Jeff VanderMeer and Nick Mamatas: Bullies Who Invent Context, Enemies to Those in Recovery

I’ve already been transparent about the fact that I had an alcohol-fueled episode during a 36 hour period on Friday and Saturday, one in which I barely remember much of what I was doing. We’re talking vituperative emails and blackout drunk conversations that I don’t even recall on the phone with friends. Shameful assholic stuff that I would certainly not have done if I were sober. That’s why I attended a meeting today for the first time in my life. And that’s why I deleted my Twitter account. And that’s why I won’t be drinking again for a very long time, if ever. To all the friends who reached out to me and who know the true score and who actually know who I am and who have directed me to resources, thank you.

During the course of that hideous bender, a blog post in draft — seemingly listing the people who I wanted dead (a satirical holding place title that did not reflect the true intent of the list, of which more anon) and written after I had imbibed a large bottle of scotch, a six pack of beer, and a bottle of wine and was hardly in what I or any person would call a rational or clear-thinking place — was accidentally published and swiftly unpublished after I realized what I did. But blue-checkmarked authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Nick Mamatas (the latter, citing blue zone fighting, has also threatened me with a fight to the death and, as you can see from the screenshot, tried to hack my website) — two people who I have literally not thought about in years but that I was thinking about for reasons that shall soon become apparent, two people who I have said nothing about in more than a decade, two authors whose books I do not read and will not read and have no interest in reading or knowing in any way — but who have both gone out of their way to use their influence on Twitter, invoking my name to spread false rumors about me while also dredging up my drunkenly assembled list without context, which came from a very dark place that I hope you never have to experience. They are now so obsessed with me that they are literally scouring cached images of my website to impugn me and badmouth me. Trying to egg the addict back onto Twitter. These are clearly two harmful browbeaters who I will now not be including on the far more important list I was assembling and that I’m not supposed to talk about — one that involves submitting myself with humility and contrition to the people who I have wronged.

Mamatas and VanderMeer thrive on hating and injuring and hurting perceived enemies. (Here are a few examples. On October 7, 2020, VanderMeer claimed, sans evidence, that Dan Bloom “sent me strange and harassing emails, emailed venues I was speaking at insinuating that they could cut me loose.” Meanwhile, Weird Webzine, after not expressing enough fealty to Mamatas for a minimal contribution, was harassed by Mamatas on December 12, 2018.) People talked to me about the weirdly obsessive conduct of both men when I used to practice as a literary journalist. And it’s clear that it would delight them if I cracked. But I won’t. They want me to drink. They want me to be a raging asshole. They want me, in short, to suffer and be the worst human being possible. But they were on this list. Because I was thinking about the people for whom I had bad feelings about and trying to fix myself. I am truly baffled as to why I live rent-free in their heads. Because I have literally said or thought nothing at all about them for a good ten years. Not even in emails. But they seem peculiarly obsessed with me. They want you to know that I am an irredeemable human being. The timing here — and this was initiated by Mamatas — isn’t an accident. I’ve been public in other online places about the fact that I’m unemployed and in the running for jobs right now. And aside from disrupting my efforts at recovery, these two people want to take potential bread out of my mouth by making sure the social media deck is stacked against me. Which is something I wouldn’t even do to my worst enemy.

I know there is no appealing to either Mamatas or VanderMeer. Both have, in my personal dealings with them (the last I contacted them in any way was more than a good ten years ago, for Pete’s sake), possessed neither a stain of empathy nor an ability to commiserate and I’m hardly the only person who they’ve hunted down and invented stories and motivations about. I hope one day that the many victims of VanderMeer and Mamatas eventually come forward. My list should never have been published and was not intended to be published. It was the rough draft for another list. And it had a bold title. Because I have a sick sense of humor. But I just figured I would provide the appropriate context as I remain committed to carrying on with two very important things: (a) not returning to Twitter and (b) not drinking.

I am not afraid of telling the truth about myself. Even the unpleasant parts. And I’m certainly not afraid of either Mamtas or VanderMeer, who are both little more than schoolyard bullies in the form of sad and resentful middle-aged men and who will undoubtedly twist this essay (and the list with the acerbic title) to serve their own wildly narcissistic and abusive ends.

11 Comments

  1. Hey Ed,

    I’m sorry to hear that you do not know how to read or use the Internet, and that you lack basic knowledge of cultural trends.

    To wit:

    My Googling my name and Google results showing me the cache of your recent post with your deathlist is not me trying to hack this website. It’s you posting insane deathlists online, period.

