META: Adventures in Comprehension-- Why I did it...

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Sat Mar 10 19:46:20 PST 2007

I did bother to read your other issues; I chose not to dignify them
with a response.

I don't remember having a traitor arc in the original run of
Teenfactor, and I seem to recall being against such a story from the
start.  I could be wrong; feel free to refresh my memory.

As much as I dislike the plotting and the idea, it is your execution
with which I find the most fault, as always.  Whatever you pretend you
are communicating to the reader almost never comes across.  It's
always half-assed and fumbled-towards.

If you knew how to actually write a paragraph-- let alone a story-- I
think you could work wonders.

I'm no angel. My early writing stinks and my characterization was
shoddy.  But I got better.  Hell, even Ed Wood got better.

You're like a Bizarro-Ozu: doing the same thing in exactly the same
way and occupying exactly the same space.  The only difference was,
Ozu knew what he was doing and was good at it.  He occupied a space
that was worth exploring.  Why you choose to stubbornly remain in a
heaping, festering pile of shit and flail about is beyond me.

>   2) Almost every issue has the narrator going to places within
> themselves that make them (as characters) uncomfortable.

What's the point of going beyond a comfort zone if you're not
intelligent enough to pay it off?  You're like a machine that spits
out ideas that could be cool, but never spends the time to execute
them, to make them _count_ for something-- for anything!  Slicing a
pig open isn't a dissection; dissection, whether in writing or
science, requires skill, talent, and a little creativity.

> Tom claims that the issue is opposite of how I was trying to portray
> Carolyn since I started writing her.   Which is total crap.

In your ROAD TO KILLFILE WARS, you somehow (and most likely
accidentally) managed to write Carolyn as a real adult woman with real
adult problems, dissatisfactions, and flaws.  In the offending story,
you reduced her to a child.  Carolyn-- in any itineration, in any
mood-- would never say, "Electra, you are so dead!"

It's like a child's idea of what anger is, of what adulthood is.
Which, then, makes it intensely personal, doesn't it?

That dialogue is also what we call a "cool line".  Cool lines, of
course, have nothing to do with characterization, theme, or
storytelling; they have everything to do with ending a scene,
especially if you're not intelligent enough to end the scene with any
actual depth.

> My viewpoint on Carolyn and Electra has always been that you can't
> really forgive someone until you've walked int their shoes.

And it's a facile viewpoint, the kind of thematic ice cream that
M*A*S*H or other crappy sitcoms might scoop up for the unsuspecting
adult.  It's as facile as "the heroes are just as bad as the villains"
and other nihilistic cynicisms that you insist on mistaking for actual
depth, intelligence, or thought.  It's as stupid as "any strong
reaction is a sign of good writing" and I think you use it to excuse
your faults.

You remind me of a filmmaker I know, a friend of mine, who had tried
to make a really huge movie.  Over six years of his life, dozens of
cast members and reshoots, hundreds of hours of footage, and, in the
end, it simply wasn't very good.

And he said to me that he was depressed, because people were
complaining about his movie, which he thought was brilliant.  And he
said, "they just can't look past all the bad sound and crappy camera
work and bad acting and writing and editing to see what a good movie
it really is!"

And I'm sorry, Jesse; I've tried.  I've really tried to look past the
bad sentence construction, the bad grammar and spelling, the haphazard
characterization, the cynicism, the subplotitis, and the intellectual
laziness to see what a good writer you really are.  And I can't see

I've tried.  I've tried to give advice, and I've tried to help you
feel included.  When you were dedicating yourself to "destroying the
LNH", I was one of the few to pay attention to you and try to show you
what a nice little corner of the internet the LNH really was.  When
you wanted to make The Team the sister book to Teenfactor, I didn't
flinch.  I didn't always read every issue, and I didn't always
understand everything I read, but I let you use my characters and,
occassionally, you'd surprise me with a good idea.

But it was always, always, always a surprise.  Because there were so
many bad ideas.  So many bad characters, plots, and scenes, and, then,
all of the sudden-- a diamond in the shit.  But just because I find
one diamond doesn't mean I look forward to scuba diving for others.

I wonder sometimes if you've written a single compelling-- strike
that, competent-- paragraph.

What you have done is mutilate my characters.  And I let you do it for
a time.

What you have done is to go ahead with a story after I voiced my
disapproval.  Which forced me to respond publicly.

What you have done is posted a self-aggrandizing explanation for the
offending story, in which you implied that I was too stupid or lazy to
read your whole story.  Which, y'know, is par for the course.  It's
your personal style.

And I've tried, Jesse.  I've tried really hard to look past the
pettiness, the selfishness, the attention-seeking; I've tried to look
past all the times you showed how utterly you failed to grasp the
concept of a public sandbox, even to this day-- even to this past
year; I've tried to look past  the "witty" put-downs and the bizarre
behaviour ("no one can use the word divine, I've copyrighted it!";
"Sig.ago's mine!"; "I can kill your character if I want to!"?) to see
what a swell guy you really are.

But I can't, because you're not.  You are a terrible human being,
Jesse Willey, completely without any value whatsoever.

You are a spoiled child, and until you grow the fuck up, I'm not going
to read any of your stories, now that you're back (and of course we
all *knew* you were coming back, after you were done posturing and
pouting and playing the victim, you over-reacting self-centered emo-

Though, on the other hand, I might read your future stories.

After all, without someone else's characters and plotlines to butcher,
you might actually come up with something resembling an original,
intelligent thought.


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