"Week of Wu."
Just for the record, let's remind ourselves of who he is.
He does NOT work with the Stanford Fair Use Project attorneys who are representing RDR books in the Lexicon lawsuit.
Tim Wu is a Columbia Law Professor and writer. Last week he led part of a panel discussion in New York called "OnCopyright 2008." That is his field of interest, and yes, he has strong opinions. Everyone should already know that because he wrote an Article for Slate in January entitled "J.K. Rowling's Dark Mark: Why she should lose her copyright lawsuit against the Harry Potter Lexicon." That's a very simple, straight-forward title. So it shouldn't be a secret that he has an opinion about this case.
However, when he wrote the short vignette in the New Yorker entitled Fan Feud , it caused quite a stir, as my readers know (see the past few entries for details). He also wrote a follow-up on his blog What's New With Wu in which he restated his view.
Some in Fandom feel his article was a cheap shot at people who are already upset. For instance, Sue, one of the regulars on Leaky Cauldron's Pottercast who was actually quoted in Wu's now famous vignette has now blogged about her feelings: The Elephant in the Room.
Case in point: The recent flap over the Tim Wu story in the New Yorker strongly reminded me of the tactics a lawyer might sometime pull in court-not one taught in law school as Mr. Wu would probably tell you, but one that happens when perhaps you feel backed in a corner and want to strike out in any way you can and win and win and win: you know, when they say something and the opposing attorneys cry 'foul!" and the Judge completely agrees and instructs the jury to disregard-then the attorney will say 'sorry your honor,' and then turn away with a bit of a smile, triumphant... for the goal has already been achieved-planting that seed of doubt in the mind of the jury, and yes, frankly it will remain, even though technically its not to be admitted officially, it's out there-message sent and received loud and clear. Doesn't make it right does it?, but there it is.
Speaking for myself, I kinda think this is was exactly the intent of the piece, and you can make all the apologies about the misquoting and distorted intent you want, but the damage has been done. From what I understand, corrections are apparently to be printed (read 'buried') later in the coming days..Pffft- yea this will take place when no one will see them-lets be honest, how many people read those tiny print corrections that show up weeks later? seriously? He got his point out, wound made, more anger more discussion more 'blood' drawn-so who exactly won is what I am wondering? who benefited out of that piece? I am not without some compassion for my friend, and again I still consider Steve to be my friend and um NO I do not think that by saying 'he has been vilified' or he is vilified, is me being inaccurate, being a bad friend, nor a bad person, for as his friend and former colleague its been horrifying to see this happen as it would be to watch the same happen to anyone you know, I mean come ON and it has been happening every single day, as it has been happening to Jo but to a lesser extent I think-
-but anyway, to me I found that article to be so inaccurate and unfair and beneath all involved frankly-unfair to Melissa and unfair to Steve. I have not talked to him regarding this matter, but I was appalled how badly it made people look and Steve, even though he surely is hurting (and yes I believe that M and Jo are hurting too yep, as are the lovely people of the Lexicon esp Bel who I adore and Lisa who I think very highly of, these are two good and decent people why should they be shunned so?)-it looked as if he was just lashing out and it killed me that we've gotten to this point. Why is malice and anger winning the day? why? WHY???
An alternate view to that is a comment written on Kristin Devoe's Blog "The Daily Prophet" in reference to the New Yorker story. Karen Brown author of the book Prejudice in Harry Potter's World wrote her own opinion of the Leaky Lounge, deleted posts, sympathy for Steve Vander Ark, and the so-called impartiality of fandom. I think she speaks for many of us who are still Harry Potter fans, and who are not personally involved, but still have a right to our alternative opinions.
I’ve always loved the Leaky site and I admire Jo Rowling; and I’m glad to count myself as one of the fanbase. Still, I have to say that we are a little bit mis-guided in thinking that we are being fair in all of this. I’ve written posts on Leaky calling for some sympathy for Mr. Vander Ark–NOT because I condone what he has done, but rather because I think if he says he feels persecuted and vilified, he has more than enough reason to feel that way…because he is. I mean, let’s call a spade a spade. Some of us seem to want to say in the same breath A). “he has no right to feel that way because we are not persecuting him,” and B).”he deserves it anyway because he has done something horrible and unforgivable.” This is a contradiction in argumentation, and I’ve been trying to bring this to most of my fellow HP fans’ attention. We are waving Jo’s banner and at the same trying to come across and “completely” fair and impartial. We are saying things like “We are with you all the way Melissa/Jo/WB” and at the same time insisting that this is not a fan war. Who are we fooling? And who are we to decide that another human being deserves “no mercy” and “no sympathy.” We are not God. And neither is Jo Rowling for that matter.
Meanwhile, my posts on Leaky are being edited when I comment on these things, even though my statements are far less aggressive than some of what I sometimes see on there. Basically, if it doesn’t 100% concurr with the popular view, then it is not allowed. This disturbs me.
I say let the judge decide and let Jo sort out her issues with Mr. Vander Ark…The fact that he has lost the favour and respect of his idol is hard enough. He doesn’t need legions of HP fans turning on him too. This, in my opinion, is cruel and uncalled for.
