January 14, 2007

"I don't like to call the police or call his boss. . . . I'm a libertarian. I'm not into that."

Said Tucker Carlson about the video store clerk who had blogged about Carlson's previous visit to the store (and called Carlson's wife "ridiculously wasped-out"). (Via Memeorandum.)

The clerk -- Charles Williamson -- had failed to observe the video store clerk - video store client privilege, and he paid the price for it. He got fired. How much sympathy should we have for Williamson? He's 28, old enough to know that if you use access to information that you get on the job in a way that hurts your employer, your employer won't like it and you can get fired. A video store client wants to feel a sense of privacy about the information that he creates by renting videos.

The linked article, in the Washington Post, doesn't take the privacy issue seriously. It's so tempting to mock Carlson and to feel for the little guy -- here's his blog -- and to think that blogs are a special enclave that should be immune from the limits imposed on the rest of the world. But let's focus on the larger issue. Do you want your video rental information disclosed?

Back when Robert Bork was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court, a Washington newspaper published a list of the videos he had rented. The Bork list had nothing particularly interesting on it, but the disclosure of the list scared people enough that the Congress soon passed the Video Privacy Protection Act, which made anyone engaged in video sales or rental liable for the disclosure of "information which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video tape service provider."

Well, I guess good libertarians should think this law is terrible. And good for Tucker Carlson for not invoking his legal rights -- if any -- on this one. (I don't know how "specific" the information Williamson published was.)

Think of all the fun we've missed over the years not having all this juicy information to chew over. But even if there were no law, video business owners would probably have a policy against disclosure and would fire clerks who published information about clients. Wouldn't you avoid the store where the clerks blogged about what the customers rented?

Anyone who thinks the answers depend on whether or not we hate the particular client really doesn't know how to think straight!

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why did you fail to quote the entire passsage?

In a phone interview Thursday, Carlson acknowledged that he approached Williamson in the store and said he was "very aggressive" because he wanted the post removed: "I don't like to call the police or call his boss. . . . I'm a libertarian. I'm not into that."

So Carlson (and libertarians?) believe that instead of calling the police or his boss, it is better to get very aggressive in someone's face and threaten them with your awesome power. "I will *ing destroy you" according to the blogger.

Woohoo! Let's bring physical violence and leverage the ability to pay lawyers as problem solving strategies right out into the open while avoiding other channels like the police or the employer. Now that's a reason for becoming libertarian right there, and I can understand why Carlson, born into the ruling class, is attracted to it.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, yeah, I'm all about being kind to the libertarians.

I also didn't talk about the details of how the blogger called attention to the fact that he had Carlson's address and that he insinuated some attack on the house was a good idea and that Carlson has a wife and 4 children who are often alone in the house. Carlson confronted the guy face-to-face. You want me to talk about how bad Carlson was in comparison to the clerk? That would have been a different post altogether, and I chose to write about something else, not to be kinder to Carlson, but because I could see that the WaPo and some bloggers were failing to see the big picture.

LoafingOaf said...

Yes, I think what videos you rent should be kept private, and I hope that employer's police their employees about these things. (Although I don't know how damaging it can be, since those stores don't have porn.)

I clicked to the blog and it seems like Carlson made too big a deal of it. Nothing actually was disclosed except that he opened an account and was with a companion the blogger insulted.

He was just excited that a famous dude was in his store and found it bloggable. Carlson was a dick for overreacting, even if he technically had the right.

It can be weird when you think you post something to just a few people and suddenly thousands are looking at it. Beware the power of the Web!

Of course if Tucker had rented something humiliating that people would get a kick out of, you can pass the information to a third party who can blog that he/she was a customer in the store.

Daryl Herbert said...

Only a liberal could be scared by an aggressive Tucker Carlson.

I also noticed that a certain web site's central committee has decided that the key to getting traffic on the Internets is to be aggressively wrong about trivial issues. So they will belittle Mr. Carlson for... standing up for a basic privacy right. The sad thing is, a lot of other blogs take them seriously and send them traffic.

LoafingOaf said...

I also didn't talk about the details of how the blogger called attention to the fact that he had Carlson's address and that he insinuated some attack on the house was a good idea

Here's what he blogged:

I won't tell you where he lives, though. That would be wrong and stupid. I will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of America: The Book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home.

I know I'm not a public figure so I can't relate to concerns over celebrity stalkers. But this doesn't sound at all like a stalker, however much Carlson wants to hype it that way. Deb Frisch sounded like a real stalker when she harassed Jeff Goldstein and I don't remember you being too concerned for Goldstein.

