Longtime HE reader James Kent has written to explain why he’ll no longer be following the column. The reason is basically LexG, he says. I realize there’s a major annoyance factor out there, and I also think I’ve made it clear I won’t tolerate LexG’s self-pitying remarks about women or loneliness and/or occasional threats of suicide. But I respect good writing from any corner and the wisdom and the ability to cut through the crap. I wish more commenters had that slash-through quailty, and I also wish LexG would try to develop more personal discipline.
It could be inferred that Kent reps the HE “silent majority” readership. My reply to him is that silent sideliners make their own bed. You can’t sit silently when something annoys you. Speak up, explain and tell off….or live with it.
“I’ve debated this several times over the past few weeks, but I think I finally reached my decision point,” Kent writes. ‘I’ve been a loyal reader of your various sites since 1998. I stumbled upon you by accident and I’ve enjoyed, while not always agreeing, with your reviews, rants, crusades, causes, passions etc. But over the past couple of years there’s definitely been a change. The heavy emphasis on comments to your posts have created my least favorite part of the site. It seems that more often, than not, when someone has something insightful to say the topic quickly gets uprooted by someone with their own singular agenda.
“As I’ve mentioned a couple of times to you in the past, for me the worst has been, and always will be, LexG. I know you value his writing and have a thing for him, whatever. But I would really like to see the counterpoint raised — about the people who don’t enjoy him. Or, more importantly, the people whose experience with your sight has been ruined by the non stop posting of this manipulative egomaniac. His postings on your Jason Bateman switch movie is the last straw for me. He is so consumed with himself that he wants everything and anything about your column to revert back to him.
“I am not sure you understand how offensive it is to some of your audience to see a guy like this get such a forum. He threatens suicide and you give him a spotlight? What???
“You know, I don’t go crying and complaining about how things turned out for me. I went to film school at NYU in the early 90’s. I took a stab at Hollywood in my youth. It didn’t work out for me. I decided happiness was more important than years trying to make it as a filmmaker. I’m okay with the decisions I made. I’ve got a good career going. I have a wife and a small boy. I still enjoy going to the movies. And I have zero sympathy for a guy like LexG who wallows in his own misery. That behavior makes me sick and reading about it on what was, once, my favorite blog, is repulsive.
“Yet every time one person tries to point this out on your site a dozen more jump to this guy’s defense. So I’m left with two possibilities: either I am just in the minority and this is the culture of the internet, or there is a segment of people who read your site, like me, who don’t feel the need to post all the time. We hate how the LexG’s of the internet make these sites their home, and all of the attention he gets, and we say nothing. And I’d wager many have left and said nothing.
“But to me that doesn’t help you. I feel it is important to let you know that after 13 years I am deciding to leave this site. I will miss your writing, but I will not miss for one single second that repulsive human being. I have no sympathy for him, and his self-destructive behavior. Enough’s enough for me. You value his type of reader, and not my kind, so I have to make my own choice. It was a hard decision and even harder one to write you about this. I stopped any of my occasional postings three weeks ago when all of his suicide bullshit came about. Now I leave your site for good.
“I will always enjoy you, Jeff. But I can no longer endorse what’s been going on. I only wish LexG had a site of his own. And I think I know why he doesn’t. Because then we’d all have a choice not to go to it.
“You’re still the man, man. I wish you the best!”