Patterico's Pontifications


Eric Boehlert: Still Wearing the “Kick Me” Sign

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Morons — Patterico @ 7:08 am

Matt Welch vivisects Eric Boehlert in this excellent post at Reason. The subject: Boehlert’s whiny post about how Andrew Malcolm at the L.A. Times doesn’t show proper respect to the office of the president. I already took Boehlert’s post apart here — and noted here that it was cross-posted at a site called The Smirking Chimp. (Boehlert denies this, but I don’t believe him.) Welch adds considerable value to the pile-on by trolling through columns written by Bush-era L.A. Times columnists. Like my post, Welch’s entry focuses on Boehlert’s claim:

And I don’t even have to do a Google search to know for a fact that when President Bush was in office, there was nobody on staff at the Times, and certainly nobody writing off the opinion pages, who was allowed to so casually insult the office of the presidency on a regular basis.

This statement, which Welch compares to a “please kick me” sign that Boehlert has duct-taped to his own rumpus, is the subject of some merriment by Welch, who proceeds to list off some epithets used by former L.A. Times columnist Rosa Brooks about President Bush, including:

* “Bubble Boy”
* “homegrown authoritarian”
* “Torturer-in-Chief”

Plenty more at the link.

Welch’s piece inspired me to go trolling through the archives of another partisan columnist who was employed by the L.A. Times for a good while during Bush’s presidency: Robert Scheer. Scheer employed these lines to describe Bush and his policies:

Again, these are just a small handful. There are many, many more.

Why, Scheer even wanted Bush impeached. Has Andrew Malcolm called for Obama to be impeached?

Anyone else want to take up Boehlert’s invitation to put a boot in his ass?

Ben Sheffner: YouTube Was Right to Take Down “We Con the World” Satire

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:52 am

Sheffner says:

Now the pro-Israel and conservative blogosphere is up in arms, claiming that this incident is an example of “Israel’s enemies … trying to silence us,” and “YouTube …com[ing] down against the Israeli side in its editorial decisions,” and even “a blatant act of Jew-hatred.” Utter and complete nonsense. First of all, YouTube — with extremely rare exceptions — simply removes videos upon receipt of facially valid DMCA notices, no questions asked, and no legal analysis performed. YouTube — which receives a very large volume of DMCA notices — doesn’t evaluate the political content of videos when acting on infringement notices; it simply removes the videos. And do these people attacking YouTube seriously believe that a company whose parent was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page (both Jewish), and a music publishing company whose parent is run by Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (son of a former president of the World Jewish Congress), were motivated by anti-Israel bias or “Jew Hatred”? Seriously?

Moreover, defenders of the video are wrong on the law. . . . [P]ut simply: a parody comments on the work itself; a satire uses the work to comment on something else. I think a court would most likely find that , under Campbell, the “We Con the World” video is a satire — not a parody. It uses the “We are the World” composition to comment on the Gaza flotilla, “to get attention or to avoid the drudgery in working up something fresh”; any claim that it’s actually commenting on the original song is weak at best.

As Sheffner notes, when a court rules your work to be a satire instead of a parody, you usually lose.

The thing is, legally speaking, he’s almost certainly right.

But I have gotten into spirited arguments with Ben about whether this is the way it should be. I think that setting the law against clever satire is a major imposition on free speech, with a very flimsy copyright justification.

But that’s the way the law is, until someone changes it. Go read Ben’s post for much more.

P.S. If Ben would like to hash out online the issue of whether the First Amendment should protect satire, I extend this invitation to have an inter-blog discussion of the issue. He makes as good a case as anyone could make.

Jihadists: Idiots

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:58 am

What maroons:

Nowhere is the gap between sinister stereotype and ridiculous reality more apparent than in Afghanistan, where it’s fair to say that the Taliban employ the world’s worst suicide bombers: one in two manages to kill only himself. And this success rate hasn’t improved at all in the five years they’ve been using suicide bombers, despite the experience of hundreds of attacks—or attempted attacks. In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. According to several sources at the United Nations, as many as six would-be suicide bombers died last July after one such embrace in Paktika.

Thanks (as always) to Allahpundit.

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