Sunday, March 1, 2009

Charles Johnson,

Squire of Gothos:

How Little Green Footballs

Nuked the Fridge


Nuke the Fridge: A colloquialism used to delineate the precise moment at which a cinematic franchise has crossed over from remote plausibility to self parodying absurdity [ "jump the shark"]. From an incident in the movie Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.


In the "mock rockumentary" movie "This Is Spinal Tap", there is a running gag about the band's drummer(s)... apparently, the band is incapable of keeping its drummers alive for more than one album at a time, as they keep dying in bizarre and unexpected ways. Two of them spontaneously combust. Another drowns, not in his own vomit, but in somebody else's.

This is the story of a jazz guitarist who, without ever playing for Spinal Tap, very deliberately nuked the fridge, spontaneously combusted, and drowned in vomit very much of his own making. His name is Charles Johnson, and his story is a cautionary tale for those of us who think that blogging is the Wave of the Future.

A long time ago in a left coast far, far away, there was a guy who played the guitar. He was pretty good at it, most ways, but never got famous; apparently, either he never tore up any hotel rooms nor did he manage to die spectacularly in the line of duty. (This is, indeed, a good thing.) However, at the end of his career, finding that he was not ever going to become the next Uncle Frank, he decided he needed another career if he was ever going to see retirement.

So Charles Johnson decided to become a computer programmer. As it developed, a rather good one. Not perhaps great, not spectacular, but good and workable; he apparently made a decent living at it.

At one point or another, he decided to start a blog as a sort of in-house project at his computer company. He called it, for irrelevant reasons that remain obscure, Little Green Footballs. Originally it was a blog about his rock career and his spectacularly uninteresting hobby of long-distance bicycle riding. It was primarily useful at the start as a source of model coding of various Web-related bells and whistles; its only major flaw was that its creeping featuritis made it, then and now, somewhat of a slog to download.

Then, 9/11 happened, which rocked our world in many spectacular ways.

Johnson started blogging on The Global War on Terror (yes, we used to call it that, before its primary purpose got changed and it was renamed The Local War on Sarah Palin). Johnson then became one of the leaders among those known as "Warbloggers" - i.e., individuals particularly interested in the activities of Radical Islam worldwide, as well as activities related to the war against Iraq. He became, reluctantly, a bulwark of the Bush administration for a number of years.

And he developed a following.

Johnson's posts are not terribly analytical; he often just makes snarky comments about news stories he doesn't like. However, he has always had a sharp eye for news stories that bury the lede or otherwise hide, for ideological purposes, the true "news" within their verbiage. Between his eye for news and his whiz-bang website, he has acquired a number of readers, and with readers come suggested links, and with the links come more stories, etc. A snowball effect, as it were.

In 2004, LGF made the first of its major coups: The Dan Rather Scandal. I'll quote Johnson's Wikipedia entry on the subject:

Johnson, and other conservative bloggers, gained attention during the 2004 U.S. presidential election for their role in exposing as forgeries several memos purporting to document irregularities in George W. Bush's National Guard service record. (See Killian documents and Killian documents authenticity issues.) CBS news anchor Dan Rather presented the memos as authentic in a Sept. 8, 2004 report on 60 Minutes Wednesday, two months before the vote. Days after the broadcast, Johnson showed the documents, supposedly typewritten in 1973, could have been created easily on a modern computer using Microsoft Word.

In 2006, during the Israeli war against the terrorist group Hizbollah, he got a second notch on his ideological gun: the Reuters "fauxtography" scandal, wherein he found that a Reuters photographer had submitted photographs that had been deliberately altered, via Photoshop, to give the appearance of Israeli air-war atrocities against Lebanon.

These two coups were to Mr. Johnson's enormous credit. It was long past time that the serial liar Dan Rather be consigned to the ashheap of history. Furthermore, the dangers presented by digitally counterfeit news photographs needed a very public airing. His eagle eye brought that to public attention and for that he should receive full credit.

