UPDATE for stupid people: The post below does not hold Glenn Greenwald personally responsible for all the many individual acts of debate-stopping bullshit committed daily in his honor on the internet. It simply says that these many individual acts of debate-stopping bullshit are the perfect complement to all the individual acts of debate-stopping bullshit he commits himself, and that there is a mutual attraction and interdependence between him and his most avid fans because of it. Put another way, the piece suggests that Glenn’s most avid fans reflect on Glenn in ways that, say, Obama’s most avid followers reflect on Obama. In fact, the two groups are quite similar, though each group would certainly insist that their vastly superior politics set them very much apart.
When I say ‘Friends of Glenn Greenwald’, I simply mean the mostly informal network of debate-stopping authoritarians that operate on Greenwald’s behalf in high places and low, though some of them are also his friends in the routine sense.
Here’s my Twitter avatar.
Here’s a customization tweeted at me last night from an anonymous account, one of many in a barrage from multiple accounts that began during a conversation I was having about Glenn Greenwald.
Note how childish, dumb and technically inept it is. Also how homophobic. Then wonder what kind of person attracts fans such as these and even, on occasion, incites them. This incident is no anomaly. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and this nicely encapsulates what The Friends of Glenn Greenwald have been saying to me for six months now. It rarely gets better.
As anyone who has ever been insufficiently deferential to Glenn Greenwald in public knows, the alleged civil libertarian/savior of journalism cultivates and periodically incites a pack of internet brownshirts who enforce discipline on his behalf. Most of the commentary on this has come from Greenwald’s right, because until recently that’s where most of his acrimony was directed. But as his status increases and his affiliations change, the rare lefties calling him to account are getting a taste of this as well. Recently British independent journalist Jonathan Cook capitulated completely on some very tepid criticism he had offered only days before, after a swarming by Glenn’s fans and a self-serving lecture by Greenwald himself.
I have become something of an expert on Greenwald’s frothy minions since he first sicced them on me six months ago via this fallacious rant on my blog, in which he deliberately mischaracterized practically every point I had made and obliquely suggested that I kill myself. Since writing the post that sent Greenwald into a tizzy, I have been the target of routine trolling on Twitter, usually in the form of extremely childish verbal abuse, but also in the form of lengthy, angry interrogations, akin to visits from Jehovah’s Witnesses vexed by my stubborn unwillingness to see the light. The research wing trawls through old tweets and blog posts looking for things that can be damningly quoted out of context. I am the subject of six Twitter ‘parody’ accounts, at least one of which simply mixes real tweets with fake for the sole purpose of mischaracterizing me. Glenn himself even cracks wise with this Tarzie parody — which of course endorses its smeary intent — though since vomiting on my blog six months ago, he never replies to me directly.
It’s important to point out that this is not simply the work of the weird anonymous accounts that spring up literally overnight every time I post. I am talking about pillars of civil libertarian society, like Kade Crockford of the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union, who excoriated a blog post of mine at great length on Twitter, even though it was cringe-makingly obvious that she hadn’t read a word of it. Not long after, she attempted to do the same thing about an Arthur Silber post she hadn’t read, until fans of Silber, including me, pointed out the foolishness of talking out of her ass yet one more time. Wikileaks trolled me at length one evening, admonishing me to shut my mouth in so many dreary, condescending words. As I recounted in an update to my last post, the British watchdog group Media Lens approvingly quoted a pathologizing smear Glenn left on this blog in September and, just a few days ago, risibly retweeted a faux smear against me by the parody account Glenn Greenbacks.
Now the mob would like to convince itself and everyone else that what I have done to Greenwald is no different from what the mob routinely does to me. But even putting aside the absolutely idiotic obliviousness to disparities in numbers and power embedded in that idea, this is just simply not true. I hurl invective certainly, but I do not lie or smear. More importantly I have raised a lot of questions and concerns, the vast majority of which have not been seriously addressed. That’s because the mob isn’t simply settling a pathologically petty icon’s scores for him. It’s shielding him from scrutiny.
