Last night I saw what might be the single dumbest thing I've ever seen anyone write. The Dave Portnoy story popped up on Twitter, and I clicked on something, and that brought me to thousands and thousands of comments by unstable, psychotic, knuckle-dragging, stunted, borderline illiterate, women-hating, self-hating, men in their forties and fifties--grown men who have children and are responsible for young people--in an internet campaign to destroy someone.
The other day, a buddy remarked to me, "How did we get here?" and I find those words echoing in my head often. They were present before our exchange. They are always there now. They are there thousands of times a day. Portnoy is delusional. He's a narcissist with what would be a comically inflated sense of his self worth--he's not smart, he's not talented, he's ethically bankrupt, and he is someone that is so twisted inside to be actually insane--if the cretinous savages who worshiped him weren't terrifying on the same level that mobilized cockroaches would be terrifying. I am being literal, though, when I say that actual cockroaches are 1. More mature 2. Smarter and 3. Closer to being human. The human brain, when it is sick, can go so far in the direction of sickness. Portnoy is a reminder of the distance of that traveled expanse.
I was thinking about him, and how he handles what he views as wrongs against him--like a man-child-beast with no conception--at least any longer--of the realm of reality--against what is happening to me, which is real discrimination and suppression, as the result of virtues. Extreme virtues. How he'd handle that. How I handle what is happening to me, how I attempt to overcome it, and what this man would do.
A buddy phoned me last night, and we fell to talking about this last night, agreeing that if Portnoy experienced anything that happens in my world--a single thing--he's strap bombs to himself and blow up a federal building. Meanwhile, I fight on, through something no one else could handle for two minutes, with dignity. I try harder each day. I remain kind. And I will prevail. The right way. And without compromising who I am as a person who has tried every day to become a better person and a better artist. Anyway, there were thousands of death threats against this reporter who did what was deemed a hit piece. And of course she is no crusader of justice herself. It's a publishing hack doing a muckraking piece in an attempt to advance herself. She has no talent either. But these grown men--at least age-wise--were attacking her. This one genius writes--and this is the dumbest line ever that I was talking about--"RIP in peace." Isn't that something? They think there's this word RIP that is not an acronym. What happens to us once we leave third grade or whatever it? Because most third graders are smarter than adults. They certainly have better language and writing skills.
Also, lots of obese middle aged men writing the word "biyatch." Where are these people? Are they out among us? Did I hold the door open for one yesterday at the Starbucks? Because when that happens, that person seems outwardly normal. We say "thanks" and "no problem" to each other, but I don't think these people--of which are are millions in this cult--have that in them. I clicked on some of the profiles, because I wanted to know what these people do. I would learn that a fifty-three-year-old man, who wrote "ur gonna die slow," was a high school baseball coach. Think about that. What are we doing to our young people in this country? What chance are we giving them to learn, to acquire not just the skills they need but the skills that help broaden a life? What chance do you have when you grow up in a house like this? What language skills could you ever even have? What values could you have when you'd have to rebel, in essence, against your environment and all you were taught and all you were taught by example? People don't have that level of individuality and purpose. That's someone one out of twenty million. So then more people like these people are funneled into the world.
Portnoy's employees all refer to him as an ethical person because he pays them a lot and I expect that he has this "straight shooter" bedside manner in how he talks terms with them, which the simple-minded will inflate to a general conception of "fairness." It's like the subject-verb declarative sentence approach to writing, which a simple brain automatically thinks must be lucid, because it is so simple and elsewhere they don't understand anything, because they can barely read. So they tout, in the extreme, that which they can manage to.
My friend last night asked if this was the same guy who saw a naked picture of Tom Brady's son a number of years ago and commented on the size of his penis, which is what Portnoy did, calling it a "howitzer." If you think someone who does that is a good person, I don't know what to tell you. That's disturbing. No, disturbing is not enough. If someone makes a comment like that, you never let them near your family or children. There is something fundamentally warped in you and you are a danger if you think and talk in these terms. He actually said, "a fucking howitzer," and then defended saying this. Last night I also saw that he had produced a hoodie, with the word Revenge on it, and something about Business Insider, which had written this piece about him, and people were buying it--again, men in their fifties--at $60 a pop and posting screen shots of their orders.
It can be hard to believe that one is technically the same species as such...sometimes I want to say animals, but animals are efficient and noble creatures, who go about their lives with purpose they do not veer from. I admire animals. I think we can learn from them. I think in some ways, they are on a different level than us, because they do not go wrong like we do. Or not nearly as often. There are, for example, not millions of owls like there are millions of these people I am describing in this entry. How do you say to your wife that you put $60 on the credit card bill for a Dave Portnoy revenge hoodie? What is that conversation like?
There's a guy named Jerry Thornton, who looks about sixty, who works for Barstool as a blogger. He used to be on the sports shows here in Boston, where his role was essentially this kind of after-the-game sideline reporter sort of deal, where they'd pipe him in to report what people were saying online. His thing is to be quip-y, and surface level smart. He was the rare person among these people who you could tell had read a few books. His language skills are higher. A couple years ago, I saw that he had posted something saying someone had written the worst article on the Patriots that he had ever seen, and it was so condescending and pretentious and from someone who didn't know sports at all, and before I checked to see who he was referring to, I knew that he was talking about the broken Scott Stossel, The Atlantic's charity case who sabotaged me out of a six figure job and whose days in these journal pages is just beginning. Thornton isn't dumb. But again, he looks sixty, and he works for Barstool. Is that good? To be an elder statesman at a place like this? I intend to make a lot of money--an amount I won't cap with an imagined ceiling for which I am shooting--but there is no amount of money you could give me to associate with "values" such as these. I don't know how you explain that to yourself. To your soul, even. To people you respect. I couldn't say that to Kimball or Norberg or my sister. My nieces as they get older. You need an outsized capacity, if you're not just fundamentally warped, to be able to lie to yourself.
Again, what makes us this way? What happens to us as we go along individually to render us thusly, and what happens to us at the collective level such that here we are as a group? It's like there are mutations in our cells that make us no longer human, and we are post-human monsters instead. But again, there is that expanse, the space traveled from reality left so far back in the distance, that I honestly wonder how many were ever human in the first place.