Yahoo! News reports that the Ninth Circuit (them again!) has ruled that an online photo caption referring to him in the presence of two women as a “pimp” means “pimp in a good way.” They must mean in the rapper vocabulary sense of “ladies’ man,” which assuredly the Bangled One is. But does Evel Knievel have any truck with the world of P. Diddy and 50 Cent? Shouldn’t that matter?
It seems that the fate of per se defamation is to go the way of obscenity in the courts: There just will not be any such thing. Context and “community standards,” after all, have little relevance in a wired, bloggy world. (I wish the Supreme Court’s steady abandonment of the concept of obscenity were at least tagged to this point, but it’s not.) I don’t think that’s such a positive development, but we have to come to grips with it.
On the other hand, just how would Evel have proved damages to his reputation? That he was thrown out of the University Club?