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Politics & Current Events

I own one two hundred sixty millionth of this seal.

Therefore I declare my right, as the citizen of a free country, to use it as I choose.

If you have a blog or other website, I encourage you to do the same.  As you place the seal on your website, repeat this ancient legal formula, a formula that your government, which is one of laws, not of men, is bound to respect:

Ipso facto.  E. pluribus unum.  Res gestae divi Augusti.  Agricola est bona.  Shai Gaba Umbala Shoombala OOM!

(Thanks to our friend CTrees for pointing out what has to be a simple misunderstanding on the part of the FBI, a misunderstanding which will no doubt be corrected once politicians who faithfully serve the American public are made aware of the problem.)

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

22 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Jeff Gamso  •  Aug 3, 2010 @5:55 pm

    It's on my blog now.

  2. matt  •  Aug 3, 2010 @6:26 pm

    what is the fbi thinking??

  3. Linus  •  Aug 3, 2010 @9:26 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but is that Mike Godwin THE Mike Godwin?

  4. matt  •  Aug 3, 2010 @10:37 pm

    im surprised no one made a nazi joke yet (godwins law)

  5. ThomasS  •  Aug 4, 2010 @1:00 am

    @ Linus

    In what sense? But yes, according to, well, wikipedia, the Mike Godwin who is now general council for wikimedia did in fact originate Godwin's law, has worked for the EFF, and so on.

  6. CTrees  •  Aug 4, 2010 @2:45 am

    \o/

  7. Eric T.  •  Aug 4, 2010 @7:17 am

    The FBI falls victim to the Streisand Effect.

    Who'd a thunk it?

  8. Jag  •  Aug 4, 2010 @7:24 am

    Everyone should post the Seal to their Facebook page as well. While I despise Facebook, the ability to immediately go viral is useful sometimes.

  9. mojo  •  Aug 4, 2010 @8:06 am

    What? Did they go insane over there or something?

    It's a public symbol, morons!

  10. Charles  •  Aug 4, 2010 @8:44 am

    I'm surprised (but not surprised) by the stupidity here. A more reasonable request, one that comports with a desire to prevent someone boosting the seal to create fake letterhead, would have been that the image be produced in low res or with some kind of watermark.

    But why be sane when you can use ellipses on the part of a statute that you don't like?

  11. PLW  •  Aug 4, 2010 @8:52 am

    This would never have happened with a closed-book exam.

  12. Patrick  •  Aug 4, 2010 @11:41 am

    The Mike Godwin who refused the FBI's demand is the same Godwin whose law is so often misquoted on the internet.

  13. Linus  •  Aug 4, 2010 @11:46 am

    Yeah, Patrick, that's what I meant. And now that you mention it, I don't think I've ever seen his law quoted correctly.

  14. Federale  •  Aug 4, 2010 @11:50 am

    Ommpah, ommpah, ommpady do!

  15. Jdog  •  Aug 4, 2010 @1:00 pm

    The Mike Godwin who refused the FBI’s demand is the same Godwin whose law is so often misquoted on the internet.

    Yup. I had the pleasure of informing two friends — one a CDL — about that yesterday, and both of them, upon being told that it was that Mike Godwin, said, "wow!"

    Me, I'm still waiting to use a bon mot I prepared some years ago: "If Mike Godwin says your behavior on the Internet is like the Nazis, your behavior on the Internet if fucking like the fucking Nazis."

    Haven't. The closest that I came — and it wasn't very — was when on a Usenet discussion, I referred to Milton "Mortie" Kleim, Jr. of being an admitted Neonazi*. Somebody pulled the Godwin on me, to the effect of you're not entitled to call somebody a nazi just because they disagree with you politically (something with which, in general, I fully agree), and I responded that I called him a Neonazi because he was a Hitler-worshipping, seigheiling, brown-shirt wearing member of the friggin' National Socialist Party.

    But I digress.

    ________________________
    * In the interest of honesty and fairness, I was the one who put the "Mortie" nickname on him, having watched "Undercover Blues." Also to be fair, he says that he's quit "the movement."

  16. SPQR  •  Aug 4, 2010 @10:58 pm

    This does not surprise me at all. The FBI has always been a fairly incompetent bunch. Were it not for a mediocre '60's TV show, the nation would know the FBI for the clowns that they are.

  17. Patrick  •  Aug 5, 2010 @5:36 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen his law quoted correctly.

    Godwin's Law: As the length of a usenet discussion increases, the probability of a reference to Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

    Of course usenet was all but killed by the web and bbcode, but the principle applies more widely. I believe that Godwin's intent, in formulating the law, was actually to discourage people from wild comparisons, not to make a general statement.

    These days the law has fulfilled its purpose. But as misquoted (idiots shouting "GODWIN'S LAW! GODWIN'S LAW! YOU WROTE HITLER!") it's abused pretty badly. I've had fools invoke Godwin on me in discussions of Stalin or Pol Pot, who were eminently worthy of comparison to Hitler, and even, in one especially memorable forum thread, for describing Martin Heidegger as a member of the Nazi party.

    Which Heidegger was.

  18. Craig  •  Aug 5, 2010 @1:36 pm

    Its on my blog. You would think they would have a lot more to worry about.

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