http://www.alternet.org/media/how-fox-news-created-new-culture-idiots

I've said for quite a few years now that Fox News was making the douchebags and assholes among us into a mainstream demographic.  And while a brilliant essay on so many levels, I will always cherish it for this brief synopsis of the social psychotic named Roger Ailes, who is single-handedly taking down America for his own amusement and enrichment..  Not for nothing does this scumbag travel in a 9-person security cocoon. 

It is not just Fox News commentators but Fox News itself that has the appropriate, in-your-face, I’m-entitled-to-do-this,especially-because-you-dislike-it vibe. Which should not be surprising from a tightly controlled outfit in which everything flows from a single source, chairman Roger Ailes. Ailes has personal flaws that do not necessarily make one an asshole but that clearly shape the coverage, including his paranoia and his extreme politics. We find more telling evidence by considering the man in a happy moment, a victory lap. In an event celebrating Fox News’s success, Ailes said of the competing networks’ talent, as though sharing in the agony of their defeat: “Shows, stars, I mean it’s sad, you know? . . . I called and asked them all to move to the second floor wherever they were working. Because when they jump, I don’t want it to hurt.” By which he meant that he wouldn’t mind at all if his competitors not only lost the contest but felt humiliated enough to kill themselves. He meant of course to gloat but also to show his contempt. He meant to broadcast his contempt and to have a laugh about his being in a position to advertise it.

The comment was at least poor sportsmanship. A longtime practitioner of blood sport media politics, Ailes has emerged as its undisputed heavyweight champion. Politics is indeed a rough sport, but there are still boundaries that while crossed are nevertheless there, or sort of there. It is possible to have a minimal sense of respect among fellow sportsmen, seen as equals off the playing field, and even to display grace in both victory and defeat. Ailes’s comment suggests that he makes little effort at this, even as he does make an effort to draw attention to the fact that he cares not. He keeps it personal, on and off the court.

Ailes is a poor sport but not in a set contest fairly won. His main victory was to redefine the whole sport itself — that is to say, to redefine news. While American TV journalism has always walked a fine line between informing the public and satisfying media capitalism’s demands for viewers, ratings, and ad dollars, the line was more or less there, and it represented respect for what some regard as the fourth branch of government and a democratic society that depends on real news. Ailes obliterates that line with his “orchestra pit theory,” which he puts as follows: “If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” The implication of course being that TV can and should cover the sensation rather than the substance, that it should move still further away from professional journalism and toward infotainment in a pure ratings contest. Fox News has changed the game and won, with an ever-thinner pretext of service. (It has very little actual news gathering and reporting staff; it freely crosses its own purported division between reporting and editorializing; and it now boosts for and even instigates protest movements and financially backs specific political candidates.) For its loyalty and attunement to its fans, it has been richly rewarded with outsized profits and unprecedented political influence.

If we ask why Ailes fought so long and so hard for all this, however, the answer is not simply the ample rewards. His victory lap comment also suggests fundamental contempt. It suggests contempt not just for his competitors but for a society of people who have always counted on news with a lot of information shaped by a good-faith attempt at impartial presentation. Our fundamental need in a democratic society, for each of us to make up our own mind, now goes unmet by the whole media environment. It reflects not the minds of equals deliberating together about what together to do but the tenor and voice of a single asshole’s mind.

Read it all at Alternet

 

Please see VERY Important Updates below

Early Wednesday morning (9/26/2012), Darshann Simon, aka @honeybadgerLA, the friend and legal associateof @angryblacklady, and brief (but obviously disastrous) romantic connection of mine, decided to blow up my telephone 15 times about 36 hours after OsborneInk's first Shoq's Twitter Brigade Burn Notice.

 
Darshann used her home phone and cell phone to make these calls. I don't know why. Perhaps she figured one was blocked. In fact, I was just not answering her. She also left several voice mails, the longest being 48 seconds.

Anything Darshann needs to say to me can be said by email.

And all of this because a man she thought she fell in love with after barely 3 weeks was a bit squirmy about "treating her like a queen," rather than just treating her well. 

By the choices these smear-mongers have made, this entire story, and all of their roles in it will be locked in Internet amber for generations. That's a shame. But they made this choice. If they choose to retract their nasty lies one day, I might choose to remove all of this documented evidence of them. Might.

Related

 

 

 

Update #1

I had erroneously reported there were 17 calls, when in fact, it was merely 15. Sorry! Also,  I removed some extraneous verbiage from my earlier post about Darshann's family members, and those related to these other smear-mongers seeing all this someday. Obviously, they will anyway, so there's no point in wasting words saying it. 

Update #2

A member of my family received this, shortly after I posted this item around 3:00am EST last night.  This morning, a family member forwards me this letter which they received from Darshann this morning:  

Anyone who has followed this absurd and calculated drama, and this woman's daily and public role in it can only be stunned by the venality and stupifying revisionism this letter demonstrates. All I and others have done here and elsewhere has been to carefully document what she and her friends have been doing to me (and their possible motives) since August 6th, 2012 on Twitter.  

Notice there is no mention of my "abusing her," or "threatening her or her daughter,"  or any of the other massive conflagrations about Jessica (vdaze) and @angryblacklady she has been engaging in. Nothing. Nada. Zip. She tries to create the impression that she is the victim and not the victimizer, even though the evidence that contradicts that narrative is now all over Twitter and the Internet.  If you search for mentions of her by me, you will find at most two instances of tweets on Twitter since August 6th. This one, and this one. Both responses to things said by she or others in her group. Everything else has been documentation of their contrived and crumbling storyline.

If she, or anyone else had any evidence of "harassment of any kind by me, at any time, at any place, it has not been shown to anyone publicly, nor, to my knowledge, have any charges been filed. If anyone should be doing that, it's me (and it may come to that).  The woman is simply lying on Twitter, and now lying in emails to my family.  And remember, this woman is an attorney—an officer of the court.

 Below are just a few of her many tweets you can sample over the past month. Still not seen enough?  You can see so many others by her, as well as her campaign co-horts, @vdaze and @angryblacklady, here in this document (scroll down to see more of Darshann Padilla).

