Our hosting provider, A Small Orange, is the online equivalent of the human taint, also known as the gooch depending on regional dialects. I will often receive all at once several months to a year’s worth of comment notifications or emails sent to me via the site’s email address. One time a terminally-ill author sent me a lovely message asking me to review his last book because he was so moved by my first review of his work. I received it months after he died. I do not know why we haven’t changed providers yet, but I suspect it’s because I don’t stay mad long enough to make it a priority. I also am less active on the site lately and check the back end far less often than I should, so I don’t notice gaps in messages in a timely manner. However, this last flurry of notifications contained a comment that gave Mr. OTC pause, enough pause that he became angry that such a comment had gone months without us seeing it.
“Some asshole is effectively threatening you and this comment sat unseen on the server for months until A Small Orange deigned to send us notification,” Mr. OTC said. “What if he’d said, ‘I’m on my way to kill you!’ and we had no idea?” I suspect A Small Orange, who as a company sucks balls (which, by the way, are near the taint) will not be my host much longer. It should be mentioned that Mr. OTC ultimately was more angry at the taint than the asshole because he understands what is considered an actionable threat and what isn’t, but I was surprised that he was so appalled at the comment. He knows what I write about. He knows that I get terrible comments. Yet he looked at the comment and did not see what I saw. He saw the potential for genuine threat.
Here’s the comment, with the beginning of my reply.
I think most spouses would feel uneasy seeing that their partner receives comments that invoke torture, extrajudicial murder and final judgement for perceived wrong-doing. But I’ve got this. I’ve been doing this for thirteen years and somewhere along the line I learned how to analyze documents in a way that gives me a pretty good metric for whether or not I should be afraid or concerned about what angry commenters say to me when they are especially pissed off.
While it has to be said that I am not a behavioral sciences expert, nor am I a legitimate threat assessor, I’ve been reading the words of madmen and reactions to the words of madmen for so long that I reckon I can differentiate between a threat and a dude who unloaded on me after a really bad day (or month, or year). Rob may have intended for me to feel afraid, but offered no harm that I felt could endanger me or my family.
I’ve had two or three threats I considered legitimate since running my book discussion sites and those messages were radically different than Rob’s. Those comments showed that the authors know who I am, meaning they know my full name, where I live, the names of some of my pets, that my husband is ex-military. They had specific issues with something I definitely wrote, showing that they actually read what I wrote and were reacting to me specifically, and they did not speak in generalities. They made reference to how easy it would be to find me or a specific pet, what they wanted to do to me or the cat, and mentioned a time frame wherein they hoped to do harm to me.
Rob’s comment wasn’t anywhere close to being genuinely threatening. Unpleasant? Yes. Reason to freak out? Nope. I know some people will disagree with that assessment so let’s break his comment down and hopefully I can explain why I think Rob hollered at me online rather than metaphorically kick the family dog after having a bad day, and hopefully this analysis will help anyone else who is periodically frightened by what angry (mostly) men say online. Plus, sometimes it’s just fun to hyper-analyze the hell out of weird comments.
SOME ENTRY-LEVEL CAPTAIN OBVIOUS-TIER SHIT
Rob left this comment using his real email address that included his full name, using a mobile network tied to his specific mobile device. No VPN, no Hushmail, Rob literally gave me everything I would need to give the cops if I wanted to Karen the hell out of him. I know his cell phone provider. I know he’s had issues with solar-power storage batteries. I know where he owns property and that he worries about trespassers. I know he is ex-military. I know how old he is. I know he’s a fairly pleasant guy when he’s not commenting on my site. I found all of this in five minutes or less. And I will not give any info that could actually dox him because I’m trying to live in a society here. But, I ask you, is this the behavior of a man who is offering genuine physical threat to someone? Or is it more likely the behavior of a man who has all kinds of fears and worries common to his kind who lashed out blindly at the first person who pissed him off? Most of the time, when a person wants to hurt you or kill you, he doesn’t leave an electronic trail straight to his electronic front porch (or enormous and swank RV, as it were).
So basically right there I dismissed Rob as a real threat and if he is a threat he’s gonna be real easy to track down. Fingers crossed I don’t get shot soon. But there’s more. There’s always more. This is OTC.