The video store guy was wrong and old enough to know better, but sending a lawyer and threatening to "destroy" him is a joke.

The Drill SGT said...

The clerk violated the law, good business practice and common decency. I have no problem with the police, his employer or Carlson dealing with him in any fashion that doesn't leave scars :)

Trevor Jackson said...

he insinuated some attack on the house, etc.

This is false. The clerk never threatened Carlson, never revealed where the store was or the name of the store. He also didn't reveal what Carlson rented. The only threat in this situation came from Carlson.

If the clerk had written about how much he admired Carlson and how star-struck he was and how non-orange Carlson is, do you think Carlson would have gone after him like he did?

Ann Althouse said...

What does "frozen urine treats for his home" mean? I said "insinuated" because I couldn't understand it, but I would have viewed it as a threat myself. He's saying he knows the address and he refers to "his home" and "frozen urine treats." What the hell is that? It's disturbing, and Carlson does have to worry about stalkers and nuts. Why isn't he allowed to confront a guy who writes on the internet about him like that? He has a wife and 4 children in that house. Why should he have to be put up with that?

Try to imagine this happening to someone you like so that you can get some perspective. Personally, I don't care about Tucker Carlson. I don't watch his show, and I just don't think about him one way or the other. My tendency is to want to defend the little guy, especially a blogger.

Guesst said...

Ann, the original post made by the clerk in no way referred to disclosing confidential information. This is one of those examples of someone who is thin-skinned (Carlson) jumping to bad conclusions and reacting without bothering to verify any facts.

The only reason anyone knows Carlson has four kids at home who are often alone, is because he's now advertised that information. He completely overreacted because of his past circumstances.

I'm reminded of a certain blogger's wife who claimed her dog had received death threats from a certain local peasant....

Carlson may have done the right thing to speak to the clerk, but getting in someone's face and threatening them without all the facts, and THEN making sure they're fired once they've complied, is ignorant.

I wonder how close he and Michelle Malkin are, because this reads like one of her drama queen scenes where people are always stalking her and her family. These types dish it out, and always FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES!!!! right before they sucker punch their opponents.

Guesst said...

The video clerk says later on his blog, you would have to be a regular reader, to get the inside joke regarding "frozen urine treats".

He then explains the reference to a prank he and college buddies played.

Granted Tucker Carlson would not know that, but perhaps the burden should be on him more to have ascertained what the reference meant before resorting to threats.

I enjoy your blog very much Ann, but I'm annoyed with you when you don't bother to clarify all the facts before jumping on the "Tucker Carlson was Almost Stalked!" bandwagon.

Citing "frozen urine treats" as evidence of intimidation was not even original, but merely a repeat of what several others had stated *without verifying the facts*.

You asked what role bloggers will (continue) to play--? In addition to jumping to conclusions and using the power of the pulpits to create fictitious stalkers, you mean?

vbspurs said...

Boy, has this been the week for storms in a teacup, no?

Either way, my views are echoed by Drill Sgt's comment about "not leaving scars", and Ann's final sentence of:

Anyone who thinks the answers depend on whether or not we hate the particular client really doesn't know how to think straight!

Quite.

I imagine that anything the clerk would have written about a client, would have been a breach of confidence and bad business, but writing this about Tucker's wife:

his ridiculously wasped-out female companion (wife?)

Proves "Chuckles" was not only wanting to comment about his famous customer, but wanted to insinuate himself into the situation, by his observational skills.

I daresay by making such a catty remark, he wanted to show his readership just how above it all, he was.

It's a shame about his job, I'm also on the side of the little guy, but he has only himself to blame.

Cheers,
Victoria

Guesst said...

Let's read what the clerk wrote later, to explain the immature post about the frozen urine treats:

I will also admit that the comment about frozen urine treats may have crossed the oh-so-individual line and may have seemed directly threatening when really it was a reference to a prank performed back in college by friends of mine.

Perhaps if I had mentioned that we were roughly similar in size, above the waist that is, and I always thought he looked taller on TV, it would have been funnier. Hell, that is always funny. It might have been funny if I mentioned how oddly even his skin tone was and he always looks so pale in the screen captures I see on TPM Muckraker. I might have even gone so far as to say he should fire his make up person for trying to hide that suspiciously even tan.

The difference between our actions is that I wrote a silly post on a blog that previously received less than 10 hits a day, with 5 of those being mine. You came at me in person, like the fake-tan-having bully that you are, and directly threatened both my health and my livelihood.


It's obvious the guy was making a bad joke and inside reference from his first post about not disclosing Carlson's address.

