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Protesting the wrong thing is counter-productive. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Protesting the wrong thing is counter-productive.

A mad world, my masters.


There are two things that strike me – and that quite likely do not strike anyone else – as curious, in the latest 6A / LJ cock-up.


The first is the ongoing hysteria about ‘freedom of speech’ and the right thereto.


The second is the absolute and unexamined assumption that The Evil Rightists are abroad, and responsible for all this.


I know that I am by no means the first to point out that 6A / LJ are a corporation, not a government.  They have an almost absolute right to censor content or refuse to host it, as many Learned Friends have pointed out: ‘almost’ of course because there are contractual matters to be considered, and we shall return to that.


In light of that fact, however, I am baffled by the seeming teeming masses who, despite this distinction’s having repeatedly been pointed out, persist in couching the issue as one of ‘free speech’ and the American ‘first amendment’ and whatnot.  As a primary trope of the current fandom reaction includes also saying that 6A / LJ management do not know or are misapplying American law, this sort of mistake of fact only undercuts the fandom reaction and makes 6A / LJ look a bit less idiotic than they in fact are.


I am still more baffled by the presumption that, firstly, the source of the Attack upon Fandom! Oh Noes! is solely on the Right, and, secondly, that 6A / LJ are acceding to pressure because they are secretly sympathetic to the Rightist Hordes.


The Paladinettes of Purity are doubtless on the ‘social right’.  But fandom are claiming that there are others also involved, perhaps more effectively involved, in the Crushing of Fandom! by pressuring 6A / LJ.  For example, GoogleAds are purportedly involved, or so says fandom, and are using adverts-revenue leverage to Oppress Fandom! Oh Noes.


Google are a notorious bunch of Leftists, of the George Soros stripe (and why, pray tell, is that man not in gaol?  I’m still not satisfied with his explanations for Quantum’s trading posture on Black Wednesday, least of all in light of his having been convicted of insider trading in France).  Sergey Brin is a barking moonbat, for example; and Google is notorious for using its adverts arm and its news feed programmes to tilt things leftwards.


And why should that be a surprise?  Look at what happened over at Facebook when random advert placements for First Direct, Vodafone, Virgin Media, the AA, Halifax, and the Pru, ended up on a Naughty Page: the advertisers withdrew the adverts.  Oh, sorry: perhaps the details may help.  The adverts were withdrawn for the sake of political correctness.  The Naughty Page was politically naughty, not risqué: it was the Facebook page for the BNP.  (No, I hold no brief for those dank wankers, but that’s not the point here, is it.)


The Left – at least as represented here on LJ – appear to have a nostalgic view of capitalists: fat white men in toppers and spats, Tory denizens of Clubland.  Rubbish.  An astounding number of the mercantile rich are Leftish and Statist, partly to be fashionable and to gain acceptance from the Makers of Opinion in the press, and partly because they have made a good deal of their money from the State and from Statism.  The press and ‘new media’ and the digital, entertainment, and allied industries, are full to the gills of Lefties, including naturally the chairmen of companies in those industries.


For example, coffeechica – she of the ‘but aren’t pro-anorexia comms support groups?’ blunder – is a self-described pacifist and hippie.  And burr86 has amongst his interests ‘left-wingers’ and ‘liberal left-wing politics’ and All That Shower (we know, of course, from the Great Strikethrough, that listing an interest means being whatever one lists); and of course Mr Berkowitz, not surprisingly, is a contributor to Sen Obama’s presidential campaign.


Frankly, I would not be in the least surprised to learn that some ninety per cent. or more of the personnel at 6A / LJ are to the left of Gorrrrrrdon Brooooouuuuunnnn and even to the left of that invertebrate poon ‘Dave’ Cameron, the Louis-Napoleon of Notting Hill.  It’s the way of the industry.


And I am likewise not at all surprised to see self-identified members of the Left doing any of the things of which fandom are accusing them.  Partly this is because I always expect to see a goodish number of the Left lined up where they have historically been found: ranged against liberty wherever they can oppose it.  Let us be honest: only when a subject is tinged with ‘sex’ do I anticipate seeing any significant number of Leftish types on the protest lines against restrictions on saying what one damned well pleases.  Imagine if you will what the landscape would look like if 6A / LJ were taking this position against, well, the BNP, or a community run by the Paladins of Purity (Ladies’s Auxiliary).  There is a significant strain in the Left’s DNA that is the Nonconformist conscience without the religion: the genes of those Puritans who opposed bear-baiting not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.  There is, after all, a split within the left between those who Support the Pr0n! and those who believe that anyone who Supports the Pr0n! wants to be coshed with the collected works of Andrea Dworkin and sent to a re-education camp.


