It’s been a busy week between blogging about Andrew Wakefield and covering the Winkler County Nurse trial, which ended with the jury’s acquitting Anne Mitchell, RN after less than an hour of deliberation. Consequently, I’m a bit tired today. Fortunately, there’s the mail bag, the perfect lazy blogging tool that will allow me to generate an amusing post in mere minutes, given the sheer hilarity of the “feedback” I’m about to show you. While it may be true that PZ gets the best crank mail, I do get my share.
Remember how I blogged about Dr. Arafiles, the doctor whose chummy relationship with the Winkler County Sheriff allowed him to have his good buddy track down who had made the anonymous complaint against him to the Texas Medical Board? Remember how I wrote a typical Oracian-length post describing how Dr. Arafiles had done a special about Morgellons disease and hawks colloidal silver for H1N1 on his website? Remember how during my discussion I deconstructed some of the mythology of Morgellons disease and, as part of that deconstruction, had a bit of fun posting videos featuring Dr. Arafiles and Marc Neumann, as well as examining Marc Neumann’s Morgellons Research Organization website?
It would appear that Mr. Neumann was none too pleased. The morning after my post, I got this e-mail from him. Note that I’ve cleaned up the text a bit, and this is the complete e-mail:
or you remove all morgellons videos from your site and my texts too or i will charge you.
i never gave permission to copy it, as far the videos are free to embed but not if i refuse explecit as owner that you can`t.
So remove the embedded videos or i do it over youtube and don`t forget the text.
Regards Marc Neumann
I was puzzled. For one thing, it didn’t look to me as though Mr. Neumann is the legal copyright holder of the videos. For another thing, he posted them on YouTube, fer cryin’ out loud! If he didn’t want anyone to embed them, then he should have turned embedding off. In any case, I decided to respond politely, in case this was a case of cluelessness:
Dear Mr. Neumann:
Thank you for your feedback.
Before I can respond to your demands, I must ask you a question first: Are you the lawful copyright holder of the five YouTube videos in question? As far as I can tell from your YouTube channel, you do not appear to be the owner. God’s Learning Channel appears to be the owner. Consequently, I will not even consider your request until you provide me with proof that you are the lawful copyright holder. I would also remind you that if you do not hold the copyright to these videos it it is very possible that it is you who are violating copyright by posting them on YouTube, not me for embedding them on my blog.
Finally, regarding the text from your website, the use of a small amount of text is permissible under the “fair use” doctrine (specifically, commentary about the text), and that is why I will not accede to your demand to remove the text, nor will I pay any charges.
Pretty reasonable, wouldn’t you say? After all, he put the videos on YouTube, and picking a couple of small paragraphs to cite in the course of a deconstruction of the contents of Mr. Neuman’s website strikes me as being pretty clearly fair use. I also thought it very reasonable to request that Mr. Neumann prove to me that he is the legal copyright holder. Of course, the very fact that he posted the videos on YouTube means that anyone who can access YouTube can view or embedd them, but I was trying to be nice. In retrospect, I was foolish to think I could reason with Neummann:
I am the poster of the youtube videos with the permission of GLC. I can do whatever I want with these videos, ok?
Just look on the first displayed message of the first video and on youtube the name of the poster “marcmro”.
Short term for Marc + Morgellons-Research-Organization.
I blocked now all videos so you can see that I can block them or not allow to embed them whenever I want.. Can you dig it now?
Regarding my texts, if I wrote you officially as owner and author to remove them from your site because i don`t agree with your useless and discriminating pseudo medical blog writings about me and you have to respect my wish as author. Blaming my work or efforts to help US sufferers is a great work from you!! Yes, mostly US afflicted because USA don`t care anymore about their own citizins. Anyway it is a country which never cared about any rights of humans or nature, and so you now. On the top, I don`t need donut dummies like you which are treating me in a ridiculous way in a public blog using even my own texts therefore and laughing about my English spelling. I don`t need that and I don`t like that. You can criticize me but not offending me in public. And now you write me in your pussyfooter style, oh dear Mr. Neumann, bla, bla, bla…
I am sorry that my English is not enough, but I speak actually 4 languages and English is not my best but probably better than your German, right? I think my laywer in NY will take care about you if you don`t follow my gentle advice of removement. Who do you think who you are? The big writer who is actually a nobody but writing stupid things to pull down others reputations?? Are you unemployed with a lot of time to write the whole day rubbish? Probably you are fat and more than overweight sitting between cheesburgers and coke, right?
