A whole lot of people think that former Seattleite and "Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams is a horrible prick. Even more of these people sprang up when he wrote a sexist rant comparing women to "the mentally handicapped." Then he was caught commenting on message boards pretending to be his own biggest fan. Now, in a weird attempt to move past the controversy, he's taken to comparing himself to Marilyn Davenport, the Orange County Tea Partier who sent the now-mildly-famous e-mail depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee.
In the first matter, Adams was caught posting under the name PlannedChaos on websites that published stories about him.
For example, Adams wrote an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal recently in which he talks about how awesome he is for being so successful without being a great student. Several readers commented that he is, in fact, a douchebag, and no amount of financial success can offset that.
This of course upset "PlannedChaos," who wrote:
As far as Adams' ego goes, maybe you don't understand what a writer does for a living. No one writes unless he believes that what he writes will be interesting to someone. Everyone on this page is talking about him, researching him, and obsessing about him. His job is to be interesting, not loved. As someone mentioned, he has a certified genius I.Q., and that's hard to hide.
This was hardly a one-time occurrence as Adams had, for months, commented under the name PlannedChaos on sites like Reddit, where he liked to post things like:
It's fair to say you disagree with Adams. But you can't rule out the hypothesis that you're too dumb to understand what he's saying.
And he's a certified genius. Just sayin'.
This was all pointed out by other web readers, and finally Adams admitted the ruse on Monday.
Now today Adams is up with a post in which he transcribes a fake "interview" between himself and his alter ego.
The post is essentially a mildly clever way for Adams to spout off against the Internet that hates him. It also includes this association:
The same thing [as what happened to me with my fake person creation] is happening today with a Republican official who emailed some friends a humorous photo of President Obama's face on a chimp and a punch line about his birth certificate. If your only context is what the Internet says about this story, you assume it's a typical racist act by a Republican who is already guilty by association. But if I add the context that Googling "George Bush monkey" gives you over 3 million hits, and most of them are jokes where President Bush's face is transposed on a monkey, you see what's really going on. Democrats and advocates of civil rights are using the media to further an agenda at the expense of a woman who was probably so non-racist that the photo in question didn't set off her alarms as being a career-ending risk.
In my book The Dilbert Future, published in 1997, I predicted that in the future the media would start killing celebrities to generate demand for their so-called news. That seemed like a stretch when the worst part of the media was the tabloids. Now the Internet has given media power to the likes of Gawker, Metafilter, and any other cesspool with an IP address. When the low end of the media conspired with unscrupulous advocates to label the aforementioned Republican woman a racist, they probably killed her career, and they might end up killing her too.
Not sure how Adams can compare his months-long web deception to a racist e-mail sent out by a fellow right-winger.
But when a guy finds no problem pretending to be his own biggest fan online, phrases like "You have no shame" sort of lose their sting.