Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Is it twoo what they say about how you politicians are... gifted?"

There's this guy in the Georgia state legislature who has apparently annoyed one Peach Stater so much that the latter has taken up a new hobby: Photoshopping the politician's head onto pictures of porn stars doing porn star-type stuff, and posting the results on the internet.

State Rep. Earnest Smith, all butthurt by the taunting, probably wanted to pass a bill making it illegal for Andre Walker to make fun of Earnest Smith by 'shopping Smith's head onto porn stars, but with an eye towards that whole pesky "no Bill of Attainder" thing in Article I, Section 10, settled for proposing legislation that would make it illegal for anybody to make fun of anybody by 'shopping their head onto porn stars.

Needless to say the bill, even if by some miracle it were to pass, would likely get shot down in First Amendment flames by pretty much any court in the nation. However it does offer an insight into the kind of petty douchecanoes that tend to be drawn to political office like skeeters to a bug zapper. Someone needs to explain to Smith that he is not royalty, and there's no such crime as lèse majesté in America.


Robert Langham said...

He should be mistaken for a corn snake.

John Venlet said...

"Douchecanoe." Now that's descriptive, Tam, and dang funny. Is that in the Urban Dictionary?

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Why are politicians so stupid? They always try to write laws to outlaw what the other guy is doing. Here's my solution

"It shall be unlawful for anyone to willfully commit assault, or simple assault and battery upon anyone who has manipulated a photographic representation of another person to make it appear that the person is engaged in vulgar, immoral, or obscene behavior.

A violation of this section of law shall be an infraction and punished by a fine of no more than $10. If the assault results in serious enough harm that the victim required hospital treatment, the fine shall be $20. "

There, problem solved.

Motor-T said...

And, if the congressman had kept is fat mouth shut, nobody would know about the picture. But, hey, all publicity is good publicity. Right?

staghounds said...

It's been done...

"No honest man need fear cartoons..."

staghounds said...

Plus, now the crazy photoshopping jackass nobody listened to is a first amendment martyr with a national platform!

Old NFO said...

Karma, it's a bitch... :-) NOW that douchebag will be memorialized forever (at least on the net).. :-D

Desertrat said...

Of course politicians are gifted: By Soros, Goldman-Sachs, ADM, et al. The list is endless.

rickn8or said...

Uh, were they at least ATTRACTIVE porn stars??

(Or at least more attractive than Mr. Smith's usual consorts?)

roland said...

I'm guessing they were very handsome porn stars.

bluesun said...

He'd better hope that no one ever tells 4Chan about it...

Jeffrey Quick said...

So, how long before we have the Web app for putting Smith's head on any picture you care to upload, for those of us not gifted in Photoshop?

kahr40 said...

I was wondering whether they were male or female porn stars. Oh crap, now I need a brain scrub.

Anonymous said...

I thought "Peach Stater" was someone's name long enough that I googled it, but not quite long enough that I looked at the results.

docjim505 said...

Now that we have the papacy, let us enjoy it.

--- Any elected politician

Paul, Dammit! said...

"...It's twoo, it's twoo."

Surprised that I was the first one (I think) to get the Madeline Kahn tie-in.

Brad K. said...


"explain to Smith that he is not royalty, and there's no such crime as lèse majesté in America"

Why should a Peach State representative feel a need to put up with more exposure than the cops, at least in the cities/states where it is illegal to take pictures of police?

I suppose if Smith were Earnest (going to camp?) he could hire a copyright ambulance chaser, and sue the impertinent Walker for copyright infringement. Heck, make it a class action suit, and bring those whose public image were soiled by contamination of being associated with the depiction of a Peach State Politician! The publishers and photographers involved in the images used would probably join in as well. When the dust settles, I imagine that Walker might be in line for a *serious* (wink, wink!) talking to by the judge. If the judge stopped laughing lone enough to pass sentence.

Aesop said...

Granting the unplumbed depths of douchebaggery most politicians can sink to if they try, there's another side of this that I dare to raise.

One picture might be giggles, maybe even a dozen, but at some point, unless the pol in question froths at the mouth and advocates long hot zyklon B showers for various oppressed minorities, there comes a point where mocking crosses the line between "I have a 1st Amendment right to ridicule you" and becomes "I'm the head usher at the Westboro Baptist Church, mind if I bring some friends to your next event?".
Even SCOTUS has long since recognized that "fighting words" exist, and expects a modicum of restraint on oneself and one's free speech exercises.

