8 thoughts on “Is It Libelous To Call Someone “Petulant”?”

  1. So Juan finally noticed someone has been hacking his website and posting thoughts indistinguishable from his for several years? Not a winnable case, if you ask me.

  2. My father, z”l, was a lawyer and a wise man. He once told me that you should never commence a libel suit.

    The basic theme of a libel suit is that the defendant’s false and defamatory statements damaged the plaintiff’s good reputation. One defense is that the plaintiff’s reputation is bad. This means that the defense can put everybody who hates the plaintiff on the witness stand to prove that the plaintiff is an evil slime-ball.

    He told the story of a local television personality who sued the newspaper for defamation. The newspaper found all of his girlfriends to testify about their affairs and his poor treatment of them. The result of the suit was that the TV guy won nothing, was embroiled in a nasty divorce, and had to leave town.

    Mr. Cole, are you feeling lucky?

  3. What a tool. It’s not hard to find a libel lawyer, there’s this thing called the phone directory. I understand they even have them online nowadays. Also in most states if you call the state bar association they have a referral service. Mr. Cole’s post just looks whiney to me–“somebody’s calling me names, you guys!” If he were serious about the libel suit he’d be talking to a lawyer, not posting on his blog.

  4. _My father, z”l, was a lawyer and a wise man. He once told me that you should never commence a libel suit._

    Ha! Abraham Lincoln, another wise man and a lawyer’s lawyer, brought three libel cases for plaintiffs accused of having sex with animals. He won one, lost another and the third was a draw before a hung jury. The hung jury was apparantly unable to decide whether the plaintiff “did have sexual intercourse or carnal knowledge with a cow.”

    At least in the nineteenth century, a fellow could always pick up and go West.

  5. PD Shaw: The hung jury was apparantly unable to decide whether the plaintiff “did have sexual intercourse or carnal knowledge with a cow.”

    We can be reasonably confident that no such accusation unlies the present controversy.

    There are no cows on the Ann Arbor campus. Go and see for yourself. Professor Thorstein Veblen explains why, in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899):

    Such a park is of course best kept by grazing, and the cattle on the grass are themselves no mean addition to the beauty of the thing, as need scarcely be insisted on with anyone who has once seen a well-kept pasture. But it is worth noting, as an expression of the pecuniary element in popular taste, that such a method of keeping public grounds is seldom resorted to. The best that is done by skilled workmen under the supervision of a trained keeper is a more or less close imitation of a pasture, but the result invariably falls somewhat short of the artistic effect of grazing. But to the average popular apprehension a herd of cattle so pointedly suggests thrift and usefulness that their presence in the public pleasure ground would be intolerably cheap.

    In short, in spite of Veblen’s aesthetic-erotic appreciation of the beauty of the cow (surely shared by all educated men of good taste), the University of Michigan resorts to lawnmowers instead – sacrificing art for bourgeois prejudice. This is because they’re ignorant philistines and over-stuffed middle-class snobs. The presence of cows on their greens would suggest rustification and thrift, which are offensive to their leisure class ambitions.

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