Anyway, I don`t care about Dr. Arafiles or any other physicians but me…But I have to ask you, why are you blaming Dr. Arafiles?
Do you know him personally or that he is a QUACK? Just because he is selling some supplements? Or are you a friend of the nurses? I feel sorry for them but they could also fix that problem first with the director of the hospital instead doing all behind the doors and now thy cry loud about.
To let you know; Morgellons disease is caused from a biological insecticide, spread from US companies without any care if immunocompromised humans or animals gets sick from it. If you want i can send you a few medical reports about such infections, exactely with the same type of fungi used from pesticide industry. So many are suffering from this disease and killing themself after a long painful fighting. Most from USA…So forgive me that I help them as a German and not as an American!! I am sorry also that some sentences of my articles are not uptodate etc., less time and helpers to correct my bad English. I just work every day 14 hours to help your neighbors instead writing silly things on blogs!!
Also, I am fighting for you and all the others which are not yet contaminated without being a member of GREENPEACE or any other big organizations. Please inform yourself more accurate about morgellons or stop writing about things what you can`t percept.
Remove the videos and my text til friday or I will charge you with 100.000 US dollar because you violate the copyright, on the top insulting me and my work in public!! Who needs such a bullshit?
In your case I would remove them if you still have a brain after all that good GMO food consumption…Nobody wants American mass products made without any brain or quality!
Best regards and wishes
You know, it always amuses me to no end when someone finishes their e-mail to me with “Best regards and wishes” or something similar after a prolonged tirade in which he hurls insults at me, calling me fat, brain damaged (from GMO food, of course!), and of writing stupid things. (Well, he may have a point on that last one; I do sometimes write stupid things. However, not in this case.) Another hint: I don’t need to know Dr. Arafiles personally to know that he practice dubious medicine. Dr. Arafiles’ website is more than enough evidence, as I discussed.
Over the last five years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that a very reliable indicator of a crank is his reaction to criticism. Very frequently, the first reaction of a crank to criticism is to try to suppress it, to try to shut up the person making the criticisms. If the blogger is anonymous, often the crank will try to out the blogger, something that’s happened to me numerous times throughout the years, beginning with William O’Neill of the Canadian Cancer Cancer Research Group way back in 2005, continuing with certain anti-vaccine bloggers throughout the years and even creationists like Dave Scott. Indeed, what most changed my view of anti-pharma activist Doug Bremner from viewing him as just extreme to viewing him as a crank was when his reaction to criticism was to out me with a rather silly Photoshop effort. Not only was it exceedingly childish of him, but it was a classic crank move. Not surprisingly, the most prolific and repetitive practitioner of the art of “outing” me is J.B. Handley of Generation Rescue, who has done it at least three times. My next observation is that if the blogger is not anonymous or doesn’t care much anymore about being “outed” (rather like me), then the next most common tactic is to issue vacuous legal threats. Finally, I’ve even seen it escalate (not with my blog, thankfully!) to the level of denial of service attacks. What is consistent in all these reactions is that the crank, when confronted with criticism, can’t handle it and tries to suppress speech that criticizes him by any means necessary. Skeptics, in my experience, virtually never react in such a manner to criticism.
It’s been about as consistent an observation as I’ve been able to make over the years, and Mr. Neumann fits the picture quite well.
ADDENDUM: Foolishly (I know, I know, don’t tell me I’m an idiot for doing this; I know it was a mistake), I e-mailed him back asking why his first reaction to criticism was to bluster and threaten legal action to silence me. This is the response I got back:
I have lyme and clamydia p. infection. What do you expect from me? Hope you understand what that means?
On the top morgellons.
