May 21, 2004

A couple more Micah Wright items, since the sun's up and all

Todd Allen has a good recap of the situation in the latest New York Resident, as well as an interesting theory about Wright's recent attempt to "game the system" at Amazon.com. See, one of Wright's series for DC Comics was recently cancelled (in addition to the Vigilante one, which doesn't look good for him either). But for whatever reason, an also-cancelled third trade paperback collection of the series was still available for preorder at Amazon. Wright tried to get his fans to preorder a bunch of copies so DC would go ahead and publish it. That was less than a week before Rangergate. Was he playfully thumbing his nose at The Man? Making one last-ditch effort to squeeze some quick cash out of his teetering comics career? Who can say (who you'd be able to believe)?

Also, Parrott has "the definition of Wright and Wrong."

And I might as well throw this one in.

Update: According to Rich Johnston's latest rumor column, Wright has been fired as the writer of Stormwatch: Team Achilles #24, which is the last issue. For details, scroll down to "Shitstorm II," past the (ahem) humor portion of the column. It doesn't have a blinking traffic light like most of the other items, which probably has something to do with the Conspiracy.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 11:07 AM

May 20, 2004

Top 10 Favorite Moments In The Final Angel, In No Particular Order

10. Wesley's death scene. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker deserve Emmy nominations for their work this season. It'll never happen, of course, but it should.

9. Mercedes McNab in her baby-blue bra and panties. Yeah, yeah, Harmony was the Judas and still skated, just like she always does, blah blah blah. Mercedes McNab in her underwear.

8. "Sebassis! Your manservant has become tangled in my bodily fluids again!!" "Eeeep!"

7. Angel: "I understand jokes! I was at the first taping of The Carol Burnett Show. Tim Conway was on fire. It was special..."

6. When they finally slammed the door on the whole "Shanshu" thing. You know, the ancient prophecy that Angel would someday become human again? The carrot that's been dangled in front of him since the end of the first season? Gone, signed away in a heartbeat (so to speak) as a test of his loyalty to the secret society he'd infiltrated. WHICH WAS AWESOME. It summed up the whole show: You keep going even when there's no hope, no possibility of reward. You just keep going. Hell, the guy is practically a blogger.

5. Lorne quitting. It just makes sense. He's an empath, after all, and he's always been squeamish about the more hands-on aspects of the whole operation. He did that one last thing for the team (big thanks to the WB promo dept. for giving it away!), and then he was out. Look on the bright side, Lorne fans: He's one of the few characters with more than a 50% chance of survival.

4. The "Spike goes into a biker bar looking for a fight" fakeout. Glad his poetry finally got the recognition he always thought it deserved. I mean, come on:

My soul is wrapped in harsh repose
Midnight descends in raven-colored clothes
But soft... behold! A sunlight beam
Cutting a swath of glimmering gleam
My heart expands, 'tis grown a bulge in it
Inspired by your beauty... effulgent

And he had to wait like 130 years for somebody to truly appreciate that. Brings a tear to me eye, it dooz.

3. The scene with Gunn and Anne at the runaway shelter. So what if that woman cannot act, never could act, and never will be able to act. It was kind of nice to see her.

2. The utter Butchcassidyandthesundancekidness of the final scene. That's how you go out, man. The shrieking demon horde might as well have been wearing WB T-shirts, huh? And:

1. They couldn't have given Angel a more perfect last line than, "Well, personally, I kinda wanna slay the dragon. Let's go to work." The Dark Knight Is Forced into Retirement? Fuck that!

Now I almost hope this is really it, no TV movies or any of the other rumored stuff, because I don't see how they can possibly top this last episode. Seven years and over 250 episodes in all? Even the worst of them better than almost anything else on TV that you don't have to pay extra for? Not bad. Not bad at all.

See also Top 10 Favorite Moments In The Final Buffy, In No Particular Order

Posted by Jim Treacher at 10:32 AM

May 19, 2004

Angel fans, test your knowledge!

In honor of tonight's series finale, I hope you'll participate in my latest poll.

