September 1st, 2010

final fantasy, chrono trigger

The Gross Misconduct of Brian Clevinger and Kel McDonald

This entry has been edited as it contained links that are no longer in working fashion.

If any of my readers have been following my Twitter feed over the past month or so, you may or may not be aware of yet another drama-fest that has been breaking out.  My anger stems in large part due to a thread in the Something Awful forums.

To the uninitiated, the Something Awful forums are among of the biggest Web forums on the Internet.  The general atmosphere of the forums is that it's relatively no holds barred (it's explicitly permitted to insult people on their forums, for instance). However, you have to pay to post, which Kel McDonald did.  Because of the paywall, this is far worse than if she had written her response on either her message board or on a blog post at Sorcery 101 itself, because at least in those venues someone could conceivably write a response without paying a fee.  With Something Awful, she chose not only a public audience, but limited any responses to those who could afford to pay, many of whom were like-minded individuals.

In this case, Kel McDonald of Sorcery 101 (under the screen name "KellHound") made a public post addressed to Brian Clevinger of 8-Bit Theater and Atomic Robo fame (posting as "Hyperactive") for the purpose of badmouthing me with half-truths, and Brian Clevinger gladly obliged.  This would be bad enough, but then another figure (spydabass ) who visited my LiveJournal and who claimed separately not to know me, also began to cast aspersions against me to cast me in a negative light.  This only gets worse when Brian Clevinger gets the participants in the thread to pile on the ridiculous aspersions.

I am disturbed by the fact that both Ms. McDonald and Mr. Clevinger hold a personal grudge against me over one or two LiveJournal posts (out of hundreds) and a dozen or so tweets (out of thousands).  The reactions of Ms. McDonald and Mr. Clevinger demonstrate their thin skin, which is neither a sign of maturity nor is even remotely appropriate behavior.

However, for Kel McDonald and Brian Clevinger to not only slander my name, but to conspire with other professionals and hobbyists to spread the word is deplorable.  As a result, other artists such as Charlie "Spike" Trotman then feel entitled to marginalize me as mentally ill and (in their worldview) thus not deserving of human rights.  As I mentioned before, it's not all that different from the Digg Patriots in their shenanigans to censor legitimate news and opposing viewpoints, except less organized, and therefore less easily detected.

The sad thing is that I did not find out about this until recently, since despite the claims of these individuals, I don't "stalk" them.  This revelation is why I delivered cutting remarks about these individuals in the past few weeks.  I'm sorry, but people who come together to plot, plan, and ridicule by using their collective influence do not receive politeness from me.  And people who lie, say they don't know me, but then assault my character, well, let's just say that I can't think of a name nasty enough to deal with that.

Since I can't afford to pay a fee to respond to the charges directly, I will have to resort to responding here to the three most prominent points.

1.  Contrary to what has been claimed, the initial argument between Kel and me concerning donations had nothing to do with my "fanvideos" or me.  Nor was my argument about "lovely" things or "good" things.  My argument was that donations should only be requested for either a public good (museums, PBS, etc.) or for charity for the needy (e.g. Haiti, those unable to afford life-saving surgery, Sudan).  To ask for money of a private individual for any other reason is just plain greed and laziness.  Thus to me, Kel McDonald is no different than a bum on the street with a tin cup who plays an instrument...except that her solicitation doesn't get her arrested.

What makes the charge particularly insulting that I wanted money for my YouTube videos is that some of my videos qualified for revenue sharing at the time Ms. McDonald wrote that statement, and even more videos qualify now.  Despite this, I will never accept even one penny for any fan work -- or any original work -- I distribute on the Internet.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I provide anything I can for free so that anyone else will do the same.

2.  It is not unreasonable to check my recent visitors on LiveJournal, especially if I start getting anonymous replies on two-year old posts, or even more recent ones.  That the same artists attempted to hide from my list only reinforces the necessity of the feature.  Why don't you want me to know you visited my journal?  And why would you post in a public forum your intentions to secretly visit my journal?   The sheer inconsistency confuses me.

3.  I do my best not to make false accusations against people.  That Brian Clevinger would insinuate that I did makes me irate given that in the Tinsel Korey controversy, I have been defending an actress from anonymous attacks.  When someone is wrongly attacked by an anonymous person and I see it, I won't stand by.  And I'll even defend Mr. Clevinger now.  I have no evidence that he's a plagiarist and think such a charge is ridiculous.

I make an attempt to back up my claims I can, as evidenced by my rather excessive (and at times, repetitive) linking.  For instance, when I write that Ms. McDonald has appealed to pity to request donations, an appeal which I find especially abhorrent, I can provide evidence through her posts themselves.  I can also verify that she has badmouthed a webcomic institution in a temper tantrum to refute the charge that her lack of class is limited solely to her interactions with me. Then again  given the increased attention from Kel McDonald and her followers, I find that the correlation between these rumors and Kel McDonald may be due to causation.

This is insignificant drama in the long haul, but the fact that Mr. Clevinger and Ms, McDonald throw their professional credentials as weight toward their false accusations against me, then disguise any insults or accusations as jokes shows that they are only professionals in the literal sense -- they get paid for what they do.  Sadly, because they are skilled at their vocation, there is no accountability.  Marvel and its parent company Disney do not care about Mr. Clevinger's professional misconduct, and Ms. McDonald's lack of humility and veracity is similarly rewarded.  After all Mr. Clevinger appropriately brags, "I'm a wiener and a liar. Hey, lookit that, the two criteria for fiction writer!"

Apparently, integrity is no longer necessary to be a professional.