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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Delicious Oatmeal That Might Have Been: Carreon vs. Inman Continues

UPDATE: Hell yeah! We did it! $1,000 in under 3 days! You guys are amazing. Anything from this point out is just icing on the snarky cake. The campaign will remain open for donations until Friday July 6th at midnight. I will post the receipts from the donations to Electronic Frontier Foundation and Americans for the Arts as soon as the funds are transferred from IndieGoGo! SQUEEEEEEE! :D

Image by EmmaDiscovery
Well the Bear Love Campaign has ended and much remains uncertain about what will happen to the money that Matthew Inman has raised.  Charles Carreon, refusing to be swayed by common decency nor by the rocky ground on which his license to practice law now precariously rests, is determined to sue the charities that are to receive the money... that he may ensure that they receive the money.

He is truly a leader among asshats.

Not only is our God-given right to donate our money out of spite in order to prove an undebatable point under attack, but there are many unnamed individuals under the threat of Carreon's barrage of butthurt.  Those who would help us cope with the sobering fact that we must, indeed, share oxygen with a man as loathsome as Charles Carreon, through the use of parody and satire, are being Doe Hunted by Charles and his wife Tara, as we speak.

As you may or may not be aware, I myself came under the attack of the Carreons.  Tara not only posted my picture and referred to me as a "lying little bitch," but attempted to hush me with the threat of becoming a named defendant in the suit.  She even insinuated I may not even be a "girl".

That really hurt my vagina's feelings.

And my vagina is not quick to forgive.

It's hard to believe that a just and loving God would allow such egregious behavior to continue, or allow a money changer like Carreon to linger in the temple of all that is hilarious and good in this world.

Perhaps there is no God.

Or perhaps we just need to turn to other great teachers of spiritual enlightenment for answers.

Carreon himself writes, in his description of the tenth principle of his completely manufactured religion that he sees no reason to follow himself:

"The avenue of fulfillment goes in the other direction — outward, along the vector of expanding benefit. A creative person is like a tree, that grows larger and larger, sheltering ever more creatures in its branches, casting shade and preserving water in the earth, purifying the air, and dropping fruit that is eaten by creatures that transport the seeds far and wide, growing more trees in other places.

We may wonder what such generosity will bring us in return, on a personal level. No one can answer that with predictive precision, but when good deeds are done, someone benefits, and when bad deeds are done, someone suffers. Nor can we predict who that someone will be."

However rarely, when you are right, you are right, Charles Carreon.

The Internet, in all its infinite wisdom and disorder, has delivered unto us a glorious tree of creativity who is sheltering us from your malice and legal weaponry through humor and grace.

Matthew Inman is that tree.

And I?

I am but the seed that has been crapped out by the creature eating his delicious fruit.

Charles Carreon's bad deeds have caused many to suffer the last couple of weeks, but there is still hope that good deeds will prevail, so that more will benefit than have suffered under the pathetic tantrum he is currently throwing.

Matthew Inman wrote:

"Previously I stated that because the amount raised was so much larger than expected I was going to divide the money into four charities instead of two, but unfortunately Carreon's lawsuit claims that I'm holding an "illicit fundraiser" and not donating money where I said I would. To avoid further litigation with him, I decided to split the money between the original two charities. If Carreon wanted a minor victory, he got one here."

That simply won't do.

I have started my own fundraiser called "LLB's Delicious Oatmeal That Might Have Been". 

Its goal is simple: to raise money for two additional charities who might have received funds if Charles Carreon were not so utterly selfish.  I do not know Matthew Inman, nor am I presumptuous enough to think he would respond to an e-mail I might send, out of, I'm sure, the thousands of other e-mails of support he is getting.  So I have chosen two charities, I believe will help prevent this travesty of the legal system from happening again.

The first is Americans for the Arts.  Hopefully, by increasing the number of arts programs available to kids, the world can look forward to more Matthew Inmans, who use humor and creativity to fight battles, in lieu of litigiousness and bullying.

The second, is the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  I think it goes without saying the importance of the work this group is doing, to preserve the first amendment rights of bloggers, satirists, and web users everywhere.

The goal is much more modest than Mr. Inman's: $1000. If every person who donated to Matt's cause donated just $1, we would have more than 14 times that amount.

