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But Your Honor, he IS an idiot!

By maxwell edison ·
I suppose this might be somewhat of an addendum discussion to that "freedom of anonymous speech" thread, but what do you think will and/or should come of this:

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2006/Bills/A1500/1327_I1.HTM

What if I call somebody an idiot in one of the occasional "flame sessions", and they want me to be arrested and/or be held libel for defamation. How can I prove that person really is an idiot? Or would that person have to prove he's not an idiot? Is there an idiot test that could be applied? Will I have to refrain from using my favorite idiot link? Will I be subjected to a cyber restraining order, and be forced to stay at least 100 Web pages away from the alleged idiot? Would this only apply to the idiots in New Jersey? Would I be the idiot extradited to New Jersey? Only an idiot would be in favor of a law like this. Or would only an idiot be opposed?

(Yes, I am being sarcastic, but with an obviously serious issue.)

And how about a libel suit for this:

http://www.thisislondon.com/showbiz/articles/21**3422?source=PA

If Google can be held libel for that, where might it stop? I mean, really. What Yahoo would hold Google libel for that?

What about politicians? Would all those people have to PROVE that President Bush or John Kerry really is an idiot or a liar if they post a message stating as much on the Internet? And what about the international nature of the Internet? (There are international idiots, you know.)

Personally speaking, I'm getting sick and tired of people trying to make a new law to cover any little thing that bothers them; and people are obviously sue-happy. We already have too many stupid laws. Let's start repealing some of these laws, not make new ones. It used to be said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. In fact, it still is, I suppose. But there are so many laws that we ALL are ignorant, even if we tried not to be.

On a somewhat related note (related as it applies to too many laws), I was listening to a talk radio show some time ago, a show hosted by a lawyer. He takes calls answering legal questions and discusses the legal issues of the day. A caller relayed the following story.

This caller walked his young child to the bus stop to wait for the school bus. While he was waiting there with his daughter, a couple of other girls started fighting. The way he described it, a bigger girl was literally pummeling a younger and smaller girl with punches and kicks. He said that he just stood there watching, not wanting to get involved. Another parent (a mom) soon arrived at the same bus stop and saw the fighting, but this parent broke it up. She then went on to chastise the first parent (a guy) for not doing anything, and said that he should be arrested for allowing it to happen.

The gist of the call was to ask this lawyer if he could indeed be arrested for standing by and allowing a smaller child to get beat up be a bigger one. Absolutely, the lawyer answered. He then cited some law that covered that sort of thing. The caller went on to say that he thought about getting involved, and decided that if he did try to break it up, which might even take some physical contact to do so (and did take such contact for the "mom" to hold the bigger girl back), he might be accused of inappropriate touching, or some other thing like that, so he thought it best to NOT get involved. The lawyer went on to admit that if that bigger girl had indeed charged him with doing such a thing, he could have been arrested for that as well.

That sure sounded like a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't -- an example of TOO MANY friggin' laws.

So, tying-in my little story with the opening comments, would this guy have been an idiot to break-up that fight, or was he an idiot for not breaking it up? (We're obviously a nation of idiots, if this guy found himself being one regardless of what he did.)

I suppose my rambling caused a tangent to the original discussion intent without even creating a tangent thread. How idiotic is that? But don't call me an idiot. I'll sue!

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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Great Idea...

by jamesgrimes In reply to MAybe

... but just one question now, "What medicine to perscribe to solve the problem?". Any thoughts?

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"the only ones getting the press"

by Absolutely In reply to So are you suggesting

Who do you believe should get the press instead? Please start a new thread, because I agree, the media reports on stupid things. They won't know what to do differently if the market doesn't tell them. So, as "the market" use capitalism to your advantage, please.

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Media

by TonytheTiger In reply to "the only ones getting th ...

The media reports what, and how, will make them the most money. Unfortunately, "Bad" news and "Stupid" news are perennial favorites.

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Therefore, what?

by Absolutely In reply to Media

"They won't know what to do differently if the market doesn't tell them."

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Check ads lately?

by NickNielsen In reply to "the only ones getting th ...

I think the problem is that "the media" assume we are all idiots based on the ads. Just look at the recent past:

--A series of Hardees ads that assumed a single guy can't open a loaf of bread, open a box of cereal, use a toaster, etc., yet assumed the same moron could actually find Hardees.
--The new Verizon ad in which some cubicle clown brags in falsetto about his new phone being cool while calling the recipient of this treatment lame. I know who's lame in that ad, and it ain't the poor guy you can see! Makes me want to change cell carriers...can you hear me now?
--The Citicard series where the sucker has to go through a massive series of menus before he can talk to a human. The first time my bank asked if I wanted a shinier credit card, I'd be looking for a new bank.
--The "Miller Cowboy" ad. He dressed Western for a pool party? No effing wonder he's being laughed at!

In fact, very few radio or TV commercial compaigns in the past several years don't insult my intelligence. Makes me think, perhaps, that the idiots aren't out here, but in the ad agencies thinking that we'll buy products based on their puerile moronic output!

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Politicians

by JamesRL In reply to But Your Honor, he IS an ...

There has been in common law an exception for politicians, movie stars and others who seek to be in the public eye, that they normally cannot sue for simple defamation.

There was a test case in BC a few decades ago. A political cartoonist drew a picture of a prominent politician grinning as he pulled the wings off of a fly - the fly represented something, not sure I remember what.

The court held that while normally satirists have a right to free expression, this one went over the boundaries(alledging he was sadistic)and therefore he could sue for damages.

So, if that is the latest precendent (and Britain, the US and Canada often site each others common law decisions) then there are limits to defamation.

James

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Of course

by TonytheTiger In reply to Politicians

suing is not necessarily winning.

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In the fly case

by JamesRL In reply to Of course

I did a little research on the Fly cartoon case.

"And nervous is what many editors are. Their concern is that cartoonists sometimes go too far and offend readers. And sometimes they do. There have been cases of libel suits being brought against Canadian editorial cartoonists, the most notorious occurring in British Columbia in 1978. Future provincial premier William Vander Zalm, then minister of human resources, sued the publisher, the editor and the cartoonist of the Victoria Times after the paper's cartoonist, Robert Bierman, depicted Vander Zalm gleefully pulling the wings off of a fly after a major shakeup took place at the ministry. The original court decision found that the cartoon went beyond fair comment because it implied that Vander Zalm enjoyed hurting people, instead of just showing that he had indirectly hurt people as a result of layoffs caused by his ministry. But the paper was acquitted on appeal. "

http://www.rrj.ca/issue/1999/summer/298/

James

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Dictionary Picture

by jarizonatech In reply to Politicians

There has been discussion of posting President Bush's picture next to the definition of IDIOT in the new American dictionary.

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Google has a sense of humor....

by --Loki-- In reply to Dictionary Picture

If you type failure in the search box, then hit "I'm feeling lucky".... See what happens... hehe...

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