Take it like a man

By which I mean shut your pretty little pie-hole. Or so say Ann Althouse and Glenn Reynolds. They’re responding to the AutoAdmit lawsuit, and, unsurprisingly, they think that it’s just a case of boys being boys and overly-sensitive little girls whining about nothing. Ann:

And I could put together tons of terrible things people have said about me — people who are actively trying to destroy my reputation, who publish many lies about me, and who allow their commenters to post using my name (even after I have repeatedly requested the deletion of those comments).

But I’ve never seriously considered suing anyone over it…. and not just because I’m hoping — like Glenn — that people won’t believe it. It offends my principles and my sense of decency to intimidate people who are exercising free speech. These lawsuits have an ugly chilling effect, and I wouldn’t want to be part of it.

We already know that Ann is a professional narcissist,* so of course she manages to turn this back to her — comparing her irritation with people who post using her name to the experiences of women who have been threatened with rape and, to give just one example, whose entire law school faculty received an anonymous email detailing the criminal actions of the woman’s father and blaming the woman (who was 10 years old at the time of her father’s misdeeds) for his thievery, claiming that he stole money because she wanted a pony. Bizarre? Yes. But still humiliating and intimidating.

But that isn’t so bad, right? Embarrassing, but not necessarily dangerous. How about this (I’ve removed the personal information):

[Name of law school redacted] law students and random lurkers in the area, tonight is your chance. Come to the [Full name redacted] gangbang party to get a chance to fuck some mildly prestigious pussy.

[Name redacted] can be RSVPed at:

Primary E-Mail Address [redacted]

Home Phone [redacted]

Registered E-Mail Address [redacted]

See you there! To get you in the mood, or for that afternoon masturbation session, here’s a picture:
[link to picture redacted]

But, yes, it is offensive to free speech to do anything about this.

I’m no fan of lawsuits either. But the women involved in this suit (and the many other women who were attacked on AutoAdmit and who haven’t sued) have exhausted all other ways of dealing with this situation. They’ve requested that their personal information be taken down. They’ve been nice. They’ve been polite. They’ve dropped out of school. They’ve taken semesters off. They’ve seen therapists. They’ve talked to their law school deans. They’ve appealed to the site owners. Nothing has worked. This suit is not frivolous or fun — it’s a last resort.

According to Althouse:

But most of the statements are just exaggerated talk about how women look and how the men feel sexual desire for them. How repressive do you want the government to be?

Indeed. I mean, we all like positive attention, right? I know my heart just goes aflutter when I read comments like these:

“I want to brutally rape that Jill slut”
“I’m 98% sure that she should be raped (if only in Internet Land)”
“Official Jill Filipovic RAPE Thread”
“I have it on good authority that Jill F has rape fantasies”
“what a useless guttertrash whore. i hope someone uses my pink, fleshy-textured cylindrical body to violate her” (from someone posting under the name “fleshlight”)
“for minimising this tragedy, she deserves a brutal raping”
“She’s a normal-sized girl that I’d bang violently,” “maybe you’d have to kill her afterwards” (in a thread titled “Be honest, everyone here would FUCK THE SHIT out of Jill Feministe”)
“that nose ring is fucking money, rape her immediately”
“Legal liability from posting pic showing Jill fucking?” (talking about photoshopping my head onto a pornstar’s body)
“she would be a good hate fuck”
“[Duke rape accuser] or ‘Jill’: who has more semen drip of their abortion scarred, fat asses?”

It’s just sexual desire!

She also says:

So this is the 21st century? Where courts award punitive damages for offensive words and pictures? Isn’t “the scummiest kind of sexually offensive tripe” exactly what we always used to say people had to put up with in a free country? Man, that was so 20th century!

I’m fairly certain that defamation and libel law existed in the 20th century, but I suppose Ann is the law professor.

Glenn adds:

Stuff that offends dumb hicks in the heartland is constitutionally protected. Stuff that offends Yale Law Students must be stamped out!

Which is fabulously disingenuous (but really, what did you expect)? This isn’t about who’s offended by what. It’s not about female law students being upset that they can view a Robert Mapplethorpe photo on a school computer. It’s about harassment, threats and defamation of private citizens. It doesn’t matter if the party is a student at Yale Law School or a hick in the heartland — disseminating malicious, purposeful lies about that person is not protected speech, particularly when those lies cause tangible harm.

Among the things that are being said about female law students on AutoAdmit, using their full names (these are all taken directly from the complaint):

-“Doe II of YSL has huge fake titties”
-“YSL 1L [DOE II] HAS HUGE FAKE TITES AND IS UNIVERSALLY HATED”
-“i’ll force myself on her, most definitely.” (In a thread titled “Stupid Bitch to Attend Yale Law”)
-“I think I will sodomize her. Repeatedly.” (In the same thread)
-“just don’t FUCK her, she has herpes” (In the same thread)
-“[Doe II] of Yale Law got a 159 on the LSAT” (in a post that encouraged other posters to “Make sure all the Vault 50s know it before she gets an offer” — in other words, the thread was created specifically to damage her job prospects).
-“The backstory is that [Doe I] has been having a lesbian affair with Yale Law School [redacted] Dean [redacted] while [redacted] has been on maternity leave. [Redacted]’shusband found out about this and went balistic. He contacted [Doe I’s] prospective employers in an effort to discredit her.”
-“Clearly she deserves to be raped so that her little fantasy word can be shattered by real life.”
-“i would like to hate-fuck [Doe I] but since people say she has herpes that might be a bad idea” (in a thread titled “Which female YLS students would you sodomize?”)
-“I’m doing cartwheels knowing this stupid Jew bitch is getting her self esteem raped.”
-“[Doe II] is into scat… At least that’s what a buddy of mine that goes to YLS tells me.”
-“[Doe II] the CGWBT sucked by cock for a P in Civ pro”
-“[Doe II] found dead in apartment!”
-“[Doe II] (YLS 09) IS AN ANNOYING, SELFISH CUNT. I HOPE SHE GETS RAPED AND DIES.”

Obviously nothing more than “just exaggerated talk about how women look and how the men feel sexual desire for them. ” Because apparently, “sexual desire” means “wanting someone to be raped and killed.”

There is much, much more in the complaint. But according to Althouse, most of it should be protected:

This post originated as a response to the lawyer’s phrase “the scummiest kind of sexually offensive tripe.” I want to see “the scummiest kind of sexually offensive tripe” protected. That doesn’t mean I support defamation or the revelation of private facts or impersonating someone by name on a website. Those are different matters, and I don’t mean to express an opinion as to whether any torts like that are alleged in the complaint. I just want to remind people to keep our free speech bearings. We have lost our way if we’ve forgotten the importance of protecting speech that is “scummy” and “offensive” and “tripe.”

I think my favorite sentence is “[Defamation or the revelation of private facts] are different matters, and I don’t mean to express an opinion as to whether any torts like that are alleged in the complaint.” Seems to me that the good professor didn’t take the time to actually read the complaint before determining that the plaintiffs are just whiny bitches. Because if she had actually read the complaint she was writing about, she would have seen that there is a defamation claim, so there’s no question “as to whether any torts like that are alleged in the complaint.” They are alleged in the complaint, in plain English. And no one is being sued for offending someone else’s sensibilities. The AutoAdmit guys are being sued for libel and for the harm that their false statements and threats caused. But it’s much more fun to play Free Speech Savior and knock down strawmen than it is to actually face the fact that these women are suing because they have experienced substantial psychological and professional harm from the libelous and malicious comments written about them on AutoAdmit.

Ann continues:

Of course, I don’t favor threatening the women. (Note: they are women, not girls.) But the issue here is a lawsuit, and there are significant factual questions whether a reasonable person would see these statements as true threats (as opposed to outrageous insults).

I’m focusing on the legal questio of what courts ought to be doing, not on question of whether whether what the guys wrote was despicable and deserving of criticism. If you can’t keep those two things distinct, you’re not interest in protecting free speech.

Except that the issue isn’t just whether the statements are “true threats.” The issues are also libel, harassment, and copyright infringement — which I’d think Professor Althouse would be able to grasp. It’s also about intentional infliction of emotional distress — AutoAdmit posters who purposely tried to do harm. But remember: It’s still about Ann.

And as for whether I have experienced what these women have, I think I’ve been savaged much more and for much longer by people who are actively trying to destroy my reputation (for political reasons). And I have a sexist/sexual AutoAdmit thread about me here. Which I have laughed off.

Who is actively trying to destroy her reputation? Some dude who left a comment on a political blog under her name? People who posted the video of her flipping shit on Garance Franke-Ruta? Those of us who criticized her for going after Jessica Valenti, all because Jessica had the nerve to bring her breasts along when she met President Clinton? Poor Ann, having her reputation destroyed by her own words and actions — clearly, this is someone else’s fault, and way worse than being libeled and threatened with rape. And the AutoAdmit thread she links to is, of course, not threatening and not libelous/defamatory. But why bother with silly details like those? If the AutoAdmit threads never went beyond “Rate this chick’s boobs,” there wouldn’t have been a lawsuit.

The rest of the Patterico thread is interesting (although I do agree with Patterico and many of his commenters). One commenter says, “Sexual threats? All I saw were idiots talking big.” I see what he’s saying — nowhere did commenters say “I’m going to rape Jane Doe I at 2pm on June 13, 2007.” There’s always the question of how credible a threat is. So here’s some background that’s not entirely clear from the complaint, background that I’m relatively familiar with, but to a lesser extent than the women suing: Many of the posters on the AutoAdmit boards are, or claim to be, law students. People who claim to go to school with me have posted saying that they saw me walking on X street, that they sat next to me at X event, that I was wearing X, that in person I look like X (apparently I have bad posture and I am short). Those kinds of comments are incredibly disturbing. I’m not all that sensitive about my privacy — I wrote a feminist column for my college newspaper that included my picture, I was on the executive board of several active student organizations, and I write under my real name on two prominent blogs. I am not under the impression that I’m an anonymous citizen. I’ve received a great many harassing, crude emails and comments in response to my columns and my posts. A comment about my boobs isn’t going to send me into hysterics. But reading postings by anonymous classmates of mine detailing where they had seen me and what I was doing was pretty unnerving. I also missed a lot of class. I also started seeing a therapist. I also talked to one of the deans. And I’m a person who is very used to being criticized and attacked for just about everything. I’m someone who has developed very thick skin. The “Jill sightings,” coupled with the comments about hate-fucking and raping me, got under that skin. I can only imagine how that must feel for women who are completely private, who aren’t used to being torn apart for their looks or their political opinions, who didn’t put themselves out there, who simply went to school only to be threatened, harassed and defamed.

Put yourself in their shoes. People who claim they go to school with you, or know people who go to school with you, say that they’ve seen you in the gym. They post your picture. They reveal where you go to school — a small school, with a few hundred students in your class. They post your email address and your phone number. They reveal any personal information they can find about you. They say that you’re a bitch, and they incite anger among the commenters. You read about how much everyone on this board hates you, and that they know where you attend school, what you look like, and where you work out or what kind of events you attend. Then someone says, “i’ll force myself on her, most definitely.” Someone else adds, “I think I will sodomize her. Repeatedly.”

Credible? Who knows. But does that certainly feel threatening? Hell yes.

And imagine the reaction if these women had seen such comments, never reported them and then something bad did happen. The rape apologists (and even some feminist-minded progressives, I’m sure) would add to the chorus of “What was she thinking?” and “Why didn’t she report it before this happened?”

In other words, there’s no winning. You try to do something about it and you’re a whiny free speech assailant. You keep quiet and you’re an idiot.

Ann’s response?

Whether those are true threats is a question we can disagree about. I don’t think they are. It’s not polite speech, and I don’t like it either, but that doesn ‘t make it a real threat. It makes it ugly and deserving of condemnation, but I still disapprove of the lawsuit.

Well, Ann doesn’t believe that those are true threats. She has no more evidence of their credibility than I do, but her crystal ball tells her that the threats wouldn’t have been carried out. Now, I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that the legal standard for threatening language isn’t based just on whether or not the threats would have definitely been carried out had law enforcement (or a law suit) not stepped in. My understanding is that the law is slightly more nuanced than that, and that it recognizes the harm inherent to the threats themselves, not just the harm that might have resulted had the threats been carried through.

The women who filed this suit have experienced substantial harm from the threats and the libelous statements posted about them. They are not trying to shut down your free speech. They are not trying to sue any guy who comments that Jane Doe has a nice rack. They are suing people who flat-out said that they were going to sexually assault them, and people who made statements that were on their face defamatory.

I am a big fan of free speech rights. There are very few cases where I favor limiting free speech. But I think that threatening and defaming/libeling private citizens is a fair place to draw the line. And if the kinds of comments included in the complaint don’t qualify as defamatory statements, I’m not sure what does.

Eugene Volokh has another take.

Thanks to The Good Reverend, who I forgot to hat-tip last time, for the original AutoAdmit link to the WSJ story.

*Note to Ann: By calling you a narcissist I am not attempting to “destroy your reputation.”


Similar Posts (automatically generated):

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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105 Responses to Take it like a man

  1. Forgive me, but could you please point to where in my posts I suggest that the plaintiffs “take it like a man” or “shut [their] pretty little pie-hole[s],” or argue that plaintiffs “think that it’s just a case of boys being boys and overly-sensitive little girls whining about nothing”?

    Eugene Volokh

  2. Jill says:

    Crap, you’re right. I had about nine windows open when I was writing this, one of which ones yours, and one of which was another post that I was reading and apparently confused with yours. I’ll fix that.

  3. Kyra says:

    “Take it like a man?”

    How often do these men whom they’re supposed to take it like, have to put up with abuse like that?

    How often do any men in male-dominated professions have to deal with what women deal with trying to work there?

    People tell women to “take it like a man,” when the men in question don’t have to take it. In essence, they are expecting that women shoulder the burdens of harassment and then walk as tall as the various men who don’t have that added burden.

    And it’s the very definition of a double standard, to mock women for not living up to higher expectations/demands as well as men live up to lower ones.

  4. Dan S. says:

    In comments to her later post on this, I argued that this behavior wasn’t actually about sexual desire; Ann replies:

    I’m well aware of feminist literature. I’ve been reading it for 40 years and living through all the phases. Believe me I know this stuff. But within that analysis, I’m saying that the women are behaving according to traditional stereotypes by seeking male protectors and premising their lawsuit on victimhood and sensitivity. I don’t think this helps women overcome conventional domination. These poor, pathetic men drool over pretty women. I say laugh at them. Call them poor pathetic me[n?] drooling over pictures on the internet . . .

    Also: “I have consistently said that if they can prove their [they’ve?] received true threats, it’s different.

  5. Ann will be hear spouting some nonsense about vortices in five, four, three, two…

  6. manda says:

    My goodness, Ann Althouse’s self-obsession knows no bounds. How can she possibly liken people criticizing her words and actions (that she made public or agreed to have publicized) to threats of violence and the public posting of private information? Notice that she listed this post as “anti-Althousiana” among others. Does she honestly think EVERYTHING has something to do with her?

  7. RKMK says:

    Jesus fucking Christ Jill, those AA assholes have a thread about your sister, posting a link to her picture. I wonder what Ann Althouse thinks what crime she committed? Having her picture taken while being female while being related to someone who writes a blog and attends law school while also being female?

    I can’t wait for these fuckers to get theirs. Christ.

  8. mythago says:

    I’m no fan of lawsuits either.

    Um, you’re a law student, right? And Althouse is a law professor? The problem with lawsuits is what, exactly?

    Perhaps we should abolish the courts, make every lawyer stick to something nice and quiet like contractual analysis or transactional law, and settle our disputes with trial-by-ordeal. Then we wouldn’t have any nasty lawsuits.

  9. sassywho says:

    Wow, you should feel honored that men find you attractive enough to rape… no really, it does wonders for my self-esteem. And then I have a giggle-fest with my girlfriends over who has been harassed more.

    boys don’t mean anything by it…. they just get out of hand sometimes…. it’s disgusting who can justify this behavior

  10. Ann Althouse says:

    I’ve never written “take it like a man” or “shut your pretty little pie-hole” or anything close to that tone or content. This is a vicious distortion and misreading. Shame on you.

  11. wren says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever actually read any of the comments. I’m disgusted.

    Who knew? In between the liver and kidneys and heart and lungs there’s room for an entire black hole.

    These guys officially fail at life. Game over, the end. Seriously, what a vast wasteland their internal lives must be, to provide an environment in which this kind of hate can even begin to grow, let alone pass the filter that makes them think it’s okay to express. Shudder. Jill, I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this.

  12. mcmc says:

    I’m saying that the women are behaving according to traditional stereotypes by seeking male protectors and premising their lawsuit on victimhood and sensitivity. I don’t think this helps women overcome conventional domination.

    So filing a lawsuit = seeking male protectors? So a really manly woman would just seek out her harrassers and shoot them or something, because seeking legal redress is a pussy thing to do? Okay, good to know.

  13. Olive says:

    I am having difficulty finding a thread on AutoAdmit with vicious threats against Ann Althouse. (No trouble finding plenty about Jill.) Perhaps I misunderstood the comment? I am the first to admit I was too lazy to look very hard.

  14. Dan S. says:

    Is #10 actually Ann? Do we have to go over the bit about how comments not inside the little quote marks are understood to be interpretations – correct or not – and not direct quotes (or even indicative of the tone?

    So a really manly woman would just seek out her harrassers and shoot them or something,

    ‘Jane Doe’s got a gun . . .
    What did that poster do? . . – ah, not worth it. But to the obvious tune.

    Olive – it’s there, can’t remember where the link was . . . Not saying it’s wonderful, but it’s quite a different world from what both Jill and the plaintiffs were subjected to. Interestingly enough, it is kinda along the lines (perhaps a bit milder) of Ann’s representation of the allegations.

    Mythago – over at Patterico’s some commenters were musing over a return to dueling . . .

  15. JackGoff says:

    Come on, Ann. This lolrus can flounce with better class than you.

  16. sly civilian says:

    i’m so glad she showed up. you chant the name, and the genie comes out of the bottle. and calls you names, responding in the least substantive way possible.

    gawd, i love academia.

  17. belledame222 says:

    And I could put together tons of terrible things people have said about me — people who are actively trying to destroy my reputation, who publish many lies about me, and who allow their commenters to post using my name (even after I have repeatedly requested the deletion of those comments).

    But you won’t. Hell, you won’t even mention it, you STOIC, you.

  18. belledame222 says:

    and, I love, “a VICIOUS distortion.” Ann, I know you’re constitutionally incapable of paying attention to anything that doesn’t have you in it, but could we -try- to focus for a minute here?

    “I want to brutally rape that Jill slut”
    “I’m 98% sure that she should be raped (if only in Internet Land)”
    “Official Jill Filipovic RAPE Thread”
    “I have it on good authority that Jill F has rape fantasies”
    “what a useless guttertrash whore. i hope someone uses my pink, fleshy-textured cylindrical body to violate her” (from someone posting under the name “fleshlight”)
    “for minimising this tragedy, she deserves a brutal raping”
    “She’s a normal-sized girl that I’d bang violently,” “maybe you’d have to kill her afterwards” (in a thread titled “Be honest, everyone here would FUCK THE SHIT out of Jill Feministe”)
    “that nose ring is fucking money, rape her immediately”
    “Legal liability from posting pic showing Jill fucking?” (talking about photoshopping my head onto a pornstar’s body)
    “she would be a good hate fuck”
    “[Duke rape accuser] or ‘Jill’: who has more semen drip of their abortion scarred, fat asses?”

    …is VICIOUS.

    Distilling your foolish, sexist tripe to a foolish, sexist phrase that you didn’t actually utter: not so much.

    Hell, it isn’t even that much of a mischaracterization, although please, feel free to argue the point and -totally ignore- the shit that’s happened to -other people that aren’t you- and thus derail the whole thread. Maybe you could videotape yourself doing it. With a glass of wine.

    also, coming from people who -know what you look like and where you live and go to your school and you don’t even know who they are,- is, y’know, -some- people find it a tad threatening. We don’t have your constitution of steel, Ann, I just guess.

  19. Thers says:

    Oh, that is Ann Althouse up there, all right. It has the true flavor, and I’d bet you a nickel that if a mod here resolves the IP, it’s Madison WI.

    Let’s not let her wriggle off this hook. Here she is with her thoughts after her own name came up on AA:

    I “really do see” that a “young woman” — that is, a woman with less experience learning how to deal with life’s hard knocks — might be “disturbed.” Being disturbed doesn’t mean you are justified in making causal connections between the things that disturbed you and other problems you are having in life, like not getting the job you wanted. And being disturbed doesn’t mean you ought to have the power to control the things that are disturbing you.

    To say that I can understand how something disturbed you doesn’t mean I think you’re better off getting disturbed than laughing it off the way I did. It just means I’m not going to criticize you for not having the ability to laugh it off. But I still do think that you should.

    You “should laugh it off.” Right.

    This sort of thing is genuinely noxious and Jill’s characterization is correct.

  20. Toonces says:

    Clearly, Ann Althouse is a freezedried bag of delusional narcissism, who seems to really hate young women and thinks that threats to rape are actually compliments. That is pretty much how I read her ludicrous, self-aggrandizing statements in this article.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that ugliness from the AutoAdmit sociopaths, Jill. I’m so glad that there is a hope of justice being served for those young women who were mercilessly trashed and stalked by those pornsick losers.

  21. Mipa says:

    Jill,
    This whole thing must just make you so incredibly mad. There are just no words to describe Ann’s stupidity. I don’t know how you can stand it. If it is any comfort, I am raging right along with you. Kudos to you for ripping her apart yet again. All I can say is that I hope she is embarassed. What a joke.

  22. Smartparol says:

    I’ve never written “take it like a man” or “shut your pretty little pie-hole” or anything close to that tone or content. This is a vicious distortion and misreading. Shame on you.

    Ms. Althouse:

    No, of course you didn’t actually write “take it like a man” or “shut your pretty little pie-hole”. It is what you were directly implying with your vapid, self-absorbed & thuggish little screed. But you know that. You & all the other low-rent Maureen Dowd knockoffs who make vanity-gasaming weasel-wording hackery their one-trick pony meal ticket.

    …or anything close to that tone or content.

    Bullshit. And you know that better than anybody. If you’d just grow up & owned what you said once in a while (or even once, PERIOD.) you might not find yourself held under scrutiny & offered up to ridicule so often. But then I’d be deprived of the life-affirming spectacle of Jill cutting a self-righteous jerk raised well above her rightful place in the world down to size. Not to say she’s doing it for my benefit, naturally.

    This is a vicious distortion and misreading.

    “This” is someone with an active brain & a pair of sharp eyes calling out a buch of creeps who engage in cyber-stalking & the enablers who defend them. This includes you, Ann Althouse. By blowing the whole thing off with whatever pisspoor excuse you come up with you are letting them get away with it. You are telegraphing quite clearly to a herd of viciously small-minded pigs & others like them that what they’re doing is just fine. You are making it perfectly clear that issuing threats of physical & sexual assault against someone who’s pointing out the how’s & why’s of the piggishness of your activities is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. You are letting them know that no matter how ugly & indefensable their behavior gets, there will be plenty of supid people saying smart-sounding things who will come to their defense. This includes you, Ann Althouse.

  23. mustelid says:

    Y’know, I think I’d like for Ann to come back, and explain how this whole disgusting ‘gang bang party’ thing w/ someone’s personal info isn’t a threat. Perhaps Ann wishes women would respond by finding these morons’ personal info and posting something similar about them?

    C’mon, Ann, I’m dying to hear from you on this. Should women ‘laugh off’ threats by responding in kind? Perhaps we should respond in time-honored macho fashion w/ a punch to the offender’s nose?

    Forcing these scumbags out into daylight and holding them legally responsible for their assholery seems like the perfect reasonable response. Jill, I’m so sorry you and the other women have had to put up w/ this shit.

  24. Vera Venom says:

    “I’ve never written “take it like a man” or “shut your pretty little pie-hole” or anything close to that tone or content. This is a vicious distortion and misreading. Shame on you. ”

    It’s hilarious* that this is the only thing she** can think to post about. Her disgusting defense of rape threats, her disgusting misogyny, her disguting self-obsession, her disgusting dismissal of harrassment, intimidation and threats of violence against women – that’s all okay. But shame on Jill for not qutoing her directly.

    Goodness she’s an ass. She’s just pissed that Jill has made it impossible for Ann to deny any of it.

    * – by hilarious I mean puke-incuding
    **- assuming that is really her

  25. Dan S. says:

    I don’t understand why she refuses to recognize that the allegations don’t just concern some internet slackers commenting on the Does’ attractiveness in unfortunately crude terms – that in fact, she writes as if she was trying to intentionally minimize them. What’s up with that?

  26. micheyd says:

    That’s what Ann does, she comes onto threads and says “I didn’t say THAT” and runs off, not addressing the substance of any criticism against her.

    I mean, Jill used a figure of speech, for SHAME!

  27. The majority of people don’t sue when they’re wronged. But the majority don’t change the world, either.

  28. sunflwrmoonbeam says:

    Apparently Ann thinks using the law to stand up for yourself hurts women.

    “But I think these elite, privileged women are terribly wrong and that many women are hurting their potential by listening to them. They are leading women backward.”

    Wow, I guess I should just learn to like abuse so I can be further empowered? Uh, no.

  29. kali says:

    I am really confused here. How can anyone think those comments don’t constitute a credible threat? Because it’s more likely that the commenters were “joking” than not? I mean, you can say that about absolutely any threat that’s made on the internet. It just seems to me, that by whatever standards of “threat” Althouse etc. are using, threatening speech doesn’t even exist. At least, I would like to see an example of what these people would consider to be an actual threat. I can’t imagine what one would look like. Surely tracking a victim’s movements, surreptitiously photographing her and talking in public about how you’d like to rape her, are about as credible as a threat can get. How could you escalate that behaviour without following through into an actual attack?

  30. wellie says:

    aa said:

    Shame on you.

    yes, jill, shame on you. shame on you for inciting these poor little internet losers, making them say things about wanting to sodomize you, involve you in brutal rape fantasies, threaten your sister. shame on you for forcing these men to seek you out in public, comment on your looks, your weight, your posture even. shame on you for wanting to hold those assholes accountable for what they say and do *gasp*

    shame on you, ms althouse, for hiding under the guise of academia and self-righteousness. for essentially encouraging the frat boy mentality that these jerks purport. for utilizing a victim’s personal attacks as some sort of platform to grandstand and self-promote.

    it’s not about you.

    jill, i’m so sorry.

  31. Dan S. says:

    your vapid, self-absorbed & thuggish little screed

    Come now, “thuggish” is going too far- after all, Althouse isn’t a member of a 19th century Indian criminal cult devoted to the goddess Kali (who has apparently shown up here in comments!) involved in assassinations, so it’s clearly inaccurate . . .

    I mean, Jill used a figure of speech, for SHAME!

    Ah, but a figure of speech is related to fiction, which Ann thinks shouldn’t be used to teach kids reading – clearly Jill’s just aiding the devious conspiracy of novel-loving teachers to force make-believe onto poor innocent children against their will.

    (I’m still thinking that it’s maybe a parody-Ann, though. Although sometimes I wonder if it’s not all a parody-Ann . . .)

  32. Kristen says:

    I am really confused here. How can anyone think those comments don’t constitute a credible threat? Because it’s more likely that the commenters were “joking” than not? I mean, you can say that about absolutely any threat that’s made on the internet

    I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head. I think some people think of the internet as this space that is completely disconnected from reality. Perhaps, for them it is. But in reality (or my reality at least), the internet is closer to each of us as our next door neighbor. If it wouldn’t be legal to print it as an ad in the local paper, I don’t think its legal to say it on the internet.

  33. Jill says:

    I’ve never written “take it like a man” or “shut your pretty little pie-hole” or anything close to that tone or content. This is a vicious distortion and misreading. Shame on you.

    …which is why it wasn’t in quotes. In other words, it was a characterization of what you said, not what you said verbatim. Was it a hyperbolic characterization? Yes. But I think it does accurately represent the sentiments behind your posts and your comments.

  34. Thomas says:

    Ann Althouse is a freezedried bag of delusional narcissism, who seems to really hate young women and thinks that threats to rape are actually compliments.

    This bears repeating. Perhaps it should be its own thread.

  35. mythago says:

    Ms. Althouse is clearly suffering from professor’s disease: SHE is the one who asks the questions, YOU give the answers, missy.

    It must drive her bonkers that the Internet isn’t afraid to contradict her because she has the power to give it a lower grade.

  36. Sheelzebub says:

    Ann, STFU.

    These women have had their personal information publicized, have seen these knuckle-dragging inbreeds encourage each other to stalk one of them, have seen lies posted about them, and have seen invitations to “gang bangs” involving them.

    I realize you’ve got quite a thing for acting like a high-school bully and shrugging off bullying, what with Boobiegate and all, but seriously? Get a fucking grip.

    The only person who mischaracterized things in this whole mess–besides the AutoAdmit inbred wank-jobs–was YOU and your merry band of misogynists.

    But do turn this back around to the cult of Victimized Ann Althouse, since it’s all about your pwecious fee-fees. Most bullies can dish it out but cannot take it.

    Rack off back to the playground, bully.

  37. belledame222 says:

    oh god, thanks for reminding me that she actually TEACHES. and has TENURE (probably, right?)

    there is no god.

  38. belledame222 says:

    I’ve never written “take it like a man” or “shut your pretty little pie-hole” or anything close to that tone or content. This is a vicious distortion and misreading. Shame on you.

    …which is why it wasn’t in quotes. In other words, it was a characterization of what you said, not what you said verbatim. Was it a hyperbolic characterization? Yes. But I think it does accurately represent the sentiments behind your posts and your comments.

    maybe she could sue!!! i’m sure in THIS case it’d be TOTALLY JUSTIFIED.

    for SHAME, Jill. SHAAAAAAAAAAAAME

  39. belledame222 says:

    I’m still thinking that it’s maybe a parody-Ann, though. Although sometimes I wonder if it’s not all a parody-Ann .

    Dan: actually Althouse herself is a parody of this fine, fair and balanced…um, person.

  40. belledame222 says:

    fiction, which Ann thinks shouldn’t be used to teach kids reading

    Get out.

  41. Sabrina Star says:

    “Apparently Ann thinks using the law to stand up for yourself hurts women.”

    This sums it all up perfectly.

    I love how often we see people standing up for “free speech” while at the same time silencing people who have been harmed.

  42. Sally says:

    You see, fiction is not “true.” Unlike things like history, which are “factual.”

    (I cannot imagine any historian greeting that argument with anything but derision. The funny thing is that English class is one of the few places where students actually grapple with the question of how to read primary sources. It’s better preparation for being a historian than 90% of what most people learn in high school history classes.)

    She’s a foolish, mean-spirited person, and I’m not sure she deserves attention. The fact that she’s a tenured law professor, though, does go pretty far to explain why law students are such emotional wrecks!

  43. ellenbrenna says:

    Obviously the law is for pussies, if the women had any sense of honor they would challenge those blaggards at Auto Admit to a duel.

    Matchlock pistols at dawn!! I demand satisfaction!

  44. Dan S. says:

    actually Althouse herself is a parody of this fine, fair and balanced…um, person.

    Oh . . . my.

    Get out.

    Actually, I should – it’s quite a nice day. But before I go, let me grab the relevant links . . . um, here and here.

  45. Thomas says:

    Ellen, a bunch of entitled little shits who post on a board that will protect their identities even when they threaten to rape women would never chance actual accountability. If one of the Does actually challenged them to pistols at fifty paces, they would shit themselves, then call the police.

  46. rmt says:

    My god, Jill. I’m so sorry.

    Ann Althouse should be ashamed of herself for defending those wastes of flesh.

  47. mythago says:

    Obviously the law is for pussies, if the women had any sense of honor they would challenge those blaggards at Auto Admit to a duel.

    That’s why Althouse is a tenured professor of combat theory. She certainly wouldn’t want to be a professor of law, since resorting to the law is something only weaklings and cowards do.

  48. raging red says:

    Ann says:

    Isn’t “the scummiest kind of sexually offensive tripe” exactly what we always used to say people had to put up with in a free country?

    Define “put up with.” If by “put up with” she means: have no recourse when that sexually offensive tripe:

    1. infringes your copyright
    2. defames you
    3. is intended to cause you emotional distress
    4. and other stuff like that

    then no, dear law professor, that’s not what “we” say people have to put up with in a free country. That’s why those causes of action exist. If she wants to argue that she doesn’t think these women will succeed in proving their claims, that’s one thing, but to pretend that they’re trying to curtail anyone’s free speech rights is disingenuous (or stupid, take your pick) to the extreme.

    And why does she keep saying that the issue is whether or not any “true threats” were made? That’s irrelevant, legally speaking. None of their causes of action have anything to do with whether or not the defendants made any “true threats.”

  49. Lina says:

    Fuck, I am truly horrified at the comments you get. The ‘boys will be boys’ defense is as fucking disgusting as ‘the slut deserved it’ defense. This ‘hate fuck’ thing, I’ve never heard that before.
    I’m truly shocked that anyone would defend this abuse.

  50. labyrus says:

    You know, I am consistently amazed that Ann Althouse somehow managed to earn a law degree.

  51. Hans Moleman says:

    “Ann Althouse is a freezedried bag of delusional narcissism, who seems to really hate young women and thinks that threats to rape are actually compliments.”

    Now explain to me why you shouldn’t be sued for libel and defamation after making that comment.

  52. Hector B. says:

    Although directed towards the middle school set, the SF Chronicle had a good article on combating cyber bullying, a few months ago.
    These two rules seem like particularly good advice:
    “How to handle cyberbullying
    “– If they don’t get a rise out of you, they’ll probably stop. So ignore it and especially don’t retaliate.

    “– Contact the police if someone threatens you. ”

  53. Jill says:

    “Ann Althouse is a freezedried bag of delusional narcissism, who seems to really hate young women and thinks that threats to rape are actually compliments.”

    Now explain to me why you shouldn’t be sued for libel and defamation after making that comment.

    Google “libel,” figure out what it is and read up on the legal standard required to prove it. Then tell me if you think Ann has a case.

  54. Hans Moleman says:

    That’s exactly my point Jill, a number of the statements listed in the complaint were merely expressions of opinion and sexual desire. Certainly there were threats and libel, but rather innocuous statements were dumped in there too. I’d be more sympathetic to the plaintiffs if they were more selective in the comments they included. It seems like this is an attempt to chill any sexually explicit chatter about females on the internet.

  55. SEK says:

    Althouse has a problem with interpretation. Funny thing is, after she hit-and-ran, I checked my site stats for that day. Someone in Madison, WI kept reloading my site every ten minutes or so. (Everybody wave to Ann! Hi Ann!)

    All of which I only point out because Jill clearly misses the metaphorical intent of the AutoAdmit crowd. “Rape” is like “ravish” used to be, back when Shelley and Keats wrote. If Jill could read with the interpretive generosity as Ann, she’d know what this meant:

    i hope someone uses my pink, fleshy-textured cylindrical body to violate her

    This is all about Christian charity, the giving of one’s self to another, so that he may infuse God’s love in Jill. She may not know she wants it, but she does. She’s asking for it. Ann knows that, because she’s a real feminist. Not some breasted whore like Jill.

  56. evil fizz says:

    It seems like this is an attempt to chill any sexually explicit chatter about females on the internet.