But then.... Charles Johnson found his god.

No, it wudn't Jesus. It wasn't the Buddha either. It certainly wasn't Mohammad. Or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

He found Charles Darwin.

Now, most intelligent people who are Christian believers have no trouble accepting the idea of evolution as the source of the origin of species, and the idea that we live in an old universe (13 to 17 billion years) is not threatening in the least to our religious faith.

However, while there is a certain attraction among religious believers in an old universe (hey, I think it's cool that God took 17 billion years to cook me out of His Primordial Soup), fanatical belief in evolution as something to be held onto as an end of itself is a touchstone among many who actively hate and fear traditional religious belief-in particular, Christianity.

It is, indeed, a fundamentalist secularism that has taken belief in Darwin and raised it as an item of religious devotion. To evolutionary fundamentalists, the anointed Darwin is not to be dissed; evolution has replaced transubstantiation as the Mystical End-All of the mystery of life. The Trinity is replaced by the trilobite; the Crucifix by the Cretaceous; the Virgin Birth by parthogenesis.

And this is where Charles (Johnson, not Darwin) began to fall off the edge of the plate.

He started posting with greater and greater focus on something he fears and hates with a passion: the so-called "Intelligent Design" movement, whereby certain Christian Protestant fundamentalists have attempted to drive their beliefs in a Young Earth into the science classroom.

This is of course an absurd movement. There is no more such a thing as "Christian views on evolution"any more than than there are Christian views on algebra. Two plus two equals four is true regardless of whether Christ rose from the grave. So it is with evolution.

A Catholic can say it: Intelligent Design is nothing more than an attempt by certain Protestant fundamentalists to deny the undeniable-that the Bible is, in fact, not literally true in every line. It is an attempt to preserve what Catholics correctly term a 'heresy.' I.e., it ain't so.

The problem was that Charles wanted to go beyond mere opposition to Intelligent Design. He doesn't simply attach truth to the idea of evolution; he has come to view any expression of religious belief as a threat to Science Itself and therefore anathema. Yes, anathema, a Catholic word: for the truth of it is that Charles Johnson is a Roman Catholic, who has for now turned from the faith: his Wikipedia entry states that he "now considers himself an agnostic." (Although there is no sign of his agnosticism where Darwin is concerned.)

It is in the light of this religious fundamentalism, this Darwin-worship, that Johnson began the fridge-nuking process, when he began to equate every single theist, without exception, as an "I.D.-er" regardless of whether they advocated I.D. or not. Furthermore, he has a nasty habit of seeing mail that he hates and thinking that that is the definition of "hate mail." Finally is his well-known fondness of banning anybody, anybody, who disagrees with him on any subject.

I am sure he has been doing this for a long time, but on February 10, 2009, on a thread concerning Mike Huckabee's fantasies about updating the Constitution, I first noticed this as regards myself--Charles became openly hostile toward me for posting, not in support of Huckabee as such, but in support of those who might wish to change the Constitution without actually succeeding in doing so. (The Abolitionists were among these in the 1850s--and were as universally reviled in their day as political Christians are in ours.)

It was at this point Charles began to become hostile toward me, an individual whom he had previously not even noticed, accusing me of being an anti-evolutionist and a theocrat. (I won't bore you with a full recount of the events involved; if you're really interested you can read them yourself.)

A couple days later, after seeing Charles continued vitriol, I transmitted to him a simple "I Resign" post, saying words to the effect that I was sorry I could not continue to "chant in unison with the rest of his choir."

Charles took that rather amiss.

The next day, Charles continued to crap all over Christianity and Christian Republicans, making it clear that he viewed us as nuts or worse. So I sent him an Email where I took him to task.

That got me THIS expression of his very personal attention. I'm reposting it below:


We Got Mail!

Opinion Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 9:27:16 am PST

Sure enough, after my post yesterday on respecting the Constitution and opposing theocracy, the hate mail started pouring in, from self-labeled "Christians." There are four of them this morning, but I'll just post this one because the others are banal and uninteresting. (The contact form has an explicit notice: "Messages may be published in our weblog, unless you request otherwise.")

