Nightmare Fuel Read: “The Unraveling Of Lane Davis”


He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.

And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.

Joseph Bernstein, in Buzzfeed, on a guy who went from “Alt-Right Troll To Father Killer“:

I knew Lane. I knew him as a guy who kicked around some of the pro-Trump, anti–social justice internet communities that I’ve reported on since 2014. Like a lot of people in those volatile spaces, Lane bore grudges, which made him useful as an occasional source. Unlike a lot of people in those spaces, and despite being a fabulist, Lane understood how to weaponize information, which made him even more useful, and a little scary. From early 2016 to summer 2017, we emailed regularly and talked occasionally. As with most sources, Lane had some tips that were good and some that weren’t. But even if nothing he told me ever led to a blockbuster story, he was smart and he understood his world well — talking to him was never a waste of time. I thought I understood him about as well as I needed to.

Last October, a conservative blogger discovered a local news story about Chuck Davis’s killing. He spread the word on Twitter, including another shocking detail: Before stabbing his father to death, Lane had loudly accused his parents of being “leftist pedophiles.”

There’s a whole universe in those two words, one that Americans unfamiliar with the rhetoric of the internet culture wars might not recognize…

Long before a neo-Nazi at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville allegedly killed a counterprotester named Heather Heyer, it had been clear to many observers that the sheer amount of anger and fear fueling the circa 2016 alt-right would eventually lead to physical violence. More than once it occurred to me that one of my sources might be involved. But I never thought it would be Seattle4Truth.

Most of my correspondence with Lane was unremarkable — a tip here, a heads-up there. Once he did me a kindness by letting me know that my doxx (basically a file with my address and contact information that could be used to harass me) was making the rounds. I was vaguely aware that Lane’s output online was unhinged. But was it any more so than, say, certain beet-colored conspiracy barkers whom the president has praised? Over the years I’ve had a handful of sources who were less lucid than Lane. We all perform different versions of ourselves on the internet, and I found the contrast between Lane’s content and the way he communicated with me so strong that I thought his “Seattle” character was mostly shtick.

I began to wonder about the people who spent all day online with Lane. Lane had worked as the political editor for a culture war shock site called the Ralph Retort. It had been a hub for some of the most malignant trolls on the internet — including people who had sent me violent anti-Semitic threats in the past. I hadn’t taken this rhetoric seriously for two reasons: First, there is so much of it that to dwell on it would be paralyzing, and second, the people behind it almost always claim to be trolling, testing boundaries, pushing limits. Now that Lane had killed his father in an apparent spasm of conspiratorial pique, it seemed that what was left of that extremist/troll boundary had started to collapse. I wanted to know how the people who lived on its edges were adjusting…

In February 2016, Lane emailed Milo Yiannopoulos to ask for a job.

“The culture war has been my life for the past year and a half,” he wrote. “Destroying the social-justice ideology and exposing their lies has given me a reason to live. At this point, it defines me. It’s everything I live for and care about, other than having a roof over my head.”

Lane wasn’t exaggerating. Like so many others, he had joined the late-Obama-era culture wars through Gamergate, the often radical online campaign that claimed to be concerned with ethics in gaming journalism. And he was there from the start, actively participating in a chatroom called Burgers and Fries, members of which more or less astroturfed the start of the movement through well-placed hashtags and well-timed confrontations. Here, Lane would have learned how a small group of dedicated people could compel an enormous, participatory audience by wielding an ever-expanding conspiracy theory about liberal influence…

Lane was as gifted at creating new theories as he was at regurgitating old ones. His breakthrough came in the form of a three-hour, 20-minute video titled “#GamerGate: Actually, it’s about…” The May 2015 video, which cuts from talks at tech conferences to journal articles to Twitter screenshots, advances a mind-bogglingly complex theory linking the geopolitics of the late Bush and early Obama years to a plot by elite institutions to take control of the American education system through an open source gaming console called the Ouya.

So did Yiannopoulos, who treated culture war nerve centers like the Ralph Retort as a farm system for cheap — or free — labor. By the end of 2015, Lane had been added to Yiannopoulos’s roiling Slack, Project Milo. In February, Lane invoiced him for work as a speechwriter and ghostwriter on Yiannopoulos’s book. Yiannopoulos encouraged Lane to send him tips, writing jokingly in response to one such email that he was aroused by good dirt: “I have a semi already.” He also got Lane part-time work for the conservative think tank the Capital Research Center, for which Lane produced a report on the political correctness of the MacArthur Foundation. (After the murder, the CRC removed Davis’s byline from the report.) In an email to his contact at the CRC, Yiannopoulos described Lane as “One of my most gifted researchers. Total autodidact…hugely smart.”

