Otro Badulaque (another fool of no consequence)
I get a lot of spam, of course, like we all do, but I also get a variety of unsolicited email from people I've never heard from before about various projects of mine that they're interested in or have questions or kudos on. Rarely do I get totally anonymous and context-free insults out of the blue. The other day I received this, via my website contact page:
----------------------------------------------------- This message was sent by someone looking at: http://detritus.net/cgi-bin/contact from: 18.104.22.168 ----------------------------------------------------- Poor Steev. Must be difficult to be an intellectual when you're not very smart. You're a shining example to all who wish to appear to be trafficking in ideas.
This was sent using the address LucilleDMcKenzie@teleworm.com, which it turns out is a fake address generated by the wonderful http://www.fakemailgenerator.com - a service I had not known about before and which looks quite useful for various things, so in a way it was worth getting assaulted in this way. This person clearly didn't wish to engage in conversation but simply wanted to attack me with no opportunity given to respond - when I sent a query asking for more information I got a bounce (the fake email service seems to allow replies, but perhaps only for a limited time, perhaps governed by the life of a cookie it hands out. not sure of the details. at any rate, my reply bounced). My message, btw, noted that I don't recall ever calling myself an intellectual, and therefore would take the statement as at least partially a compliment.
however, I have a pretty clear idea who the sender is because the message is not entirely without context, or drama. I recently removed from my list of facebook friends a certain Kim Scarborough - I honestly am not sure why I was ever friended by him or recall why I agreed to the friending. I don't think I have ever met him face to face, though we were both at WCBN, the University of Michigan student radio station, at about the same time and he's from Ann Arbor and knows some other Ann Arbor folks that I know. I think I recall him being on my Detritus Rumori mailing list and some other underground music related online communities like the negativland Snuggles list, etc.
But he's the kind of person I would never want to spend time with or be friends with IRL. He's a computer geek and somewhat smart, but he's also a libertarian, and a devotee of Milton Friedman (who I consider just shy of Hitler or Stalin in terms of the misery he's brought upon the world). He worked at Playboy as a system administrator, I think, and now does the same at the Chicago Stock Exchange, I think. (Both worthless, at best, employers.) Most of his facebook posts were kind of vaguely philosopolitical pronouncements that seemed carefully calculated to produce debate, but which cleverly did not clearly state exactly what he was talking about or believed in, so that later when people argued with him he could change the subject in a weird attempt to make disagreement seem inappropriate. He was also a master of the "straw man" rhetorical tactic and of cognitive dissonance. I eventally just got tired of him, though I spent about a year thinking over and over after every exchange I had with him, "gosh I'm just wasting time reading this guy's posts and getting worked up and trying to engage in conversation." I resisted unfriending him for that long a time because I believe the "Filter Bubble" effect is a real problem in our society right now, and I felt like I should be exposing myself to opposing worldviews, at least if it was from people relatively articulate and intelligent. But at some point you realize that even having an open mind is with some people not doing anybody any good. He's got an entrenched opinion of who I am so he's not really listening to me when I say anything; he's clearly just being a troll trying to create online drama and attention for himself.
He lives in Chicago and that IP address above traces back to a chicago network, and the message, which I just noticed today, came in 3 days ago, the day after my last reply to a string of email harrassments that he peppered me with after I unfriended and blocked him on facebook. So this latest attack is pretty likely him. This is an interesting and sad phenomenon, and the truly objectionable thing is his refusal to just give up and go away. People are going to disagree and argue, and that's fine. But if one person chooses to withdraw, after repeated attempts at fair and good faith attempts at conversation are met with purposeful obfuscation and intellectual dishonesty, the LEAST that the other person can do is honor repeated requests to cease contact. But this jackass continued to pester me with emails feigning surprise and shock that I had unfriended and blocked him, asking me stupid questions I'd previously answered and uttering further straw-men style provocations. Then after I blocked his real email addresses he now uses a fake one.
He must be really invested in a view of himself as some kind of tolerant and friendly guy with a wide variety of social connections, and it evidently bothers him and angers him when someone severs one of those connections. This is supported by previous and numerous facebook posts in which he complained about other people defriending him, supposedly unjustly and unfairly. How pathetic. He just can't seem to accept with dignity and introspection that maybe a lot of people consider him an annoying bore at best, a malicious asshole and waste of time at worst, and maybe he should do something about that or else accept it when people give up trying to put up with his bullshit.
It's kind of mindboggling when someone so unknown and inconsequential to me, and so different in terms of politics and belief system, is so set on maintaining contact. I've already wasted too much time on this guy today with this post but I do it not as some kind of vengeful counterattack but just to note it as an intriguing pathology.