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The thin red line: No retreat - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The thin red line: No retreat

And Guidobaldo, when he made

That grammar school of courtesies

Where wit and beauty learned their trade

Upon Urbino’s windy hill,

Had sent no runners to and fro

That he might learn the shepherds’ will.

Thus Mr Yeats on the subject of national arts funding. What neither Mr Yeats nor those who have inevitably quoted him in the last two decades’s worth of argument over state funding for the arts never mention, is, those noble and puissant princes Ercole, Guidobaldo, and Cosimo paid for the bleeding Mantegnas and Giottos out of their own purses.

I think it’s time we talked some facts, and perhaps some sense, about the late tempest in the Teasmade. 

The first ‘strikethrough’ balls-up:

Now, there is no question but that, to the extent the Paladins of Purity panicked Six Apart into a poor business decision, the Paladins want mocking, and mock them I did, as many of you will recall. I realise it is almost obligatory in these posts to say, Of course I hold no brief for paedophiles, but the fact is, I hold no brief for paedophiles. In fact, that is rather a weak way of putting it. There is no crime, and no set of criminal, better calculated to cause even the soggiest, wettest, most supersaturated Grauniad-ista to think with guilty nostalgia of flogging and hanging, and with little guilt to hope that the governors and warders of HM Prisons turn a Nelson eye to the other convicts’s engaging in the time-honoured British sport of ‘cocoa-ing the SO’. And if that is true of wet, muesli-munching LibLab poons, imagine how I feel about it. Those who are mentally competent to be held accountable for interfering with children deserve no mercy; those who interfere with children but are not mentally accountable deserve Broadmoor.

The problem with the Paladins of Purity and with the 6A/LJ response was not in the motive, but in the execution, and its fatal lack of discriminating judgement. To this point we shall return.

The current cock-up

Now, Your Special Correspondent, GMW Wemyss, has his faults, not least occasionally in referring to himself in the third person. Still, I am not a solicitor, barrister, advocate, Writer to the Signet, or any other species of lawyer. A man must have some basis on which to preserve his self-respect. 

Nevertheless, I am not without some experience in these matters. Back in the 1990s, I made a quick £3000 by providing freelance academic content to a US website. (It was a very odd decade. At one point, I exchanged two extremely forgettable emails with an American academic that led, recently, to my being named in the acknowledgements to a new critical edition of a late Victorian – Edwardian authoress to whose study and work I have never contributed anything, indeed, whom I cannot recall having read. I am still bewildered by this.) The website – a US site, I remind you – was extremely sensitive to copyright laws and obscenity / child protection laws. It was extremely insistent that, in order to take advantage of the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of DMCA and COPA, it was ‘a platform not a publisher’: that is, it did not edit or censor content, and for that reason did not assume liability, which remained upon the content creators.

This puts 6A/LJ in a bit of a cleft stick, what?

The site are confronted with two problems: a threatened advertisement boycott at the hands of the Paladinettes of Purity, and the loss of safe harbour provisions if they begin editing content to appease the Unco Guid. To this may be added a third problem, that of the mass exodus of many of their members in consequence of their ham-handedness in how they’ve gone about appeasing Mesdames Whitehouse and Grundy (coupled with the fact that some of their staff are contemptible, vicious morons who think it the height of wit to impute paedophiliac interests or sympathies to their paying customers.  [Note that the cowards deleted it.]  Vile little shit): an exodus the impact of which upon advert revenues may well be as serious as the potential losses from advertiser panic in the face of the Purity League’s threats.

6A might have stood up to the Puritans. It did not. It might have exercised some judgment in the Yezhovschina. It did not. It might have taken advice and found a way in which to assuage the concerns of the Censoriate whilst not offending, insulting, and causing actionable damage to its customers. It did not. It might have been honest with its customers. It did not. It might have taken advice and found a way in which to assuage the concerns of the Muckrake and Daily Mail League whilst not taking on the role of publisher and editor, and thereby becoming liable for whatever they don’t catch and censor (i.e., leaving the safe harbour). It did not. 

Instead, it set sail on a suicidal sally into the guns of the fleet that has the wind of it, leaving the safe harbour in an act of madness.

And now it has a fourth problem. Non-paying customers, those with sponsored (i.e., advertiser-supported) accounts, even paid account customers when their paid time ends, may arguably be at the mercy of 6A in its unilateral changes to the Terms of Service. Free speech as such is not an issue in commercial transactions, Guidobaldo.  But the law of contract is.  Those of us who are, as I am, permanent account holders contracted with 6A or its predecessors, for consideration. We have contracts. 6A is standing into danger when it acts in what may be breach of those contracts. You may draw your own conclusions. 

6A/LJ have chosen to capitulate to a threatened economic boycott, and acted without regard for its own interests (the safe harbour) and the interests and rights, including contractual rights supported by fiscal consideration, of its members. Not content with conducting its affairs in such a manner as to offend and damage its customers, it prefers through its agents to insult them rather than to work with them. I as a permanent account member am not leaving: I am staying and I am not going to be driven out by these appalling little bastards. Any contractual breach by them will be at their peril.

Six Apart Ltd is a Delaware corporation domiciled in California. Its agent for service of process as recorded with the State of California is Tod Harmon, 548 4th Street, San Francisco, California 94107 USA. That may be useful information for those who decline to flee and choose rather to remain and fight.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
tekalynn From: tekalynn Date: August 5th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
This mueseli-eating Graudianista says "Oh, well done, sir!" and applauds.

On a side note, this is the first time I have ever seen the -shchina suffix appear in English outside of a Russian opera. Now if I only knew the Yezhov reference.
tekalynn From: tekalynn Date: August 5th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Grauniadista. Must get the proper misspelling.)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 5th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

And in the contexts 'Yezhovschina' and 'Beriaschina', it means Purge, Official, with Show Trials, Stalin, for the benefit of.
tekalynn From: tekalynn Date: August 5th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you.

Beria I do recognize. Thank you.
4 comments or Leave a comment