine about the […]

  4. BL1Y says:

    The Feminist Prof’s Blog is little more than an academic circle jerk.

    Back in May, Bridget Crawford, one the site admins, and I think the biggest contributor to the site, posted a rant arguing that the first job of a professor is to play nice with colleagues and that your actual ability to teach students doesn’t really matter in comparison. She took it down a few days later, but I (mostly) preserved it here:

  5. anonymous says:

    I do think you’re misrepresenting the “nigger card” aspect of Prof. Useless Twat’s argument, which is a shame because the blog you’re talking about is so intellectually bankrupt and its arguments so shitty on their merits that you really don’t NEED to present anything out-of-context in order to discredit it.

    It’s very obvious reading Prof. Useless Twat’s post (unless the post has been edited since you wrote your initial commentary) that the “nigger” comparison isn’t the Prof.’s original idea — it’s directly attributed to a DC Ct App justice and was (purportedly) issued under circumstances that make the remark relevant to the topic at hand.

  6. I can see how the way I characterized it could be seen as misrepresenting how she used the nigger-card. I added in a parenthetical, which I think addresses your concern. Thank you for pointing it out, because you are right — there’s no need to up the drama when shining a spotlight on the FLP idiocy.

    I sincerely appreciate the constructive criticism.

    • anonymous says:

      i hadn’t browsed here prior to today (linked by ATL), but i am very pleasantly surprised, even impressed, by this response to my anon comment. will return in future.

  7. irritated says:

    Well, I’m a feminist, and I completely agree with your defense of Mr. Cohen (as well as his criticism of Judge Eiler). I also am disappointed with the hypocrisy of the anonymous post on the feminist law prof blog. However, to call the writer “Professor Useless Twat” is inappropriate and sexist — and indeed, here the analogy to racist slurs is appropriate. If a black law professors’ blog had posted an (arguably ineffective) defense of an intemperate black judge and you wished to condemn the author, I highly doubt you would write “Professor Useless [racist slur against black person]”. (And if you would, all the worse.) Now, I understand that you’re a First Amendment crusader who undoubtedly views himself as entitled to use the word, and more power to you, sir. But it makes you someone who isn’t worth taking very seriously.

    • Professor Useless Twat might very well be male. Furthermore, try re-reading the sentence where I introduce the term.

      If it still bothers you, then I’ll accept your criticism, but if you’re going to focus on the word “twat” rather than the point, I have some supplemental reading for you.

      • BL1Y says:

        One of the issues not getting looked at here is how much feminist academics love using “dirty” words just to get attention.

        Aside from “hegemony,” “gender-queer,” and “women’s bodies,” the favorite words of the contemporary feminist academic are “fuck,” “bitch,” “faggot,” “nigger,” and “cunt.” Working in any excuse to use, let’s call it “non-scholarly language,” is what passes for being edgy and cool in feminist circles. Always look for the footnote though, explaining that they’re just quoting someone else, or co-oping the term, or speaking in the language of the culture they’re discussing.

        Unfortunately, quality of your writing or reasoning takes a back seat to getting a lot of attention in academia.

      • irritated says:

        I didn’t focus on the word “twat” to the exclusion of your main point – I began by agreeing with your main point.

        I also agree with the underlying point of your “supplemental reading” – that context and intent are important in discerning whether the use of a particular word is prejudiced. However, you do note, in the supplemental reading:

        Please don’t say “nigger” as an insult. It makes you an asshole.

        …and the same is true for “twat”, regardless of the gender of the anonymous author. Just as it would be true if you were to critique an anonymous author on a black law professor’s blog, with a parallel set of facts, and refer to him or her as “Professor Useless N**” (with or without the cute wording that you used in your sentence introducing the term)

        Despite self-identifying as feminist, I think the feminist movement is so marred with nonsense of the sort that you highlight in this post that I choose not to participate in it actively. I’m glad you called them out on their hypocrisy. It would just have been far more effective if you did so without using petty slurs.

        • BL1Y says:

          Don’t use derogatory words in insults? I’m pretty sure every word in an insult is derogatory.

