A Savage Lack Of Irony [Jun 10, 2003]

Today I pull back the veil of my "character," which I do in this space periodically to rally you, loyal citizens of the Internet, when one of our own is threatened by the ever-swirling forces of proto-fascist censorship that have overtaken our government and our media. What am I talking about? Let me explain.

Radio-talk-show and weekend MSNBC host Michael Weiner, otherwise known to his half-dozen viewers and listeners as "Michael Savage," has filed a lawsuit against three websites to punish them for making critical comments about him. According to Savage's lawsuit, the sites, Take Back The Media, Michael Savage Sucks, and Savage Stupidity, have appropriated his name without his permission for commercial purposes, among other alleged crimes. This, of course, is nonsense.

In an excellent editorial, Don Waller of Take Back the Media spells out the issue better than I possibly can:

"We should get something straight here - this isn't about any of the charges in the lawsuit. It's not about loss of revenue, it's not about trademark infringement or defamation or damage to Weiner's reputation. It's not about any of these things.

It's about a large corporation attempting to take away the free speech of regular Americans with a point of view. It's about people with deep pockets using money and influence to run roughshod over people who don't agree with them.

It's about a radio blowhard with pitifully thin skin, whose radio show is failing miserably, and whose TV show can't even finance itself through national advertising due to its toxic, stunted, hateful, pathetic content, taking out his failure on web sites who speak truth to power. It's about boosting ratings, and providing talking points, and throwing red meat to a tiny audience who can't raise themselves out of bed in the morning unless they have a target for their festering hate."

At the end of the commentary you can read the lawsuit for yourself and make your own judgment. My judgment, however, has been made. We need to fight back, as a community, in defense of these three websites. That's why I'm proposing an Appropriate Michael Savage's Name For Your Own Purposes day on Thursday, June 26.

That's right. On Thursday, June 26, any of you with a website should appropriate Michael Savage's name for your own purposes. Flood The Zone, as the Republicans like to say. Savage won't be able to sue all of us. If he tries, he'll look like a bigger idiot than he already does.

I tried this tactic once before, on April Fool's Day, in response to Dick and Lynne Cheney's harrassment of our good friends at Whitehouse.org. Hundreds of us made fun of the Cheneys, and that story went away. But this one won't, because Savage, unlike the Cheneys, doesn't have anything better to do. If he somehow manages to win this lawsuit, it would be a stab in the heart of free speech in America. So let's not let him win. Right or left, Republican or Democrat, ideological or not, we all love our freedom of speech. So let's show Michael Savage we have no fear.

Thursday, June 26. Appropriate Michael Savage's Name For Your Own Purposes, whatever those purposes may be. Sharpen your Internet parody blades. Go to it, people.

Neal