Hoffman on XOXOHTH

Dave Hoffman at Concurring Opinions has published the first of what he says will be a series of posts about XOXOHTH, the (in)famous discussion board supposedly aimed at law school applicants, law students, and new law firm associates. Messages are anonymous, and some of the content is not, shall we say, edifying. Putting aside the racist and misogynistic diatribes and (sometimes even worse) casual asides, much of the remainder still displays distorted values and priorities, and incredible arrogance, such that it can be depressing reading.

On the other hand (or “OTOH,” as posters there surely would say), it might not be such a big deal:

  • To the extent that this stuff is representative of actual thinking by some minority of jerks in our midst, maybe it is better to air it (Volokh suggests that may be so);
  • Some threads seem at least potentially valuable (e.g.: who has advice about which 1L elective I should take?);
  • Much of the bad stuff appears to be less than serious and some of it is clearly pulling your leg, Borat-style.

Not surprisingly, the post spurred a lengthy thread on XOXOHTH itself, featuring a wide variety of points of view, interspersed with some more of those icky posts.

It is an interesting issue, fueled, of course, by anonymity that allows posters to say frank and sometimes outrageous things, or perhaps to strike a pose. I tend to think that the potential outlet provided by online anonymity is a good thing. I will be curious to see what Hoffman says, and also how others respond. (Hoffman closed comments on his post. I will leave mine open — for now.)

[UPDATE: I have now closed comments. I think the 53 that are there are fairly representative and I will leave them up, even though personally I find most of them puerile, offensive, or both. Hoffman is continuing his series of posts; today’s offering explains the history of XOXOHTH. I believe in online anonymity and I still think, as I indicated in the original post, that it provides breathing room for speech, even though often I don’t like how people use it. Now, if you choose to click through to the comments, don’t say I didn’t warn you…]

53 Responses to “Hoffman on XOXOHTH”

  1. I am proud to be white

  2. “much of the remainder still displays distorted values and priorities”

  3. we don’t say OTOH. HTH.


  5. No one at xoxo says “OTOH” – that kind of plebian language is reserved for the lower classes.

  6. I’ve got the best college football parlay for this weekend.

  7. ouch


    *blink, blink*

  9. Describe the White girl and Asian guy scene at Minnesota? Anything like the scene from Fargo?

  10. I agree with your Borat comparison. Anyone who spends any amount of time reading XOXO (rather than leaping to conclusions, ahem) would realize that the shocking/racist/insulting posts are created by a small minority in the hopes of garnering attention. Most people quickly learn to tune it out.

  11. Guys at my high school blogged about blogs about xo all the time. It was no big deal.

  12. ITT we talk about “bill” mcgeveran’s underwhelming cv.

  13. ITT we talk about “bill’s” underwhelming cv.

  14. WGWAG

  15. I thought this thread was actually helpful http://www.xoxohth.com/thread.php?thread_id=511601&mc=187&forum_id=2

  16. jane hoya, if you’re reading this, i just cut myself for you.

  17. guys, dont spoiil this blgo. when i cum bcak from the jorts sail at jcpenny, i bettre not c any more of this.

    piece out, dawgs

  18. HSGWLSG (High School Girls With Law School Guys)

  19. jcm bored at work, taking and giving questions…

  20. I view the outrageous and offensive material on XOXO as sort of akin to fraternity hazing. There’s a wealth of really good information and helpful posters, but you have to be smart enough to sort through the flame and disinformation, and “cool” enough to recognize the over-the-top material for what it is.

  21. Professor McGeveran, why didn’t you get an i-banking offer?

  22. This blog is so uncool. My vinyl records shop in Houston (where I just picked up the old Sliced Up Donkey Nuts EP, NOT the new one) told me about this blog having buzz on Pitchfork, but it sucks. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go slit my wrists for attention with RMG.

  23. I have been impressed by the wit of your comments thus far. Thanks for not commenting on my looks. Like all fellow Carleton grads, I am an objective 8.

