April 19, 2002

Leave it to the American

Leave it to the American court system to sound stuffy and humorless while at the same time produce comedy gold. According to my favorite cyber stopping ground, news of the odd, "A California state appeals court has ruled it is not libel to call someone a 'skank' or even a 'big skank' on the radio -- describing the word as 'a derogatory slang term of recent vintage that has no generally recognized meaning.'" Tell me this isn't incredibly funny. It's officially legal for me to call anyone I want a skank, because no one is really sure what a skank is.
"Dude, she is such a skank!"
"Huh? What do you mean by that?"
"You know, she's skanky. She exudes a particularly skanky quality that makes her truly a skank. She's the queen of skankdom."
"I don't get it."
"Dude, what's the matter with you? Are you some sort of skank or something?"
"I'm not sure"
But, the story gets even better. The suit was brought by a former contestant on "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire," who was suing a San Francisco radio station program that called her names after she refused to appear on their show. Other names leveled against her included "local loser" and "chicken butt," both of which were also deemed by the court to be too vague to be considered libel.
"The appeals court rejected the plaintiff's claim that she was libeled, saying there was no way to prove that the disc jockeys had knowingly perpetrated a falsehood by describing her as a 'local loser,' a 'chicken butt' and a 'big skank.'" Hey, this stuff is just too rich to make up on my own. But, let's hear what the court itself had to say about the matter:
"The terms local loser and chicken butt are not actionable because they are too vague to be capable of being proven true or false," the court said.
Exactly what type of criteria would be used to verify whether someone was a chicken butt? This could be a rich field of scientific study, I'm sure of it.
"Well, the butt has a certain egg-shaped quality to it, but with an absence of feathers or a beak, I'm inclined to dismiss this posterior as a chicken butt."

Posted by Ryan at April 19, 2002 11:18 AM
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