    Hans, i just thought you should know that were we in a bar, I would have thrown my drink in your face for that.

    This is not about sexually explicit chatter or its silencing. It’s about prolonged, libelous chatter aimed at specific people with the intent of causing them harm.

    Kindly take your privilege and shove it.

  57. Auguste says:

    I’d be more sympathetic to the plaintiffs if they were more selective in the comments they included.

    I’d be more sympathetic to the defendants if people didn’t keep saying “See! Some of the comments were simply sexually violent fantasies meant to create and maintain a culture of fear! Why can’t you leave them alone, already!”

  58. Ann has figured out that the “I’m the only woman you sexist pigs can trust” is a very, very well-paying schtick.

  59. Hans Moleman says:

    Then explain to me why these statements are in the complaint:

    “I would very much like to enjoy consensual sexual contact with that young woman after a requisite period of courtship of course, and it necessary, wait till our union has been blessed by an appropriate clergyman. But once on our honeymoon, I would very much hope that she would grant me the boon of anal intercourse to the point of repeatedly climaxing inside.”

    “I can assure you she doesn’t dress conservatively. Anyone who goes to the gym in the afternoon has seen her trapsing around in spandex booty shorts and a strappy tank top. She wants people to look, and they do.”

    “I would pour syrup on that.”

    “The assumption in the media that [Doe I’s] rejections were based on a post on some website that no lawyer takes seriously is laughable.”

  60. Jill says:

    Hans, they’re in it to establish that this is a pattern of ongoing, sexualized harassment. Libel isn’t exactly my specialty, but many areas of the law do recognize that actions/statements which individually may not be actionable can add up to a claim when taken in the aggregate. I would guess that that’s why those statements are in there — because, when put in context with the many other comments, they add up to systematic harassment and libel.

  61. DWF says:

    Jeebus H, Ann is STILL going on about commentors who were OBVIOUSLY not her and OBVIOUSLY joking “using her name”??? I’m sure Gerald Ford demanded the same of Chevy Chase.

  62. Hans Moleman says:

    “Hans, they’re in it to establish that this is a pattern of ongoing, sexualized harassment.”

    So do you think that sexually explicit statements should be actionable because they add up to harrassment? I can be liable because I said something constitutionally protected after someone else made a threat?

    And that still doesn’t explain the last one.

  63. Jill says:

    So do you think that sexually explicit statements should be actionable because they add up to harrassment? I can be liable because I said something constitutionally protected after someone else made a threat?

    Actually, in many circumstances sexually explicit statements are already actionable because they add up to harassment (like if you make them at work). And let’s be clear that these men wouldn’t be held liable if all they did was make innocuous sexualized comments on the internet. It was the comments along with the violation of privacy along with the threats along with the defamation along with the copyright infringement that led up to this suit.

    And, yeah, if someone else makes a threat and under those circumstances you say something that backs up that threat, even if what you said would by itself be protected, then you may be held liable.

    I’m not their lawyer so I can’t explain why every single quote was in the complaint. But if the best you can do is whine about why these three or four quotes were included, then you’re grasping at straws.

  64. sunflwrmoonbeam says:

    For the record, I spent sometime today in a comment-debate-war with Ann Althouse in an attempt (wasted) to point out her misogyny. She said, amongst other things, that what I said was “sick and twisted” (I said she’s supporting a rape culture and promoting tacit acceptance of violence against women) and ordered me to apologize several times. When I challenged her as to why she was siding with AA and not their female targets, she deleted all my comments, all her comments to me, and all the comments of a certain Dan who was equally criticizing her.

    I’m just amused that she can’t handle any criticism whatsoever. Moreover, at one point in our discussions she equated my calling her a misogynist with what happened on AA.

    so yeah, she’s a twit and a coward and so entertaining.

  65. Sabrina Star says:

    Hans,

    Try to put yourself in the position of a woman who is being viciously harassed or even threatened on an internet board, who’s personal information and pictures are being posted, knowing that they live in a culture where every day women are raped, kidnapped, and/or murdered. Can you see how any reasonable person in that situation might find even the “toned down” comments in that context to be menacing?

  66. Sheelzebub says:

    Hans, you sniveling fuckwit moron, these inbred wankers were talking about hate fucking these women, posting invitations to gang-bangs and giving the women’s names and contact info, sodomizing these women (in the context of hate fucking, you idiot) and posting lies that these women had STD’s, were having affairs with school administrators, and providing sex for people. Among other lies.

    If you want to be spoonfed further, go ask your mommy to prechew your food. Kthnxbye.

  67. Hans Moleman says:

    Jill, you seem to be backtracking. Earlier, you said:

    “no one is being sued for offending someone else’s sensibilities. The AutoAdmit guys are being sued for libel and for the harm that their false statements and threats caused.”

    Some of the statements included in the complaint are simply men saying that they wanted to have sex with the women, or in one case, speculating about why she didn’t get a job. How are they actionable other than that they offended someone’s sensibilites?

    “Hans, you sniveling fuckwit moron, these inbred wankers were talking about hate fucking these women, posting invitations to gang-bangs and giving the women’s names and contact info, sodomizing these women (in the context of hate fucking, you idiot) and posting lies that these women had STD’s, were having affairs with school administrators, and providing sex for people.”

    If you’d read what I actually said, I didn’t suggest that those statements weren’t actionable. I said it was wrong to dump innocuous expression of opinion in with the actual threats in order to imply guilt by association.

  68. Jill says:

    I’m not backtracking. I really suggest that you check out some other libel and defamation cases — I think you’ll see that it isn’t unusual to include comments that by themselves wouldn’t be defamation, but in context contribute to the claim and serve as further evidence.

    If there was a separate action for each statement by itself, you might have a point. But there is one action for a collection of statements, and so your argument that a few of the individual comments are simply offensive and not threatening/libelous isn’t really relevant.

  69. Sheelzebub says:

    Right, Hans. I’m sure you’re not trying to derail the thread or build strawmen at all. I’ve never seen that from the AA sympathizers.

  70. Hans Moleman says:

    “If there was a separate action for each statement by itself, you might have a point. But there is one action for a collection of statements, and so your argument that a few of the individual comments are simply offensive and not threatening/libelous isn’t really relevant.”

    That’s exactly my point though. They have named as defendants the posters that made those unthreatening statements, and wrapped it all up into the same cause of action. That strikes me as trying to chill the collective speech of group of people with strikingly different levels of potential liability.

  71. Jill says:

    I see what you’re saying. I’m saying that context matters, and that the comments listed contributed to the harassment and defamation, even if they were not by themselves harassing* or defamatory.

    *I would argue that they are harassing (for the most part), but that’s neither here nor there.

  72. Hans Moleman says:

    Fair enough. Again, I’m not saying they don’t have a claim, just that I would have like to have seen it phrased in a different manner.

  73. JackGoff says:

    I’m sure you’re not trying to derail the thread or build strawmen at all. I’ve never seen that from the AA sympathizers.

    Forget AA, he’s done it numerous times over at Pandagon. He’s definitely trying to make this about Jill’s language as opposed to the AA jackasses, because that’s what he does.