Yiannopoulos forwarded Lane’s email to Noah Dulis, his coeditor of the Breitbart Tech vertical, with a note: “Read this. I really fucking want this guy.” There was only one problem. “He’s the guy who said nigger on a live stream one time.” Racist views per se were not the problem; Yiannopoulos at the time was actively coordinating Breitbart coverage with white nationalists. But those views were supposed to be kept just below the surface. Lane didn’t get the job…

… A member of the notorious troll group the Bill Waggoner Crew and a contributor to the Ralph Retort, WildGoose spoke to me on the condition that I not use his real name; he said he recognized in Lane signs of someone with a tenuous hold on reality.

“I talked to Ralph about it but he wasn’t really listening,” WildGoose said. “He told me Lane was writing all these cool articles and bringing in traffic.”

WildGoose never thought Lane’s anger and his conspiratorial flights of fancy were just part of a character — and worse, he thought that Lane getting rewarded for his antisocial behavior was causing him to double down on it. And it wasn’t just in the YouTube comments section. In Ralph’s Slack, Goose said, amused posters goaded Lane into conspiratorial freakouts, giving him more attention as his monologues became more elaborate and intense.

“I started to understand it was part of his personality,” WildGoose told me. “Crazy attracts crazy. And people feed each others’ delusions on the internet.”…






121 replies
  1. 1
    different-church-lady says:

    SOCIAL MEDIA PUSHERS, 2011: “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we could just get everyone addicted to sharing everything they think the moment they think it?”

    ME: “Do you have any idea what some people think?”

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different-church-lady: Jack Dorsey: “Yes, but I’ll make truckloads of money in the process!”

  3. 3
    debg says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes. This. Exactly.

  4. 4

    Off the subject, but the Fuck You New York Times has a piece up saying that Benedict Donald knew about what Russia did before he took office, because the intelligence people showed him texts and e-mails in which Putin ordered his people to fuck our election. So every fucking time he opened his asshole-shaped mouth to tell us he hadn’t seen any proof, or it was still up in the air in his mind [sic] whether Russia did any of that shit, even right up to fucking today, he was lying. And, yeah, we always knew he was lying, but it’s good to see it laid out definitively. Fuckbag…

  5. 5

    I feel somehow that something has shifted. Rachel Maddow said as much today, talking about how Trump didn’t just tell Putin to fuck off when he wanted to interrogate a U.S. citizen, and that was before this story even had come out. Shit is building up here. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but for the first time, I feel some hope that we might be within sight of the end to this pathetic, horrific fucking farce.

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    @different-church-lady: Mark Zuckerberg did an interview today where he basically said that Holocaust denialist and Infowars-esque conspiracies didn’t rise to the level of things that Facebook would consider cracking down on in their ‘news’ category.

  7. 7
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Are you telling us that the President of the United States is a liar???

  8. 8
    different-church-lady says:

    @dmsilev: Zuckerberg wants all information to pass through Facebook’s gates, but philosophically rejects the concept of being a gatekeeper.

    Fuck that asshole. Fuck him in the left nostril.

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): I’m guessing that some senior folks in the intelligence agencies are sending messages by leaking stuff like this. Not to Trump, because he’s obviously not listening, but to any members of the GOP Congress that might be reachable.

  10. 10
    NotMax says:

    @different-church-lady

    Only but has to open up Assbook and migrate those accounts there.

  11. 11
    Steeplejack says:

    “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

  12. 12
    efgoldman says:

    @dmsilev:

    I’m guessing that some senior folks in the intelligence agencies are sending messages by leaking stuff

    As Adam predicted a couple of years ago. They got tired of waiting for the legal gears to grind.

  13. 13
    Yarrow says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): What has changed is that people are finally recognizing or admitting to themselves and others that Trump is a traitor. They still aren’t quite there on the top levels of the Republican party also being traitors, but they’re getting there. You could see their faces after that stupid summit on Monday. They were shocked and couldn’t quite compose themselves.

    As for the media, I think some of them know how journalists are treated in Putin’s Russia. This Trump/Russia stuff is all fun and games and ratings for them until it gets close to home. And realizing that the president doesn’t have the country’s best interests at heart is unnerving for all of us. Realizing that he might just send you to jail for printing or saying something about him that he doesn’t like and our elected officials won’t do anything to protect you has to be unnerving for them.