JOSSVERSE 4-EVAH

P.S. All kidding aside... damn but that was good. It all just felt right. And that last scene felt like the last page of a really good book. Just perfect.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 05:54 PM

Maybe I could pitch him a homelessness blog called Panhandler

I don't know what's more depressing about this Business 2.0 story on Nick Denton: The revelation that he only pays his bloggers $1,000 a month, or the realization that this is $1,000 a month more than I will ever get for blogging. Well, that's alright... I wouldn't really have anything to say about Graydon Carter anyway.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 03:18 PM

May 18, 2004

Drop and Give Me 20... Paragraphs About Why It's Not Your Fault

Micah "War Is Hell on My Carpal Tunnel" Wright makes a triumphant return to his Delphi forum (registration required), revealing what has given him the strength to carry on:

...someone pointed me to a recent warblogger (their word for themselves, not mine) post where some guy was saying "haw haw haw, this proves that everything Micah ever said is a complete lie, his politics are a lie, haw haw haw, he should never open his mouth about politics again, haw haw haw" (yes, in my head all warbloggers are Chick Tract characters and laugh by saying "haw haw haw").

That was what I needed to snap myself out of my recent funk. Here's what I say to that: FUCK YOU. Yeah, I'm a goddamned liar, but guess what? I never lied about my politics because my feelings about politics are OPINION which by fucking definition can't be a lie because it's how I feel.

So he didn't need to tell great big lies to try to validate his opinions, turns out. Hindsight is 20/20, huh?

Also, he's not as bad as the Abu Ghraib guards, in case you were wondering. Oh, and he lost his DC Comics writing gig not because of anything he might have done wrong, but because of a Corporate Conspiracy™ against him for "pushing the boundaries of the format." His "resume padding" just gave them a convenient excuse to drop him, see. I think that about covers it.

(Link via Fanboy Rampage)

Posted by Jim Treacher at 11:35 PM

May 11, 2004

The Wright Advice

Kevin Parrott has it.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 08:35 PM

The Olsen Twins Countdown... to Early Onset of Osteoporosis

osteotwins.PNG

(Via Michele)

Posted by Jim Treacher at 08:57 AM

Some say the cover-up is worse than the crime

Micah "Blood 'n' Guts" Wright e-mailed me yesterday, wondering what the big deal is. After all, he said he was sorry, didn't he? He also had some choice words about my keen interest in this whole situation.

Plus... (Click the "Continue reading" link if you're still interested in this whole thing.)

Plus, he wanted me to know that he's put his original "apology" back up on his site here, with a slightly different filename. Unlike the versions here and here, he hasn't deleted any of the stuff about how the Washington Post should have caught him when they interviewed him in the first place, and it really shows how gullible the media are, and besides, George Bush is even worse, and so forth. That's all still there, at least at the time of this writing. He has pushed back the date from April 15 to April 25, though, which I guess is supposed to jibe with his claim that Pat Tillman's death on April 22 moved him to "apologize." [Insert Orwell reference here] Oh, and he wants me to take down the copy of the original that I've got archived here, which several people have linked to. Weird, huh?

Then there's the case of the disappearing "Right-Wing Hate Blog of the Day" thread on Wright's Delphi forum. That's the thread where he and some of his buddies lambasted Kevin Parrott for a few days in April 2003, which is when I first heard of the whole thing. The thread sat there for over a year, and Parrott has linked to it several times, but then I linked to it last Wednesday and now it's gone. Double-weird! Well, it was probably just an accident. Fortunately, the thread has been saved.

Also, a few days ago I mentioned a rather spirited post to the same forum, by someone claiming to be a former co-worker of Wright's. It's been cut from that thread ("Message 717 was Deleted"), but here's the text:

You know, it's funny, I've always believed in Karma, but this incident just totally solidified it for me. I, unfortunately, have had the experience of working with Micah back at Nickelodeon. Other artists and myself always marveled at the ego this guy had - ego that had no artistic talent to back it up. He was this stereotypical "my sh** don't stink" ass who walked around the studio like he was God's gift to animation. I wish I could say that it started when he got his writing gig, but I knew him when he was a simple executive assistant to Mary Harrington, and he was an egotistical ass back then too. I have a brother who is serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, so not only do Micah's lies offend me, but they personally attack every other person who has a loved one over there fighting for the rights of assholes like him who choose to lie and be deceitful. Kudos to Karma, the Washington Post and any other publication/person who shows this guy for the untalented fraud he really is!

Looks like they didn't sign it, so take it for whatever it's worth.

I think that's it for today. As I mentioned before, somebody has been very busy erasing as much of Wright's online unpleasantness as possible. When you quote or link to him, make sure to save the original page to your hard drive, either the file itself or a screenshot. Otherwise it'll be gone within days, and you'll get e-mail from your readers saying, "Hey, there's nothing at that link!" Well yeah, now there isn't.

