Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lawsuit Against Cartoonist Dropped

Better late than never, I hope, comes the news that the bullying lawsuit against Mike Peters has been dropped. Thanks to Andrew for bringing me current.

Along the way we've heard some interesting facts about the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, and some interesting theories about their real life relationship to unsavory groups. I'd love to dig more, but for now I'll stick to webcomics.

It sounds like the whole thing was trumped up to extract some free press, and was never intended to be kicked out of court as being ridiculous. Some readers invoked the right of everyone to have their day in court and related concerns, not without merit. But I'll offer this: if you think court rooms are more competent than any other government agency, you've never pursued (or defended) a case. Their indifference to people's lives and commitments can be devastating.

Dragging someone into court to respond to the weak charges of monied interests is a form intimidation, even of terrorism, no different than the infamous SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Court proceeding are sluggish, with even small claims cases requiring a year for a decision. Holding someone hostage in the system is why we have summary judgments and cases thrown out. Criminal defense attorneys who drag hearings out over a year are playing the same game in reverse, hoping to wear down interest in prosecution.

It kind of bummed me out to read about Mike Peters being all apologetic and kissy-face with a delegation from the Federation, but syndicate cartoonists live in a very different world. I also find forgiving bullies rarely works. The old saying comes to mind: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

I am editorializing far from my main areas of knowledge but perhaps I have something to contribute. It won't be the last time, I'm sure. Here's the main article...

From the good ol' Daily Cartoonist:

Colombian Coffee Drops Lawsuit

Let's hope letters written by readers give our friends pause, because I've got some wicked cartoon ideas...

There's also the possibility of suing the coffee growers federation for putting pieces of Juan Valdez in our coffee. I might possibly get some free media, and I'd drop the suit after a few days, having manipulated people to line my pockets/

One last comment for those who leaned more sympathetic to our Colombian neighbors, and I wish I said this before: Juan Valdez is a fictional character. The cartoon jokingly suggested that something that doesn't exist is in Colombian Coffee. I would have enjoyed hearing the Colombians' explanation of how this could happen.

I myself think the Flying Spaghetti Monster is in Colombian coffee.

"Juan Valdez's iconic appearance is frequently mimicked or parodied in television and other media." - Wikipedia

Valdez was invented by an American advertising company and voiced by an American actor. He has been played on TV by two different men.

The wounded national pride card was played. I couldn't help noticing that crowd scenes of Colombians feature a wide range of skin tones, but national beauties like Miss Colombia and the people in travel brochures look like this: