Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’
There is not much I can add to the saga of Crystal Cox except for a few dirty puns. The bottom line of this story is that a “blogger” is not always a journalist. Sometimes a “blogger” is just an extortionist. I will relate the story by shamelessly quoting from better legal bloggers.
A good summary, in dramatic form, of how Crystal Cox operates comes to us from Jordan Rushie:
Imagine this…. you Google yourself. To your surprise, a whole bunch of stuff that is blatantly untrue comes up. Being an adult, you call the person who wrote it. This is how the conversation goes down:
“Did you write all that stuff on a website about me?”
“Yup. I’m an investigative blogger journalist!”
“Um, a bunch of the stuff you wrote about me is untrue. Actually all of it is.”
“Oh sure, I know. But I’m a journalist blogger so I can say whatever I want. First Amendment, bitch! But tell you what – I’m also reputation manager. If you pay me $2,500 a month, I’m sure a lot of that untrue stuff would go away.”
“Uhhhhhh… wait a second. You wrote a bunch of stuff that’s untrue about me. And now you’ll only take it down if I pay you?”
“Yup! And if you DON’T pay me it’s going to get worse! I’m going to buy a bunch of domain names that involve you and your family. Not only will I smear your reputation, but I’ll smear theirs, too! I’ll write all kinds of stuff, like call your wife a slut! I’ll even go after your four year old child!”
“No silly, it’s not extortion! It’s journalism! Investigative journalism!”
You’re probably saying to yourself “nah, that couldn’t happen. That’s illegal. A person could get in a lot of trouble for doing something so irresponsible and probably illegal.”
Too bad that’s exactly what Crystal Cox did. Twice now. Maybe more.
Crystal Cox first came to the public’s attention last year, when a judge ruled against her in a defamation suit and ordered her to pay $2.5 million. After some hand-wringing over what this might mean for other bloggers, it eventually became clear that Crystal Cox actually runs an online, reputation-based protection racket. That is many things, but it ain’t journalism.
At the heart of the current kerfuffle is first amendment bad-ass Marc Randazza (Full disclosure: he’s my lawyer in this thing I’ve got going on. That’s how I know he is a bad-ass.) When Crystal Cox did not get what she wanted from Marc Randazza, she went after him by registering dopey domain names like marcrandazzasucks.com. When that didn’t work, she went after his family, registering domains in the name of his wife and three-year-old daughter.
This is not a valiant warrior fighting the forces of darkness to defend freedom of speech. While it may be true that the front-line warriors for free speech (and I mean the speakers themselves, not their attorneys), are often ultimately fighting to clear the way for people who actually have something useful to say, Crystal Cox doesn’t even fit that description. She is not a reporter, journalist, or even the kind of blogger who just regurgitates other people’s news in a restated format (something about which I know a thing or two.) She is not a blogger in any meaningful, useful, constructive sense. She is a thug, nothing more, as court documents and her own statements and actions amply demonstrate.
Trying to shut her down is not necessarily the answer, though. In some ways, it is helpful to know that people like her are out there. As Marc Randazza says: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant. The cure for bad speech is more speech.”
Consider this my ray of sunshine.
Photo credit: Redwood sunlight by NPS Photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Every so often, I like to check Google Analytics to see what search terms are leading people to my website. This is the sort of endeavor that always seems like a good idea until you actually do it, and then you feel a sort of dirtiness that all the soap, water, and acetone in the world cannot remove.
Most of the search terms were pretty obvious, consisting of the names of specific people mentioned in posts, and the occasional legal search term. A handful, though, range from amusing to bemusing to downright macabre. Screencaps and commentary to follow (click screencaps to embiggen).
I. A darkly-amusing variant on some previous posts:
Search term #45: “how is john thomas ford doing in jail”
I sure couldn’t tell you. As far as I know, he’ll be there a while. Ask somebody who cares.
II. I guess I could see how this led you to me, but…
Search term #46: ”i don’t heart caplocks”
Neither do I. People who type with caps lock on make me very, very ANGRY.
III. You came to the wrong place for this:
Search term #35: “boobs”
Nothing to see here. Move along….
Search term # 59: “utah boobs”
Um, I did once write a post with both “boobs” and “Utah” in the title, but that only explains my side of this equation.
Is there something about boobs in Utah that merits such a specific search? Have I been living under a delusion that boobs are pretty much the same all over the world? I tried Googling to see what I could learn, but I just ended up back on my own site.
Search term #57: “sexy pics online”
The fact that someone actually clicked on a website called Wells Law Office looking for “sexy pics” makes me very, very concerned for the future of this country.
