May 25, 2012

Where can the Althouse commentariat talk about the S.E. Cupp flap?

Here.

Wherein I call bullshit cowpie of distortion.

27 comments:

Chip S. said...

No "cow" allusions, please. The woman has been slimed enough.

Let's call this one a mudflap.

Ann Althouse said...

Udders!

Chip S. said...

I suppose this isn't the time to ask if S.E.'s got a sister named DeeDee.

Mitchell said...

A Google search has informed me that S.E. Cupp has nothing to do with English soccer.

EDH said...

Does this mean the Sandra Fluke flap was a co-pay of distortion?

X said...

Flynt, working hard to prove karma can be a retroactive phenomenon.

edutcher said...

Ann's point about giving Flynt's rag publicity isn't without merit. The only time you ever hear of it is when the moron solicits compromising pics of Republicans in an election year.

Chip S. said...

I suppose this isn't the time to ask if S.E.'s got a sister named DeeDee.

Or even Gigi.

Although, Bibi would be more accurate.

Palladian said...

Two churls, one Cupp

Thorley Winston said...

Ann's point about giving Flynt's rag publicity isn't without merit. The only time you ever hear of it is when the moron solicits compromising pics of Republicans in an election year.
A lot of conservatives have been quoting Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals particularly the one about using mockery. The problem is that such a tactic usually only works against someone who cares about their dignity and public image and isn’t going to work against someone who cares about neither. The best tactic in that case is to ignore them and wait until the 24-hour news cycle moves on to something else.

Ann Althouse said...

So let's look at Alinsky's rules in this context:

fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.

The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.* If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.


Larry Flynt is using those rules himself pretty damned well. And it's really hard to use them *against* him. He's made himself really, really slippery.

Take care!

William said...

S.E. Cupp is, like Sandra Fluke, a second tier celebrity. She's not truly famous to the public at large. You can direct any kind of obscenity towards Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Mother Theresa, but that obscenity will not upstage their public persona. Lesser lights such as Fluke and Cupp can easily become better known for their defamation than for their fame. I'm not a lawyer. Have I presented a fair argument for revising the Supreme Court's ruling on public figures?.....I already see a problem with this argument. No celebrity would ever admit to second tier status. She would sue anyone who classified her as a second tier celebrity....I would advise any good looking woman who has reached a measure of public fame to take a strong stand in favor of abortion. In the end, that's the only way of minimizing sexist remarks about your looks.

Simon said...

Nope. Not buying it.

Even if Falwell was correctly-decided, which it was not, and even if today's court is unwilling to overturn it, which I doubt after the outrageous Stevens case, I would think that Cupp still wins. Falwell, which presented the question of "whether a public figure may recover damages for emotional harm caused by the publication of an ad parody offensive to him, and doubtless gross and repugnant in the eyes of most" when "that speech could not reasonably have been interpreted as stating actual facts about the public figure involved," involved an absurd textual story, not a picture. Its holding is simply that a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress will not lie when "the conduct in question is the publication of a caricature such as the ad parody involved here."

Moreover, the Falwell ad could conceivably be understood as "speech that is critical of" a public official or person, crass though it was, but there is no plausible way to interpret a photoshopped image of a young woman performing a degrading sexual act as a criticism of that young woman's political views even if she qualifies as a public figure. Falwell protects political speech notwithstanding that it is crass, notwithstandnig that it includes "vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks"; it does not, however, protect crass, vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp personal attacks. It protects political speech about public figures. Where there is no plausible argument that the speech involved is any such thing, Falwell is irrelevant. The Falwell court acknowledged that "[i]f it were possible by laying down a principled standard to separate" the vile from the tasteless but protected, "public discourse would probably suffer little or no harm," and it requires no subtlety to identify such a principle here: Pornography is not protected speech. Ever. Create pornography of unwilling subjects, risk civil liability. This is a simple, administrable rule that threatens no overspill into protected speech.

While it may be true that "[d]ebate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred," it is hard to see how debate on public issues could possibly be inhibited in any meaningful sense if pornographers run the risk of being sued when they photoshop images of women into obscene poses.

While it may be true that "political cartoonists and satirists [c]ould be subjected to damages awards without any showing that their work falsely defamed its subject" had Falwell been allowed to sue Flynt, it is hard to see how "political cartoonists and satirists [c]ould be subjected to damages awards without any showing that their work falsely defamed its subject" should Cupp be allowed to sue Flynt.

Of course, such finessing is unnecessary if we are willing to concede that we took a wrong turn in doctrine a few decades ago. The First Amendment's concern is "the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern." Pornography does not qualify for its protection; neither does pornographic imagery masquerading as social commentary. I would overule Roth, New York Times, and the entire fictitious and poisonous doctrine built atop them. See Bork, Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems, 47 Ind.L.J. 1 (1971).

