Here are today's must-reads:
Savannah Dietrich says she was furious when she blasted out a defiant tweet this summer, naming two boys who had sexually assaulted her. “There you go, lock me up. I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell,” the 16-year-old high-school student wrote.
Her green eyes lined with charcoal, hair swept aside into a loose braid, she recounts the June episode on a crisp fall day in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, sitting at a neighborhood coffee shop. Normally, an underage victim of sexual assault would not be named in these pages. But Dietrich wanted to go public.
Her ordeal began when two 16-year-old boys stripped off her bra and underwear after she had passed out at a party. The boys took turns pushing their fingers into her vagina, documenting their actions with cellphone photos. When Dietrich pressed charges, the boys pleaded guilty in a deal offered by the prosecutor, but she faced a new and unexpected problem: the judge ordered her not to talk about what had happened to her—an apparent infringement of her right to free speech, according to legal experts and to Dietrich herself.
The court was trying to “gag a victim,” says her mother, Sharon Dietrich, to “hide a crime.”
The teen, already feeling that the boys were getting off easy under their plea agreement, started tweeting. “Everyone thought I was this little girl they could intimidate,” she says, with a slight Kentucky lilt.
The tweets flew out, 10 in one day: “Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville,” read the seventh.
“They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up. So I’m waiting for them to read this and lock me up. F--k justice,” read the 10th.
The next day, the boys’ lawyers filed a motion to hold Dietrich in contempt of court, arguing that she had made “contemptuous remarks at this court” and “false allegations of criminal activity” in using the term “rapist,” according to court filings. The contempt charge meant that she could face potential jail time, while the boys, because of their plea agreement, would not.
ABC chairman and former top jurist Jim Spigelman has warned that a planned overhaul of discrimination law will impose unprecedented restrictions on free speech, including making it unlawful to offend people, leaving the nation isolated from international norms.
The Gillard government's planned consolidation of all federal discrimination laws would significantly redraw the line between permissible and unlawful speech and open the way for the banning of publications, said Mr Spigelman, the immediate past chief justice of NSW.
If the government's draft bill were enacted, discrimination in all areas would be affected by provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act that were used last year against newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt so that merely offending people would amount to unlawful discrimination.
"I am not aware of any international human rights instrument or national anti-discrimination statute in another liberal democracy that extends to conduct which is merely offensive," Mr Spigelman said.
I was brought up seven times to the Carson show -- interviewed and auditioned seven times by seven different people, and they rejected me, each time, over a period of three years. Then Bill Cosby was filling in, and the comedian that night bombed. Bill said to the booking producer, Shelly Schultz:“Joan Rivers couldn’t be any worse than this guy. Why don’t you use her?” And that’s when they put me on the show. But they didn’t bring me on as a stand-up comic. They brought me on as a funny girl writer. I’m the only stand-up that never did a stand-up routine on the Carson show.
Carson, give him credit, said on air in 1965, “You’re gonna be a star.” Right smack on the air.
I adored Johnny. In the ’70s, I did opening monologues, I was hosting. The turning point was when I left the show. Everybody left the show to go to do their own shows. Bill Cosby. David Brenner. George Carlin. Everybody. I stuck around for 18 years. And they finally offered me my own late-night show.
The first person I called was Johnny, and he hung up on me -- and never, ever spoke to me again. And then denied that I called him. I couldn’t figure it out. I would see him in a restaurant and go over and say hello. He wouldn’t talk to me.
I kept saying, “I don’t understand, why is he mad?” He was not angry at anybody else. I think he really felt because I was a woman that I just was his. That I wouldn’t leave him. I know this sounds very warped. But I don’t understand otherwise what was going on. For years, I thought that maybe he liked me better than the others. But I think it was a question of, “I found you, and you’re my property.” He didn’t like that as a woman, I went up against him.