Update: And another! Click here for Wright's apology for the previous apology, or whatever it is he's trying to say. You'd think a former paratrooper would know not to keep kicking his legs on the way down... oh, right. Forgot.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 07:50 AM

May 10, 2004

Well, we know the "V" doesn't stand for "Veracity"

vigilante.PNGIn this week's edition of Rich Johnston's "Lying in the Gutters" comics rumor column, between plugging his own comic book for Avatar Press (known variously for their violent porno comics and their history of not paying their freelancers) and keeping us apprised of the latest Micronauts news, he has some scoop on DC Comics' upcoming Vigilante series, written by Micah Wright and drawn by Carlos D'Anda:

I understand DC were exploring if they can bring another writer on to redub and regig Carlos' art from Micah's original script, but now it appears they'll be starting again from scratch with a different writer.

Though DC deny any official or even unofficial line on Wright, I have heard from DC freelancers that their editors told them they'd been told not to hire Micah Wright for any project, effectively blacklisting him from the entire company. It's a sensitive time for DC right now - especially with one DC employee joining the National Guard in Iraq. But in a company that has brushed far worse than offensive lies under the carpet, this sticks in the throat somewhat.

(Not sure what the "far worse than offensive lies" were, but they must have been pretty bad!) Rich gives this one a "yellow light," which means it's iffy. Well, more iffy than a "green light," presumably. If it's true, it's just more proof of a witch hunt against Wright, even though he didn't really do anything wrong and his public behavior shouldn't affect what people think of his work and, and, and besides he's not nearly as bad as George Troublesyou Bu$h. Or something like that; I haven't had the necessary lobotomy myself.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 08:27 AM

May 09, 2004

We are experiencing technical difficulties

Obviously. Fixed! Thanks to Kevin and Michele for the assist.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 05:00 PM

Somebody finally voted for "This blog is updated too often" in the latest poll that's been up for over a week

Whoever could it have been?

Apropos of nothing, I've set up a separate page archiving all the Micah Wright stuff. And here's a nice note from comic book creator Billy Tucci (Shi) on the Newsarama message board:

Upon reading your post [to Newsarama], I felt totally compelled to check your website and was so furious reading this guy's responses to those who would disagree with him and then elated by his uncovering.

I guess I just need to offer a very, very big THANK YOU to you and your friends for your eloquence, persistence and quest for the truth.

In my case, it's mostly a quest to keep a guy who attacked my friend from covering his tracks. But the more I find out about the whole situation, the more worthwhile it seems to stay on it. Anyway, just figured I'd pass that along to everybody who's been working on this.

By the way, just to address one of the defenses I keep seeing: "Well, he writes fiction, what do you expect?" If you write a story about Army Rangers, it's fiction. If you claim you were a Ranger when you weren't, it's a lie. If you tell that lie to everybody you meet for years and years to give yourself some sort of false credibility, and you beat your critics over the head with it to shut them up... I don't know if there's even a word for that. At least not one I want to use on a Sunday.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 08:50 AM

May 08, 2004

Because people keep sending me stuff, that's why

  • If you're tired of reading about Micah Wright lying his ass off, you can actually listen to him being deceitful to the point of gluteal loss in this 5/28/03 Democracy Now interview. I guess nobody noticed at the time that he sounds more like a record-store clerk than a former hardass. The funniest exchange comes right at the end, as he's whining about how he was blacklisted from the animation industry by evil corporations or whatever. The interviewer keeps trying to break in to end the interview, and she finally manages to say, "Well, you're not blacklisted at least in indepdendent bookstores." Which is probably still true, come to think of it.
  • Someone claiming to be a former co-worker of Wright's speaks up at his Delphi forum. Well, not so much "speaks up" as "reams him out." (Update: The post has now been deleted, but it referred to him starting off at Nickelodeon as an executive assistant to somebody named Mary Worthington. (Correction: Harrington. The post referred to Mary Harrington. My bad.) Can anybody confirm this? If so, I might feel better about quoting this person.)
  • The IMDb awards page for the Angry Beavers cartoon doesn't seem to have anything about Wright winning or being nominated for an Emmy. Maybe they just forgot to add that one?
  • You can watch the unaired pilot for a cartoon Wright did called Constant Payne. He claims Nickelodeon didn't pick it up because they didn't want action shows after 9/11, but after watching it, I can think of another reason. It's not terrible or anything, but it's just sort of ehhhhh.
  • The only discussion about the whole situation at the Comics Journal message board has been locked down, apparently for unnecessary levity. But TCJ editor Dirk Deppey had a little tiff with Wright last year (here, here, and here) about Wright's appropriation of some Laurie Anderson lyrics in one of his comic book scripts. Which seems like just the sort of thing a reformed babykiller would do, doesn't it? The exchange is also notable for Wright's use of the phrase "punk ass bitches."

