This shit is like a hammer coming down on my head.
Woke up to a G+ thing about Paolo leaving social media. You can read that here.
So far both sides have sent me their version of events, this consisted of exactly the same email string.
Both sides are genuinely upset and mystified as to why this happend to them.
Paolo performs his upset, Zak tersely admits to his.
Just for clarities sake - I have regular suicidal ideation, self-harm ideation, this weird self-assault thing I picked up somewhere, regular mood swings, days lost to what I suppose must be some kind of depression since I often don't have clear memories of exactly what I did and general feelings of self-loathing.
This is not in any way a cry for help, a request for victim status or for goddamn messages of fucking support from the fucking internet. I'm stating this purely becasue during this post I effectively call everyone involved with this situation mentally ill, or at least neurologically weird, and I want it to be clear that I don not place myself morally above anyone I am describing.
I also say this below: "You can publicly claim victim status for being damaged and mentally ill, which you very persistently do, but you can't do that AND expect people to regard you as reasonable, its either/or."
So by my own standards I am hung by my own petard.
WHAT HAPPENED IN MY THREAD
Honestly I don't remember shit all about this thread. I am pretty sure that the reason it doesn't exist any more because I deleted it and I deleted it a good long while ago, months at least, as it became irritating to me.
This is my policy in any thread where Zak or anything else is annoying me to the point where I think its going to affect my quality of life which is that, if its my thread, I delete it and dump the whole thing, and if its someone elses thread, I mute it.
So the reason that the 'evidence' doesn't exist isn't because anyone accused of anything deleted or removed it, its because I deleted it.
Because the thread is gone the only thing we have to rely on is the memories of the people involved and whatever sceencaps people took, and yes, they took screencaps, something I nether expected or suspected.
Basically they get into it and Paolo calls Zak a dick.
Zak drops a truth-bomb about how he does things.
When Paolo says "Even when I told them that something they wrote online (and later was deleted) made me feel like they were threatening me and my family, they managed to ignore that threatening people and their families is kind of bad" this is what he is referring to;
Ok so the way I read this was that Zak is pissed with me for not defending him when Paolo called him a dick so he is making a point about how forcefully he would defend me in similar circumstances.
(More on my attitude to this below*.)
The way Zak describes this, (in an email to me) is "(obviously this isn't even directed at paolo, much less his family, and it's a statement of loyalty to my coworkers, not . a threat to anyone)"
And Paolo took this as a theat, or a potential threat to his family & friends.
Its very, very hard for me to read it that way. As stated above, its addressed directly to me and I think its about me.
I'm trying to get into a headspace where someone else would read it from, and I think, if you read it from a very different perspective you could interpret it as;
called you a dick in one of my threads
(If Paolo Greco questioned your behaviour or insulted you in my digital space)
I would make sure their family remembered my name for ten generations
(If Paolo Greco questions my friends I will attack his family)
And that is as close as I can get to how Paolo might read that, but I have to put work into it and I am genuinely supprised that that is how anyone read it.
The way I read it was; "I, Zak Smith consistantly help and support you, Patrick Stuart and now this person makes vague unsupported claims about my character and you do NOTHING."
People call you a dick because you act like a dick.
Sometimes, when looking at the way you argue online, its difficult to be certain whether you are being deliberately contemptuous, snide, condescending and dismissive, or whether your brain just works a bit differently.
But you have stated publicly and in private to me that you believe your aggressive arguing style is fully morally justified and leads to good outcomes. So I can only hold you fully responsible for that, which I think you would prefer.
I think this is insanely, overwhelmingly and provably wrong. Its most demonstrably wrong when you get into a shit fight with a neurotic like Paolo, someone who lacks the strength to either disconnect or fight back directly.
Regardless of how aware you are of your behaviour, you have a triple digit IQ and it would require someone functionally insane not to see the endlessly repeated pattern of your arguments. The same things keep happening, with the same result.
