SGT. CROCK MOCKED
There was some sort of kerfuffle at a comic book convention last weekend, when the guy who writes the Daredevil comic for Marvel (remember the Ben Affleck movie? No?) got into it with some marketing guy at DC Comics (have you heard about the new Batman movie? Yes?). The writer, Brian Bendis, wants to do a comic where Batman and Daredevil team up to fight criminals in tights and so forth, but according to DC Comics VP of Sales & Marketing Bob Wayne, they don't want to participate because they don't like the current management at Marvel.
Which I couldn't really care less about one way or the other, but I did enjoy this exchange:
Though Wayne had some harsh words, the mood was fairly cordial between the two. Then things momentarily got a little nasty.
"Did Micah Wright write this up for you?" Wayne asked, questioning the way Bendis was taking this issue straight to the fans.
"I don't know Micah Wright -- you work with him," Bendis bit back. "There's no good reason for this. You're just mad that [Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Joe Quesada is] kicking your ass."
So now the DC Marketing chief is name-dropping me as a diss.
I still get checks from these people... where does he get off insulting ANY creator, past or present, in public? Does he seriously think I'll never see him again? Or that people wouldn't point it out to me? Or that this type of "Hey, lookit me, I'm the King of the Fanboys" behavior is in any way professional?
Hell, given the turbulent nature of this industry, there's every chance I may work with him again. Look at DC's relationship with Alan Moore over the last 30 years.
If you don't know who Alan Moore is, here's a good place to start.
*If this quote is no longer there, it's only because I linked to it.
P.P.S. Wright follows up, responding to the charge that he's hardly the guy to complain about airing dirty laundry in public:
The difference being that (a) I'm not in charge of Marketing at DC, (b) in the article I read, it said that Bob & Paul had contacted the owners of Marvel and tried to get Joe Quesada & Bill Jemas fired, and (c) Bob Wayne personally crawled up my ass on three separate occasions while I was working for DC for talking out of turn in public. What he did here is about 100x worse than any of the things he criticized me for and I think it shows an astounding double standard. THAT is why I said what he did isn't professional... because he's a boss and one of his jobs is to yell and scream at creators if they do anything which brings DC 5% of the negative attention that this juvenile crap brought about.
Maybe he didn't think mocking a notorious liar would bring negative attention to the company? Maybe he thought that distancing DC even further from Wright, in a humorous way, might actually bring them positive attention? Just a theory.
Also, did you know that one of the telltale signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is "a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations"?
Well, this changes everything. A little bird just pointed me to Micah "Sgt. Crock" Wright correcting a mean ol' Freeper who said rude things to him. Wright explains why he never became an Army Ranger like he might have accidentally claimed to be once or twice:
For your information, I didn't continue on in ROTC and get my commission because I snapped a tendon during Jump School after Advanced Camp the summer before my Senior Year. To this day I can't run fast and my leg hurts on cold days. It's not that I didn't WANT to do it, it's that I COULDN'T do it. That doesn't forgive what I did, but maybe it gives you a little clearer picture of my commitment to this country.
And to the truth!
(Interesting note: Wright's now-cancelled comic book series was called Stormwatch: Team Achilles. Maybe he named it for his tendon that he really and truly did snap?)
In my previous post, I claimed that Micah Wright had altered, nay, deleted a thread on his Delphi forum that I've been linking to for several days now. That was uncharitable of me. Any number of things could have happened to that thread. Technical difficulties... a slip of the keyboard... sabotage by insidious right-wing killbloggers... Who can say? Hell, at this point it looks like his whole forum is down, so obviously something catastrophic has happened. But I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions about it, and for that I apologize.
By way of reconciliation, I present this restored copy of the thread in question, which some enterprising historian has had the forethought to save: Page 1 and Page 2. What was lost is now found! (Or 29 out of the 35 posts in that thread are, anyway.)
Consider this my gift to you, Micah. No need to thank me.
Correction: The forum is fine, apparently. Only that particular thread was affected... curious. Well, my mistake!