  14. 14
    Mike J says:

    There was only one problem. “He’s the guy who said nigger on a live stream one time.” Racist views per se were not the problem; Yiannopoulos at the time was actively coordinating Breitbart coverage with white nationalists. But those views were supposed to be kept just below the surface.

    Same thing that happened with PewDiePie and Disney.

  15. 15
    p.a. says:

    @dmsilev: to any members of the GOP Congress that might be reachable.

    A Smart Car rental would suffice to transport them.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    @different-church-lady:
    You are absolutely correct.

  17. 17
    Jager says:

    When I was a kid, one of my old man’s WWII buddies got caught up in all the John Birch conspiracy theories. My parents had a party one night, this guy went off on Eisenhower being a “commie dupe” My old man threw him out in the snow. Can we throw Bannon, Milo and the rest of these assholes in a snowbank and keep them there?

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    @Yarrow:
    Which is why the response about turning over the Ambassador is unsettling.😠😠

  19. 19
    p.a. says:

    @Jager: Siberian snowbank…

  20. 20
    Mike J says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Back in the days of the invasion of Iraq, many people said there would be zero difference in Bush’s foreign policy if he were a paid Iranian agent.

    It doesn’t seem as coincidental now.

  21. 21
    p.a. says:

    @Yarrow: Yeah that’s the great American 4th Branch, 21st century version. Courtiers until/unless their own ox is gored.

  22. 22
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    I remember watching this shit start up in 2014. I monitored crap like Gamergate through We Hunted the Mammonth. I was amazed then at how viciously people like Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn were attacked.

    All Sarkeesian ever did was critique video games and made recommendations on how they could be better with regards to how women were presented in them. That’s it.

    These people were and are total freaks.

  23. 23
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Mike J:

    Pewdiepie was always an obnoxious dick. It severely disturbs me that he hasn’t lost a significant amount of his subscribers over it.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    Anyone else experiencing waves of exhaustion?

  25. 25
    🌷 Martin says:

    @dmsilev:

    I’m guessing that some senior folks in the intelligence agencies are sending messages by leaking stuff like this. Not to Trump, because he’s obviously not listening, but to any members of the GOP Congress that might be reachable.

    Yep. This just screams “Yo, Congress! We’ve been trying to tell you this for 2 years and you won’t fucking listen. Maybe now you’ll listen.”

    As far as I’m concerned the entire GOP is now complicit in this coverup. In my job, if I hear about a problem – sexual harassment, etc. even if it doesn’t involve my own staff I have a legal responsibility to act on it. Denying it, covering it up, even just ignoring it makes me liable. Congress should be held to a similar standard.

  26. 26
    Timurid says:

    After the election I said that Clinton, Obama and every high ranking Democrat and/or Trump political enemy should have a bugout plan in place.
    This McFaul thing only convinces me further of that…

  27. 27
    Mike J says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I would like to publicly state that if Disney wants to back a truckload of money up to my house, I will have no problem refraining from using racial slurs.

  28. 28
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
    I really think everything Trump has done, from equivocating on Charlottesville, to locking children in chain link cages, to his traitorous Helsinki show, and now his seeming assent to have American citizens whisked away to a foreign dictatorship to likely be tortured and killed, is slowly building up people’s horror and anger, like a dam ready to burst.

    This isn’t sustainable and won’t last.

  29. 29

    @MomSense: Waves of nausea, over here.

  30. 30
    sukabi says:

    @p.a.: unicycle.

  31. 31
    Eolirin says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Hopefully it takes a significant chunk of the Republican Party’s infrastructure and donor class with it, or we’ll just be back here again in 10 years.

  32. 32
    MoCA Ace says:

    @dmsilev:

    I’m guessing that some senior folks in the intelligence agencies are sending messages by leaking stuff like this. Not to Trump, because he’s obviously not listening, but to any members of the GOP Congress that might be reachable.

    So screaming into the void then :\

  33. 33
    Mike J says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Also, that was sort of my point. This guy was also a dick, but he crossed a line for Breitbart. They wanted an asshole, he just couldn’t say the quiet part loud. Disney knew what PewDiePie was like and had no problem with a guy who daily called himself a nazi as long as he didn’t actually use the N word.

  34. 34
    Yutsano says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: It should disturb you more that a fair number of his subscribers are children. And their parents aren’t monitoring their online usage to quash that.

  35. 35
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Yarrow:

    What has changed is that people are finally recognizing or admitting to themselves and others that Trump is a traitor.

    The latest NYT cletus safari to a Pennsylvania bar certainly found people who weren’t swayed. Some just shrugged their shoulders at the Helsinki news.

    I mean, Christ, who are these people? Don’t they remember the Cold War and Ronnie Reagan telling Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall? Not that Reagan was a great leader but at least he never sold out his country to the enemy.

  36. 36
    Eolirin says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I’m not sure those people view white nationalist Christian Russia as the enemy. Liberals, sure, but Russia is everything they want the US to be.

  37. 37
    MomSense says:

    @Raven Onthill:

    Yup I’ve had that too. And a headache.

  38. 38
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Yutsano:
    I mean that does.

  39. 39
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Eolirin:
    When we get control of Congress we have to increase the number of seats in the House. Not only is it the right thing to do but it would vastly benefit us. When the GOP throws a tantrum about it, assuming there’s still is one in the next few years, we can tell them to go pound sand; they’ll just have to move to the left because center-left policies are actually popular with a majority of the population.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jager:

    Can we throw Bannon, Milo and the rest of these assholes in a snowbank and keep them there?

    Gonna be hard with global warming and all.

  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:

    @MomSense:

    Yes, but I was attributing it to having a raging cold.

  42. 42
    MomSense says:

    @Jager:

    Growing up in Maine we called burying someone in a snowbank a whitewash so that would be perfect for Bannon, Miller, and the rest of those assholes.

  43. 43
    MomSense says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I think it’s stress for me.

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    I mean, Christ, who are these people?

    As some blogger pointed out today, they are Republicans in a Republican county that hasn’t gone to a Democrat since 1964.

    The bitterest of bitter-enders, in short. Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to come around. We outvote them and make them irrelevant.

  45. 45
    Ruckus says:

    @different-church-lady:
    As long as you fuck him in the left nostril with a Cat D9 bulldozer

  46. 46
    Eolirin says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I agree, but it won’t be easy. We’ll also need control of the White House. No way is that going to get veto proof support. And we’d have to get rid of the Senate filibuster on legislation too. And it still wouldn’t do anything to fix the problems with the Senate, which are only going to get worse if we don’t do something about the propaganda and funding channels.

  47. 47
    NotMax says:

    @Steeplejack

    having a raging cold

    Here ya go.

    “It couldn’t hoit.”

  48. 48
    Yarrow says:

    @MomSense: I think I’m kind of relieved and exhilarated by it. It’s like FINALLY people are seeing what I’ve been saying for two years now. I can’t tell you the number of times people looked at me like I was some kind of conspiracy nut. I’m glad it’s becoming clear to more people so that we can move to the next stage. It’ll be an even more dangerous stage, but at least we’re moving forward.

    Not that my reaction diminishes the horror and scary time we’re living through. I just refuse to live in fear. They want us to live in terror. That’s how they control people. Just look at their followers–if it isn’t ISIS that’s the scary thing of the moment it’s MS-13 or Ebola. They’re cowering cowards, always looking for their next fear hit from the fear dealers. I’m not playing that.

    i’m more determined than ever. The only way out is through and that’s what we’ll do. Onward.

  49. 49
    Steeplejack says:

    @MomSense:

    Before the cold, I was tired a lot because of being suspended in that “fight or flight”* response (triggered by the daily onslaught of Trump news) without a way to resolve it one way or the other.

    —————
    * Actually, I believe in the fight/​flight/​freeze model from PTSD theory. I think a lot of us are stuck in “freeze.”

  50. 50
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @Yarrow:

    It’s like FINALLY people are seeing what I’ve been saying for two years now. I can’t tell you the number of times people looked at me like I was some kind of conspiracy nut.

    This can be exhausting, though, if you’re like me and feel like you’ve been expending a lot of energy trying to convince these people. They finally see it, and you can finally rest. I’m being melodramatic but you get the idea.

  51. 51
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax:

    Thanks. I did have a restorative deli sandwich of pastrami, melted cheese, slaw and Russian dressing on rye today. That helped a lot. Along with DayQuil Severe.

  52. 52
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Eolirin:
    It won’t be easy. But few things in life worth achieving are easy.

    @Yarrow:

    This is why I come to Balloon Juice!@Steeplejack:
    I agree. At this point outvoting them and making them irrelevant is our only option.

  53. 53
    Yarrow says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I get where you’re coming from. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to convince people who weren’t going to be convinced. I could see people get that, “you’re totally nuts” look and I’d say, “We’ll see how it goes.” Wondering if any of them are now going to say, “You know, about that Russian treason stuff you kept talking about….” Doubt it.