  24. white girls asian guys

  25. I like to shit in the sink.

  26. georgetown ucla clerkships

  27. semper ubi sub ubi

  28. (shits on face)

  29. The law community is so small. Can’t we all just get along?

  30. LAWYERS…


    We seem to have attracted the attention of some wanna be Lawyers website, the title of their opinions published under their RANT, “NYPD Declares War on the NY Times”…

    So be prepared to be bombarded, with comments from the voice of JUSTICE…

    Three thousand, sons and daughters, all burning their Parent’s money and studying very hard to become….

    Noble contributors to the Republic? Well no, not exactly… but the next best thing, Yet another Lawyer…

    Seventy percent of these self-righteous sc*mbags will reach the pinnacle of their career representing, Stop and Squat accidents, Slip and falls, the related Medical cases for the Russian MOB’s Medical Clinics over on Ocean Parkway…

    Living in plush homes, slightly deviling in illicit narcotics, “But only at Parties with their friends. Occasional drug use mind you, nothing Heavy, “Because Hey I’m a Lawyer, I’m not a Junkie” then telling their family, They’re a success….I’m a Lawyer…

    Another twenty percent will be handling, Home sales, Tax returns, and Divorces.

    Living in plush houses, and telling their Family, they’re successful….I’m a Lawyer

    Five percent, will be standing on the other side of the Courtroom well, filing useless Petitions, and trying to find a mistake in a Cop’s paperwork or his testimony. All in an effort to allow his abused and neglected Client, to continue on his one man Crime spree, Robbing, Raping and Terrorizing, all those plush homes, in his very own neighborhood… But I’m successful, I’m a Lawyer…

    One percent will make it “All the way to the FBI” as Doctor Lector says, only to be handling, the same Medical Fraud cases, of their wayward Classmates Indiscretions with the Russian MOB…Because of all the Law enforcement TOOLS, they were provided with, after seven or eight years, a set of BALLS, was the one item they could not develop. So they dare not venture out onto the streets, for Law Enforcement..Crime is fought with pieces of finely printed PAPER, at that level..

    One percent will strive and work hard, keep their ideals, morales, {Bent as they have been by a Liberal Law School} to become, Assistant United States Attorney’s, and Assistant District Attorney’s…Only to stand next to you in Court, and politely ask… “Detective/Officer, could you tell ME, what happened here, and then take ME out to the crime scene, I don’t know where it is, and I think it’s a BAD neighborhood…

    Then when all is said and DONE, where the Metal meets the MEAT…On the Stand in front of perhaps DOZENS, of “ Hey I’m a LAWYER”

    There will remain….ONE COP…

    Because after all is said and DONE, all of the Lawyers and paper in the world, can’t change one f’n FACT…Inside that Court ROOM, with all of it’s ornate wood carvings, marble hallways, electronic court reporting, Pomp and Circumstance…

    There are ONLY TWO People, in the entire world, that KNOW what the F*ck…. really happened…That COP, and the sc*mbag on trial…

    All the rest is FLUFF….created mind you, by other LAWYERS

    That is WHY, any Judge at the Charging of any JURY will SAY…

    “Remember Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, NOTHING, the attorney’s SAY is EVIDENCE, real evidence comes from the Witness stand”

    Simply translated, that means…

    Lawyers don’t know shyte….about What happened anywhere, they’re simply trying to impress you, with their SUITS, and WORDS…Hoping you’ll VOTE for them…….

  31. Admit it, McGeveran, this is a TTT attempt to game the legal blog world modeled after WUSTL’s gaming of the USNEWS ranking.

  32. This website sucks, as does your career. Kill self.

  33. you’re a good sport for not deleting any of our comments.

    I would also say that boards like xoxo are also useful if you want to develop a thik skin. And the board is helpful even when it seems like it isn’t. When you post a problem you might end up with 104 mean, pointless responses, but the 105th may be mean but also helpful. There have been many times where I have found useful information on xoxo, whether it be about grad school or job searches or, frankly, even relationships.