YOU TALKIN’ TO ME? WELL, I DON’T SEE ANYONE ELSE HERE…
Rob has no idea who he’s talking to. This is not an impotent boast rich fail-sons invoke when a waiter isn’t deferential enough. I mean it literally. He has no idea who I am. I know far more about him at this point than he does about me and it’s clear as day from the things he said to me.
JAYNE IS A GIRL’S NAME
Some back story: Rob’s comment is on an entry I made on my short-lived Houdini’s Revenge site, wherein I analyzed bad ideas and conspiracy theory. I took issue with Dave McGowan’s poorly researched and cruel false flag theory about the Boston Marathon bombing and Dave responded. He passed away a few years ago but his site is still up and so is his link to my discussion. His followers are some of the grossest people I’ve encountered online, like so awful that I sincerely prefer dealing with the necrophiles who come here because I discussed the work of Gabrielle Wittkop. At least one of his fans dug up information on two tragic deaths in my family and created an intricate back story to try to prove I am against the second amendment and therefore am a federal asset who is paid to defame McGowan. Other commenters were so pointless, disingenuous and foul that I warned them to stop or I would alter their comments to my amusement. They didn’t, I followed through and oh the tantrums they threw. The only two people banned from commenting on this site are McGowan fanboys.
Seriously, some of Dave’s fans are gross. But, it must be said, being gross isn’t a threat.
Back to Rob. He didn’t read my refutation of Dave McGowan’s conspiracy theory, in which McGowan wrote that the Boston Bombing was a false flag operation that used crisis actors and not a single person was injured or killed that day (including vile mockery of people who nearly bled to death on camera). My reaction clearly annoyed McGowan and his fans.* Rob simply read Dave’s lively response, followed the link over here and vented his spleen. You know that immediately because of the use of “fucktard.” Dave either did not know or did not believe I am a woman when he designated that nickname for me. He had a tendency to unperson and nonperson people, from men who lost their legs in bombings to housewives who keep blogs, and refusing me any identity aside from “fucktard” was in keeping with his overall style and presentation.
The nickname itself is curious. He wasn’t a man averse to cursing (a plus in my book) so why didn’t he invoke feminine profanity? Why not “cunt” or “bitch” or “whore” combined with a suffix or prefix for stupidity? Why call me a term that is almost universally reserved for men? Because he didn’t know I am female and neither do most of the people who follow his links over here. Generally, if you plan to travel to a person’s house to hurt them, you at least know their name, and in my case, my name gives my sex away because much like Jayne, Anita is a girl’s name. Not saying that men can’t be named Anita (or Jayne). Just saying that most of the time people with those names were born with two X-chromosomes.
Rob’s choice of violence is interesting as well. As a white woman, I have never once been threatened with lynching. I suspect black women online could tell a different story. However, in this regard, I believe Rob is not referring to lynching entirely of the “Strange Fruit” variety. He means lynching as an all-encompassing term to describe extra-judicial executions that those who think Trump is Jesus, Jr. will heap upon the non-believers when he returns. In this context, if a woman is a traitor, lynching her, while not a common threat, makes some sense. But it gets a little weird when you hit the mention of tarring and feathering.
Have you ever heard anyone threaten to tar and feather a woman? Have you even heard of a North American woman being tarred and feathered in your lifetime? There are very few recorded cases of women getting tarred and feathered in the USA and the last verified case I could find was in the 1930s. It was so remarkable because it was an exception that proved the rule that tarring and feathering is a torture culturally reserved for men.
Tarring and feathering is horrible. It may sound like something Yosemite Sam might threaten in a cartoon, but its reality is brutal. A man who is tarred and feathered is ambushed and subdued by his enemies. His clothes are ripped off of him and he is restrained in some manner, like being tied with rope. Wet, hot tar is swabbed across his body, creating excruciating but generally non lethal burns, and then he is rolled in feathers that stick to him until he can seek help to get them removed. That man becomes an object of scorn and pity. He is utterly humiliated.
What happens to women when a group of men subdue her and rip her clothes off? Generally a far different form of humiliation awaits her.** Men humiliate other men differently than they humiliate women, and he is threatening to tar and feather me because he thinks I am male, and therefore likely has no real plans to do harm or he’d be invoking different types of violence.
It’s also very interesting that he thinks I want to tar and feather men like him. Put a pin in that…
CAKE OR DEATH!