Addendum: And here's the very last post to that Delphi thread. The mysterious accident that caused the whole thread to disappear must have occurred right after this was posted. Weird!
Another addendum: I'm informed, by Micah Wright and others, that posting reader mail on your Web page is a no-no. To which I say: oh, really?
From Micah Wright's latest dissertation on the subject of my meanness:
I emailed Treacher and asked him to knock it off... he was a munt in response and then posted my email to his blog.
Update: Now the title of the Micah Wright Forum thread I've been linking to for the last few days (see above) has been changed from "Treacher and Parrott are the same guy," or whatever the exact wording was, to "Welcome All Warblog Readers!" And everything in the thread but Wright's first post, which he's now entirely rewritten, has been deleted. How uncharacteristic of him to try to cover his tracks after I've linked to him... At least his original first post, with his hilarious joke that he was obviously just kidding about, has been archived here. (Oh! And now you can check out the whole thing here and here.)
Well, he's definitely not going to like this, then, but I'm left with no choice other than to defend myself using the facts at hand. Please enjoy the following e-mail exchange between us, and judge our relative muntness for yourself. Note the From: and To: lines, dates and times, etc. Okay? Okay...
Subject: Micah Wright
Date: 5/10/2004 10:56:05 AM
From: [Micah Wright]
To: [Jim Treacher]
People keep sending me to your page saying "go see this guy's blog, it's like he's stalking you or something" and I have to say, that yeah, it's a little disturbing how fixated on my life and lies you are. I've seen you on tons blogs ranting and raving about me, delphi, newsarama, comiccon boards, just about anywhere and everywhere that people are talking shit about me, you're there, running me down.
I'm a liar. I admitted that publicly. I made a public apology. I'm sorry that I ever lied about any of this, that includes an apology to people to whom I lied indirectly, such as yourself. I'm sorry.
But c'mon... don't you think you're pushing this non-event a little much? I'm not some huge famous guy, I'm a comic book writer, for christ's sakes. I don't even get the feeling that you READ comic books.
I'm sorry that I lied. I've apologized to Kevin Parrott for mixing it up with him and insulting him and lying to him. I've never even heard of you, before, but part of your obsession seems based around hurt I've done to Kevin. Accept my apology and please move on with your own life... what you're dishing out certainly isn't a healthy amount of attention for anyone to give a complete and utter stranger.
Oh, and could you take my work off your website? That apology is up on my own site. I'm not trying to "hide" or "obscure" it, either, contrary to what you've been claiming for the better part of a week. There's no big story here.
Subject: Re: Micah Wright
Date: 5/11/2004 7:55:28 AM
From: [Jim Treacher]
To: [Micah Wright]
"People keep sending me to your page saying 'go see this guy's blog, it's like he's stalking you or something' and I have to say, that yeah, it's a little disturbing how fixated on my life and lies you are. I've seen you on tons blogs ranting and raving about me, delphi, newsarama, comiccon boards, just about anywhere and everywhere that people are talking shit about me, you're there, running me down."
You'll have to excuse me for not paying much attention past this point. If you're trying to ask me for any favors, this might not be the tone you want to establish. Feel free to try again, if you think it's a good use of your time.
Subject: Re: Micah Wright
Date: 5/11/2004 8:20:01 AM
Sorry, no, you misunderstand me. I'm not asking for any favors, I'm requesting that you remove a copyrighted page of MY website which you've posted at YOUR website. I wouldn't dream of asking you to back off from carrying on, rending your clothes and wearing your hairshirt.
I don't know what I did to make you hate me so much, but it really shines through in the sheer amount of time and energy you've devoted to talking shit about me online, whether it's on your blog, other people's blogs, or online chat forums. I was only pointing out that it appears obsessive and makes you look as bad or worse than it does me.
Subject: Yep, like I thought...
Date: 5/11/2004 9:30:08 PM
There's a word for people like you, what is it... oh yeah, Stalker.
