Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the says-you dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is TKnarr responding to the idea that the dismissal of the Covington teen's lawsuit against the Washington Post was a premature decision:

The evidence was adduced in the Post article itself. Phillips stated what he felt at that time, and it's not within the court's purview to say he didn't really feel that way. Whether his feelings were reasonable might be something the court could rule on, but for defamation that's irrelevant. If your feeling is completely irrational and unreasonable you're still entitled to say you felt that way and your statement of how you felt can't be defamatory to the other party.

Note that saying how you felt is something different from falsely saying the other party did some specific thing to make you feel that way, but Sandmann couldn't point to anything Phillips said he did that he didn't clearly do.

In second place, it's Thad with a further response to the same question, and specifically the point that a dismissal means there's no evidence to review:

Or no accusation of anything illegal.

If I sue you for putting a funny hat on your dog, my suit is going to be dismissed. Even if I have 100% ironclad proof that you put a funny hat on your dog. Because putting funny hats on dogs is not actually illegal. The evidence doesn't matter if the thing I am accusing you of is not illegal. I can refer to putting a funny hat on your dog as "arson" if I want, but that's not the legal definition of arson.

Similarly, if I were to say "Nick Sandmann is a big stupid doodoo head," and Nick Sandmann were to sue me for defamation, that suit would be dismissed. Because even if I did say that about him, calling someone a big stupid doodoo head is not defamatory.

Which is more or less what happened here. The judge determined that even if 100% of the accusations in the lawsuit were 100% true, none of them broke any laws.

There's no need to make any determinations about evidence if the plaintiff is accusing the defendant of doing things that are legal. The judge doesn't need to go to trial and put my photos of you putting a funny hat on your dog before a jury, so they can evaluate whether or not you really put that funny hat on your dog, thereby committing arson. The judge can just say "that's not what 'arson' means" and dismiss the case. At that point, whether or not I can prove you put a funny hat on your dog is irrelevant.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from Anonymous Anonymous Coward in response to the refusal of qualified immunity for a SWAT team that hurled a flashbang in the direction of a child:

The disparity between the various appeals courts has me baffled. Here they denied qualified immunity for irresponsible behavior. On the other hand a different court suggested that shooting at a dog that wasn't attacking any police and hitting a child was reasonable.

Does this suggest that the courts themselves aren't reasonable? Or is it just ideological differences between different circuits? Isn't there some agreement somewhere as to what reasonable means?

Next, we've got a comment from Stephen T. Stone responding to some pieces of a comment from last Sunday's post, talking about left-wing/anti-fascist violence:

"this guy was OK to toss firebombs and try to blow up propane tanks with a long rifle because.. HE HATES TRUMP!"

I don’t condone the actions of Willem Van Spronsen. But I do understand his intent. It was less about “hating Trump” and more about “shut down the concentration camps on American soil”.

"Who’s a terrorist?"

Depends on who you ask. Ask the government, and they’ll likely tell you that anyone who criticizes and insults the government could possibly become a terrorist — if they aren’t one already. (Ask the FBI, and they’ll tell you to wait five days so they can arrest one…that they likely made themselves.)

We’re just responding to ACTUAL THREATS!

In fairness to Van Spronsen, American concentration camps exist and are holding Repugnant Cultural Others (according to Trump, anyway) in isolation away from the rest of the population. That is an actual threat to Americans, especially since ICE is now arresting and detaining American citizens based primarily, or possibly only, on their ethnicity.

Stephen was tearing up the charts this week, and over on the funny side he took both of the winning spots — though can't quite claim full credit for either. The first place comment is the expected response to an invocation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

R’amen. 🙏

In second place, it's the appropriate deployment of an evergreen tweet regarding censorship of conservative views:

Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
Con: LOL no…no not those views
Me: So…deregulation?
Con: Haha no not those views either
Me: Which views, exactly?
Con: Oh, you know the ones

(All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter with a related take:

This business about anti-liberal or anti-conservative bias is all nonsense, and I am tired of hearing it. In fact, the real bias is pro-vegetarian. And I can prove it: the vast majority of people who get banned are meat-eaters.

Finally, we've got a comment from wereisjessicahyde in response to Josh Hawley's insane bill aiming to ban various social media features and, well, I apologize in advance for this one:

I don't understand the appeal of infinite scroll. I've tried but I just can't get to the bottom of it.

I'll see myself out. That's all for this week, folks!


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  • icon
    Rico R. (profile), 4 Aug 2019 @ 2:33pm

    How the heck did I miss the article about Hawley’s new bill?

    But clearly he has his priorities straight to the real problem with technology. Net neutrality? Not an issue. Neither is all the false copyright claims online (which, according to the WIPO, no longer has any rights to due process). The monopoly on Telecoms and ISPs? Forget about it! The biggest problems facing the Internet is the fact CDA 230 protects politically biased sites and that endless scrolling and auto playing videos (that aren’t ads) are creating social media addictions. “I’m Josh Hawley, and I’ve been elected to Congress to fix problems with the Internet that you don’t care about!”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 4 Aug 2019 @ 3:13pm

      Re:

      To be fair, Hawley isn't paid to protect people - he's paid to protect corporate interests, advertising, and copyright. And paid well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2019 @ 4:01pm

        Re: Re:

        So he's paid to screw over Americans (and non-americans too... but getting americain politicians to care about that 'minority' group is like trying to make a child solely by cutting your arm with a knife).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Aug 2019 @ 8:03pm

    over on the funny side he took both of the winning spots — though can't quite claim full credit for either

    To be fair, I’ve also never claimed to be funny. 😁

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2019 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Purity Test

    Is this some weird racist come on?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    michael, 6 Aug 2019 @ 11:51am

    Thad is wrong

    Thad is wrong. Defamation has nothing to do with whether or not something is illegal. If someone claims that I've been fucking someone other than my wife, that's still defamatory (assuming it's untrue) despite the fact that adultery is perfectly legal in my state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2019 @ 8:48pm

    ...

    Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
    Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
    Con: I was banned because I oppose inter-sectional third-wave feminism, believe that we should have strong borders, am critical of mass immigration and think that there are places in the world that are shitholes.
    Me: Holy fuck, you racist! GTFO!

    THAT would have been 100% more accurate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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