Who the eff convinced Carlson Tucker that the video clerk was threatening him, to the extent he believed his children were in so in danger that it merited a personal visit at the place of business with threats of physical violence?

Good Lord. Tucker Carlson overreacted on bad information, and someone needs to say so.

Anonymous said...

If you had actually read the blog posts before posting your own, "frozen urine treats for his home" is an in-joke to a college prank that got no further than having frozen pee in a friend's mom's refrigerator.

He describes his blog as a z-list blog with very few readers, mostly friends, that know what he is talking about.

Is it a threat? Yes it is. Is it a serious threat? No way.

I have no doubt that a constitutional law professor can read all of this, understand all of this, and still make a federal case out of it. What surprises me is to find a blogger such as yourself blogging about this without reading the original blog. (Not really.)

Carlson has every right to be annoyed. Does he have a right to confront the blogger by threatening him at his workplace? Probably not. (Perhaps you and Carlson think the blogger has a right to loudly threaten Carlson at his workplace at NBC, or to walk down the halls at your university and to shout at you.)

Does Carlson have other ways to confront the blogger? Email the blogger (an email address was available), respond to the post in comments, call the police, call the employer, write a letter, have a lawyer write a letter,

Do I really have to enumerate these for you?

Ann Althouse said...

Guesst: "I enjoy your blog very much Ann, but I'm annoyed with you when you don't bother to clarify all the facts before jumping on the "Tucker Carlson was Almost Stalked!" bandwagon."

First, I am annoyed that you assert that I jumped on a bandwagon. Why don't you bother to clarify the facts about me? You have no basis to think I read anything more than the WaPo piece and the Moderate Voice attack on Carlson, so what "bandwagon" are you assuming got me to go along?

I used the facts in the WaPo article and wrote a post around what I knew about what happened to Bork. As to the "insinuated" threat, that's in the comments, and I think it's absolutely fair. It refers to what Carlson had to look at. I assumed the "frozen urine treats" were some sort of projectile akin to a snowball or water balloon.

You know, just the statement "I know where you live" is considered a threat by ordinary people all the time.

DBrooks said...

"Only a liberal could be scared by an aggressive Tucker Carlson."

Thank you, daryl herbert. This is my favorite comment of this admittedly young year. No one has mentioned this, but I think it is a little informative that we are talking about a 28-year-old who is a video store clerk. This seems like another case of prolonged adolescence--both in occupation and behavior. I understand that some think Carlson overreacted, but given some of the well-documented cases of celebrity stalking, I can see why he didn't want to let it continue. I suspect that many here who are criticizing Tucker would have the opposite reaction if the person in question was Hillary Clinton, and the clerk described her "ridiculously butched-out companion(lover?). For myself, I think both examples are wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

Reality Check: "I have no doubt that a constitutional law professor can read all of this, understand all of this, and still make a federal case out of it. What surprises me is to find a blogger such as yourself blogging about this without reading the original blog. (Not really.)"

Ridiculous. I read the WaPo report, and I never even offered an opinion about whether Carlson overdid it. I wasn't even talking about that. And I never said Carlson could sue the guy. It's not about a lawsuit. Try making sense.

"Carlson has every right to be annoyed. Does he have a right to confront the blogger by threatening him at his workplace?"

So do you want a low or a high standard of what a threat is? At least be consistent! All I'm saying is that he didn't have to just "be annoyed." He wanted to do something, and he could have called the employer and easily gotten the guy fired. He chose to go talk to him, to confront him face-to-face. I'm sure that scared the hell out the passive-aggressive little guy.

You need to learn a little something about how people feel about threats to their children.

Revenant said...

Well, I guess good libertarians should think this law is terrible.

Not necessarily, although the motivation behind the law isn't a very good one. The information about Carlson's video rentals is property -- either Carlson's or the store owner's, depending on what the video rental agreement is. Reveal that information without the permission of its owners is a violation of their property rights, which is exactly the kind of thing the government exists to prevent.

This guy doesn't seem to have actually revealed the information, though -- he just threatened to do so. Obviously firing him was the right call, but just making threats probably shouldn't be criminal.

Hey said...

I love the early digs at Libertarians: horrors that people would try to settle disputes by themselves rather than bring in the authorities. They are teh evul!

Further, has no one here ever witnessed how men interact with each other and settle disputes? You insult a man's wife, insinuate several pranks and attacks on the man's house (saying "I would never x" hasn't been a useful dodge in law or life since the publication of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar) and expect no reaction? And some of the crowd here says that Tucker is an ass for his behaviour?

Try yelling out to your friend Jack in an airport, or discussing an article in Variety about a failed movie in the security line. Normal innocuous conversations will send you to jail on Federal felonies, never mind private inside jokes that sound mighty ominous to the out group. One remembers that thanks to the large number of Presidents and Presidential Candidates killed and attacked, wishing the President anything worse than catch a cold usually results in visits from several large armed men, and visits from similar men to everyone you've ever known. Usually this ends in jail, destroyed career, and serious disruption to one's homelife.

What did Tucker do? Tell the guy to back off, in aggrieved husband/father language. Tucker has no need to offer any understandable interpretation to this guy, since Tucker probably gets multiple threats a day and has his threat level dialed way up (there are so, so many psychos out there, and you just can't tell which ones are out to kill until they do).

Every sane person knows not to do what this clerk did. Make fun of the person, but not his wife, and really don't mention how you have all his information. That's Silence of the Lambs style even for some no name like me. Even normal, non-famous people will react badly to these attacks (actually more likely to vigorously remonstrate with the clerk in the alley behind the shop before the clerk falls 5-10 times after the discussion).

All in all, one shouldn't be shocked that a 28 year old boy who works as a video store clerk and reads TPM Muckraker would not have the emotional maturity or life experience to behave appropriately. He's the prototypical unsocialised left-wing loser. I just hope he hasn't gone to art-school or we may just hear about this episode again in his book about the need for breathing room and his tiff with the world.

The Exalted said...

What does "frozen urine treats for his home" mean? I said "insinuated" because I couldn't understand it, but I would have viewed it as a threat myself. He's saying he knows the address and he refers to "his home" and "frozen urine treats." What the hell is that?

you've got to be kidding. the frozen urine treats is mentioned in the same context as sending 10,000 copies of america: the book to tucker's home. you can't see this is a joke? how is this possibly confusing.

further, no "confidential information" was revealed except that tucker walked into a video store, which is obviously not private. shouldn't that be highlighted somewhere rather than speculation about the clerk could have done?

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Hey about resolving disputes. What sort of pantywaist objects to confronting someone face to face?

And why would anyone be surprised that the clerk was fired? A new customer opens an account at your store, and your clerk blogs about it and insults the new customer's wife. What an idiot. Of course you'd fire him. You'd fire him even if the customer didn't get mad.

skippy said...

what does "frozen urine treats for his home" mean? i said "insinuated" because i couldn't understand it, but i would have viewed it as a threat myself.

ann you are being deliberately imperceptive so as to be disengenuous. the actual quote from the blog was, after the blogger said he would not disclose tucker's address nor what tucker rented, that the blogger would also not do the following:

i will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of america: the book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home.

in other words, since you insist on having this spelled out to you, the blogger will not send tucker multiple copies of jon stewart's book. the blogger also thinks a prank like that, which he was not going to do, would be a better prank than littering tucker's house with frozen urine, an old colleg prank (i know, because i went to an old college).

and, since you insist on being willfully obtuse, let me remind you that it was jon stewart that embarrassed carlson on cross-fire when stewart held carlson and media pundit screeching head shows accountable for the deterioration of the national discourse. see, it was a joke the blogger was making at tucker's expense, see?

and that, my dear, was the worst offense the blogger committed...making jokes at tucker's expense.

honestly, it is beneath you to engage in obvious 1984 orwellian speak: war is peace, freedom is slavery, not sending frozen urine sticks to someone is send frozen urine sticks to someone.

Fatmouse said...

Wow, this is TOTALLY unexpected. Video boy wrote:

"you have opened yourself up to the lofty heights of satire previously reserved for dorks like Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse and everybody at both NRO and Powerline."

Another eternal manchild on the left, working a crap retail job but totally sticking it to the man by calling people dorks via his zine, er, blog.

Hey, Left? Grow the hell up and stop throwing your little tantrums.

10 seconds to tu quoque...

Daryl Herbert said...

I love how Tucker is expected to do a bunch of research and give this douchebag the benefit of the doubt as to what cryptic statements mean.

And what relevance is it that this loser has a Z-list blog rather than A-list? Information on the internet gets around. You only have to tell a secret once for it to be known for all eternity.

I also can't help but think all of this would be obvious to the liberals if this was a liberal celebrity being toyed with.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't he allowed to confront a guy who writes on the internet about him like that? He has a wife and 4 children in that house. Why should he have to be put up with that?