Posted by Jim Treacher at 12:23 PM

May 07, 2004

"I'm Wright over there, see?"

Kevin Parrott, the guy who put Micah Wright on my radar* in the first place, has what I think is the best perspective on the whole debacle so far. It was well worth the wait. (Great "remixed" posters, too. Or "re-remixed," I guess.) If you're wondering why I'm so insistent about all this, and why it's been such a long time coming, Kevin explains it all. He was right there in the shit, man, you don't know what it was like! Although I don't share his sense of despair that the whole thing will be swept under the rug... well, actually, maybe he's right about that too.

wrightoverthere.PNGPlus, Kevin's got one detail I'd completely forgotten about: The Picture. As "proof" that he was ever a Ranger, Wright produced the picture shown here (click to enlarge). And where was he to be found in this snapshot? Kevin has included Wright's directions:

"I am clearly to be seen in the back, third row, on the right."

Now, at first that sounds like he's giving you, oh, what do you call it... information? But then you look at the picture and realize he hasn't really told you anything. It's just vague enough to give the appearance of complying, without actually being of any use whatsoever. If you're so inclined, you might give him the benefit of the doubt that he just made a mistake, didn't think to be more specific. ("I'm the one in green, with the short hair" would have been too vague to get away with that, see...) But if you press him on it, well hey, he gave you the picture and told you where to look, right? What more do you want? Ya right-wing Bu$hie killblogger!

You know what it reminds me of? William H. Macy's character in Fargo. Remember how he was dodging the GMAC guy who kept calling about the big chunk of change he'd defrauded out of them, the phony car loans or whatever, and he kept playing phone tag and making up transparent excuses? The most pathetic moment of all was when he was carefully smudging the VIN numbers for the nonexistent cars on some form he had to send them, or else they were going to start investigating him. You could almost hear him thinking, "Okay, real good then, gotta smear the numbers juuust enough so nobody can read 'em, yah know, but not enough ta look like I did it on purpose. You betcha." Knowing it probably wasn't going to work, but too overwhelmed by his own self-inflicted misery to do anything else. Just desperately trying to delay the inevitable. But finally, he ended up in the wood chipper.

Wait, no, that was Buscemi. What happened to Macy? Oh yeah, I remember: He ended up getting busted and sobbing like a little girl. So you see how it all fits.

Now go.

*Not to try to use military jargon to sound tough or anything.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 02:51 AM

May 06, 2004

The very last scene of Friends, as written by someone who has never sat through an entire episode but has picked up bits and pieces due to the show's enervating cultural ubiquity

The guy who's all funny and wacky and fat and skinny and fat and skinny: Well, I guess this is it!

The tall guy with the face problem: Yep. This is... yep.

Courtney Cox: God, I'm so hungry.

The super-stupid guy: Pancakes. I want pancakes. Pancakes.

Jennifer Aniston: Pancakes could be good. I'm married to Brad Pitt in real life.

The ugly blonde lady who was in those Billy Crystal movies: HAIL SATAN!!! [Whips out six-shot revolver and shoots them all in the head, then herself]

[APPLAUSE]


Here's one by a guy who I guess watches the show

Posted by Jim Treacher at 05:50 PM

Threat assessment

Ted Rall says something maliciously stupid, Ted Rall milks the resulting publicity, etc., etc. Same old story. What's amusing to me about this latest one is that now he's claiming to have received hundreds of "death threats." I'm kind of skeptical about that, because Rall's definition of the term "death threat" is a bit looser than the one used by the rest of us. For example, he claimed the following post from Robert Lee to the alt.society.generation-x newsgroup in Nov. 2001 was a "death threat":

Dear Santa:

Please let somebody kill Ted Rall while he's in Afghanistan.

That's the only thing I've ever asked for in my life for Christmas, except the Six Million Dollar Man with all the extra arms, and I promise I'll never ask for anything else.

--Virginia

This was a Usenet post, mind you. The guy didn't e-mail it to Rall or inform him in any way. He made a joke on a newsgroup. Rall found it on his own (in one of his self-Googling sweeps, I'd imagine). He then informed Lee that he had "forwarded the threat to the proper authorities." As I wondered at the time, who are the proper authorities for putting out a hit on somebody via a letter to Santa? The CIA (Christmastime Interceptors of Assassination)?

