To anyone asking if I've seen this post by Many Morbid about Zak Smith.
Yes I've seen it. I believe it. I didn't see any of these events take place but the person she describes matches my view of his personality down to a tee.
Highly intelligent, deeply manipulative narcissist who rules through a combination of building little systems of control and absolute sustained aggression for anyone who opposes or steps out of line for even a second.
You feel crazy dealing with him or walking away from him because you are dealing with a reality that it seems only you can see.
Its the dual-vision of being friends with Zak. There's this person who's such a great guy, and so interested in you personally, so talented, intelligent, charming and funny, with rare good taste.
And then there is this other guy. The one that comes out in text form usually. In arguments about nerd stuff. This guy is condescending, aggressive, clever and manipulative. This guy will say anything to win some fucking internet argument and never, ever, ever admits wrong, backs down or recognises the humanity in his opponents.
The first guy has friends who like him. They second guy has tools, things he uses, doling them out like playing cards or little army men.
At first it seems like the vituperative shit online is just a flaw in the larger person. Something you will have to put up with, a manageable flaw in an otherwise good man.
It takes a long fucking time to work out that the second guy is the real actual guy. That is the person making the decisions and for whom the decisions are made. The first person, the good guy, is just a set of behaviours he puts on like clothes.
Here's me as chief bullet-catcher; (I still remember how genuinely bad I felt for him because of the lies people were telling about him online.)
July 2014 http://falsemachine.blogspot.com/2014/07/zak-smith-is-not-homophobe.html
Here's me putting together a history of his dealings with RPG.NET and other culture war issues. RPG.NET didn't like that, I think because it made them look crazy. Zak also didn't like it because it caught him in at last one actual direct lie, impersonating Shannon Appelcine on Reddit. Something that became a joke, or a mistake done by a friend, as soon as he was caught. I later found out he has been quoting that post in his defence, but selectively editing that part.
There are lots of little gaps like that, small mistakes, which you notice as you spend time around him. He doesn't make many, but they build up over time.
February 2017 http://falsemachine.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-timeline-of-zak-wars.html
And here is my schitzo pattern-recognition finally pulling the plug on that relationship. I felt then, I imagine only a small shadow of what Mandy is feeling now. I was a fucking mess.
September 2017 http://falsemachine.blogspot.com/2017/09/fuck-all-of-you.html
I haven't taken any money from Maze of the Blue Medusa since that date. It has all gone to charity and I am really fucking relieved that is the case. If you are inside his networks you are inside his little system of power and loyalty.
And thank you, very much, to Mandy Morbid for writing her post and saying this stuff out loud. She has set me free personally, and set a lot of people free, from ever giving a fuck about this guy ever again.