Saturday, September 16, 2006

Paul Butler for Coolest

Paul Horwitz wants to know who is the "coolest" law professor in the academy. He nominates Alex Long of Oklahoma City University, but opens the floor for contestation.

My nominee is GW Law Professor Paul Butler. There are a few reasons to support this. For one, he is a blogger at BlackProf. This shows that he is hip and edgy and connected to the trends of us youthful folk. Remember, while old people can be "cool," what is cool is unquestionably defined by the young.

Drawing off that is the second and ultimately controlling reason for Butler's dominance in the field. Horwitz pitches Long on his use and analysis of musicians in law review articles. To that end, I submit that he is easily trumped by Professor Butler's article Much Respect: Toward a Hip-Hop Theory of Punishment, 56 Stan. L. Rev. 983 (2004). To open, let's start with the opening footnote:
Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School. This Article was presented as a work-in-progress at Washington University School of Law and at a Stanford Law Review Symposium. I thank the participants in those events. Special shout out to Daniel Solove. Mad props to Christopher Bracey, Kimberly Jade Norwood, and Dorothy Roberts. Big up to my research assistants Jeremy Medovoy, Michael Robinett, and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Next, let's look at the article itself. The artists it references are ones that actual have "street cred": Nas, NWA, Jay-Z. In addition, it cites to suitably obscure people--one's who the truly connected and plugged in might know, but people "on the outside" will be left scratching their head saying "what?" Here we have people like Erykah Badu and Immortal Technique. These names, in terms of coolness, clearly beat out "GBV, Lester Bangs, the Specials, Manilow, Paul Westerberg, Mike Watt, Robbie Fulks, Waylon, Hank, and Uncle Tupelo," who are cited by Long and whom even Horwitz admits are getting a bit long in the tooth. Furthermore, the article manages to be an actual important contribution to the literature on punishment. I do believe utility is cool (think iPods). And by being published in the Stanford Law Review, it has the advantage of cross-over appeal--"ghetto made good," so to speak.

Put simply, rap trumps whatever it is Mike Watt does. Professor Butler is clearly the coolest law professor, and Much Respect to anyone who can prove me wrong.


Disenchanted Dave said...

What's your take on Immortal Technique?

Disenchanted Dave said...

Incidentally, I second the motion for Paul Butler being "coolest."

Anonymous said...

i heart immortal technique. i saw him at a show last year


Velvet Elvis said...

Unfortunately, Butler's article isn't very good and tends to dim any coolness he gets from name-checking rappers.

David Schraub said...

I disagree--that article rocked out.

Anonymous said...

paul butler is a fool. can't be bothered to explain. however just because he mentions a few mainstream hip-hop artists does not make him cool. surely his beliefs and theories speak louder than celebrities?