My Two Cents: Jack Ass sues over MTV show 'Jackass'

In what has got to be the surest sign yet that it’s way too easy to file a lawsuit in this country, a Montana man who legally changed his name to “Jack Ass” – and I swear I am not making this up, as I heard it on the radio and read a newsbrief about it – has sued media giant Viacom Inc.

The man claims its stunt-heavy, gross-out MTV-produced television show and movie “Jackass” had defamed his character. (I still can’t believe I am not making this up.)

In a suit filed in November in Montana (state motto: Home of the Unabomber!) and posted last week on a legal Website, Jack Ass, who said he changed his name from the nondescript Bob Croft to raise awareness about the dangers of drunken driving and responsible choices, claimed Viacom was “liable for injury to my reputation of my character which I have worked so hard to create.”

The suit asks for – surprise – damages of $10 million or more.

The claim by Mr. Ass (never thought I’d write that) that “Jackass” has given him a bad name is disingenuous, because he gave himself a bad name…literally! I suspect he’s not motivated by the alleged tarnishing of his name, but rather 10 million other reasons.

How exactly this name change is supposed to raise awareness about drunk driving and making responsible choices remains unclear to me. (I wonder if the man formerly known as Bob Croft is himself guilty of drunk driving. A self-inflicted scarlet letter of sorts, perhaps?)

Ironically, changing your name to “Jack Ass” seems like something you might do while drunk, and it’s certainly not an example of making a responsible choice, although I’m sure it makes his listing in the phone book a lot more humorous.

What’s not so funny, however, is the fact that this knucklehead has made it this far in the often anti-common sense maze that is our legal system and is taking up valuable time that could be devoted to legitimate court cases, of which I’m sure there are at least a few.

Mr. Ass is acting as his own lawyer, thus fulfilling the old saying that casts dispersions on a client who represents himself.

In none of the reports I heard or read regarding this case was there any mention of whether or not the former Mr. Croft changed his middle name. I suggest he go with “Dumb.”

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who would like to kick this man in the, well, you know where – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.