Then I presume you support the clerk to confront Carlson at his workplace and threaten to destroy Carlson for him getting him fired? Why should the clerk put up with being fired when he did not threaten to do anything with Carlson's info, his house, or his family?

I won't tell you where he lives, though. That would be wrong and stupid. I will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of America: The Book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home.

This is a threat?

Brian said...

This is not a "fighting words" situation, as the clerk's comments were on a blog, not face to face. However, any comments about Carlson's lack of civility should take into account the fact that the clerk publicly insulted his wife. This in addition to the borderline threats against his family.

So Carlson's behavior was not out of line. If we're sometimes civil to the uncivil, it's a matter of prudence, not because the uncivil deserve it.

Sushizuki said...

He's only 28, so hopefully this won't derail his video-store-clerking career permanently.

paul a'barge said...

http://freelancegenius.blogspot.com/

geez. The guy is a clerk in a video store, gets himself fired, and he calls attention to himself in his blog as genius?

Now I am on the floor, laughing.

Is this guy related to the commenter reality_check? I'm guessing!

Anonymous said...

This could never happen in England. There are two laws that would be invoked in such circumstances.

The first is the Data Protection Act 1984 & 1998 which prohibits 'sensitive personal information' [e.g. one's companion is "wasped-out" - meaning? - or having a past history of involvement in frozen urine pranks] being used without consent; but which also permits the Government, financial institutions, the health service, the police, the inland revenue, plus anyone who cares to hack into their computer systems, to know every facet of your life from birth to death.

This would include your video purchase records, in case there might be evidence of a threat to national security or a disposable income incompatible with your tax returns.

The second is an ancient, obscure law forbidding anyone with the name 'Tucker' taking any part in public life. Came in around the same time that failure to practice archery on the village green of a Sunday was made punishable by cutting off the miscreants' first two fingers and, like that law, has never been repealed. Makes sense if you think about it.

To this day we have a phrase 'tuckered out' originally meaning - "Oh Lord, my bosom has somehow slipped out inadvertently, how horribly embarrassing for all", or more generally nowadays - "Shouldn't have done that should I, you'll be thinking me a total f*ckwit."

Now I'm on a bit of a chancer here - can anyone confirm that Tucker Calson has Big Hair? My money says he has. All the evidence points to it.

vbspurs said...

Dbrooks wrote:

This seems like another case of prolonged adolescence--both in occupation and behavior.

I thought that was a little uncalled for, DBrooks, because it was sniffily snobbish. But...

if the person in question was Hillary Clinton, and the clerk described her "ridiculously butched-out companion(lover?).

...this made up for it!

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

He's only 28, so hopefully this won't derail his video-store-clerking career permanently.

Boo. Another sniffy comment about this schmuck's video-clerking job.

People who have to be embarrassed about what they do, are drug dealers, prostitutes, and other life-negating scum like that.

But not a person holding down a $6.50/h job, working the late midnight shift, dealing with snooty customers who think they're above people like that.

That goes for janitors, Shell station attendants, or maids of all work, etc. etc.

They're decent.

And I'll praise them for doing what I wouldn't do because I'm too am a snob.

Cheers,
Victoria

Blair said...

More misrepresentation of libertarianism. Firstly, libertarians are not anarchists - liberty is based on the rule of law and the law is what you use to settle disputes, not force or threats thereof. Carlson should have just complained to the boss and settled for that.

Secondly, a law protecting intellectual property, as a video rental record is, is entirely consistent with libertarianism, although some might argue that such a law is redundant, since companies that do not respect the privacy of their customers normally go out of business anyway.

Brian said...

Naked Lunch,

The answer to your question ("This is a threat?") is: Because federal courts - in interpreting federal threat statutes - look to things like context and implication, it's threatening enough to get past a motion to dismiss and go to a jury. In other words, it's unlikely that a court would deem it a non-threat as a matter of law. Threats of bodily harm do not need to brutally literal. See, e.g., The 9th Circuit's decision in the Nuremberg Files case.

(And while it's highly unlikely there would be a criminal prosecution, federal statutes are implicated, because a blog is an interstate communication.)

In a non-legal context, how would you like some creep with access to your address musing publicly about sending urine popsicles to your spouse & kids? C'mon.

Sushizuki said...

Victoria,

This guy sounds like a slacker to me, not a blue-collar worker. And slackers have every reason to be embarrassed about what they (don't) do. Instead of spending his time blogging about Tucker Carlson, he'd be better off upgrading his skills, looking for a new job, etc.

But that wasn't really my point. My point was that losing his job in this case wasn't that much of a loss.

Pinko Punko said...

