Courtesy of a friend of mine, I was alerted to a recent New Jersey judge's ruling in a libel case brought on by some "hot chicks" and "douchbags" against the Hot Chicks With Douchebags website. The verdict? The word "douchebag" is acceptable so long as it's used for "humorous social commentary". Under those circumstances, "douchebag" is not considered libel or slander making the term perfectly legal. Let's examine how this could get out of hand:
- When aren't we making social commentary? Everytime we express one's opinion about something we're commenting on it. Direct that criticism towards others or groups of people and it becomes, by definition, social commentary.
- To complete the libel/slander shield, make sure you have friends around. If you go off calling someone a "douchebag" and it seems inappropriate - LAUGH. Pretend it's meant to be a joke, and therefore intended to be humorous. Suddenly you've just made humorous social commentary.
That said, this has HUGE potential ramifications. I can now potentially say, without penalty, that all politicians are douchebags. I envision a day where Phillup Douchebag no longer has to hide under his gimped moniker. This could even eventually turn the term "douchebag" into a badge of pride for some, like "geek" is now.
Also, in case you hadn't picked up on this yet, this whole post was an excersize in seeing how often I could use the word "douchebag" without seeming like an actual douchebag. Douchebag. (Ha ha ha, get it? No?)
DISCLAIMER: New Jersey isn't all bad. I have many great friends and family members who live there, and there are some really beautiful parts to the state. But the douchebag export thing is 100% true.