This is an endearing little fragment of old USENET jargon
, invariably abbreviated as "IANAL
It's a graceful and very compact way of saying something like this:
"I have absolutely nothing of value to say about this subject. I am laughably uninformed and devoid of reason. You should not waste a single instant of your time -- worthless though that time may be, heavily though it may hang -- reading the indefensible gibberish that I'm about to spew forth. Nevertheless, I've got a stiff case of megalomania and a brain the size of a pea, so I'd like to share what passes for my 'thoughts'.
"My legal expertise is broad: I've gotten several speeding tickets, and I once napped through a lecture on the Bill of Rights in my high school civics class. While I never wandered away from the TV long enough to read the Bill of Rights, I do believe it to be so clear and obvious than I've achieved a perfect understanding of it, and of all its implications, and of the intent of its authors, based on nothing more than casual hearsay. Remarkably, I am the only human on Earth who has been granted this rare gift! The Supreme Court, piddling amateurs, are usually naïve enough to disagree with me. More in sorrow than in anger, I will now take this opportunity to correct them."
This implied "bullshit block
" or disclaimer
-- tidily packed into those five little letters, "IANAL
" -- invariably precedes a great seething mass of pure crap
, crap which displays an ignorance of legal principle and precedent so broad and deep that it dwarfs even my own.
A more compact translation might be the following:
"Flame me, I'm an idiot".
Lest it ain't obvious, I'm as guilty of the above as anybody, and probably more than most.