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and amusing curiosities, as it happens, regularly dance through
Volokh's brain, fighting for space with serious ideas like the one
he had recently about how to reconcile libertarian antagonism against
motorcycle-helmet laws with the reality of a society that funds
emergency rooms with taxpayers' money. Volokh's solution: two different
kinds of motorcycle license plates, one that requires proof of (expensive)
insurance for helmet-less riding, and one that doesn't. But he also
regularly comes up with fancies like the "Hum a Few Bar Exam,"
with questions taken from popular songs. "Evidence: Can my
admitting that I shot the sheriff be used as prior bad-act evidence
in my trial for shooting the deputy? If I want to introduce my prior
denial of shooting the deputy, will I be barred from the hearsay
had an epiphany the other day," he says, chatting to guests
at his target-shooting excursion. "You'd think that people
with the classical names of poets would be the children of Northeastern
college professors. But Virgil, Homer, Horace ... they're all hick
names! I'm going to call this Volokh's Law of American Culture."
now posts these random thoughts along with trenchant media
commentary and ideas for future op-ed pieces on the blog
(www.volokh.blogspot.com) he finally started in April, after one-too-many
urges of "Get a blog!" from his friend Reynolds. Reynolds'
mighty Instapundit site is the post-September 11 blogging craze's
most astonishing success, now getting almost 50,000 visitors a day.
Which makes a 1995 article that Volokh wrote called "Cheap
Speech and What It Will Do" seem particularly prescient.
was well-known that free speech was not free in the sense of not
costing any money," says Volokh. "As A.J. Liebling said,
'Freedom of the press belongs to him who owns it.' So my claim was
that the advent of new Internet technology would democratize and
diversify the free-speech marketplace," which indeed it has.
Volokh doesn't read a daily newspaper but relies on Instapundit
to direct him to articles of interest.