Ann,

There was no violation of the Video Privacy act, unless mentioning that Tucker entered a video store is a violation. Revealing information about movies rented is. This did not happen. Unless the act of renting an undisclosed film is confidential information, then this does not seem to be an issue.

Second, if you say you work in a video store, it is already IMPLICIT that you knows someone's address. Mentioning that obvious fact in a sentence that states YOU WILL NOT reveal the information does not constitute a threat unless words have no meaning.

Ann Althouse said...

Blair: "a law protecting intellectual property, as a video rental record is, is entirely consistent with libertarianism..."

The law restricts how the store owner can use the information he has, so he's not "protected," he's regulated.

The "rule of law" that libertarians support is the protection of private property, the enforcement of contracts, and physical security. How is the Video Privacy Protection Act in that category?

You have to make some argument that as the individual goes about in the commercial world, performing transactions, he's creating property in the form of the information about what those transactions were.

If you're that kind of libertarian.... well, we can just twist everything into a "property" argument and decide who we want to say "owns" it. That's a game that can be played, but I don't think it's libertarianism.

Brian said...

Here's my last post on this subject. Our video clerk friend has entered a highly articulate post on the lefty blog Sadly No. He says:

"I will also admit that the comment about frozen urine treats may have crossed the oh-so-individual line and may have seemed directly threatening when really it was a reference to a prank performed back in college by friends of mine."

So his argument is that, even though a reasonable reader might take his words as a threat, it's not really a threat because of his subjective intent, which Tucker Carlson could not possibly have known about.

It would be a waste of taxpayer dollars and an abuse of discretion to prosecute the guy, but part of me wishes he does get prosecuted just for the fun of it, and because he's such a reckless and narcissistic jerk.

Here's the link:
http://sadlyno.com/archives/4765.html

vbspurs said...

Victoria,
This guy sounds like a slacker to me, not a blue-collar worker.


You're right.

I admit, I'm a bit of a slacker myself (after a great education, what am I doing since I'm on sabbatical from Med School? Well, posting on blogs, for one...), so my sensitivity to such concepts is high.

And slackers have every reason to be embarrassed about what they (don't) do. Instead of spending his time blogging about Tucker Carlson, he'd be better off upgrading his skills, looking for a new job, etc.

But this to me seems a bit much, with all due respect.

In my country, we have true slackers who are suckling from the teat of the welfare state, FULL-TIME.

It speaks to the American work ethic that at least this 28-year old holds down a job.

And not everyone can be a lawyer, or doctor, even a radiation tech after all.

Besides, who would man my local Blockbuster, so I can view my beloved films, if not for people like him?

This goes double for the Starbucks crew!

But that wasn't really my point. My point was that losing his job in this case wasn't that much of a loss.

For the company, no.

But maybe for him...

Anyway, I am not going to shed crocodile tears for this person I called a schmuck a while back, because WHAT HE DID WAS HIS OWN DOING. Schmuck.

Cheers,
Victoria

LoafingOaf said...

And some of the crowd here says that Tucker is an ass for his behaviour?

It hasn't been established what Carlson's behavior was. The blogger says someone representing himself as Carlson's lawyer went to the store after he already had taken the post down.

The blogger did something wrong that an employer would be correct to fire him over. Of course, the employer didn't have to find out if Carlson chose to deal with it in a different manner.

What about compassion? Even for someone who posted an insult about you. Tucker's not obligated to be compassionate, but he could've chosen to be.

I doubt this blogger realized Carlson would see the post. His blog is obscure and only read by his friends. A peon. I don't see why Carlson would be so angry since he had to know the guy was just insulting him because he was viewing Carlson as the Conservative Celebrity-Pundit On TV that it's fashionable to talk smack about.

So...Carlson didn't do anything he didn't have a right to do. Nevertheless, he could've handled it other ways than trying to "destroy".

If I had been Carlson, I'd have maybe made a humorous comment to him about his post and see how he reacts. Throw his stereotypes for a loop. Or at least find out how he reacts before making a stink.

Maybe no one else would do that, but there's all kinds of options short of threatening to have him destroyed. Give a person the opportunity to right the situation. Why the need for his scalp from the get-go? I'm not a supporter of people who make federal cases over every little thing. Tucker had the right to do what he did, but don't ask me to pat him on the back for being unable to resist the most dickish approach as his first reaction.

And I'll never buy that Carlson actually believed this guy was a threat to his family.

Zeb Quinn said...

