Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bluebooking is so Vogue.

So the accomplished but totally socially awkward Bad Hair Guru* has been working on writing something up for Dream Boss. It has been a long time in coming, and I know he's put in a lot of work on it. He's had a very successful career behind him, so before I sound like an uppity little intern, let me clarify: Bad Hair Guru knows his legal shit.

This does not mean that he is not straight out of Office Space, though.

Dream Boss had a chat with Bad Hair Guru, and informed him that a) his Extra Special Project, does, in fact, need to be proof read, and b) since it needs to be someone with fresh eyes, the interns would be doing it. Bad Hair Guru did not take kindly to this, and was huffing and defensive through most of this process. That sentence was not supposed to have a verb! That misspelling was the word-processors' fault!

Unfortunately, Dream Boss got wind of the fact that I participated in the write-on, and determined that I should be Bluebooking & Shepardizing the beast, to "practice for law review."** Bad Hair Guru brought the thing to me with a myriad of preliminary commentary.

Apparently, certain "things" were "stylistic." Despite some prodding, Bad Hair Guru could not be induced to clarify what the "things" were, only that I shouldn't change them. Because they were stylistic.

(Ironically, nothing about BHG is stylish, but you already knew that). BHG is "not a Bluebook nazi, like SOME people around here."

Trying to be diplomatic, I let Bad Hair Guru know that I would do my conscientious intern-best to make sure everything was "just right," and that he could either keep the changes or ignore them as he saw fit.

I stayed late, finished everything up, checked and double checked. Standard, right? Gave it as gently as I could to BHG, again prefacing with lots of "this is by the book, so do what you'd like with it, all-knowing-one-I-mean-that-in-a-nice-way" BHG had a minor coronary over the post-its strewn through his work, but seemed to get a grip on himself.

Until today. Today, BHG ran down myself and the other interns in the hall and demanded to know "which one did the Bluebooking." Now, BHG knows my name. And there are only 3 of us, so, really- it wouldn't have been hard to guess. Anyway. I identified myself, and for my foolishness have earned the right to a friendly lil sit-down with Bad Hair Guru himself, while we discuss which liberties he has taken with Bluebook format are "stylistic choices" and which are "errors."

(Here's a hint: BHG doesn't make 'errors.' BHG puts periods and spaces in strange places. BHG uses the wrong abbreviations for courts. BHG plays fast and loose with typesettings and fonts. BHG threw out the playbook. But BHG does. not. make. errors.)

Now, setting aside the foolishness of having your naive little interns edit according to rules which only exist in your crazy person head- why would this sit-down be a good idea? By all means, if you want to persist in your "style," have at it, BHG. I'm in no position to stop you. But must we have a meeting about how my being right is really my being wrong, and by the way never volunteer to help again? Because someone in here smells a little defensive. And it's not the someone holding the citation guide, trying to learn how to read minds.

Blech. The whole idea makes me sick. And, as we won't be working together again this summer, and BHG's rules are, by the assessment of the entire office, arbitrary and in no way connected with reality, it is going to be a romping little excursion through the land of the inane and face-smashingly-incompetent. Excited? Me too. Maybe I can learn some extra special style tips to get myself ahead in my next summer job.

Also, has anyone told Law Review that Bluebook conventions are optional? I'm curious. What I'm trying to say is:

Dear Law Review,

Those "mistakes"? Those are "style choices." I'm still in, right?



*Theory: The better you are at law, the worse your hair is. Bad Hair Guru is Scalia with a mullet.
**Because Dream Boss is a sadist, and likes to show people all the non-fun they won't be having.


no634 said...

Hilarity. Scalia with a mullet? He's balding I take it?

ImNobody said...

Spot on.

It is icky.

Anonymous said...


Love it.

I am also subjected to the huffing and puffing of an attorney. But he leaves me comments in red ink instead of full-frontal confrontations.

All rights reserved to my snotty and generally self-deprecating writing. And if your comments bother me, I'll delete them. That's right, pumpkin.
...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson