Competing Views on the Auto Admit Story: Define “Awesome”

Caps Lock:  Awesome?

Caps Lock: Awesome?

Portfolio Magazine recently did a remarkably in-depth piece on the Auto Admit story.

Never one to let facts get in the way of a good opportunity to make an unsupported swipe, Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Professors, probably one of the most intellectually dishonest “academics” to ever stain the title, crowed “Brittan Heller and Heide Iravani are awesome” and selectively quotes the parts of the Portfolio article that support her chosen perspective that these were “awesome” people.

Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice isn’t sure that Bartow understands the definition of “awesome.” He brings the other side of the debate forward: That Heller and Iravani were simply throwing a temper tantrum in the courts.

Now I may be a bit blind to something, not being as politically correct as some, or perhaps not being as myopic as others, but I fail to see how anyone, regardless of one’s blind devotion to feminist orthodoxy, can call two women who wrongfully and disgracefully destroyed the life of a young man solely because he was the only one they could find to hurt “awesome”. Is there some disease that infects the feminist law professor mystique that relishes harming an innocent 20 year old male, no matter what? (source)

I too find nothing “awesome” about bringing a lawsuit that, perhaps justified against some defendants, was clearly frivolous against others. These “awesome” individuals had to have known that their suit against Anthony Ciolli, “Beach Body Brady,” and Ryan Mariner (“A Horse Walks into a Bar Association”) had no foundation whatsoever – and the claims were questionable, at best, against others. Worse than that, how they conducted themselves post-suit was clearly worthy of disdain, not praise. Read this complaint and ask yourself if the defendants in this action were “awesome.”

While Heller and Iravani started out as the victims of malicious slurs on the discussion boards, they turned it around and went on the attack. The problem isn’t that they stood up for themselves, though many questioned their motives, calling them two elitist, self-centered brats who couldn’t bear not being in control of others. Some suggested that it was this demeanor that gave rise to their problems, bringing the ire and disdain of their classmates down on them like a hail of feces. After all, the attacks against these young women appeared to come from the same people they sat with daily. Maybe, just maybe, some of their classmates at Yale Law School didn’t think as well of them as they thought of themselves? (source)

Witch Hunting:  Not Awesome

Witch Hunting: Not Awesome

I agree that the initial online smears against Heller and Iravani were unfair, uncool, and uncalled for — even if they might have somehow invited them (and I have no reason to say that they did invite them). Nevertheless, I find it impossible to agree that they were “awesome,” for how they dealt with it. If you are a victim of unfair treatment, fighting back is commendable. Simply flinging harm at other undeserving parties is not awesome in the least – unless one uses “awesome” in the context of “awesomely poor judgment” or “awesomely foolish” or “awesomely unfair.”

13 Responses to Competing Views on the Auto Admit Story: Define “Awesome”

  1. […] Greenfield vs. Ann Bartow vs. Marc Randazza on the AutoAdmit online-bathroom-scrawl litigation, all in turn playing off a David Margolick piece […]

  2. Ari says:

    I kind of felt bad for them…until the lawsuit. Now I’d rather say they deserve what they got, retroactively, for being heinous and vindictive #@)(%s. They really shot themselves in the foot on this one, IMO.

  3. what a waste of time says:

    I just read the complaint. For those who read Shakespeare, you’ll know I’m committing no grammatical error in saying this suit is unmeritable.

    Mr. Cohen is to blame. All he had to do was come out publicly and say that Mr. Ciolli was without fault re editing the message board. Defendants were under no obligation to believe Mr. Ciolli’s assertions that he had no editing authority at AutoAdmit. Mr. Cohen could have made that abundantly clear early on, but chose not to do so. While the legal questions are complex, the moral subtext couldn’t be clearer: Cohen’s was just as indifferent about how certain misinformation impacted Mr. Ciolli as he was about how the two young women were maligned by the anonymous commentators on his website.

    Additionally, Mr. Ciolli is to blame for affiliating at all with a website serving as a septic tank for the most inane, racist, sexist, ignorant and vile commentary available on the web. The whole enterprise debased its commenters and demonstrated Mr. Cohen’s reckless abandon. Mr. Ciolli now suffers the same consequences that he perpetuated through his support of that enterprise. In this instance, justice is poetic. Juror’s will not identify with Mr. Ciolli and will ultimately reject his meritless claims.