          • anonymous says:

            Yeah, but it seems like he’s argued that certain epithets are so objectionable that wielding them as insults “makes you an asshole”, even notwithstanding that most people, perhaps even the non-assholes among us, use SOME derogatory language when we’re insulting others.

            If “nigger” is over the line, so to speak, then why not “twat”? There should at least be some reasoned distinction.

            • Maybe there is, but I think that discussions about this kind of minutiae are far more suited to the crybaby lawprof blogs. Therefore, I suggest a few possible courses of action if you would like to have a full debate about whether I get to call someone a twat whenever the fuck I feel like it, and whether that makes me a bad person:

              1) Go ask Feminist Law Professors to hold a symposium on it.
              2) Go ask Concurring Opinions to hold a symposium on it.
              3) If you really want to, I’ll offer you guest-posting privileges, and you can write your own blog post, on my space here, about the word “Twat.”

              But, I’m not going to waste my time with it.

              I like the word “twat,” and I think it is was appropriately used. If you don’t like it, pick from the three choices above. I’m more than pleased to offer you the platform to have that discussion, but I’m not interested in turning this particular thread into a critical gender theorist festival quibbling over the use of a single word.

              That’s sorta the point of my “nigger post”.

            • anonymous says:

              I’m not sure whether you’re addressing me or the self-identified feminist above, but I have no desire to dispute whether anyone “gets to” use any particular word. I am, I guess you could say, a free speech absolutist of the type you generally only find in the deepest, darkest, sketchiest corners of the internet. Frankly, I don’t think using “twat” *or* using “nigger” makes anyone a “bad person”, whatever that means.

              But if you’re going to do stuff like devote an entire post to the propriety of the use of “nigger”, then don’t act like “quibbling over the use of a single word” is somehow beneath you. Or even clearly outside the scope of this thread, since you devote significant ink and emphasis in your OP to what you call the “nigger card.”

              The point that “irritated” initially made above (tldr’d as “don’t use ‘twat'”) is pretty PC and inane…but if you have similar PC, inane hangups about comparable slurs, then maybe you, too, need to flounce off to cultural studies class.

              (Notice I say “*if* you have…” — maybe you don’t, in which case, n/a).

            • smurfy says:

              “If “nigger” is over the line, so to speak, then why not “twat”? ”

              Because nigger already has a more direct compatriot in this realm. It starts with c.

        • I see your point. I disagree. But there is certainly room for your opinion here. Thank you for sharing it.

        • Halcyon 2L says:

          I don’t see how it’s substantially different from calling someone Professor Useless Dick/Cock/Prick etc.? It’s not like Marc singles out gender specific epithets all the time, and it’s not like he’s picking on a group that can’t punch back.

          These “petty slurs” embody the language of most Americans–they are coins-of-the-realm in exchanging ideas.

  8. me says:

    Standing ovation. We need more people willing to stand up to the mafia-esque identity politics establishment in academia today. Every time they’re challenge on the merits of their positions (though these occasions are regrettably few in number), I think their strangehold on academic discourse loosens a little.

    This, of course, explains full well their stance in opposition to anonymous speech on the internet, on any other medium- anonymity limits their ability to silence dissent through retaliation. And yet! You publish this article with your name attached. Props on your courageousness, but are you worried about losing opportunities later in your career or facing other forms of retribution as a resukt?

  9. taxguy says:

    Well, now I’m officially a fan of this blog. Sweet article.

  10. Cry Baby says:

    You have a decent argument on your side. The Feminist Law Prof’s article could have been vastly improved had the author demonstrated that male judges in Washington regularly engage in the same behavior without sanction.

    Unfortunately, your hostility toward the feminist author counterproductively detracts from your commentary. You accuse the Feminist Law Professor bloggers of being crybabies for throwing “cyber-tantrums” about internet hostility, but this piece is largely a cyber-tantrum of your own. Someone rendered a critique of Cohen’s piece that you deem to be unfair and unwarranted and something compelled you to call the critic a “Useless Twat” and a “bitch,” two very loaded, gendered, and aggressive terms. Yes, it’s your right to say those words, but it’s really unnecessary to do so to make your larger substantive point.