    I also would like to point out that I took a Colon Pure dump in a public restroom yesterday. I’m sincerely sorry if you were one of the people to use it after me. Maybe it would be of some comfort to know that I am flushing out my rank colonic innards, thus decreasing my risk for colon cancer. I can email you a pic if you’d like.

    onward . . .

  34. Rasquash, did your dump resemble the “essence of Cooley” picture we tried to put on Cooley’s wikipedia page? (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Thomas_M._Cooley_Law_School#Feces_Picture ). If so, you should have taken a picture of it so we could make another college try at improving Cooley’s wikipedia entry.

  35. I can’t believe an NYU grad got a 1st tier teaching job. What a toilet school.

  36. [Deleted comment: the commenter impersonated someone else.  – William McGeveran]

  37. “georgetown ucla clerkships

    Comment by leiter — November 1, 2006 @ 5:33 pm |Edit This”


  38. 166/3.8, chances at PEnn? =(

  39. Dear Mr. McGeveran,

    Did a Playboy Playmate once post on your blog? I hear she was pretty attractive. Pics?

  40. [Deleted comment: the commenter impersonated someone else and provided extensive privacy-invasive detail about the person being impersonated. – William McGeveran]

  41. More feces.

  42. Internet blogger loser has so many opinions, no IRL friends to share them with. Live IRL.


    – William McGeveran]