This is some odd, shitty stuff, and also very revealing, as Glenn might say, were he its object and not its beneficiary. Never in my entire life have I been subject to so much discipline for a point of view. I am talking about it now not because I am suddenly fed up with it — this shit rolls off my back at this point. But I think it’s time to realize that this bullshit is by no means incidental. It is very much a part of the Glenn Greenwald story. See, Glenn’s brownshirts really get Glenn and he gets them. Where others see a crusading, fearless journalist, they see what I see — a smeary, dishonest, bullying demagogue. The difference between them and me is they like it, either because they’re smeary little bullies themselves, or because they think the left needs, for tactical reasons, a smeary, bullying demagogue it can call its own, even if he is only a liberal/libertarian knockoff with a reactionary past.
Glenzilla they call him, not because his arguments are good, but because they are so effectively shabby — mostly witless verbal abuse and fallacies. Calling someone a ‘moron’ or ‘insane‘ — which Glenn does frequently — is a bon mot for this crowd. ‘Serious ownage’, a Long Island brocialist tweeted at me after Glenn had called me stupid 20 different ways. The mystery to me is why anyone who isn’t aligned with the mob in spirit would align themselves in fact. As I’ve remarked before, I see nothing discernibly left or anti-authoritarian in this little subculture, especially as more and more Glenn and his minions punch as hard to his left as they do to his right. Even if I still respected Greenwald, I would be disquieted by this, if not by Greenwald himself, who becomes more weirdly self-intoxicated by the day. If this is the future of transparency, journalism and ‘the left’, we’re in pretty bad shape.
Well, it’s not like I didn’t see this coming. (See update 2) Libertarian sharp tack David here is onto the NSA plot to undermine GG with anon ‘critics’ who say, ‘leak more NSA documents’ and ‘stop redacting.’
Greenwald proving my thesis again that a shared fetish for Tu Quoque fallacies is among the things holding his tribe together.
Glenn, like his “friend”, peerless troll “Mona Holland”, (Update 3, below) would like to frame this as being all about the avatar when, in fact, its about his whole network of trolls and apologists that he inspires, cultivates, and incites in high places and low. Glenn wants people to believe I am blaming him for the trolls. To the extent that he cultivates and incites them I do. But my main point is how they reflect on him. He’s an authoritarian creep. He attracts authoritarian creeps. Really not hard.
I opened with the avatar, not to blame Greenwald for it, but because it succinctly captures the quality of their ‘arguments’ to date. As so often happens when I post, Glenn and Co are today busily vindicating me, by mischaracterizing the post so as to close debate on it. If these people ever get self-awareness, hide the razor blades. No, don’t.
I can’t speak for RancidSassy, but just for the record, @JBJabroni10 is someone with whom I chat from time to time, and, as it happens, we have differed with each other over language use. But see, he doesn’t use the language we differ over on my behalf, nor do I make light of it. Glenn’s “Friend of 20 years, former law partner” and troll captain, “Mona Holland”, repeatedly trivialized the homophobic harassment I described here for two days straight. Then with more of Glenn’s and her patented Tu-but-not-really-tu Quoque panache she tweeted this:
I am by no means obliged to answer for Edmonds about a slur in a blog post, as if it somehow relates to homophobic Twitter harassment directed at me on Glenn’s behalf, nevertheless, let the record show:
So in keeping with how Glenn and his brownshirts unfailingly vindicate everything I write within 24 hours of my having written it, there was much authoritarian troll merry-making on the interwebs. I don’t have the stomach for seeking it out but I sometimes keep a line open to “Mona Holland”, Glenn’s alleged “Friend of 20 years and former law partner”, because “her” shtick of dis-informative deliberate stupidity is sometimes entertaining. Nowhere on Twitter is there a person(a) more willing to debase themselves with such monumental acts of crassness and feigned point-missing on behalf of another person.
“Mona” is well-known to anyone who disparages Glenn, as “she” trolls every forum — the Guardian, Twitter and now The Intercept — busily running interference against the insufficiently adoring. Mona used to show up here in sock puppet form, or rather, with a different name than Mona. We who she trolls all wonder how she finds us. Even if you don’t use Glenn’s tag or his full name, “Mona” will find you and set you straight. She seems to be kitted out with every monitoring device a troll needs.