The title of this one was "not a hate mail...", which seems a bit inaccurate.

....but I respectfully take a parting dissent to your claim that Christian activism that "desires" to change the Constitution is "not conservative and unamerican."

Sir, wishing to change the Constitution is NOT unAmerican.... if you accept that yours is a minority view and not able to pass. Taking up arms when you can't get your way? THAT is "unAmerican."

By labeling all Christians who refuse to shut up and simply "pray, pay and obey" secularists like you as un-American, you have just consigned a good 1/3 of the population to un-personhood.... and 2/3 of the GOP to non-participation in a representative government whose [taxes] they must still pay.

No sir. We're here, we're Christian. Get used to us. Otherwise, get used to outer darkness yourselves. The GOP CANNOT WIN WITHOUT US.

When the jackboots of the left come for YOU, who will you count on for support? You can't shit on our altars and then ask for our help. It doesn't work that way.


Richard L. Kent, Esq.

Good grief. What do you even say to something like that? ((snip))*


*Yes I know that there is more; I'll address that in a later post.

Well, a little while later, Charles clearly has no trouble coming up with "what to say": in the comments below on that thread he deliberately identified me and my pseud, he outs me, as being the individual posting under a pseud on his blog-Arkay-and, when other individuals identified me and posted my professional blog site ( The obvious point was to urge each other to contact my "employer" with denunciations so as to try to get me to lose my job. Whether Charles did this or not is immaterial; he let the posts remain. The threat was obvious.

Fortunately for me, I'm self employed, so nothing you can say to my boss could possibly damage me.

But that is not the point.

I have posted elsewhere and I'll repeat it now:


What is most amazing about this is that this is against Charles's own best interest. Now people will be afraid to speak their mind, lest six months from now they cross him and he "outs" them. This is the death knell for his blog once people understand it clearly.

Next, it should be noted that I wasn't the only person he squashed that day: another individual, known only to me by the name Transylvanian Phoenix, dared to agree with me. Charles dredged up an old post that he, Charles, claimed that the Phoenix had posted a year earlier. Charles claimed that Phoenix wanted to round up and deport all Muslims.

A nasty cat fight ensued: Did Phoenix want to round up all Muslims and deport them? Or was Charles as dishonest as he was nasty and willing to change peoples' posts for trivial purposes?

Beats me. Your guess is as good as mine. I can't judge either way, based on what I know about Charles.

However, based on his behavior, Charles' problem is plainly that the thought that Christianity may actually be truth terrifies him. IMHO, something (or Someone) is tickling his sense of mortality and dread at the Creator he has abandoned and he's very touchy right now. Understandable; many have precisely that difficulty at his stage in life. ("Men Wobberts' age are offen unstaaable, pwohn to weeekness." - Edna Mode.)

But it doesn't excuse his recent bad judgment, bad temper... or the fact that he's simply acting like Trelane, the Squire of Gothos, when someone more adult threatens to take away a toy of his.

This is not a rant about "how I got banned from LGF"--who cares about that? (And for the record: I wasn't banned; I quit.) This is more important than that: it is about the promise to keep anonymity and its breach. If you can't trust Charles, why would you dare post on his blog?

I also would like to add that I am not the only one who noticed. The respected "Atlas Shrugs" blog noted that Charles' habit of banning those unwilling to join the LGF Claque has reached the point that he has become "officially" "a joke." Alas.

And how does Charles deal with this lese-majeste? By accusing Atlas Shrugs of harboring "neo-Nazi agitprop". He cites extremist comments made by Atlas Shrugs as signs that Atlas Shrugs is extremist. Of course, posters of nastiness on HIS site are not his fault!

Post to LGF at your own risk! Remember: there is no god but Darwin and Charles Johnson is his prophet!