These are some of the other things I've been tweeting about today:
- "This Chocolate Might Work Like Viagra" http://pjblack.me/SK76Vw
- this is a fun story: "How I tracked my stolen phone to a charging station in Eastern Uganda" http://pjblack.me/SK4pDf
- "Iran launches own ‘YouTube’ website: State TV" http://pjblack.me/XJaapx
- "Why the world is arguing over who runs the internet" http://pjblack.me/S2zNjz
- one for @nickjdalton: "This Is The World's Most Expensive Whisky" http://pjblack.me/S2ysJj
- hear, hear!: "Note to MPs – stop buying into conspiracy theories about fluoride" http://pjblack.me/S2yeSw #qldpol
- some good points here: "Okay, Twitter, you’ve done good by your advertisers. But remember your users?" http://pjblack.me/SK0vu7
- "‘Girls’ Writer Murray Miller’s Great Art-Hoax Experiment" http://pjblack.me/RSz3NI
- this is clever: "Contact Lenses Can Display Your Text Messages" http://pjblack.me/SJZDpa
- can social media teach us empathy and resilience?: "What Judd Apatow’s kid can teach us about the Twitter generation" http://pjblack.me/SJZuSI
- this is a clever use of pinterest: "Newspaper, police use Pinterest to help find wanted criminals" http://pjblack.me/SJZnGI
- "Newspapers still have power, it seems — to shock and to condemn" http://pjblack.me/RSxz62
- "Of Moose and Men: Analyzing Canadian Humor" http://pjblack.me/SJYRsg
- "ERA set to embrace new measures" http://pjblack.me/SNqelt #highered
- language of copyright infringement: "It’s Not 'Getting' Or 'Downloading' A Copy. It’s 'Making' Or 'Manufacturing' One." http://pjblack.me/RSw4Fb
- "The Civil Rights Case of Our Generation" http://pjblack.me/RP0M1J
- "Joan Rivers: Why Johnny Carson 'Never Ever Spoke to Me Again'" http://pjblack.me/SFxG1K
- "The Top 10 Legal Stories of 2012" according to the atlantic http://pjblack.me/SFs3Rg (i wonder what the list in australia would be)
- a scientific explanation as to "Why You Like to Watch the Same Thing Over and Over and Over Again" http://pjblack.me/SFrZRw
- "The condoms of the future could disappear when you’re done with them" http://pjblack.me/SFrTJO
- "Will the new diagnostic manual for psychiatrists go too far in labeling kids dysfunctional?" http://pjblack.me/SFrKpE
- "ERA attacked for being too expensive, too detailed and too frequent" http://pjblack.me/SFqrXD#highered
- here is an interesting idea: "Could boredom be curable?" http://pjblack.me/SFoSco
- one year after a fatal fire, a family tries to make sense of what happened: "4:52 on Christmas Morning" http://pjblack.me/RJ45HG
- "Since 1979, Brian Murtagh has fought to keep convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in prison" http://pjblack.me/RJ3Qwt
- i'm not sure how i feel about these christmas decorations: "Check your Bauballs" http://www.checkyourbauballs.com/
- "Twitter takes on Instagram with built-in image filters, available today for Android and iOS" http://pjblack.me/RZRkZx
- a teen tweets against her attackers - and upends the courts: "Thanks for Ruining My Life" http://pjblack.me/RZPkjU
- congratulations to @spencerhowson and @612brisbane - ending the year on top of the brisbane radio ratings! http://pjblack.me/SMy12X
- "A bishop behind bars: Amish sect leader tells of the beard-cutting that could lock him up for life" http://pjblack.me/SFonPw
- is anyone interested in seeing @inlandseaband at the judith wright centre on thursday night? http://pjblack.me/SMwo5m
- is he an outsider artist, or a troubled man in need of help?: "Bryan Saunders: portrait of the artist on crystal meth" http://pjblack.me/SFojiG
- i have to agree: "ABC chairman Jim Spigelman slams ALP laws that make it illegal to be offensive" http://pjblack.me/SMvDsZ
- "The 20 Most Influential Female Voices of 2012" http://pjblack.me/RZhNq0
- this is an intriguing idea: "How Recording One Second Every Day Could Change Your Life" http://pjblack.me/RJ1rSx
- no not yet: "Has Streaming Killed Physical Media Yet?" http://pjblack.me/RJ1ei9
- "Twitter profiles rolling out to all users by December 12th: here's how to prep yours" http://pjblack.me/RZdMlI
- "Spotify’s Bold New Transition from Streaming Music Service to Music Platform" http://pjblack.me/SFlEFK
- "Labor ends year behind as run stalls: Newspoll" http://pjblack.me/RZagrq #auspol
- this is offensive: "Pledge: Coalition to dump 'missing voters' laws" http://pjblack.me/SMssBy#auspol
- megan mcardle on "The Future of Shopping: How Luxury Will Win the Shopping Wars" http://pjblack.me/RJ0YzC
- links to the stories i discussed on @612brisbane this morning http://pjblack.me/RTElbS
- this sounds good: "HBO Greenlights Comedy Pilot From Mike Judge, 'King Of The Hill' Duo & Scott Rudin" http://pjblack.me/SJZGBz
- this is probably right: "Why Netflix Future Is In 'House of Cards,' 'Arrested Development'"http://pjblack.me/SKCZgw
Follow me on Twitter @peterjblack.
And you can get my latest links anytime on my Rebelmouse social media front page.