And now it’s time for a Charter dodge of my own. After one year, 289 posts and 375,000 or so words, this is the end of Charterblog. The site and archive will remain, but there’ll be no more posts from me. [EDIT: OK, I'll write an 'About this blog' post at some point for folks from the future who want to dig up a time capsule from 2008.]
Why stop now? I made the decision to stop the blog today back in around July. Charterblog is, as readers will well know, a very intensive blog . I’ve managed it so far, but I’ve long known that it isn’t sustainable (especially for someone with two regular jobs.) My options were either to make the blog less intense or to make it finite. I didn’t hesitate in choosing the latter. Better an intense, temporary blog, than a perpetual and lame series of links, one-liners and the odd meaningful post. A year-long blog makes aesthetic sense and matches the year-by-year nature of the Charter’s development too.
As well, 2009 is a big year for me in my academic job: three books (on criminal process, evidence, and substantive criminal law) to write or co-write, as well as a new criminal law course to develop (in the Melboune JD, ditching homicide, theft and rape completely in favour of covering the thousands of more routine offences.) Fortunately for me, all these projects have a significant human rights component, so I won’t be going cold turkey on the Charter. Finally, recently, it’s become clear that it’s probably too early for a perpetual blog charting the development of Charter jurisprudence, as the pace of that development (if, indeed, it is happening at all) is too glacial to sustain a case-by-case analysis. The result is too many frustrated posts that begin ‘Yet again…’. If I kept this up, I might become jaded!
Thanks are due to a couple of people in particular. First, to my long-suffering partner Denise, who has put up with me hogging the MacBook, staying up late typing and, no doubt, muttering in my sleep about Charter s. 6(2)(b). She would have been well within her rights to issue all sorts of ultimatums, but she didn’t. I don’t deserve her. Second, to both my employers. Blogging carries no cred with DEST and even the folks at Melbourne Uni who defined ‘knowledge transfer’ can’t seem to get their heads around the concept. And my particular blogging style and views bring political risks, not only for SARC but (as it turns out) for Melbourne Law School too. I’m fortunate indeed that neither has raised the slightest objection. That’s quite appropriate, of course, given Charter s. 15, but it’s also courageous, especially when there’s a bully on the block. Finally, thanks to the community of readers for the comments, links, heads-ups and encouragement.
Quitting the blog feels a little like giving up a baby. I can’t recommend blogging highly enough to any academic whose field includes regular contemporary developments. A commitment to regular, public and comprehensive commentary forces an engagement with the subject-matter that exceeds any other academic endeavour, even a PhD. And the informality of blogging is a perfect antidote to the jargon and circuitous nature of formal academic discourse, not to mention the obsequiousness and pomposity of the law. I imagine that I’ll return to blogging (or whatever its equivalent will be then) in the long-term, maybe even about the Charter (though only if the jurisprudence matures a whole lot.)
But in the short term, it’ll be very weird not posting about all the coming judgments: Bongiorno’s challenge, the FOI challenge, the taxi driver appeal, Hinch’s challenge, the mental health appeal (although the revelation that the plaintiff in that case is named Kracke posed a challenge of its own to my unfortunate tendency to pun that I could not possibly have resisted.) And whatever happenned to the ‘nameless teen’s’ child porn charge? (Seriously, could someone tell me?) There’s also the ACT’s new conduct mandate, which starts in, oh, 75 minutes or so. (I originally planned to make Charterblog subject to the ACTHRA on 1/1/9!) And, there’s the federal consultation too. Still, if a blog is finite, then it has to stop sometime and that time… is… now.