Friday, January 26, 2007

Pants on Fire

It's small and petty, but I really do not like being called a liar.

Last March I ran a little piece about Hal Jordan's brother being as clumsy as Hal.

Yesterday Scipio ran the same comment over the same panel. I did not believe that he had deliberately copied my article, but I knew he had been aware of the original, so I lightheartedly pointed this out to him, expecting an "oops, sorry" type of response, and that would have been the end of it.

Instead he disclaimed knowledge of my piece, claiming he had stopped reading my blog before this article was published.*

Once I'd shown that he had to have read the article because he had responded to it in the comments section, he then changed his tune to "pardon me for not memorizing everything that has appeared on your blog! How silly of me!" which is interesting because it's still refusing to acknowledge any connection between the two near-identical articles, while attempting to fudge the issue by implying that it is absurd that he should remember everything I've written.

Of course I never suggested that he had done any such thing, but the possibility that when he saw the same panel again recently, the comment I had associated with it resurfaced in his mind seems far from impossible**. I know I look at images now and then that have all kinds of sensual associations. There was even one picture that would make me feel nauseous when I saw it for a long time because the first time I saw it I was sick.

But rather than admit the possibility that the two articles might be connected, even unconsciously, he takes pokes at me when responding to other people on unrelated matters. As if calling me names will absolve him of his error. At this rate it's only a matter of time before he blames me for the whole thing.

Update: Scipio has now locked comments on that particular thread so he could get the last word in. In this final post he:
a) suggests that I was copying him for posting at all on the subject because he was the one that started looking for examples of Hal Jordan getting hit on the head, so presumably anyone else who posted such images was also copying him rather than sharing the joke,
b) suggests that my post was so much in his traditional style that it's copying him anyway,
c) says that he'd consider it acceptable to steal stuff he'd seen on my blog and post it under his own name because I have so few readers that nobody would notice, and finally
d) sneers at my request that he show a little respect.

I'm actually quite stunned that something so trivial could spawn quite so much venom and all around nastiness.

*In fact the most recent comment I can find from Scipio is a response to a post published six months later.
**In his final word he alludes to a sense of deja vu about the article, but only wonders if he has posted it before. It doesn't occur to him that it might be someone else's work.


Sleestak said...

I have always seen Scipio's comic blogging site as an extension of and part of his business and if I was in a similar place I would feel defensive or proprietary about a shtick that I might see on another site. The one problem at the non-professional level of blogging is that the participants are not taken seriously and are seen as a community of amateurs. Often, original content is seen as fair game for others to exploit. Questions would arise, and I think fairly so, in regards to familiar content showing up when it was not part of any recent blogging activity or 'sharing the joke'.

When I started the Head Injury Project documenting Hal's mishaps in a flickr set I was concerned I would be annoying a blogger I liked, but I acknowledged the entire project started because Scipio gave me the idea to do it. As far as I know, he didn't have a problem with it. If he did I would have shelved it (I only update it now as I come across samples during normal reading or unless someone points one out. I should check all my JLA for examples but I get cross-eyed reading all those Silver Age books).

As far as I can tell (reader counts and site hits aside), Comic Book Bloggers are actually a kind of a small and interconnected community. There are many, many of them out there but the relationships among them are actually kind of limited and nearly incestuous. I may have that assumption entirely wrong but from someone not using my blog for business promotion that is how it looks from my side. Wherever I look I see the same names repeatedly appear. That means I either don't search far enough out from familiar environs or the community is as localized as I think it is. Nearly every comic site in what I call the 'local group' of the blogoverse kind of feeds off the others a little bit. A certain post will pique interest in a subject and everyone will enthusiastically join in on the fun, picking up and running with ideas, memes and subjects until the gag ages and another replaces it.

Like most bloggers I have experienced seeing a few posts on other sites that were similar to some of mine, but the out-of-context panel game has a small board to play on so I mentally file it as coincidence. I've also seen a few that were direct swipes (not just from text-mining for spam) and one that I believe was an honest error in re-posting by a 3rd party who didn't know where they got it from. I pointed it out to the re-poster only because it required some extensive photo-manipulations on my part (extensive for me, because I am not that good at it) and because I was feeling sensitive that day about discovering many 'articles' of mine cut and pasted onto spam sites and linked to bogus home loans and comic book 'news'.

One of the things I see on the net often mirrors something that happens in retail with some customers. The customer will make some assertion about a something and then keep pressing forwards with it, continuing to pursue a problem that was quickly fixed as they requested and more besides. In no time at all the customer has escalated a situation to absurd levels because pride does not allow them to stop or step back.

In the March post you were riffing on and expanding on a concept that has since grown beyond it's origins (though still 'belonging' to Scipio) that many found humorous and wanted to contribute to. I think later an honest mistake in duplication was made and to be honest, when I saw Scipio's recent entry I assumed he had re-posted something of his own from the past for some reason because the gag was so familiar. If your interpretation of what he is suggesting is accurate then yes, the reaction seems a bit much for a good-natured 'gotcha' by you as two different bloggers address a variation of a theme months apart. I'm really hoping that all the friendly internet relationships I've experienced so far, tenuous though they might be among the comic bloggers, are actually stronger and more respectful than you show them to be in this case.

