Tuesday, July 25, 2006


How I Survived CBEM

by John Jones, Manhunter from Marathon, IL

URL: http://www.angelfire.com/ny3/docnebula/index.html

Yes, here it is... the long threatened/promised/asked for/dreaded article detailing the peculiarly unprofessional professional relationship I mostly suffered through for three months or so as I tried to work with Dave LeBlanc at a webzine called CBEM.

People may take this with a grain of salt, but I'm not writing this for the specific purpose of attacking Dave. I'm not even writing it for the specific purpose of defending myself from the various things Dave has said about me at elaborate length in his own editorials at CBEM. I'll admit, I don't think this article is going to reflect a great deal of credit on Dave, but, well, to the extent I can make it, it's going to be truthful, and in the eyes of many, it probably won't reflect much credit on me, either. However. It will be the truth as I see it.

I'll start out by stating a couple of things that some will find surprising, because I know I found them surprising when they burst on me like an epiphany a night or so ago: Dave LeBlanc is also telling the truth... as he sees it. I've been fuming over here on my side of the conflict, hollering and bitching to my much smaller audience of mostly friends that Dave has been lying about me, at the very least, by omission, in that he's carefully picking and choosing just what he actually presents in his editorials as fact, while concealing other items that might not make him look so good. And, well, I'm half right.

He has been very careful what he mentions in his editorials, just as he's been very careful what letters he prints in the CBEM lettercol, and who he allows to respond there. And he knows exactly what he's doing, and may I say, what he's doing is exercising a control over his medium and his message that any Orwellian truth-proctor would have to ungrudgingly admire. But the phrase 'lying' indicates a conscious, volitional attempt to deceive, and in point of fact, I've recently come to the conclusion that Dave most likely honestly feels that he is the victim here.

That he isn't, remotely, anything like a victim is something I think should be readily apparent to anyone who can do basic arithmetic and compare his audience of 1200 to mine of like 12, maybe, if I'm lucky, and his insistence on not allowing me anything remotely like equal time to tell my side of things to his audience... but as I say, that should all be evident without me pointing it out. The crucial thing I've come to realize is, Dave honestly thinks he's defending himself here, from the evil depredations of an ungrateful ex-contributor who is now, in Dave's perceptions, running all over the Internet saying mean things about Dave and threatening to prove the accuracy of those mean things through the ridiculously unfair tactic of actually publishing Dave's own insulting and unprofessional email to him.

Which brings us to the second thing I'm going to say that people will find hard to believe: after giving it a lot of thought, I've decided not to publish excerpts from mine and Dave's email. This decision will hurt my case, I have no doubt. But Dave has expressed in the strongest possible terms that he does not want his email published, and although I feel his own actions in quoting extensively from email in his various editorials in the past give him absolutely no right now to claim any right to privacy, I nonetheless myself do deeply and sincerely believe in such a right. So I'm going to honor Dave's petulant, hypocritical demands and not publish his email, even though, in all honesty, if I did, it would serve to amply demonstrate exactly how much unprofessional, obnoxious, insulting horseshit I put up with from Dave for the three months I managed to work with him.

Again, the only thing I'm trying to accomplish with this article is to set out an account of my dealings with Dave LeBlanc that is as truthful and as accurate as I can make it. I'm not doing this even primarily to defend myself, since, honestly, I really think any intelligent person looking at what Dave is doing can see I don't really need any defense. However, I've had several emails expressing puzzlement as to exactly what happened between me and Dave, Dave and "Garbonzo", the exact sequence of events, and, at the other end of the chain, exactly what happened to cause me to take my bat and glove over to Steve Tice's website, and Dave to, in response, start devoting all his free time to reading every word I've ever written on the Web and write long, scathing editorials about my use of pseudonyms.

So let's see if we can straighten all this out.

Chapter 1. In The Beginning...