I can’t assign this conduct simply to Rob and his ilk. Both sides of the political line, with all their varying off-shoots into identity politics, have stated that if I think ABCD but you think AbCd, then we are enemies and we must cancel or kill or harass each other until the gods of Twitter have had their fill of human misery. But Rob is wallowing in that swamp so let’s do this.
ROB DOESN’T KNOW ME WELL ENOUGH TO WANT TO KILL ME
When someone wants to do you physical harm, they base this desire on far more than just opposition to a specific conspiracy theories. They have a good idea of what you think and will refer specifically to what they consider your crimes. All Rob knows about me specifically is that Dave McGowan didn’t like me.
Nowhere on this site or on any other site where you find my work will you find me wishing torture or death on anyone outside of “special place in hell” comments generally reserved for pedophiles and animal abusers. Rob overvalues the societal worth of his beliefs, unaware that the vast majority of people who don’t agree with him aren’t invested enough to do much more than wonder what on earth is wrong with him and move on.
Does Rob really think he is some sort of hand-maiden to the Messiah of the Right, and that the existence of every woman who keeps a blog or every vegan who may also be a Marxist and every person who thinks maybe Trump was an asshat is a tacit death threat? Rob sounds as if his paranoia is emasculating him, causing him to feel almost humiliated by the very existence of different points of view, dreaming of a day of bloody judgement to restore his masculinity.
That is pitiful. Truly. If you are scared of me, you got some problems to work through because the worst I will ever do is make you feel a bit testy when I analyze what you write.
Rob makes some mighty assumptions about my politics and attributes to me what he thinks are woke Twitter’s talking points. I know this because Rob is using generic rhetoric. I’ve seen this often because at the core of almost every current false flag conspiracy theory is a belief that The Forces That Be, or a rogue element within The Forces That Be, is engaging in bloody mayhem in the hopes that public reaction will force a repeal the second amendment because a weak and unarmed populace will be easier to control. In the black or white binary approach to false flag analysis, those who don’t believe false flag theories are anti-gun. I am pro-2A. I have to be because until society finds a way to get the toothpaste back in the tube, I feel that mutually assured destruction is the only deterrent when some your countrymen, regardless of politics or religious belief, feel that death is due those with different opinions.
Marrying together all the concepts in his comment, it looks to me that Rob has taken a few steps off the road of reasonable data interpretation. He has stitched the Boston Marathon bombing false flag conspiracy theory into a larger tapestry of wholesale leftist attempts to overthrow the very constitution of this country. I no longer am merely a woman who thinks the Boston Bombing happened – I am now a traitor against the law of the land who means to execute anyone I can and I need an unarmed nation in order to carry out my evil plan.
Rob, do you really fear that I want you dead? Trump dead? Anyone dead? Based on what? Because some leftists are unhinged? I’m not tarring you with the same feather I used when reading and seeing the way some of your supposed ideological brethren react. I’m reacting to you and what you wrote. If I misinterpreted anything, at the very least that error came from analyzing what you specifically said to me. This would be a good habit to take up if you leave similar comments elsewhere.
THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE WHEN BOYS CRY
Boy howdy Rob is pissed off at me. He wants me to know I am still a fucktard. He wants me to know he thinks little of my site because there are few new comments on an eight-year-old entry. He is so enraged at his perception of me as a man who would kill him if I could that he wants me dead, theoretically. He ends his missive with a mockery of the god speed I offered Dave McGowan while threatening me again, however tacitly, telling me that my end will be unpleasant, presumably because I will be tarred and feathered and lynched.
What the everloving fuck is wrong with these guys? I disagreed with a man almost a decade ago, and my disagreement wasn’t even that harsh. And this is the response some dude wholly unrelated to the original back and forth feels he needs to say? See, this is why some leftists think that there is a psychological epidemic of fragile masculinity that causes some men to lash out unthinkingly when challenged, regardless of their social or political beliefs. It’s like they are children, for the first time understanding that the world maybe isn’t going to willingly clean their shitty diapers just because they are Mommy’s special boys. God, can you imagine what Rob would have said to me had he indeed known I am female? It hurts worse when girls are mean, I’ve been told. How can I fear someone who appears to be this frail?
The degree of delusion these angry men experience is shocking. Their anger unhinges them to the point that they simply cannot believe that a real person on this planet could disagree with them. Nope, their ideas are so sound and unassailable that anyone who disagrees must be a federal asset, engaging in black propaganda, reporting to their “handlers” daily as they count the number of tears they make Rob cry. If it seems like I am mocking Rob, it’s because I am because what the hell else can a person grounded to reality say or do when confronted with this nonsense.