  74. rasty says:

    In my opinion, if a man expresses a desire to rape or an acceptance of rape, then he is threatening all women he then comes into contact with. My mother recently fired a man for listing “raping a woman” on his wish list of things to do before he died, whilst he was at work. It was on the basis that he had threatened every woman in the office with his words. Do we have to get to the stage of stating “I am threatening you with…” to consider a person to be making a threat? Or is the issue that words on the web do not count?
    Why the fuck would anyone laugh off the idea that they may soon be raped? There is nothing to laugh about here. If I was threatened in this way, my life would be destroyed until I knew I was safe from these people.
    I praise all those of you who deplore the rising misogyny on the net.

  75. Elise says:

    Hans, they’re in it to establish that this is a pattern of ongoing, sexualized harassment. Libel isn’t exactly my specialty, but many areas of the law do recognize that actions/statements which individually may not be actionable can add up to a claim when taken in the aggregate. I would guess that that’s why those statements are in there — because, when put in context with the many other comments, they add up to systematic harassment and libel.

    Spot on. What’s important in a case like this is not individual statements taken out of context (context is essential for all of the claims raised in the case), but an overall pattern of conduct. The remarks Hans quotes may arguably not seem like much when taken out of the context in which they were uttered (which is probably why they were taken out of context), but in a context of repeated, graphic expressions of desire or intent to commit rape (amongst other things), the range of reasonable interpretations changes.

    Plus, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to get out in front of the apparently innocuous things that a defendant might seize on so that they can’t be raised as effectively as a defence. Of course, when drafting a complaint, you have to be careful about alleging too much, since you could end up shouldering more of a burden of proof than you really had do, but in a case like this that wouldn’t seem to be a major concern.

  76. Elise says:

    Addendum:

    Here’s a bit of context that might have been useful in evaluating the “consensual sexual intercourse” statement quoted by Hans, namely the subject heading, which is reproduced in full in the complaint: “Running those statements through the derapifier”.

  77. Seth Gordon says:

    Matchlock pistols at dawn!! I demand satisfaction!

    Traditionally, the party being challenged to a duel, not the challenger, gets to choose the location and the weapons. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect every female law student to master pistol shooting and fencing.

  78. israel says:

    Great, great post. Well done.

  79. mythago says:

    That strikes me as trying to chill the collective speech of group of people with strikingly different levels of potential liability.

    Oh, please. What it strikes me as, is your refusing to acknowledge that a forest exists because you can point to all the individual trees as discrete entities.

  80. Toonces says:

    Hey Hans, if Ann wants to sue me for libel she is more than welcome to trot on up to Canada and do so. Since your lips are so firmly planted to her ass, I assume you’ll be coming with her.

  81. kidlacan says:

    you know. this has me wondering. exactly why is it okay to engage in “sexually explicit chatter on the internet” in the first place? i know, i know, OMGFIRSTAMENDMENT!!!1!, but really. why in the hell are threats to rape and idle discussions of named persons’ sexual habits and/or diseases so fucking sacrosanct?

  82. ellenbrenna says:

    Seth, as a feminist I will not hear of any preconcieved limits on women’s dueling abilities and believe they should be thoroughly instructed in both fencing and shooting. Also in the piano forte, poetry recitation, flower arranging and the strategic placement of explosives on the enemy’s bridges and fortifications.

    Hans you seem to be confused: the statements here about Ann Althouse are interpretations of her own words and actions, the statements anonymously made on AutoAdmit about specific women were, according to those women, lies. Hence the suing.

  83. belledame222 says:

    Hey, Hans. Wat R U waring? U sound HOTT.

  84. mythago says:

    i know, i know, OMGFIRSTAMENDMENT!!!1!

    People who have actually read the First Amendment are often astonished to learn that it pertains to the control of speech by THE GOVERNMENT; it does not actually grant an unlimited right to say whatever the fuck you want with no tagbacks.

    I guess Ciolli didn’t make it to Con Law the week they went over that.

  85. Hector B. says:

    People who have actually read the First Amendment are often astonished to learn that it pertains to the control of speech by THE GOVERNMENT; it does not actually grant an unlimited right to say whatever the fuck you want with no tagbacks.

    I’ve heard this a couple of times, but one thing puzzles me. Could one of you lawyers explain why people call the case of Jerry Falwell suing Hustler magazine, for printing a cartoon depicting him sodomizing his mother in an outhouse, a First Amendment case? I don’t understand how the government was involved there. Hustler won, as I recall.

  86. Scipio Africanus says:

    New York Times v. Sullivan
    376 U.S. 254 (1964)

    Decided together with Abernathy v. Sullivan, this case concerns a full-page ad in the New York Times which alleged that the arrest of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. for perjury in Alabama was part of a campaign to destroy King’s efforts to integrate public facilities and encourage blacks to vote. L. B. Sullivan, the Montgomery city commissioner, filed a libel action against the newspaper and four black ministers who were listed as endorsers of the ad, claiming that the allegations against the Montgomery police defamed him personally. Under Alabama law, Sullivan did not have to prove that he had been harmed; and a defense claiming that the ad was truthful was unavailable since the ad contained factual errors. Sullivan won a $500,000 judgment.

    Issue

    Did Alabama’s libel law, by not requiring Sullivan to prove that an advertisement personally harmed him and dismissing the same as untruthful due to factual errors, unconstitutionally infringe on the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and freedom of press protections?

    Conclusion

    The Court held that the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice (with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity). Under this new standard, Sullivan’s case collapsed.

    In short, mythago is incorrect, as court adjudication of civil claims arising from speech is government action under the First Amendment.

  87. Scipio Africanus says:

    Not really acquainted with many of the facts and circumstances, Jill’s public figure status will be the issue that could get interesting – I’m not certain how a blogger would fall within the full purpose/limited purpose public figure test, and whether it would depend upon the volume/circulation of the blog.

  88. A. Nonmouse says:

    This case has so many holes in it! How is she going to prove that all 16 law firms turned her down because of AutoWhatEverTheHellItsCalled? Yeah, I know, civil case, preponderance, blahblahblah, but still, ain’t no way a judge (who is also a lawyer) is going to put the hiring practices of his industry on the stand. Also, Ciolli was an owner of the site and thus exempt from such suits (unless he actually participated in the namecalling). Finally, the site owner doesn’t even log IP addresses, so how are they ever going to track down and positively (!) identify the boys and girls behind the masks? DNA?

    Plus, the women filed anonymously? Their names and their association with the website was already splattered across the web before the complaint was filed. I only heard of this case four hours ago, and I had enough keywords from the first two pages of the complaint to not only get the women’s names, but all their past legal run-ins with that website and a couple branch sites, as well as the actual message threads on AutoAdmit that they are suing about! And guess what?! Those threads are still open for comments!

    Good thing their lawyer is handling this pro bono (iow, to get his name in print cuz he knows this will eventually be at least a minor Duke-type media event), the retainer on this would be astronomical.

  89. John Protevi says:

    Scipio, it might help your credibility if you were to realize that Jill is not a plaintiff in this case.

  90. Scipio Africanus says:

    Scipio, it might help your credibility if you were to realize that Jill is not a plaintiff in this case.

    I don’t know what credibility has to do with anything – I was first responding to the incorrect statement that the First Amendment bears no weight in a libel action.

    Admittedly – like I said – I am not appraised of the facts and circumstances of the matter at hand. So what is your point?