Anyway, “Mona” trolled me for a half an hour last night, disinformatively insisting, again and again, that my main issue was the homophobic visual slur, not the network of bullying debate-stoppers, like her, that the vandalized avatar simply embodies. Indeed it was striking how many people think sending homophobic visual slurs to a gay man is the tiniest of things when done in service to a cool gay celeb. “Get over us, you big baby” was the gist of her message. Mona is far from the worst but she’s about the only one I have the stomach for, since she is one of the few who doesn’t act like a psychotic 12-year-old pretending to have grown-up politics. She’s just an amusingly creepy dumbass for whom Glenn is far too dimwittedly shitty himself to be embarrassed. Multiply the following by a few hundred at least, add more hatred, shake and you’ll have Glennbot Twitter from yesterday.
UPDATE 2 ( link to this update )
There has recently been a minor fissure in the Greenwald is God consensus: some splintering over things like the PayPal 14; more people are wondering aloud about the slow timing of the leaks and the involvement of the government in reviewing disclosures; a handful of Twitter parody accounts making fun of The Intercept and Greenwald have emerged. Of course, there can be but one explanation for this minor fissure, and just in the nick of time it has been newly filed by Greenwald on The Intercept:
To summarize, dude who travels the internet with gang of creepy thugs who intimidate, smear, disinform and create division, posts cryptic documents alongside highly speculative ‘analysis’, revealing that creepy government agents work the internet to intimidate, smear, disinform and create division.
It’s only shitty when the government does it, not a billionaire’s lackeys.
I like the bit about “fake victim blog posts.” So timely!
UPDATE 1 ( link to this update )
Ah shucks, an ex-Mother Jones-er that I hardly ever read just tweeted this:
Funny, how this ‘obsession’ thing goes only one way. Aronsen, who writes probing investigative pieces about conspiracy theorists no one gives a shit about, isn’t fazed at all by the obsessives who’ve smeared and badgered me for the past six months, nor that these people include employees of the ACLU, Wikileaks people and alleged media watchdogs.. The homophobic harassment embodied by the doctored avatar I received last night is no biggie either:
Who cares? He has like 30 followers, what does that have to do with Glenn Greenwald?
Well, actually the account has a password published in the profile. It’s for harass and bounce trolling so we don’t know how many followers the person has. But that’s beside the point anyway, because the tweet was an attempt to harass me during a conversation about Greenwald. What does this have to do with Greenwald, he asks, with the probing curiosity we’ve come to expect from our press. Why nothing at all, except that such things became routine on the very day Greenwald commented here on my blog six months ago. Read the post again, dumbass. Note that bit about how GG interacts with parody accounts. Read Jonathan Cook’s unprecedented, bizarre capitulation. Read your own tweet and wonder why you aren’t lamenting all the people obsessed with me.
But to speak to the issue of my ‘obsession’, I already covered that here, when one of your peers attempted a Greenwaldian smear about it. I will add that I would write less about Greenwald if:
1. He lectured the left less. The Snowden Event has been one long, tiresome lesson in incrementalism aimed entirely at people to his left. I was sick of it six months ago and it’s only gotten worse. Glenn thinks expertise in parlaying whistleblowing events into cash and prizes equates to expertise in creating change. I beg to differ and am likely to say so from time to time as long as these lectures continue.
2. His minions trolled me less. One thing about anti-authoritarians, the best way to get us to do something is to insist that we should not. This piece, for instance, was inspired by a troll. Greenwald has never repudiated any of this shit. To the contrary, his interaction with Tarzie parody accounts is an explicit endorsement. Troll me less, and watch the Greenwald posts disappear. That means you too, Gavin!!!
3. Other left bloggers and journalists would take this up. Pay special attention to this one Gavin: I would have stopped writing about Greenwald ages ago if others, like you, were on the job. But we both know why that hasn’t happened don’t we? Remember this conversation about why you and others were standing down? I really wish I had the vague promise of a juicy job to hold out to you and everyone else Gavin, because, if I did, potshots like the one you just took — and all the other bullshit covered in this post — would end immediately.