There were pseudonyms. The reasons for this are many, and I honestly believe, nobody's business but my own, but I'll share a primary one: having been raised on Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee stories, I have an ingrained aversion to being tracked, monitored, analyzed, folded, bent, spindled, mutilated and/or marketed to any more than I absolutely have to be. I long to be that Mysterious Guy whom the government has no files on, corporations have no handle on, that can fade into the woodwork without a ripple. (Terribly mixed image there, but what the hell.)

And so, from the very beginning of my dabblings on the Internet, I've used pseudonyms, preferring to keep my real name as much as possible off the Information Superhighway and out of the hands of hackers, corporate marketing directors, snoopy government security operatives, and even the occasional ex-girlfriend who thinks I owe her money.

It's not that I've done anything particularly wrong (it says here) but that in a steadily more intrusive and controlling environment, in which more and more legislation is being proposed and passed that attempts to continually monitor and punish people not just for their actions, but for their very thoughts and fantasies, I wanted to preserve my ability to continue to think and fantasize, and even occasionally voice my thoughts and perhaps fantasies, as I pleased, without worrying about social or legal retribution.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but freedom of speech, thought, and expression tends to become somewhat inhibited when a guy with a gun and a wire running into his ear walks up to anyone giving a speech in a public place, demands their name, address, and social security number, confirms the information by looking through their wallet, writes it all down... and then walks away again, but continues to watch them. It's tough to speak out freely under those circumstances. I prefer to speak freely, in fact, I'm even old fashioned enough to regard that as a basic human right... I'm simply not naïve enough to believe my government, my employer, or my landlord necessarily agrees with me.

Anyway... there were pseudonyms. And this is where we begin.

The first article I had published at CBEM was actually written for inclusion on another website, as were many of the articles that eventually got published at CBEM. For one reason or another, the guy who ran the other website reneged on his promise to publish my stuff, so I started submitting the material, which was already finished and sitting on disc, to other places. I probably submitted it to nearly a dozen different webzines before someone suggested CBEM. Most of them said my work was too long, a few, too rooted in the past, one, a little too erudite for their audience. Then, as I say, someone suggested CBEM (I'm not going to mention it was you, Mike, because I don't want anyone blaming you for this mess) and so, I sent TARNISHED GLORY off to Dave after reading the published submissions guidelines and determining TG might be an acceptable piece for the mag.

I did not hear back from CBEM, and so I was surprised, a week later, to be congratulated by my buddy for having my piece show up there. Not only had I not heard back from CBEM, I hadn't gotten a contributor's copy of the emag, which also struck me as strange. My buddy mentioned CBEM had edited the piece slightly, which seemed like a third odd thing. Regardless of what some of Dave's boosters have suggested, I have worked with quite a few other editors, and none of them would have edited my work without telling me about it first and offering me a chance to pull the article.

So I wrote a nice thank-you note to CBEM and in the course of it I asked about the stuff I mention above. I was cordial and friendly about it. After all, these people had published my work, and I didn't want to alienate them.

The response I got from Dave LeBlanc was neither nice nor particularly cordial, although I'm prohibited by Dave's own ethically inconsistent demands from printing it here. Suffice to say, he strongly implied that there was something wrong with me for not simply understanding various things not mentioned in his published submissions guidelines... things he claimed were obvious and implied I must be an idiot for even questioning... like that he would publish anything written to minimum standards on the subject of comic books that came in by deadline, that nobody, not contributors, not nobody, got a copy of CBEM unless they subscribed, and that he himself would edit any contribution any way he pleased, as was his absolute right as editor.

He also mentioned, in that and a subsequent email, that he did not allow any discussion, or even mention, of his editorial policies in the published material in CBEM. CBEM was for discussion about and promotion of comics, not debate about internal editorial policies.

Having been thoroughly spanked for the grievous sin of being neither telepathic nor clairvoyant, I fumed a little bit, but resolved to keep things cool and try my best to get along with this... person. After all, at the end of the day, regardless of his social cluelessness and obvious personality issues, he had published my work, and was willing to publish more of it.

