Alleged Former Exalted

by John Holbo on November 30, 2013

You wouldn’t normally see those three adjectives in a line like that. And the noun they modify is an unusual one as well.

I suppose it’s fair to object that ‘exalted’ isn’t functioning as an adjective in this context. Fair enough.



bill benzon 11.30.13 at 10:14 am

“Alleged ‘former Exalted Cyclops'” – you won’t find that in Homer, will you? Nothing but real currently existing cyclopses for the great bard.


bill benzon 11.30.13 at 10:15 am

But I can see why the guy is “alleged” and “former.” He’s clearly got two eyes.


Manta 11.30.13 at 1:19 pm

How come it’s not protected speech (like, say, flag burning, or picketing)?


AJ 11.30.13 at 4:17 pm

@3 – it is thanks to the efforts of some people who directly or indirectly drew inspiration from Gandhi.

Gandhi – 1, KKK – 0.


Manta 11.30.13 at 6:29 pm

@3 I didn’t understand your answer: you are saying it is protected speech?
the piece is “Former KKK Leader And His Mother Indicted After Alabama Cross Burning”


milk 11.30.13 at 10:13 pm

The relevant precedent seems to be that there can be laws against cross burning but the prosecution must show evidence of an intent to intimidate; cross burning itself might be protected. That he chose a black neighborhood is part of a case for intimidation. Likewise, his being in the KKK, and the reason for the ‘alleged’ in the headline – he denies being a member.


Will 11.30.13 at 10:28 pm

@3 Because unlike flag-burning or picketing, cross-burning is intended to threaten people with violence, not to express a difference of opinion or to air a grievance. I don’t believe there has ever been any serious discussion as to whether assault counts as protected speech.


AJ 12.01.13 at 4:52 am

+1 milk, Will.


Bloix 12.01.13 at 5:54 pm

For cross burning to be a crime, the state must prove that the cross was burned with intent to intimidate. If “the cross was burned for the purpose of creating anger or resentment” and not “with the purpose of threatening or intimidating a victim,” it is protected speech. Virginia v. Black(2003).



Dan Helphrey 12.02.13 at 10:32 pm

I believe it is also relevant whether the cross was burned on private property – the “speech” may be protected, but trespassing and vandalism aren’t.

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