Rall also claimed that when Danny Hellman made some message board comment about "chalk outlines at a book signing," that was a death threat against him too. I don't have a direct link for that; it was on the Comics Journal boards, and they delete their archives every few months. But as Hellman noted over at A Small Victory in Feb. 2003:

Actually, the "chalk outlines" remark was one I made in reference to a book release party for Sammy "Wanted By The Feds" Henderson's THE MAGIC WHISTLE BLOWS, (published by St. Martin's Press). As far as I know, no one has ever said anything about "the NYPD drawing chalk outlines at a Ted Rall book signing," (after all, chalk outlines require the presence of actual human bodies).

In an effort to beef up his weak claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, (one of five original claims in Rall v Hellman) Rall tried to misrepresent the chalk outlines remark as a death threat, but the emotional distress claim (along with two others) was thrown out by the New York State Supreme Court long ago.

I'm not going to rehash Rall/Hellman yet again. Google it if you're interested. Point is, if Rall was showing you the new suit he just bought for his latest Bill O'Reilly appearance, and you said it was "to die for," he'd add that to his list of death threats.

Update: Oh hell, I almost missed another excuse to trot out this old bit of "Rall death threat" detournment again. It's obviously still relevant.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 08:29 AM

May 05, 2004

Note to everybody who's been quoting Micah Ian Wright's online proclamations

Be sure to save the page in question to your hard drive, or take a screen shot. Looks like as soon as somebody quotes one of his "Shut up, I was a veteran!" rants, he goes back and covers his tracks. Just like he did with his original "apology" and whatever it is you see when you click this link. (I don't want to be too specific, because who knows if he's covered his tracks even more between the time I'm typing this and the time you click the link.)

Consider this rebuke to a critic, quoted at the Mudville Gazette and Comicon.com on May 2:

Another West Point Butterbar who can't read my bio page and figure out that while he was playing Mario on his Super Nintendo, I was shooting people for George Herbert Walker Bush the 3rd. Been there, done that, newbie. Lecture me after you've seen piles of dead people who stood in the way of a Bush President.

For the last time, I'm a fucking veteran. None of these posters mock the men and women in uniform. How is it that people are so stupid that they can't look beyond the image and understand the message?

But when you go to the original page, which is full of the hate mail he was so proud of generating, his response has been shortened to this:

For the last time, none of these posters mock the men and women in uniform. How is it that people are so stupid that they can't look beyond the image and understand the message?

Which is still rude, but at least it sticks to the issue, instead of slamming his critic for daring to question somebody with his hard-won military experience... er... which never actually happened. In other words, how he should have responded in the first place. Well, it's too late for that now, Wright. But it's good to see you're keeping busy.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 01:50 PM

All Wright now, baby, this blog's all Wright now

One of Micah Wright's (former?) friends made a couple of FOIA requests about his military background, to try to stop people from bugging him about it on his Delphi forum. She kept running into red tape, though, so she didn't get her request back before the Washington Post guy got his. Here's her story.

Questions are starting to arise about some other parts of Wright's resume, including his claim to have earned an Emmy nomination for his writing on the Angry Beavers cartoon. A cursory Google search shows that the show was nominated in 1998 for the Sound Editing Special Class award, but I can't find anything about an Emmy nomination for writing. If anybody has any other info on this, please let me know.

Still waiting for Kevin Parrott to stop having a normal social life for a minute and tell us what he thinks of this whole thing... In the meantime, if you haven't read about his encounter with Wright last year, start here, then go here (when a professional writer starts off his response to a critic with "Hey there Man-Cunt," it sort of sets the tone), here, and here. He talks about stuff that happened on Wright's Delphi forum, but I'm sure a lot of that stuff was deleted long ago. According to the other moderators over there, Wright was diligent about scrubbing away any discussions of his military background. After shrieking at his accusers and allowing his friends and fans to unknowingly help him perpetuate the lie, that is. (Update: Oops, no, a quick check shows that at least one of the Delphi threads Kevin linked to is still there ("Right-Wing Hate Blog of the Day"). Sorry for the confusion, Micah!) (Update II: In a stunning development, that thread has now been deleted. See here for details.)

Oh, and I'm seeing all sorts of stuff about how "This Wright dude just goes to show what all lefties are like!" and "He's a symbol of the moral vacuum in the antiwar movement!" and so on. I don't know about any of that. Seems to me Wright doesn't represent anybody but Wright. And besides, the way this guy lied and lied, who knows if even his political views are authentic? Or if they were just part of his shortcut to becoming the big shot he always wanted to be?

And finally:

Yeah, Wright

(If you haven't seen the original, no big loss.)