It's important for us all to note here that at no place in this correspondence up til that point, and at no place in the published submission guidelines, has any mention been made of a 'no pseudonyms' policy. I had no idea any such policy existed. And, by this time, I had already been published under a pseudonym, and conducted correspondence with the editor under one.

Now we come to the part that many will say reflects poorly on me, although, in all honesty, I don't think it's any big deal. Having that whole floppy disc full of stuff I'd already written for the other website, I decided I might as well get it out there as quickly as possible. I decided to do this through much the same tactic Stephen King came up with when he started publishing excess novels as Richard Bachman... namely, I submitted another article to Dave from my other screenname, under my other common web pseudonym, Doc Nebula.

And, well, things blew up. Dave came back with a reasonably civil note (for him) stating that he'd publish the article but not under a pseudonym; he needed me to put my 'real name' on it. And, well, as Doc, I got a little angry. For various reasons, such as (a) the policy is idiotic, (b) I am of the opinion the policy is arguably illegal, and (c) I am absolutely certain the policy is utterly unprofessional.

Dwelling only on (a) for a moment, the policy was demonstrably idiotic because it was completely unenforceable, a condition made most clear by the simple fact that I was already being published by CBEM under another pseudonym, which, since it sounded more 'real' than 'Doc Nebula', Dave hadn't even questioned. (It's worth noting that 'John Jones' does not sound a great DEAL more real than Doc Nebula; in fact, many email correspondents in the past have fairly early on asked me 'why the obvious pseudonym'?). Apparently, then, pragmatically, one could publish anything one wanted in CBEM under a pseudonym, provided one chose any arbitrary string of letters to use as a pseudonym that would not arouse Dave LeBlanc's suspicions.

I'll also note, for the record, that my use of pseudonyms is hardly a deep, dark secret. Many of my long term correspondents know I use them, and know my 'real' name, and if Dave had ever mentioned his 'no pseudonyms' policy, I might not have submitted to him... or I might have, since I consider the policy idiotic, unprofessional, possibly illegal, and feel absolutely no social or moral duty to obey the rules of cretins whose apparent role models are Joe McCarthy and Rush Limbaugh.

Anyway, back to our narrative. Suddenly, I find myself in a position where I've been told, out of a clear blue sky, that pseudonyms are not allowed in CBEM... and I've already been published under a pseudonym. I can't exactly come clean with Dave, although I did consider it... just telling him I hadn't had any idea of the policy, confessing that John Jones was a pen name, and telling him my real one.

I rejected that for two reasons: first, it's none of his business, arguably illegal for him to ask, certainly unprofessional, and, as I had already discovered, an idiotic policy from the outset. Going along with idiots only encourages them.

Second, Dave had already shown himself to be easily infuriated when crossed; there was no guarantee that, if I sheepishly admitted to the truth and apologized, he'd accept my apology and continue to let me submit to CBEM. In fact, the more I reflected on how quickly Dave went from 'this is how I do it' to outraged insults when anyone even cordially offered the mildest differing opinion from his, the more I felt that all a confession would do was burn my bridges irrevocably at CBEM.

Last but not least, I don't want to have my real name on the Internet, and I still honestly feel that's my business, my choice, and my right. People who claim Dave LeBlanc has a more compelling right not to publish any work that he feels has a pseudonym on it are ignoring the fact that they're claiming that basically, he has the 'right' to invade the privacy of his contributors at will, for no pragmatic reason whatsoever, since he's not going to pay anyone for their contributions, presumably doesn't want to come over and sleep on his contributors' couches, and the 'real names' of the people who write articles for him simply isn't information he or anyone in his audience really needs or has a 'right' to know.

But... leaving all that aside for the moment... we can now see where the "Garbonzo" situation blew up from... basically, I had no idea Dave had a 'no pseudonyms' rule, and by the time I'd tried to submit another article under an obvious pseudonym and thus found out, I'd already had one published under a less obvious pseudonym.