 

 

 

 

Update #2 (and Summary)

Since August 6th, 2012, I have been savagely attacked on Twitter by a clique of people who have lied,libeled, manipulated and concealed agendas and events in order to assassinate my character, both on twitter and in real life, mostly to cover up a very bad thing they did that compromised the #StopRush effort, and exposed personal information about its volunteers to allies of Rush Limbaugh.  

This clique was led by Imani Gandi (@angryblacklady), and her associates, co-bloggers and associates, including @heatherEchase Darshann Simon Padilla (@honeneybadgerLA), Jessica Delahunty (@vdaze), @miltShook, Andrew Wienick (@dvnix), @allenbrauer, @thescottfinley, @jc_christian, @theXclass, @gottaLaff, @jennjinx, @tllanes, @themanknownasX, @quadcitypat, and many others with a direct or indirect connection to Gandy and her agenda.  Most of them all have different versions of this saga and their reason for being involved, because Gandy, Chase and Delahunty have told them different versions over the many months that this saga has unfolded, and more and more evidence amassed against them. Many of these same players have axes to grind with me going back many years, mostly because of an equally ridiculous whisper campaign against me conducted by a blogger named Gottalaff and her friend, a disgraced journalist named Jason Leopold and their allies. Despite their once defending me against the Gottalaff-led attacks, Gandy, Chase and Delahunty enlisted them early on in their own attack on me under the old saw that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

While there are many documents below (and elsewhere) that describe different aspects of this drama that has plagued me and my friends since August of 2012, all you really need to read are these posts to understand most of it.

The Streisand Effect: Synopsis of a Twitter Drama

How TeamUterati Founders Fell for a Right Wing Con Artist (by Osborne Ink) — the main work that explains the real motive behind most of this madness.

An FAQ about the Twitter Brigade and Their Attacks On Shoq (under construction).

 

Update #1

Well, it's taken well over 6 weeks for this complete story to emerge. I am so grateful for the long hours so many have spent helping to piece together a timeline and trail of evidence spanning hundreds of people and thousands of emails, messages, and tweets. Evidence counts. As more of it mounted, people started stepping up and telling what they knew. Some perhaps, with a hope of mitigating any liabilities they may have, but others because they felt it was the right thing to do. If you've never known of this story, please read the four links (in order) immediately below. Then if you really want to know the whole grizzly backstory about how and why a "Twitter Brigade" of people smeared me viciously for 8 weeks, you'll find all the key links (in order of importance) further on down the page in the original post.

How can you know most of what is reported here is true? By the simple fact that two key players are both attorneys, officers of the court, who know the process of discovery,  the power of their own statements, and the trail of evidence that they've left behind. They know that what is reported here did in fact happen, and if you pay attention, you will not see them actually denying it. Blowing a lot of angry smoke to distract and deflect the damage it will do to their reputations, sure, but not denying it. They know that making still more false or misleading statements will only compound their problems if this goes much further.

Why didn't we say all this weeks ago? Because there was no way we could tell the story without the facts, the subplots, and the compilation and distillation of  the hard evidence. We all have jobs. It takes time.  So I had to just eat a heaping crap sandwich every day for all these weeks, being savaged by friends and foes alike, while we methodically unraveled the real story for any thinking person to see.

There is a morality tale to tell here, but I am loathe to spend any more time on this until after the November election. There is much more to say and do. And it will be said and done. If for no other reason than to restore the reputations of people who have been harmed. But it will also be to help insulate future progressive efforts against similar con men, and the stupidity that greed can bring to worthy progressive efforts when ambitious people cross over lines of decency.  I will probably never get an apology from any of them, nor from many formerly mutual friends whom they misled by pretending they were motivated solely by the need to "stand up for women" and to an "abusive bully" who left an angry message on his girlfriend's answering machine last January. Am I sorry I ever had such an outburst? Of course. But reasonable people always knew it was hardly the kind of offense to justify such a massive, two month hate campaign against me enjoined by hundreds of people. Their instincts were correct.

How their friends will reconcile such a vulgar deception, done for such selfish reasons is ultimately their business. I just want them to know that I don't hold grudges. Well, not for very long, anyway.  We all make mistakes, and we all want to believe our friends are being decent and honorable with us. No one likes being conned or used. But it happens. Lots of stuff happens. All we can do is learn, grow, and move on. Some will also choose to forgive. That's usually been my choice.

"Who can't relate to the idea of leaving one chapter behind and moving on to the next?"  - Mike Shinoda


Original Post

New:  A chance for shoq's army of accusers to Bring Their Evidence against him!

I promised friends, family, co-workers and supporters the facts about a months' long campaign to assassinate my character by a small clique with overlapping agendas. They've never had a shred of evidence beyond a single angry voice mail I left a cyber-girlfriend 8 months ago.  They have kept their many relationships to, and histories with me, as well as their ulterior motives, deeply concealed below the radar of noise generated on Twitter since they kicked off their smear campaign on August 6th.

No, @Shoq didn't "abuse" a bunch of women.  This nonsensical gossip derives from a 3 year old, very tired narrative co-created by @gottaLaff and @nicoleSandler who have been running a vendetta against me for years (because I once hurt Gottalaff's feelings).  Recently, this stupid, fact-free narrative has been given new life by @angryblacklady (ABL), @heatherEchase (HEC), @vdaze, @miltshook, @dvnix and a clique of other people with very mixed agendas, not the least of which is their own self-promotion. They rely on assist from people like @tymlee, @jennyjinx, @nadiaArtist, and @ttlanes and other @gottalaff supporters who have obessively tweeted about me for years (just search their names on Twitter). Since everyone loves gossip, these memes gain and hold traction easily.

This latest chapter is all about a plan by at least two key people (and possibly more) who wanted to use all this pent up 'abuser" rhetoric to bury me with an avalanche of lies, half-truths, inuendo and gossip, hoping I would just disappear. That way, they hoped, I could never reveal certain embarassing or damaging things that I knew about them, their past, and their activities.  They've assumed most are too naive, lazy or trusting to actually probe what was true and what wasn't. Now, with just a few facts shown below, their stories, narratives and agendas are melting away under a spotlight that they've brought upon themselves. As a result, people disgusted by what they are doing to me and my reputation, purely for their own self-interest, are starting to come forward and explain what they've done—and why. And they are getting very nervous.

