High life | 25 February 2016

Sue them for millions and if they don’t pay stick them in jail and throw away the key

High life | 25 February 2016
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One reason I do not tweet, text, use Facebook or Instagram, and only wield a mobile when a landline is unavailable, is that all of the above gadgets are free of anything that resembles a credible spoken word emanating from a disease-free brain. The mind-numbing gobbledygook that billions send back and forth constitutes a sort of tenth circle of Dante’s Inferno: oxygen-deprived brains, with their imaginations up their backsides, are strung out on their own solipsism; benighted, boring and brain-jolting in their braggadocio. Whew, I finally got that off my chest.

When I founded the American Conservative in 2002, and Takimag some time later, I became aware of the vast sea of envious discontents who spend their waking hours (about three to four) spouting hate against anyone and everyone they disagree with, be it in the area of politics, sport, or even favourite movies or cartoons. The first editor of Takimag ran comments that claimed I murdered babies in their cribs, had obviously killed my mother and father, and was the illegitimate son of a one-night stand between Stalin and Hitler. ‘It’s the sacrosanct right of reply,’ said the idiot when I gave him his marching orders. Ditto the second one. I finally had to resort to my own daughter, who filters some of the really bad ones.

What is it that makes nerds the world over accuse their betters (which they invariably are) of unspeakable crimes and perversions, and use language that would embarrass a lavatory attendant in a gay underground New York nightclub in the Seventies? Well, recently the good guys had a win, and for once I will not be magnanimous in victory but pray that the Harvard nerd that got caught will pay through the nose and then some. Here’s the scoop.

The actor James Woods is an MIT-educated man who I know slightly, having lunched with him a couple of times and having quite a few close friends in common. He is a very intelligent and cultured man, with a wonderful sense of humour and is as likely to be on drugs as I am to be on Diet Coke. An anonymous tweeter, however, claimed that Jimmy Woods was a cocaine addict, a charge that had absolutely no basis except that Abe List (a pseudonym) said so. James Woods is a public person and a very popular and respected actor, so a charge like that can have consequences. Studios are not anxious to hire coke freaks — something I know Woods is not because drugs have been discussed in his presence and he was adamant in his abhorrence of them.

So Woods sued to unmask the cowardly accuser hiding behind a false name, and a Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed. Abe List’s true identity might soon be revealed. List conducted a malicious online

campaign intended to damage Woods’s reputation for no apparent reason other than envy, at least as far as I’m concerned. The star of films such as Salvador, Casino, Nixon and Once Upon a Time in America is such a pleasant man that no one, apart from an envious freak who has never met him, could possibly hate him. Or wish to spread lies about him.

And, sure enough, a maths dork linked to Harvard University’s website turns out to be the prime suspect. As of writing, no names have appeared. But I can see it as clearly as anything I’ve seen in this long life of mine: an ugly little man with a very tiny penis lying on an unmade bed eating peanuts and dreaming of being on a large patio next to a Beverly Hills swimming-pool with Hedy Lamarr stroking him while guitars play in the background. Well, it ain’t gonna happen, dork. But it has for Jimmy and that’s why you hate him and spread filthy lies about him. Your willy will get even tinier, if that’s possible, and girls will shun you even more, so get used to it. In the meantime, get ready to pay a $10 million fine for damaging a really nice man’s reputation.

Ah, bliss! At least if things go as I want them to. Abe List’s lawyer argues that the tweet calling Jimmy Woods an addict was hyperbole, not a statement. Oh, I see. Accusing Taki of murdering babies in their cribs and drinking their blood is hyperbole, but calling any grown man, especially a Hollywood star, an addict, has to be a statement. And there’s something more: Abe List insults Woods with a venom rarely seen even on the ghastly internet. ‘Scum’, ‘clown boy’ and other names I will not use in The Spectator are thrown around by someone I suspect doesn’t like Jimmy’s politics. Woods is a middle-of-the-road type, a Republican most likely, a persuasion still permitted in the US of A.

Not where the intolerant left is concerned. Woods said something in defence of the police and that triggered the avalanche of abuse and false accusations. Par for the course. Something must be done, needless to say, about the abuse and lies that can ruin a man’s life and career by the scum that use the internet to vent their frustrations and work through their complexes. I was planning to write about a famous fight between a billionaire and millionaire that supposedly took place in Gstaad last week, but after digging a bit, I discovered that nothing had happened. It was all hearsay and bullshit. Stick Abe List in jail unless he pays, and throw away the key. Viva, Jimmy Woods.