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Sep 27 2013

Good advice for those threatened with a defamation suit

It darn well better be good advice, because I’m following it.

Although “Step Seven: Better Call Saul” is a little worrisome — I don’t know how much my lawyer knows about money laundering or setting up fake identities. We seem to be committed to following the rule of law and conventional operating procedures here.

68 comments

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  1. 1
    Trebuchet

    As it happens, I just (as in the last two minutes) read that post! Ken is awesome, although I still have trouble connecting FTB and Popehat in my mind without thinking “strange bedfellows”.

  2. 2
    raven

    Truth is an absolute defense.

    Make sure what you wrote is true and defensible in court and don’t worry about it.

    I’ve been threatened with SLAPP suits so many times, the big danger is being bored to death. I’ve left instructions that should I die of boredom, my heirs are to file a murder complaint.

    I just tell them to shut up, file the papers, and let’s go to court. They never do any of that, especially the court part.

    Occasionally they drop the SLAPP suit threats and just start in with death threats. I don’t say anything. Just forward them to the FBI. Death threats are a felony. And sometimes they have ended up talking to…the FBI.

  3. 3
    raven

    SLAPP suits = Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. I live in an anti-SLAPP suit state.

    Loser pays court costs and your attorney. Tell them to keep enough money on hand to pay your attorney.

    BTW, I’ve been in federal court before, on IP cases. It’s not scary at all once you are in there. The biggest hassle is going through the metal detector.

  4. 4
    Moggie

    So, calling Joe Pesci isn’t an option?

  5. 5
    PDX_Greg

    I was shocked that the article had the gall to directly and repeatedly call out Mr. Angrypants. And yes, Equatorial New Guinean Taint Rot is now a thing.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    I really need to start reading Popehat more regularly.

  7. 7
    dWhisper

    Popehat is a good site to read, especially with the knowledge that I won’t agree with a decent portion of what he has to say (the whole Libertarian bent). In reality, that’s what makes it so interesting, because Ken strikes me as far more capable of making his point than some others with the same beliefs, and actually understands that there are people who won’t agree with him. And instead of just dismissing it, sits and calmly discuss it, without relying on butchering context or the like.

    That and the ponies.

  8. 8
    Jafafa Hots

    I had no idea that the Belgians were behind 9/11.

    Bastards.

  9. 9
    Inaji

    Excellent post.

  10. 10
    moarscienceplz

    I had no idea that the Belgians were behind 9/11.

    Yep, and they won’t stop until the whole world puts mayonnaise on their french fries.

  11. 11
    Gregory in Seattle

    @moarscienceplz #10

    I had no idea that the Belgians were behind 9/11.

    Yep, and they won’t stop until the whole world puts mayonnaise on their french fries.

    That’s… that’s… that’s TERRORISM!

    Ok, well, terrible. Who wants that kind of bland goop on fries?

  12. 12
    Jafafa Hots

    Yep, and they won’t stop until the whole world puts mayonnaise on their french fries.

    Whew! Then I’m safe.

    I only eat freedom fries.

  13. 13
    Trebuchet

    Popehat is a good site to read, especially with the knowledge that I won’t agree with a decent portion of what he has to say (the whole Libertarian bent).

    You sort of need to qualify “he”, since Popehat isn’t just one guy but a collective. Ken White, author of the post in question, is great. His co-blogger “Clark”, not so much.

  14. 14
    Inaji

    Gregory:

    Ok, well, terrible. Who wants that kind of bland goop on fries?

    Me. Okay, I like half mayo, half barbecue sauce. So there.

  15. 15
    Inaji

    Aaaaaaand, mayo does not need to be bland. I make a garlic mayo that would knock yer sockses off.

  16. 16
    dWhisper

    @13 Very true, it’s both of them, and Clark is the non-Libertarian voice (and it’s entertaining to read when they disagree with each other). So… consider it qualified that I’m talking about Ken when I say disagree with a fair part of what he’s arguing.

    Still, a good site to read. :)

  17. 17
    Travis

    Ok, well, terrible. Who wants that kind of bland goop on fries?

    Mayo is the perfect accompaniment for fries, there us such variety, from creamy and smooth to to zippy and tangy. Just never confuse it with Miracle Whip, that stuff ain’t mayo and offends the benevolent mayo gods, its is an evil sweet concoction meant to to lure children away from the one true condiment.

