So, I wake up this morning all hung over and whatnot and thus decide to spend the day doing nothing, and then I see that there’s a trackback thingy on my most recent blog post here, and it’s ol’ Robert Stacy McCain having a go at me in his inimitable way. The main point seems to be that I’m arrogant and narcissistic, which should be news to exactly four people, but there are also some untrue and occasionally downright weird claims made that I should probably address. First, though, I should draw attention to this line he delivers in the midst of a prior discussion on trolling:
And Robin of Berkeley lays her finger on an important point in suggesting trolls “intermix trolling with downloading internet porn.”
As a longtime troll, I can confirm this. And speaking of trolling, a very old friend of mine who’s a news producer at an affiliate back east appears to have left a couple of comments over there in the guise of Marvin Olasky, as he likes to do for reasons that would take too long to explain but which involve a series of incidents from ten years ago coupled with the fact that Olasky looks funny and has an amusing name. He actually had Stacy going for a minute there, too, but then had to go and blow his cover by writing, “In fact, if anyone wants any dirt on the dude, just axe me.” The guy really does have dirt on me, though.
Anywho, allow me to go through all of this paragraph by paragraph:
This past summer, during the uproar over the Michael Hastings Rolling Stone article about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Barrett Brown wrote an article for Vanity Fair‘s Web site criticizing National Review editor Rich Lowry for his dismissive attitude toward Hastings’ article. And then something weird happened. Three weeks later, Brown posted this video “challenging” Lowry to respond:
Then he posts a video in which I do just that. So far so good.
What Brown has dramatized here is his sense of his own importance, and his frustration at the refusal of the world to recognize that importance. There is a yawning chasm of cognitive dissonance between Brown’s grandiose self-concept and the feedback he is receiving from the indifferent world.
I don’t know how to go about disproving such a thing so I’ll let it stand. But here’s when everything gets wacky:
Notice, however, that Brown speaks of “my colleague Michael Hastings,” expressing a collegiality that probably exists mainly in Brown’s mind. Brown and Hastings both had blogs at True/Slant, the now-defunct site which, despite funding from Forbes Media and Fuse Capital, flamed out in 15 months after publishing such memorable works as Rick Ungar’s “Send the Body to Glenn Beck.” But while Brown and Hastings were both True/Slant contributors, it wasn’t like they were hanging out around the office coffee machine, swapping stories.
No kidding; Hastings was spending his time largely between Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vermont at that point whereas I wasn’t. What’s odd about this is that I actually mention in the article to which he links, by way of full disclosure, that Hastings and I have a professional relationship (as I’ll note in a moment, McCain is unfamiliar with the concept of full disclosure). We talked on the phone several times and exchanged some number of e-mails both before and after he came out with the McChrystal piece, as Hastings is interested in Project PM and the two of us have certain shared goals in terms of media reform and have had run-ins with some of the same publications (which is another story altogether). I did radio interviews immediately after the McChrystal thing because I knew some of the back story to the article as well as Hastings’ view on journalism. In fact, he even provided the cover blurb for my upcoming book. Again, some of this is noted in the very article to which McCain himself links in the course of making the case that I am crazy because I refer to Hastings as my “colleague,” and the rest can be confirmed by Andrew Sullivan, with whom I discussed the events after he linked to my piece. So, yeah, that’s weird.
So here is Brown, staring into the camera and addressing “Rich” as if he were talking to a buddy, while referring to Hastings as his colleague, in a video recorded July 15 — three weeks after the June 23 publication of the Vanity Fair piece that Brown references, and two weeks before True/Slant’s July 29 shutdown. The timing seems significant, as if this were a cry for help.
True/Slant was a fine little outfit but it paid less than any of the other outlets for which I write, so I’m not sure why its closing, which had been announced to us months before, should be the thing to put me over the edge. As for the video, not everyone shares McCain’s rhetorically convenient assessment of whether it was worthwhile.