    Signed, PWNR of AutoAdmit

  4. Mr. Ciolli is to blame for affiliating at all with a website serving as a septic tank for the most inane, racist, sexist, ignorant and vile commentary available on the web.

    You haven’t seen much of the web, have you?

    You can find child pornography in Yahoo! newsgroups. Should their employees stage a mass walkout, or suffer the consequences of being “affiliated with” Yahoo!?

    Also, you are missing a key point: Whether Ciolli had the right or the power to edit the message board or not, the case against him was still frivolous. If he had the authority, Section 230 still protected him. If he did not, then the case was factually *and* legally unsupportable.

    I know by tracing your IP address that you are a Dworkinite who simply can’t fathom the fact that the parties with the vaginas can be wrong (I wont out you since you chose to sign with a pseudonym). But come on, you’ll need to bring more than this idiocy to this blog if you want to be a PWNR of anything.

  5. r u serious?! says:

    As to your first point, Mr. Cohen was his direct supervisor, so your analogy about a mass employee walkout at Yahoo! is unconvincing. Mr. Cohen should have written a letter to that law firm exonerating your client. Your client could have kept his job under those circumstances. Are you representing both of them or something? That’s a clear conflict.

    Second, your inability to see the folly of your client’s position must be rooted in the resident sexism from which your reply to me arose. Try explaining to a jury, which will inevitably contain women (with vaginas), that Section 230, an affirmative defense, somehow colors the elements needed to succeed in your lawsuit. You haven’t done enough abuse of process suits to know that your burden of proof is a mile high and your damages will be nominal, at best. Your intuition is correct: women will intuitively reject your claims. My wife finds them amusing.

    And thanks for not “outing” me by not revealing my mother in law’s name, which you brilliantly (predictably) deduced from a standard IP trace. I see you’ve been working on your own cyberbullying techniques. You specialize in threatening to “out” elderly women who don’t agree with you. It’s pathetic.

  6. Mr. Cohen should have written a letter to that law firm exonerating your client.

    Why? It was legally irrelevant.

    Are you representing both of them or something? That’s a clear conflict.

    It is? I disagree that it would have been, but Mr. Cohen had separate counsel.

    y explaining to a jury, which will inevitably contain women (with vaginas), that Section 230, an affirmative defense, somehow colors the elements needed to succeed in your lawsuit.

    It isn’t my lawsuit. Mr. Ciolli is represented by a different lawyer in his Pennsylvania action. Work on those reading comp skills.

    I see you’ve been working on your own cyberbullying techniques. You specialize in threatening to “out” elderly women who don’t agree with you. It’s pathetic.

    It is “bullying” to disagree with you. I see. And this seems really funny coming from someone who screeched that AutoAdmit should log IP addresses, and that allowing anonymous posts is somehow an evil thing. I *do* log IP addresses (as I’m sure you saw in my terms of use).

    I also see no “threat” to do anything in my post. I merely figured out who you are, which means that I can short-cut my questions about why you are so bitter about this topic. I see no way how outing you would even cause you harm or embarrassment, but I’ve respected your desire for pseudonymity.

    Chill out. You’ll feel better.

  7. Oh, I particularly love this one:

    You haven’t done enough abuse of process suits to know that your burden of proof is a mile high and your damages will be nominal, at best

    You’re right. I have only done one abuse of process suit. Lets see how that worked out.

    • Dan Silas says:

      Ciolli’s abuse of process and wrongful initiation claims were dismissed by the district court in 2009.

  8. […] which I disregard the drama of Beertown, and focus on my real game, genuinely formidable people:  Marc Randazza and Scott Greenfield, writing about the AutoAdmit […]

  9. […] Google was in court this week over allegedly defamatory comments made on an anonymous blog that the search giant hosts. Chris Thompson’s post describes the gory details, including references to two of our favorite cases: Hot Chicks With Douchebags and AutoAdmit. […]

  10. beth says:

    Hi Marc,

    I am interested in this topic, and have some questions for you, if you do not mind, regarding your take (maybe even unrelated to this specific case) on the problems involved in online identity/anonymity. Perhaps if the names were not protected/erased from the website records, the right people could be held responsible for online harassment. What do you think of that? From a legal standpoint?

    I included my email address. I would greatly appreciate any input you have. Thank you,
    Beth

  11. […] supporting Lemley. It is just her latest diatribe on the case (see commentary on a previous one here), further demonstrating that second-wave feminists have turned the Auto Admit case into their […]

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