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But The Young Don’t Read

The New York Times published an excellent editorial about the upcoming election and Donald Trump. It’s not nearly harsh enough for those who despise him and too harsh for those who don’t, and it provides a surprisingly fair appraisal of who and what he is. If you don’t believe the times, believe his former Chief of Staff, John Kelly: Trump is the “most flawed person I’ve ever met.”

But for anyone reading this post, you already know this and have made up your mind about Trump, whether to be against him or wrong. Hey, it’s my blawg and I get to write that. But that’s not the point here. Rather, the point arises from many of the comments to the Times’ editorial which note its pointlessness. The people who need to read the editorial don’t. It’s just words bouncing off the wall of an echo chamber while old people write about what young people should do.

Young people don’t read, they argue. Young people don’t read the Times, they argue. To the extent some do, they read the headline, maybe the first paragraph, and then get bored and check their TikTok or Insta. So if young people don’t read, why write to them? Why write for them? If they never see it, never read it, it doesn’t exist.

This made me wonder who reads SJ and whether there’s any point in writing things designed to raise questions and give rise to that most dreadful and painful of human activities, thinking. Even though comments tend to come from the same group of people, there are still a great many lurkers here. Are they the same crowd as when SJ was fighting the good fight to tell people that cops did bad things sometimes, the law sucked sometimes, courts were wrong sometimes, and that we needed to do better?

Many readers in the early days (we’re coming up on the 17th Anniversary of SJ) came because of its defense lawyer perspective, and while that hasn’t changed as far as I’m concerned, some have morphed into the simplistic view of ACAB and Abolish Cops, absurd positions that I reject. They then fled SJ for more woke perspectives that conformed to their prejudices and gave them no cause to think.

So who’s still here? I know what the regular commenters have to say, tedious though some of you have become, but what about the lurkers? Who are you?

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