You might get the idea that Barrett Brown is kind of a moody loner, isolated and alienated, attempting to invent a social context for himself where none exists. And if that’s your impression of Brown, you might find it highly significant that the primary subject of Barrett Brown’s online videos is . . . Barrett Brown.
Moody loner? I guess I have to assassinate someone now in order to impress Jody Foster or Michael Hastings.
You might also find it significant thatBrown has described himself as being “raised by a New Age single mother who suggested that I was an Indigo Child with an alien soul, required that I meditate with her daily, prompted me to learn the more potentially significant quatrains of Nostradamus, and had me keep a dream journal next to my bed in order to better divine the future by way of my eternal connection to the collective unconscious.”
Oh, I haven’t even begun dishing out the dirt on my mom, who wouldn’t let me go to this one block party when I was 9 because she thought I was going to get in a fight with some kid whose name I forget. Plus I’m now absolutely certain that she threw away a lot of my best t-shirts because there were little holes in them that you wouldn’t even notice.
No, dude, I’m proclaiming myself to be the Moon Child. I am here to usher in the Golden Dawn. Read all about it in my next column for Skeptical Inquirer. Seriously, though, I hate when people misuse terms like “sarcastic.” Sarcasm is saying stuff like, “Oh, yeah, R.S. McCain’s definitely not a white nationalist, he just used to write for a white nationalist publication under an assumed name.” What I was doing was providing an amusing anecdote about my relatively bizarre childhood. You’re all lucky I’m not writing southern Gothic novels. Actually, you know what? I’m going to go write one as soon as I’m done here.
With the idea of cross-checking this biographical datum, I Googled and found another piece in which Brown said he was “raised by a single mother and a series of female cats.”
Yeah, it was rough. Plus we lived with my grandma for a while.
And in that column, Brown describes discovering at age 13 — circa 1995 — how to use online chatrooms to get sex.
To be fair, I only got to third base with the girls in question and did not actually lose my virginity until I was 16. I dry-humped them, though. That’s just how I roll. Not everyone uses the internet exclusively for purposes of advancing the white race, you know. Also, what does this have to do with my cats?
It was not in that column, but in an entirely different column, in a different magazine, on a different topic, that Brown wrote:
To the extent that one uses the Internet, then, one is subjected to a different array of stimuli than if one did not use the Internet.
Now it’s starting to get personal.
Indeed – as Brown so clearly demonstrated at age 13. Given his precocious mastery of online seduction, one might be tempted to wonder what effect this “different array of stimuli” had on young Barrett’s subsequent social development. But rather than engaging in such untoward speculation, let us contemplate the influence of that “New Age single mother” of whom Brown writes. We can consult a familiar source to explain the significance of this.
Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to engage in “untoward speculation.” McCain then quotes the author of a book called The Culture of Narcissism Revisited and continues to do so in a paragraph which I only skimmed because it didn’t include my name, as all paragraphs should.
At this point, the reader can be excused for asking, “So what? Where is this rambling discourse leading? What is the relationship between trolls and narcissism and New Age and Barrett Brown?” Your impatience is understandable, and now let me refer you to my March 16 essay, “Whatever Happened to Crazy?”
I haven’t read the essay in question but I imagine it’s awesome. Then McCain talks briefly about someone who is not me but who apparently exists in a “marijuana-induced fog,” so perhaps it is me after all. But probably not, because the fellow later “died at the Pentagon in what appeared to be a ‘suicide by cop’ incident.” So, McCain is comparing me to a guy who went nuts and attacked the Pentagon because my dad wasn’t around when I was a kid, my mom made me meditate, and I wrongly believe Michael Hastings to be my “colleague.” In fairness, there is more evidence of my impending murder-suicide, that being the explanatory video I posted yesterday in regards to the two internet networks that my, ahem, colleagues at Project PM are now programming. McCain helpfully provides a transcript of a portion of this in which I describe it as superior to other networks of the sort and refer in passing to Jim Hoft as an idiot.