Even if my little fundraiser doesn't come near its goal, its mere existence is a victory in the face of someone who is self righteous enough to believe it is his job to police the intentions of our charitable giving.

So, who is with me?


Joe said...

Ann,another fantastic post.

Anonymous said...

I hope your fundraiser is successful. If you truly are a girl that is.. I'll donate when I get home.

I tried reading Tara's blog, but that red background and the ranting, oh the ranting... You should fund professional help for anyone who had to read that blog.


Anonymous said...

Great post :) new reader reporting in.

I'm amazed at some of the things Tara wrote... I mean, come on. She comes across as a lunatic - maybe a little thesaurus-addicted as well.

I had to go look at pictures of kittens after reading her bile.

Ms L said...

Ann, though i'm not American and in no way share the same continent as some rotting-meat-eating particular butthurts, i support your cause. And long live the crass and precise humor of the Oatmeal - I hope Bob and Bob visit the butthurts, and unleash twin Bobrachas.

p.s. it's "absconded".

Ann Bransom said...

Thank you, Ms L! That is the kind of terrible proofreading that happens at 1am. *corrected*

Fyn said...

Wow, that women is a piece of work. And not a good one.
Just going through her website gave me a hernia.

I will donate to your cause, and then go watch some kitty stuff, because I need brain bleach after reading that buttmunchers site.

Jinnah Mohammed said...

Ms. Bransom,

Thanks to Mr. Carreon, I've come across your website and I am delighted that I have. Your writing is both thoughtful and beautiful.

I think Mr. Inman's choice in staying with the two charities is wise - there is no sense in creating further points of contention for Mr. Carreon to latch onto.

That may be unfortunate, but as you have rightly noted, that does not stop us from taking action. I will decline your choice of charities, but in the same spirit you have inspired, I will pick two in my country and donate to them.

I hope that others are inspired by you as well.

Though a person like Mr. Carreon may have vile intentions, good nevertheless follows in its wake and ripples outward. It is less showy perhaps, but doing good has always been more subtle than doing evil. And always far more profound.

Have a great day.
Jinnah Mohammed
Trinidad and Tobago

azteclady said...

That settles it--you have to marry me now!


Anonymous said...

So, it's offical then. Charles Carreon is the patron saint of asshats and internet charity drives.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Bransom,

I had posted earlier that you were an inspiration to me, but I had declined to give to your charity in favour to one closer at home. Well, here's what happpened next.

A few weeks ago, an Animal Rescue organisation rescued a Pitbull which had been abandoned by its owners. A watchman living on a quarry site offered to temporarily keep the dog until the Rescue organisation found a permanent owner. But it can be hard to place adult Pitbulls into new homes.

Then two armed men held up the watchman one night. The dog burst the chain keeping it tied up, chased the armed men off the quarry, and returned to stay with the watchman, who had been shot in the leg, until the police and medics arrived.

As you can imagine, the watchman wants to keep the dog. But he lives on a quarry, so the dog must be kept from roaming during working hours. Chaining it is the current temporary solution - the Rescue organisation has been trying to get a kennel for the dog.

By the way the watchman is not a rich person - there have been days where he has gone hungry so he can feed the dog.

Which is where I seem to come in. Remember my commitment to donate to a charity in much the same spirit as you have. Serendipity indeed, yes?

Your post had wondered if god exists. Of course s/he does - think of the crazy, Rube Goldberg set of actions that have occurred to give a dog a kennel, starting somewhere far far away from us. Humans couldn't have thought of that - though notably, people with good intentions cared enough to make it happen.

Meanwhile, a dog and a loving owner thank you for your part in their story.

Ann Bransom said...

@Anonymous - That. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

You and everyone who has donated are the real inspirations. It just goes to show you that when people value the same things, amazing things can happen!

Also UPDATE: we are only $90 away from the $1000 goal! Squeeeeeee!!!! :D

Anonymous said...


i gave you $19 (the same amount i donated to Matt's efforts).

thanks and greetings from Japan. . .

Jade Reeves said...

pssst...You reached your goal!

Glad I could help!

Chris R. said...

Congrats Ann! You got it done :)

Male problems said...