What we have here is an object lesson in the most basic of concepts in the field of employment law. Employees who mess with the owner's customers for sh*ts and giggles are always at risk of running afoul of the of employment at will doctrine. Especially grunt-level employees. And especially rich and famous customers. But then maybe the 15 seconds of fame made it worth it to him.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Hey Daryl, if you are the kind of cobag who Googles yourself or gets some lacky of yours to do it (or even better your Mom or Wasp-y family sends you the link), then yes -- look up the facts.

The issue at heart is how tragic is Carlson. Even when Letterman had stalkers he wasn't this pathetic.

teh l4m3 said...

"information which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video tape service provider."

I hope you're aware, Professor, that Mr. Williamson pointedly did not divulge what Carlson rented...

Pinko Punko said...

Brian,

How disingenuous can you be? Chuckles showed what is termed to be "self-analysis" and "introspection" because he was forced to explain why Tucker behaved the way he did, if you look at the exact sentence, it is very unclear how to read it as a threat, however, Chuckles attempted to ascertain what it was that Tucker used to come to his conclusion.

Here is the statement:

"Tucker Carlson opened an account last night at my video store. I thought the name seemed familiar but I couldn't figure out why. It was after he left that I realized he was on the list of Gigantic Cobagz. I could tell you what he and his ridiculously wasped-out female companion (wife?) rented if you really want to know. I won't tell you where he lives, though. That would be wrong and stupid. I will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of America: The Book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home."


Emphasis mine. So the "frozen urine treats" were mentioned in comparison to a prank that would NOT happen as being less funny than the aformentioned prank not to happen. It would be a minority in the extreme reading to take that as a threat.

FYI, the post at Sadly, No was a mirrored version of the original post that was put up during the Blogger outage.

Ann, thank you for the forum for this discussion. I appreciated your argument in the comment above re: Libertarianism and certain rights.

vbspurs said...

Hey Daryl, if you are the kind of cobag who Googles yourself or gets some lacky of yours to do it (or even better your Mom or Wasp-y family sends you the link), then yes -- look up the facts.

The issue at heart is how tragic is Carlson. Even when Letterman had stalkers he wasn't this pathetic.


Actually, I think the issue at hand is how dreadfully immature the clerk is, not to mention his friends.

Others tried to tell me that, but would I listen? No.

They were right, and I was wrong.

In fact, had the Chuckles, the "cobag" had just said what I just did, this would be even less of a stinking joke than it is now.

Good luck, Chuckles and Friends.

Life LOVES to eat people like you right up.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

teh l4m3 said...""information which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video tape service provider." I hope you're aware, Professor, that Mr. Williamson pointedly did not divulge what Carlson rented..."

I say in the post "I don't know how "specific" the information Williamson published was." And I don't know what "specific ... services" means. I assume he didn't violate the federal law. My reason for talking about it is to show how surprisingly high the standard of privacy is with respect to video stores. Our expectation of what is acceptable behavior would, of course, extend beyond what is actually in violation of the law, and anyone running a video store would want to have a policy that cuts a wide swath around anything that could be considered a violation. I don't know what Williamson's employer told him about confidentiality, but I would think that he would have plenty of reason to know that his blog post was not acceptable.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Actually, I think the issue at hand is how dreadfully immature the clerk is, not to mention his friends.

Victoria, how do you know whether Chuckles' friends are immature?

You make an excellent juror, you know assuming things.

Pogo said...

Just another reason why Netflix will destroy your local rental place. We've had our Blockbusters all close due to loss of business, just in the past 6 months.

An employee like that can send his employer into bankruptcy.

Once it gets around that "your purchases will be televised" at some store or another, the incentive to buy elsewhere is huge. By the famous, locally famous, infamous, and me, the decidedly-not-famous.

People who don't take the statements
"I know where you live" after
"his ridiculously wasped-out wife"
and the urine popsicle wierdness
as a possible threat have never read Gavin De Becker's The Gift of Fear, and are living a delusion.

Fatmouse said...

Victoria, how do you know whether Chuckles' friends are immature?

Your use of "cobag" explains it quite nicely. Very 7th grade of you.

Interesting that it seems to be Chuckle's insult of choice, too. Sockpuppet much?

Thorley Winston said...

Victoria, how do you know whether Chuckles' friends are immature?

You make an excellent juror, you know assuming things.


Sounds like a reasonable inference for a juror to make when Exhibit One is "urinating in someone freezer to make 'frozen urine treats.'"

Brian said...

Pinko Punko,

Mr. or Miss Punko, the video clerk conceded, or stepped up the line of conceding (he did try to have it both ways by talking about the "oh so individual line") that his words could reasonably be taken to be a threat. Then he explained that he wasn't making a threat by reference to information Tucker Carlson couldn't have access to.

