A Small But Shining Example of How to Be Wrong

Blogger Joé McKen catches one of my regular detractors making a spectacularly dumb move, and then watches him flail about, trying to rationalize his unintentional comedy gold. No, I’m not going to link to the detractor’s site directly, because among other things the site is full of racism, sexism and general ick; McKen’s got the links if you want them, and all the relevant details if you don’t.

Over on McKen’s site, one of the commenters there, who is also a frequent commenter here, wonders about whether my detractor could be on the hook for libel. Certainly the detractor’s headline for the particular blog entry in question (“John Scalzi is a rapist”) is factually inaccurate; the detractor is (now, at least) aware it’s so; presuming McKen’s account of event is accurate, which I have no reason to doubt, it wasn’t published with the intent to be satire or hyperbole nor has much chance of being considered so now; and obviously, being branded a rapist, and having it believed, would be detrimental to my public and private life. So if I had a mind to sue my detractor for libel, he might have to hope I am enough of a public figure that it would obviate all those other factors and he wouldn’t be squashed like a bug.

But why sue? I’m happy to have him leave it up as a testament to his both his credulity while he thought it was true, and his mendacity now that he knows that it’s not. It’s a cogent reminder of what both his opinion and credibility is worth.

(Comments closed here to help foster the conversation over at McKen’s site. If you go there from here, do be as polite and courteous to him as your host as you are to me. I thank you in advance for that.)