That is a really amazing post...My Congratulations, dude! You made me encouraged...

raphidae said...

Nibor Sypher said...

You mentioned on the IndieGoGo page that you will post the receipts of you donations, but don't forget to post your receipt from your new iPad ;-)

Just Kidding, or aren't I :-P

Again Congrats Ann and freedom of choice(where I decide where I spend my money)won one again.

Kiriona Wulff said...

It seems that two more charities might profit from this mess. Your campaign inspired me to do one of my own similar to yours. :)

I hope the courts take one look at this ridiculous case and toss it out. Then order Carreon disbarred and banished into outer space along with his wife. Such a blatant attack on free speech cannot be tolerated!

Ollie said...

you know, some more good has been done in this madness.... in trying to read every possible coverage of this situation, being a giant oatmela fan, I've discovered some fantastic blogs run by people who I would love to continue reading their writing, like Popehat, and this one right here! your writing is phenomenal and I wish I could donate but college eats money like a shrew consumes its body weight in food every few hours xP

Anonymous said...

I cannot bear the thought of an upset vagina. I will donate.

LT said...

Can I just say...Eh. I haven't seen Charles in some years, but I call him a friend, and know him to be a funny-as-fuck-all and smarter than that kind-hearted human. I consider myself lucky to know him, and his family.

I think you, Make Me a Day blogger, who seems rather smart as well, and I'll guess kind-hearted because why not?, have built quite an internet wagon here. And some internet wagons (many?) are inherently un-smart and un-kind, and perhaps undercut your own foundational purposes.

But hey - enjoy yourself. It will all come out right.

LT said...

Posting anonymously doesn't serve in this case, and the link is not working in my last comment, so...

Valerie O. said...

@LT If you are his friend, could you try to talk him down?

I mean the thing that pissed everyone off and started the bandwagon rolling was his decision to react to a cartoon that hurt his feelings (because he misinterpreted it as being about him, rather than his client) by frivolously suing everyone he could tangentially tie to it.

This was made worse when every one discovered the photo-shopped hypocrisy on American Buddha & the copyright violations at the Nader Library.

Then his wife started calling everyone (whether they were trolls or simply critics) Nazis and Illuminati. Again, both unfair and unwise.

As long as the pair of them continue to sling mud, spin conspiracy theories and try to stifle free speech, people are going to respond with ridicule and condemnation.

People should not be threatening or harassing him (or sending him pizzas and porn), but the chances of isolating and punishing those people are slim (although if it can be done, by all means he has a right to pursue it). Laying all this at the feet of Inman & the Bearlove campaign (not to mention a 3 year old pterodactyl cartoon), however, is absurd.

Maybe its time to give your long lost friend a call and try to get him to cool off & reconsider. He may be a nice guy, but he sure hasn't been acting like it for the last month. You reap what you sow.

Ann Bransom said...

@LT - I'm not entirely sure I understand what your comment is meant to convey, but I do appreciate you standing up for your friend in a respectful way. Out of curiosity, have you read the legal documents of the case or the Carreon's personal posts at the Nader Library?

I ask, because if one of my friends was engaging in that type of rhetoric and self destructive behavior, I would be really concerned.

Also, for the record, I would not say I am "enjoying myself". I don't think anyone enjoys being threatened with a lawsuit by someone who has a lawyer working for free 24/7. I also don't enjoy seeing people I admire get threatened or have their families dragged into the fray (unlike the Carreons, who jumped in feet first). I don't think Matthew Inman's mom deserved the e-mail Tara sent her, or Matt being accused of possibly committing a murder down the road, or Ken at Pope Hat being misquoted, or anyone else who has been dragged into this.

Not trying to be combative, but I want my intentions to be crystal clear here. I am zealously tweeting and blogging about this issue, because I am passionate about first amendment rights, and because I don't like bullies.


LT said...

But hold on, Valerie. What everyone on the entire internet talking about this case appears to ignore is that Inman was a bit of a jackass in this whole business himself. I mean can anyone at least acknowledge that, instead of making Inman the next Jesus and Charles pure evil? Inman seems ready for a scrap as much as the next guy. (And how he responded to the letter - fuck, it was funny.)

