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So this is Christmas…

By skepticlawyer

Saturn, slip your fetters and come hither,
December tipsy with much wine,
Laughing Mirth and Wanton Wit;
While I tell the glad festival of our merry
Caesar and the banquet’s drunken revel…

Statius, Silvae

Christmas, of course, does not belong to us.

‘Put the Christ back in Christmas’, we’re always told. ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’ they keep saying. Good people speak these things, earnestly and frequently. Unfortunately for such pious folk, Christmas is related to Christianity in the same limited way as Caesar’s wife is to history: only by marriage. Christ was never really in Christmas. In fact, when you celebrate Christmas by eating too much, drinking too much, feeling up the boss’ wife at the office party, driving the porcelain bus and/or spending a fortune on presents almost, but not quite, entirely unsuitable for the person to whom you gave them, you come rather closer to the real spirit of Christmas.

In the early days of the Church, Jesus Christ got along fine without a birthday. The Gospel writers were as unsure about his birth date as we are now: Matthew tells us that Herod the Great was on the Judaean throne when He was born, and then proceeds to narrate Herod’s massacre of the innocents. Luke, by contrast, times Christ’s birth to coincide with a Roman census. Herod died in 4 BC. Governor Quirinius carried out his census of Judaea in A.D. 6. Considerable interpretive latitude was thus already present in the narrative. No doubt the early Christians knew it and (sensibly) chose to leave well alone. In any case, birthday parties were worldly, pagan affairs, and Christians did not want to associate the good name of their saviour with any of them.

But when Christianity became a faith with claims to universality, the official religion of Constantine’s Empire, this lack of a birthday became something of an embarrassment. Besides, people still expected their twelve days off in December.

Lo! A multitude, handsome and well-dressed
Numerous as those on the benches, makes
Its way all along the rows. Some carry baskets
With breads and napkins and luxurious fare,
Others serve languorous wine in plenty…

Rome’s Saturnalia was a curious mixture of ancient fertility rite and social event. It celebrated the winter solstice, a time when people believed, perhaps, that they needed to make themselves a warm place. It also recalled – for all Romans – a mythical golden age in the distant past when the world was truly merry, a world without war, slavery or hunger.

Romans decorated their doorposts with holly and kissed under the mistletoe. Shops and businesses closed and people greeted one another in the street with shouts of Io Saturnalia! On one day of the twelve, masters waited on their slaves at table while, in the legions, officers served the ranks. A rose was hung from the ceiling in banqueting rooms, and anything said or done sub rosa went no further than the front door. That banqueting could get out of hand is attested to by Seneca, who tells of slaves detailed especially to clean up the spew. The government – in both Rome and the provinces – often laid on free public feasts. In the poem by Statius running through this piece, we’re told how the emperor Domitian held one such feast in the colosseum, somehow combining (and the organisation can only be marvelled at) vast quantities of food with entertainment. The Romans, I should add, had no weekend, no useless and unproductive Saturdays and Sundays, so they looked forward to their sanguinary feriae with considerable relish. The festival of Saturnalia was a time, too, for family dinners, for parties, for amours, for socialising, for wishing others well.

And, of course, the Romans also did something for which the proprietors of department stores the world over should be eternally grateful. They exchanged gifts. Originally (before Rome’s citizens acquired great wealth) these were small earthenware statuettes known as sigillaria. By the end of the first century, however, Martial provides a list of such gifts – with accompanying decorations in verse – that reads for all the world like the David Jones Christmas catalogue: backscratchers, socks, medicine chests, comforters, woolly slippers, board-games, gold-inlaid dishes, jewellery – among other things.

That the commercial aspects of Christmas are Roman in origin should not cause surprise. ‘No one in Gaul ever does business without the involvement of a Roman citizen,’ boasts leading lawyer (and later politician) Cicero in one of his defence speeches, ‘there is not a denarius jingling in Gaul which has not been recorded in the account books of Roman citizens’. Set into the mosaic floors of a number of homes in Pompeii are the phrases Hello Profit! and Profit is Happiness! The Romans were probably history’s first unregenerate capitalists.

