Follow-Up: Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller May or May Not Reject Western Imperialist Irony

Yesterday I wrote a satirical piece mocking the loathsome, thuggish, and hysterical Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller, a professor who responded to a rather mildly negative book review with a criminal libel proceeding in French Court.

Last night I got the following email:

Dear Ken,

Finally someone who is able to see beyond the picture presented so far by the media.
Whatever the outcome, once I have the judgement, I will have it translated and send you a copy.

I am a French national.

Best regards


I Googled the address this email came from — — and found that it has repeatedly been used by Dr. Michael Calvo, Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller's husband.

This raises several fascinating possibilities.

1. Someone who wishes to make one or both of the Doctors Calvo to look like morons has some minor skill with spoofing email addresses.

2. Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller may or may not use her husband's email address to email random obscure bloggers.

3. Dr. Michael Calvo may or may not be flitting about the internet posing as his wife for uncertain purposes.

4. Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller, and/or her husband Dr. Michael Calvo, might be too stupid to recognize satire, even the sort of broad, even-an-idiot-can-recognize-it satire for which I am known. This is consistent with them writing a poorly-reviewed book that is primarily made up of regurgitation of the statute and rules of the ICC, and the sense of dull-witted entitlement necessary to file criminal charges for being criticized.

5. Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller, and/or her husband Dr. Michael Calvo, might have a rudimentary sense of humor, and be pretending to take the satire at face value for comic effect. Though having a sense of humor, particularly at one's own expense, is a virtue, indulging that sense of humor rather than accepting responsibility for bad behavior is not. This possibility suggests that not only is Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller a censorious douche, she thinks it's amusing that people object to her being a censorious douche. That makes her a notable asshole, even in the realm of academia.

I suppose that by saying all of this, I, too, run the risk of being summoned by a French court, if Dr. Calvo-Goller files a criminal complaint against me in France. I don't have the free time or inclination to take Professor Weiler's approach of traveling to France to fight such a case. I suppose I'll have to avoid France. I had planned on visiting again some day, but I can make do without. There are plenty of people here who will sneer at my accent. We have home-grown censorious turds in America; I don't need to travel to Europe to observe them. There are plenty of people who are inexplicably superior locally. And certainly in America we have folks who are agitated about the intrusion of foreign languages, despite the prevalence of elements of their own language across the world. I can get overpriced and overrated food here served by oddly haughty waiters (here they're haughty because their screenplay is totally getting read at Paramount, but the principle is the same). And now we have people protesting over their swollen sense of entitlement to have taxpayers continue to pay their benefits without question. Why would I need to visit France?

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. anoNY says

    No. No way. Your satire was too good for them to have missed it! My money is on the email account having been hacked by Anonymous…

  2. Wisco says

    [S]he thinks it’s amusing that people object to her being a censorious douche. That makes her a notable asshole, even in the realm of academia.

    Au contraire, Ken, filing a criminal complaint over hurt feelings and pique makes one not just a notable asshole, but indeed an asshole par excellence.

  3. InMD says

    Personally I'm wondering if there isn't a bit more to this story than meets the eye. There were a lot of interesting links in the comments section for the post by Joseph Weiler

    One of them has a link to a similar story and speculates that a group of attorneys in Israel has decided this is a lucrative thing to do (Calvo-Goller is Israeli based but also is apparently a French citizen). Of course I don't know but I think it's entirely possible that this is not so much an overly sensitive academic but rather an innovative hunt for a payday down the road. Not that free speech is any less a casualty if that's the case.

    For what it's worth another comment claims to include a release by the French government stating their desire to reform this policy, though I don't speak French so I can't verify it. I'm not familiar with the Inquisitorial (or whatever) system but it sounds to me like all one needs to do is file a complaint and the French criminal justice apparatus is required to go into motion. For good or ill they don't seem to have the same kind of prosecutorial discretion we have in the United States. Really I'm surprised the European public stands for this sort of thing. I know it's just as bad in the UK, though over there it takes the form of lawsuits rather than criminal prosecutions. Of course it goes without saying that I'm also frequently shocked by the kinds of insanity Americans are willing to tolerate in our own legal system.

  4. dearieme says

    "I know it’s just as bad in the UK": no sir; in England. The Scottish courts have no truck with such nonsense.

  5. says

    I've got to believe that was a hacked or spoofed e-mail you got. A person who wrote an entire book would probably have made a stronger, longer and more verbose case in their defense.

  6. says

    Joe, judging from the book, I think they could only have authored a longer e-mail if someone else on the internet had written a more verbose defense of the good Doctor…

  7. SG says


    You are quite right, France is full of pompous asses and currently governed by pompous (not to mention dangerous) asses. By the way, let me make a public service announcement: it is not such a good idea to try your case in France, because of that well-known French tradition, strikes (no, not xenophoby). Recently, French judges, attorneys, and other judicial personnel were on strike because of pompous, dangerous and assy remarks from the President himself about an ongoing judicial case.

    Still, Ken (and other fine folks here), you might consider visiting France for a good reason… Making a good action by (even temporarily) reducing the ratio of asses-to-interesting-people here. A (disturbingly small) number of folks here will be grateful.

    I promise to give any of you shelter and hide you from the police, which is too busy chasing illegal immigrants, anyway.


    A Frenchman (but reluctantly so and only because Louis the 14th brutally conquered his place of birth in the 1690s)

    PS : I should also note that despite being born in France and being a native speaker, some people still make fun of my accent, so really, nobody should feel offended by that.

  8. Rich Rostrom says

    InMD: the kinds of insanity Americans are willing to tolerate in our own legal system.

    One word: RightHaven.

  9. mojo says

    "Summoned by a French court"

    Ha! Lotsa luck with that, Froggie! And you can stuff your Napoleonic code up there beside it.