Simon said...

By the way, I have no doubt that someone has photoshopped obscene pictures of Sandra Fluke; see Rule 34. The attempt to restrict this incident into Malkin's thesis that conservative women get this kind of treatment is unfortunate, because while conservative women do get treated worse, this has much more to do with the ongoing war on women by pornographers than it does with Cupp's politics. And in any event, while I would supply every woman with a cause of action against anyone who created pornography of her without her consent, and the means to make it effective, it seems a far easier case when it is not simply a lone idiot on the internet but a bricks-and-mortar publication. It also seems far more invidious when the picture is created by photoshop professionals to a plausible degree of realism than it does when the lone idiot simply pastes Hillary Clinton's face onto a model's body with all the subtlety of a brick.

rhhardin said...

I've only heard Cupp on Imus, and she's tedious, appearing only to have a girl-as-good-as-a-man act going, and worn out rightwingish messages. Worn out means needing modern rephrasing very badly. The left has already accommodated itself to the existing phrasings.

The legal question is beyond me. Who knows what you're allowed to do. But...

Presumably Flynt is saying Cupp just sucking some right-winger's dick, the implication being that she's not having an original thought.

Which would put it under opinion.

It would be bad for Cupp to sue, because it would say that she's after all just a wilting girl flower in these matters, and seeking protection.

She should say instead that Flynt wouldn't recognize an original thought if it bit him in the nuts, if Flynt still has any nuts.

Alan said...

What I want to know is...why would Flynt pick on a political commentator who is far from being a household name? Especially in the households that read his magazine? Does Flynt's readership even watch news programs?

chickelit said...

Alan said...
What I want to know is...why would Flynt pick on a political commentator who is far from being a household name?

Her looks and her vulnerability. The Tea Party is grassroots thing and so the intimidation works at that level. For a parallel, look at the Brett Kimberlin stuff.

Especially in the households that read his magazine?

Households? You mean like where a magazine is attractively displayed on the coffee table? LOL

Does Flynt's readership even watch news programs?

"Readership" is a flattering term.

I've cracked a couple jokes on Twitter about Flynt's spinelessness--I think it's fair game.

Freeman Hunt said...

What I want to know is...why would Flynt pick on a political commentator who is far from being a household name?

I thought that was strange too. Seems like an intentional threat to female would be conservative activists. "We'll come after you even if you're small."

Flynt's rather grotesque though, and I can't imagine he's influential in politics.

If you were doing the Alinski thing, you would attack whoever was allied with him with the fact that they were allied with him. If no one is allied with him, who cares about him?

Alex said...

fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

How does photoshopping a conservative into a pornographic scene have anything to do with S.E. Cupp's values? This is just ridiculous. But on the whole I agree, with the liberals it's all Alinsky all the time.

David said...

S.E. Cupp is a very smart and well informed journalist. If she weren't conservative, she would probably be becoming a star on some msm network. Who knows why Flynt decided to feature her. It probably has a lot to do with his own personal fantasies.

That fact that her career may not be damaged by Hustler's obviously fake photo does not make it less objectionable or offensive. With the name "Cupp" I am sure that she has endured all kinds of bad jokes over time. (You--edutcher! You--Chip S.) If she is smart--and I think she is--she will not let herself be much concerned with the controversy. She made her point promptly. She can emphasize it by acting as a journalist not a victim.

Chip S. said...

Well, David, she'd hear a lot fewer of those bad jokes if she went by whatever her first name is instead of "S.E.-as-in-'a C' Cupp."

chickelit said...

Are you some kind of onomatapoeist, Chip?

Darrell said...

The only time you ever hear of it is when the moron solicits compromising pics of Republicans in an election year.

See what we got here? The pic is a Photoshop, but the comment makes it sound like the pic is real--a result of Flynt's bounty on Republican "hypocrisy." Same with all those riffs about her name. "Hit and Run" readers will certainly get that idea.

Darrell said...

Sarah Elizabeth.

Chip S. said...

@chickelit--Sounds like it.

I also think that C.D. Jaco's initials suited him.

The Crack Emcee said...

Flynt is picking on Cupp because she's a good-looking atheist conservative - she offends his sensibilities about what a non-believer should be - and so, fair game.

I've tried to like her but can't. She's always in some dumb boondoggle, and now getting back-up from Sandra Fluke? (Ewwww!)

I say let Larry have his fun.

It's all he's got,...

beast said...

For those of you that don't know Flynt is a major contributor to liberal causes because his sleaze empire makes a ton of money.He regularly plays blackjack in vegas and can lose or win a million at a time with "whale" like perks.

beast said...

For those of you that don't know Flynt is a major contributor to liberal causes because his sleaze empire makes a ton of money.He regularly plays blackjack in vegas and can lose or win a million at a time with "whale" like perks.