The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

It's Just Lunch....or IS IT??

Monday, October 31, 2005

So, someone managed to get Judge Alito’s son’s humorous profile of himself removed from an apparently defunct student magazine at Colgate. I had a link here until I deleted the post. I erased the post without knowing that it was involved in such intrigue.

Some background: I woke up late, had no idea Bush announced the nomination of the dude who wrote the dissent in Casey. I started doing stupid google searches regarding Alito. I mean, one of the bizarre and captivating things about the process of supreme court nominations these days is how it plucks people out of a fairly insular intellectual community and makes them pop culture icons. Combine this with the reality that all sorts of information exists about all of us on the Internet plus the fact that its easier to find stuff about people with distinctive names and you know that it’d be easy to find out stuff about Alito’s son. (Also, the kid thing is kind of in play now after Jack Roberts virtually playing beneath he’s father’s desk.)

What amazed me was how little there was about the Alito son. I’ve posted before about having a rare name and its effect on the info that’s out there. Anyway, I wrote up summaries of all the stuff on google about him and posted it with links. I went to class, came home, and thought about this for a couple minutes (I was reminded after watching the CNN coverage of Alito blitz indictment news off the map). Anyone who’s been to this blog knows that I make of lot of rash blog-related decisions. I’ve even pulled some stuff off before and I edit a lot. The bottom line is that I just didn’t want to be part of the sort of weird, not-so-spontaneous blogging that goes on these days with regard to Supreme Court nominees.* I felt bad about putting the stuff up, and I checked to see if anyone had actually seen it (not really, maybe 4 searches from the google blogsearch).

I guess I believe that people ought to be able to control the information about them on the internet. That’s why I erased the post. Then I started looking at if any other blogs had the info. It turns out that at some point between this afternoon and tonight the info had been removed from the Colgate site. Like I said, sometimes it sucks to have a weird name. The fake bio wasn’t even that interesting. I do feel its a bit creepy that when I copied the stuff onto my page I jokingly wrote something like, “I’m sure this is going to be erased in 10 minutes.”

Now, how does the actual info being removed go down? I have no idea. I bet someone realized it wasn’t good that the nominee’s son is recorded making fun of (“riffing” in the parlance of our times) a bunch of powerful democratic women from California. The site it was on was probably dead, and a couple of well placed calls probably scared the Colgate folks into calling their IT people to get it removed. I hope the son wanted it removed, it is his speech after all. However, the ability of the white house to strong-arm the process is remarkable.

Do I regret deleting the post? No. People whose parents are in the public eye don’t usually have much say in the matter. But, I do think that if spin machines want to use nice family photo ops to appeal to their base, then they should at least vet this kind of stuff ahead of time. None of this was hard to find, it wasn’t that interesting either.

*For the record, Patterico, Judge Alito was kind of making up the law when he used dissenting opinion precedent to redefine what the the words "undue burden" mean.


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