Imagine you are John Q. Assholeplaintiff. You have some hurt feelings about a blog post or article that someone wrote about you wherein the author made some negative but opinionated statements about you. You’re pissed off. You file suit in federal court for defamation: Assholeplaintiff v. Author. That’ll teach ‘em, right? Eventually, you get an Answer and Entry of Appearance from a Mr. Marc Randazza, on behalf of his client, Author. Bad news… a big hurt is coming. Just ask Righthaven, Rakofsky, or Glenn Beck.
I have been a fan of Marc Randazza for quite a while, though I have never actually had the pleasure meeting him. His blog is a great read, until you get to the Terms and Conditions. I’m terrified just reading this document. What happens when you deep link from my blog? Nothing. When you deep link from his blog? You get whomped with a douchebag fee of $500. Do I blacklist anyone? Not really. Randazza has a parade of horribles banned from reading his blog. I probably violated about 10 elements of his T&C without even knowing it.
A cease and desist letter signed by him, addressed to me… pants promptly soiled.
I find him particularly admirable because he doesn’t just practice First Amendment law, but he “gets” it. The First Amendment protects the most despicable, crappiest, loathsome speech out there. If that awful speech starts to get eroded, then eventually our everyday speech will get eroded. I am speaking, of course, of the deplorable speech by the feculant asshat loser supreme Rush Limbaugh (who I am loathe to admit is not only from Missouri but is also one of our most notable citizens). Marc Randazza wrote a brilliant opinion piece for CNN that fought against the grain of populist opinion and so eloquently stated that the shittiest of speech, that which Mr. Limbaugh spews on a daily basis from the mighty KMOX, is protected under the First Amendment.
In Mr. Randazza’s own words:
“The speech that tests our commitment to free speech – that’s the really good stuff. That’s the stuff that we need to affix shields, sharpen swords, and stand next to our brothers and sisters in arms to protect.”
I hereby make the following offer to Mr. Randazza: If you ever find yourself in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, I will do my darndest to meet you at a fine local drinking establishment and buy you several beers of your choice in an attempt to compensate you for the education and enjoyment that your blog has brought me. (I extend this same offer to Ken and/or Patrick of Popehat.) To redeem, simply go to the link at the bottom of the blog to my day job, where you can find my phone number.