I address this last to Charles:

Dear Mr. Johnson:

You have read the above indictment. Mr. Johnson, you are now on notice: when you try to destroy the careers of people who do not agree with you, you cross the line into an internet menace. Responsible people will no longer trust you and you will no longer get either quality opinions posted to your site or, ultimately, good leads. They will go elsewhere, where the poster need not fear betrayal at the hands of a vengeful godoid with a keyboard.

But. You now have a chance to redeem yourself. You can admit you were wrong to out me by name and promise not to do it again in the future.

If you so fear disagreement, I am sure that you can simply script a program. It would take a small number of monkeys on keyboards about five minutes to create a script that generates comments, by randomly quoting one of your snarky posts, and then follows it with some variation of "You are most certainly right, Charles!" Just like your Uncle Frank Sez generator. It would read almost like a Platonic dialogue, with you as Socrates.

I'm sure an internet god you could do it without difficulty. And think of all the web editing it would save you in the future.


Richard L. Kent, Esq.

P.S. Why am I even blogging this? Who cares? Answer: As you see, Charles has a habit of digging up people's old posts (or worse!) when they attack him or even disagree with him. I'm simply making a record in case I ever come up on his radar again.

UPDATE MAY 16, 2009




  1. I feel your pain -- Johnson's egomaniacal habits are what led me to "resigning" from his site. His views are his views, he's welcome to them, and it's (obviously) his prerogative to run his site as he pleases -- and it's my prerogative to not participate in it when I perceive it to be a less than satisfactory experience. That said, "outing" a person's identity is beyond acceptability -- Johnson's actions in that regard are reprehensible.

  2. He didn't even do that to "Fjordman" - and "Fjordman" is a fascist!

  3. The Infinite Monkey Is Angry With A Lil' Green Football
    That is a really PO monkey. And I think I know why.

  4. Sorry to hear what happened to you Mr Kent. I was one of the avid commenters during the evolution creation controversy at LGF and found it was becoming extremely unfriendly to people of faith. The ironic thing is that I have a degree in Biology and I am a doctor and thus I know Science intimately. On top of that I have degree in Psychology and Literature, so I can step out of the science mode and think and appreciate the philosophical nuances of thinking in general.

    The thing is, SCIENCE IS NOT ABSOLUTE. We try to be absolute in accuracy but theories are not ABSOLUTE.

    Charles by making Science ABSOLUTE he made it his religion.

    But guess what? What is scientific knowledge today changes we acquire more knowledge and facts.

  5. Excellent post!

  6. Richard, the only reason he didn't out Fjordman is because he doesn't know his real name. BTW he outed me too.

  7. I was a vary long time poster on lGF and I still have an account there as far as I know but I don't even bother to check anymore. Charles has lost it and I don't like watching planes crash.

  8. Charles is an idiot.


  9. I enjoyed reading your post. I had commented a while back on Transsylvania Phoenix's blog about the blatant hypocrisy of Charles Johnson. He always makes such a fuss about people posting "hate speech" and the like, and says that he refuses to allow it on his site and will delete any comments containing it. It was this policy that supposedly led to his deleting Phoenix's comment about deporting Muslims (assuming he actually said that).

    But when Phoenix dared to post a blog about Charles losing his mind and denied posting the very old comment that Charles attributed to him, Charles reactivated the comment so that everyone could see it. Apparently his "principles" that led to his creation of the no-hate-speech-comments policy were not as important to him as proving himself right in a trivial matter. That would actually mean he has no true principles as far as that's concerned.

    What is even more amusing is that shortly after posting his rants against Phoenix, he posted a statement once again claiming that he will not tolerate hate speech on his site and that comments containing it would be deleted. Phoenix's supposed hate speech comment still remained active. It is clear that he is motivated solely by arrogance bordering on narcissism. His denouncements of hate speech have always had an unsettling holier-than-thou tone. It's as if by making these public stands against, he feels that he is so much better than everyone else. Then when it comes time to prove a pointless point, he has no problem letting the hate speech remain on his site so everyone can see how "right" he is.

