So I was gonna spend some time today on the whole “1L Guidance” thing again, but you know when life reaches up and smacks you around a little? That happened Friday evening as I was preparing to go out and be the Amazing Dancing Badger for a group of furries in Connecticut over the last weekend. This time, the dose of reality came in the form of a link from the super-secret LawyerSlack, a place where attorneys gather…you know, like a Bar Association meeting but with less liquor and pretentiousness. Someone posted an article about a Connecticut Councilman from the town of New Milford who “voluntarily resigned” after his participation in a certain fandom – possibly one filled with large talking animals and a love of the movie Zootopia – became even more exposed than it had been before.
And, because I’m not a goddamn fan of hypocrisy, let’s talk about this shit.
Here’s the rundown: Scott Chamberlain is a lawyer in Danbury, CT. He’s apparently a good lawyer with a lot of experience who has had a very long career. He’s a Democrat and ran for office there as a Councilman, getting elected. Apparently he was never really quiet about his involvement in the furry fandom, but folks weren’t aware he was the author(?) and reader of some erotic fiction (I assume “erotic fiction” and “author” are correct based on some things that I was sent. I haven’t read it, so I’m going by word of mouth here). As a result, his “public-but-not-public” profile on one site that circulates those stories has references to literary depictions of underage characters and rape/forced sex in it through sort of a “Positive” and “Negative” grouping system. Someone went into his profile on that website, saw he marked some of these things as “like” or “tolerate,” and promptly disseminated all of this information to the constituents of New Milford [Edit: Flayrah, a furry news site, touched on this whole “tolerates rape” thing and the issues with the site’s reporting much more in depth than I can cause I’m not a tech guy].
Quite honestly, I’ve met the man, I’ve spoken to the man, he’s a good councilman and – you’re gonna love this – a good lawyer. However, because he writes (again, reportedly) and reads stories with some definitely fucking illegal-in-the-real-world activities depicted in them fictionally, the good people of New Milford reacted exactly like you would expect: With some disgust and anger, calling Mr. Chamberlain everything you could imagine. These are good, Christian folk in New Milford, CT, and they don’t want any of that stuff in their elected officials, no matter how qualified they may be otherwise. After all, as a commenter pointed out, “these fantasies and fictional things become reality if you ignore them!” And thus did Scott Chamberlain get cast aside.
The comments section make most of the pertinent points over why this is a stupid goddamn thing. I’m glad the people of New Milford, CT have decided not to tolerate such goddamn smut in their community. I mean, these principled people are making a stand for god and country, and Chamberlain is obviously against fucking both of them. If you allow people to write fictional stories about incest, underage sex, pedophilia, and violent sexual undertones, what would happen?
We know what that tone means, man. Where’s the twist?
You assholes know me too well by now.
An independent film called The Ballad of Jack and Rose was filmed in New Milford, CT in 2005, in which a teenage girl attempts to seduce her soon-to-be stepbrothers, attempts to murder her father and his girlfriend after spying on them while having sex, having underage sex with her possible step-brother, plots to kill her father’s girlfriend, and reveals she is in love (like IN LOVE) with her dad. Holy shit, yeah, that was a movie, and holy shit, yeah, it was filmed in New Milford, CT back in 2005.
I’m certain that the people of New Milford, CT are now rushing to give back all of that dirty underage-sex, incest, violence-driven movie-industry money they welcomed into the local economy during the filming of this artistic masterpiece, which you likely never fucking heard of until right now.
Or maybe they’re advertising their community, which roundly derided a local attorney and politician for his “erotic fiction writing,” as being a great place for people to come and make their independent films.
Because indie films? All about good American values.
But it’s cool, because this isn’t the first time the residents of New Milford, CT have taken actions or made decisions that put their artistic integrity and viability as a safe place for writers, playwrights,and cultural creators at risk. I mean, the local theater company flat-out ignored copyrighted and protected set designs.
But this is different, right? I mean, this is a case of a lawyer and an elected official who reads, and possibly writes, some really offensive stuff for some people! It’s completely justified for the people of New Milford to not want to elect such a man, who creates fictionalized accounts of this stuff, to represent them! I mean, where there’s smoke there must be fire, right? RIGHT? Besides, isn’t the risk just too great!
What if he were to snap one day and let the fantasy cross into reality! My lord, the horrors that would result! The shame! It’d be like if they just let a judge who pled guilty to strangling someone he brought home from a bar get no public ostracization or doubt.
Nope. We’re doing this.