If you have supported these people in the past, I strongly urge that you stop, or you risk personal or professional embarassment later as still more facts are released. I am sorry for their board and advisory members, and other innocents who never signed-on for this drama, borne of their paranoia—and a concealed motive that will be divulged shortly. Unlike their viscious smears and Milt Shook's transparent smoke screens, accurate and responsible narratives take time.

There is no shame in being conned by people you trusted.  I hope those fooled by this fraud will have the courage to admit that they judged me with scant evidence, and return to my stream where we can all focus on what matters.

Below are key posts I would like my friends to read, especially the one **marked**.  

There are plenty of examples of these attacks in the Smear Index above, but a few examples are posted herein below.

Thank you, to all who have believed in me and stood by me through this bizarre and destructive ordeal no matter how many bottles and bricks were thrown your way. Anyone who spoke up in my defense has been treated with a bitter ruthlessness that few have ever witnessed on Twitter. I am deeply grateful and honored to those of you who braved that onslaught, and proud to call you my friends.

And a special thanks to the hard work of  some bloggers and other supporters who have helped me compile the facts and tell the story. And finally, and monumental thanks to those who stood up for me despite the relentless bullying you brought upon yourselves.  I am forever in your debt.

Shoq, aka Matt
 

After you've read the facts, please read on

I think the evidence presented above speaks for itself.

Unlike the hundreds of people attacking me with every charge imaginable, who have no evidence of any kind but for a loud and abusive message I left on an ex-romantc interest's voicemail (which I apologized for many weeks ago, publicly).  Reasonable people can decide for themselves what has really gone on here, and who has really been "abused" more:

  • The woman (@vdaze) — who had to listen to an angry  voice mail last January… and not sends totally unrelated politically-based activities information to the FBI, or
  • Shoq   — who has been had his character malciously and wilfully assassinated by a mob of cooperating band of women and men who have conducted a massive smear campaign against him all over Twitter, damaging his reputation, relationships, friendships, and business interests.
  • Shoq's Friends and Supporters —who have been relentlessly bullied and harassed until many of them have no choice but to unfollow me (in some cases, after following me for 5 years).

After they decide, they are free to follow or unfollow me as their conscience dictates.  I am hoping many whose minds get changed will reach out to some of the hundreds of other people who were poisoned by this coordinated yarn spinning, and ask them to follow me again so we can all use Twitter for more productive things.

It ain't over until it's over

I had been hoping this drama would have ended over 2 months ago when it started, but that wasn't in my attacker's plans.  What was postured as an organic "speaking out" by a an "abuse victim," was actually anything but that. Most have seen me trying to keep this all off Twitter, while oblivious to how much the real attackers only pretended to (we rarely see who we don't follow).  I am hoping the documents above will change that perception.  As long as these attacks continue, will we debunk them and the people behind them. And with a lot more detail than they will be comfortable with.

Don't judge me or this drama by what YOU see on Twitter

You only see what your timeline sees (those you follow). You don't see this:

  1. What gets addressed to specific names, e.g.  "@barackObama — @shoq is a vicious bully and should be fired as a supporter. http://j.mp/somelink"
    Such addressees can get messages about me all day long but unless you follow them, you will never see them. This is a favorite tactic of these Twitter bullies.
  2. Protected Tweets — When bullies protect their timeline so only their followers can see their tweets (and they don't show up in searches).  Another popular tactic.
  3. Direct Messages  — sent to hundreds of people every day, to anyone they can get to follow them so they can direct them to one attack website or another.
  4. Phone calls — between the core group coordinated this campaign, but which are obvious, or indicated or reported in various ways.

I will still not be speaking about this on Twitter 

I've had a few notable lapses since I promised to exit all this, but mostly I have tried to keep my word and focus on this election.

It's easy for partisan players to bitch and moan about how easy it is to "just ignore it," but until you've been attacked by a few hundred people (and thousands of their friends) in unison, each and every day for months, no matter what you do or say, well…  I respectfuly ask that you:

  • Read the documents above and get some kind of clue about what this all about, and the extent of this campain, and then…
  • Please stand-down and try not to comment and appear aligned with these people because you really have no concept of what has really transpired and look ridiculous to those of us who do. Moreover, you will  be connected with their smear, which may have unintended consequences as the names of anyone that does becomes set in Internet concrete for eternity.

The Short list of attackers

The complete list will be continually updated on the  Shoqvalueexposed: Smear Exhibits Page. Searching a site like topsy.com for any of these names and "@Shoq or @vdaze" will show you just how active all of these accounts have been during this epic smear campaign. When these people speak to you, please know their agenda concerning me.


The Nucleus group

These are the people who have organized this campaign, or have been central to perpetuating it daily

  • @vdaze, @angryBlackLady,  @honeybadgerLA, @vdaze, @heatherEchase,
  • @jennyjinx, @shopaholic_918, @semishark, @luthorCEO 

The Point People

These people engage in the attacks almost daily, for whatever neurotic or obsessive motives compel them

  • @gottalaff, @tymlee, @nadiaArtist , @jasonleopold, @tllanes, @cody_k, @wendylefty, @tosfm, @iboudreau, @brandibax
  • @TheXClass,  @themanknowasx, @jc_christian, @DudeImAnEgg, @raine1967, @lyssophobe

The Echo Chamber

Followers, sychophants and trolls who RT and/or echo the Nucleus and Point people almost daily (or hourly)

The Conversative Bloggers

The right wing extremists who have plenty of political reasons to perpetuate this pointl

A Few Attack Examples

Warning: Many of these tweets are Not Safe For Work (NSFW)

