Monday, September 01, 2003
Streisand: Fair & Balanced, too?
File this under "When will they learn, part II" (Subcategory: Celebrity Stupidity)
A few short weeks ago, I railed in this very space against Fox's lawsuit versus Al Franken. That case, which has since become widely known as the "Fair and Balanced" lawsuit, had the perverse effect of catapulting Franken's book to the top of Amamzon's best seller list.
To add insult to injury, the Federal Judge on the case not only tossed the suit, he mocked Fox for being on the wrong side of a 1st Amendment case.
Fox execs have since "leaked" that they knew the case was a loser from the gitgo, but they were placating their signature star, Bill O'Reilly. It turns out that Franken had gotten the better of O'Reilly at some bookfair broadcast on C-Span. Wittle Billy's feewings were huwt, and daddy Fox was twying to make it awl better.
The Moral of that situation made it clear (at least to any one with half a brain) that in a modern, networked society, censorship works not to suppress an "undesirable" item, but rather operates to generate incidental exposure and publicity, thus promoting the object of the censorship.
Along that vein, I recently became aware of a new litigation very much along the same lines of Fox vs Franken. It seems that Barbra Streisand, well known for espousing an environmental agenda, sued the California Coastal Records Project, a "landmark photographic database of over 12,000 frames of the California coast shot since 2002."
Streisand was asserting that the inclusion of a single frame that includes her blufftop Malibu estate invades her privacy, violates the "anti-paparazzi" statute, seeks to profit from her name, and threatens her security.
The irony of this, is that had she never sued, the unlabeled photograph of home would have been one of 12,000, and no one would have been any the wiser. Prior to the lawsuit, her name was nowhere to be found on the California Coastal Records Project. Her home would have merely been "3850.jpg;" -- No name, just one photo out of 12,000. Instead, the story has been picked up by the media, and her home has been identified, and reposted around the internet. Kinda like this -
Folks, can you see the delicious irony here? Fox and Streisand, hardly political bedfellows, find themselves lumped together with the radical islamic clerics who sought to supress Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses --and incidentally made it one of the most purchased, least read books in the history of movable type.
This is Public Relations 101, People!
I'm proud to display and identify Streisand's home; Based upon her behavior, its obviously what Babs wants -- more publicity for the mansion -- and as someone who likes her music, I'm only too happy to oblice her. I suggest that anyone with a blog post and repost this photo.
In a modern society, if you want something to go away, IGNORE IT. Making loud, whiny complaints -- and that especially includes litigation -- only draws attention to the item you want suppressed. The supresser functions as a publicity machine for the item sought to be supressed.
When will these people ever learn?
UPDATE: DECEMBER 3 2003 -- A Los Angeles judge today threw out Barbra Streisand's $10 million suit against a California environmental group that posted a photo of the singer's cliffside Malibu estate on its web site. In a 46-page tentative decision, the summary from which you'll find below, Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman declared that the aerial photo's publication was protected by the First Amendment and, to boot, was not "highly offensive to a reasonable person." Swatting away Streisand's claim that her privacy was violated, Goodman stated, "As a matter of law, there is nothing private or personal" about the photo, a copy of which you'll find at right. Making matters worse for the performer, Goodman indicated that he is ready to award legal fees to the California Coastal Records Project and the group's founder Kenneth Adelman, who snapped the image which so offended Babs.
Streisand goes coastal over Web photo effort
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