I think Mr. Sorrentino, in comments above, has correctly named the appropriate penalty, because at a certain point, were I on the receiving end of an unceasing parade of such Photoshop hijinks, I think I'd be looking to activate Mr. Walker's dental plan deductible, and let him seek his redress in court. I'm betting the fun goes out of taunting right about the time someone has to schedule reconstructive oral surgery.

And let's recall that in the Second Amendment paradise of misty days of yore, this sort of thing, in the exact same state, was grounds for calling someone out and trading pistol fire at spitting distance, which tended to uphold a much higher level of behavior on behalf of both parties, or at least to thin the gene pool rather prudently.

So once again, anti-gun assbaggery leads to a further coarsening of society, and results in politicians denied the opportunity to dole out a good caning now and then to respond with the only other weapon society allows them.

Desertrat said...

Aesop, politicians never want to do their own caning. They want to be able to send the cops.

Jeffrey Deutsch said...

As P.J. O'Rourke pointed out back when flag desecration was a hot issue (pun intended) and it came before the Supreme Court, fining someone a token amount for assaulting a flag desecrator would be pinning a "kick me" sign on the majesty of the law.

Many moons ago (back before I could vote), I took my watch to the jeweler for a battery change. When I came back for it, the jeweler said he couldn't change the battery -- and yes, I actually accepted his offer to sell me the battery.

Well, government's main comparative advantage is violence. Letting private individuals do it when the government can't strikes me as going way beyond our depth.

Not to mention when you're a public figure, the First Amendment takes on an even greater meaning. You gotta expect nasty stuff -- crack open a few history volumes and check out some of the political cartoons from earlier years.

In my observation, people do a lot better job at restraining themselves before giving themselves permission to hit others, than afterwards. You want to see how far it can go? Look up "lynching". (It may have been a necessity for peace and order in places like 19th-century Montana without effective professional law enforcement. But elsewhere, that doctrine bore strange fruit indeed.)

And as with some other privatizations, privatizing violence sometimes means private interests hand-in-glove with government officials.

For example, Weimar German authorities turned a blind eye to Nazi (particularly Storm Trooper) and other violence precisely because many Weimar officials didn't like this newfangled democracy thing. Political parties ended up with their own private militias because they needed them. You think if people feel free to attack their political opponents on this side of the Atlantic the denouement can't happen here?

Bottom line: The First Amendment means nobody gets to attack someone for offensive speech -- not just nobody with a pretty badge, a uniform and a boss with a popular mandate.

Jeff Deutsch

staghounds said...

Not Preston Brooks.

And if anyone thinks that public discourse was more elevated in misty days of yore, I suggest he get up off his apothecary table and peruse any news sheet of the day.

Abuse was more vituperative and used a better vocabulary.

staghounds said...

Actually The First Amendment means ONLY that nobody with a pretty badge, a uniform and a boss with a popular mandate gets to attack someone for offensive speech WITH THE LAW.

The First Amendment, like the others, restrains ONLY government. The only things that restrain private individuals from trying to limit speech are criminal laws like assault.

Non govermental nobodies can restrain speech all day long. The assistant manager at McDonald's can throw you out for reading the Constitution out loud.

Jeffrey Deutsch said...

Hello staghounds,

Apparently I didn't make myself clear. I'm referring to using physical violence against someone for expressing offensive things.

I'm not talking about, say, not inviting someone over for dinner or not patronizing their business -- or allowing them to patronize yours -- anymore.

That's because neither were several commenters above, to whom I was responding. They were referring to plain old assault and battery.


Jeff Deutsch

PS: Barbara Streisand, please call your office!

Anonymous said...

"Photoshopping the politician's head onto pictures of porn stars doing porn star-type stuff" ... "State Rep. Earnest Smith, all butthurt by the taunting"

Porn-star type stuff... butthurt? I see what you did there, but was it deliberate?

treefroggy said...

Gifted ? I think that's from the German giftig, nicht war ?

Goober said...

Poor thing has obviously never heard of the Streisand effect. He just screwed himself blue by giving his opponent notoriety that I'm certain he would never have earned on his own, given that his idea of intelligent discourse was photoshpping the heads of his opponents onto porn actors.

Now instead of a poor misguided lunatic on the edgez of teh internets he's a first amendment warrior, and folks like me who would never have heard about this are reading about it while sipping my morning coffee. Epic fail.

Grayson said...

Come on, people!
Let's show a little bit of decorum and dignity here!
Just because a nice girl can suck a golf ball through 50 feet of garden hose, it doesn't mean any one has any right whatsoever to defame and degrade her by comparing her to a politician!
For goodness sakes!

Precision said...

Grayson beat me to it.

The pornstars should be suing for defamation. At least they do an (more or less) honest job and are paid accordingly.