  44. How did it happen that making the tired claim that this ghetto shithole is UNDERrated became the signature conversation piece for people who desperately want to be thought smart; really, really smart. smart people love “rigor” and Chicago is full of it; it must be, what with its hair-splitting number grades, punishingly low enforced mean, and oppressive course load. Chicago boosterism usually comes in the form of a comparison with the appallingly UNrigorous Stanford or Yale — gradeless, abundantly pass-fail, unserious; students who do nothing and know nothing. Chicago: graded, competitive, serious… That it’s really just a ruptured ego rehab clinic for Harvard rejects is a fact not emphasized. I have seen a homely Chicago girl, deep into her second year, still spontaneously weeping upon Proustian recollections of the stiff NO Harvard sent her, in brisk three-week turnaround time from the point her doomed application was deemed complete. Happy December, chickiepoo. Then the Yale axe fell, as it does. Welcome to the New Year, dipshit. January passed; February crawled by with those joyless acceptances that only accentuated the horror of Plan B: Georgetown, which is a “Law Center,” a failed euphemism if ever there was one. Next: woeful Cornell. Oh, what a very bad school. And — what do we have here?!? — a Boston University full-ride. Ummmm, no. On second thought in stead of BU I’d prefer the f free roasted dogshit mignon with a pus reduction sauce and a heaping blob of earwax garnish. Thank you no. I am woe. Add to that the fact that the imbecile whoalways posts about how Sean Hannity is a “serious thinker” just got into Harvard. Time for you to start some damage-control posting here, on the PR board, pretending to seriously consider this BU affront. You wave the flag of thrift and test out a quaintly anachronistic abhorrence of debt. Substantively, you add in some tommyrot about how BU’s “really strong in …’international law,’ whatever the fuck that is. BU? Yeah, right. But you need something that gives the illusion that Georgetown, if it comes to that, isn’t the three years incarcerated in a smegma chamber that it is. So good, so fine you’ll drop the cash dollars despite that lovely gift from BU. You’re forming a cover story; something to puff the very real and very nauseating prospect of joining 600 other defeated mediocrities at … fuck, no … Georgetown. And you thought going to college at Penn was bad. . Still, there are two more to hear from. Two more law schools …There’s that late April Stanford rejection (inconsiderate bastards) which at least affords you ample time to manufacture the next layer in the cover story: e.g., a strict policy against California, a suburban aversion, a preference for bigness, all of which eliminate Stanford from the sweepstakes. Be sure, too, to ridicule their tepid 25-75 LSAT %ile, too. Kill it dead, if you must. Maybe you thrust out of your frozen horror by sending off one of those strategic “withdrawal” letters, the way all those clowns do when Harvard puts them on hold … “.you cant’t fire me … i quit! ” Adios, Stanford. Suck my cunt, you no-SCOTUS-clerking/dike-dean-TTT. … die, die, you gravy-sucking pig. …. and now, then, there is just one. Chicago. The Law School. Chicago does do that pathetic yield-maximizing stall, so February passes, March crawls. They haven’t the nuts to try the ricockulous move Stanford does. So they write. Ever rigorous, The Law School requests the pleasure of your company. Not so fast . No decision has been made. They want to inspect you in person. The “evaluative interview. Looking for people skills. And evident thirst for knowledge. The life of the law is the law itself. It seems you’ve fucked up; quite possible3 when the went “behind the numbers.” Maybe those two essay paragraphs about why the 171, exactly where you topped out in Kaplan, is a truer measure than the 164. maybe it was two paragraphs too many. You weren’t an auto-admit. So off to the “evaluative interview,” and you give them not much to evaluate. You stay on message, though: owing to its RIGOR, Chicage is now, and ever was, your FIRST CHOICE. Tell your audience what it wants to hear. Then they decide, engaging the only evaluation that matters in this gig. Looks like they can break even with your sorry ass. Median-wise, your 171 nullifies the 159 URM from Howard they took yesterday. They’ll swallow your 3.46; sometimes that’s the price of a yield-lock, and you’re that. (No one’s swallowing the Howard guy, if you catch my racy double entendre.) These admissions guys talk, as you suspected, and you wisely decide against telling them it had come down to Chicago or Harvard for you; first versus second choice; no choice at all. Never get caught lying. Bad idea, even worse than telling that stupid girl from Emory you were “a Kennedy.” These things get found out. Like they say, no sense lying about your cock size. Turns out you didn’t need to fake a bidding war. The usual stampede of all Chicago’s best admitees are going to Y and H and S without so much as the courtesy of telling C to go pound sand. Why tell them what they already know? They need to fill place #143 of their famously teeny-weenie class. The assumed occupant got unheld at Harvard this morning; never so relieved, he had the audacity to ask Chicago for his deposit back. They don’t need these headaches. You’re in. They write, very pleased to offer admission; then a recital of just how “keen” the competition was for the few precious “seats” in the class of 2006; and, finally, a paragraph celebrating the legal profession with a toploftiness and richly felt purpose so precisely at variance with reality that you are unsettled by the suspicion that you might be the target of a satire so subtly corrosive that you will never connect it with the despair that will progress, exponentially; beginning as a persistent annoyance progressing into a pervasive physical and mental crapulence and ending in the crippling burden as lumber and writhe and tumble toward the epiphany. What epiphany is that? That this “career” of yours –BIGLAW! — has somewhat less to recommend it than residence in the “shoe” at Pelican