You know what's interesting about the law is how people can wrap themselves in it like a protective overcoat when they need to.
I'm thinking of Blake Shelton, who calls himself a country singer. He likes to promote a rakish image of himself. He told CNN in 2011, "My heart and soul is about being a redneck...and drinking...and being stupid, you know?"
Words that will echo through the ages.
But a judge says that even though Shelton says he drinks a lot, that doesn't mean that an In Touch Weekly magazine story claiming he has a drinking problem is protected speech.
Picture this, if you will: young men and women grow up and study hard so they can get out of high school and into college and then law school. And they learn the laws and pass the exams and are qualified to go to court and help society hammer out the thorny issues that need contemplation, such as, is it ok for someone to say the things about you that you say about yourself?
In Touch ran a cover story on Shelton last fall. In big bright yellow letters, the headline screamed REHAB FOR BLAKE.
That was not quite true. Shelton never has been in rehab and the magazine was wrong to say so, although they say that saying so was not libel because "it would be entirely commendable for Shelton to seek rehab considering his undisputed history of bragging about his own drunkenness and his well-publicized behavior while under the influence of alcohol.”
So, their defense is, well maybe he didn't go to rehab, but we think he SHOULD have, so we said he did.
So here we are with one person boasting of his contumacious behavior while under the influence of alcohol.
And a magazine saying that that gives them the right to say anything they want about that person.
And a country full of people willing to fork over $2.99 to read stuff that may or may not be true about people they may or may not ever meet.
I'm so confused.