Should I have argued with Dave over his right to invade my privacy vs. my right to conceal my real name if I so chose? Probably not. The moral high road here was definitely to disdain Dave's obnoxious stupidity and take my work elsewhere. I plead two things here:

First, I'm not going to deny that I can be a belligerent idiot on occasion. All my friends know it. I originally typed here that I could be as belligerent an idiot as the next person, but since the next person in this case is Dave LeBlanc, I've had to rethink that, as I'm not even remotely certain that even with my best and most devoted efforts, I could ever be as belligerent an idiot as he's been for the last two weeks. Nevertheless, I am certainly capable of digging my heels in and doing something based on emotion, rather than reason.

In this case, I felt rather like I'd just spent a long evening wandering down an endless hallway, seeing parties going on beyond open doorways, asking to be invited in and being turned down, over and over again. Finally, I found a party that let me in, and although the host seemed a trifle obnoxious, nonetheless, I'd gone in, gotten a Pepsi, settled down comfortably in front of the TV... and then, happened to hear the host loudly tell someone else at the door that he didn't allow any damn stinking Italians at his party, so if the new guy wanted to come in, he had to prove he wasn't one... which was especially disheartening, since I myself happen to be Italian.

So there I am with a quandary... I'm comfortable, I've got my Pepsi, I'm holding forth to an interested audience on things I have some knowledge of, and nobody told me I couldn't be here if I were Italian, or asked if I was... but suddenly, I've discovered that apparently, my host doesn't want any Italians around.

Should I have at that point gotten up, ringingly cried "E pluribus unum!" and marched out, shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Italian rejectees? Well, that would have been the moral high road.

Alternatively, I could have taken my host aside, explained to him quietly that I'm an Italian also, I didn't know the house rules when he welcomed me in, but really, I'm not a bad guy and I'll provide good company and interesting conversation if he lets me stay. Or... I could do what I did... decide that any rule that excludes people on the basis of something that isn't anyone else's business in the first place is beneath my contempt, settled back down, and continued with my conversation.

Frankly, I got mad. No one had told me pseudonyms weren't welcome at CBEM. I had already been published under a pseudonym by CBEM. And I honestly felt, and feel, that my use of a pseudonym, at CBEM or anywhere else, is no more Dave LeBlanc's concern or business than it is Janet Reno's or Bill Gates' or anyone else's on the planet. So, I decided to stay right where I was, and while I was there, to be the best goddam Italian party guest Dave had ever hosted... so if he ever did find out I was really an Italian, he'd realize what a mistake his exclusionary policy was.

Which brings me to my second argument/rationalization/point in favor of my decision to stick around under a pseudonym:

My decision to keep submitting my columns under the name John Jones hurt absolutely no one - which is the only sane standard of a universal moral code I've been able to adhere to in 20 years of adulthood - and in fact, benefited everyone, including me, Dave, and the audience of CBEM, many of whom apparently enjoyed those articles, or were at least, moved to write in response to them.

Given all of this, there's a big part of me that really wants to know, what's all the yelling about? What did I do wrong? I broke a rule, but I didn't know I was breaking it, and it was a stupid rule, and my breaking it made CBEM a better webzine for three months... so screw it. I refuse to apologize. I got mad, I made a decision. The only reason so much fuss is being made about my decision now is that the host of the party is a deeply insecure person who can't stand having his authority challenged, even when his authority is petty, abusive, and stupid. I refuse to believe any of that is due to any egregious character flaw of mine.

So that's the beginning of it all, how the whole pseudonym mess started. Now we'll move to:

Chapter 2. The Bitter End

A few things contributed to my decision to stop writing for CBEM. For one thing, I'd made myself a couple of promises during my ongoing (un)professional relationship with Dave LeBlanc, one of which had to do with exactly how much more of his snide, personally insulting abuse I was going to put up with, the other of which directly pertained to how much more of his frankly deranged and utterly unprofessional editorial decisions and policies I was going to swallow.

