I find myself mildly perplexed about this court ruling forcing Google to release the identity of an anonymous blogger who referred to a person as a "skank" (a word not defined in my Little Oxford Dictionary). I don't understand what the big deal is and why this individual would feel compelled to hire a lawyer and file a court action because she was called a skank on an obscure blog that 99.9999% of the people on the Planet Earth would never see.
The legal action would make sense if the blogger wrote a statement saying that "Person X tortures puppies". That would qualify as slander because it would be a public statement that is false and malicious. To call someone a "skank" is matter of opinion using a word with a varying and subjective definition. I am of the opinion that Joe Biden is an idiot. Am I not entitled to share my opinion with others? He is a public figure, and as a public figure people are going to offer opinions about his lack of intelligence.
The court ruling itself was to force Google to release the identity of the Blogger, and I assume that the next step would be to sue the writer. I know a lot of mainstream writers are very critical about the anonymity of bloggers, that it is cheap to take shots at people when your own identity is kept secret. Not all Bloggers use an alias, but many such as myself prefer to be anonymous. It is not an act of cowardice, but rather a desire to separate my professional life from my opinion. I often have very pointed opinions which can be very divisive with friends and co-workers if they happen to disagree. Political narrative can quickly incite anger in opponents, and if my supervisor at work is a devoted Liberal and Googles my name to uncover my blog, that could have a negative effect on my day to day life. Even if the risk of becoming a target for left wing zealots is low and if my supervisor at work were also a Conservative, some people prefer to minimize risk to zero.
I believe that what the blogger wrote in this case was immature, but not illegal. If the blogger is liable for slander for calling someone a skank, I can name a long list of left wing pundits who said far worse things about Sarah Palin and her family. Opinion should not qualify as slander, otherwise Bill Maher, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Arianna Huffington, et all are fucked. If a blogger writes that Bill Maher murdered a puppy, then in that case there should be a negative repercussion. But a skank? What is a skank? My dictionary does not define it.
As for my moniker of choice, I concede that it lacks originality. The Iceman was a comic book character, nicknames in movies, Chuck “the Iceman” Liddell, etc. The name “The Iceman” has been passed around more than Kathy Griffin at a high school prom. I use it because once during a heat wave I was at work selling a bag of ice to a customer and a local newspaper photographer stopped by and took our picture. The next day my picture was in the paper under the title of “The Iceman cometh”, which was really cool (pun intended). Everyone at work started calling me The Iceman, and even changed my name tag to fit my new “celebrity status.” Should I ever become a paid pundit, then perhaps I will conjure up a new and more creative handle. Until then, I will maintain my anonymous status so as not to jeopardize my day job.
And Joe Biden is a moron. That’s my opinion, and I am entitled to it.