Thursday, May 15, 2008

how belle met paul

Aw. From the archives, the wayback machine brings you this story of two hot-headed liberal law geeks meeting in the great aether of the blawgosphere.

I didn't always know Paul Gowder personally. In fact, we met each other through the blog, and not because we went to school together or attended some conference together. I first encountered Paul , a voracious and roving commenter on several law blogs, in the summer of 2005. That's when I started reading law blogs. No joke! I was late on the bandwagon, but graduating from law school and moving back home to boring Orange County with the 'rents made me miss the intellectual stimulation. So I started reading Concurring Opinions and PrawfsBlawg, and there I encountered this interesting character named Paul Gowder, who was seemingly always ready with an opinion, quip, snarky remark, or skewering analysis.

Anyway, when I started reading him, I was all, who is this dude?! And how does he have so much time to comment?! And man, is this guy bold and brassy!

I had no idea who Paul was. A lawyer? A law professor? And yet, no firm email or faculty webpage attached to his name in the comments. Googling produced nothing, really (back then) save pages and pages of "Paul Gowder" comments on blogs. He was an enigma, an unknown quantity.

Then in February 2006, I started this blog. It was at first a "I am bored at home and need someone to talk to or else I will become stupid and socially awkward" kind of blog, written while I was a glorified unpaid nanny running out of criminal procedural shows to watch and applying to graduate programs. The kids would nap, and I would blog. The kids would leave around 9 pm, and I would blog. At first it was more of a personal blog than anything. Then I started blogging a bit about the law, literature, my shifting intellectual positions and hobbyhorses. I started getting noticed more by others, and I started to comment under this pseudonym, figuring "why the hell not." I started to develop a persona, and my blog a personality. I became known as this literature-loving liberal, recovering from critical theory and critical race theory who very clearly identified as a feminist. Feminist Law Profs noticed first, and this is why Ann Bartow is my blogfather. A few months after I started blogging, this blawgospheric brouhaha about commenting on Orly Lobel's looks unfolded, and I wrote this incredibly long post about it. This post was mostly well-received, but not without controversy. But Paul, being my homie, liked the post, and said so in the comments, to which I responded gratefully, and look, how cute, I called him "Prof. Gowder" by mistake. A little early, but not in error, not really. But this was our first interaction.

A month or so after this, he put together my identity when I accidentally left my URL in a comment under my own name at some other blog. But we never did correspond. A whole YEAR later, we found each other on Facebook, and I realized with a shock that he was only a year older than I was, and thus his whole "Harvard Class of 2000" was due to him being an insanely smart prodigy, not some skeezy dude ten years older than me. Also, I found out that he was really cool, and incredible fun. So since then, we have been writing and of course, now co-blogging. Whenever we find ourselves in geographic proximity to each other, we hang out, and it is like teh awesome. Mostly, it involves looking through bookstores and trying to resist the urge to spend all of our financial aid.

And that is how Belle met Paul. Awww.

Incidentally, I ended up meeting Orly a few months after this, as a new LL.M student at a conference, and she's super cool. But in the comments to the brouhaha post, I note also that this post was my first interaction with Jeff Lipshaw and Bruce Boyden, good eggs and epistolary friends. See, the blogosphere can bring people together in warm, fuzzy ways. Part of why I love the Con Law Camp of June 2007 was that in swinging by D.C. for a week, I got to meet Amber, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I'd tell you the story of how I met TD, but he won't let me, because that's "private." It's also super boring. So I just make up whatever story I want, like how we met at the urban iditarod and had to merge teams because his musher got injured and my human sled person bailed on me. Or at the zombie goth rave, only we hardly recognized each other the next day without the makeup. Or when we went to survival training camp together, and I was having trouble making my deadfall trap, and he came over and helped me and we shared the roasted squirrel I captured that night. It was love at first bite.


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