Also: This is primarily between Inman and whoever runs FunnyJunk. It started - and was already uglyish - before Charles even began working for FunnyJunk.

What Charles did as FunnyJunk's lawyer sounds like pretty standard hardball lawyering, doesn't it? It's not his (or any other lawyer's) job to do the popular thing.

And has everyone who has jumped on this bandwagon (all of them experts in internet and copyright law and in all the details of the case, I'm sure!) been consistent about site like FunnyJunk? The internet is *primarily* aggregators, isn't it? And not all of them are real good about proper linking, you know? (A lot of blogs do the same, posting cool shit and linking back only to wherever they found the shit, rathe than looking for the original source.) Are we going after all of this?

LT said...

Meant to convey: I think you pretty much nailed the core of it - sticking up for a vilified friend who I know to be better than the vilification implies. (Someone as loathsome as Charles Carreon...") Hey - eh. This is the intertubes. But the same impulse that prods you to write that exists in the opposite, you know. And I actually do KNOW I have at tiny bit up on you on that score, yeah?

I haven't read the legal documents - I doubt I could begin to understand them. I have read part of what-his-name's response (big prosecutor guy, at BoingBoing), and hell, Charles might have gone too far, what do I know? But as I said, I think there are some pretty fundamental things people are ignoring here, and I think people are adding a lot on too.

And I really don't think Charles woke up one day and decided to get into this thing. He was being a lawyer for FunnyJunk. That is actually a job, and he does need to put food on the table like the rest of us.

"Not trying to be combative, but I want my intentions to be crystal clear here. I am zealously tweeting and blogging about this issue, because I am passionate about first amendment rights, and because I don't like bullies."

I believe you. I think you've gone to quickly to "bully," but that's your call.

I do need to ask - what is you're opinion on this regarding sites that use user-generated content? That does seem to be near the core of this. And is FunnyJunk special somehow?

As a final thought, it seems Inman is playing a "poor starving artist" thing here. I mean he's got to be doing okay, right? Why do that?

Anonymous said...

@LT That Inman was "a bit of a jackass" -- that's a reason to sue him, and two charities? I don't see Inman as playing the starving artist (where does he imply that he's starving?); more an artist who would like to get on with his work, except that an old lawyer is suing him literally for being snarky.

Anonymous said...

@ LT

The thing is, it stopped being about Funnyjunk the moment Charles Carreon decided to personally sue Inman & the rest of the known universe.

Inman, you may recall, did not sue Funnyjunk when they posted his comics without attribution - he acknowledged the futility of such an attempt and simply used his public forum to complain about it. Neither did Inman sue anyone when Carreon, on behalf of Funnyjunk, threw his hardball and demanded $20,000 and a retraction of the criticism.

Instead, he organized a charity campaign, ridiculed the letter, and insinuated that Funnyjunk's mother liked fucking bears.

Crass? Yes.

Funny? Yes.

Embarrassing for the lawyer that wrote the letter without checking to see if the links were still up? Hell yes.

The equivalent of threatening to eat up someone's time and money in court & accusing them of heading a massive conspiracy? Not even close.

As a lawyer, if you play hardball, you might get beaned. If you do an unpopular thing, you might be mocked.

Charles Carreon and every other American has every right to be unpopular and even offensive (Inman certainly profits from that right), but neither Carreon nor any other lawyer has the right to misuse his law licence in order to stop others from mocking his screw-up.

Bottom line, this stopped being about aggregation some time ago. Either you are putting up a straw man, or you haven't done your homework. Funnyjunk is not even a party to the lawsuit, nor are the bulk of the negative comments focused on them.

As for the issue of who is and isn't a legal expert, some of the folks at Popehat are lawyers, and the folks at the EFF who have stepped in to defend Inman certainly are experts in both internet law and free speech issues.

Moreover, you hardly need to be a legal expert to recognize hypocrisy when you see it. As Ann pointed out, the Carreons (especially Tara) jumped in with both feet, screamed Nazi conspiracy, and gave the trolls & critics all the ammunition they needed.

Sometimes you jump on the bandwagon because the band is playing a good tune.

Valerie O. said...

Last post is Valerie O, for the record.