  18. 18
    leftwingfox

    Just never confuse it with Miracle Whip, that stuff ain’t mayo and offends the benevolent mayo gods, its is an evil sweet concoction meant to to lure children away from the one true condiment.

    Bah, I don’t believe in the mayo gods either. Mayo’s only good as a base for other sauces anyways, so might as well skip the middleman and go for the one that actually has flavor.

  19. 19
    Inaji

    leftwingfox @ 18, you should learn to make your own mayo. It’s quick, easy, and you can dress it up as much as you like.

  20. 20
    davidjanes

    What Caine said. If you think mayo is bland, you’ve been getting substandard mayo.

  21. 21
    Rida Boutdiline

    As it happens, I just (as in the last two minutes) read that post! Ken is awesome, although I still have trouble connecting FTB and Popehat in my mind without thinking “strange bedfellows”.
    youtube unblocker

  22. 22
    Rida Boutdiline

    @13 Very true, it’s both of them, and Clark is the non-Libertarian voice (and it’s entertaining to read when they disagree with each other). So… consider it qualified that I’m talking about Ken when I say disagree with a fair part of what he’s arguing.

    Still, a good site to read. :)

    youtube unblocker

  23. 23
    Inaji

    davidjanes:

    If you think mayo is bland, you’ve been getting substandard mayo.

    Yeah! :fistbump:

  24. 24
    Inaji

    Monitor Note:

    Rida Boutdiline @ 21 and 22, please do not comment in order to spam. Also, please use html to quote people:

    To quote someone, use <blockquote>Place Text Here</blockquote>:

    Place Text Here

  25. 25
    lorn

    If forced to eat mayo, I really don’t like the stuff, I would march down to the Japanese food store and get some of that Kewpie doll mayo. A completely different beast IMHO. I could handle that.

    From Wikipedia:
    “Kewpie (Q.P.) is the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise,[citation needed] advertised with a Kewpie doll logo. It is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and the vinegar is a proprietary blend containing apple and malt vinegars.”

  26. 26
    Rich Woods

    Ok, well, terrible. Who wants that kind of bland goop on fries?

    I certainly didn’t, until I spent a weekend in the Netherlands and came to appreciate it as a functional necessity. And then I tried patat mit curry. Life has never been the same since.

    Went for the blow, ended up loving the museums and the fantastic people.

  27. 27
    eigenperson

    Caine, FYI these spambots just copy other people’s posts in order to pretend to be real people. They can’t actually respond to anything.

  28. 28
    Inaji

    Lorn:

    “Kewpie (Q.P.) is the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise,[citation needed] advertised with a Kewpie doll logo. It is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and the vinegar is a proprietary blend containing apple and malt vinegars.”

    That sounds yummy. I’ll have to do some experimenting!

    Eigenperson:

    Caine, FYI these spambots just copy other people’s posts in order to pretend to be real people. They can’t actually respond to anything.

    Ah. Thank you. I put up an alert so PZ can deal with it.

  29. 29
    Al Dente

    Ok, well, terrible. Who wants that kind of bland goop on fries?

    If all you’ve ever had is Kraft or Hellman’s, then you’d be correct in thinking mayonnaise is bland goop. Garlic mayonnaise is easy to make and isn’t bland. After you’ve tasted that, there are lots of other types of mayo to try.

  30. 30
    SallyStrange

    Mayo is only properly made with egg yolks, as I learned during my sojourn in Belgium, where every household has its own deep fryer and everyone knows how to make mayo from scratch (for the frites they just fried up dontcha know).

  31. 31
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Don’t you dare libel Saul Goodman!

    (According to Wikipedia, Better Call Saul is soon to be a thing. Awesome!)

  32. 32
    moarscienceplz

    It is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs

    Huh. Every recipe for homemade mayo I’ve seen uses only yolks. Maybe commercial stuff uses the whites to stabilize the mayo?

  33. 33
    moarscienceplz

    Stop the presses! Hellmann’s/Best Foods changed their recipe! The horror!