  • @vdaze’s “Dysfunctional C**t” Tweets  — the first “meltdown” of August 6th, 2012, hours after an email exhange with shoq (vacationing in Canada at the time) discussing how they could fix their relationship. Shoq heard about a rant, but never actually saw the tweets until weeks later.
  • @vdaze Retweeted — While she protects her Twitter stream, she cannot prevent (nor did she really  want to) a huge number of her tweets escaping into the wild. These represent only  a small percentage of what her private feed had actually been seeing on a daily basis week after week after week.
  • Collection of tweets — These are just a sampling over a few days of time, showing the tweets of  the three antagonists who both originated and promoted an ongoing smear campaign consisting of tweets, direct messages and blog posts from August 6th thru late September of 2012 (and continuing). The tweets are explained in various narratives below under “Related Posts”
  • DudeImAndEgg has been pimping and promoting any anti-shoq narratives since April  2011, as can be seen in 1300 consecutive tweets from 4/7/ 2011 until 9/27/2012
  • #AbusiveFuck Tweets — (18 pages of them) — wherein key players engage in repetitive hashtag attacks for days.
  • @angryblacklady Tweets — over only a 24 Hour Period on 9/21/2010, 7 weeks after drama began
  • @AngryBlackLady Tweets Mentioning Shoq  — over 6 week period. All parties involved have deleted many tweets, but they are captured in various forms.
  • @honeybadgerLA Tweets — Again, many key tweets deleted, but captured elsewhere.Far more listed on the:  Smear Exhibits Page

This is a BFD

For years, my baseline rant has been how the American Left has to get more imaginative and start to build a true Progressive Infrastructure that can bring new social action tools that can assist us in taking back America from this radical conservatism and plutocracy run amok that has shredded so many social gains we had made in the 20th century. (The actual URL of my StopRush.net project is stoprush.socialactiontools.com)

And now comes this vital and exciting project (and tool)  from the workersvoice.org (in concert with partners like the AFLCIO).  It is just the sort of project I've been talking about. And a really splendid one that needs everyone's participation and support. And it's easy for anyone to play :)

It's only one small step for progess, but it's one giant step for progressivism at the local level. And I think it's going to inspire many others to come.  (More below the video)

Listen… It's Not Rocket Science

Repurpose is an important precedent for where we can go. If the Left can finally start working together and sharing resources in novel and well-resourced ways, a massive information and networking platform can come together that changes everything. (Full disclosure: That premise has been the essense of a technology project and software I have been working on for many years.)

We've always had the votes, the creativity, and the imagination. It's time the Left also had the organization, the social media platform, and the money. Change doesn't just happen. It took the right 40 years to seize the local playing field of our politics. These kinds of efforts can help to seize it right back.

Please be sure you make everyone you know watch this video and visit the http://repurpose.workersvoice.org/ website.

For more updates on this exciting project, follow my friend @nekaro on Twitter

Related

 

Dearest Friends:

 
While you know me as “@shoq,” many close friends have always known me as Matt Edelstein. For reasons I’ve published elsewhere, I’ve never confirmed or denied that name, nor anything else said about me. I am an entrepreneur who has invested many years in developing a novel Internet technology that plans to launch later this year. I currently live in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. I do not, contrary to popular belief, work for George Soros, nor live in my mother’s basement. She is elderly, and I moved here simply so one of her children would be closer to her.  I am starting off with this information to demonstrate my sincerity and candor about something very important that I would like to discuss with you.
 
Many of you have known me for years, and have recently heard a nasty voice mail, and thought “How can shoq, whom I have known for so long, sound like a domestic abuser, as so many people are now asserting about him.” Many of my women-friends, often victims of abuse themselves, have told me how hurt they were to hear of this, and urged me to apologize, to get help, and to do something that might help everyone understand, heal, and learn from this ongoing saga.  
 
Today, a brand new friend, herself a victim of severe domestic violence and verbal abuse, came forward and DMed me and said she had followed me for years, and could not reconcile the man behind the tweets with the person being portrayed by the voice messages, and all the vicious tweets and statements made about them. She wanted explanations. In talking to her candidly, I broke down and tearfully made a confession about something no one has yet heard. She stopped me in my tracks and said she was nauseous with disgust, and urged me—no, demanded of me—that I suck in my pride and go public with what I had just told her. 
 
So I would like to do that now, and in so doing, offer several important facts, insights, and explanations. One of them may surprise—or even shock you. Please read all of them before judging me or coming to any conclusions.

First, I apologize to Jane, aka @vdaze, aka Jessica.

I have raged at someone I have known and loved via some telephone calls, which she decided to publish, to the horror of me, my family, my coworkers, my enemies, and many of you.  Such rage is  always wrong, no matter the cause, no matter the person, and no matter the motive. Period.  It was my responsibility to not do it, and I failed in that responsibility. I shouldn’t have done several things:
  • I shouldn’t have name called. That cannot be excused.
  • I shouldn’t have used hateful words. They cannot be excused.
  • I shouldn’t have tried to blamed her for my rage, even if I felt there were good reasons for it at the time. I could have taken a walk, or gotten a drink, or done something to find another way to express my anger. I did not. I  chose to express a fury when I could have chosen otherwise. It was wrong. It cannot be excused.
  • I shouldn’t have mentioned in my blog post below that we had discussed her getting therapy, because that is a classic excuse that abusers make all the time. Even if I might believe it. Even if she might believe it. It cannot be used to justify a rage. It cannot be excused.
  • I shouldn’t have done any of these things. I have thought long and hard about them, and realized that verbal rage is just unacceptable for any reason, at any time, and in any form. 
 
I’m human. I’ve made mistakes. I own them and I must live with them, and I must help myself, or find other help to discover ways that I can change my process and avoid such mistakes again. I should have said all of these things in my very first or my second post below, as some good women friends urged me to do immediately, but I did not. I was stunned, confused, hurt, and angry, and still trying to understand how someone who just weeks ago said that she had loved me was now painting me as this grotesque abuser, discussing intimate details of my life, health, and appearance, on her blog and on Twitter. This resulted in an eruption of angry Twitter streams by women standing up for a victim of abuse. It brought forth small armies of former enemies eager to pile on the abuser.
 
Many of these women, some of them abused in their lives, were compelled to make me admit, apologize, and atone for the abusive call to Jessica.  And based on my behavior in the voicemail alone, as I say above, I deserved it!  And by not immediately owning it and apologizing for it completely, I made Jessica’s narratives easier to catch fire. And catch they did. Many twitter accounts swelled with literally thousands of tweets about restraining orders, police, counseling, hotlines, sickness, hypocrisy, and all manner of empathy tweets that victims of abuse have heard, sent, or been supported by. 
 
