Five Favorite Nonlegal Blogs

Thanks to Ann Bartow for this prompt; here are my picks:

1. Bookforum: David Brooks recently announced that “Maximum status goes to the Gladwellian heroes who occupy the convergence points of the Internet infosystem — Web sites like Pitchfork for music, Gizmodo for gadgets, Bookforum for ideas, etc.” It’s the one blog I never miss.

2. Glenn Greenwald: If the Democrats lose the presidency for the third time in a row, it will be because they failed to listen to Greenwald. He’s also the best media critic we have, since he eschews the mealymouthed “on-the-one-hand, on-the-other” neutrality that is the hallmark of today’s laziest reporting.

3. Ezra Klein: Anyone who gets their talking points on health care from Tyler Cowen, Megan McArdle, Richard Epstein, or other “market=magic” commentators ought to be forced to write Klein’s posts on the topic on a blackboard. Three times. Here’s one to start with.

4.Threat Level (Wired): Great collection of timely and meaty posts on tech issues.

5. Crooked Timber: Good collection of philosophers and social scientists discussing current events. Here’s a sample post.

I recently gave a talk at the Annenberg School of Communications, and after reflecting on some great scholarship coming out of there, I want to try to do more to read blogs in the fields of communications studies, philosophy, humanities, sociology, and anthropology. Any suggestions?

Frank Pasquale

Frank is Professor of Law at the University of Maryland. His research agenda focuses on challenges posed to information law by rapidly changing technology, particularly in the health care, internet, and finance industries.

Frank accepts comments via email, at All comments emailed to may be posted here (in whole or in part), with or without attribution, either as "Dissents of the Day" or as parts of follow-up post(s). Please indicate in your comment whether or not you would like attribution, or would prefer your comment (if it is selected for posting) to be anonymous.

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2 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    1. Not a scholarly blog, but Sign and Sight

    offers translations of the Feuilleton pages of the major German newspapers. (Name is a pun on Heidegger’s “Sein und Zeit,” a/k/a “Being and Time”.) The Feuilleton section tends to have long features on cultural and intellectual topics. The stories featured on the blog relate to all of Europe, not only Germany. (If you can read the original German, the best Feuilltons are in Die Zeit and the FAZ.)

    2. If you can read French, an interesting site is the Revue du MAUSS Permanente

    “MAUSS” stands for “Mouvement Anti-Utilitariste dans les Sciences Sociales” (Movement for Anti-Utilitarianism in the Social Sciences). Obviously, they are fans of Marcel Mauss. Philosophy/economics/political economy, from a rather non-Anglo-Saxon point of view. While you’re at it, there’s Le monde diplomatique, a monthly newspaper with a high proportion of interesting content. Mostly politics and economics, with cultural coverage a distant third, but all of it from a much more philosophical point of view than you’ll find in the Anglo-Saxon media. (Many articles even have footnotes, a feature that should warm your heart.)

    3. Long before there were blogs, there was the Times Literary Supplement. Unfortunately, the TLS website has a very clunky interface, most content is inaccessable to non-subscribers, and even subscribers have to wait a month for content to be available online. But their philosophy reviews are first-rate, as is just about everything else. And unlike NY Review of Books (and its London sibling), reviews tend to focus on the books, not on the pet theories of the reviewer. The key is to read it pretty much from cover to cover; articles you might never expect to be interesting can turn out to be the most stimulating. It’s the one publication I subscribe to in print — actually, in any medium — that I always read, and a great motivator to take mass transit.

  2. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:

    Among the blogs/sites I occasionally visit (in addition to several already noted above):

    Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look

    “Psychiatric medications, science, marketing, psychiatry in general, and occasionally clinical psychology. Questioning the role of key opinion leaders and the use of “science” to promote commercial ends rather than the needs of people with mental health concerns.”

    Furious Seasons

    “I am concerned about the state of mental health care in America and elsewhere. We simply are not getting the kind of results that patients, myself included, were promised 20 years ago at the dawn of the psychopharmacological revolution. Yet that’s not what you’ll read in the American media and it’s not what you’ll hear from researchers, most advocates and the pharmaceutical companies. What’s more, there isn’t much of a free market of ideas in the mental health world–it’s pretty much the mental health establishment versus the anti-psychiatry movement. Let me stress that I am not a member of the latter movement.

    What I am is a long-time psych patient who has become quite skeptical about where we are with mental health in this country. I believe in accountability and an honest exchange of ideas.

    I’m doing this because I am a reporter who’s come to find the print form that has sustained me for the last decade is too restrictive in light of the Internet. That’s a complicated point and I will make it elsewhere.

    But, yes, I am an actual journalist, for what that might be worth in the blogosphere. I am also mentally-ill, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (more commonly called manic-depression back then) in 1989. I have been an attentive eyewitness to the psychopharmacological revolution that has swept this nation since about 1990. I have seen and experienced the good. I have seen and experienced the bad. I have lived the in-between.”

    The Immanent Frame: Secularism, Religion and the Public Sphere

    Informed Comment (Juan Cole): Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

    Labor is Not a Commodity: A collaborative space for international labor rights solidarity.

    Labor Notes

    Manyul Im’s Chinese Philosophy Blog

    Middle East Online

    PEA Soup: A blog dedicated to philosophy, ethics, and academia

    Public Reason: a blog for political philosophers