Meet Judge Martin Landgrebe, a local “GOP Stalwart” who was elected to the Probate Court in 2014 for a four year term, a popular figure in the town of New Milford, Ct, and an accused domestic abuser who, it was reported in 2015, choked his goddamn wife and agreed to enter into a Family Violence Education program as part of a diversion agreement for first-time offenders. MY GOD! THE MONSTER! (He’s still on the bench, though, and likely to get re-elected.)
Except the Family Violence Education Program the Judge applied for isn’t an admission of guilt.
Except the judge’s wife’s family has said she has an “erratic” history when drinking.
Except the Judge, who had scratches on his face, claimed the whole thing was an incident of his wife attacking him.
Except, as a lawyer, I know there are some damn good reasons a sitting judge may choose FVEP rather than attempt to defend himself against criminal charges which are definitely not related to admitting guilt.
So what’s the issue?
Look at the fucking comments on the News-Time Article about Landgrebe’s domestic violence arrest.
In one corner, we have a man with no criminal history and a background of charity work, zealous representation, and, by all accounts, a family man who writes fetishized fiction. The response of the community? “Fucking pervert should be ashamed of all of this, and we as a community must ostracize and make it clear how unacceptable the written word is when it contains fictional representations of things.”
In the other corner, we have the Probate Judge who was literally goddamn arrested for choking his wife, and doesn’t deny he did so but states he did so in protection of himself. There were no other facts known at that time. Reaction of the community? “The judge is a good man, and we’re certain he didn’t do anything at all. You should be ashamed on reporting this trash.”
The first had a separate life that harmed nobody, and certainly didn’t affect his ability to serve as a councilman or his competence as an attorney, but was publicly chastised and embarrassed. The second was publicly accused of a real world crime and was immediately defended.
Why the difference?
The “leaking” of the information (which was mostly already public), appears to be a blatant attempt at character assassination likely brought about by the upcoming elections in New Milford, CT.
See, a cursory search on the internet shows that Chamberlain, a Democrat, was part of an upheaval of the normal chain of command in New Milford, which for the 12 years preceding their last rounds of local elections, had a Republican Mayor and, for almost 8 years before the 2015 elections, a Republican dominated council. The Republicans were the power of New Milford locally, and were used to being the force in town. But there’s another set of elections coming up very soon, including the re-election of the Mayor and several council members…an election that could stick the Republicans back in power.
And the Republicans, aware of Chamberlain’s whole “furry thing” (and likely already aware of the stories he wrote), decided now was the time to tar an attorney and public servant as a pedophile and tolerator of rape in order to score political points with the “FOR THE CHILDREN!” crowd out there, leading the Democrats and the Mayor in a position where they had to publicly disavow Chamberlain or risk an electoral loss because now this was a moral issue instead of “that guy wrote porn but has literally done nothing to fucking anyone in real life, and if we’re judging people on their private fetishes that don’t cross into reality, let’s make every goddamn candidate hand over their internet history.”
In other words: to regain political control of the council of New Milford, CT, a town most goddamn people had never fucking heard of before now, it appears likely folks decided to ruin a man’s life.
See, Chamberlain wasn’t quiet about his furry life. None of the articles say he was. It appears people knew about it when he was elected in the first place, and it was okay…or at least the GOP decided it wasn’t really a viable way to attack him. So instead, folks dug into and targeted that specific area of his life because they were certain something would pop up there which could be used. And they were right. By taking some information and twisting it around, changing the meaning from “he wrote fictional stories but has absolutely no history of any of this stuff in his real life, and seriously, have you assholes never heard of Lolita, Fifty Shades of Gray, or A Clockwork Orange?” to “SAVE THE CHILDREN, WHAT A PERVERT!” tanked not only the political opponent, but also the man.
I spoke to him this weekend. This shit is affecting his law practice.
Cause that’s fucking reasonable when those folks are likely the same people who defended the judge accused of something with real world consequences, like actually abusing his goddamn wife, when they had a complete lack of information about what did or did not happen.
But, you know, the Judge was a Republican. So it’s better, I guess.
You have a point?
Yeah, just one:
If you’re in the public view at any point, be aware some of this shit can come back and bite you in the ass.
But it’s okay, because…you know…politics or some such shit.
If you’re a lawyer or a politician, remember: the internet is real, and shit can be found out. So do me a favor:
Try not to be interesting or a fucking human being. Try not to have any interests or hobbies. Don’t have fetishes privately. Don’t join communities or talk to people. Just practice law, go to church, be a good boy, or forget about running for office to try and make a change for the better in your town.
Especially if your town is New Milford.