Posted by Jim Treacher at 08:55 AM

May 04, 2004

You Gotta Fight (nuhh-nuhh!) Because Wright (nuhh-nuhh-nuhh!) Is Faaartyyyyyy

As pointed out by, er, "smengie" in a comment over at Tim Blair's, Micah Wright didn't exactly invent the idea of repurposing old war posters. "Oh, how brilliant, he Photoshopped a new slogan on it! Now it says something totally different!" People were doing that kind of stuff way before the evil geniuses at Something Awful did a bunch of them back in April 2002, but that's the one I have a link to, so there you go. A lot of these posters beat the hell out of Wright's leaden, self-righteous attempts at wit, but unfortunately for them, none of these guys ever claimed to be Rambo to drum up interest in a book deal.

And check out this message board thread at SOCNET. It's a site for Special Forces folks, and a place to compare notes on people they suspect are wannabes. They're the ones who have been after Wright for over a year to prove his Ranger status. In this particular thread, one of the members talks about contacting the distributor of Wright's now-cancelled book, asking if they realized the Ranger stuff was all made up, and providing links to the evidence. Now, this person e-mailed them on April 17, so... was that before Wright had his crisis of conscience, or after? It's tough to keep the timeline straight. Oh, and page 3 of that thread has a scan of the WP article. The picture is priceless.

Still waiting for Kevin Parrott to squawk about his run-in with Wright last year, but at least he's got a photo from a parallel universe where the man actually has a conscience.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 02:33 AM

May 03, 2004

Also, I'm pretty sure I know who's impersonating me here. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't want me to have to tell him twice to cut it out.

(Nope, never mind. It's just Ronan. Apologies to my other stalker.) (Problem fixed!)

Posted by Jim Treacher at 09:51 PM

To whoever's been cutting whole posts of mine and pasting them in the comments of other blogs

Please stop doing that. Linking is good, if it's on-topic, but cutting-and-pasting the whole thing isn't.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 06:19 PM

The phrase "tragic irony" doesn't really cover it

Kurt Vonnegut is one of my all-time favorite writers, so I remember taking note a while back that he'd written an introduction for somebody named Micah Ian Wright who was putting out a book of antiwar posters. It was kind of a big deal, because Vonnegut had retired but was making an exception for this. And then I forgot all about it until today. After Googling around a bit, I found his intro for You Back the Attack, We'll Bomb Who We Want. I'm not sure if this is just an excerpt or the whole thing, but I thought it might be of interest. He read it aloud to an interviewer for Nuvo Newsweekly in January 2003:

These anti-war posters by Micah Ian Wright are reminiscent in spirit of works by artists like Kathe Kollwitz and Georg Grosz and on and on during the 1920s, when it was becoming ever more evident that the infant German democracy was about to be murdered by psychopathic personalities — hereinafter P.P.s — the medical term for smart, personable people who have no conscience. P.P.s are fully aware of how much suffering their actions will inflict on others but do not care. They cannot care.

The classic medical text about how such attractive leaders bring us into unspeakable calamities is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. An American P.P. at the head of a corporation, for example, could enrich himself by ruining his employees and investors and still feel as pure as the driven snow. A P.P., should he attain a post near the top of our federal government, might feel that taking the country into an endless war with casualties in the millions was simply something decisive to do today. So to bed.

With a P.P., decisiveness is all. Or, to put it another way, we now have a Reichstag fire of our own.

The interviewer's follow-up question to this was, "What's become of conscience?" Vonnegut's reply:

Again, as Cleckley says, these people are around and do rise. Women are attracted to them. I mean, this is a defect, but women are attracted to them because they are so confident. They really don't give a fuck what happens - not even to themselves. But this is a serious defect and, no, we haven't been invaded and conquered by Martians. We have been conquered by psychopathic personalities who are attractive.

Wow. Just... wow. If you don't get why I'm stunned by this, just scroll down through my last several posts about the author of the book he was introducing. And consider that this may be one of the last things Vonnegut ever publishes.

I'm adding this one to your ledger, Wright.

Correction: Vonnegut wrote the foreword. The introduction was written by Howard Zinn. Jimtreacher.com regrets the error.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 04:06 PM

May 02, 2004

Still more Wright stuff

(I've added several items to this over the past day. Just trying to keep it all in one place.)