I cannot tell you the number of times weak thinkers have told me I must be a CIA stooge, or some sort of government patsy too dumb to know my “handlers” are about to destroy us all. This is not a new meme. It’s very old (tin foil) hat and so predictable I expect it as a matter of course. I wrote an article critical of John DeCamp, pre-dating Pizzagate and QAnon by a decade, and got accusations of being a member of whatever organization is currently in charge of raping all the children. I wrote an article critical of Dr. John Coleman a decade before COVID-19, and I got asked who paid me to write the article. And McGowan-ites do it all the time, almost every time they come to visit.
This placing index fingers in the ears and shouting “NANANANA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” tactic of accusing everyone who opposes you of being a part of a conspiracy is pitiful and it speaks to the histrionics, gang-mentality and overall weakness of thought of those who do it. If it makes Rob sleep better thinking no one could possibly think anything other than what he feels proper without being some sort of deep state stooge, so be it. But who the hell could be afraid of anyone like this?
BUT WHAT IF I’M WRONG AND HE’S LOOKING IN THE WINDOW AS I TYPE THIS?
The Capitol raid that happened on January 6 resulted in fear of people like Rob. Earlier this month the FBI released a warning that the failure of the QAnon “plan” and predictions will cause QAnoners to double down. Just as cult members will recommit to their beliefs after their leaders’ Armageddon predictions fail, QAnoners may rewrite the plan to destroy the deep state with themselves in the role of the hero and engage in smaller-group or lone wolf violence. This can be alarming when you consider that even the most covert of the people who attended the rally and then rushed the Capitol operated openly. They didn’t hide it, or if they did try to hide it, they didn’t try very hard. And therefore since Rob was so emboldened (or so daft) that he gave me all his information before I even read his first word to me, perhaps he is dangerous, too. He doesn’t outright state QAnon belief but his verbiage definitely borrows from QAnon talking points. He can correct me if I am wrong.
But there is a vast difference between what people caught up in the madness of the crowd versus what one angry dude online will do. QAnoners are not living on a compound in Waco, or collecting poison in Oregon – they are spread out across the USA and Q has been silent for months. Without a tangible leader spurring them on, I don’t anticipate any widespread violence. I also think a whole lot of them were very surprised when they faced legal consequences for their actions, let alone the shunning they experienced when airlines and hotels refused them service after they showed their faces as open insurrectionists.
Some were so removed from notions of consequences that it seemed like they were LARPing as revolutionaries and never considered that real revolutionaries enter the fray knowing that bad things may happen if they fail. They don’t whine about how mean it is to be pepper-sprayed because conditions are so dire that death for insurrectionists is preferable to living in tyranny. Many Capitol raiders treated staging a coup like it was a game. They dressed like they were at Comicon, posed for cameras as they did childish things, like putting their feet up on desks to show contempt. Some sauntered out of the building with tangible symbols of American democracy, flashing smug and shit-eating grins as they did it. When they received pushback, they were shocked.
But now they know the stakes and, from my own observations, those still clinging to the narrative are talking tall and walking quiet. I also don’t have access to FBI data so take my beliefs with a grain of salt. But until I see signs that Rob and his friends are willing to experience more pushback, it’s reasonable to assume that none of them are planning to assemble on my lawn and potentially storm my home while killing police officers until Biden hands over the country to Trump.
Can this sort of analysis help you decide when someone is genuinely threatening you? Possibly, but if your gut tells you to be afraid, listen to it. Our subconscious is excellent at interpreting data that our higher minds may not understand right out of the gate. But hopefully this entry encourages you to pay careful attention to what is said to you before you begin to feel fear. Fear drives people out of the marketplace of ideas and there is no sense experiencing fear until it’s necessary. Continual fear and anger will wear you out. My gut told me that Rob was just a man who needed to let off steam and my analysis confirmed it. He has no investment in silencing me or this site specifically. He just hates what he thinks I am after he followed a link that led him to me. He means no harm to me. As of posting this, I would lay down money that Rob still doesn’t know my name. He may not even remember leaving the comment.
SO WHAT NOW?
The impulse is often strong to punish people like Rob. What would happen if I used the information that he gave me to wreck his shit? Well, if he has enough to lose that it could hurt him, it would make real his delusion that I mean him harm. It would put him in his place so definitively that it would ensure he could never leave it.
