Soon after I wrote about Mary Anne Franks’ efforts to distort free speech to gain advantage in promoting her revenge porn law, and catapult her from a decidedly undistinguished, untenured, career as an academic toward Kim Kardashian recognition, I received an email from a very well-regarded law professor who told me that she was a disgrace to the Academy.
“Why don’t you do something about it,” I asked?
“Because Franks will call me a misogynist or racist, and I don’t need that.”
He asked me to keep this to myself, and I agreed not to disclose it. He didn’t need to become embroiled in this sort of garbage, which has been the modus operandi for those challenging the religion of a small group of law profs who try to make their name by championing radical views. This wasn’t his fight. That was understandable.
But when I received an email yesterday that Mary Anne Franks had decided to embarrass herself yet again with this twit by wallowing in the gutter of intellectual dishonesty, I checked out what else she was twitting. Uh oh.
As is typical of people who cry “liar,” Franks neglected to link the target of her attack. But easy enough to check, as Mike Masnick wrote a Techdirt post about Article 230 involving an interview of Anupam Chander yesterday, that included this line:
You have short-sighted law professors who think that a way to fix “bad” sites online is to gut Section 230.
“A lot of companies are under the impression they can’t be touched by state criminal laws,” Franks said, because “Section 230 trumps any state criminal law.”
The Communications Decency Act, however, doesn’t trump federal criminal law, she said, pointing to child pornography.
“The impact [of a federal law] for victims would be immediate,” Franks said. “If it became a federal criminal law that you can’t engage in this type of behavior, potentially Google, any website, Verizon, any of these entities might have to face liability for violations.“
So here’s where it all gets weird. Is Mary Anne Franks the liar? Is Mary Anne Franks intellectually dishonest? Does Mary Anne Franks suffer from mental disease or defect that causes her to scream “liar” at anyone who hurts her brand, no matter how absurd and false it may be? All of these? A combination?
It’s becoming impossible to say, given her inexplicable attacks. The only thing clear is that, this time, she called Mike Masnick a liar when she, yet again, is the one doing the lying. There appears to be no bounds to her virulence, and dishonesty. Nor, for that matter, her Slackoisie entitlement, as she demands that others “research” her (as opposed to read her quote) because she is just the most important person ever, a recurring theme in her efforts to slough off criticism.
While her motivations and methods are fairly obvious, attack anyone who calls her out on what she says by calling them names, from liar to misogynist, to pretend she’s not the turd in the bowl and pray no one exposes the truth, it’s harder to understand why she’s allowed to continue to teach.
Academic freedom is a core value, and should be. For example, one of Franks’ closest allies, Danielle Citron, promoted another failed concept, Cyber Civil Rights, which sought to turn the focus of bullying into a gender issue. Her argument was that men bullied women online, and so free speech for women required silencing free speech for men.
While Citron’s issue had some internal inconsistencies, with which non-feminist supporters of free speech took issue, at no time did Citron launch attacks by calling those who opposed her views liars. She continued to pound her position, but never wallowed in the gutter to do so.
Franks, however, has consistently disgraced herself and the legal academy, both by falsely claiming to have addressed her detractors’ arguments and ad hominem attacks. Disagreeing is fine. Disagreeing strongly is fine. Lying about everyone and anyone who calls you out is not fine. This isn’t academic freedom. This is a disturbed personality that shouldn’t be allowed near young people.
As for Charles Thomas’ “response” post to me, it’s neither a response (or he lacks the acumen to grasp the legal issues I address) nor a post of any intellectual significance. “Don’t rape?” Well, okay then. Depth of thought may not be his strength. If he wanted to use me as an excuse to post something vapid about rape culture, what do I care? People make stuff up about what I write all the time. It’s no big deal anymore. No one who doesn’t pray to the feminist religion would care either way, and the religious will believe no matter what.*
Hopefully, his post is just a come on, and he knows better than to actually sell out his clients for his personal sensibilities. After all, if a practice is built on trying to make the first page of Google, and fails, it suggests he might need to work harder on client referrals and perhaps spend more time considering what’s needed of criminal defense lawyers and less courting feminists and spouting simplistic rhetoric.
As for Mary Anne Franks, there appears to be no fix. She appears terminally truth-challenged, and incapable of responding to disagreement with anything other than a lie. She has no place in the courtroom, where liars are frowned upon. Will the legal academy continue to tolerate her?
Update: After a fascinating morning on twitter, with Mary Anne steadfastly trying to deflect responsibility, she wrote a tumblr about how she’s the martyr of her very own fantasy land. Nothing in it sounds remotely familiar to me, but then, I don’t live in that warm and fuzzy place in her head where delusions run rampant and she is the benevolent but unappreciated Queen of the World.
Rarely are we presented with as clear an opportunity to look into a person’s fantasies as this. Enjoy.
* In the original iteration, I included some background about Charles Thomas that dealt with the messenger rather than the message. Almost immediately after posting it, I deleted it, realizing that it was inappropriate and petty of me. A screen cap of it was twitted, and I was told that Thomas posted the original on Facebook. As far as I’m aware, I had already deleted it.
If you’re wondering why I changed it, this is why. When I make a mistake, I correct it.