Basically, both issues came to a head when Dave refused to allow me to write a column in which I replied to the extensive email that had rolled in after the publication of THE EVIL THAT MEN DOODLE.

I didn't at that time try to defy Dave's ruling, but I did ask him for clarification on it, since columns in which writers answer their mail are common occurrences in every newspaper and fanzine I've ever read. Dave's response actually seems somewhat lucid until you think about it, however, he worded it with his fairly usual rudeness, once more implying that I must be brain damaged to even require what seemed to him to be an obvious explanation, declaring impatiently to me that he knew of 'plenty' of publications where columnists weren't allowed to quote excerpts from email out of context and have the last word in their columns, and describing my questioning of his imperial edict as 'whining'.

(As I say, other then the unprofessionally insulting tone, Dave's reasoning sounds, well, reasonable... until you think about it. However, since Dave publishes every single critical or negative letter he receives on my columns, I could hardly quote anyone out of context or get the last word.)

Dave then turned around and completely contradicted himself by saying that on the other hand, he felt my intention to apologize to George Perez, in response to his email, in my column, was highly appropriate. (I will further note here that in my experience, Dave never misses the slightest opportunity to kiss any professional ass proffered to him, and his obsequious, lickspittle toadying occasionally reaches truly disgusting levels, as on this particular occasion, when he righteously, obnoxiously, and offensively refused to allow me to respond to any of my email in my column, unless, of course, it was to suck up to a popular pro.)

So that had me pissed off, and made me promise myself that the next time Dave used a personal insult in a so-called professional piece of correspondence to me, it would be the last time he'd get any work from me.

Then, of course, Dave rejected the article once I finished it. His rejection note referred to the article as a 'tantrum', and his editorial of that week explained that I had stubbornly defied his editorial edicts on responding to my email in my column, so he'd refused to run it.

Now, this was the second time Dave had refused to run an article of mine for reasons I thought were stupid and unprofessional, and another one of those promises I made to myself was that the next time Dave rejected an article of mine for any reason that I had no respect for, I'd go find someone else to write for. Dave says he rejected the second article because I defied one of his editorial edicts in it. I agree, and the fact that he bounced it for that reason, not because the column was in any way deficient by any professional standards, made me decide to go play ball on some other playground where the referees weren't quite so openly psychotic.

Now, as I say, this was in fact the second article of mine Dave had rejected for reasons I thought were idiotic and unprofessional -- the first line of his rejection note on the first one stated that he hadn't even bothered to finish reading it, which strikes me as about the best summation of Dave's lack of professionalism anyone could ask for. He then went on to say that basically, he didn't want his name on an article that negative, regarding as important a comics pro... yet another indication of just how big a priority it is for Dave to continually suck up to comics pros.

At that point, after being personally insulted over and over again in presumably professional emails, and having had two articles rejected for reasons I had absolutely no respect for at all, I decided I'd had enough of this nonsense.

I'd been in contact with Steve Tice for some time by then, Steve had always been a gentleman and was rapidly proving himself to be a real friend, had already offered to post the articles on his comic shop's website, and I was more than happy to go work for someone I liked and who treated me with respect, and who apparently wasn't a complete lunatic, rather than staying with a petulant editorial bully who screamed abuse whenever someone dared to disagree with him and refused on childish whims to publish perfectly acceptable articles.

All of which was, as far as I know, entirely my decision to make. So I have to admit, I was a little surprised to read an editorial in CBEM two weeks ago describing me in fairly negative terms and generally publicizing the fact that I wouldn't be writing for CBEM any more, while vigorously defending and rationalizing Dave's editorial policies. I had no idea why Dave thought my walking away from his webzine was worthy of a lengthy editorial. (In fact, silly me, I'd thought I remembered Dave having some strict rule about not discussing his editorial policies in the emag. Oh, wait... silly me... that rule was for the WRITERS. "His forum, his rules" only applies to the peons, after all; Dave can do what he wants.)

