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Wednesday, April 28, 2021 

Last year, Gerard Jones continued to botch and bungle his way behind bars

I found more stuff to examine involving the disgraced and imprisoned former comics writer who was easily one of the earliest politically motivated writers to force his woke visions upon the mainstream. First, let's begin with this recent CBR op-ed about Jones' work on Wonder Man from last February:
I've written before about Wonder Man's departure from the Avengers West Coast, but this is more about the reverse. As I wrote back then, for the first almost DECADE of the Avengers West Coast's existence, the only constant in the series was Wonder Man. He was used really well in the series. However, that's sort of the Catch-22 of having characters from team books get their own ongoing series. You get more stories featuring them, which is good, but then you often end up losing them from the thing that made them interesting enough to get a solo book in the first place!

For instance, Wonder Man's development was a major part of the Avengers West Coast for years, but once he got his own book, he became more of a static character. There wasn't a whole lot that Roy and Dann Thomas could DO with Wonder Man. This was especially true for the sort of romance between Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch, which could never get started since Wonder Man had his own series and anything to do with him and romance would be in THAT series.
Well duh, the reason he became static in the early 90s solo book is because Jones did such a bad job on the scripts! Why suggest the Thomases couldn't do anything with Wondy, if they had the character deprived of their own influence? I can only wonder what Peter David would've done with Simon Williams if he'd been given the task back at the time. Because by the time he was given an assignment in the late 2000s, it was too late. It is, however, the subject of this subsequent op-ed, which tells what happened with a talent agent who was representing Simon:
Neal Saroyan made his debut in the first issue of Wonder Man's 1991 ongoing series. The whole point of the series was to sort of satirize 1990s Hollywood and Neal was one of the key characters to be used for making fun of the excesses of Hollywood. He was Wonder Man (Simon Williams)'s agent and there did not seem to be a line for what he felt was too far to go to promote his client. In the very first issue (by Gerard Jones, Jeff Johnson and Terry Austin), Wonder Man has a big battle with another ionic-powered character, Goliath (formerly known as Power Man). After a whole lot of mayhem has been caused, Simon discovers that it was Neal who had sent Goliath after him in the first place as part of a publicity scheme!

[...] After Wonder Man died following the conclusion of his ongoing series, Neal was obviously put into comic book limbo for years, but when Wonder Man returned to life in 1998, Neal showed up in the 2000 Avengers Two miniseries, where Roger Stern, Mark Bagley and Greg Adams resolved a few plots from Wonder Man's ongoing series (including his fiancee). Throughout the series, Neal tries to take advantage of Wonder Man's return to make some money or at least drum up publicity, but Wonder Man was no longer interested in acting and at the end of the series, he instead announces a "Second Chances" foundation that Neal has to agree to work on for the sake of publicity.

Neal went back into comic book limbo but returned in a big way in the 2007 Wonder Man miniseries by Peter David, Andrew Currie, Drew Hennessey and Rob Schwager. Subtitled "My Fair Superhero," the series opens with Wonder Man and Neal having lunch when they run into an old friend of Neal's who is the target of an assassin known as Ladykiller. Before that point, Neal and Wonder Man were discussing Simon's old girlfriend, the Scarlet Witch, who had recently seemingly went nuts and killed a bunch of her teammates on the Avengers. Neal was arguing that some people are just born evil and Simon argues that anyone could be redeemed (and sure enough, Scarlet Witch was later redeemed herself). Neal then latches on to that position where he pushes Simon into doing a new documentary called "My Fair Superhero," where Wonder Man will try to reform Ladykiller and turn her into a superhero. Simon, who has this big ol' "Second Chances" foundation, reluctantly agrees.