Bay. For now, though, the seed of tragic hopelessness finds expression in the “Law Discussion Area.” You post — IN AT CHICAGO — and, without overtly lying, you manufacture the entirely erroneous impression that you “chose” Chicago, being also the originator of the CHICAGO v. HARVARD and YALE v. CHICAGO threads, under various of your insipid monikers, all selected from either Pulp Fiction or Friends. Be careful not to ass fuck your credibility, though. The purported Yale turn-down is a tough one to pull off. The “New Haven’s-an-armpit” trope just doesn’t pass the ha-ha test. It’s too puny a reason to toss away a lifetime of being supposed a genius … fuck it: always good to give your fabrications a little populist tint, not to mention a dollop of truth. Join the commiseration thread of Yale rejects; pretend to be sad for that Nuisance turd; be one of the masses for once. Getting rejected isn’t the same thing as not getting in, You merely did not get in. You claim to have been wait-listed; and, with admirable maturity, you hold out no hope. Remember, too, this lie must be built on several fronts. Lard up the Harvard thread with grave concern about big classes, low morale, faculty acrimony, and speculation about a precipitous US News ranking drop. Throughout April, you go political, fulminating about Tribe and Dershowitz and how Duncan Kennedy drives a far-too-expensive car. to be a genuine socialist. Chicago’s “conservative climate” is just a better fit for you; marginal cost curves figure in your every analytical moment; you read Posner opinions on the crapper; Coase is as important as Socrates. There is that little stinging glitch, though. Somehow Stanford neglected to process that request to quash your application, which is not favorably acted upon and this is memoriaized in a letter that suggests the Stanford Admissions Office ignores their LaserWriter Pro’s TONER LOW warning. On May 7th they regret to inform and wish you well at any of the scores of other law schools that, they assure you “offer excellent programs of legal instruction.” (Which, you have no doubt, they do. What they don’t offer, is really the only important thing Stanford does offer: the opportunity to sit for three years with your thumb up your ass, comatose, and still get the job you’ll have to bust nuts to get coming from whichever craphole you end up at.) It’s sealed. An ugly, styleless maroon CHICAGO LAW, Champion sweatshirt has arrived, per your online order. You wear it, eliciting congratulations from the babe you want to rail. She’s so happy for you, and you’re so wrapped up in the fantasy of creaming on her tits you nearly miss perky aside that her boyfriend remains in the throes of elation from his admission to Yale, back in January. Throughout the summer, you bookmark links that embody the wisdom US News lacks. Your are heading off, soon, to your own first choice, which also places first in a ranking produced by the rigorous methodology conceived by a statistician from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. That Harvard tied for #14 undermines your confidence in the ranking diminishes the likelihood it will supplant US News’ preeminence. So you go. Your Hyde Park apartment is actually rather nice. Your housemate went to Harvard College. One night, instead of jacking off before sleep, you register as an active component of your self-conception the notion that, transitively, your housemate’s undergraduate credential nullifies the Harvard rejection that left you lusterless and unlaid at your senior prom, — and has persisted as a gnawing ache, going on five years. You are now on equal footing with a Harvard graduate. Should your law school prowess exceed his — say a 75 in Torts to his 74 — you will once and for all flick away the scab of that Harvard wound. First cut is the deepest. As it turns out, your housemate is an engaging, witty fellow. He’s porking the big bosomed lady with the Dutch accent. Wow! He offers to you, his new chum, the story of his own execution — by lethal injection — as expected, he painlessly relates, by the HLS admission staff. You pretend to explore what might have caused things to go awry, flatulating the usual fatuousness about Harvard being excessively “numbers driven,” the “arbitrariness” of it all, dangling the threat of going on at some length, when he offers up the only information you genuinely care to know about him: : 178/3.34 ..Of course some one will inevitably have the 6th percentile college GPA in every HLS class; probably not a white guy from Greenwich, though. Friendship is built through reciprocity. So you tell your own story. You attempt to weave compassion into the telling of your story, being careful not to appear boastful about not just possessing, but discarding something he does not possess. HLS. Dreamy, So, your story: the grueling back-and-forth … one day it’s Chicago, the next Harvard; the hardest decision you’ve ever made; that feeling of immense responsibility to yourself; discovering and summoning the emotional maturity to pierce the specious veil that is prestige. With the bearing of a battle weary soldier you tell what it is to do something rarely done — circumnavigate the Earth, dunk a basketball on a regulation hoop, turn down Harvard Law School . You picked Chicago. You chose, you adorable little existentialist. You are not exposed, chiefly because this a shared lie, Community glue. (Postscript: Throughout the 1Lyear you and your housemate discover much commonality, He, too, prefers the Stones to the Beatles. You both smoke pot. neither is circumcised. You’ve each fucked 5 girls; gotten head from several others. Each of you applies to transfer. He gets into HLS. He turns down Harvard Law School. Of course no two people are exactly alike. Your desire to transfer wanes around the time Stanford and Yale’s decisions on your transfer applications reach you by mail. You begin the CHIGAGO 1L TAKING QUESTIONS thread. One of your alter ego monikers asks simply: how do you like Chicago. You love it. You wouldn’t go anywhere else and, you note, there were other places you could have gone. Same for your housemate. He transfers to Yale.)