Subject: Re: Micah Wright
Date: 5/12/2004 7:53:22 AM
"Sorry, no, you misunderstand me. I'm not asking for any favors, I'm requesting that you remove a copyrighted page of MY website which you've posted at YOUR website. I wouldn't dream of asking you to back off from carrying on, rending your clothes and wearing your hairshirt."
My goodness. And the other e-mail you sent me isn't any better. Please try again when you can be pleasant.
Subject: Once Again...
Date: 5/19/2004 11:17:18 AM
Dude, your obsession with me is really pathetic. Don't you have ANYTHING better to talk about?
Subject: Re: Once Again...
Date: 5/19/2004 3:40:50 PM
"Dude, your obsession with me is really pathetic. Don't you have ANYTHING better to talk about?"
This is still quite unpleasant. I welcome you to try again with a different tone, if you think it's worth your while.
Subject: Re: Once Again...
Date: 5/19/2004 4:40:39 PM
Please leave me alone. I would really appreciate it if you would stop using your blog to hound me day and night.
Subject: Re: Once Again...
Date: 5/19/2004 5:49:44 PM
"Please leave me alone. I would really appreciate it if you would stop using your blog to hound me day and night."
The tone is slightly better, but you could still do without the hyperbole. Nonetheless, I'll accede to your wishes and limit myself to the daylight hours.
Hang in there!
Date: 5/19/2004 8:30:32 PM
Quoting private email on your public blog?
You're all class.
Strangely, posting that email was exactly what I expected from you.
Glad to see you're so predictable. And, sadly, still just another internet stalker. Have fun. I can't wait until your ENTIRE LIFE is nothing but scouring the internet looking for things that I say. How sad, how truly pathetic your existence must be. Is it that lonely in your world that even someone who sends you angry mail is better than no one mailing you at all?
Subject: Re: Funny
Date: 5/19/2004 9:48:25 PM
"Strangely, posting that email was exactly what I expected from you."
Glad to hear it! Hey, it was the least embarrassing one you've sent me so far, try to look at it that way.
And please note that, as per our agreement, it was still light out when I posted it. No lie.
Subject: Daylight Hours
Date: 5/22/2004 1:26:02 PM
And here's two for you, stalker:
Subject: Re: Daylight Hours
Date: 5/22/2004 1:55:40 PM
At the risk of seeming needlessly contrary, it should be noted that at no point have I initiated personal contact. (It would be impolite not to reply to your e-mails, of course, after you've put such thought and care into them.) But no matter. Thank you for reading, and for the piercing insight.
(I haven't heard from him since then, but I live in hope!)
Now I know how Bruce Wayne must feel! (Registration to the Micah Wright Delphi forum required.) Man, Steve Hogan is gonna be so pissed... I'm supposed to be him, not Parrott. I think I was supposed to be the long-lost A. Beam too? Well, I categorically deny being Puce.
Anyway, I've never made it a secret that Parrott is my blog host. Thanks again, Kevin! See "you" later (in the mirror?).
P.S. Oooooh, speaking of Bruce Wayne...
P.P.S. Wait, am I Michele too? I probably am, aren't I? So I'm getting a really nice set out of the bargain, at least.
P.P.P.S. Steven Den Beste has a very interesting addendum. I'm not really sure what to make of the e-mail he received, but I suppose it's flattering in a way.
P.P.P.P.S. Now Wright claims he was just kidding about having incontrovertible proof that Parrott and I are the same person, and therefore we're (I'm?) just as bad as he is, if not worse, and how about an apology for being such a meanie to him, etc. Or at least I think that's what he's trying to say now. If so... whew! Just a bit of lighthearted japery, folks. Move along, nothing to see here. (Oh, and Evan McBillingsley, your check is in the mail! Assuming you're not actually me, in which case... boy, this is confusing.)
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.
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)
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.
In 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.
Whoever could it have been?
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.
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.
Plus, 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.
*Not to try to use military jargon to sound tough or anything.
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.)
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.
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?
(If you haven't seen the original, no big loss.)
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.
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.
(I've added several items to this over the past day. Just trying to keep it all in one place.)
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?
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.
Micah 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.