When comments are sifted and examined, the Bissell defense has centered on two old Soviet jokes listed among the nine examples. His "attorney" in the court of blog opinion made this the focal point of her argument, conveniently pushing aside, away from the jury's sight, the obvious paraphrasing of the other posts listed. (Scroll down please to view all nine exhibits.)
Very well. Let's examine the two jokes. As the defense stressed again and again, Russia is a place filled with cynical jokes about the system under which the Russian people live. Hundreds of jokes. Thousands. What, then, are the odds that Bissell and Feshbach would hear the same two jokes-- and independently and coincidentally write about them? Yet this is what the defense argued, only yesterday, on Maud's well-known blog.
But wait! Something else is curious about the matter. The Soviet system ended in 1990. Tom Bissell's Harper's essay was written in 2002! Are Russians still telling old jokes about the Soviets-- or not in fact others about Putin and their current rulers, and the joke of an economic disaster they live under now?
Conclusion: Bissell took the two jokes from the Feshbach book.
The well-researched and carefully constructed Jokes Defense has suddenly and swiftly collapsed; a fallen tower of building blocks. There sits the rubble of the argument on the defense table. Will Maud now apologize for it-- or, like Galley Cat, cross out her own words?
(Galley: Are you not now sorry you bought this shaky argument against your own better judgement?)