Now, as the shade of night steals on
What song heralds the scattering of largess!
Here are young women stirred to lust, easily bought;
Here is all that wins favour with skill and beauty
Buxom Lydians, cymbals of Cadiz, shouting Syrians…

Statius’ picture is a beguiling one, and it is easy to forget that these same Romans could also be rather correct, formal people, militaristic and bloody-minded all at once. Saturnalia, like Christmas, was a time of licence, when people would wink indulgently at each other’s foibles or look the other way. We’ve all heard horror stories about somebody’s brother’s friend’s office Christmas party where the brother’s friend hopes that the boss, his accountant, the head of department, the fellow from the tax office – whoever – will have as little memory of the insults they received as the person who did the insulting.

Christmas is a venerable pagan festival, on a sort of permanent loan from Ancient Rome, and is, perhaps, the very antithesis of Christianity in the lines of its pagan decent. Some of the churches know this, and have left Christmas to the revellers, appalled as much by the Teutonic Christmas tree (which has its origins in Germanic and Norse tree worship) as by the libidinous connotations of too much wine and too little thought, and by the merry jingle of all those cash registers (well, merry beeping these days. The good old capitalistic bell of yore has gone, it seems, the way of the blue suede shoe).

How many years shall this festival abide?
Age will not destroy so sacred a season!
While the hills of Latium remain,
While Father Tiber flows, while Rome stands
With the Capitol you have made -

It will continue.

[Free translations from Statius' Silvae i.vi by me, from text as established in the Loeb Classical Library.]

 

64 Comments

  1. Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    It’s that time of the year when splendid times should be had be all, so put down your political cudgels, people, and share your all time greatest Christmas party stories ;)

  2. Posted December 19, 2006 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Xmas bells for the disturbed.

    1. Schizophrenia — Do You Hear What I Hear?

    2. Multiple Personality Disorder — We Three Kings Disoriented Are

    3. Dementia — I Think I’ll be Home for Christmas

    4. Narcissistic — Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

    5. Manic — Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and…..

    6. Paranoid — Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

    7. Borderline Personality Disorder — Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

    8. Personality Disorder — You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, Maybe I’ll Tell You Why

    9. Attention Deficit Disorder — Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy – can I have a chocolate, why is Franceso far away?

    10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder –Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle, Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells …

  3. Posted December 19, 2006 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The True Cost of Christmas – 22 Year Trends

    Dancers, drummers and pipers up in tight labour market.

    http://www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com/pressRelease.htm

    More detailed breakdown over 21 years

    http://www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com/

  4. Jacques Chester
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Very nice post, though as a quibble I should point out that most slaves, freedmen and workers worked on an 8-day rotation. The day off was usually an anniversary of the day they started working or had been bought.

  5. Posted December 19, 2006 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. You’d think I’d have learned about it from dating a classics major in undergrad for about 2 years, but actually, no.

  6. Posted December 19, 2006 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    What Jacques says is true, actually. It’s just that bucketing the Romans for all their public holidays is a very common trope.

    Even if I do say so myself, I’m rawther pleased with my translations. I’ve got some reasonably decent Martial translations, too. Martial was the Roman equivalent of a cricket/footy tragic, so I’ll save them for Sidelined and the next cricket thread.

  7. Posted December 19, 2006 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. Yabadaba Xmas to all. (Better slogan: Get the Christ out of Christmas!).

  8. Posted December 19, 2006 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Ta Kodjo. Good times to all of you across the water playing in the snow (I’m assuming it’s snowing where you are…)

  9. Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    It was. I just got back from skiing in Switzerland (my excuse for not posting links to the IHT articles, which I read & typed up from paper in flight! Too exhausted on arrival last night to do anything more than post).

    Here in Baltimore it is unseasonally warm, even humid.