  54. 54
    bluehill says:

    I think there’s some proportion of the population that is just looking away because they don’t “do” politics and dismiss all this as both sides do it. None of this has directly affected them so while they may express concern, it’s not enough for them to want change or demand immediate action. Trump hasn’t come for them yet so it’s business as usual.

    I think these are the people the repubs will try to “suppress” again in the midterms by convincing them not vote. The repubs don’t need to do this in all 50 states just in select areas. What was the margin in the 2016 elections? 80,000 votes in the swing states that gave the election to Trump? I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happens this except aimed to keeping majorities in Congress. Convince this some people not to vote, make it harder to for some others and, if needed, mess up some voting systems/rolls.

  55. 55
    MomSense says:

    @Yarrow: @Steeplejack:

    I definitely think I’m in a hyper vigilant state and then I crash hard. On the one hand, it is sort of a relief to have this out in the open. The problem is that I think the next 110 days leading up to the election will be trying and chaotic. The stakes are so high.

  56. 56
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Question:

    How does one justify in a story the existence of advanced tech, similar to Iron Man’s suit in a fairly mundane, mid-80s setting that is still culturally, technologically, and politically recognizable as the real 80s?

  57. 57
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Alternate timeline, parallel universe… or just wave your hands and say ARPA this, DARPA that, and sci-fi readers will know to suspend their disbelief.

  58. 58
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Idiot savant.

    Or (cheap way out), Roswell.

  59. 59
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” — William Gibson

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    culturally, technologically, and politically recognizable as the real 80s

    You weren’t around in the real 80s, so what’s one more suspension of disbelief?

    :)

  61. 61
    Yarrow says:

    @bluehill: That’s what the Walk Away hashtag push was all about. Suppress Dem votes. It was so clumsy that people recognized it as a Russian active measure right away and it didn’t really work.I’m sure they’ll try again.

    @MomSense: I hear you in the hyper vigilant state. It’s good to know your tendency so you can build in taking a break and doing some self care.

  62. 62
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @NotMax: Ohhh snap!

  63. 63

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Not that Reagan was a great leader but at least he never sold out his country to the enemy.

    Remember from your history class about the folk from the US embassy in Tehran that were freed right after St. Ronnie was sworn in as President?

  64. 64
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Al Capone’s vault.

    i.e. You found it hidden by someone famous, i.e. Tesla, Edison, Philo Farnsworth.

    By the way, there was no “real” 80s. It was terrible decade, except for the music in the first half. Reagan and Thatcher ruled the world.

    Reagan sold weapons to the Iranians so that he could fund terrorists in Central America. He facilitated the drug war, on both sides. He ignored the AIDS crisis, worse than ignored it.

  65. 65
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Alright. Parallel universe for sure. I was thinking perhaps some MIC involvement. Or the main villain as a Lex Luthor-style super-genius scientist and corporate tycoon with good PR; have also considered modeling him after Elon Musk as well, except even more megalomaniacal. I also considered making his conglomerate responsible for many of the mid-to-late 20th century’s technological innovations, such as the transistor or the microchip.

    Does Scott Freeman as a name sound ridiculous? I’m trying to go for theme naming.

    Also, have considered writing same-sex romance in the same story among the main protagonists but I’m afraid, being a straight man, I would be completely out of my depth.

  66. 66
    NotMax says:

    @Viva BrisVegas

    Marconi Man and Faraday Lad to the rescue!

    ;)

  67. 67
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: there’s a lot of nuance to gay characters that straight authors often miss, but that shouldn’t keep you from trying—so long as it’s in there because it makes sense for the story and characters, not shoehorned in because you want it to be there.

    Scott Freeman seems fine, but I have extremely wide latitude for acceptable character names.

  68. 68
    Jager says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Depends where the snow bank is located or maybe a meat locker?

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Brushes pretty close to Jack Kirby/DC’s Miracle Man, a/k/a Scott Free.

  70. 70
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Darn this no edit function. Egregious mistake. Caught it the nanosecond after button pushed.

    Jack Kirby/DC’s Mister Miracle, a/k/a Scott Free

  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Anything other than Donald J. Freeman.

    :)

  72. 72
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Does Scott Freeman as a name sound ridiculous?

    As in an evil man who gets off scot free every time? A bit bland. How about Donald Trump?

  73. 73
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Also too, setting it during the 80s and having prominent gay characters or gay subtext and (possibly) giving the AIDS epidemic short shrift would be a no-no.

  74. 74
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    so long as it’s in there because it makes sense for the story and characters, not shoehorned in because you want it to be there.