  45. arrow, if you’re reading this, remember to meet at Babette’s tomorrow at 3 to head to the waterpark. don’t forget to bring your swim trunks again silly!

  46. Your question is indeed serious. Scientists and philosophers alike have tried to answer this question. I have combined my knowledge and understanding of philosophy, psyche-ology (psych!), and anthro to come up with a reasonable answer.

    You see, my answer is so deep that it also proves the existence of a divine being. Let’s look at this logically. Women have slip ‘n slide chutes. They feel really good, and we want to glide smoothly from one side down the other. Now, those are good things. We like sliding in the summer. If women weren’t such cuntwhorebitchslutassholes, we’d spend every hour of every day playing tijuana tag in their fetal-farting hole with our hypodermic dickles. Instead of science, progress, poetry, and politics, we’d be hammering their yammers constantly, ad terminum.

    Consider this metaphor. You’re 14. You have “Cherries” magazine. There’s a canister of lube near you. Obviously, you’re going to wank it. In fact, your parents aren’t at home, so you go down and borrow a spoon, too (for good measure). You’re there, jerking for hours. And hours. Now, this is what life would be like if women weren’t cuntwhorebitchslutassholes: your parents would never return. You would never grow weary of this. Never. You’d probably die of dehydration, or something else like that – maybe even starvation, but definitely not prostate cancer. Or ball cancer.

    Instead, we go to these other pursuits. We study science. Why? So we can develop miracle drugs like GHB. So we can have sex with girls and not have them talk all the time. Why do we have progress? So we can get them to shut the fuck up. Why do we write poetry? So we can get them to shut up and fuck. Why do we have politics? So that we can try to impress girls, who are far hotter than us, to fuck. Why do we have oral sex? So we can feel like we’re fucking them, and not have to listen to them fucking gabbing all the fucking time.

    And this gets back to my point about proving divine presence. You see, a divine being created women with such phenomenal fuckslots for fucksluts so that we would be willing to endure the bitchiness that comes from them, that eminates from them, so that we would reproduce. Of course, he made them such cuntwhorebitchslutassholes so that we would also progress as a civilization, and not spend all day over the sink, with swizzling pink poker in hand.

  47. agitprop I say! Where are the commisars to purge the heathen bourgeois when they are needed?

  48. How many offers would Bigpapapump have gotten if he had just transfered to UCLA? Because he got NOTHING from loyola. Werd.

  49. I agree that the mindset of xoxo is extremely disturbing. The perceptions of success are particularly troubling to me, since coupled with the personalities portrayed by many on xoxo, I predict that many of my future colleagues will be absolutely miserable with their careers and who they are at the end of the day. Perhaps more importantly, the attitude is infectious. I was caught up by it for a long time, and am still seeing its effects while I prepare applications for law school and experience some bitterness towards how TTT I am. Maybe I should take the standard Rx at xoxo and just kill self. Or maybe I could just break the habit of visiting the forums and seeking information. Wading through the garbage gets tiring after a while. I think some people may get there way with xoxo, since the prelaw population is really dying out and most are not there for the on-topic posts, and I predict xoxo will be dying off soon. One can hope, if not for anything else, for Pensive’s sake.

    Nice work on this “thread” guys. Well executed.

  50. [———————————————————————————————]

  51. (speechless)

  52. Sweep, sweep . . .

  53. One time I had sex with a tranny and his dick slapped my balls but I was on meth so I didn’t really mind.