Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Andy Olson's guide to slander

Hello everyone, I'm Andy Olson.

And I'm here to explain what slander is and isn't.  Please keep in mind though that I am not an attorney, a bailiff, a notary public, a circus geek, or a wizard from the fourth dimension, and what I say is my based on what I read on Wikipedia and some shit I overheard once at the bus station.

First off slander is spoken, if someone writes malicious or hurtful things about you that aren't true and are designed specifically to injure you or your reputation, that's libel, not slander.  Most of the internet is still written by someone, be they people in their underwear who live in their parents basement or be they public relations professionals who work at a college or university.  So you can't slander someone on Facebook or Twitter unless you post a video that contains audio.

Secondly, you can say whatever you like in the privacy of your own home or in any other private place.  If it's slanderous, it doesn't matter because it was said in private and was not for public consumption.  However if you said something in public like, "Andy Olson uses Rhode Island red chickens to pleasure himself while he does interpretative dances based on selections from Mein Kampf," that would be potentially slanderous.  But I would have to prove that you said it with an intent to harm me.  But if you said, "Does Andy Olson use Rhode Island red chickens to pleasure himself while he does interpretative dances based on selections from Mein Kampf?"  then that's not slanderous because you're asking, not actually saying that I do those things.

Thirdly, many people mistake satire for slander and libel.  Jerry Falwell did.  And look what it got him.  He lost his case and now he's dead.

Fourthly and finally, slander is notoriously hard to prove in a court of law in the USA, and so is libel for that matter.  It's hard to prove that something someone said or wrote was done specifically to injure someone else.  That burden of proof is extremely high and with good reason, because if it wasn't then those who could afford it would constantly sue those who said or wrote something they didn't like or agree with.

I hope that clears things up for you.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go buy some Rhode Island reds and what I'm going to do with them is none of your fucking business.

1 comment:

gmb said...

And you are allowed to have an opinion--even a bad one--without it being slander or libel. "In my opinion, Andy Olson is a giant raging asshole," is perfectly fine.