Overwhelmed by sadness and anger at this open discussion of my private life, I quickly penned a blog post to explain what was going on. It was one that forgave her and myself for this conflagration, and which I felt was owning the things I had done wrong, but which friends help me see could be perceived as trying to blame her for some of my unacceptable behavior. It’s just never ok to blame a victim, and that was certainly not my intent. So I then updated it with a bit more detail, trying to own more of my behavior, while also trying to not reveal details of our private lives, nor a really big secret: a huge and vital omission in her published story that would almost certainly change many perceptions of her narrative and accusations. But more on that a bit later.
 

Second, I understand why women must speak out and push back against abuse

 
Who can blame these women who rushed to assist Jessica? After all, many know, or have friends who know what it is like to be in a relationship with an abusive person. They know what it is like be near someone that physically intimidates them, scolds them to their face, terrorizes them with acts or threats of violence, stalks them at their work, accosts them at parties, menaces or harms their friends or pets, damages their cars, defaces their property, posts threats on their doors, harasses their families, and relentlessly pursues and intimidates them via phones, the Internet and social networks. They know abuse and abusers and they know it’s a terrible and mendacious crime that most victims must go to great lengths to escape. They often change their phone numbers, homes, friends, schools,  jobs, clothes, and even entire lives just to escape it.  Many of my closest friends sent me emails and DMs, just disgusted that I might be, or be seen as just like “those men” that made the lives of such victims utterly and completely miserable. And indeed, I might have been, but for that big secret.

Third, the “big secret” was the big hole in Jessica’s story

While yes, I raged at her through an answering machine at times, and even exchanged some angry emails,  I never did any one of those other things that victims of domestic/physical abuse experience. Victims who I, through my admitted mistakes, she was able to appear to be one of to so many of her supporters. I never did any of those things.  Not even one. Not even once. Why can I tell you that with such confidence? For one very simple reason. A reason I said might shock you:  
 
I have never laid eyes on Jessica. Not once. Not even by video. Jessica and I have never met. Please let that sink in for a few moments before continuing. I feel that it is absolutely vital and pivotal to understanding the nature and implications of everything that has transpired to date.
 
Yes, this entire massive abuse narrative, this campaign against me has been predicated on a relationship that was entirely virtual from its inception until this very day. We did not so much as have a video chat between us. Everything we know of each other was via Twitter, email, instant message, and telephone. That’s it. It was a cyber-relationship. Period.
 
So why have I not revealed such a crucial and mitigating detail before now?  Because I was embarrassed. I had fallen in love with a woman on the Internet. I wanted us to be together, but she was married. After she separated, she told me it would be at least a year before she could “safely” become openly involved—or live—with someone else. 
 
So I waited, and I waited. But it never came to pass. As we got closer to year’s end, she became less and less willing to discuss actually coming together, and issues and arguments grew more frequent. Our relationship grew chillier and chillier, and much of the joy had turned into endless discussions about almost anything except when we would finally be together. Finally, after so many months of this dysfunctional situation, I told her that I was done.

Fourth, many have been misled

Jessica has never mentioned what I just admitted to you, despite the embarrassment and ridicule it will generate for both of us.  Why on earth would she do that?  Why would she provide such dramatic tales of abuse, threats, and emotional stress to thousands of people over weeks of time, yet omit this one, massively crucial detail that anyone would need to fully understand this drama.  She was never for one single moment in physical danger.  I never showed up at her door, I never followed her, I never threatened to, nor appeared at her place of work, nor threatened her pets, person or identity in any way. I live 1000 miles away, and have since our “relationship” began.  
 
So please now ask yourself this: why wouldn’t she have stated all of this from the beginning in her many blog posts, tweets, and status updates?  For one simple reason: because she was counting on the fact that I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone what I just told you.  Had she done so, her entire abuse narrative would have been debunked from the start, never garnered the support of so many well meaning sympathizers, and largely been reduced to nothing more than the old cliche of, “So Shoq, when did you stop beating your wife?”
 
If Jessica was living in fear, as she so proactively implied to so many, why didn’t she contact the police, why didn’t she block me on Twitter, or email, or skype, or change her phone number. Why did she take none of those common steps that any abuse victim is always counseled to take. As importantly, why instead did she choose to continually badger me and make references to our relationship on Twitter, often viciously and very publicly baiting me with insults and invective?.  Victims of abuse are almost alway too scared to speak out against their abusers. They stay silent. This is how the cycle of abuse works, and why true abusers get away with their crimes over and over again. They do not seek out and promote confrontations with their abusers on Twitter. This was a cyber-relationship, first, last, and always. With a few clicks of her mouse, Jessica could have eliminated me from her life. She continually chose not to, which is entirely uncharacteristic of someone being “abused.”
 
I have always been a fierce advocate for women, their rights, their equality, and their safety. If you don’t believe that, check five years of my Twitter timeline. If you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse, I urge you to seek professional help.  If you need further help from me, I will do what I am best known for on Twitter, and use my friends and contacts to help you.
 
I hope this clarifies this sad chapter in my  life. I hope Jessica heals, and that those who know and like her forgive her for this hurtful deception.  I also hope that I can get my reputation back from my thousands of friends and followers, and restore the trust I have worked hard to earn from friends,  followers, associates, and especially those who have been skeptical of this story and stood by me from the start.  
 
I am a man with some failings. I yearn for love like most of us. I am a dedicated progressive and a passionate American. I have made and admitted to some poor behavior that I will try to learn and grow from. I did a bad thing. I am not a bad person. 
 
Thanks for listening.
.
Sincerely,
 
Matt
 

Related

 

UPDATE

 
Jane, I had hoped the earlier part of this post would end this drama. I said I wouldn’t retaliate. But with your latest ”update” to your blog, where you connected your post to this one, and the many steps you and/or your supporters seem to have taken to help advance a very one-sided narrative via Twitter, you telegraph an intent to continue this jihad against me. And you’ve decided that any stone is fair game, deliberately promoting the old “Shoq-the-bully-abuser-impaler” memes that you knew had  been out there for years, made up by vengeful bloggers and other antagonists who had never even met me.  You once helped debunk those totally undocumented fables, but now you repurpose them and their memes to serve a personal agenda.
 