You don`t believe in morgellons, like ants don`t believe in humans, they just can see a huge shadow that`s all.
Let me put it in this way regarding critics; I am not sensitive to criticism as i wrote you already, but it seems to me that you can not distinguish criticism from diffamation or insultation. It is anyway an American habit among others….Most in Europe think all Americans are fat and stupid, that is also a wrong thinking by the way.
As well I must say that i don`t like the fact that you seeked and found among 100 pages some errors on my site to have some ammunition for your cheap blog. I made this site not for doctors or scientist, not even writing all in their difficult medical language. I could do so, but why should I do it? I never wanted to write a doctor work just to feel important.
I made all in a very simple way to make it understandable FOR NORMAL PERSONS. And normal persons did also correct my articles, even with some errors. Many US people are writing me daily and it seems to me that they are not able to write a good English, too. Anyway, the tv-show was made over a long-distance call from Germany to Texas with delayings and indeed with an incoherence regarding the whole context. It was to me a huge effort doing it having brain fog etc. and without any control monitor! Also the whole concept with Dr. Arafiles was out of order!! So I had to improvise because he did not ask me the questions which been appointed. And indeed, I was asking myself too, why Arafiles is doing such a show with me and others. My first thought was that he is a quack jumping on the morgellons train to make more money out of the sufferers as many others too.
So far so good, maybe you can understand me better now and that you would not have made it better doing an interview in German, ok?
Therfore I don`t need small brains like the people on your blog if they have no empathy for the situation and my daily work.
Only losers can criticize others, because they can not doing such a work. Oh my god, history is full of such jar heads…
I am tired after 5 years doing actually the job of those who get payed for it; the physicians!! So don`t worry i had to take a lot of criticism during these 5 years of helping people with a so called Delusional parasitosis.
But how can anybody claim this with a lack of knowledge? Only stupid ignorants. Just watch the pictures of the sufferers and you must agree that such sores etc. are not just imagination or neurodermatitis, but a mycotic infection, not UFO, chemtrails or other US conspiracy rubbish. What should I say now? Just remove my text which was also not corrected well and as author I can force you do do so! It is my work and you have to respect my wish as author. I can give copy permissions and also restricting it again, as much as I want. That is copyright law if you did not knew it ask a copyright laywer before you have to pay me. If you think that America is still the wild west and the internet too, then you are wrong with your simply mind thinking! I can track your IP address and finding out over your provider who you are, to send you the charge…
Why you don`t start to analize morgellons on your blog without declairing all others nuts who work on the problem. Man, do you really think me and others are idiots and doing it because we have nothing better to do? Why you don`t start to work on that if you have such much time for stupid blogs…
The morgellons problem is real and we are in the same situation as with AIDS 30 years ago. Did you know how difficult it was for afflicted 30 years ago to recognize AIDS and getting treatments? Same problem now. I think you don`t care if many are committing suicide because doctors can`t use their brains anymore to help them. It is too much work etc., so they just declair them as DOP patients. I hope you never get Morgellons…Even afflicted doctors with morgellons are being treated from their colleagues as DOP patients. If you are sitting on the other side of the desk and someone needs your help you feel anyway like God, that`s the problem!
To let you know; Dr. Arafiles did lost the trial against the nurses. It sadisfies me but it makes me sad too. Actually i do understand also doctors and their daily stress, but they don`t understand their patients anymore. They can`t hear, see or reacting anymore. They are just sellers for the pharmaceutical industry, you too? By the way I don`t like colloidal silver or any other crab medication too.
Remove my text now it`s friday and let me know if you are interested to post clear evidences what morgellons are and where they are coming from. If not, then forget it I don`t have time to prove anything for some pseudo scientific blogs. My life and time is too precious to waste it with brainless ignorants who knows all better…
Take care and watch out for morgs in your food…
I think I’ll stop now. There are just too many straw men here. He also sent me a line from his website’s log file that showed a referral from my original post to his website with an IP address that resolved to pharmaceutical company’s network and concluded that my readers and I are all on the payroll of big pharma.
The dude is clearly disturbed, which is why I’ll stop.