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How to Defame Yourself and Influence People

I’ve often said that one of the best ways to bring attention to something is to try and censor it.

A San Francisco defamation suit reported today is a good example of this. A local chiropractor, it seems, was unhappy about a negative review of him posted on the website Yelp. He sued the poster, who had complained about the chiropractor’s bill.

I don’t know how many people read the negative review in the first place, but after the daily newspaper did a front-page article about the lawsuit — fairly and accurately reporting that the chiropractor had filed the lawsuit, and quoting lawyers on both sides — a lot more people know about the review. In other words, it might have been better for the chiropractor if he had just ignored the Yelp review. In fact, someone quoted in the article today says people reacted more negatively to the chiropractor filing a lawsuit than they would have to what the Yelp review said in the first place.

The morals of the story are (1) the best remedy for speech is counter-speech, and (2) in the words of the old comic strip, if someone says something about you you don’t like, Grin and Bear It.