The actual issue in the current shemozzle is one of contract.  Were one to take advice from Learned Friends, one would hear a good deal about contracts of adhesion, failure or want of consideration, trades practises, trading standards, civil fraud, and All That.  What it comes to, really, is this.  Paid and Permanent Account members paid actual dosh for these services.  6A / LJ rest upon a contract, a ToS, that is rather unclear about a number of issues, but quite clear on at least two, these being, firstly, ‘we can unilaterally change the terms of this contract whenever we like’, and, secondly, ‘no matter what we do, you don’t get any of your money back’, so sucks to you, mate.  In theory, they are contending that they could, tomorrow, without recourse, change the ToS to close all non-US accounts, or delete all accounts with user-names beginning with ‘W’, or ban all self-identified gay men from posting, and keep the money paid by paying clients with non-US accounts or who have user-names beginning with ‘W’ or who are self-identified gay men.  I am not qualified to say whether, in themselves, the ToS contractual clauses are or are not each, separately, enforceable; I can say that I cannot imagine that law or equity – ‘whichever is the lesser’ – could possibly support the proposition that 6A / LJ has the absolute right unilaterally to change its contract with paying clients, give no service in return for the consideration paid, and keep the payments with no right on the clients’s parts to seek a refund.


That is what is at issue in this commercial dispute: not ‘first amendment rights’ (they’re not a government), and not silly claims that they are part of a Rightist conspiracy.  Perhaps if we all keep to the point, we might prevail.  I am certain that if we do not, we shan’t do.


10 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 13th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Not always distinct: vide Section 28....

I do see what you mean, though. (It can also be

In any case, the problem is not the rhetoric of people who are annoyed with LJ.

Well, I also have seen this matter raised, and eloquently. I agree with you on that. However, doddering about the site, what I have seen in quantities that dwarf calm, reasoned argument, are posts that dismiss or don't comprehend the contract and commercial and public relations issue, that bang on about the 'first amendment', and that posit a Rightist conspiracy behind the whole thing. All I am saying is, So long as this is the loudest part of the shouting and the most visible public face of protesting fandom, we are all painted with the same brush, and 6A / LJ can point to those posts and say, Do you expect us to deal with idiots?

Is shemozzle a corruption of the Yiddish "schlimazel" meaning misfortune or unfortunate? How exciting.

Opinions differ. The Anglo-American solicitor and lexicologist Norman Schur thought so; others do not. I'm with Schur. Either way, it IS intriguing, isn't it?
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 13th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

I was meaning to say that there is an argument to be made that there are no Conservatives in the US: the Right there are mostly Gladstonian Liberals.
magic_at_mungos From: magic_at_mungos Date: August 13th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
*confused* Have people been saying that it's a right wing conspiracy? From Strikethrough '07, I got the impression that it was more a hardcore Christian group that was imploring us to think of the children.

As for the Facebook palavar, it's more about their public image than actually having a stand on the BNP. A case of "Oh noes, people will think we're racist"

And as aside, I'm still waiting for Gordon Brown to show some backbone and bring back a mainstream Socialist party. Or at least Old Labour. And good ol' Dave makes me facepalm
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 13th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Some have said that, yes.

I think that that is a mistake, in that it only confuses things.

Rather like Tony Blair did with 'New Labour', actually. (Smirk.)

I assure you, the entire Tory hierarchy is hoping Gordon goes Left also....
magic_at_mungos From: magic_at_mungos Date: August 13th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some have said that, yes.

It's getting to the point where I'm looking for alternatives. Labour isn't Labour any more and they're going about things the wrong way in some areas.

Maybe it's time to emigrate again
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 13th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, don't do THAT.

Pretend Labour are LJ, and refuse to leave until you're deleted.
dolorous_ett From: dolorous_ett Date: August 13th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agree with you that the First Amendment shouldn't be the issue here - and that LJ have handled this whole thing in a way that is both irrational and inconsistent.

Less sure that there's an anti-Rightist panic sweeping the Net. It seems to be mostly questions of freedom of speech versus children's right to protection from sex in the essays I've read. So far the only person I've seen deriding political opponents on the back of this is you.

(and I know it's asking a lot, but could you please not use a Thatcher icon to reply to this? I've had a vile day, and the sight might well push me over the edge).
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 13th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Here. Have an nice, innocuous icon. Sorry, no artichokes to hand.

Sorry to hear of your vile day.

I can speak only to what I in my turn have seen, which has been rather heavy on the 'you at LJ are all Minions of The Man, d00d' and 'you are Tools of the Oppressor' and 'at least we on the Left don't ban books' and 'you are now just a tool of the Bush government' and All That. (These are not essays, in the main, which may be where our experiences differ: they are culled from replies to various news and lj_biz posts, and posts at innocence_jihad and the like.) I don't regard that as 'deriding political opponents on the back of the crisis' on the part of those posting, any more than I consider that that was what I was doing. I do consider it to be confusing the issue, based upon a confusion on the posters's parts about what the issue is, and one that may work against the outcomes we would all of us favour.

But enough of that. Have a cuppa and read a nice book: you deserve to be able to forget this whole mess now you've had the day you've had.
dolorous_ett From: dolorous_ett Date: August 13th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Here. Have an nice, innocuous icon. Sorry, no artichokes to hand.

*sips rapturously* *hands you shortbread and cake of choice in return*

It just goes to show what a big place Livejournal is - the most disturbing posts I've seen so far are the "so what if some people find underage!Colin/Grawp disturbing? They're boring and vanilla and OMG FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!11!" - which you can hardly call political. Though definitely wrongheaded.

Thank goodness common sense and courtesy can overcome all sorts of political disagreements. *salutes you*
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 13th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

So, at the age of fifteen, the little minx is a size queen? (Shudders.)

That is ... disturbing. I may need a REAL drink.

As for disagreements? Pshaw. Next time, I'll bring the cress sandwiches if you'll pour out.
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