    I think my story’s fundamentally about free will (illusion or not) and that whatever flaws and terrible outcomes that result from it are far preferable to a single voice overriding all others and essentially destroying what makes us human.The setting, while chosen partly because I liked some of the pop culture of the 80s, was also very much chosen deliberately because of the often apocalyptic backdrop of the Cold War. The cold war happened, essentially, because two broad groups of humans didn’t get along.

    But to get to my point about the same-sex romance, I think it would work partly because of the setting (Reagan’s America, Moral Majority) and the character’s ages; they are young teenagers, finding out about themselves for the first time and starting to become adults.

    And because the main villain is a megalomaniacal fascist with an interest in eugenics, who seeks god-like power, the very right to exist as you want to is at risk. There would be no place for the main protags (who are female) to exist as lesbians in the villains new global order.

  75. 75
    Steeplejack says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Alien intervention, or access to discovered alien technology?

  76. 76
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @NotMax: oof, yeah, real minefield there.

  77. 77
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: “they are young teenagers, finding out about themselves for the first time and starting to become adults… There would be no place for the main protags (who are female) to exist as lesbians in the villains new global order.“

    This sounds really hard to write well! lol

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jager:

    Meat locker works. Bring your own snow!

  79. 79
    ruemara says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: have a gay person read it. Ask nicely.

  80. 80
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    The Cold War was direly apocalyptic during the 50s and 60s. For Reagan it was more a convenient prop to drag out and wave at the audience.

  81. 81
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steeplejack:
    Funny you should mention that. Before I thought of the “magic existed in the world at one time” concept, alien tech found in the arctic by a late 60s FreeCorp expedition to find oil was going to be a possible explanation for the villain’s plot to control the world; the alien vessel was a slaver transport that had technology capable of overriding an individual’s will.

  82. 82
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @NotMax:
    Yeah, but by the 80s the world’s nuclear arsenals had grown large enough to completely destroy modern human civilization if an all out nuclear war occured.

  83. 83
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Why? Does it sound like it sucks? It wouldn’t be explicit and more of the “fluffy” variety of romance. It would be written tastefully.

  84. 84
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @NotMax:

    Until Able Archer 83 showed Reagan that not just the rubes were taking his ridiculous Cold War rhetoric seriously, the Soviets were as well.

  85. 85
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: It sounds hard to get right, especially for a young straight white man.

  86. 86
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Nuclear arsenals during the Cuban missile crisis more than sufficient to handle that morbid task. Number of U.S. nuclear weapons in 1980 was less than in 1965, fewer still by 1985.

  87. 87
    Jay says:

    @Yarrow:

    The trolls and bots are being tracked real time. Their attempts to “social media” new Fake News sites and fake movements, are being “outed” by their own movements online.

    On a lot of Canadian political blogs, those that havn’t switched to moderated comments or isp based banhammers, the “anonamice” and Trump cultists are greeted with insults in Russian.

    It’s gotten pretty clear to most online in the Political arena what is, and isn’t a troll, and no body has any fucks to give anymore for Trump Cultists.

  88. 88
    Jay says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    150 nukes in the Northern Hemisphere, kills everbody, inside of a decade.

    The 80’s was just massive overkill and wasted futures.

  89. 89
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I mean, it doesn’t have to involve same-sex romance. I just didn’t want my story to be a total heteronormative white-fest is all. I just thought the setting and time period could work really well with a same-sex romance plot.

  90. 90
    Steeplejack says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Well, you can have gay, brown characters without getting into their sex lives. Treat them as if they’re sort of like, you know, normal people.

  91. 91
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steeplejack: As a fellow straight white dude, this is probably how I’d write it: The characters are gay, and it’s noted during the storyline but it doesn’t have a huge impact on the general storyline. It’s much harder to get wrong, and in a way more respectful.

    EDIT: I should note I haven’t done any real creative writing in the last 10 years or so, and what I wrote before that wasn’t long-form. It was the short-story variety.

  92. 92
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Steeplejack:

    That was always the plan. And it was never going to get into sex.

  93. 93
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @MisterForkbeard: but also one must keep in mind that the experience of being gay, especially some years ago, has never been like-being-straight-but-you-like-other-dudes/chicks. (Same idea with brown and female and etc; some writers fall into this trap)

  94. 94
  95. 95
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    IOW, you have to acknowledge the discrimination against these identities that actually occurred and how that might affect their lives/actions, correct?

    I have to imagine it would be difficult to seek a partner if you’re gay, especially 30 years ago.

