Sunday, March 08, 2009

Judge Defines Douchebaggery. Really.

Some women found their pictures in the book Hot Chicks with Douchebags. They sued for defamation. The judge dismissed the complaint, basically after noting the book was clearly satirical, and so was protected by the first amendment. Some of the commentary in the ruling is very funny, primarily because the judge avoids obvious jokes and puns:
In light of these guidelines, the Court has carefully scrutinized the book and the context in which the photographs appear. On page 70 the title heading is “The Federbag”. It contains three paragraphs, all of which describe a type of male who the author considers a “douche celebrity.” He described a federbag as “famous in their own minds, they live the celebrity rock star life style while being neither celebrity nor rock star.”
The book begins by defining a “douchebag” and including a definition which is not recognized in the dictionary. In fact, it appears to be one made up in order to be humorous. At the end of the book, in his acknowledgment, the author states “I must give a special round of thanks to all the participants and contributors on the blog whose enthusiasm and hilarious commentary mocking the douchescrote and celebrating the hott have kept me going.” On the rear cover there is a quote “Douchebags need a smack.” This quote is attributable to “Gandhi”.

The Court concludes that there is no actionable defamation. The book is replete with obvious attempts at satirical humor. For example, how can a person reasonably believe that in 1981 archaeologist Renee Emile Bellaqua uncovered in a cave in Gali Israel a highly controversial Third Century religious scroll suggesting that the “douchey/hotty” coupling was a troublesome facet in early social religious structures? Or would a reasonable person believe that Jean-Paul Sartre stated “man is condemned to be douchey because once thrown into the world he is responsible for every douchey thing that he does”? Or that John Hopkins has a Department of Scrotology or that there was a Theban King Seqenenra Tag, in ancient Egypt known as “gito of the southern city”? An examination of the book reveals that old photographs of paintings are doctored to suit the satire in the book. The author also defines a completely fictitious time period “BG”, before the actor Richie Grieco and “AG” after the actor’s impact on the douchebag male style.

The Court finds that the text and photographs do not constitute defamatory falsehood of or concerning any of the plaintiffs.

I wish I had a judge with common sense like that.

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