Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, October 5, 2009 10:51 pm

Now the whole world knows that Glenn Beck is an idiot … and an agency thereof has dopeslapped him accordingly.

I mentioned a while ago the fantabulous Web site “Glenn Beck Raped and Murdered a Young Girl in 1990,” which parodies Beck’s rhetorical style of asserting fatuously wrong things in part by claiming, sometimes even accurately, that there is no evidence these fatuously wrong things are NOT true. So, you know, there’s no evidence that Glenn Beck DIDN’T rape and murder a young girl in 1990, so ….

This kind of satire is comprehensible to anyone who was awake and alert in high-school English, a group that apparently excluded Mike J. Baron. Irony-impaired is no way to go through life, son.

Interestingly, Beck himself appears to understand that satire — even hyperbolic, over-the-top satire, as this definitely is — is constitutionally protected and not defamatory. So he is taking a different tack, claiming that the domain name for the Web site is itself sorta defamatory but mainly a trademark violation.

The “defamatory” claim will get just as far as a straight defamation claim would, i.e., nowhere. But the trademark violation is just as lame. Such claims typically are made on the basis of the possibility that an unwary Web surfer might mistake the satire site for a site by the person actually named. Let us ask ourselves: What is the likelihood that an unwary Web surfer might mistake the site for an actual Glenn Beck site?

Well, according to the lawyer for the Web site’s owner, that likelihood is damn small:

There is no indication that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to confuse anyone searching for Mr. Beck’s own website, nor that anyone was unintentionally confused – even initially. Only an abject imbecile could believe that the domain name would have any connection to the Complainant.

The lawyer then goes on to the heart of the matter, which is that this “trademark violation” claim is just a back-door attempt, and not even a particularly new or original one, to win a libel suit without actually, you know, alleging libel:

We are not here because the domain name could cause confusion. We do not have a declaration from the president of the international association of imbeciles that his members are blankly staring at the Respondent’s website wondering “where did all the race baiting content go?” We are here because Mr. Beck wants Respondent’s website shut down. He wants it shut down because Respondent’s website makes a poignant and accurate satirical critique of Mr. Beck by parodying Beck’s very rhetorical style. Beck’s skin is too thin to take the criticism, so he wants the site down. Beck is represented by a learned and respected legal team. Accordingly, it is beyond doubt that his counsel advised him that under the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution, no action in a U.S. Court would be successful. See, e.g., Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). (Link added — Lex)

This is not the awesomest court document I have ever seen filed. The federal judge’s order further ordering both parties to “lighten up” (which I could’ve sworn I blogged but now cannot find) probably was the awesomest, not least because it came from a judge and not a lawyer.

But this response, incorporating as it does not only the phrase “abject imbecile” (see, a less talented writer would have left us with the generic variety of imbecile) but also the “president of the international association of imbeciles” and the deft sideswipe about the race-baiting content — because, gawd, if Glenn Beck does nothing else but bawl on the air, he sure baits him some race — mark it as Awesome Indeed, Full of Win and a first-class exhibit to be studied enthusiastically by (God help us) generations of future lawyers.

(h/t: jane)

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