  96. 96
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Major Major Major Major: @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Yeah. If I was writing about a lesbian POV character in the 80s I might have a scene where she notices a hot lady – and then has to stop herself from reacting to her because she can’t be that open with her sexuality. And her sexuality never really comes up after that, except maybe it’s one of several motivating factors with regards to major events in the book.

    The vibe I’d be going for is “She’s gay and that matters, but it’s not something that determines her character with regards to the story”. Though I think Goku was already going for that in some way.

  97. 97
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Christ, what I wrote there was nearly illiterate. My apologies to everyone who has to read anything I write… after I’ve been up all day. :)

  98. 98
    NotMax says:

    @MisterForkbeard

    Probably a decade too late for a “If you need me, I’ll be at a meeting of the Daughters of Bilitis” line as a telegraph.

    ;)

  99. 99
    frosty says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Thanks for the perspective. I know nothing about this. I should ask my sons, who are in their 20s.

  100. 100
    Jay says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    It’s not just the discrimination, it’s the aids crisis, it’s 10,000 things.

  101. 101
    frosty says:

    @MomSense: Me. I’m experiencing waves of exhaustion. Heading for the White Mountains (NH) tomorrow and beginning to hope there’s no cell or wifi service in the National Forest campground.

  102. 102
    frosty says:

    @Ruckus:

    Cat D9 bulldozer

    Yes, a D9 Cat should make an impression.

  103. 103
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Jay:
    Yeah, can’t forget the AIDs crisis and the total neglect it got from the government.

  104. 104
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @frosty:

    No problem. 2014 is just when I started to become aware of it. Anti-SJWism may have had roots in 2011/2012 AFAIK, as well.

    I remember some prominent Atheist youtubers I followed began to get real weird about feminism and social justice around 2013-2014. Essentially, the lunatic fringe of feminism on places like Tumbler (and not all feminists on Tumbler are extreme either. Tumbler has a lot of cool stuff) was conflated with the mainstream schools of thought.

  105. 105
    Msb says:

    That is a pretty terrifying story. One notes that all Seattle’s enablers said, tsk, tsk and went back to making money of the rage of unstable people.

  106. 106
    Jay says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Yup, I was a young punk with SOAR at the time, we used to “patrol” Davies Street back in the day, escorting patrons of the clubs safely home or to their cars, because the cops wouldn’t.

    There was a level of brutal mainstream backlash against the LBGTQ community, at the same time so many wonderful people were finding their voices.

    http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/drpeter/

  107. 107
    Mel says:

    @MomSense: Same here. I have been feeling like everything, even small stuff, takes 10x the effort it usually does, and I just feel like curling into a ball and sleeping.

    Until today I was chalking it up to autoimmune crap flaring up, but it really feels different than that does. I think this nonstop barrage of almost inconceivable horrors has us all in constant fight or flight mode, even when we aren’t conscious of it. We can only make so much adrenaline and burn up so much cortisol when the stress is nonstop, before our bodies start waving the white flag.

  108. 108
    J R in WV says:

    @MomSense:

    Anyone else experiencing waves of exhaustion?

    Hell yes, it’s all I can do to get the garbage out, and frequently I miss the pickup and it sits down there, 1/4 mile away, which is good, we don’t have to smell it. Recycling stacks up, bags of aluminium cans, cardboard boxes full of carcboard boxes. Too tired to deal with it.

  109. 109
    J R in WV says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Remember from your history class about the folk from the US embassy in Tehran that were freed right after St. Ronnie was sworn in as President?

    That wasn’t history class to me — it was headlines and news reports. And the reason they were freed when St Ron was sworn in is because Reagan conspired with Iran to keep them prisoner longer to punish Jimmy Carter during the election so Reagan was more likely to win. AKA Treason to conspire with enemies holding our diplomats prisoner.

    So Trump isn’t even new, just more despicable.

    Reagan worked with Iran better than he did with DEmocratic members of congress!

  110. 110

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: I don’t understand how you can just bring up the fact that the main character is gay and have an existential conflict about their orientation at the heart of the story but not fully explore what being gay in the 80s really meant. Basically if the villain is trying to create a world where there is no place for the gay hero, the hero’s orientation speaks directly to their motivation and exploring that seems crucial to me. And I don’t mean you have to get into the sex, there are too many pitfalls there. But I don’t think you can just treat their gayness as incidental (which is what it sounds like you are planning on doing). The 80s is a very good time to explore the coming out process–lots of grist in the mill there as others have mentioned. I don’t think you should avoid it, embrace it it fully or their motivation will be too mysterious and not very compelling.

