… in which Jolie O’Dell trolls me. Again. [#yougotmegirl!]

image If you read this blog religiously (and lets be honest, you don’t), you remember when Jolie O’Dell trolled me after SxSW that one time (so since you don’t remember, click through the links in that post, and get caught up).

In general, I like Jolie. We’re friends on Facebook (which is to say: we’ve never met face to face, but we’re in the same industry and I think she’s interesting enough to pay attention to occasionally).

I don’t always agree with her, though. More specifically, or perhaps accurately, I don’t always agree with her editorial. I sometimes get the feeling she trolls her audience in that way John C. Dvorak described to Dave Winer that one time.

She has a way of taking totally unreasonable positions and making me believe, after reading her editorial, that she truly believes what she’s saying.

Still, I can’t fathom that she actually believes that the right to free speech should be abridged, or that she doesn’t understand how the law she’s applauding not only violates the constitution, but threatens her livelihood as a professional writer.

Yet here we have her today, on the pages of Venturebeat, writing an OpEd in favor of Arizon’s House Bill 2549 (that passed both houses of congress, by the way), which broadens the cyberstalking and telephone harassment laws to include public communication on any digital or electronic device.

It’s being dubbed the “anti-trolling law.”

So, in effect, Jolie O’Dell’s livelihood, her bread and butter, what she’s remembered for – is threatened.

Her editorial is long and detailed. I won’t rebut it point-by-point because it doesn’t matter. Everything she says is condesnsed into one sentence found around the middle of her post:

Arizona wants to make it just as illegal to harass and intimidate people online as it already is over the phone or in person. The state wants to make it illegal to use laptops and GPS and any other devices we dream up in the future to hurt people.

image Here’s the problem: you can’t abridge the right to free speech in such a broad way. It can’t be done. There’s a massive difference between speech in public and speech in private, and there’s no way that Jolie O’Dell, a technology and communications expert, can’t understand the difference there.

Under this new law, any time I write something online, in a blog, or on a social network, someone else can say it threatens or harms them emotionally, and I could go to jail. Hell, with the way the law is written, it doesn’t matter if I’m actually saying it to anyone – if I have a private diary kept in an electronic form, and I say something that could hurt someone’s feelings, I better hope know one guesses the password to that sucker, otherwise my next biggest concern will be not dropping the soap.

She even put a totally non-sequitor “media law lesson” at the end that has nothing to do with the verbiage of the law or anything else in her blog post.

Let’s have a little media law lesson about free speech, while we’re at it. You’re pretty much allowed to post whatever you like on your own website(s), for the most part and especially if you host it yourself on your own server. But if you’re posting something on someone else’s site, the laws of free speech no longer apply. The person who maintains the website controls the speech on that site, and you’re (literally) in his or her domain. So you can’t complain about your lack of “free speech rights” on Celine Dion’s Facebook wall or a blog’s comments section.

Everything she says here is technically true, but has no bearing on the law Arizona is passing, and certainly doesn’t work to support her argument.

Sorry, no. I call shens. There’s no way that Jolie O’Dell could truly be for this law. She’s trolling us all.

You got me, girl. I fell for it.

Good thing you don’t live in Arizona.


  1. I swear Arizona is only ever on the news for embarrassing backward policies from one aspect and then another. So depressing.

  2. I don’t get how this is a post that is hating Jolie O’Dell

    • @JohnFurrier In general, Jolie O’Dell is a great reporter. I think I may have significantly disagreed with Jolie two or three times ever – the times I’ve written rebuttal pieces.

  3. Hi Mark! Would you mind removing the image of me at the top of this page? It’s copyrighted, but also, I’m trying to do some digital cleanup for privacy/personal security reasons — which starts with trying to get a bunch of images offline. Thanks! -J

  4. Hello there, I discovered your web site by tthe usse of Google even
    ass earching for a related topic, your web site cake up, it appears great.

    I’ve bookmarkerd it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, just changed into aware of your blog thru Google, and found that it is
    really informative.I am gonna wagch out forr brussels.
    I’ll appreciate should you continue this in future.
    Lots of people shall be benefited out of your
    writing. Cheers!



  1. Can you be sexy and have a startup? | t1u - [...] technology writer, Venturebeat’s Jolie O’Dell who’s also had her fair share of haters. She valiantly learnt how to code, I’m sure …

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>