  • Comic Book Resources has a recap of the developments up to this hour, including Richard Leiby countering Wright's "It was my idea to confess all along!" claim. (They're calling it a "hoax" too, though. Ugh.)
  • Diggs at 4 Mile Creek questions Wright's claim of ROTC service, among other things.
  • David Weigel has a transcript of Wright doing some radio drama, unbeknownst to the host.
  • In an interview at the Sequential Tart comics webzine, Wright's answer when asked which superhero he most wanted to be as a kid: "Sgt. Rock." Ya don't say!
  • Mrs. Spoons provides some more background that sounds like, well, like a Micah Wright story, frankly. But who knows? At this point, the only thing you could say about him that would surprise me is that he's genuinely contrite and fully comprehends what he's done.
  • Add Michael Pollard to the list of people directly lied to by Wright. Is Wright's arrogance part of what's bugging people? Not just lying to your face, but being a condescending prick about it? I think maybe that's what's speaking to people about this.
  • Comics reporter Heidi MacDonald on interviewing Wright: "Don't let his apology confuse you. Micah constantly goes on about the Rangers. Maybe he was playing it up for a reporter, but this wasn't something he tried not to talk about. He made constant references in his conversation to it. I remember him looking at a billboard of some sixpack-sporting male models in a beer ad and remarking how phony that was. 'Even the guys who were in the Rangers who were in really good shape didn't have those kind of six-packs,' he said."
  • Wright has changed the main page of his site so it's just his drastically truncated "apology," but the old main page is still here. Or at least it was there at the time of this writing.
  • Check out the Seven Stories Press page for his now-cancelled book, If You're Not a Terrorist... Then Stop Asking Questions! Maybe they could have saved face by changing it to If You're Not a Ranger... Then Start Telling Whoppers! The bio blurb still has the Ranger stuff (and the Emmy stuff... hmm), which has been taken down elsewhere on the site. So it's kind of a collector's item. Hurry, before they delete it! And when they do, just click here for the original. (Update: It was indeed changed, about half an hour after I posted this Monday morning, and backdated to April 27. If you care to sort out how that fits into Wright's ever-shifting timeline of events, feel free. It's giving me a headache. Anyway, considering they've published Chomsky, Zinn, Ramsey Clark, Mumia Abu-Jamal, etc., just think how bad you have to fuck up to get them to cancel your book. And it was supposed to come out in just a couple of weeks, so that can't be a good situation for anybody involved. Although they do say (emphasis mine): "While it saddens us to cancel any book, especially one so strong on its merits, this decision seems to us to be unavoidable under the circumstances." Huh. Maybe he'll be okay after all...)
  • Sean Collins recaps the various feuds Wright has started in his two short years as a comics professional, and has some good advice for dealing with that type of person in the future.
  • One last thought before I give it a rest for now: This whole thing is like The Usual Suspects in reverse. Wright was pretending to be Keyser Soze, but the whole time he was really Verbal Kint. Deep, huh?
Posted by Jim Treacher at 06:17 PM

"Ranger? I never even touched 'er!"

Updating yesterday's little Micah Wright item, looks like he's cut out sections of his "apology" that people have been quoting. Actually, about 3 pages are missing, everything from "That ended my involvement with the military" to "So why come clean now, you ask?" Here's the same document as of yesterday, if you're curious about the stuff he deleted for whatever reason. Don't know what made me think to save it to my hard drive... Hmmm, and as Kevin at Thought Balloons points out, the date's been changed from April 15 to April 25, too. Weird. (I edit stuff after posting it too, but only to clarify and correct and add stupid jokes, never to change facts. But let's not assume.)

The Washington Post has a story about it this morning. Probably just a coincidence. According to the article, Wright knew they were getting ready to expose him, after questions arose about their profile of him last year, and he then admitted his tiny little oopsie to his publisher (who has now cancelled his upcoming book). So I'm looking forward to reading more about how brave he is for stepping forward and all that.

The story is spreading pretty fast through the sphere o' blogs, so anything I can say about it you've probably read already. Except this: All else aside, I probably wouldn't have blogged about this, or told Michele at A Small Victory, who has about a zillion percent more readers, or even given a shit, if Wright hadn't been such an unbelievable asshole to my friend (and blog-host) Kevin Parrott. It's one thing to take issue with a critic, but Wright's behavior was just beyond the pale. Throwing his "Ranger experience" in Kevin's face was the least of it, really. So in addition to the life lesson of, "Don't tell every single person you meet that you were Special Forces, when you actually have as much military experience as Flounder from Animal House," another lesson might be, "Don't be such an astonishing dickweed to anybody who questions your infallibility." It pays to be civil, folks, even when somebody's misguided enough to disagree with you. Reap, sow, etc.

P.S. When I say I probably wouldn't have given a shit, I don't mean to belittle anybody who's upset that Wright has dishonored genuine veterans to try to promote his career and silence his critics. I recognize that aspect of it on an intellectual level, but it just doesn't irritate me as much as what he did to a friend of mine. Hey, I'm a petty dork, I admit it.