In so doing, you’ve  empowered every Right wing dimwit or Left wing adversary with salacious ammunition with which to discredit me with their typical false equivalencies. Angry verbal exchanges over 1.5 years of a romance are not evidence of a “hatred of women,” nor a pattern of “abuse,” and you yourself have said as much. Your posts and tweets are a personal prism, but one that is being used to spread a spectrum of vicious distortions that you know are untrue. You’ve even characterized my genuine concern that others would use this public cat fight to find you and try to harm your career as some threat to stalk or harass you. There has been real harm to me from such specious claims, and I wish  you would refrain from making more of them.
 
And no matter when you say they occurred *, openly publishing private recordings of me reacting vehemently during any one or more arguments, with virtually no context, balance or mitigating explanation is grossly unfair and you know it. Most times we’ve had such angry words were unique circumstances, often provoked by 3rd parties (such as Heather C), following bizarre circumstances, or my frustration at your frequent reluctance to discuss issues in any kind of mutually acceptable manner or timeframe.
 
* Update#2 (8/21/12)In an update of Jane's (@vdaze's) blog post, she uses the fact that I was confused about which recording was used to try and discredit everything and anything I have have said here (rather typical of her style). The incongruity in my narrative has a simple explanation. I had been read only the first lines of that voice mail over the phone by a friend. I wrote the first part of this post assuming the call was an angry skype call message which I didn't recall being all that angry, but since I was inebriated at the time, I figured perhaps I'd forgotten how strident they were in the weeks since making them. Trying to know what set her off, I'd placed those calls, which she did not answer (as usual).  As she posted no date and time of the private message initially, it never crossed my mind (nor the person reading me the message) that she—a woman claiming to love me—would be reaching back 8 months simply to illustrate that I had once been verbally abusive on a phone call during a fight. A fight which she stilll conveniently seems to understate the causes and effects of to suit her narratives, which have in the time since this post, and despite my public mea culpa,  revealed itself to be a full scale romantic vendetta, fused and hybridized (quite deliberately) with a multi-directional set of agendas and past dramas.
 
Again that doesn’t excuse my vitriolic anger, but since recordings only reveal my reactions and not what caused them, they naturally work for you among your friends, or anyone disposed to thinking that any form of yelling into a telephone answering machine is evidence of, or suggestive of some larger form of physical or extreme abuse in person. We both know that never happened. 
 
As for your other characterizations of our relationship, we also both know that many of your complaints were because you resented (often with vehemence) that I could call *you* controlling and abusive at times, and urge you to “stop condescending to me like your subordinates” or some Twitter followers that you had much contempt for. We even spoke of you getting counseling for your relentless brow beating of me whenever we had seemingly minor disputes.  None of that made it into your blog narratives. Nor did the 125 lb gorilla in the room, D, “that $%^@*&%  whore as you called her” whom I had started dating “too soon” to suit your sense of propriety after we’d broken up (again).  
 
Shall we now drag her and her daughter into this, too? What about her family? Her co-workers? And what about that husband you promised to divorce soon after we met, but whom you remain married to to this day? And what of your family, or your so very sensitive personal past? How many people, lives and private narratives should be impacted by this unfortunate romantic misfire that we could choose to just walk away from? One where you were no more a victim of me than I was of you. 
 
This public drama started with your public airing of personal matters, calling me a "dysfunctional c___", and other gruesomely nasty invective in about 15 consecutive tweets without even telling me why.  Any inquiry thereafter was deemed “harassment,” affording you total control over your orchestrated public vitriol with no possibility of discussing any of it. You constructed the ugliest rant that you could (which very few people have ever seen), implying  that any vile invective is ok by you in public, but angry voice messages by me in private are out of bounds. Given all of that, I have still not publicly attacked you even once since this began, and our Twitter timelines reflect that. Nor have I done as you have in allowing open comments to supplement your blog, which you’ve let be used by any enemy with mud to throw. 
 
Jane, enough is enough. We are destroying friendships, communities and reputations over a personal dispute at a time of national importance.  I respectfully ask that you let this go now.  Stop pushing our sad affair into unpredictable directions, dragging every willing friend, supporter, white knight, political enemy, and hopeful suitor along for the ride. It’s unseemly, unethical, and entirely one-sided.
 
You’ve had your day in the court of public opinion, generated lots of juicy tidbits to people who clamor for them, and it will now all live on the Internet forever.  You’ve embarrassed me before friends, co-workers, and even my own mother, who is heartsick and anguished over our words. Those bells can’t be unrung. If that was your goal in all of this, you’ve achieved it. But please, let’s now end this gruesome drama and move on with our lives. Please. 
 
I feel that you savaged me in your blog, for whatever reason, and now I’ve had my say above and beyond my first effort below, which tried to rise above it, but rather ineffectively. You can escalate further if you choose, but I am going to try hard to resist and make this my final post on this sadness. We’ve both lost far too much to “win” anything. I am going to try and get back to my work, focus on this election, and try to relearn the art of forgiveness. Of you, of myself, and of us.  I am truly sorry for what so much promise became.
 
As often is the case, a song says it best:  You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine.
 
 
End note: I am sorry to my followers, family, friends and co-workers who were exposed to this ugly Twitter soap opera. Since it was done so publicly, I had a choice of letting it stand completely unanswered, or respond with just enough to reveal it for what it was: a romantic relationship that ended badly, with the oh so typical two sides of any such story feeling harm, either real or perceived.
 
 

 


Orginal Post

 

A mistake is always forgivable, rarely excusable and always unacceptable. Robert Fripp

 

Dear Jane*,

You shared our lives in public. I don’t know why you chose to do that, and it saddens me beyond words that you felt you had to. Especially since you yourself had always had such contempt for people who would do that.  But I loved you once, and I still have much love and respect for you now. I can forgive you for doing that to you and to us. I hope can forgive me for my inexcusable tone and words in that final voice mail.  It was loud, intense, and used words I deeply regret. I am so sorry for them, and I wish I could take them back, but I can’t. I was  furious. No, that’s wrong. I was totally and completely hurt and angry at you for taking our private matters into a public venue like Twitter as you had.  And I was also quite drunk. After repeatedly asking you to explain what had suddenly angered you, knowing my countless enemies are always trying to game us and destroy me, I got no responses at all. Nothing.  We’d sent emails back and forth that day, and suddenly, out of nowhere, you yelled in ALL CAPS that I was a liar and should never contact you again. To this day, I still don’t know what happened. How can I? You won’t tell me, and your friends won’t tell me. I remain in the dark as of this very writing. There is no greater pain than seeing such a long and mostly endearing relationship reduced to this rubble of riddles with no explanation or resolution .