    I also can relate to those who have experienced frustrations with his anti-ID crusade. I regrettably got involved in one of those debates and wasted too much time in it before I finally gave up and simply told everyone there that if I wanted to debate with people of their caliber, I'd just go to the Daily Kos. In my first post in that debate, I made it a point to establish that I was not very religious and favored a view of naturally-occurring life that evolved into more complex life over time. Alas, it took barely any time for the tools at LGF to begin dismissing me as a creationist as if I was part of some great conspiracy. And whenever I dared to state that there were weaknesses in the theory of evolution (I made it clear that I wasn't saying the theory was weak altogether but that it had weaknesses), I was met with fanatical opposition. There was even one popular commenter who refused to acknowledge that the theory had any weaknesses, while saying that it, like all good scientific theories, had the ability to be revised and made stronger. For some reason, this person couldn't wrap their mind around this simple concept that I laid out for him/her: If a theory can be made stronger, then that means it lacks that strength. That would in turn mean that it currently has a weakness.

    Anyway, just talking about this is bringing back the frustration that I intended to avoid by leaving LGF behind. Charles is a joke, his band of blind worshiping supporters are a joke, and I will have no part of it. I never actually deleted my account. I think I would have to contact Charles to do that. I may eventually be able to stomach the thought of returning to LGF simply to request he delete my account, or maybe I'll just never return. Who knows...maybe my account is already deleted. I never did return after the last couple of comments I made on there while I was being mauled by him and his Kool-Aid drinking friends.

  10. Charles Johnson is a tool. He gets permanent respect for the Dan Rather forgery thing, but other than that he's just a leftist who hates Muslims.

  11. Repent!

    Oh. Sorry. Wrong blog.

    I too was banned (3 times!) from darwinist rage boy's blog.

  12. Hahahahaha, did anyone see Charles get owned by Glenn Beck yesterday? Priceless! I haven't visited that craphole of a site in at least a month or two, but what I'm hearing about it is absolutely sickening.

  13. At another blog,, one "Wild Irish Rose" goes wild covering Charles with rose petals.

    I'd be more explicit but this is a family blog. (Well, mostly.)

    And she has deleted some 15% of posted comments so far. "Obiwan has taught you well."

  14. Everyone who is banned tells the same story - they spoke up, had a differing opinion, or dared to up or down ding the wrong person, one of the gangdingers, and they were gone, banned, blocked, vanished.

    It's incredible. To know what is happening there, read the thread where Ploome is banned, watch the Matrix-like sentinels turn and attack, watch NYNana try to defend her and then stand by helpless after being told to stand down or else.

    It's surreal. But very real to the people involved. It's painful to watch.

  15. I came to LGF because of Ploome. Was she banned?

  16. Following is a cross post from "A WW2 Poster for Today," a May 11 posted comment:

    fritzkatz ( has left a new comment on your post "A WW2 Poster for Today":

    (Off-topic, but interesting, here's what happened to me LGF):

    Little Green Flatballs: What Fritz Katz Said to Piss-Off the King of All Lizards and How He Got His Gamey Buttocks Banned Off the Little Green Footballs Blog …

  17. I have not visited LGF in a year, after I got banned for a very small comment. I never commented, I usually just read the articles. But one day I had the audacity to ask when the site had become an evolution blog. Because I don't care about that at all, it's boring to me. Next thing I knew, banned.
    See, I didn't read the comments enough to know the "rules" of never disagreeing. But, I thought I was the only one who had been banned. WOW! I wonder if someone bought LGF? Maybe he sold it. It's possible.
    After that I never went back, not daily like I had before. I considered myself a customer. And if the shop keeper throws me out. I'm out. Now and then I take a look, and it's still "evolution...evolution...evolution.."
    Oh well. If we get bombed again wonder what he'll do. I know I won't care. He lost any cred with me.


Keep it clean for gene.