IV. Wait, what?
Search term #54: “nutella covered person”
V. Now I am scared…
Search term #27: “rape sex in an elevator”
I assume this led to my post on “Elevatorgate” from last summer. I cannot fathom, nor do I wish to fathom, what one person searching three times expected to find.
Search term #60: ”www.animalsdog.com xxx”
Ummm, uh…..I, uh……um…….
Thank you all for coming. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here, but I think it is clear that the internet is over. Everyone please back away quietly…..
At least I know that the people doing these particular searches did not actually spend any time on my site.
The AgeAnalyzer will take a look at you blog and, using unknown and probably arbitrary parameters, guesstimate the age of the blogger. Try it, it’s fun!
Several people (indicating that more than one person reads my blog – yay!) have described my writing style as “curmudgeonly.” I doubt I am (or will ever be) up to a Scott Greenfield-level of curmudgeonliness, but I take it as a high compliment.
Imagine my (somewhat) surprise when AgeAnalyzer told me this:
I’m 37 years old as I sit writing this. Yet AgeAnalyzer identifies my writing with someone in an age bracket just below my parents. They think I have 12-28 years more relevant life experience and wisdom than I do.
How does that make me feel?
The American Bar Association has published its 5th Annual Blawg 100 list, naming its picks for the one hundred best blogs dealing with legal issues. (Law + blog = blawg. Get it? Ha!)
For the fifth straight year, I am not on the list.
This gives me reason to believe that the American Bar Association knows what it is doing and is an excellent judge of blog quality.
The always-intriguing and entertaining Popehat has put out his nominees for the “Censorious Asshat of the Year,” and the field is indeed proud. I am of course reblogging this for reas0ns, but I invite my reader(s) to take a look at the whole list and marvel at the human capacity for inanity.
To those who would use our hallowed legal system to try to quiet the voices of those who would dare to hurt their fee-fees, intentionally or not, I simply have this to say:
I wrote the headline to this post on August 17, 2011, and I saved a draft that only consisted of four URL’s. Honestly, I have no idea exactly where I was going to go with this, but the headline was too, uh, weird not to post. Rather than try to piece together exactly what sort of thesis I was going after almost four months ago, I’ll just link to the articles that so inspired me.
- Law firm branding, social media, and strategy, Jordan Furlong, Law Firm Web Strategy Blog, August 2, 2011
- The Unbearable Smugness of an Experienced Lawyer, Carolyn Elefant, My Shingle, August 7, 2011
- ABA rules: No major ethics overhaul needed To address web marketing, Carolyn Elefant, My Shingle, August 12, 2011
- Ethics Rules May Be Stupid, But Rules Are Rules, Carolyn Elefant, My Shingle, August 12, 2011
Obviously it was something about older lawyers eschewing newfangled technology.
First, I should apologize for that horrendous appropriation of a hip hop lyric.
Second, I apologize for what is about to become a “why I haven’t been blogging” blog post, one of the more obnoxious cop-outs of the written word.
I’ve previously noted that I have embarked on a new journey of discovery as a freelance writer, spending a good chunk of my time as a “ghost blogger” for a legal marketing company. After a long day’s blogging, my brain is pretty mushy. It’s also generally easier to post things to my Tumblr blog and pretend that I’m being original.
Today, I carved out some time to do a bit of personal blogging, because:
a) It’s partly how I got this professional legal blogging gig in the first place, and it’s really something I should keep up with;
2) It keeps me sane;
C) It feeds my narcissistic need to see my name in print;
iv) I can’t write about topics like animal rights porn anywhere else; and
qq) Did I mention it keeps me sane?
Now then, WordPress has this handy feature called “Press This” that lets me put a button on the dash of my browser (Firefox at the moment) to bookmark stories for later blogging inspiration. Today I decided to tackle a few of the drafts I’ve saved since I discovered that feature back in August.
I had 84 “drafts” saved. I do not want to write that many posts, particularly on things that seemed like a good idea when it was still 100+ degrees outside and Texas was still on fire. So I took it upon myself to thin the herd, removing drafts that have become obsolete, drafts that no longer sound that interesting, and drafts that are somehow incomprehensible to me, even though I’m the one that wrote them (it happens).
Even after a good, hard winnowing, I still have 72 drafts sitting there. And here I am writing about those 72 drafts instead of just writing the dang posts. I guess that means I have 73 drafts. Sweet Jeebus, blogging is awesomely meta.
My reader(s) may have noticed a lower volume of posts lately. Since the beginning of September I have been embarking on a new venture doing freelance blogging and web content writing, so I have been limited in my time to devote to snark.
Fear not, dear reader(s). This is an exciting new chapter, and this blog will still be an integral part of it.
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