I have no interest in serving as an apologist for mindless nastiness on either side of the political spectrum. For all of my leftist, at times Marxist tendencies, I cannot interact with most leftists/liberals online. The arguments are tiresome and they never lead to anything except more arguing. I’ve come to understand that many on the right are feeling the same gut-churning trepidation I felt during 2020 when Trump was at the helm of this still sinking ship. I have no idea if their fear is justified, but the important part here is that I understand the fear. Understanding the fear helps keep some of it at bay.
For instance, look at the timing of this comment. QAnon led believers to think that Trump, whom they all believed to be in control of the military, was going to stage a coup and take over the government on March 4, 2021. When Trump did not arrive with the military to beat the asses of the non-believers, the date was reset to March 20, 2021. If Rob is a QAnon true believer, his comment came a week after it was clear that Trump was not coming to lead them to the Promised Land. At the end of March, many QAnoners were feeling increased fear because nothing they’d prayed for had happened. They seemingly never considered that leaders from both sides want us afraid and at each other’s throats because when citizens want to kill each other over which rich white sex offender should run the country or the value of germ-filtering masks, it’s far easier to destroy our social, financial and physical security in ways that benefit them.
I have no cure for the madness that has overcome many on the right and the left but stripping people of their jobs and dignity because they acted like an asshole online does not appeal to me or serve my interests. It’s collateral damage against people I don’t know in a war I’m not fighting. Rob’s comment is unnerving but it really is nothing more than a nasty message on an old blog entry. I like wallowing in weird stuff. Dave McGowan wrote weird stuff. His book on Laurel Canyon is the stuff weirdness is made of. *** He was never my enemy, he was just a man I vehemently disagreed with. His fans are not my enemies even if they think they are, and it’s impossible to fear anyone who fears me because Jesus Christ, I’m too short to reach the top shelf of the pantry. I can never find my glasses. I’m practically a cat lady. All I do is sometimes write online and none of any of this merits paranoid fantasies of lynching and elaborate attempts at social engineering via a blog too small to have much more than a cult following, and that’s being generous
I came to all these conclusions after doing little more than reading what Rob had to say and thinking about it. It’s hard to do that on Twitter and that’s why I maintain a blog. I know I’m verbose to the point of seeming insane but there’s value in using plenty of words and reading the words of others carefully. Thinking and reacting in shorthand has been a cultural disaster.
So be well Rob, you and your solar cells, and for the love of god, even if you refrain from this bullshit in the future, get a VPN, if only to reduce the amount of spam you get.
*I know false flaggers will see their keywords, go full Pavlov’s dog, and begin to leave comments that ignore the purpose of this article. I know you can’t help it, you know you can’t help it, so just get it over with so you can resume fretting over the deep state and pretending that Ron Watkins didn’t run one of the most brilliant conspiracy hoaxes since The Protocols. Call me “fucktard” all you want but until you can explain how crisis actors entered and exited the scene, watched and recorded in the Thorndyke pictures, I probably won’t reply.
It’s such a well-tread path that I’m calling it now: you’ll insist Jeff Bauman never existed in defiance of all known evidence because a dude in the military bore a slight resemblance to him. You’ll assign to me beliefs I never stated. You’ll call me dumb. You’ll ask who paid me to write this. You’ll bring up that you definitely saw one of the slain Sandy Hook teachers in the crowd in Boston. You’ll freak out over all kinds of details possible hand signs, how you know for sure exactly how every brand of every pressure cooker will detonate regardless of its positioning and contents and that there’s no way glass would blah blah blah. Until you reconcile the very real Thorndyke series with a crisis actors scenario, you’re making a fool of yourself. Also, don’t worry if you condemn the Thorndyke pictures as fake while unknowingly using them out of sequence to prove whatever point you may have – you won’t be the first, you won’t be the last, and Dave, who I can safely say was smarter than all of you, did it too.
**Interestingly, on a few occasions, when a male commenter vaingloriously threatened masculine violence, like punching me out, he changed to threatening rape when he realized I am a woman. Make of that what you will.
***Seriously, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream is a twitchy thing of beauty. McGowan was an asshole but he was a magnificent and very interesting asshole and that matters in this world, I think. For all the tinfoilers who will invariably see something nefarious in affiliate links – just Google the title and I’m left out of the equation entirely.