    A few months ago, though, I opened a new jar of Hellmann’s, stuck my finger into the bit of mayo clinging to the lid and took a taste. Yuck, the familiar flavor was gone. This Hellmann’s tasted sweeter with a chemically tangy aftertaste just like dreaded Miracle Whip.

    I found many recent complaints about Hellmann’s, but they were about a recent price increase coupled with a product size decrease, not a change in flavor. Isn’t it frustrating that more people comment on the change in price than the change in flavor?

    I emailed Hellmann’s, owned by Unilever, to find out more. “Yes, we have changed the formula of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise,” they said.

  34. 34
    lochaber

    Another advocate for making your own mayonnaise.

    just a bit of vinegar, mustard, and salt.

    one egg yolk. mix it all up (I usually use a fork or whisk, but if you have something that uses electricity, it’ll probably be a bit less effort (and, now that I typed that, I might have to try putting a whisk in the cordless drill…)) and slowly add in about a cup of oil.

    On occasion, something goes wrong that I don’t understand, and it doesn’t quite work out, but ~90-95% of the time it ends up being completely awesome. I have to restrain myself from eating it plain.

  35. 35
    screechymonkey

    I was intrigued to see that a comment had been deleted over at Popehat, with Ken White’s explanation:

    I’m really not interested in passive-aggressive Slympitters vaguecommenting up the place, thanks. –Ken

    Ken is one guy who understands quite well the difference between Free Speech and Freeze Peach.

    But I feel there needs to be a companion piece, so I present my humble suggestion:

    So You Think Your Internet Hero Has Been Defamed

    Step One: Repeat the allegations everywhere you can. It’s vitally important that every web site on the internet should contain the information that Your Brave Hero was accused of doing Awful Thing X. That way, every human being on the planet will learn that Your Brave Hero was accused of doing Awful Thing X.

    Step Two: State unequivocally that the Mean Blogger who said those awful things about Your Brave Hero (you know, that Your Brave Hero was accused of doing Awful Thing X — never forget Step One!) is totally guilty of defamation. Don’t worry about silly things like “not knowing the law” or “the hypocrisy of making such statements after insisting repeatedly that nothing should be said about legal matters until a court has passed judgment.”

    Step Three: Gleefully proclaim that the Mean Blogger faces certain and imminent bankruptcy. Remember, a letter from a lawyer claiming defamation is totally the same as filing a lawsuit for defamation, and we know from Step Two that filing a lawsuit for defamation is totes the same as winning it, ergo a letter is practically a judgment in and of itself. Why, Your Brave Hero (who was accused of doing Awful Thing X) should really be able to take his lawyer’s letter to the sheriff and start seizing assets right now!

    Step Four: Make angry comments on the blog of, and tweet angrily at, anyone who offers to help Mean Blogger obtain counsel to defend himself against the claims of Your Brave Hero. After all, when you wrote all those things about “burden of proof” and “due process” and “lynch mobs,” you didn’t mean that they applied to people accused of defamation. They only apply to people accused of Awful Thing X. Like Your Brave Hero!

    Step Five: Repeat Step One. If necessary, call Barbra Streisand’s attorneys — they can explain the critical importance of Step One.

  36. 36
    Nathaniel Frein

    I love Kewpie mayo. I missed it for years after moving back stateside until I found an international mart that stocked it.

  37. 37
    Inaji

    screechymonkey @ 35, that must have been quite the comment.

  38. 38
    Nathaniel Frein

    @Lochaber:

    Dry mustard or wet?

  39. 39
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    SLAPP suits = Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. I live in an anti-SLAPP suit state.

    Loser pays court costs and your attorney.

    That’s a start, but I think “felony for the third offense” is much more proportional. >.>

  40. 40
    Inaji

    Nathaniel:

    Dry mustard or wet?

    I use Colman’s dry, for a bit of heat.

  41. 41
    congenital cynic

    My mayo is made with one whole egg plus one yolk. And either dry or dijon mustard. But put it on fries??? Never. I love fries, but not with mayo. The Belgians have a stunning array of beers, but I never ate fries there. Or if I did, I don’t remember. But I would never have eaten them with mayo. Yech.

  42. 42
    Trebuchet

    The Belgians have a stunning array of beers, but I never ate fries there.

    I think that means you pretty much missed their national dish. Fries are more popular in Belgium than in France.

