Thursday, June 10, 2004

Far-Left Cartoonist Takes a Page from the Church of Scientology’s Law Book

One of the more interesting aspects of Looney Left “journalist” Ted Rall’s character (see our June 9 post on Rall, “Attack of the Girlie-Men,” below) seems to be how he handles criticism, including when it comes from a colleague in the form of parody.

In 1999, fellow editorial cartoonist Danny Hellman poked scathing fun at Ted Rall for the latter’s strange Village Voice article defaming noted Jewish cartoonist Art Spiegelman, author-illustrator of Maus, a creative psychological exploration of his Holocaust survivor father’s life under the Nazis. Apparently sick and tired of Rall’s narcissistic rants in general, Hellman set up an e-mail list of his fellow cartoonists to whom he sent out a few over-the-top “letters,” using the internet ID “TedRallsBalls,” satirizing Rall’s writings, style, and personality.

One of those on Hellman’s e-mail list was Rall himself.

Now, any normal adult would merely laugh off such antics and take them like a mensch, especially someone who seems bent upon making a public figure of himself. But not Ted Rall, for whom the words “normal” and “adult” apparently hold little or no meaning.

Instead, Rall seems to have followed the example of late paranoid cult leader L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard’s cult, as cult watchdog groups well know, takes as kindly to criticism as Rall seems to, especially when it comes from the media. For example, in 1986 Time magazine published a lengthy, well-documented expose of Hubbard’s “church” titled “The Cult of Greed and Power,” in which it detailed the long checkered history of Hubbard’s shenanigans as well as several Federal crimes which had been committed by some of Hubbard’s top lieutenants, for which they ended up in a big house, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

The “church’s” reaction to the story? Following its decades long tradition of “handling” critics, it sued Time magazine for “libel.” After years of legal battling with the “church’s” in-house lawyers (who seem to outnumber its ministers) and spending millions of dollars defending its First Amendment rights, Time managed to get Scientology’s case thrown out of court as a SLAPP (“strategic litigation against public participation”) suit, a tactic of intimidation-via-litigation used by wealthy corporations to silence public dissent.

Like the Church of Scientology, Ted Rall responded to Danny Hellman’s criticism by suing Danny Hellman for libel, and –get this!— to the tune of 1.5 millions dollars. However, unlike the Hubbard cult, Rall thinks of himself a “journalist.”

Not even the Church of Scientology is that out of touch with reality.

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