  10. Posted December 20, 2006 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    They’ll get the punters stoushing, if nothing else, Kodjo.

  11. GMB
    Posted December 20, 2006 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    You better shut up

    You better have fun

    You better not cry

    I’m packing a gun

    Santa Claus is only here to………….. your mum.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    This is how the underprivelidged young kids experience Christmas.

    Remember always to give to charity.

  12. Posted December 20, 2006 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Graeme is right.

    If I can just put in a plug for the Smith Family (my favourite charity). They certainly made a few Christmasses for me when I was a tacker.

  13. Posted December 21, 2006 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Great post SL.

  14. JC.
    Posted December 21, 2006 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Who are they SL? Have you ever looked into them?

  15. Posted December 21, 2006 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Thanks Nicholas. Have a good Chrissy yourself while you’re at it…

    Don’t know who backs the Smith Family, JC, just that they have a good reputation in the charitable sector (where I spent a year) for both efficiency and compassion.

  16. JC.
    Posted December 21, 2006 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Good Thanks for the info.

  17. Posted January 9, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Do you plan to respond to Clive and Barney?

  18. Posted January 9, 2007 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Note to Catallaxians: two people who obviously have no desire to hang on to their assets have accused me of plagiarizing a 2005 piece on Christmas. These claims were repeated at LP by Liam, Fyodor and FDB. Since then, Mark has deleted the relevant comments because they are obviously defamatory. To do him credit, Fyodor attempted to post a correction. It too has been deleted, however.

    I wrote the first draft of this piece (and did the bulk of the translations) in 1997. The piece was archived for posterity (along with a great deal of my other material) at the National Library of Australia. If you peruse my archive, you will note that the piece appears in every iteration of my material going back to 1998.

    I strongly suggest the parties concerned withdraw the implication that I plagiarized something written in 2005. I should also note I am posting a full account of this matter due to the deletions at LP.

    My archive at the NLA is here: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/tep/10072

    The link to the article in question is here:

    http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/10072/20030203/www.uq.net.au/_enhdemid/christmas.html

  19. Posted January 9, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I should also note that Mark has been forced to place my nic in moderation at LP in order to prevent people making further idiots of themselves. A side-effect of this is that I can no longer comment there either. Please note that this is not Mark’s fault.

  20. JC.
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    SL
    Nice to see Fyodor, FDB and Liam always living up to being the nice guys they are. What a bunch of pricks.

    Liam, i know you’re reading this. Are you gonna apolgise?

    I wouldn’t expect any apology from those other miscreants as they are a walking horror show of lies and distotions.

    Kick them in the balls, Sl and don’t stop.

    Correction, they wouldn’t have a set of knackers.

    I notice Fyodor is back posting at LP after criticising the place to no end and saying he wasn’t going to comment there.. What a low life.

    Since he got pasted here, he wouldn’t dare show his ugly little portrait. Coward.

  21. FDB
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Well let me be forthright in giving a full retraction w/r/t “the thing what Liam linked”, having attempted to do so already at LP. Bummer when an effort to get something potentially defamatory off the web prevents a prompt retraction.

    As to my other remarks;

    a) the pig thing was clearly just you being suckered, and I impute no deliberate dishonesty to you. It was just funny to see it all unravel.

    b) the lawyer crack was meant to be just another flog at a very dead horse – I have no reason to think you do your job in any way other than ethically and professionally.

    c) my allusion to your old career was meant to convey my utter ambivalence about the whole Demidenko thing. I’m sure you’ve had a gutful of it, but for what it’s worth I quite like the intrigue and re-contextualisation that occurs when authors play with identity.

    In short, I was (as you said) going off half-cocked – but mostly in that what was meant to be a humorous way. I knew nothing about the current hoo-ha whatsoever, other than a skim-read of the Forum page, and was just shit-stirring. I say this only to clarify my total lack of animosity/disrespect to you SL, not to eviscerate my retraction – I retract what I said for the obvious offence caused, and for saying it without checking the facts properly. I’m disappointed in myself for letting what amounts to no more than a rumour get the better of me.