The rest of the series is seeing Wonder Man and his friends try to reform Ladykiller into a hero by the name of Ladyfair. Along the way, Wonder Man and Ladyfair seem to be falling in love, while the group she works for continues to hunt her down. However, in the penultimate issue of the series, we discover that NEAL is actually the head of the group that she works for! And guess what else? Neal also has mind control powers! Does any of this make sense? I mean, does Wonder Man make any sense? So let's just go with it! In the final issue of the series, the Avengers are throwing Ladyfair a party, but Neal cuts in and communicates to Ladyfair and insists that she must unscrew a cap in her teeth and use the poison hidden there to spike the punch bowl. Yes, this whole "My Fair Superhero" routine was just Neal manipulating Wonder Man into bringing an assassin into the midst of the Avengers so that she can kill as many of them as she can. However, despite his mind control powers, Wonder Man had changed Ladyfair so much that she chose to kill herself rather than become an assassin again...

With Neal's plans ruined, his fellow bad guys turned on him for failure to deliver on his promises and when Wonder Man broke into Neal's office to bring him in for justice, Neal ha[d] already been killed by one of his clients...
My my, why does this sound so reminiscent of Max Lord's change to genuinely evil in Countdown? Though what's really atrocious here would have to be the canonization of Avengers: Disassembled. Not to mention the plot description is repellent. As for the Saroyan character, as I'd mentioned a year ago, I've wondered if Jones intended for him to be an insult to Armenian novelist and playwright William Saroyan, and Neal seemed to embody a right-wing stereotype. While Jones may have been the character's creator though, that doesn't mean a fictional character should have to suffer as Neal did in this book, which has some pretty ugly artwork. Yet I'm sure Jones doesn't care, and I don't buy any complaints he may have about how some characters he'd created for Green Lantern were turned into mincemeat during Emerald Twilight, seeing how he penned the 1993 GL annual.

Anyway, before we get to the main subjects, I thought to take a look at more signs of Jones' politics from the time he was still a writer before destroying his career with his child porn crimes. His original blog is still around, and early in its run, he posted the following:
I wish my mom had lived to see this election. Leslie Jones was the definition of a Loyal Democrat. In November 2000 she was dying of cancer—she’d chosen not to continue chemotherapy and we all knew that the end couldn’t be more than a few months away—but she was more depressed about George Bush’s victory than about the end of her own life. “God, I hate to go out on this note,” she said. “I was hoping I could at least leave you all with a Democrat in the White House.” She did, in fact, die a few months later, and over the past seven years I’ve often been glad that she didn’t have to see what was happening to her country. But I wish she was here for this one. I wish I could ask her who she would choose between Obama and Clinton.

My mother was a feminist: by instinct lifelong, by political self-identification starting in the late ‘60s
. On camping trips our family game was Parcheesi, and one year, when I was twelve or so and newly in thrall to Marvel Comics, I named my four Parcheesi men after the Fantastic Four, writing the names Reed, Ben, Johnny and Sue on their wooden bases. My mother snatched my pen, tipped up her four "Parcheesi women" and marked them with the names of her heroes: Germaine, Gloria, Betty and Simone. (As in, for you younger readers, Greer, Steinem, Friedan and de Beauvoir, four great mid-century feminists.)
Ah, now this is most fascinating! Does this mean he himself was a male feminist? Goodness knows how many of that sort turned out to be the most hypocritical of all. And shame on him for making use of FF character names in the games he played. Seriously. Based on how demented Jones is, that's why he has no business doing so. When I discovered he was such a far-leftist at the time his arrest was first reported, that was clearly just a mere sample of the mentality he adhered to.

Here's another post with a hypocritical stance on violent entertainment he wrote in 2014, focusing on the case of former California senator Leland Yee, who was convicted for illegal arms dealing:
Senator Leland Yee carved out a niche for himself as one of the nation’s leading legislative opponents of violent video games. It was a useful cause for him throughout his career. His original base of support was among first- and second-generation Chinese-Americans in San Francisco and its suburbs, very concerned with their children’s futures and distrustful of the larger popular culture’s chaotic and hedonistic sides. As he worked to make a California-wide name for himself, building up to a run for Secretary of State, it fit well with both nanny-state liberalism and social conservatism, one of the few trans-party issues an American politician can find these days.

It’s also an issue with no strong opposition. The game community has never been able to mount an effective, broad-scale defense of its more violent products. Partly that’s because its corporate leaders and legal representatives chose early on to stick with a defensive position reminiscent of Big Tobacco in its “cigarettes don’t cause cancer” days, insisting that video games never have any effect of any kind on anyone’s behavior; it’s a position that’s worked well enough in court over the years, but it prevents them from making any plausible claims about the positive effects of games and makes it essentially impossible for them to function as members of a larger society, collaborating on discussions of social, psychological, and moral issues. I think it’s partly a cultural issue, too: the traits that lead people to become passionate gamers (like, say, a love of mastering systems of invariant rules in order to achieve clear-cut victories) are not the traits that lead people into political activity, which is always about distasteful compromise and partial success.

Whatever the reason, video games are one of those things—like pornography and gambling for most of their histories, like distilling liquor at the end of World War I—that are hated by a minority and enjoyed by a majority but produce hardly any political champions willing to fight for them publicly. Which makes them a fine tool for ambitious politicians with a talent for on-camera moral earnestness but little to offer in terms of the nuts and bolts of governance.
Ah, look at that, he mentioned pornography! His allegation the game industry's unable to mount good defenses for violence is rather laughable, if only because there's still a gazillion graphically violent games coming out all the time, while sex, by contrast, has been toned down to suit a PC narrative. With this kind of awkward lecturing, why should we even believe Jones was ever a good historian, recalling what some said about his book Men of Tomorrow, supposedly about the comics industry? Seriously, I've had a feeling in past years that Jones is capable of fudging things up big time, and won't be shocked if that turns out to be the case with the history book he penned which I won't pay money to read, that's for sure. He continued:
Yee was also a loud advocate of gun control. That’s a position with a very strong political opposition, but it’s also a fairly safe one for a California Democrat, and it worked well with his anti-video-game bills to enhance his image as a protector of children and families.

I’m using the past tense, of course, because Senator Yee was recently arrested by the FBI for conspiring to sell illegal weapons across international borders. More specifically, for conspiring with Chinese gangsters and New Jersey mafiosi, whom he knew to be murderers and drug dealers, to sell billions of dollars worth of machine guns and portable rocket launchers to Muslim guerrillas in North Africa and the Philippines.
Hmm, I notice he's using a PC term here: "guerillas", rather than "terrorists". Very fishy coming from somebody who tries to bolster himself with the following:
Which, really, is about as vile as an act of official corruption is likely to get. Almost worthy of the villain in a video game.
Written by somebody who turned out to be quite vile himself. "Guerillas" has been used as a way to downplay the seriousness of terrorism and obscure how Islamic terrorists are barbarians in nearly 2 decades, and Jones was parroting the distortions. And then, in an allusion to his insulting defense of violent entertainment in the book "Killing Monsters", he says:
But I am struck by what appears to be another case of something that I’ve seen over and over again in writing about the cultural histories of media and violence. In condemning something, we amplify its glamor. In demonizing any aspect of the human imagination, we give it more power in our own minds. It’s often the moral watchdog who becomes more pruriently obsessed with the very taboo he’s watching against.
And when somebody commits a crime as obscene as what Jones pulled, they glamorize crime as much as normalize it. They give it power in their own minds. That's exactly the twisted logic Jones was following when he turned his computer equipment into a child-porn trove. Such a jaw-dropping hypocrite. (Update: while we're on the subject, here's a review of Jones' phony research pointing out how biased it really is.)

And then, here's a post he wrote remembering the late illustrator Darwyn Cooke, written a few months before Jones' arrest, and what it reveals is alarming:
One of the nicest moments of my post-comics years came when Darwyn Cooke hollered my name and chased me down at a Toronto convention to let me know that Martian Manhunter: American Secrets, a mini-series I’d done with Eduardo Barreto and Brian Augustyn, had been one of his inspirations in creating his splendid DC: The New Frontier. It was my only direct contact with Darwyn, but it meant a lot to me.
What?!? I realize Cooke was surely unaware of Jones' dark side behind the scenes, but if even 50 percent of this is correct, it would seem he upheld a prestige format miniseries Jones exploited as a drainpipe for stealthing in his twisted viewpoints on sexual assault. The 2nd part of that miniseries was so repulsive with its 2 sexual assault scenes involving an underaged girl, I couldn't bear to post the panels here directly when I'd written a research post about the smut that turned up in Jones' early writings, and don't think it would've been right anyway. Yet Cooke considered it worthy? Oh my god. I realize there's writers who can get ideas from bad literature and try to conceive a product that's more palatable, but still...this honestly makes me very disappointed in Cooke, forcing me to take his work with a grain of salt. This was somebody who argued that DC/Marvel shouldn't cater to perverted 45-year-olds, and now, based on this revelation, any valid impact his arguments could have will be badly cheapened, based on how he went out of his way to draw inspiration from a 1992 book containing perverted elements, and worst, he made the mistake of practically telling Jones he thought highly of it. This is such a groan-inducer.

And now, let's turn to the more recent idiocy it turned out charlatan Jones was doing in the past year, which was writing letters for colleagues to post on a blog titled "The Porn Prison". It was stupefying enough to discover that Jones wouldn't just disappear from noticeable view, even though he's far from the only jailbird to write essays from a prison facility, yet that's what the man we'll refer to at this point as "Jailbird Jones" was doing fairly recently, and here now, is one of the first entries from April 11, 2020, recorded to archive format, because I have no intention of providing him with any direct traffic that he'd doubtless be overjoyed at getting in all his mendacity, since he seems to really be doing this out of desperation for attention to his new pseudo-moral positions. Also, the way his new site is set up is irritating, because there's some kind of javascript that causes the text to be hidden for a few seconds while it loads, symbolized by a trio of dots on the screen. Unlike his original blog, he largely avoids partisan politics here, probably because he realizes it could work to his disadvantage, but there's still quite a few shady details turning up. Jailbird Jones claims:
And there are the addicts. Millions of us, locked onto our computer screens, compelled to follow link after link of a pornographic chain, telling ourselves to stop and then stopping and then starting up again, cutting ourselves off from our relationships, our careers, our real selves until we finally stop⁠—and then we start again.

I’m one of those, too. I didn’t commit my crimes out of any lust for children. I got myself hooked on a cocktail of prescription stimulants and ordinary internet porn, and from there I followed the ruthless logic of addiction, of increasing tolerance and increasing hits. With the drugs I could do more pills. With the porn, a fiercer hit meant more shock, more taboo, more ugliness.

After sixteen months in prison with hundreds of other perpetrators like me, I’m certain that this is how the vast majority of us got here: trying to escape our anxiety and depression and isolation, using the internet as a drug, launching ourselves into a spiral of secrecy and shame, needing new jolts to distract from the new pain we’re making, deadening our compassion and our moral senses.

I’m not saying that being a porn addict is certain to lead you to anything illegal. For most of you, I’m sure it never will. But you can still be in prison. I stayed away from everything illegal for years, but even in my most “vanilla” days I lost far too many nights, too much of my life, of my dignity. I felt more like a prisoner chained to my computer in my own home than I do in here behind barred windows and razor-wire fences.
And, with his head-shaking post, more dishonesty. So what he's claiming is that drug addiction led him to an addiction with porn of any sort, or an inability to distinguish between adults and children? I'm afraid this is asking us to buy a lot, right down to how he's trying to make it sound like porn addiction in itself the true culprit from A to Z. According to this San Francisco Chronicle report from the time he was sentenced, however, it would seem there's considerable room for dispute:
In recent years, he produced nonfiction books, including an award-winning book on the history of comic books and a more controversial one on the benefits of violent entertainment for children.

Jones was arrested on September 13, 2016 at his Mission Bay home, where police found six electronic devices in his bedroom that contained 819 images of babies and toddlers, some showing sexual acts being performed on them, according to court documents.

Records show officers initially received a cyber tip generated by Google because a YouTube account holder uploaded a video to a private channel depicting a girl who appeared to be approximately 8-12 years old, wearing a mask, being sexually abused by an adult male and an adult female. Google also provided an email address associated with the account hold — 8-is-the-new-18@gmx.com — and officers geo-located the data for the IP address and confirmed Jones' identity using law enforcement databases.

According to court documents, during the search of his home Jones told officers, "I'm assuming why you're here is there is evidence that I downloaded pictures of children, naked pictures, sexually suggestive pictures of children, and, yeah, that's why I think you're here."

However, Jones initially entered a not guilty plea and began soliciting letters of support from religious leaders, businessmen, writers and other comic book creators. But after more than a year of maintaining his innocence, he changed his plea to guilty in late March as his trial was set to begin.

Prosecutors said Jones admitted that the youngest child depicted in his collection was approximately three years old— evidence that Jones was not an unwitting possessor of these images.

"Thanks for all the subscriptions and comments! I'll keep uploading if people want more," Jones wrote in the description of a video he uploaded depicting a prepubescent victim being sexually abused in a sadistic fashion
, according to court records.

Jones had no criminal history, but before his investigation and arrest, he was investigated for sex tourism and distribution of child pornography in 2014, according to court records.
Here's the northern California Justice Department's news too. The only flaw in the Chronicle report may be the exact date of his arrest, which according to previous items I'd linked to, was on December 29, 2016; the September date was when police were first alerted. So even before he was charged with a criminal offense 4 years ago, he'd already had a run-in with the law over earlier suspicions of child porn distribution, and possible solicitation of prostitution, which, last time I looked, is still illegal in California. But prostitution in itself is nothing compared to exploitation of minors, and if Jones really didn't commit his crimes out of statutory lust, why did he have busloads of child porn stored in his computer equipment at his home? Though as he later states, he'd been an addict in his younger years, his claim that drug addiction blinded him also still reeks of BS, because it defies logic of psychology, how there are offenders who can pull their crimes even without smoking drugs. In addition, his defense ignores the script he wrote for Martian Manhunter: American Secrets, which gives a strong clue to his mentality, which he's now paying for behind bars. One of the reasons I find Jones' defense for his actions offensive is because it's practically the same defense being used by the culprit in the Sarah Halimi murder case, which France's courts have practically allowed to stand at the expense of justice, and this has also been the situation with rapists. (By the way, where were people like Jones when horrors like that take place? Oh, that's right. Almost forgot.)

As seen in this post from June 7, 2020, he continues to make excuses:
One of those things we addicts say is, “I’m only hurting myself.” It’s a way to take responsibility for what I did without taking responsibility for the consequences of what I did. I used to say that myself about downloading and viewing child pornography: “I didn’t make it, I didn’t distribute it, I didn’t encourage it—what’s really the harm of just possessing it?” I’ve had to learn to answer that honestly, and it’s an answer that applies not just to this awful stuff but to porn in general.

(This may seem like an evasion, if you know that I pled guilty to possession and distribution and was accused of posting an illegal video to YouTube. The truth is—and the forensics documents bear this out—that I never distributed anything illegal to anyone. I initiated an upload accidentally and acted immediately to delete it; it never went live. I’m not saying this to make myself look better—when I tell you the circumstances of that upload and why I felt it was right to plead guilty, I won’t look any kind of good—but only to explain why the moral question I’m facing is about viewing alone.)
I think this is pretty hard to swallow too. I'm not even accepting defenses that he initiated a "drag-and-drop function", and besides, it doesn't explain why he had the obscene videotapes in his databases to begin with. The problem is that, while he admits to possession of illegal materials, he's trying to make it all sound more like it was all "just an accident", and that only amounts to an admission he's ashamed he lacks the courage to take full accountability. He posted the criminal tape to YouTube; that's a form of distribution in its own way. And he wrote some text to go with it. So who's he kidding anyway? Also note that as reported, it was a private channel he had, suggesting the videos were restricted in access from turning up on the public search engine directly, and there's technology available through which to download files from video hosts, so how do we know he wasn't trying to distribute in secret to other perverts he knew? This is pathetic. This posting from June 19, 2020 also looked odd:
A man stood up in GED class and said, “If this virus hits in here, all politics are off.” In prison, “politics” means all the conflict and maneuvering related to our self-segregation into tribes: Blacks, Whites, Paisas (non-gang affiliated Latinos), Southsiders (gang members), Islanders, Natives, and the largest group, my group, SOs—sex offenders. This was in March, when the news was full of the corona virus but the Bureau of Prisons was clearly taking no action to protect us. He was a “White,” part of the group traditionally least likely to relax the boundaries.
It sounds like Jones was implying whites are the most politically vocal and conflicting, and minority convicts less so. Which is surely disputable. And then, if the prison houses serious offenders, why does he expect the Bureau to consider them top priority?

I also thought this item from June 26, 2020 sounded fishy, pertinent as it is to the Covid19 crisis:
A man died on this floor. On this floor of my residential unit, but also on the floor. Only 36 years old, no issues until after he’d tested positive for COVID, he along with nearly every other man in this prison. A kind man, a well-loved man here, a pillar of our Muslim community. Then his shortness of breath, complaints dismissed by the doctor, until his sudden collapse.
Of all the convicts he could pick for a focus, why an adherent of the Religion of Peace? What if it turns out the man in question was jailed for a serious offense? "Kindness" on the surface doesn't make a prisoner a saint. In any event, lionizing prisoners in a facility for incarcerating dangerous felons raises serious moral questions.

On his comics work, he said the following on August 14, 2020 while babbling about "serenity":
This serenity I’m talking about is not an unemotional state. I’m not lacking fear, anger, sorrow, or desire. That may be impossible, and it would certainly be boring. Decades ago I wrote Green Lantern comics, when the lead character was described as “without fear.” I asked myself how the hell I was supposed to make a character without fear interesting. And, indeed, I didn’t make him very interesting at all. I’ve only recently come to understand the difference between holding fear within a larger peace and being held by it.
I almost thought he was admitting to failure on his part as a writer, which might've been amazing. But then, I realized he wasn't; it sounds more like he's blaming the character's alleged fearlessness for his inability to write an interesting story. So even when it comes to the artistic result of his past writings, he's not really taking accountability. Let's also remember that Daredevil was long advertised as "The Man Without Fear", yet because Matt Murdock's a Marvel character, so he got a free pass from certain PC crowds, while Hal Jordan by contrast is considered the easy target. If that's the case, it demonstrates the serious harm political correctness did to a lot of fiction products. Here's an entry from September 7, 2020 where he talks about leftist Bleeding Cool's citation of his new career behind the bars. In this one, he says:
...I’m grateful; any attention drawn to this subject is good. I’m also intrigued by a thread in the comments I was told about: can we separate creative work from its author? That is, can readers still enjoy things I wrote in the past after what I did in real life?

I know the dilemma. I grew up loving Bill Cosby and Woody Allen and now I can’t think about watching their work without questioning the rightness of compartmentalizing what’s on the screen and what I know about the men. Now my readers have to ask the same about me: can they separate the man who wrote the books and comics they liked from the man who would go on to download child pornography?

All I can ask is: please don’t. [...]

Through all those years I separated the creative work from its author. I kept my public work and self in one compartment, with my best-looking face on the outside, while I poured more and more of my time and frenzied effort into another compartment that I kept hidden from everyone—even, as best as I could manage it, from myself. Through all those years I would never have wanted you to know that part of me.

But it is me. It’s all me. In the best of what I presented to the public and the worst of what I kept secret I can see the same curiosity, passion, obsessiveness, conflicted feelings about childhood, and fascination with the hidden. I’m not one of those writers whose craft is so good that I can do compelling work even when I’m not emotionally present in it; when I’ve tried it’s been boring or forced. If you’ve liked anything by me, it’s because you’ve connected with me. Because I used the best of my abilities to turn the stuff of my personality into something good. But it’s the same personality that the worst of my habits turned into something awful.

Now I stand fully exposed before everyone. I was that often-good writer, that sometimes-good husband, that dedicated father, that decent friend. And I was that liar, that manipulator, that exploiter. Today I get to be something new: a good prison inmate, [a]n earnest sponsor, a better husband and friend than before, someone trying to tell the truth as well as he can see it.

Every bit of it is me. No part of the story is true without all of it. None of the work is relevant outside the context of its author. You may loathe me for what I did and so have to loathe my work. Or you may see value in the entire story, work and crimes both. But I hope you don’t compartmentalize me. This is the gift I’ve been given: to be forced out of compartments and made to be whole.
On the surface, it may seem as though he no longer considers his past writings of any value. And indeed, no, the vast majority aren't worth a speck of dust. But that part about "often-good" writer decidedly conflicts with whatever admittal he's making that he screwed up big time even before he was unmasked as a monster. Not that you could expect much else coming from somebody who's clearly too ashamed to acknowledge the evidence the police found was overwhelming and serious. I also wonder: while the Cosby scandal's already long been proven, does Jailbird Jones believe Allen is guilty of what he was accused of? It's not like I think Woody's a saint, and I've long been aware he's otherwise a leftist, his potential opposition to communism prompting him to take a lead role in 1976's The Front notwithstanding. But unlike the Cosby case, the allegations against Allen were never proven (veteran actress Mariel Hemingway even defended him), and that's why it doesn't make a solid case to build on in Jones' commentary. Why talk about Allen but not Kevin Spacey, to name somebody who had far more allegations made against him, or even Harvey Weinstein? Or how about Jeffrey Epstein? Why don't they count rather than Allen? Is it because Jones is still far too sold on Hilary Clinton, her own connections with Epstein notwithstanding?

I remember that when Bleeding Cool highlighted his site, they got slammed on Twitter by readers who found it offensive that such a mendacious man should be getting uncritical attention he doesn't deserve. And those readers are correct. Why should Jailbird Jones be given any lenient attention when he still doesn't seem truly repentant? That's precisely one of the reasons I'd rather use archived page links rather than give him undeserved traffic.