But I finally did stop trying to reach out for an answer, as you asked. I gave up entirely. But a few days later, I came home from a party to see you and your friends gleefully tweeting smears, distortions and innuendo about me/us into your twitter stream, even engaging old enemies to help you do it.  I was so disgusted, so outraged, and so hurt that I dashed off some emails to express my disgust to you. I reminded you of how worried you often were that our enemies would track you down by making yourself this visible.  I should have stopped there. Instead, after a friend of yours I’d contacted to clarify what was happening shut me off abruptly, I Skyped you and let you know just how I was feeling in extremely bitter and angry tones that no one should have to hear.  Again, I am very, very sorry for my choice of words, and that tone. There was no excuse for my channeling my anger in that way, other than that I am human and make mistakes. But you know that about me, as I know it about you.

I still don’t know what set you off, and you seem to feel no obligation to tell me. Did you feel you would get some kind of satisfaction by putting our lives on display before our twitter feeds, our families, our friends, and our co-workers? You did that before my voice message. And you’re now still doing it long after.  But none of that excuses my message at all.  But neither does my message excuse humiliating us in public for no rational reason that I, nor anyone else can understand. Still, I will not retaliate for that. That is a promise. I will not share details of your life, just to “get even.” There is nothing to be gained but more pain, and I care about you too much to hurt you more than you already are.

I hope our friends will see this as an intense exchange between intense people that spun out of control, largely thanks to unfortunate circumstances, my appalling reaction to them, the silliness of Twitter at times, the unrelenting nature of enemies and trolls, and the volatile and unpredictable nature of emotions. Especially in an information vacuum whenever love is involved.

I wish the angry exchanges had never happened. I wish we could be back in another time and place together. I wish you well. I hope someday we can find mutual forgiveness for our failings and our failures and be friends again. If you want to call me and discuss it, I assure you it will be civil. Perhaps then we can all move on from this grim chapter of our lives.

*The name is fictitious to protect your identity.

 

Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.

 

 

 

This morning, I tweeted this disturbing and sometimes insightful, but ultimately maddening, guilt-ridden sanctimony dressed up as constructive criticism in  op-ed by Steve Almond in the NYTimes. Wanting to think more about it, the best I could say at the time was this tweet:

RT ‏@Shoq: I've been scolded for saying we mock rather than advance ideas. Still, this a mea culpa from a liberal Fox watcher j.mp/KXyDQR
I shared it with my good friend, Joy-Ann Reid (@theReidReport), Managing Editor at TheGrio.com, and a Miami Herald columnist. As usual, within hours, she'd let loose with blistering critique that captured much of what irked me when I read Almond's piece the first time. You can read her post here. 

On any given day, I agree with almost everything Joy says, and this day was no different, for the most part. But I did have some concerns about dismissing the entirety of Almond's essay too casually, feeling that as is often the case, that all elusive truth may lie somewhere between two poles.  So I wrote this to Joy in response, and felt I'd blog it. Just because I can.

 

Thank you joy,

You have told the other side I've been wrestling with so much better than I could.  But I am still torn because while my reaction this morning was just like yours (and I tweeted about it), after reading it again, I am still plagued by the nagging sense that he (and Karoli) are also more than partly right; that we do give them too all far much attention in a meta sense. While, as you point out, there are damn good reasons do that, it's become such a reactionary passion on the left, that it empowers all the lefty demagogues (those self-flagellating masters of the liberal universe), while generally sucking all the energy from the progressive room. There's just not too much remaining for the political process (which serves the status quo nicely). I see this progressive anger-fatigue every day, and it's really worrying me. I see it worrying others, too. Obama can lose, and lose convincingly. And the Senate may go with him.  We all know this. And I think all the anger-merchandising, so well played by the corporate media (and the liberal and conservative industrial complexes, as well), are to a large degree distracting us from really focusing on shaping messages and getting out that vital progressive congressional and presidential vote, without which, we're probably just doomed.

But what the writer doesn't get right at all (besides the ridiculous title) is that he has no real end game; he never discusses where all that surplus attention that he wants to conserve would go if recovered. He hints at it, but so minimally, that he's implying that just turning the other ear and merely showing up to vote will mitigate the damage that a highly cultivated incivility is now doing to us.  It won't. All the polite rhetorical salon parties he imagines won't make the smallest dent in the Koch/Fox audience axis, and they still vote far more reliably than we do.

No, as you point out, ignoring and negotiating just doesn't work. We have to defund, deflect, or somehow denude their omnipotence; strip it from our politics and culture with a combination of strategies that ignore the more cynical of the noisy megaphones, while pushing back effectively against the most influential of them, denying them social and financial currency where possible In the absence of bigger plans, I am going to keep on with efforts like StopRush, which may yet show that market forces can greatly impact how these influencers really operate on and against all of us.

It's all I can do… for now.

 

Related

 

 

 

 

Ari Sharpiro woke me up with this eye opener in my ears this morning. Not so easy listening Don't miss it:

 

The American Dream is a crucial thread in this country's tapestry, woven through politics, music and culture.

Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests an underlying belief that hard work pays off and that the next generation will have a better life than the previous generation.

But three years after the worst recession in almost a century, the American Dream now feels in jeopardy to many.

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/29/153513153/american-dream-faces-harsh-new-reality

See important update at the end.

Forgive my link-baited title, but it was just as contrived, gamed, and inaccurate as this one from Paul Farhi in today’s Washington Post:

Limbaugh sees heat over comments turn down to a simmer

That awful bit of non-reporting spawed these (and other) derived items from so-called “journalists” sucking down free content, with no fact checking whatever:

Rush Limbaugh Is Doing Just Fine

Then of course, we have this gem from Rush’s #1 astroturfed professor at Cornell Law, @leginsurrection, who was all too happy to use the crappy reporting from the so-called “Liberal Washington Post” (owned by arch-conservative, Donald Graham).

#StopRush turns into #MediaMattersStopped

And finally, never to be outdone in the lame department, the DailyBeast jumps in:

Advertisers Stick With Limbaugh
 

Now of course, paid flacks like Cornell’s “Professor Jacobson” are expected to use any kind of drivel the MSM writes to support their astroturfed hysteria.  But the Post and the Atlantic wire? This kind of reporting is absurd, and a prime example of why our media (and nation) are such a mess. 