P.P.S. Over at A Small Victory, the Washington Post's Richard Leiby left a comment:

I want your blog readers to know that the only reason Micah Wright came clean on his lies last week is because I pursued three FOIA requests with separate US Army commands, seeking proof of his service, after he failed to provide documentation to me. Despite common perceptions, it is not easy for a reporter to verify the service of anyone with a Ranger background, or anyone who claims to have been associated with Special Forces. I did not have Wright's social security number and he refused to provide any validating information, aside from his birthdate. I filed the FOIA requests to follow up on the July 2003 article I wrote about Wright. When I finally verified in April 2004 that he had never served as an Army Ranger (each FOIA took months for processing), I called his publisher and demanded that the publisher press Wright for documentation of his alleged service. The publisher called Wright in the last week of April and he confessed his lies. I decided to write the story in my Sunday (2 May) column, and wanted to get a comment from Wright, which I did when he called me on Friday evening.

Putting aside the significance of the Post guy clarifying details of his story on a blog, it points out something else that's starting to bug me about this. I'm seeing this whole thing referred to as a "hoax," which doesn't seem quite accurate. The term "hoax" has a sort of "just kidding!" connotation that doesn't apply here. If Wright is a hoaxer, then so is Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, that guy from USA Today whose name I can't remember, and so on. This wasn't some sort of performance-art piece to point out the credulity of the media, or whatever bullshit spin will be put on it. The guy lied and lied and lied to shut up people who disagreed with him, and to get his foot in the door as a writer/pundit/whatever. He only told the truth when it became clear that his arrogant deflections weren't working anymore and he had no choice. Do you really think he came clean, the day before it became national news, out of the goodness of his heart? (Well, you don't believe that, obviously; I think more highly of you than that. But some people will fall for it.) If Leiby hadn't pursued it, I'm guessing Wright would be spending his weekend typing up some more "You don't know what it's like in the shit, man!" e-mails, instead of sweating through his shirt and trying to cover his tracks. Anyway, let's reserve the term "hoax" for Captain Janks and the like, huh?

P.P.P.S. On his Delphi forum (registration required), Wright explains why he severely edited his "apology." Presented without comment:

When I started calling my friends and co-workers this week, they all said the same thing: "Dude, you'd better explain what was going on in your head when you started lying about this or you're going to be roasted alive."

So, I did. I made the mistake of putting those thoughts into the same document as the apology itself.

Evidently some people can't tell the difference between an apology and a Jayson Blair-esque attempt to spin the truth. Therefore I am officially redacting my apology to seven short paragraphs. I haven't added a single word, only removed. So now, when people say "Dude, what was this guy thinking?" you can say "Well, he tried to explain it, but people mistook explaining what was going on in his head with spin, so he removed it."

Unlike Jayson Blair, I'm not saying I was on drugs, I'm not saying that anyone made me do it, I'm not saying it's the Corporate Media's fault, I'm not saying any of that, so stop putting words in my fucking mouth. :)

I lied, I'm sorry. Done.

Postscript the fourth: Funny stuff. Oh, and another bit from Wright on how he's telling the truth about why he lied, and everybody else is lying about why he told the truth. Or something.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 09:54 AM

May 01, 2004

"I wanna be an ersatz Ranger..."

LIARMicah Wright is a comic book writer and author of a couple of books full of WWI and WWII posters that he's reworked into intermittently clever antiwar messages. He's a big favorite of Warbloggerwatch and that whole crowd. Whenever he's been criticized about how he expresses his views, he's tended to throw his Army Ranger experience in his critics' faces. (Here's one such response he made to Kevin Parrott.) But today, he came clean about his true military background... sort of. He never got further than ROTC, is the short version. Not sure if you'd call his essay on the subject an apology or an "apology," though. Just follow the links. It's worth it. (And click here for his original "apology," before he deleted the bulk of it when people started checking his facts.)

It's probably not really a big deal, though. He only mentioned the phony-ass Ranger thing to a few people. (Heh... In the last three days, that Google link has filled up with people pointing out that Wright is a prevaricatin' ancestor-raper. I likes the Google!)

Update: Michele has more.

Update 2: I just have to point out his reply when asked by the Washington Post if he'd ever killed anyone:

"That's one of those questions that I really don't like to answer," he says after an uncomfortable pause. "You're shooting at people and other people are shooting and people fall down. Put it this way: I never shot at anybody who hadn't shot at me first."

None of which, when you think about it, is technically a direct lie. Not so much an uncomfortable pause, then, as a productive one.

Posted by Jim Treacher at 02:29 PM