    A blue zone has nothing to do with fighting. Blue zones are regions of the world with many long-lived people in them. Ikaria, where my parents are from, is one of them. (Only 8,790,000 Google results for Blue Zone, plus a couple of books, etc.)

    Taiji IS a martial art, but it is also a longevity/quality-of-life exercise. I’m going to be alive for a very long time is the point I made, and it’s a point that was immediately comprehensible to every literate English-speaker who read it, except for you.

    If I wanted to challenge you to a fight, Ed, I would. There would be no mistaking it, and I’d have no problem handling you. I train. You don’t. I’m calm. You’re not. All I really want you to do is to stop drinking, since you clearly cannot handle it—and the twelve steps will give you someone to unload your grief and pain and regrets upon without these occasional public spectacles you neurotically insist upon. I’m glad to read that you are going to do this. Since you do clearly do not know how Google works, I have “hacked” the Brooklyn area AA meeting page and am pasting it here for you:

    https://brooklynintergroup.org/brooklyn/

    I’d also recommend that you refrain from calling other people narcissists.

    Good luck out there!

  2. Nick: Well, I did say that there was no appealing to you. You clearly didn’t read this post beyond a few paragraphs. Once again, this was not a “death list.” It was a different kind of list with an acerbic working title — with numerous drafts and numerous sentiments. Only one draft was accidentally published and immediately unpublished. You did not KNOW the context. You ASSUMED it. Once again, I literally have not afforded you a single thought in ten years — up until I was preparing the list and I was compiling names. I blocked you on Twitter for years. You insist on continually harassing me. I’ll leave others to interpret your ugly comment (complete with its gauche ableist language) for what it truly says and reveals about you and your sham and bizarrely defensive “Zen outlook.”

  3. Hi Ed,

    You’re lying again. It is a “deathlist.” It’s not a “KILL list”, true, but it is a deathlist and it is, as you know and admit, an inappropriate thing to have ever published. That you spent some time revising it so that you had several drafts makes it more ridiculous , not less so. That you spun my tweet, which says nothing more than that I am glad you deleted the post and that I will live a very long life thanks to my exercise regime and regional background, into some death threat is simply you telling on yourself for the millionth time.

    The full context is available here. I read the whole thing. I know exactly what it was. (Again, this is Google cache, not a hack.)

    And, of course, you did mention me some time ago on Twitter when you found an adorable person there who was complaining that he no longer feels safe using hashtags to rally harassment squads against writers after I QTed him once. (He added me to a list of abusers and assholes.) Perhaps you don’t recall, and it’s fine if you don’t. I have never harassed you. You are lying.

    Once again, I am glad to hear that you are in recovery. I look forward to hearing from you when you reach step nine and are prepared to make amends for this dishonest and defamatory blog post. In this, I suspect I am alone among the people on your deathlist.

  4. From that cached version which I have removed from your comment (aside from not wanting to hurt these people, there were numerous versions with various introductory paragraphs of my amends list — I don’t even remember writing that one; that’s how aggro-blitzed I was): “Please note that I do not actually wish violence or death on these people.” That was from a version that had been typed in a drunken frenzy. I don’t recall that tweet. I have deleted my Twitter account and will not be returning. But your clear level of obsession with ANY reference to yourself, even remotely, and anything I have ever possibly said about you over tens of thousands of tweets is deeply sociopathic. Trust me when I say that I have spent perhaps 45 seconds tops in the last ten years thinking about you. I know this is an affront to your solipsism, but it’s true. It is clear that you greatly enjoy hurting people (which includes the people on the list, who ALSO do not need this in their lives) and violating their privacy and that your wishes for recovery are completely insincere.

  5. Dear Ed,

    When I saw that you had published a list of people you wished dead, I truly could not believe my ears or eyes. I thought, who could do something so brazenly irresponsible, toxic, and dangerous to a group of people who have never done anything besides be successful and generous artists. Up ’til now I’ve only heard of you, and from what I understand you’re a sad little man with no self-awareness or accountability and for that reason I never engaged with your writing. But now, as you’ve publicly named literal human beings as those deserving death, and co-opted recovery language to avoid taking responsibility, it has become personal.