  111. 111
    J R in WV says:

    @Jay:

    150 nukes in the Northern Hemisphere, kills everbody, inside of a decade.

    The 80’s was just massive overkill and wasted futures.

    I think you’re wrong. There were that many set off during the testing phase from 1945-57 or so. Actually there were over 4000 set off, but a lot of those were underground, so less toxic waste spread into the stratosphere. But still hundreds set off all over the world. There’s a youtube that shows them going off on a map, look it up.

    It would take an order of magnitude more, at least, and maybe two.

  112. 112
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @J R in WV:

    There were that many set off during the testing phase from 1945-57 or so.

    About 500 atmospheric tests between 1945 and 1962, including some monsters which couldn’t be weaponised or were undeliverable (15MT Castle Bravo in the Pacific, the comically-large 50MT Soviet Tsarbomba). The result was detectable amounts of Sr-90 in kid’s teeth and no noticeable effect on the health or the death rates of the human population, even in Las Vegas which was close by and downwind from a lot of the US tests.

    At the peak in the mid to late 60s there were over 60,000 deployed nuclear weapons on all sides — the UK had about 500 or so, including chicken-heated nuclear land-mines in Germany. As targetting got better and some rationality crept in the numbers started to fall. Nixon gets one ice cube a year in hell for beginning the SALT process to seriously reduce the triad weapon stocks along with verification. By the 80s we were down to about 6000-7000 weapons everywhere and the figure’s fallen a little more since then thanks to START and its successors.

  113. 113
    satby says:

    @J R in WV: Republican treason goes back to Nixon sabotaging the Paris Peace talks: https://youtu.be/61S1HZggGSI

    Party before country has been their motto for a long time, though at least back then a few of them later held Nixon to account. Those Republicans are all dead though.

  114. 114
    Antonius says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Except for that whole selling weapons to America’s avowed enemies thing. Reagan was a traitor. He gets no pass.

  115. 115
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: If it’s set in the 80s, AIDS is hanging over everything, and if the main character is a gay man it’s impossible to ignore.

  116. 116
    Karen S. says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Like others have pointed out, AIDS permeated nearly every aspect of the gay community in the ’80s, particularly if you were a gay man. A friend of my wife’s is in his early 60s. He knew he was gay from a young age, but couldn’t deal with it. He married a woman and wasn’t part of the gay community during the time when HIV/AIDS was killing an awful lot gay men. Fast forward to the 2000s. He has divorced his wife and come out. He has said because of how HIV/AIDS ravaged the gay community, he has a hard time finding men his own age to date. So many of them died in the ’80s and the ’90s. I’m acquainted with a few gay men around his age and they’re astonished that they survived when all their friends and their lovers did not. One of them has said that it seemed like all he did was go to funerals. I think they get lonely sometimes. I was just a baby dyke back then, so I have no firsthand or secondhand experience with HIV/AIDS from that time, but I do remember reading all the gay newspapers I could find and being struck by how many obituaries were in the papers every week.

  117. 117
    sherparick1 says:

    Putin and the Russian Foreign Minister are announcing that he and Trump made several agreements at the summit, something Trump and the White House has not mentioned. I expect that the National Security Team is waiting to find out what Trump agreed to from the Russians I expect Trump is not telling them. http://thehill.com/business-a-.....with-putin

    But slipping through the cracks, apparently one deal that Putin offered Trump is a scheme whereby he would link Bill Browder to Ambassador McFaul to Hillary Clinton if Trump hands over Browder and McFaul to the tender mercies of the FSB. If true, I believe such a naked violation of the oath of office (to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States), “high crime and misdemeanor.”

  118. 118
    Princess says:

    This is literal nightmare fuel for me because I know people who go on about the “culture war” and are as closely connected to Yiannopolis as Davis was.

  119. 119
    sherparick says:

    @Robert Sneddon: The health effects from atmospheric nuclear testing certainly exist. https://www.ctbto.org/nuclear-testing/the-effects-of-nuclear-testing/general-overview-of-theeffects-of-nuclear-testing/

    The estimate is apparently 11,000 extra or premature deaths from cancer in the U.S. alone, which is not insignificant, but we are talking about among millions of people over a 50 year period (the date of this study was 2002 so I am sure the number is larger now). https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/mar/01/research.medicalscience

  120. 120

    @J R in WV: It wasn’t a history class for me either, I voted for Jimmy Carter.

  121. 121
    Jay says:

    @J R in WV:

    Nuclear Winter dude, started the whole Climate Change Fake News, china thing,

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_winter

    It’s 150 at the same time, not scattered across decades and globally.

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