    I do take some exception to your suggestion that what I said is somehow related to whether GMB should or will apologise to me about a totally unrelated matter. We both know that nothing will make this happen short of an honour transfusion. Being upset at the slurs on yourself, I can understand why you said it though. No apology sought.

  22. Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for clarifying, skepticlawyer.

  23. FDB
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to know if any money has been made from what now appears to be plagiary of your material, SL. Maybe you’re on a double winner?

  24. Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I can confirm that FDB posted a comment along those lines. We took the decision to delete all comments regarding this matter after being alerted to them via Helen’s email.

    It’s wrong to say, SL, that you can’t comment at LP any more.

    We placed your nick in moderation to ensure that no one made further comments on the matter when we weren’t looking. Unfortunately that has the side effect of holding up any comments from you in the moderation queue as well. It’s the only way we could pre-emptively prevent anyone from raising it again. But, of course, we’re very happy to approve any comments you yourself wish to make on other subjects.

  25. JC.
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Liam

    Are you going to apologise or just thank SL for clarifying?

    Nice skirting the obvious. First impugn and then thank the victim for “clarifying it all”.

    What a miscreant you are, Liam. A total misfit.

  26. Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou Mark. I do appreciate that I haven’t been banned – I thought I made that clear. But if I haven’t made it clear enough, let me do so now.

    Thankyou FDB, your comments are received with gratitude.

    Liam, I don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation. You do, however, owe me (and probably FDB and Mark as well) an apology. I’m sure you don’t want a letter of demand landing in your in-tray at Sydney Uni.

  27. JC.
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I knew the moment you mentioned it, Liam that it was setup.

    I read the passage again and it simply sounded like something SL would write. it was her language.

    What a lowlife turnip you are for making that accusation in that innocent tone of yours.

    The three stooges hey! More like the three parasites trying to feed off a potentially dead corpse. Except this time the corpse wasn’t dead. It just sprang up and bit your nuts off or what there is in place of them.

    Good going doofuses. Good try.

  28. JC.
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Mark of course did the right thing.

    It’s hard to get over how these rabid pricks would do their best to ruin someone over a fucking harmless Xmas passage.

    GB is fucking right about the three of you. You’re bunch of disgusting human beings who would trash someone at the drop of hat.

    Fyodor.
    You cowardly little creep. How would the CBA like it if they knew what you were up to during their time?

  29. Posted January 9, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    To be fair to Fyodor he was the first to backtrack, JC. His retraction got deleted as well as FDB’s and my comments.

    I have not had the desire previously to imitate the Bird, but let’s just say there are some leftists out there who need to take a good long look at themselves. The strategies they use when they want to shut someone up do not reflect well on them as human beings.

  30. Posted January 9, 2007 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Skepticlawyer, you are in the right and I in the wrong. I am sorry.
    I have no in-tray or working space at university; you may have my post-office box number by email if you would like it.

  31. Posted January 9, 2007 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    That is no longer necessary, Liam. I don’t pursue people pointlessly, unlike some of those who seem very keen to go after me because I pissed them off more than ten years ago.

    Your apology is accepted without reservation.

    May I also suggest that – as a doctoral candidate – you take care to investigate allegations of this type carefully, rather than believing them simply because the person so slandered is your ideological enemy?

  32. JC.
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    SL

    It’s not the fact that the CBA employee (fyodor) backtracked. It is more the fact that he was showing his fangs in the first place. Of course he has to backtrack because like the other two horror show stars they all realzied it was wrong.

    The real point is how quick they were off the starting gate to fuck someone over like that without first letting the cards fall where they may.

    Liam was dumped from this site a while ago. Not banned but told to take off becasue his posts are comments are mostly useless drivel and hasn’t been seen since. So at the first sight of blood what was does the berret wearing little turnip do? He makes a comment inferring wrong doing.

    I truly, truly hate that shit.

    I have always stood up against lowrent bullies like that.

    By the way if you want that outing fee up and going to teach Fyodor a lesson, just say the word and I will put it up again.

    Of course he would never comment about things like that under his own name as he is a first rate coward.

    Liam, you went to lunch with him. Tell us his real name or you found morals suddenly.

  33. aml
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Just offering my sympathy to you, SL, about today’s incendiary doings. I read The Hand That Signed the Paper all those years ago before that particular big blow-up. I concluded that what followed said little about you and a lot about some others. Today’s events must have been a nasty kick in the guts.

  34. Posted January 9, 2007 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks aml. Please feel free to return to Catallaxy in the future. If nothing else, today’s little episode has introduced us to a bunch of new readers – I keep having to release all your comments from the moderation filter (everybody’s initial comment goes there – after that you’re free to comment when you like).

  35. Jason Soon
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Fyodor and FDB had the decency to retract fully and in a gracious manner. Liam basically had to have some words coaxed out of him like shit out of a constipated bowel.

    Plus after my last dummy spit he had the nerve to come back here to make not a substantial comment but to bring the dirt over here. I was actually thinking I might have been a bit harsh on Liam but now I see I made no mistake.

    Liam you are a cowardly, dishonest pencil-necked beret-wearing nabob and a blackguard of the first rank. All those hissy fits you’ve thrown here over alleged misrepresentation and we get this little snark and dirt hurling followed by a reluctant retraction from you for making some very serious and false charges. You’ve never been banned but you’re not welcome here and will get nothing but contempt from me, you snivelling ectomorphic twat.

  36. Posted January 9, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jason. aml is actually right. This kind of thing is like a kick in the guts. It’s a constant reminder of the nastiness of some people. I haven’t heard the word ‘blackguard’ for a while, but it’s pretty spot on.

  37. Jason Soon
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    “I haven’t heard the word ‘blackguard’ for a while”

    Well, I’ve been re-reading Sherlock Holmes stories over the holidays. Must’ve been osmosis

  38. JC.
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I preferred “ectomorphic twat”, Sl. But then that’s just me.

    I’m sure GB has a few words to say, But I’ve looked everywhere for the little critter and can’t find. Can’t wait for his input about this.

  39. Posted January 9, 2007 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Yair I wonder where the Bird has flown to. Could be interesting when he turns up.

  40. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Let me email you about this first skeptic before I say anything too rash.

  41. Posted January 10, 2007 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Well, I presumed this thread was more Yuletide stuff so I didn’t click on today when I popped by the blog. Well. I still don’t know the details really but it doesn’t surprise me that SL has again been mistreated. Nor is it surprising to me that it all went down at LP.

  42. Posted January 10, 2007 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I think Graeme has been rendered speechless, CL. That’s got to be a first.

  43. Anna Winter
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Nor is it surprising to me that it all went down at LP.

    Any chance you get, eh, CL?

    I think you’ll find LP was on Helen’s side the whole way. But whatever gets you through the night and all that…

  44. Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    It actually started at OLO, CL. That’s why I didn’t find out about it until after lunch today.

  45. Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    LP – like Churchill’s America – can always be counted on to do the right thing – after they have exhausted all other possibilities.

  46. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    It’s allright to be on Skeptic’s side Anna.

    When it happens to be sheer Serendipity that she had the 100% proof online and on hand.

    What if that had not been the case?

    And when did you guys wipe the comments anyway?

    After or before Skeptic produced the 100% proof?

    And did anyone apologise BEFORE they knew that the 100% proof was to hand?

    This is far more serious than might be assumed because of commie-witch-hunter group-think.

    Because Skeptic isn’t always going to be able to come up with 100% proof at the drop of a hat like that.

    Because of considerations such as the ones touched upon above I’ll be advising her to get geared up for legal action.

    Get all her legal insurance paid up. Stay liquid. Get all the emails written in advance and the letters also.

    Talk to lawyers who specialise in this sort of thing.

    The whole works.

    So that she just needs to push ONE BUTTON.

    When is the left going to leave this woman alone?

    This stuff can be very hurtful. I don’t expect skeptic to show that side of things and I’d advise her not to at all costs.

    But leftists ought to think about this. The thing is I’m afraid that they DO THINK ABOUT THIS and their shadows grow larger and the shadows of their inciser teeth grow larger at a faster rate.

    You see what would be the typical thing to happen now that leftists and worse still even human beings will:

    (sarcasm activated) GENEROUSLY ADMIT (sarcasm deactivated) the stuff that the 100% proof is for……..

    ……. then they will make accusations about stuff they know absolutely nothing about!!!!!!!

    Worst of all they will do this pretending to be on her side with the shit they know absolutely nothing about as the caveat for the stuff they have the 100% proof for.

    They will say sentences like:

    “McCarthy was a fraud, a drunkard, a bully and a lying bastard….. but he just happened to be right about the communists”

    It’s got to be what I call on my blog an ALL-ENEMIES-SPRINGLOADED RESPONSE.

    She has to start springloading now.

    And this wouldn’t be necessary if you leftists weren’t so group-think orientated.

    Remember when I over-reacted to something Mark said on Catallaxy.

    And he wrote something nasty about me in response and fair enough too.

    But you Anna and Kim decided to pile on just then. I saw that. I didn’t like it. I’m not holding any sort of grudge at all. But I remember not liking it and being spooked by your willingness to pile on like that.

    So we know what you guys are like and it’s unfortunate. Because that means the rest of us have to react in such a way that might be somewhat out of character for some of us.

    But I’ll be saying that Skeptic should load up and just wait….. and wait a bit longer…. and wait a bit longer still…..

    And then if nothing happens she ought to make an example out of these three.

    I expect all you leftists with a tiny bit of human being in you to head-kick your fellow leftists for this woman-of-great talent and numerous abilities……..

    I’ll expect all of you to head-kick on behalf of her should the need arise.

    You’ll only be doing them a favour.

    Its no fun being dragged into court.

    It can knock someone around mentally for years afterward.

    But it’s going to have to be done and with extreme predjudice and without mercy or even a backward glance.

    Such is the group-think on the left.

  47. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    “Comments were deleted from a thread at LP after I was alerted to them via email from Helen, taking into account her view that the comments were defamatory of her.”

    TAKING INTO ACCOUNT HER VIEW?

    Now I suppose Mark has been pretty good today and he let me respond to Nabakov.

    But don’t be letting me catch any of you third parties be using such weasel wording.

    This is not something requiring balance, compromise and nuance.

    Mark’s cool. But none of you others be coming up with these half-pie descriptions.

    Better you leftists not to talk about it at all.

    You leftists are just as likely to fuck up bigtime.

    Better you leftists just sit this one out and stay real quiet for awhile.

    Talk about global warming or something.

    By the way.

    Have any of you got some evidence for the likelihood of catastrophic warming yet???

    I didn’t THINK so!

  48. JC.
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    GB’s right SL.

    Teach the three of them that swarming and then apologising after the proof is there isn’t enough.

    He’s got a great valid point that I missed. What would have happened if you didn’t have the proof at your fingertips? You think either of those lifeless, spineless peasants had shown you any mercy? You reckon Fyodor, Liam or FDB would have taken their accusations back and apologised? No friggen way would they have. They would have been at your throat and hind legs ripping away as much flesh as they could for the day’s breakfast.

    You’re protestations would have been for nought.

    In other words they would have glady wrecked your reputation and future without a moment’s thought and would have partied over the carcass the following day.

    Their apology wasn’t an apology at all as a matter of fact. All it was was a reluctant admission you were in the right. That’s all.

    Some of us would have gladly accepted your word (as though we would have asked for it) if you had no proof. You reckon the three hyenas would have? Good luck.

  49. Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    To clarify, GMB, we’re always happy to remove comments which people think defame them. I’m not a lawyer myself so I don’t know if they’re “obviously defamatory” which was SL’s choice of words – that’s what I was getting at on the OLO thread. I didn’t want to belabour the discussion too much because happily right prevailed and thus I think it’s best left alone lest anything else get stirred up by people who don’t think before they type.

    The judgement we made was that it was best to delete the whole discussion and take steps to ensure that no one else repeated the allegations. Certainly, I’m satisfied that the charge was groundless and hurtful to SL. It’s one of the unfortunate aspects of the internet that such charges can be made anonymously and spread quickly. We took action as soon as we were alerted to the comments via SL’s email. The key thing, I think, after the record’s set straight is to ensure that the hurtful and false allegations aren’t repeated, and don’t spread.

  50. JC.
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    That’s great work on your part Mark.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    What’s interesting is that two of those hyenias were attempting to eat raw flesh behind well camouflaged monikers as they’re too cowardly to do it under their own names.

    They would have ripped their way through flesh under cover and wrecked the gal’s future if she didn’t have the proof at her finger tips.

    Over a Xmas thread no less.

    This makes me so friggen angry especially with Fyodor and FDB because the cowards were ready to pounce.

    Liam of course got his thumping a while ago and was the reluctant apologist showing not remorse but unhappiness that it didn’t turn out the way he hoped it seems.

    I’m gonna sleep over this issue as I want to know who is behind the Fyodor moniker so we can see the little coward in his birthday suit.

    If Sl didn’t have the ready proof her future would have been wrecked today.

  51. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Yeah.

    Fair enough Mark. I understand where you are coming from.

    But I just don’t want others getting all NUANCED on us.

    I’m thinking about the possibility of others hiding behind these anonymous little lyncher wannabes.

    I don’t want people on your site acting like there is a sort of middle-of-the-road view to this.

    Better they don’t talk about it. They’ll only screw it up.

  52. Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    I’ll just repeat what I said about FDB for the record – the comment he posted on this thread is an accurate capture of the one he posted on LP before we deleted them all.

  53. Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    And we have no intention of allowing any discussion of this matter by anyone on LP.

  54. Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I must admit I hadn’t thought of that angle either, JC – not until Graeme pointed it out.

    To be fair, I have become so used to the worst sort of scabrous lefties and scabrous journalists (both groups appear to have had a humanity bypass) accusing me of this sort of thing (and much worse things – Beatrice Faust compared me to Martin Bryant) over the past 11 years that I have become very careful about keeping records of what I do – both elecronically and offline.

    OLO have neither deleted the comments nor issued a retraction. One of the original defamers has retracted, but the other has not. I’ll be dealing with them tomorrow. As I’ve made perfectly clear to various parties, people who try this on nowdays will be paying my mortgage out if they don’t apologise and retract. I’m happy with retractions/apologies, though – as I pointed out further up this thread, I’m not vindictive.

    Parties who have done this and gotten away with it in the past are protected only by the statute of limitations. (Robert Manne wrote an entire book about me that is basically lies from front to back. I’m waiting for the bastard to be arrogant enough to repeat himself).

    It was easy for people like him to attack me then because I was poor, unsupported and ignorant. I’m not now. They are on notice.

  55. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    “Some of us would have gladly accepted your word (as though we would have asked for it) if you had no proof.”

    It’s worse then that. She’s been set up for this years in advance.

    And some of us might have doubted her. I would have had some doubt about it as sick as that makes me feel.

    That’s why anyone who capitalises on this has to pay.

    And the other thing is you, me, skeptic, and everyone else is going to make a mistake someday. But it won’t matter except for those who have been targeted by the left years in advance.

    Then they make one mistake and even all their friends abandon them.