    I wish I hadn’t had to, truly, but I read this post three times because I could not believe that nowhere in this drivel was an apology. I cannot believe that I have to explain this to a “writer,” but saying you would not have done something if you were sober isn’t the same as an apology. I have a hard time believing you would have even written this sorry excuse for a post if you hadn’t been called out publicly (and appropriately) for being so violent and full of hate. You, unfortunately, have a public platform to influence those with the same amount of intelligence you have (which is to say, none). Anyone can see that list and make it their mission to carry it out (we’ve all seen the horrid shit that Trump supporters have pulled because he said so. Am I comparing you to Trump? Yes.). What would you do if your name was on a Death List? Would you think, “oh, he was drinking? No need for an apology!” Maybe you would, in case your disinterest over valuing other lives extends to your own, but I doubt it. In fact it seems like you think real highly of yourself, especially in cases where it isn’t warranted (I read your screed on your time at a vaccination site. I too worked in a similar position for quite some time and publicly dragging an overworked female public health professional because she couldn’t tolerate your petulant nonsense was is not the flex you think it is).

    Holding someone accountable isn’t bullying. Describing how much you drank before writing a vile post isn’t recovery.

    I couldn’t give a flying fuck if you learn from this experience, but it is important to me that you know how wrong you are.

    Sincerely,

    Corrie

  6. I will let the unbridled ugliness of your comment stand here, Corrie. You clearly didn’t grasp my post. I don’t want anyone on that list to die. And since you never saw the list, you have assumed that it was solely a collection of “successful artists.” When it was a list of people who I may have harmed at some point and who I had negative feelings about. The draft was never intended to be public or published. It was an inebriated hodgepodge of feelings in which there were several drafts and it was meant to be private. And much of it I don’t remember writing. Dwelling on this not only causes unnecessary harm to the people who were on that list, but it’s akin to revealing the members of those who attend a meeting. Mamatas violated that privacy, even when he was informed of the context. My feeling is that I don’t owe an apology to deliberately hurtful people who are deliberately misreading the context to serve their own solipsistic and hurtful ends and who are gleefully ridiculing me for taking accountability and seeking recovery. Turns out you don’t have to offer amends to hurtful people. If you really want to know how baleful and inhumane your worldview is, I recommend reading John Braithwaite — specifically, his thoughts on reintegrative shaming, backed up by a lot of data. Be well.

  7. Aha, “Corrie,” I know who you are. I will respect your anonymity and I won’t reveal your name, but it’s clear that you have a personal axe to grind and that you are fueled by hate. I literally have not thought or written about you in almost two decades. You’re literally holding onto a grudge for nineteen years. Let it go.

  8. I was on the death list and I thought it was very disturbing. Corrie was right. Your so-called apology was self-serving and insufficient. You have a lot of anger and need to figure out a way to deal with it without frightening people. I wish you well in your recovery.

  9. Jim Bob: Do I have a lot of anger? Yes. It’s a justifiable emotion when a horde of people (including you) have concocted and disseminated vicious and hurtful lies about me that I debunked in a 50,000 word essay. It’s also something that becomes unhinged and uncontrolled when I binge drink and turn into Mr. Hyde. Strictly limited to words fulminated in a fierce spittle on the Internet, as I’m not a violent person. I’ve now been sober for five days and plan to stay that way. You were obviously among those people who clearly reveled and took great delight in hurting me and debasing me — even if it was based on unsubstantiated rumors and timed to align with the “zeitgeist” of a mob. And that, to my mind, is disturbing. No different from a MAGA cap-wearing anti-vaxxer who believes in counterfactuals. No different from the 1/6 insurrectionists, who also had ways of justifying themselves. I don’t punch down. Never have, never will. Do I own up to and acknowledge every awful and TRUE act of behavior I have ever committed? You betcha. But it certainly shouldn’t come as a shock to you that someone you took a swing at when he was down would feel very angry about it. Just as it shouldn’t come as a shock to me that someone who finds his name on a list would be just as vituperative towards me. It’s a two-way street, sir, right out of the Sun Tzu playbook. And I find your psuedonymous response here self-serving and insufficient. You’re only here because you are the hero of your own story and it shocks you to be identified as something you aren’t. Nevertheless I thank you for your well wishes at recovery, which at least shows SOME strain of decency. I can’t say that about most of the hurtful people who were on that list. People who I was, even in my deep drunken haze, considering offering amends to and reflecting upon the harm I had meted out to them, but who have since revealed their true pernicious colors in the last few days and who now have me wondering what the point was at all in appealing to. The majority of them live to hate and hurt. And I’m far from the only person they’ve targeted.

  10. Ed, I would suggest deleting this post and this whole blog. Your comments and explanations are only making things worse. Nick M. seems to be genuine to you and you just re-buff and insult.

  11. “Joseph Bisford,” fan of World of Warcraft, pro wrestling, interest in Black House, Lviv and certain strains of Chinese thought. Quit sock puppeting. You were fairly easy to suss out. Or do I need to embarrass you further?

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