Why write about Shutuppery? Why engage people in debate, or report responsibly on their activities, especiallyif they have a habit of suing people?
The only thing that makes it worthwhile is the knowledge that when someone tries to shut you up, they are already the loser. They have already ceded the moral high ground, and have adopted the tactic of the censor.
Bill Schmalfeldt tells us he is being harassed, not because he actually is, but because he has lost an argument. We say he’s terrible, based upon his writings and actions. He says he recently had a sterling reputation, and that he is actually a good person. We say “Yuck. I just threw up in my mouth.” See this excellent piece by Ken White of Popehat. Read this from The Other McCain. The full body of John Hoge’s Schmalfeldt material is here.
Oh sure, there are unkind words and even pictures of Bill’s wife on the internet. He has a point: Rude is rude. On the other hand, Bill has had to go out of his way to see this stuff, even visiting websites where he knows there is offensive material.
But Bill has given much more rudeness than he’s gotten. And especially important, Bill has involved non-combatants. People who knew nothing of Bill Schmalfeldt, woke up some morning to find that Bill had contacted their employer. I know of a disabled man who was the subject of a Billdox. I know of another person whose father was accused of sexual abuse. This sort of activity is long term, perhaps as long as a decade.
In other words, we did not make Bill mean, he was that way long before we knew him. His meanness is not a reaction, it is his default.
Occasionally people new to the situation see a moral (or immoral) equivalence between Bill and his critics. Bill’s nasty, and some of the Zombies and Lickspittles are tough. If you’re new to this issue, it might seem that a bunch of cranky people are arguing on the internet. Here’s where we differ from Bill: The Lickspittles and Zombies only want to write freely, without lawsuits or other legal interference. John Hoge would really like Bill to never again contact him. Bill wants to pretend that quoting him, or commenting on him is a crime or a civil tort. He’s wrong.
Bill Schmalfeldt will not be able to shut me up. As an internet comedian, author and self-styled investigative journalist, Bill Schmalfeldt has put himself front and center. Sometimes he puts himself rear and center, so don’t bend over. You can’t on the one hand spend decades trying to become well known, and then shrink like a violet when others criticize you.
The purpose of this blog is to honestly and professionally document efforts to force others to shut up. Bill Schmalfeldt and Brett Kimberlin’s lawsuits have only made them more newsworthy. Expect more, not less on the internet about these two.