Ann Bransom said...

I think it would very much behoove you to read the legal documents.  I have read them, and some very excellent attorneys have read them as well and agree that they reek of butthurt and litigiouness.  Attorney Marc Randazza, was one of the first people to come out and say that he knew Charles to be a good person, but after the lawsuit against Inman was filed, he had to retract his support and then some.  You owe it to yourself and any community that you are going to engage in a discussion about this case with to have actually read the case.

I don't need to know someone personally to know that they are loathsome when they do the following:

1) make statements like "the california legal code is very long...there is something in there about this"
2) no matter how many times they are corrected that a satirical cartoon is NOT of their mother, but of a website's (non entity's) mother, they continue to play that card for all the sympathy it is worth, even envoking their mother's tragic death in an interview.
3) Donating to a charity for the sole purpose of gaining legal standing in order to sue that charity
4) Suing two charities for not policing a fundraiser they would have no way of knowing was even being held
5) Demanding funds be withheld from a charity, in order to ensure that a charity receives said funds
6) Using one's family members as a shield, while making veiled threats to critics that they may find themselves named in a lawsuit.

The list goes on and on, but it has all been covered ad nauseum in other blogs, news articles, and on the Carreon's own personal website:

People are not pissed off at Charles Carreon over FunnyJunk.  Matt's response was to FunnyJunk and FunnyJunk's attorney.  If Carreon was really a "hardball" attorney who believed he had substantial legal ground to send that letter, then he would have stood by it and ignored the criticism.  Instead, he admitted that he had not done his research and had been mislead by his client FunnyJunk, he took offense to a cartoon that was not of him and literally made a federal case out of it, and he engaged in awe-inspiring pearl clutching at the "filth" on Inman's site, knowing full well the host of offensive, even pornographic material on his own site.

So to answer your basic question, which seems to be "Why is everyone picking on Charles and no one is picking on FunnyJunk or Matt Inman?" the answer is because, to date, the only person who has filed a lawsuit is Charles Carreon.

LT said...

Also - Inman did accuse the owners of FunnyJunk of some strong unethical and illegal behavior. Little of the response I've seen speaks very little to this. I've tried to address it with my questions about user-geneated sites and aggregators.

Ann- I do appreciate that we're being respectufl with each other. Truly.

Anonymous said...

Carreon's response to a well-deserved public rebuke was over the top, out of touch, cynical, foolish, and--indefensible. Inman's income, whether or not he was "a jackass," etc., has nothing to do with anything. (Unless you're Tara Carreon. In that case the few facts that can be gleaned about Inman's personal life add up to Inman's probably being a murderer.)

LT said...

Arg, leet me try taht again:

Also - Inman did accuse the owners of FunnyJunk of some strong unethical and illegal behavior. Very few of of the responses I've seen speak to this. I've tried to address it with my questions about user-geneated sites and aggregators.

And Inman's comments about "slathering with advertising"... Yes? And? A ton of sites do this. Is this a condemnation of 99% of the internet? He's basically describing FARK - although FARK might be better about linking to original sources, although I'm not at all sure about that.

Valerie O. said...

As for the "starving artist" bit, Inman disclosed early on that his site makes him about $500,000 per year, so he isn't exactly hiding that it is quite profitable.

Again, its about more than just money. Finding a pretext to sue someone in order to prevent them from mocking you is profoundly unethical, if not illegal, especially if you have attacked others who made your enemies list in a similar fashion. (Have you seen the pornographic "artwork" involving prominent conservatives?) It is protected by the same first amendment that protects the author of

As for mocking the Carreon websites, if you put something up on the internet and call attention to it, you are inviting commentary, and it may not be flattering or to your liking.

Had Carreon simply had his wife photo-shop a penis onto a picture of Matt Inman, which seems to be the go-to move for all who do not agree with the family, this would have ended some time ago. But he didn't - he went from Free Speech Hero to, in the words of, a censorious douchebag.

LT said...

But Valerie, you have to speak to the first accusation first: Inman accusing FunnyJunk's owner of maliciously using his content while "slathering" the pages with advertising (which I honestly do not understand the gist of) to make "six-figures." (The only reason I mention Inman's income is that comment specifically. To me that implied that he's just a poor little cartoonist. I guess I read it wrong.) )

If Inman is wrong, legally, about FunnyJunk, then that changes all of this considerably, doesn't it?

VAlerie O said...

One last thing before I bid you all sweet dreams.

@LT You have a number of clever satires on your blog.

Would you really like to see a precedent established that would allow Justice Roberts to sue you for insinuating that he killed Vince Foster? I mean that is about as realistic a claim as the assertion that Funnyjunk's mom fucks bears, and BTW God help you if the Vince Foster stuff is not meant as satire.

I know you are an ex-pat, but surely you can see the value of protecting crude satire (including the Carreons' conservative penis art) under the first amendment.

Anonymous said...

I thought the world of my dad for 30 years. Then my mom left him for personal reasons, and he decided to take her to court over some pissant accusations of emotional abuse, his way of leveling a public rebuke that would wreak havoc for everyone no matter what the final outcome. (He lost, but the damage was done.) Now it doesn't matter how highly I regarded him for 30 years. He's a f***ing douchebag, now.

Valerie O. said...

@ LT It doesn't matter if Inman's opinion on aggregation was correct. All he did was accurately describe Funnyjunk's business strategy & complain that they were making money off his work. That is simply true - it may be legal (although I am not sure that the courts have really clarified that). In fact, the $20,000 in damages was meant to be for lost advertising. So even if Inman overstated how much they made off his work, one can assume they are making gobs of advertising money on content that is largely unattributed. Again - the key point is that Inman didn't sue. He stated the facts and bitched about them.

If Carreon had sued on behalf of Funnyjunk, he would undoubtedly have been mocked. On the other hand, he would be upholding legal ethics since the aggregation issue seems in legal flux at the moment & as a lawyer he has a duty to act zealously in the interests of his client.

He didn't do that. After announcing that he was going to scour the California legal code for something to sue Inman about, he did so, on his own behalf. There just isn't any defense for that. The precedents protecting satire and parody are pretty well established, unlike the issue of aggregation online. By suing on his own behalf, he screwed the pooch.

Ok, now really goodnight.

Anonymous said...


Go over to Popehat and read Ken's latest update re the Carreon nonsense.

Your good pal, the hilarious, brilliant, honorable Charles Carreon, is suing Matthew Inman----------to keep him from posing with the quarter million bucks he raised for charity. You might want to rethink your definition of jackass.

Anonymous said...


Yes - Check out Popehat's Ken's 7 part series on the legal aspects of the case (Ken is a lawyer). I'd start at the beginning if you haven't read the earlier installments.

LT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neurokeen said...

Ann, new reader here after seeing your posts on Popehat and where Adam Steinbaugh had linked your fundraiser on his blog. Your work so far makes me proud to be a Lexingtonian.

azteclady said...

Let me see if I understand LT's position.

Inmann was (is?) pissed that FunnyJunk allowed the posting, sans attribution (let alone a working link) of his The Oatmeal comics--many of them and for a long period of time.

FunnyJunk ignored Inmann's take down request.

Inmann bitched about it online.

A year later, Charles Carreon tries to shake down Inmann on behalf of FunnyJunk, to the tune of $20,000 (this is characterized as playing hardball by LT)

When Inmann responds, within his rights, in the negative, Carreon sues Inmann and the charities.

Where does Inmann's income come in? Does it make a difference, legally, that he probably could have paid off Carreon and FunnyJunk without great hardship?

Lemme see... I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one online or on tv but common sense tells me: no, it doesn't make a difference. Whether he could afford to toss $20,000 down the drain or no, Charles Carreon demand had no legal basis, and Inmann had no obligation to cave in to it.

So where is the actual justification for Charles Carreon suing people--and charities--left and right?

There isn't one.

And yet Charles Carreon is suing not only Inmann--for the crime of not giving in to baseless demands for money on their face--and two charities, for...what? Can you explain what have the charities done to Charles Carreon that he is justified in suing them?

If you can, please enlighten us.

If you can't, then perhaps you would consider trying to talk some sense into your good friend.

LT said...

Why did you remove a comment of mine?

LT said...

Oh hell - never mind - that was removed by me - days ago.

I'm an idiot.