Comment by Karen A. Brown, author of Prejudice in Harry Potter — May 8, 2008 @ 9:16 am
Tonight an interesting encounter on Leaky in which Melissa accused the poster kbnthomas of being Karen Brown, and demanded a retraction of the comment posted above. About the deletions - many people who support Steve Vander Ark have been deleted on Leaky. I don't see how we can "prove" that now, since the posts are, by definiton, gone. If Melissa wants to open up her logs for a day and let us see the names of the people deleted in the past three months, that might convince me, so I would urge her to "prove" that we haven't been deleted.
Posted by kbnthomas:
Here's what I just don't get. Why all the emphasis on "fair". This is a fan forum. There is no presumption of neutrality here. There's no reason to fly the flag of fairness.
I come to Leaky and I see illustrations from Mary Grand Pre and images from the movies and pictures of JK Rowling, and I assume all these are used with permission from Bloomsbury/WB et al or they would have been removed. TLC visits the movie sets, they have been flown to England to interview the author. It's not exactly a leap of logic to think "hey TLC has a relationship with WB and with the author that probably influences how they feel about this case."
And let me stress - there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is a fan site. It's no surprise to see a fan site have a positive relationship with the creator of whatever it is they are fans of. And again - nothing wrong with that.
TLC "reports" sure, but it's not the New York Times. It's not the AP. I've never read an AP wire story that referred to JK Rowling as "Jo" for example. TLC covers things that any other news outlet would probably not care about; like the birthday of the guy who played Oliver Wood in two movies, or what new role the guy who plays Percy is taking on.
And again - there is nothing wrong with that! No shame whatsoever in being a fan site.
Rather than stress how "fair" and neutral the forum has been (and fair is such a nebulously defined term, IMO) why not just say: This is a fan site with a long-established relationship with Rowling and we support her.
Posted by Melissa
For a good reason, kbnthomas: Because what often goes with that is the unearned assumption that the connection of those two statements is dependent: In other words, "we have a relationship with Jo and WB therefore we support them," and people tend to take that as, we are afraid of doing anything that would upset them.
Completely untrue. If it were true, trust me, Leaky would have been cast out of WB's net several times by now. And if it were true of Jo, that she asked for, intimated, required, hinted, that her like of this site was dependent upon us agreeing with her in all things, frankly, we wouldn't like her as much as we do. It's been her exact opposite position - her respect to the many hours put into keeping the site updated with facts instead of rumors - that the staff has responded so wonderfully to.
To clarify: Reporting fairly does not mean you aren't allowed to have an opinion. It means that opinion is not in coverage. But everyone, no matter how fair they have reported, has an opinion, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Also, there is apparently some discussion at FW about statements of those who don't agree with the moderators here being edited. That is a complete fabrication. Statements are edited in this thread pretty much only when they cross into insults; you can see an "edited by" tag at the bottom of each post that is edited to prove that editing had to occur, and furthermore I believe the person making the statement (kbnthomas, are you Karen Brown?) has never been edited at all in this thread, nevermind because she disagreed.
Setting aside the fact that the moderators here don't have some uniformed and unnuanced opinion to ascribe to - if we edited out disagreements this thread wouldn't exist, never mind make it 12 rounds (and heading into lucky #13). To levy that accusation is an insult to the moderators who are tireless and thankless on this very hard thread, and requires proof. I actively await proof (before and after statements, perhaps, which we would check against the logs that take down each moderator action to verify?), or a retraction. Thank you.
Posted by kbnthomas
I'm afraid I don't know what you are talking about, sorry. My name is not Karen Brown, and I don't know what "FW" refers to. Nor have I ever said or implied that my posts have been edited. However, it certainly sounds negative and I now have the uncomfortable feeling that I've been accused of doing something very bad and how am I possibly to clear my name now when the person in charge of this site has made this accusation publicly? Who are people going to believe? Me with my 55 posts or the site webmistress?
I didn't say a single thing about insulting or feeling superior to anyone and I honestly have no clue what your story has to do with my previous post. Or the moderation of this site.
In all honesty - and in the kindest way possible - I feel that I have fallen into some alternate universe where people are replying to something I never said, calling me by names that are not mine!
To clarify: I simply said that there is no reason, in my mind, for a fan site to insist that the fact that they are a fan site has no bearing on their feelings in this case. I'm sorry again but I simply don't believe that TLC's long and intimate relationship with WB and Rowling has nothing to do with the way this case is presented on the site and discussed in the forums. Nor do I think there is anything wrong with having that bias.
I just think it's ridiculous to keep arguing that the bias isn't present. There is nothing wrong with a fan site having bias. That's sort of the definition of being a fan - that you are biased toward whatever it is you like.
But fine, if you want to keep saying you aren't biased, you aren't biased.
Posted by Melissa
My total error, then, kbnthomas; that was a guess because of your name. Then I really don't know who's been making the accusation, but it remains (and remains that if this person was edited it would be for OT or insults, much more often the latter).
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