    Unfortunately, their stunning array of beers now includes Budweiser, which they bought a few years ago.

  43. 43
    ck

    It’s probably best to avoid American yellow mustard when making mayo. I’m not sure there’s enough actual mustard in that substance to make everything work well.

  44. 44
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Comments 21 & 22 are automated spam, grabbing parts of previous comments to look like they are on-topic. Can someone please ask PZ to delete them?

  45. 45
    congenital cynic

    @42 Some Belgian company may have bought Bud, but that cannot change the fact there are some 300 independent breweries in Belgium, and that they produce the most amazing array of beer on the planet. Nor does that change the fact that Bud tastes like dishsoap. Never tasted a worse beer than Bud, but there are some close seconds, all of which are disgusting.

    For those who want to discover variety in the world of beer, Belgium is THE place to go. Germany has a lot of fantastic beer, particularly in brew pubs, but nothing can top Belgium for the range of flavours. I spent two years drinking my way through western Europe, and this conclusion was not even slightly in question. Not among tourists like me, nor among residents who appreciated beer.

    As for the fries, who cares. I can get poutine here, which is yet another shitty way to eat fries. If you have good potatoes to start with, fresh oil in which to cook them, and a bit of salt, then fries don’t need anything else.

  46. 46
    Inaji

    Markita Lynda:

    Comments 21 & 22 are automated spam, grabbing parts of previous comments to look like they are on-topic. Can someone please ask PZ to delete them?

    I put up an alert some time ago, so PZ is, or will be aware of them.

  47. 47
    shripathikamath

    #13

    You sort of need to qualify “he”, since Popehat isn’t just one guy but a collective. Ken White, author of the post in question, is great. His co-blogger “Clark”, not so much.

    Clark is fine, his sources for information could be better. Yeah, it is not possible for me to agree with his anti-anti-trust, anti-abortion and other anti-positions, but some of his commentary helps me understand why some people think the way he does. He is always civil, and you get a good contrast. His posts are really long, and occasionally there is a gem: http://www.popehat.com/2013/09/03/bullying-the-corporate-veil-the-smell-of-raw-power/

    Plus, he is amusing on what he consider atheists say or do. Often wrong, but I love a klunker now and then.

    There are other co-bloggers, too.

  48. 48
    shripathikamath

    Trebuchet
    27 September 2013 at 10:26 am (UTC -5) Link to this comment
    As it happens, I just (as in the last two minutes) read that post! Ken is awesome, although I still have trouble connecting FTB and Popehat in my mind without thinking “strange bedfellows”.

    Here’s a Ken White version of PZ’s I get email.

  49. 49
    congenital cynic

    All well and good to delete spam, but if the software is not up to the task, then the remaining references to post numbers are wrong, and that fucks up a lot of comment cross references, because of the lack of threading in comments on this blog. Just saying.

    I agree with deleting the spam. But if the blog software isn’t up to the task of updating the references to numbered comments, then it’s kind of a shit non-solution. I wouldn’t let my senior design students off with that kind of inadequate functionality in a software package.

    The easier solution is to make censored/spam comments invisible, and mark them as such, but not delete the comment number. Then you don’t bork the cross refs to the legit comments.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that we are in the year 2013 and people still don’t get the most trivial things like this.

  50. 50
    robro

    Is PZ in facing a defamation suite? Hope not…but always, always remain calm. Do not panic.

    I like mayo but I’m not allowed to eat it any more (getting old, gotta watch the blood pressure, etc), at least not very often. I had a friend who couldn’t stand it, and it really didn’t matter how good or special the mayo was. I have another friend that can’t stand chocolate. That’s just the way it is sometimes.

  51. 51
    cicely

    I Eat Not of the Meat of the Mayo; for it is Anathema, and Gross.
     
    Miracle Whip™, all the way!
    :)
    (Not on fries, though. Ick!)
    (Nor yet on Cheetos™. Double ick!)
    -

  52. 52
    Inaji

    congenital cynic:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that we are in the year 2013 and people still don’t get the most trivial things like this.

    Actually, this was discussed at some length a while ago. PZ disappears the text, while leaving a blank, with the correct comment number as a placeholder, so I think the off-handed criticism of Markita Lynda’s request was a bit on the unnecessary side.

