Several years ago, I read a Nicholas Sparks book (calm down: his books are terribly entertaining beach reads) in which the main character was an investigative journalist. Readers wrote to him with questions, and he researched the subject and reported on his findings in a magazine column. At the time, I thought this was a fantastic job.
I still think that. During the last three months of writing this blog, I’ve realized that my favorite articles are the ones I think of as “research-based”. These are the articles in which a subject captures my fancy, and I take it upon myself to learn something about it in hopes of expressing some newfound knowledge to you. Or, it’s a subject in which I’ve long been interested, and I delve into the topic for several hours to see if what I thought I knew—or if what I remembered reading in an article long ago—is actually true. No matter which situation it is, I get to feel as if I’ve learned something. I haven’t done many of them because they are time consuming. But I do love these pieces: diving into the long, feature-length articles of the Sunday Times, NY Magazine, or a BBC documentary is always fun, and writing about a topic that is worthwhile solidifies our understanding.
Thus, I’m happy to launch today a new series wherein we try to explain topics about which people are curious. In keeping with our blog’s theme, these topics will frequently be organized around our interests (and, hopefully, our limited sphere of knowledge), topics such as the law, books, sports, nutrition, Baltimore, history, and politics. (With that being said, however, if we learned anything in college and law school it was how to research new topics well—even if your question is not within our interests, ask it anyway! If we research it well enough, we’ll be able to write about it well!) But to kick this off—and this is the crucial part!—we need some ideas from all of you. So ask us questions! Have you always had a burning desire to know the history behind the chilling phrase, “You have the right to remain silent?” Ask us, and we’ll try to fill you in. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know exactly what the infield fly rule is and precisely when it applies. We’ll write about that, too (after delving into the baseball rulebook, of course).
Send your questions to email@example.com or just post them in the comments of this piece. The questions are infinite, and the answers (theoretically) will be illuminating. Ask away. (Teaser alert: If you’re anything like me, you’ve often come across the phrase “habeas corpus” in your readings or conversations and never fully understood what it meant. Fear no more, for we’ll soon attempt a short synapsis of the phrase, its history, and its meaning.)