Here's an issue I'd hoped never to have to deal with. Some friend(s) of mine - and I don't know who - have engaged in behavior I'm ashamed of and effectively ruined a funny gag. Allow me to explain.
Not Brent started as a gag from a poll Dethtron put up... basically, what's the opposite of Brent? Not Brent, of course! A fair few people are in on the fun, so it became something to tease me with. Inevitably, when someone put a Not Brent reference on their site, I'd show up and write, "Not Brent Hurts Brent's Feelings."
When I helped Dethtron and Lauby write a FNIF I had to choose a color to represent me, so I chose green. After that article, I started editorializing Strictly Average in a neon green - which works well against the blue background - to represent Not Brent's take. He became a figment of my imagination and a way to have fun with the articles.
The picture to the right isn't great, but you get the idea. He started dropping comments and having a bit of fun. He also knew me well enough to do a few things which drove me up the wall.
He followed the Master Manipulator (every store needs one)'s site but not mine. That was a clever and subtle way of ribbing me.
Not Brent was funny because Not Brent was appropriate. He didn't go too far but rather played inside the boundaries of good taste. I can take a joke, so when Not Brent showed up in the comments sections I inevitably pretend an outrage I didn't feel and get mad when others couldn't see him. Others seemed to enjoy the gag too; a week ago or so ago, me and the guys from the FLGS had fun talking up Not Brent's exploits and it's fair to say it was a laugh riot. I embellished stories of trying to track down Not Brent so I could report him to the Cyber Police - stuff like that.
I think somebody listened to all that and thought they could get in on the fun.
Not Brentus and Not Brandt showed up this last week.
It is what it isn't. What it isn't is funny. At least he wasn't trolling other people's sites, right?
That's Not Brentus trolling my Bell of Lost Souls article, A Schoolboy's Daemonic Primer.
Comic genius, right?
Can you see my face? How entertained am I?
I'm not going to show you every instance of Not Brentus' ham-handed attempts at internet humor; suffice it to say I've started deleting his comments on Strictly Average. I've never done that before to anything other than spam-bots.
This dude trolled Blood of Kittens, but he added a twist to the whole thing.
Mike Brandt is the author of Whiskey and 40K and the organizer of the Nova. One of my friends decided to move beyond doing clever things with my name so stuck a 'not' in front of another name beginning with the letter B.
Not Brandt's comment was a waste of time, but since he took the joke outside my sandbox and used it to troll someone who probably doesn't have an idea what the hell all this is about...
...well, that makes Not Brandt the most egregious offender. I clicked a link and lo and behold, he's from my city. Like I didn't know that, but I had held out hope the geniuses behind all this were anonymous idiots and not people I know.
The Master Manipulator (every store needs one) emailed me earlier this week to tell me he thought the whole thing had become annoying. I couldn't agree more.
I'm fairly sure I know who Not Brent is. I can also narrow Not Brentus down to one of two individuals - and hell, the other might be Not Brandt. I'd like to know who Not Brent is, but as I examined my feelings this morning I realized I'd rather not find out who these others are.
Let's wrap this up; if you are Not Brentus and/or Not Brandt, please read the following lines carefully so there is no misunderstanding.
I recognize there is no malice here; you guys evidently wanted to get in on the joke and have a bit of fun. The problem is it wasn't funny, it was trollish and disrespectful. If you're wondering why this is different than my gag about stalking Jawaballs... well, not understanding the difference is what got us here in the first place. I never actually stalked Jawaballs or trolled his site. I didn't beat the joke into the ground or comment behind an assumed name. It was a subtle nod to a hobbyist I admire, that's it.
The bottom line is what happened this week wasn't the act of a friend. I've worked very hard to make Strictly Average a respected blog, then used that as a springboard to write for other sites. None of that has been easy and stupid shit like this can ruin a person's credibility fast. As a personality driven hobby blog, jokes are a definite part of the mix... you guy(s) just miscalculated on this one.
You don't have to care about it as much as I do, but if you're a friend you'll care that I care and put this thing to bed.
To Not Brent... it's over. I would have been happy to play with this gag as long as it was funny but thanks to some help that time is now. I enjoyed your wit and sense of the absurd, but in a real way the actions of a few have ruined it for many. That happens from time to time; the point is we need to recognize it. Email me if you want to talk about this further, but I'd appreciate it if you'd stop commenting under that moniker.
I am Brent and Not Brent and Strictly Average and all that, for better or worse. If anybody wants to talk about it, don't do it here, rather email me directly.
EDIT: You guys can comment, of course! Say what you want! I meant if you were one of the 'Nots' email me directly... :)