And Punko, you make a poor argument that the words can't reasonably be taken as a threat. If I say to Mr. X:

1 - Mr. X, I know your address.

2 - Don't worry Mr. X, I will not (insert your own imaginative way of assaulting Mr. X and/or his family here),

that's the format of actual threats that are made and sometimes carried out. In both common-sense in the law - and the 2 sometimes coincide - threats need not be literal.

As for your accusation that I'm disingenuous, cut it out already. This argument isn't of great consequence - it's not the Iraq war here - so you should be able to hold your emotions in check and not slip into accusations of dishonesty, which is a tiresome norm in the blogosphere.

Pogo said...

Re: "...how surprisingly high the standard of privacy is with respect to video stores."
The sense of betrayal evident in this kerfuffle is significant evidence of the implicit guarantee of privacy understood to exist for most transactions in our culture .

The absence of a high-trust environment for routine purchases once meant people either did without or substituted the black market. Now there's Amazon and such.

Want to kill a quaint set of funky shops in a cute neighborhood? Hire a bunch of perpetual adolescents with blogs.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Victoria, how do you know whether Chuckles' friends are immature?

Your use of "cobag" explains it quite nicely. Very 7th grade of you.

Interesting that it seems to be Chuckle's insult of choice, too. Sockpuppet much?


Fatmouse, "cobag" is a word that can be found on urbandictionary.com, to cite one of many places. If using words that are common slang to a particular region or group of people (not necessarily friends) is sock puppeting, than most people would be guilty of that.

Perhaps if you read several months ago Pinko Punko's argument why cobag should be used instead of terms such as douchebag , you'd know why I elected to use it. Also, if you actually read the comments thread here you might actually understand who and why this slang was chosen for.

Your assumptions are not rationale based on your lack of culture knowledge. Thus, you try to tie together your own lack of understanding. You fall short by failing to cite or do any research, let alone actually read the post or comments objectively. That would be something that is frequently done in 7th grade.

Then again, this blog singles out anyone who isn't part of 'teh 7th grade clique' over here. So, as you were...

Revenant said...

The "rule of law" that libertarians support is the protection of private property, the enforcement of contracts, and physical security. How is the Video Privacy Protection Act in that category?

It makes explicit the implicit contract between the store and the renter that the former will not reveal the latter's rental history.

Inasmuch as it denies the renter and store the opportunity to explicitly allow such revelations in the rental contract it does violate their rights. But since you could probably count on one hand the number of (a) renters who want their rental histories shouted to the world by other people and (b) store owners dumb enough to commit business suicide by putting such a clause in their contracts, there's little reason to care. As violations of rights go, it doesn't make the top hundred thousand.

In any case, the store owner wasn't revealing anything here -- it was an *employee* threatening to reveal information he didn't own, and in so doing harm its owner(s). There's certainly nothing wrong with *that* being illegal, libertarian-wise.

The Jerk said...

Only a liberal could be scared by an aggressive Tucker Carlson.

Wow, what a badass you are!

Pinko Punko said...

Hi Brian,

I understand that statements of unspoken knowledge in some circumstances can be perceived as threats, but a video store employee implicitly knows rentees information, therefore no specific weight should be given the statement. Another, entirely rational, and I would say favorable reading of the actual words would be as an anticipation of possible reader queries in regards to the OBVIOUS information. It just goes without saying that a video store clerk would know the information in question, or that any readers of Chuckles's blog would know what his night job was even if he didn't say in the post what actually happened. He wrote a blog post about an actual event with actual details. Regardless of many possible bad choices he made, a reading of "threat" is much more strained than a reading of "obvious joke."

I know every single person listed in the phone book's address. I will NOT be sending them 10,000 copies of America:The Book. Many of them are cobags that I do not agree with. Have I just threatened several million people? I'm being serious and I don't want to be antogonistic. Your reading is much more strained than mine.

Ambrose said...

I'm all about libertarianism, but the system today is designed against it. If I don't want a purchase I made tracked, I pay cash and wear a hat. Preventative Libertarianism. Part of the libertarian ethos is being smart enough to take preventative measures against personal damage and being personally responsible for the responsible use of one's good name.

What the hell is Tucker Carlson doing renting movies anyway? He goes to an ATM and withdraws some cash from his exorbitant and largely unmerited bank account(people like him make me ashamed of whatever I have in common with them, in this case, political leanings), puts on some shades and goes to Best Buy, Problem... Solved.