Since then, I've given it some more thought, and realized that I was probably a little naïve. I'd known since my second email exchange with Dave that he's a deeply insecure control freak who can't stand and will not tolerate the slightest questioning of his authority. He will not debate, negotiate, consider, compromise, change his mind, or, under any circumstances, admit he's made a mistake and apologize. I've known that, but in all honesty, I simply hadn't processed exactly what that meant. I suppose I'm guilty of giving him the benefit of the doubt, or at least not assuming that he was quite as obsessive and frankly whacked out as he is.

So I was surprised by the editorial, but I was even more surprised when, later that weekend, a new guy named 'Bob Lafong' showed up in the Martian Vision e-group that Steve Tice was moderating on his website, said website which is the new home of my column. I hadn't heard of Bob previously, which was a little unusual, because up until that time, the admittedly small e-group had been composed of people who had corresponded with me during my tenure at CBEM. Still, I didn't think much of it.

Bob came in with an obvious chip on his shoulder and immediately started frantically rationalizing all Dave LeBlanc's editorial policies (even though, at that point, none of us were talking about Dave's editorial policies) stating with monotonous repetitiveness the phrase 'his forum, his rules', directing a lot of obvious anger and resentment my way for no reason I could see, and rather snidely asking Steve if his non-majority opinions would get him 'bounced' from the e-group.

I found his first offering to the group both obtuse and obnoxious, but kept a grip on my temper and wrote him a conciliatory, 'we're all just friends here and trying to have fun and you're as entitled to your opinions as anyone else' response, and yet another explanation of why I'd left CBEM, since he was new and hadn't been there for the previous discussions.

His reply to that accused me profanely of putting words in his mouth, told me I'd been insulting, and continued to repeat his mantra of "his forum, his rules, his forum, his rules" while becoming even more corrosively abusive in his choice of words. Even then, while I got mad, I didn't actually tumble to what was going on... until I was typing my response, and got halfway through the sentence "Are you Dave LeBlanc's best friend, brother in law, or...." And it hit me... "Dave himself, typing under a pseudonym?"

As soon as I articulated this, I realized it was most likely true, and another member of the e-group responded promptly when I'd sent that mailing, saying he'd been puzzled, a few days before, out of the clear blue sky, to receive unsolicited email from Dave trying rather defensively to explain Dave's point of view on my leaving CBEM.

"Bob Lafong" has never responded to my email in which I posed that question, and on the two occasions I've asked Dave LeBlanc directly if he was actually 'Bob', he's ignored the question completely. It's worth noting, though, that it was in the 'Bob Lafong' letter to the e-group that 'Bob' first asked if the name John Jones were a pseudonym, and it was my response to that question... that it might be, and it wasn't any of Bob's damn business if it was... that seems to have triggered Dave LeBlanc's massive effort to ransack the 'net, read every word I've ever written, and make correlations from various different articles of mine published in various different places, to come up with the information that John Jones and Doc Nebula are, apparently, the same person, and both are pseudonyms.

Which he then trumpeted as if it was actually important, and anyone actually CARED, in a long, scathing editorial in CBEM with which he excoriated me at length for deceiving him and the readers of CBEM in direct, knowing defiance of his anti-pseudonym policy, resoundingly declaring once again that he stands foursquare for accountability and aboveboard dealings, truth and honesty and integrity... and, of course, made no mention whatsoever of "Bob Lafong".

Just so we're all on the same page here - Doc Nebula and John Jones are both pseudonyms used by me at various different times while writing on the Internet. Okay?

Now, if you've come this far, you should be relieved to know that we don't have much further to go. However, I do still have to apologize to the several people... I think around fifty, maybe not that many... whose email addresses I harvested from my address book, and from issues of CBEM, and whom I sent out a few mailings trying to explain various aspects of the whole mess that Dave was strategically leaving out of his histrionic denouncements of me.

My reasoning in doing this was simple: Dave had already refused, twice, to allow me to respond to his accusations and denunciations in CBEM, and was obviously going to continue to denounce me there... therefore, I was entitled to try to tell my own side of things to the same audience. Which was what I was trying to do, in my own ineffective way, by putting together that mailing list.

What I did not consider was how much I myself hate to get unsolicited email, or have my own email address, or snailmail address, or telephone number, added to someone else's database and used for purposes I haven't consented to. I was angry, I didn't think things through. I wanted to defend myself and offer people my version of events and, well, I just didn't give it enough consideration before I did it.

For those who found that email to be an unwanted intrusion, I apologize. I'd send this apology out to that list directly, except, well, there's an irony implicit there I don't want to commit.

Now we're pretty much done with this... or at least, I am, I hope. I've set out the chain of events as best I can, detailed my point of view, my emotional responses, what I did, what I'm pretty sure Dave did. I understand there is no absolute proof Dave was 'Bob Lafong', but he's ignored the question multiple times, and it was right after I started asking him that question that he righteously declared he would never knowingly publish anything I wrote in CBEM again... and if that doesn't sound like somebody desperately trying to keep something embarrassing from getting out, I don't know what does. A

nd it's that behavior that I really think speaks for itself, anyway. Anyone who can think Dave is in the right here, after he's spent two editorials attacking me in a webzine that, according to him, only publishes material about comic books, and who refuses to allow me to respond in any way, shape or form... well, clearly, this is someone who has no sense of fairness and no professional ethics whatsoever. Those who want to continue to believe that he's the victim and I'm the bad guy are welcome to. I've wasted enough time on this nonsense.

For what it's worth, I've come to believe that Dave himself honestly believes that he himself is the victim in this. His choice to take all this nonsense public in the dramatic way that he has, to infiltrate our newsgroup (when he'd have been perfectly welcome under his own name, if he really wanted to discuss the subject matter of my columns, rather than the righteousness of his editorial policies), to obsessively ransack the web and read every word I've ever published there under however many pseudonyms I've used... it all baffled me. Honestly, I'd never have expected I'd be that important to anyone.

And certainly, this whole thing shouldn't be that important to anyone not directly involved in it... and since Dave was no longer directly involved once I left his webzine, you'd think none of this fuss should ever have been stirred up.

The apparent fact is, Dave isn't just a petty, insecure little pisspot with a Napoleon complex, like so many of the people who gravitate to trivial positions of authority like magazine editor, team leader, group supervisor, or small business owner, are. That's what I thought Dave was... a classic case of a frustrated, insecure little drone who had managed to get control of one little puddle and who simply reacted like a spoiled brat to anyone who seemed to question or challenge his pathetic little power trip.

But Dave is way beyond that. The ranting, almost foaming at the mouth tone of his editorials, the way he infiltrated our newsgroup just to scream at us, the amount of sheer time and effort he has devoted to establishing the rather unexciting and unimportant fact that 'John Jones' is a pseudonym, and then his treatment of that discovery as if he'd just found out who killed JFK, the lack of anything remotely approaching a sense of humor or any perception of proportion, the obvious inability to ever admit he might even slightly be in the wrong... Dave isn't just another aggravated, hyper little geek aggressively defending his tiny little feudal domain from what he perceives as a threat to his credibility. Nope. Dave... is just plain nuts. In a completely scary kind of way.

And if you think I'm giving him my real name and/or address NOW, you're just as nuts as HE is.

* * *

John Jones, the Manhunter from Marathon, IL, no longer dwells in Marathon, IL. He does, however, dwell in a state where you can walk into any pawnshop and buy a very nice handgun that makes very large holes in any whacked out webzine editor that comes raving and slobbering to his door. A fact that lately he is beginning to find strangely comforting. Go figure.


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