Clearly at this stage you think those results are good.
Put simply, it is logically impossible for you to look at your own behaviour and say 'I am not an aggressive man'. You are aggressive, you enjoy stressing and intellectually dominating people and you actively try to do this in online conversation.
You persistently adopt bold, challenging and widely-encompassing positions in arguments online and then defend your position through invisibly re-defining the original terms of your statement and forcing ever-more-narrow definitions of terms and evidence until it is logically impossible for you to be wrong.
Clearly, you regard this as a natural and morally legitimate form of argument but for a wide variety of people watching this is a bad and flawed way to behave and reads like someone using technical trickery to avoid taking moral responsibility for being wrong and to dodge the possibility of ever having to actually back down on anything.
(I would like to distinguish this from your 'bullet point' style of counter-argument which I belive is often situationally valid, considering that people who hate you will commonly merge together true and half-true claims with general moral feelings and outright lies. I can see no way to respond to this without effectively 'bullet pointing' each individual fact.)
The refusal to admit wrong, back down or to risk suffering even mild status loss is a factor that comes up again and again and again with all the people who are pissed off with you.
You think its reasonable, and in fact necessary, to not just un-follow people, but to block them, and not just disagree with them socially but to do what you can to stop them making money. This certainly extends to refusing to work with them in any way. How much further it might extend is unknown.
You would not survive the rules you impose on others.
You were caught lying and pretending to be someone else online.
Your defence was that someone else you knew was doing it, and that you let it happen, but you 'take responsibility' - this sounds a lot like your defence for the donjoin, which was that it wasn't you, but you 'take responsibility'.
Well very well, I will treat you as you request and regard you as responsible.
You are responsible for faking the identity of someone you hate online. You are a liar. I will remind you of your own very often repeated advice on lying;
This is a screen cap of either you, or someone intimately connected to you, and proceeding with your knowledge, pretending to be someone else to make them look bad;
If the people around you treated you according to your own law, they would have no option but to ostracise you, block you, refuse to work with you and never support anything you did at a minimum.
If we assume a more active interpretation of your own advice, those same people should actively publicise that they think you are an aggressive and condescending liar and try to persuade others not to work with you or employ you.
You Shame People and Make Them Feel Like Shit
As a cumulative effect of your aggression, your recursive arguing style, your contemptuous rhetoric and your mercilessness, people end arguments with you feeling shamed. You make people feel dirty and abused after fighting with you.
Even if someone is technically beaten in an argument, they feel so demeaned and diminished by the process that, if they are weak, they can't let it go and look for any opportunity for revenge.
The difference here is not between people who are hurt or unhurt by you, but between those who are hurt and let it go, those who are hurt and disconnect, and those who are hurt and paradoxically attracted, obsessed and drawn in. Paolo is of this third type, as are many of your most obsessive opponents.
Sniping & Stalking
The stalking of peoples accounts and feeds is, if not ideal, then at least understandable. If you are being conspired against, and I do believe that there are a number of people entirely willing to bend and ignore the truth in order to hurt you, then seeing what they may be saying about you is perhaps necessary.
Its still creepy as fuck though. David Hill might be a fucking nutter but going through David Hills twitter feed for AGES in order to collect the evidence that he is a fucking nutter only puts you one slim step above him on the sanity scales.
The sniping and crowing is less forgiveable and unecessary and damages you in meaningful ways.
You never let anything go.
Even after a victory or temporary calm, or a pause in hostilites, you consistantly and repeatedly introduce the names and works of your enemies into your own posts, texts and statements in a variety of subtle and not-subtle ways.
You poke, prod, provoke and antagonise, even when things are quiet.
Its possible you do this to deal with your alienation and anger at the way you have been treated and demeaned but it is still pathetic.
Most essentially, it undercuts any possiblity of peace or truce and ultimately makes you unsafe.
Its impossible to state to anyone offended or angry with you;
"If you leave him alone, he will leave you alone."
