Just some guy.
534 stories
·
7 followers

The Best Brief Ever Written Is an Amicus Brief on Behalf of The Onion

1 Comment and 3 Shares

Here’s how the terrible decision in City of Parma, Ohio v. Novak begins:

Anthony Novak thought it would be funny to create a Facebook page that looked like the Parma Police Department’s. The Department was not amused. In fact, officers arrested Novak and prosecutors charged him with a state crime. Novak was acquitted at trial, and he now argues his constitutional rights were violated in the ordeal. But because the officers reasonably believed they were acting within the law, Novak can’t recover.

That’s very well-written, which is why I’m quoting it. But it’s also wrong.

This guy made fun of the police department on Facebook. “Unsure what sort of case they had,” the Sixth Circuit said—as if they really believed they might have a valid one—the cops consulted the city’s “law director.” He “concluded they had probable cause” to charge Novak with a crime, specifically “illegal use of a computer to disrupt or impair police functions.” And, somehow, two judges both agreed with this and issued warrants. Police arrested Novak, searched his apartment, and took his phone and laptop. He was acquitted, and then very understandably sued the $&@% out of the city and the officers involved. But the district court tossed out his case, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed. Why? Qualified immunity, that hilarious doctrine that protects officers from lawsuits for violating a federal right unless “the unlawfulness of their conduct was clearly established” at the time they acted. As we’ve discussed before, while the theory behind this doctrine isn’t crazy, the way the law has developed is utterly insane.

Anyway, among other things, the Sixth Circuit pointed out that Novak hadn’t just posted fake stories mocking the police department, he had also modeled his page after the department’s, and “deleted comments that let on his page wasn’t the official one.” In other words, the Sixth Circuit criticized a parodist for making his parody look like the original.

Which, of course, is how parody works. And no one knows that better than the people at The Onion, who have been parodying things brilliantly for a long time now. So who better to explain this to the United States Supreme Court—now deciding whether to grant Novak’s petition for certiorari—than The Onion?

No one. That was a rhetorical question.

I urge all of you to read this brief, which is not only a terrific brief, it is also hilarious. I would kill to have the chance to do something like this, and I probably don’t have to explain to The Onion that I don’t mean that literally, although that might be what I want them to think so the person I’ll be replacing won’t see it coming. No, I don’t mean that, probably. Regardless, the authors should be extremely proud of this brief, while they are still able to be proud of things.

I’ll just point out that this brief is so good I think it would win over any reader by the end of the first paragraph, unless that person is Clarence Thomas, and should convince anyone who reads it by the end of the introduction, again unless that person is Clarence Thomas. I actually don’t know what Justice Thomas’s position on defamation is, and my suggestion that he is humorless may not be entirely fair. As you may recall, he did tell a joke in 2013, during oral argument no less.

Anyway, read this brief immediately. It’s terrific.

Read the whole story
lograh
62 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
bronzehedwick
65 days ago
reply
The onion really is our finest news source.
Jersey City, NJ

Double Duty

2 Shares
https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10547050r/
Image: Gallica

In 840 the Frankish Benedictine monk Rabanus Maurus composed 28 poems in which each line comprises the same number of letters. That’s impressive enough, but he also added painted images behind each poem that identify subsets of its letters that can be read on their own.

The final poem of the volume shows Rabanus Maurus himself kneeling in prayer at the foot of a cross whose text forms a palindrome: OROTE RAMUS ARAM ARA SUMAR ET ORO (I, Ramus, pray to you at the altar so that at the altar I may be taken up, I also pray). This text appears on both arms of the cross, so it can be read in any of four directions.

The form of the monk’s own body defines a second message: “Rabanum memet clemens rogo Christe tuere o pie judicio” (Christ, o pious and merciful in your judgment, keep me, Rabanus, I pray, safe).

And the letters in both of these painted sections also participate in the larger poem that fills the body of the page.

(From Laurence de Looze, The Letter and the Cosmos, 2016.)

Read the whole story
lograh
155 days ago
reply
hannahdraper
168 days ago
reply
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete

Life inside a black-capped chickadee nest box

1 Share
Peek inside of a black-capped chickadee nest with this narrated video by birding YouTuber Lesley the Bird Nerd. For 20 engaging minutes, Lesley shares 54 days of a chickadee family’s life, including nest-building, their courtship of food offerings, the first egg, six hatchlings, feeding, and fledging. She also captures footage...

Read the whole story
lograh
227 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

This is magical

jwz
3 Shares

Via, but I couldn't find the original GIF.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.



Read the whole story
lograh
230 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Liberal Education

6 Comments and 16 Shares


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Thank you to patreon typo squad for finding the one typo amongst 8 trillion words.


Today's News:

Remember when people used to read the little blog posts under comics? They don't now, so I can write whole lines of gibberish, squinkle dabyougargh nunglepeep.

Read the whole story
hannahdraper
242 days ago
reply
Fuck it’s perfect.
Washington, DC
popular
241 days ago
reply
lograh
242 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
4 public comments
larryorr2
241 days ago
reply
Brad,

Is this what your tuition went for?

Dad
denubis
241 days ago
reply
That last line broke my soul a little bit. Also, I work in an arts faculty and... ooof this is on the nose.
brennen
241 days ago
reply
Preach.
Boulder, CO
GaryBIshop
242 days ago
reply
Deep stuff!

Great Moments in Taxonomy

jwz
1 Comment
Horrible edge cases to consider when dealing with music.

Pairs nicely with Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names, Time, Time, Time Zones, Geography, Addresses, Maps, Plain Text, Gender, Lists.


Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Read the whole story
lograh
248 days ago
reply
a great collection of links here
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories