[WARNING: extreme satire ahead!]
To The Right Honourable
Clifford J. Shoemaker
Attorney At Law
Dear Mr. Shoemaker,
While skimming the “subpoena” [PDF] you recently served to Kathleen Seidel, my attention was drawn most powerfully to item #5 under “Documents and Things to Produce.” I was struck that the list in question reads like an honor-roll of weblogs whose common focus is respect for Autistic human beings. Admittedly, I was disappointed that neither my name, nor my ubiquitous online moniker, nor any of the titles of my online journals or weblogs, past or present, appeared anywhere on your list. Now, considering how sporadic my activism and writing have been over the years, I suppose I can’t complain.
Nevertheless, this omission suggested to me a possibility I had not previously considered while reading about this subpoena. On impulse, I surfed over to Seidel’s weblog and checked something. Sure enough, with the exception of one botched html tag that your office didn’t bother to edit out, your list is an exact copy of the list of weblogs and sites that appeared in the side bar of Seidel’s blog page under the heading “Autism & Disability Sites & Blogs” [EDIT: several new links, including my own, have since been added].
Now, if I may say so, Sir, that’s some damned fine investigative work on your part. Gotta love them netertoobs, huh? Never has it been so delightfully easy to “round up the usual suspects.”
As any marginally experienced “blogger” knows, inclusion of weblogs and websites in such side-bar “blogrolls,” as they are called, is overwhelmingly arbitrary and opportunistic, a spur-of-the-moment hit-and-miss accumulation of links. Thus, I did not appear in Seidel’s side-bar simply because she had not encountered any of my writings “at the right time,” such that she would feel momentarily prompted to toss my link(s) into the list. This, despite the fact that my last weblog entry explicitly references an instance of Seidel’s past activism, and in fact, links directly to the relevant page on her website; despite my having made such references to her work on countless past occasions; despite even the fact that she and I have had direct e-mail contact in years past. And, most damningly, I only yesterday posted a comment to her weblog, in which I included links to legal resources and information about “anti-SLAPP” laws, and to the “Bloggers Rights” resources at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. While her omission of my link(s) on her blogroll was a reflection only on my own negligence and/or limitations, there is no mistaking my years of unbroken admiration for Seidel and agreement with the spirit and content of her work.
And thus, it is now made apparent by what “criteria” you determined just which “co-conspirators” to implicate in Seidel’s activities. You could just as easily have copied the list of contributors to the Autism Hub weblog aggregator, or the blogrolls of any one of a thousand different weblogs or sites, and your resulting list of potential “perps” would have been no less random, and no more predictably relevant to the case in question. In fact, as it is blatantly obvious that you are simply carpet-bombing random schoolyards here, I’m surprised you didn’t see fit to implicate all of the more than 18,000 members of WrongPlanet.net — the vast bulk of whom are predictably and passionately sympathetic to Seidel’s views on autism, cognitive diversity, and social activism.
It should be noted, of course, that a significant majority of the “co-conspirators” you seek to intimidate are also, like Seidel herself, quite hostile to the contemporary business practices of the “Big-Pharma” juggernaut you so vaingloriously purport to be opposing. Likewise, my own contempt for the glorified drug-pushers is a matter of public record. But those facts are surely nothing more than a minor inconvenience to you. After all, when there’s money to be made, I’m sure that such an unflinchingly adept legal mind as your own would have no compunctions about misrepresenting the interests of tens of thousands of mere citizens — especially when most of the citizens in question have already been deemed by popular opinion to be of little or no value to society.
So, I hereby invite you to add my name to your list of witches to be hunted down and burned, and be assured, none of this will reflect badly on so noble a figure as your esteemed self. A personage of your stature may harass the entire blogosphere with impunity, and look good in doing it. As for Autistics, and those who are naïve enough to respect them, who cares what they think? No one reads their weblogs anyway. They have nothing to say, and no right to say it, and that’s as it should be, since they’re not really human anyway.
In my case, owing to my status in this society of yours, dispensing with me should be even easier for you, both legally and morally, than wiping a squashed gnat off the windshield of your new Rolls. Since I live in subsidized housing, and since my family pays my rent and all my meager living expenses, I have no direct financial dealings with anyone. That means I have no financial records of any kind. And that means I should make an extraordinarily easy target for your sporting pleasure — you can frivolously implicate me in any number of alleged “crimes,” and I will have absolutely no means of defending myself. In fact, countless members of the Autistic community you’ve targeted are every bit as powerless as I am. We’re like fish in a barrel, just waiting for your next round of target practice. Easy meat. We promise to be short work for you. Like drowning lame kittens in a gunny-sack. Great fun!
In other words, Bring It On, Big Man.
“WE ARE ALL KATHLEEN!”
David K. March