You won't. Even if someone steps away, refuses to mention you and confines their criticism to only the most emotionally distant and technical statements, you will still bring them up, ad-nauseam, even years after the initial event.
And again you will not extend the same behaviour to others that you demand for yourself. Your sniping is honourable and decent and dedicated to reminding everyone just how terrible these liars and harassers are. Their sniping and stalking *is* harassment.
Different IRL/In Text
In every single conversation I have had with you via webcam and in person - your behaviour was almost completely different in nature and effect to any of the things described above.
In person, your awareness of the emotional and cognitive states of others is finely grained and your behaviours are often conciliatory.
In person you are rarely, or almost never, directly insulting or contemptuous.
In person you don't engage in long recursive arguments based on fine interpretations of logic.
In person you are usually fine, or at least accepting of someone being wrong, or mistaken and in person I have never seen you try to intellectually dominate and break someone the way you do in text online.
The really visibly powerful difference in your behaviour, both in detail, but especcially when taken cumulatively as a whole, between your online text-based self and youe embodied personal self, is the strongest evidence that there is some kind of brain thing going on here
Even *just* including the qualities you would admit to, because you think they are good, the aggression and the binary mercilesness, those alone would be enough to reasonably call someone a dick.
If we include the recursive arguments, the shaming, the sniping and stalking, then it becomes completely reasonable for someone to say 'Zak Smith is a Dick' - if you take that to a lawyer as a libel case then they wouldn't accept it.
You are a neurotic bag of soup.
You persistently and publicly withdraw from conversations while simultaneously vaguebooking, sniping and wailing about those conversations.
You talked shit about Zak on G+ for years .
You talked shit about Zak on G+ while simultaneously saying that you didn't have a problem with him? Expecting people to hear which part of that statement exactly?
When Zak states, in the thread about Ben Miltons interviews, that "Paolo hates me for obscure reasons". - he is telling the truth, you did call him a dick, and you did vaguebook about him while also withdrawing from contact and refusing to answer questions.
The reasons why you would do that are obvious to anyone familiar with Zaks common behaviours, but the statement is still true.
AND - I don't remember Zak saying shit to you, or about you, until you started vaguebooking about him.
Is there any actual inciting incident in which he actually came after you directly for anything? Because so far as I can see his anger at you is based entirely on you rambling about him being 'toxic' and being a dick for years, but there is no point prior to that where he singles you out in any way.
Is there such a point?
You can publicly claim victim status for being damaged and mentally ill, which you very persistently do, but you can't do that AND expect people to regard you as reasonable, calm and reliable, its either/or.
I think, or guess, that you are possibly actually afraid, but its very hard for me to read that text cap from Zak as a meaningful threat to you.
(It also fully legitimises Zaks stalking tactics because clearly you were screen capping everything while he wasn't, putting him at an obvious disadvantage. If he had been more paranoid at the time then he would be able to reply to your context-less screen-cap with the full conversation.)
In my opinion the screen-cap shown is not intended as a threat against your family and, again, in my opinion, presenting it as such is questionable and somewhat suspicious, especially when Zak has been accused of calling, or arranging to be called, the homes of his opponents.
I still think that didn't happen - the only first hand source for that is David Hill and I think he is an unreliable, stupid and deceptive man.
But if I were Zak, reading your claim, it would seem to me a direct attempt to reawaken those claims with a poor standard of proof.
You've told me privately that you did not think that you were in danger but that you did feel threatened and that you had significant emotional distress.
Working out what you do and don't believe to be true and stating that would probably be better for everyone.
Your parting statement as a whole blurs together factual elements and unproven or un-demonstrated assumptions in a bath of emotion - its also clearly preformative, if you are leaving, you can just leave, ringing a big fucking bell and giving a speech on your way out is clearly a power play from a position of assumed weakness.