  91. John Protevi says:

    Well, when you get up to speed on the case — not just that Jill is not a plaintiff, but that none of the plaintiffs are public figures — you might be able to see what the point is.

  92. mythago says:

    In short, mythago is incorrect, as court adjudication of civil claims arising from speech is government action under the First Amendment.

    Are you really saying that it’s *incorrect* that the First Amendment does not grant you the unlimited right to say whatever the fuck you want with no tagbacks?

    Admittedly – like I said – I am not appraised of the facts and circumstances of the matter at hand.

    Then why are you spouting off as if you were? There’s nothing to suggest any of the plaintiffs were “public figures”. For that matter, there’s not much to suggest that Jill is a “public figure”. (Or that if she were a “public figure in the blogosphere”, that rape threats and sexual slurs are in any way related to her narrow role as a public figure.)

    Yeah, I know, civil case, preponderance, blahblahblah, but still, ain’t no way a judge (who is also a lawyer) is going to put the hiring practices of his industry on the stand.

    And you know this because your magical wishful thinking tells you so?

  93. belledame222 says:

    Chutzpah, the all-purpose ass-cover.

  94. Satan luvvs Repugs says:

    This suit is not frivolous or fun — it’s a last resort.

    Not quite, it’s a next to last resort.

    The last resort involves the use of powerful firearms and explosives. And perhaps a Black & Decker 19V cordless variable speed drill with a 1″ spade bit. As enjoyable as all this might be (to inflict on the miscreants, that is), one hopes that the “next to” last resort is effective in dealing with them.

  95. cfw says:

    U Wis. should ask AA to turn in her key and hit the road!

    At the least, AA needs to read what she plans to write about and learn to get out of her self-centered approach to life.

    The quoted comments about individual women are just the sort of stuff productive lawsuits are meant to address (and deter).

    If it were male victims, no one would express much surprise if the quotes resulted in a suit or something worse.

    May AC have his buns toasted for a few years.

  96. Kevin Hayden says:

    I have it on good authority that Althouse has serious competence fantasies and likes to take long walks on moonlit beaches with her secret lover, Ann Althouse.

  97. Nullifidian says:

    Seth, as a feminist I will not hear of any preconcieved limits on women’s dueling abilities and believe they should be thoroughly instructed in both fencing and shooting. Also in the piano forte, poetry recitation, flower arranging and the strategic placement of explosives on the enemy’s bridges and fortifications.

    *golf clap*

    I’m cheering the well-deserved takedown of Althouse, but this is the comment that made me snort ginger ale through my nose.

  98. Terry Karney says:

    Seth: re the terms of duels.

    Actually, the terms ( conditions, weapons, point at which satisfaction was considered reached; and so no question about finish, etc.) were negotiated by the seconds. Prior to the privatisation of duels, they were mandated by law (though judicial duels were rare, and pretty much died out in the 13th century).

    The terms started pretty loosely, often with everyone who was there getting into a huge street-brawl.

    As time went on, and swordplay became less everyday, pistols became something of a default, and a demand for swords might be seen as an attempt to take advantage of the other party, and so be; quite strenously resisted.

    Reasons for choosing one over the other (in France, where duelling persisted the longest, as a socially accpeted behaviour) ended up, in later days, as a means of separating the mere social offense, from mortal insult; because the norms moved to first blood with swords.

    That, greatly, reduced the number of fatal injuries (Germany’s “korpsbruderen” were a different thing altogether, as they were social clubs for a stylised blood-sport, more like boxing than duelling, for all that they are called, “Duelling clubs” in English, but I digress), and so things which really were offensive enough to be willing to risk one’s own death over, were moved to pistol.

    And a second could have lots of influence in preventing an actual fight.

    de Maupassant was a fiendishly good shot. A friend of his was challenged to a duel. He wasn’t a very good shot. de Maupassant was the second, and arrange to meet the other fellow’s second, at the de Maupassant’s principle’s apartment. He arrived early, strewed a couple of his own practice targets about the table, and left.

    When the other second arrived, and de Maupassant came to let him in, he saw the targets, assumed they were the principle’s, and told his guy to apologise.

  99. Terry Karney says:

    Scipio: If you don’t know the facts of the case, how in the name of reason can you then aver to know the merits of it?

    How, absent a knowledge of th e facts (easily found in the complaint) can you cavalierly 1: dismiss it out of hand as frivolous (ignoring that the question in Falwell v Flynt was one which related to a public figure who had taken stands on political issues; and so was injecting himself into the arena in which his protections from ridicule, and where the standards of what is libelous are changed) and 2: assert that all judges are going to engage in a venal refusal to look at the merits of the case because it touches on some of the ugly aspects of the old boy practices of the legal profession?

    Damn, but that’s some view of the world you’ve got, a combination of privilege (wherein you can be right from a position of declared, and even wilful, ignorance) and an opinion of lawyers which is at least as low as those who take Shakespeare out of context.

  100. A. Nonmouse says:

    And you know this because your magical wishful thinking tells you so?

    No, common sense. Another thing, if [redacted – ed.] and [redacted – ed.] so feared for their safety, why didn’t they press for criminal charges of terroristic threats?

  101. Jill says:

    A. Nonmouse, please don’t use the real names of people who wish to remain anonymous.

  102. Jill says:

    No, common sense. Another thing, if [redacted – ed.] and [redacted – ed.] so feared for their safety, why didn’t they press for criminal charges of terroristic threats?

    Where did they say that they feared for their safety? The legal standard of a “threat” does not require that the person being threatened live in fear.

    And can you imagine the reaction from people like yourself if they had filed a criminal complaint about terroristic threats?

  103. mythago says:

    No, common sense.

    What part of “common sense” leads you to believe that no judge would ever allow evidence of law firms’ hiring practices to be introduced as evidence?

  104. Autumn Harvest says:

    . . .one thing puzzles me. Could one of you lawyers explain why people call the case of Jerry Falwell suing Hustler magazine, for printing a cartoon depicting him sodomizing his mother in an outhouse, a First Amendment case? I don’t understand how the government was involved there. Hustler won, as I recall.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I believe this is because lawsuits involving libel and slander do still involve the government, and thus the First Amendment, because in such suits this winner collects money from the loser through the action of the government. Such suits could be used to stifle speech if, for example, Bush were allowed to sue me for saying that he was running an illegal wiretapping program. So libel and slander still involve First Amendment issues, most strongly when the person allegedly libeled is a “public figure,” such as Bush or Falwell.

    As mythago says, this does not mean you can say whatever you want. I’m pretty safe saying that Bush is running an illegal wiretapping program (whether or not he actually is at this point), but not saying that Hector B. is running an illegal meth lab, since (I assume) you are not a public figure. Nor would it be a good idea to send an e-mail to the White House stating that you plan to rape President Bush, and then claim that you’re just exercising your First Amendment rights.

  105. A. Nonmouse says:

    “A. Nonmouse, please don’t use the real names of people who wish to remain anonymous.”

    Somewhat ironic given the defendants “named” in the lawsuit, eh? Besides, the plaintiff’s veil of anonymity is made of gossamer, ragged at that, given that their names were already directly associated with Autoadmit before the suit was filed, including in the Discussion page on the Autoadmit’s entry on Wikipedia.

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