Friday, October 20, 2006

Former overnight radio host Art Bell, purveyor of the strange, the unexplainable and the crackpot conspiracy theory, is apparently miffed that some people are concocting a few odd theories of their own about his wife's sudden death in January and his quick remarriage to a 21-year-old Filipino woman he met online.

If you're wondering, Bell is 60.

In any case, this wouldn't normally mean anything to me -- far be it from be to impune the character or motives of a man who made his fortune talking about UFOs and waited at least a few days before firing up his webcam link to the Philippines -- except Bell has now threatened Rogers Cadenhead with a lawsuit if he doesn't pull comments made by readers in response to a few columns Cadenhead wrote.

I'll leave it to you to visit Workbench yourself and see if you think Bell has a leg upon which to stand. I don't think he does thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, but the bigger issue here is how responsible bloggers are for the comments their blogs receive.

Fortunately, I don't have the same problems Rogers does, mainly because the only comments I receive are from anonymous bots telling me they can eNLarGe my peNi5. Yeah, right -- like anyone could do that.

I hope it doesn't end up in court because of the expense of defending yourself against an apparent moron like Bell, but in a perverse way, I'd like to see a case. I would imagine that any lawsuit that might involve Art Bell taking the stand on his own behalf would end badly for him.

Lawyer: "You're Art Bell, is that right?"
AB: "Yes, I am."
Lawyer: "So you're the guy who thinks we reveal our innermost truths in reverse speech, thinks the Air Force has technology given to them by aliens? You're the guy who's made his living spinning out ridiculous conspiracy tales, and yet when a few people say something might be fishy about your wife's sudden demise and your marriage less than four months later to a 21-year-old Filipino woman, you sue not the people saying such things, but the person who runs the web site where they posted them, even though he said nothing bad about you?"
AB: "Err ... yes."
Judge: "Right. Case dismissed. Your credibility is about as good as Aleksey Vayner's."

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