- Posted by Johanna on August 25, 2007 at 8:31 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
There’s been some interesting speculation on what the resolution to the Ellison/Fantagraphics lawsuit means.
Don MacPherson (whose day job is as a Canadian crime/courts reporter, which I didn’t know) points out the essential paradox it includes:
As a defence, Fantagraphics was asserting its First Amendment rights. Ellison has long been hailed (and hails himself) as a defender of the First Amendment. That’s a boxload of boosters for free speech, so it’s odd and rather unfortunate that some of the most important elements of the settlement focus on restricting people from speaking their minds.
I agree with Don that at first glance it looks like Fantagraphics gave in in order to protect their company, but he points out another important factor:
On the surface, it’s Ellison who comes out on top with this settlement. He gets what he wants, blocking publication of the material he perceived as offending his sensibilities. But Ellison may have neglected to consider another potential harm, one he might have done to himself. … At 73, it’s possible that this may be Ellison’s last instance of publicity, or at least it may be this hullabaloo for which many in the comics and publishing industries will remember him.
Such speculation raised the ire of Ellison himself (who for someone who supposedly hated the internet seems to be quite comfortable flitting around it these days), who responded by ignoring the point and tossing an insult.
That’s the same thing that happened to the writer of the blog at kobek.com, in response to his original speculation that the settlement, and Ellison’s reactions, demonstrates more of a print mindset than an understanding of the internet.
doesn’t this reinforce the perception of being unable to brook criticism? After all, Ellison put this lawsuit in the public sphere. Did he not expect people to comment and have differing opinions on it? Did he not prepare himself that some of these opinions might be unfavorable and not to his liking? Does he feel like his status as defender of free speech is enhanced by referring, in an obscene manner, to an innocuous piece of commentary by a self-professed gnat?
The settlement said that Gary Groth (or someone representing him) will get to post an essay on Ellison’s message board within five business days of the agreement. So does anyone have a link? Google didn’t turn one up. I can’t imagine that no one would be talking about it if it was posted… so does that mean one of the provisions of the settlement wasn’t met?