  53. 53
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    2 Some Belgian company may have bought Bud, but that cannot change the fact there are some 300 independent breweries in Belgium, and that they produce the most amazing array of beer on the planet.

    “Belgian-style” beers are pretty good, but they seem pretty similar to each other in certain respects. There’s more variety in the US craft brew industry, from what I gather, especially if you can ignore the STUPID West Coast “NUH UH MY HOPS IS BIGGER!” thing.

    Nor does that change the fact that Bud tastes like dishsoap.

    …Bud has a taste?

  54. 54
    aspidoscelis

    Caine, Fleur du mal:

    Aaaaaaand, mayo does not need to be bland. I make a garlic mayo that would knock yer sockses off.

    That’s like saying, “Popcorn isn’t bland if you put enough sriracha on it.”

    Mayonnaise is bland. Garlic is not. These are different things although, yes, they can be mixed.

    It is even possible to put enough flavoring on tofu to make it have, you know, a flavor. But that flavor sure isn’t coming from the tofu!

  55. 55
    Inaji

    aspidoscelis, well, I make all my mayo, and even when it’s regular, not garlic, I don’t find it bland. Different tastes and all that.

  56. 56
    dogofman

    But you’re wrong Caine. If it doesn’t have a (by me) recognized brand name on the packaging it isn’t really mayonnaise. And if it doesn’t say Budweisser on the beer can, it isn’t beer eighter.

    /snark

  57. 57
    rnilsson

    Quoth Caine:

    congenital cynic:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that we are in the year 2013 and people still don’t get the most trivial things like this.

    Actually, this was discussed at some length a while ago. PZ disappears the text, while leaving a blank, with the correct comment number as a placeholder, so I think the off-handed criticism of Markita Lynda’s request was a bit on the unnecessary side.

    No, actually this exact spambot you complain about was deleted, numbers and all, from PZ’s post just before this one.

  58. 58
    dogofman

    Wrongly spelt brand name of course. Sorry about that.

  59. 59
    dogofman

    @rnilsson

    Comments 21 and 22 are not yet eradicated from where I sit and read.

  60. 60
    Jafafa Hots

    ya know, Halloween is coming up and I totally want a “defamation suit” to wear.

    That is, if I were one of those “leave the house” kind of people.

  61. 61
    rnilsson

    @dogofman

    @rnilsson

    Comments 21 and 22 are not yet eradicated from where I sit and read.

    Not on this post, no. Not yet. But I was referring to the last one, where the same rid-bot used the same copy technique to lure people to its website. Vanished, number references askew.

  62. 62
    dogofman

    @rnilsson

    I basically agree that it would be best if the comment numbering could be intact if at all possible without to much extra job for the blog owner. But if it’s to cumbersome or piffy or something it’s maybe best in all cases to adress the correct signature or even cite part of the comment you’re replying to.

  63. 63
    dogofman

    And the correct circumstances and wich thread and so on.

  64. 64
    rnilsson

    We agree, dog. I have no insight and little interest into the mechanics of the board, except that it can be confusing to find references (even if quoting, in a long debate). But I am glad comments are not threaded here! Makes it impossible to follow and update in near real time, only historically.

    I only wanted to address the argument between Caine and Cynic by pointing out a fact.

  65. 65
    Jacob Schmidt

    That’s like saying, “Popcorn isn’t bland if you put enough sriracha on it.”

    Eh? Even with the store bought generic mayo, my family was always careful with it. Too much and the mayo overpowers any flavour. I certainly never found it bland.

  66. 66
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    and Clark is the non-Libertarian voice

    lolwut?

  67. 67
    Nick Gotts

    How did this turn into a thread about mayonnaise?

    That said, I was seriously surprised on a recent visit to Bruges to discover that mayonnaise on chips* is actually quite good.

    *They are chips. Americans who think they are “fries” (French, freedom, or furbellowed) are wrong.

  68. 68
    consciousness razor

    That said, I was seriously surprised on a recent visit to Bruges to discover that mayonnaise on chips* is actually quite good.

    *They are chips. Americans who think they are “fries” (French, freedom, or furbellowed) are wrong.

    There’s your problem, right there. Fucking Belgium. Must have rotted your brain. *spits*

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