Wednesday, December 6, 2006
I have noticed a trend towards puffery in recent legal scholarship. I'm not talking about David Hoffman's briliiantly-titled The Best Puffery Article Ever (I haven't read the Article, but anything with that good a title has got to be good). No, I'm talking about abstracts that sound a common theme.
This Article provides the first comprehensive study demonstrating conclusively that . . .
This Article shows that everything you have previously read on this topic is wrong and I am right . . .
This Article demonstrates that the simple and obvious solution to this problem (or interpretation of this provision) is correct and nobody has recognized this brilliant and straightforward solution until I came along.
I have been sucked in by quite a few such abstracts. Here's the thing. The Articles never live up to their abstracts (creating the biggest false advertising claim since Lionel Hutz's suit against the movie The Never Ending Story). They often add significantly to my understanding of the issues addressed and usually persuade me, but they never change my life, remove all mysteries and doubts, or unlock the secrets of happiness and success as the initial puffery suggests.
But perhaps the Articles have a different impact on the law review editors who are perhaps the abstracts' primary intended audience.