As far as your livelihood being threatened; yes, that is a possibility for anyone who disagrees with Zak and fails his rules. He has stated that ostracising people and effectively damaging their career is reasonable, good and, in fact, necessary. So anyone claiming that they were afraid of their careers being hurt after disagreeing with him may well be telling the truth.
A WAY FORWARD
There isn't one.
The personalities in question are too different, value different things, behave and react differently and, under a state of stress, which they will inflict on each other, will retreat to their core behaviours, which are diametrically opposed in important ways.
Everyone is too strange and mentally ill to change their ways now.
I think there will not be any reconciliation, the best possible result is an unsteady truce.
Zak should stop recommending that people should be blocked and banned, and that their careers be destroyed - this is the greatest point of difference between him and everyone else around him - they are not going to do it anyway.
Furthermore - it means that anyone disagreeing with Zak or arguing with him can reasonably - and truly - claim that they were afraid for their career.
Them claiming this can be taken as evidence of harassment by Zak, meaning he intensifies his attempts to get them banned or blocked, thereby reigniting and intensifying the cycle.
This is some rule-by-fear French Revolution shit, and it clearly doesn't work and clearly fucks everything up.
Zak - you can launch eternal war against everyone you think is a liar or monster, but it is a war you will never win. And in terms of morality - regardless of how you may see it, almost no-one else thinks you have a leg to stand on as you have visibly engaged in many of the behaviours you condemn.
And you should stop sniping in your work and your statements against people who have already left you the fuck alone for a long period of time. Again, this will be seen as provocation and harassment and will re-ignite the cycle.
The stalking is unpleasant, but bearable, providing it only ever comes up as a response to a false claim.
Paolo - and anyone else pissed off with or angry at Zak, should AVOID FUCKING VAGEUBOOKING about him. Burn a clear line between; "I don't like this guys personality" and "He systemically harrasses people."
Most importantly, make no VAGUE, GENERAL or INDISTINCT statements about him. If he did a particular thing, then talk about the thing, if you don't like his personality, then talk about the distinct element or behaviour you don't like. If you want to break contact, then break contact.
There is a certain kind of neurotic personality who is intensely vulnerable, bleeds anxiety and harm signals mixed with semi-aggression and is incapable of letting stuff go and walking away. And we see, time and time and time again, this exact kind of person come into contact with Zak, and they do their harm-signal-mixed-with-anxiety-mixed-with-slight-aggression thing, and Zak responds; "What's this? Aggression?" and its like watching someone being fed into a threshing machine every time.
Basically you can go and live with Sage LaTorra in the 'I-think-you-are-crazy-but-I'm-going-to-leave-you-alone' group, or you can flutter around being a fucking fool.
If both sides can find a way within yourselves to leave each other alone, you can have peace. If you don't do this then you get a war that will eat you all. Up to you.
(And you probably won't because, by this stage, you both think you are defending vital moral positions so to back down would be a significant loss of selfhood.)
On a personal note - I am angry and frustrated that this SHIT ate yet another day of my life. I am alienated and disconnected from this community which I have come to regard with a degree of despair and sorrow and contempt.
Fundamentally, if a society wants to die, it wants to die.
*I DO NOT WANT YOU TO CRUSH MY ENEMIES
I actively do not want you or anyone to argue this way on my behalf. A seconds thought about my personality and values should make this clear.
If you do feel the need to argue on my behalf, I would prefer the argument to be
- Emotionally neutral, or at least non-aggressive.
- Preferably literal.
- And once done, get the fuck out.
I absolutely do not want anyone, or their families, or their friends frightened, terrorised or threatened in any way AND, even if I have a breakdown or a burst of rage or resentment and decide I *do* want these things, if you are my friend I would want you to bear with me and try to recall me to my better self rather than to add to, enhance or exploit my rage.
I do not believe aggression or hatred are good things, I believe they are, at best, narrowly situationaly useful and act as a kind of cognitive and moral poison or addictive drug the rest of the time. I think they are a-priori bad-but-sometimes-necessary things.