Marionette said...

All the information is still available as far as I am aware, so you needn't rely on my interpretation. Go read the back and forth in the comments to his post. If you think I've misinterpreted the situation, feel free to tell me.

I don't particularly like my interpretation anyway.

Sleestak said...

I read them. Just being diplomatic about it.

Marionette said...

I admit that made me laugh. But it would be nice if just one time I got a little support. If someone actually stood up and said "that reaction is unwarranted and mean".

I'm a little sick of the way the fence groans under the strain of everyone rushing to go sit on it while the school bully pounds on me.

Barry said...


I thought there was arrogance in the remarks made back to you. You could tell you were upset, but trying to restrain your comments. To just push forward in an attacking way, and to continue to insult you and yor site was wrong to me. I looked at your site counter and his, both were impressive, way higher than mine.

People do read your post. I check it out often. I guess some see it as I am better than they are when Blogging. Whether or not anyone reads your Blog, if it has content that might be original in some way it is just polite to mention the place the idea was found. At the very least say that I saw this somewhere and.......

I would not link to his site myself as to not help increase his statistics.

That's the Spirit said...


As sleestak says, it's a small community. i read both your and Scipo's blogs regularly. Scipio is a hilarious guy, absolutely a joy to read, but this is not the first time I've noticed a little snippiness or defensiveness on his part whenever anyone calls him on anything. (Possibly unfair generalization about Scipio's "type" here redacted.) It's funny how the snarkiest mockers sometimes cannot stand the idea of picking at themselves even a bit.

Yes, marionette, that reaction was unwarranted and mean. I feel for you. i honestly do.

But don't let it get you down.

That's the Spirit said...

PS: and anyway, you get another chance at a last word here, right? If only with the pair of labels you attached to this post, which made me, at least, laugh.

Anonymous said...

Well, the audience he's so proud of just decreased by one. I'd been thinking of taking The Absorbascon off my reading list for a while anyway - mostly because of its dullness in the past few months, which is a much bigger crime than bitterness in my book.

I think you're completely in the right here, to be honest. The idea that Scipio should have some kind of ownership over the topic of Hal Jordan hitting his head is completely ridiculous. He's posting images copied from comic books with a short comment attached, and nobody is allowed to post anything on the same topic? Bah. And even so, if his comment on your thread back then had been something like "stop copying me" his current attitude would be more understandable, but it was nothing of the sort.

All this notwithstanding, the insufferable smugness of his "final words" alone would probably have been enough to knock me over to your side of the fence...

Marionette said...

Thanks guys. You make me feel better.

I'm gonna find something silly to post.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this is the work of Scipio's arch nemesis form the 30th century, "Snipio".
Or Scipio is just being a dick.

Disintegrating Clone said...

This is probably a case of subconscious mimicry. You absorb an idea but forget the context in which you found it. Then it pops up later and you think it's your own. To that extent, it probably was not intentional copying.

But the best response is acknowledge that the mimicry has happened and apologise. Scipio's response was self-important and nasty.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for alerting me to this controversy. I've been bothered by some of Scipio's dickish comments in the past, and this was the last straw. I'm taking the Absorbascon off my reading list, as well.

(Of course, my bigger issue is that I shop at his store! I love the staff, but I can't stand Scipio's on-line persona. What do I do?!? I haven't decided yet.)

I appreciate your perspective on comics; I think it's unique. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

What's the matter?, Can't take the heat?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure she can take the heat, but he acted like a dick.He should have said sorry or oops, and it would have been over.

notintheface said...

How can you say that Scipio posted the same panel? Yours was in color, while his was in black & whi....

Aaahh, just messin' with you, Mari!

Captain Great said...

God, what a self-important dick!

Well, regardless of what Scipio thinks of your blog I quite like it. It's nice to read a comics themed blog that revolves around more than the tired old "boy, the silver age sure was wacky!" schitck.

Anonymous said...

I think the real problem is one I suffer from. I write things in the heat of the moment and while my facts may be right my emotional heat tends to make me feel something is one thing when it's actually another.

It's obvious that Scipio saw your post last year. He may or may not have consciously copied it. I sometimes don't remember something in the instant I'm asked about it and then remember a few minutes later. I agree, a simple mea culpa is then in order. But at no time did Scipio imply you were a liar. That came out in your response. So while it may have felt that way it wasn't necessarily so.

I think his jerky response to that stemmed from saying he had made you out to be one. I'm not defending him, but the war of words started with at your end as near as I can see. I would bristle too if accused of that and maybe I would have responded hastily. Thus, a kafuffle is born.

Still, a simple calm response on his part would have ended it. But pride rages large on the internet.

Anonymous said...

I should add that I was horrified at how insulting Scipio's response was and how they grew in meanness so quickly.

Rather than attempting to talk it out he just started denigrating you left and right. His mama should have raised him better.

Not cool.