The Tale of William Popehat Hearst
by Charles Carreon
July 29, 2013
The Yellow Pig: William Popehat Hearst, by Tara Carreon
In which an unctuous talespinner much given to fiction
imagines the character of a good man as evil, bewitches his
readers to think the same, and comes to a bad end.
Once upon a windy L.A. day
A swine-shaped lawyer made his way
Along Flower Street where
It intersects with Third;
His eyes alighted on a bird,
He said to himself,
“You remind me of Charles Carreon,
You carrion fowl,
Pecking at scraps of offal.
I shall tell my readers of this thing,
So terribly disgusting.”
He trundled on, thus ruminating
And all his thoughts keep deviating
to images of Charles Carreon,
Acting clever, having fun,
Pointing at people
With his legal gun,
Maybe even getting some,
How dare that bastard,
He’s a Mexican-
Spanish-Jewish, an oily sort
That last name’s one with
which I’ve made sport,
With imputations quick as light,
By saying “It’s so!”
I made black of white.
Was he known as good?
How tedious. He’s found his place
With the rest of us.
My mudball made of
Has marred his visage
Shaped his fate.
My curse is sure,
It never fails,
I bind it down with coffin nails.”
So thinks the hoglike barrister
As he humps over Bunker Hill
To his favorite watering hole to swill
And spin the tale that will
Take the starch out of that
He picks up his pen, then
He turns to see the waiter
Looking on –
“What say you, Man?
What’s here to dine upon?
And don’t tell me you have no Charles Carreon.”
Anon his smiling partner comes
And conversation turns as conversation
must with William Popehat Hearst,
A man who knows the worst
And longs to tell it
If only he could package it
And sell it.
He’s working on that now
If only wishing could make a pig a cow!
The conversation turns, as I was saying,
To Popehat Hearst’s excoriation
Of Charles Carreon’s cardinal sin
“It doesn’t matter”
Says Popehat Hearst
“To a rogue like Charles Carreon
What side you’re on or who’s to blame,
He’ll take any side,
It’s all the same
His coin is lead
He’ll shoot you dead
As soon as look at you,
A cool devil, I tell you.”
His listener is skeptical
Having heard Popehat wax hysterical,
In phrases oddly metrical.
“Oh, c’mon Hearst,
He’s not half-bad and
Certainly not the worst,
He has his fun, that’s sure,
And aren’t we all
In stock and trade
Of threats and judgments made?”
Popehat Hearst turns dyspeptic
When he hears this dialectic.
“What think you, man,
It’s only Carreon must burn?
Watch yourself, watch me,
My friend, lest someday it be
Your turn. Who offendeth me
Offends a mighty crowd.
I’ll brook no opposition to a just position.”
“What, threats now, Popehat Hearst?
I’m not surprised!
Mark my words
This Charles Carreon business
Has boiled the marrow
Behind your eyes.
You’ve imagined crimes
Where there were none
You’ve pilloried the fellow
For what you say he’s done,
And all that he did
Was seen through the dark,
Twisted lens of your
How unfortunate your words
Have the power to infect.”
At this Hearst took a draught of swill
Belched very loudly as was his will
And said, to his fellow,
“He makes me ill.
I don’t know what it is.
I’ve had my fill.
I kill and kill and kill and kill.
It’s as if I don’t have my own will.
That hate has infected every fiber of me.
And I didn’t think
this could happen to me!”
At this Popehat Hearst broke into tears,
Pulled a dagger from his boot
And plunged it in his chest
Crying, “Tell that bastard Carreon,
He made me do it.”
Written on July 29, 2013, the occasion of for the first time
reading the following:
“See, a legal threat like the one Charles Carreon sent —
‘shut up, delete your criticism of my client, give me
$20,000, or I’ll file a federal lawsuit against you’ — is
unquestionably a form of bullying. It’s a form that’s
endorsed by our broken legal system. Charles Carreon doesn’t
have to speak the subtext, any more than the local lout has
to tell the corner bodega-owner that ‘protection money’
means ‘pay or we’ll trash your shop.’ The message is plain
to anyone who is at all familiar with the system, whether by
experience or by cultural messages. What
Charles Carreon’s letter conveyed was this: ‘It doesn’t
matter if you’re in the right. It doesn’t matter if I’m in
the wrong. It doesn’t matter that my client makes money off
of traffic generated from its troglodytic users scraping
content, and looks the other way with a smirk. It just
doesn’t matter. Right often doesn’t prevail in our legal
system. When it does, it is often ruinously expensive and
unpleasant to secure. And on the way I will humiliate you,
delve into private irrelevancies, harass your business
associates and family, disrupt your sleep, stomp on your
peace of mind, and consume huge precious swaths of your
life. And, because the system is so bad at redressing
frivolous lawsuits, I’ll get away with it even if I lose —
which I won’t for years. Yield — stand and deliver — or
suffer.’ Our system privileges Charles Carreon to issue that
threat, rather than jailing or flogging him for it. And so
Carreon supports bullying like that. He’s got a license to
do it. He knows that his licensed threats — coming, as they
do, on the [slightly odd] letterhead of a lawyer — inspire
far more fear and stress than the complaints of a mere
citizen, and by God he plays it to the hilt. By contrast,
Charles Carreon doesn’t like shows of force that you or I
can muster. ‘I’m completely unfamiliar really with this
style of responding to a legal threat,’ he sniffs. There’s a
whiff of Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing in there — the
sentiment ‘how was I to know that I was picking on someone
stronger than I am? Is that fair?’ But what he means is ‘if
the people I threaten don’t have to dig into their pockets
to go hire a lawyer, and spend unpleasant hours with that
lawyer, and lay awake at night worrying, and rely on a
lawyer who is part of my privileged culture, but can stand
up for themselves … how can I intimidate them so easily?’
Perhaps some rude Oatmeal followers did actually send true
threats or abuse to Charles Carreon’s office — which I
condemn. That’s morally wrong and not helpful to the cause
of free speech; it’s harmful. But I fail to see why Charles
Carreon sending that threat letter is more legitimate,
admirable, or proper than ten thousand Oatmeal fans sending
back the message that Charles Carreon is a petulant, amoral,
censorious douchebag. It doesn’t take lawyers, it doesn’t
take law school, it doesn’t take any special privilege
conferred by the state — it only takes a robust right of
free expression — sending it back by blogging it, tweeting
it, posting it on Facebook, and posting it in comments on
forums. Charles Carreon has power derived from an inadequate
legal system and letters of marque from the State Bar; The
Oatmeal has the power of goodwill and community respect
earned by talent. There’s no reason to exalt Carreon’s power
and condemn The Oatmeal’s.” — Kenneth Paul White,