    Ironically, I doubt Cohen himself would appreciate such a post being written in his defense. In his Time article, he said:

    “The two Judge Judys say a lot about the sad state of our national discourse. If you turn on cable news, the odds are good that you will get a screaming match. Talk radio is worse. Polls show that workplace bullying is at epidemic levels.

    There is clearly an audience for this sort of mean-judge shtick.”

    It’s nice that you’ve made some new fans with this “mean-judge shtick” of your own. Too bad it doesn’t do anything to change the national discourse.

    • Not my job to “change the national discourse,” and I’m not trying to make friends with Mr. Cohen.

      If you want to write a piece that does the requisite reach-around that still critiques those blithering twats at FLP, be my guest.

  11. Dan Hull says:

    I assume all your brave fire-breathing anonymous commenters here are Iranian, Chinese or Cuban dissidents, or perhaps CIA operatives.

    That right?

    (Marc, I’d love it if more of your readers sounding off on this post got off their knees and identified themselves. Generally professional and white-collar women are far less wimpy than their male counterparts and use their real names. One exception: legal academics of either sex. Not people you want to be in foxhole with.)

    • BL1Y says:

      Given how knee-jerk reactionary our culture is to anything at all politically incorrect or unpopular, anonymity may be the only way to protect your job (or job prospects, for those of us who are unemployed).

      • This much is true — well, I’ll speak for those who are afraid to speak themselves.

        • Hull says:

          This is helpful. As an employer, and as a human being with a degree in history, I’ve often wondered how generations of slaves, peasants and career servants might view life and work.

    • Mario says:

      Okay. And I like your Blawg too, fwiw.

    • Harry Mauron says:

      Why am I an anonymous coward for criticizing hypocrites on anonymity?

      Prof. UT is a hypocrite for advocating against anonymous writing by blog policy and then anonymously attacking some idiot – I can pile on anonymously without weaking my point since I’m not identifiable as a hypocrite in any relevant way.

  12. […] was bouncing around WordPress and a few other sites and came upon this […]

  13. No Biscuit says:

    Great piece. I hope you don’t mind I commented on it and also added my two cents to the discussion on my own blog.

    As others have said though it does look like FLP is a great big old circle jerk of like minded people.

    Saddens me if it actually turned up in the top lists of anything other than most inane drivel online.

    • Why would I mind? More wares in the marketplace of ideas!

      I must admit that I bet my piece on FLP upped their readership figures a bit, because I can see from my traffic stats that it shot a few thousand clicks their way. Of course, they made sure to delete out the pingback — wouldn’t want anyone to accidentally read an opinion that didn’t conform to their festival of misandry.

      • BL1Y says:

        Shit dude, thousands? I write about Badget Crawford and her ilk all the time, and I could sure use that kind of traffic.

      • Bad Monkey says:

        I also noticed the lack of a ping back. Sad they have decided to only offer ideas with no disagreeing opinion.

        I guess naval gazing was too intense, they’ve simply decided to stick with mirrors.

        Really in keeping with the admiration of “academic freedom”, something they claim comes from having lots of different views represented.

        Lots of different views, but only on the issues where B. Crawford has announced it is “a topic on which intelligent feminist opinion is divided.” Love the implication that if one disagrees with them on issues lacking the label you can’t be a 1) a feminist, or 2) intelligent (preemptive ad hominem?)

        BL1Y, I too would love “thousands of hits”, but since I don’t have much material posted I don’t think I’d get the repeat traffic I would want.

        • BL1Y says:

          I was confused by her claim that no-fault divorce was something that feminist opinion is divided on.

          Between wanted to make sure abused wives can get out of those relationships, and letting consenting adults begin and end relationships on their own terms, what’s the feminists anti-no fault divorce angle?

          I love that this is an area in which they can disagree, but something such as when human life begins, a largely biological issue (though often informed by religion) is one feminists aren’t allowed to disagree on.

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