Roasting Glenn Beck, Glenn Beck Style
A satirical website challenges Glenn Beck to his own game
By Adam Theriault,
3:55PM, Tue. Sep. 15, 2009
Ars Technica, as well as our fellow alt-weekly friends over at The Stranger both have pieces on a new website that challenges Glenn Beck to a round of his own game, asking the blatantly outrageous question "Did Glenn Beck rape and murder a young girl in 1990?" Full story with video after the jump.
The website in question, didglennbeckrapeandmurderayounggirlin1990.com, originated from a joke on fark.com. On August 31, forum member "oldweevil" employed a Gilbert Gottfried gag, referencing a 2008 roast of Bob Saget, in which Gottfried repeatedly insisted Saget had not "raped and murdered a girl in 1990", The joke on Fark takes the Gottfried joke and simply swaps Saget with Beck.
You can check out the relevant portion of the roast over at Comedy Central (It should go without saying that it's one of the more non-worksafe pieces of audio you can stream through your browser).
Things picked up steam on September 1 when someone set up a website based on the joke. They were then contacted by Beck's lawyers on the 2nd. A phone number and email address are provided on the website. A quick reverse-number lookup shows the phone to be registered in Plano, Texas. Our call for comment so far hasn't been returned.
While the internet-viral meter on this gag is somewhere around burnt umber at the moment, it's sure to be as red as Beck's face by lunchtime tomorrow. The "evidence":
A youtube clip repeating the gag:
A Facebook fan page, already with 600-plus fans.
Domain squatters have already taken to registering common misspellings of the URL.
An obligatory mashup with the endlessly-enduring Downfall (Der Untergang) meme:
The list goes on.
What's surprising is how much the Ars article seriously suggests that this may very well be defamation, because the original domain name of the site did not phrase the accusation in the form of a question. Apparently satire works on Jeopardy rules now.
One of the article's sources, Paul Levy of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, postulates that if the URL "glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990" is taken as a solitary piece of content —say, within a search result— that there's no way the reader would know the site in question is intended to be satire.
Frankly, The Onion would surely be interested in hearing about this, given that they've been posting fake headlines for years. Additionally, most search engines display a small amount of text below the headline, giving a website the opportunity to further explain itself. Headlines aren't presented by themselves.
Ars' other source is Corynne McSherry, a lawyer with the EFF. McSherry questions the validity of a defamation case. Considering the EFF's greater familiarity with all things defamatory and internet, our money is on McSherry's opinion.
Seriously, who just reads a headline and assumes it's true?
Hmmm. Beck might have a case there yet.
We'll keep you posted.