Has Barrett Brown slipped a cog? Is he zany, daft, wacko, loony, bonkers, Froot Loops, and cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?
If so, this is not a recent development.
Well, would you be surprised to learn that Barrett Brown began a July column about Sarah Palin by (a) recounting an incident in which he flipped off a female motorist, and (b) describing his gun collection?
McCain is referring to the following passage:
Tyler, Texas is in many ways the exact opposite of New York, for better or worse or both. The best coffee in Tyler is found at Jack-in-the-Box, as I finally discovered after hours of aimless marching – a practice which is frowned upon here, apparently. Traversing a cross-walk during one of many coffee-getting expeditions, I was nearly run down by a woman who really, really wanted to make a right-hand turn but whose plans were being stymied by my own entirely legitimate and fait accompli crossing-the-street agenda. After nearly hitting me, she honked and sped off. Not having a cup of coffee to throw at her car, I simply gave her the finger. This is something I never had occasion to do in four years of living in New York – the capital of Unreal America, devoid as it is of Wal-Marts, meth, and federal farm subsidies.
In the interest of full disclosure and self-indulgence, allow me to note that I myself am originally from Texas, de facto stronghold of Real America. My parents are from Texas, their parents were from Texas, and so on and so forth going back to the days when Texas was still Mexico. My mom’s family used to raise rabbits, name them, and then eat them. I own a .243 and a fifty-year-old shotgun and do so much hunting you’d think I was running for president on the 2004 Democratic ticket. My dad just bought a Blackwater-issued .45 for God knows what purpose. The less said about my extended family back in ranch country the better, as I don’t want the ATF burning them alive. In short, I am as Texan as one can be without getting shot at the Alamo, and thus I reserve the right to say mean things about my home state, which I have always regarded as being akin to a hot girlfriend who is also batshit insane.
I will leave it to the reader to decide whether or not this passage would seem to indicate that I am indeed planning some sort of violent attack on my political enemies.
Just coincidental, I’m sure. Far be it from me to play armchair psychotherapist,
but speaking of psychotherapy, let’s conclude byreturning to Robin of Berkeley’s column:
This Robin of Berkley person is then quoted as saying, among other things:
Many militants are devoid of an essential ingredient of being human: empathy. While they exude endless compassion for an endangered snail, they are contemptuous of living, feeling human beings. This is why they can cavalierly imagine snuffing out Granny, a late-term fetus, or, in fact, anyone who gets in their way. . . .
It’s no coincidence that God has also been shunned, because God is the thread that weaves together the rich tapestry of life. With Judeo-Christian values missing in action, the left engages in a manic free-fall-all. They afford themselves free rein to act out their basest of impulses.
Emphasis is McCain’s.
Significant? Barrett Brown is communications director of “Enlighten the Vote,” which began its existence as the Godless Americans Political Action Committee.
So, there you go. Robert Stacy McCain has now accused me of being a psychotic militant who is likely planning to carry out ideologically-motivated killings at some point in the near future.
I mentioned earlier that McCain is unfamiliar with the concept of full disclosure. I say this because in 2002, he wrote a “news” article for The Washington Times regarding an incident in which a black mathematics professor named Jonathan Farley wrote a column for a Tennessee newspaper in which he called the Confederates “traitors,” sparking a dispute with members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The article portrayed Farley in a rather negative light while meanwhile giving the SCV entirely positive coverage, despite the fact that Farley received dozens of racist e-mails, some of which included death threats, from members of the organization, including some who lived nearby and are ex-military men who presumably have access to weapons. McCain did not see fit to mention at the time that he himself is a longtime member of the SCV. A few months afterward, he even gave a speech to the SCV in which he notes that anyone who dishonors the Confederate “heroes” must be answered firmly.
Incidentally, that and other details about McCain’s unethical practices and white nationalist history will be revealed in my upcoming book, which includes an entire chapter on him, and which he has seen because I sent him the manuscript a few months ago in case he wanted to dispute anything I said about him. For some reason, McCain forgot to mention this.