    Like McCarthy. Set up by the communists and then the Washington elite and then the smug-leftist-set….. Two adverse TV appearances and he’s gone and hated decades after although he took the heat for the rest of us and never once broke cover on his information source.

    Even abandoned by all his friends.

    Reisman never abandoned him. But just about everyone else.

    Had she not had the 100% proof on hand you and me would have been affected because of all the advanced spade-work the left has done on this woman.

    And think of how young she was when they started.

    She was a young woman. A young SINGLE woman as far as I know.

    It’s because me and you would have been affected that she’s got to smash anyone who hides behind Liam and the others.

    And if nobody else says anything, she should wait and wait and wait and then make an example of these guys.

    Because when is this going to end?

  56. JC.
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Play it a little “trader like”next time SL. Let them go on and think they have you. Let them write pages on the stuff and then rip their fucking jugular with a good legal swoop after the evidence is presented.

    In fact next time say nothing and go on vacation. Then when you come back spring the trap. You’ll catch them by the dozen. It could be a reverse class action but with a difference. This time the “class” is sitting at the defense table – en masse.

  57. Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately you can’t do that at common law, JC – the law expects parties to mitigate their losses, and doing the set up thing would be a clear example of failure to mitigate and as such would be frowned upon by the courts.

    Nice idea, though ;)

  58. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    “To be fair, I have become so used to the worst sort of scabrous lefties and scabrous journalists…..”

    DON’T SAY THIS. Don’t let them think its OK because it’s not OK.

    They’ve got no right to ask you for proof every Goddamned time.

    You stay happy sister.

    And

    ‘Put your faith in (God) your friends but keep your (legal) powder dry’

    And start hoarding any such ordnance.

    Next time don’t make good with the online stuff.

    Just say “Try Me”.

    Make them apologise first. Then think about showing the online stuff only after every last one of those punks has apologised.

  59. GMB
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Oh right.

    I was thinking along the same lines as JC.

    But they have no MORAL right to always demand proof like hanging judges.

  60. Posted January 10, 2007 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    No, no moral right at all.

    Indeed, one of the worst aspects of both the left and the leftist media in the mid to late 90s was a tendency to reverse the onus of proof – that is, anyone they criticised was automatically ‘guilty’ of whatever the allegation may be – whether it was racism, sexism, whateverism – and no explanation could do anything to lift the odium attached to the allegation. I experienced this up close and personal – I assume this is the ‘spade-work’ you’re referring to.

    Of course, the lefties – including lots of the people who had a go at me – are currently copping a fearful bollocking at the hands of righty attack dogs like the Bolta, and they don’t like it.

    At least, however, the righties are generally mockers rather than maulers, and seldom go around reversing the onus of proof or assuming bad faith on the part of their opponents. The only righty attack dog who shares identical characteristics to those he criticises is Piers, who I find very, very irritating.

  61. Posted January 10, 2007 at 3:21 am | Permalink

    JC and Bird describe in stark but truthful terms what could have been wrought here: SL’s reputational destruction just for a bit of a lark – born of her assailants’ malice and mediocrity.

  62. Posted January 10, 2007 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Oh yes, that’s the ‘damage’ that flows from the defamation, CL. Apart from the waste of a day I had set aside for writing (a legal opinion for His Honour this morning, and some novel this afternoon).

  63. JC.
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Sl

    You keep doing what you are doing, you seem to do it well and you offer great writing and ideas for free no less.

    You ever need me to open the safe for legal recourse over this issue just say the word.

    You wrote what by all accounts was a great novel at the age of 22 no less. Rather than enjoying the after glow of success some took it away from you and you’re still paying the price.

    You’re what seems by all accounts a smart, decent, open hearted gal and wish the very best for you.

    Get the legal gun out, pull back the trigger and wait.

    You don’t deserve this shit.

  64. Posted January 10, 2007 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Very much appreciated, JC. I will keep you posted on things.

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