Since the Washington Post cannot even manage a typical permalink  to specific comments, I have posted my response to Farhi’s reckless reporting here so you don’t have to scroll through 1000 comments to find it:

 
I would like to know which of the 161 dropping or avoiding sponsors listed here http://sn.im/stoprush Mr. Farhi actually contacted. I would wager the answer is zero. If he had, he would know that the only known sponsors to “trickle back” are a single regional sponsor that Rush’s PR flack, Brian Glicklich had CLAIMED wanted to come back (TheSleepTrain) in an LA Times puff piece, and TaxResolutions, a company that never really stopped to begin with (they just said they did to milk some free attention from Twitter). 
 
That’s it. And readers will note that virtually no research of any other kind is indicated in this article. This kind of reporting is merely passing along Premiere’s propaganda. And it does so with almost nothing but conjecture and suppositions based on what the author was obviously told, and not what he himself investigated. Farhi simply absorbed a robust spin-spew of misdirection from Limbaugh and/or Premiere which we have seen coming from his bots and paid proxies all week. Yes, the author called Carusone, and probably spent all of 15 minutes with him to pretend he was actually doing journalism. Anyone who knows Carusone’s efforts knows that what is said here is barely a fragment of the facts concerning this campaign, which can be heard more fully on any of his many radio interviews. In short, this is article comes off as a thinly-veiled PR favor to ClearChannel, a major media corporation which probably has many overlapping relationships with the Washington Post and/or its advertisers. 
 
It is also important to note that while sustaining any “outrage” can be challenging, this StopRush campaign has also coincided with the Trayvon Martin case, which has sucked the oxygen out of most stories emanating from the left in the past two weeks, so naturally some cooling of engagement would be evident. But as someone who sees the engagement of volunteers very close-up, I can tell you that the women, men, and families that Rush has offended aren’t going away, nor are they forgetting his egregious and vile remarks about Sandra Fluke in particular, and women in general. They are simply sharing their passions with other important issues of conservative hatreds which Rush can take great pride in nurturing in today’s America. They are not backing off or backing down. 
 
Mr. Farhi, please do just a bit of homework and update this story with real facts that you have actually verified, and not the convenient and self-serving spin of ClearChannel or their proxies. In short, do your job. 
 
Thank you.

Posted at 11:10 on 3/29/2012

Note: A look through the comments of that post will reveal literally dozens of astroturf bots, come of them posting at least 10 times. The WaPost makes no effort to screen such astroturf, nor even limit it to one or two comments per article. Thus, the astroturfers ensure that their gamed spew will always turn up in the list of most recent comments.

Update

In my haste to respond to the Washington Post, I neglected to point out that the author DID update his story. He removed a completely erroneous misquote where he claimed that Carusone had said “only 5 sponsors had dropped the Limbaugh show.” In fact, Carusone tweeted that after correcting them, the author updated the post and simply deleted the entire misquote. This was more shoddy journalism. The entire premise of the story—now so widely repeated—revolved around that one ludicrously sloppy misquote. The Post should have posted the words “Updated,” and corrected it. They still should.

Please visit http://sn.im/stoprush for more news and information about the #stopRush effort.

Help us push back against this kind of propaganda by retweeting this post. Thanks!!

It is our eternal shame as country that such intellectually weak sauce as Ayn Rand should attain an almost mythical status among the very people who should revile her the most. But attain it, she has, and it’s got to be pushed back on. Vigorously.

I have shrieked for years that if something wasn’t done to disembowel the mystique of this legendary mistanthrope, her fast food fascism would nourish future generations of video game addicts who are more far comfortable reacting to ideas than having or ever questioning them.

While many a social writer has taken stabs at her over the years, George Monboit has carved up this phony icon with a economical precision in a all-too-brief essay entitled:

How Ayn Rand’s Bizarre Philosophy Made the New Right so Toxic
Rand’s psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats.

Without mincing any words, George gets to the point straightaway:

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the post-war world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Of course, no discussion of Ayn Rand can even begin without mention of her most famous manifesto, the ponderously overwrought, yet absolutely seminal work for the “Only Job Creators Matter” Tea party crowd:

Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, depicts a United States crippled by government intervention in which heroic millionaires struggle against a nation of spongers. The millionaires, whom she portrays as Atlas holding the world aloft, withdraw their labour, with the result that the nation collapses. It is rescued, through unregulated greed and selfishness, by one of the heroic plutocrats, John Galt.

If you never really knew this, it is from her wretched political screeds that too much of the churlish partisan drivel emanating from Fox News, Redstate.com, TheBlaze, Rush Limbaugh, and most other celebrated wingnut emporiums of hate and mindless greed is so often derived.

And turning a blind eye toward its appeal to the uneducated and culturally embittered has helped lead us down a path of pure evil. And the trail guide on this trip into an ahistorical black hole, from which a healthy American middle class may never emerge? Why none other than that pied piper of objectivist voodoo economics, Mr. Alan Greespan:

There is no need for the regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as “the ‘greed’ of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking … is the unexcelled protector of the consumer”. As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a “superlatively moral system”.

While Monboit gets right to the core of this cancerous legend very efficiently,  one essay can’t counteract the impact of her screeds on our culture, if not our planet. Recognizing the power that this seducative pap has had with people who get their world history from cereal boxes, I’d like to create a site that helps educators teach high school students why her rancid polemical fiction is not reasoned political philosophy, nor even valuable social commentary.

Rand’s works are little more than the angry ravings of a cold-war era, anti-collectivist relic who knew how to make mean-spirited cliches into compelling narratives for people who have rarely read more than one book. It’s the perfect propaganda for a dumbed down electorate that values feelings over facts, and will alway high-five some plutocratic diatribe, while being outwardly dismissive and hostile toward anything bordering on mature pluralism and dialectic process.

Progressives cannot laugh at this kind of thing any longer. It has much too much traction already, and it’s only growing. If you want to help me discuss how we might make tools that can mitigate some of her ruinous impact on younger—or just vulnerable—minds, if not our entire culture, please post a comment, or contact me on Twitter.

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