In this entry on his shoddy little site from December 4, 2020, he continues his attempts to downplay the seriousness of the issue he's in prison for:
I become more and more certain that the vast majority of people who get mixed up in child pornography are not driven by a sexual obsession with children but by a habituated, increasing hunger for emotional jolts. I’ve seen this in two years of living intimately with hundreds of men in prison for the same crimes as mine; I saw it in recovery rooms full of porn addicts for two years before that; and I’m seeing it more and more in clinical research. (As in the work of Michael Seto at the University of Toronto.) That doesn’t always take the form of what I would call addiction. It may be more about morbid curiosity, the lure of the forbidden, attraction to teenagers that drifts younger, anger at moral convention, or the simple love of shock. But it usually builds on a habit of using internet image-searching to keep unhappiness or boredom at bay, which always fails and keeps on failing but that we still keep trying to make work. It grows in the illusion that we’re alone in our little universe on the web, free to cross the next moral line without harming anyone.
And this just reeks of more attempts to water down psychology. I'm not buying it. I remember there was an animator in Canada who'd worked on the My Little Pony cartoons who may have used a similar defense, but it just demonstrates how a lot of these felons are so ashamed of themselves upon capture, they try to shield themselves by using the topic of porn-in-general as an excuse. In other words, they're so desperate, they take up a form of moralism, claiming one thing leads to another, that's only insulting to the intellect. Jones drones on:
Most heavy porn users will never get into anything that exploits children. But the exploitation of children isn’t the only way images can cause harm. I’ll never argue that porn is harmful in itself—there’s room in a moral universe for that exchange between the exhibitionist and the voyeur—but surely no one can honestly claim that it doesn’t drag a lot of harm with it. So many of the people in those pictures and videos never agreed to be there, or agreed only under circumstances of desperation or exploitation. Even when no one involved can be said to have been mistreated, there’s still a cultural and social cost to it all: the distortion of sexuality in so many young people growing up on it, the nurturing of fantasies of domination and humiliation, and simply encouragement to reduce human beings to commodities for our gratification. We may tell ourselves that we’re “just looking,” which causes no harm, but that’s absurd. By just looking, we’re getting ourselves counted as page views, we’re casting ballots of endorsement, we’re joining a community and abetting its growth.
Forget it, Jailbird Jones, your mendacity is poking through the seams, and you threw away your qualification for acting as a public-to-prison moralist long ago. There have been a lot of grownup Playboy models who took pictures there for which they don't feel ashamed, and few rational people say they're inherently wrong to take that kind of career, so don't presume to lecture us because you're trying to prove you understand what you're dealing with. Later, on December 18, 2020, he wrote a response to somebody who'd read his work 3 decades ago, and with this, he really compounded the error he's making in opening his big mouth while still in prison:
When I first realized I had to write a book about all this, I assumed I’d structure it around my own story. When I started to consider excerpting it online, soon before coming to prison, I felt as though telling that story was the most important thing, if only to push back against the distorted claims about me on the news sites. But when I finally started this work, it was under some fairly extraordinary circumstances. COVID was coming, and with the early death-rate estimates, my risk factors, the horrific conditions and virtual lack of medical resources at this prison, I thought there was a good chance I’d die. (And men did die here, men I knew.)

So my entries here started from a sort of death-bed mentality, a rush to say everything I most wanted people to hear before I was gone: things I’d learned about addiction, healing, guilt, God, pornography, and prison. Even after I’d caught the disease and recovered, I kept going with that momentum, headlong and scattershot. And in that week-to-week prioritizing, it turned out that setting my own record straight wasn’t the most important thing after all.

Greg asks if I could at least give a brief explanation of why I did what I did, just to settle some of the questions in his mind. I’ll try:

I am absolutely not sexually attracted to children. This is borne out by the psychologist’s report prepared for the court, by the documented pattern of my online behavior, and by the people who’ve known me lifelong. I never went looking for sexual images of preteen children, and when I realized I’d downloaded them along with other images, I was disturbed, and I deleted them. I’ve never harmed a child and can’t imagine myself doing so.

But I can’t claim such innocence when it comes to teenage girls. At the age of 52 I fell into an obsessive and truly pathetic infatuation with a 17 year-old girl I knew on Facebook. I pursued her, and ended up inflicting real distress on her—and my wife and son. Then I transferred that obsessiveness to girls on YouTube and other sites, telling myself it was research on teen culture. I was abusing prescription amphetamines, fueling compulsiveness, hypersexuality, and reckless grandiosity, and I started hunting for videos of adolescent girls acting out sexually on webcams. That’s when I found the downloadable zip files containing hundreds and thousands of pictures and videos, some of which I secretly knew would be illegal, even though I pretended to myself I didn’t.

That’s the short version. Except that in writing it I find myself finessing the truth. I make it sound like I was only looking for videos of girls in their late teens, but when I first opened one of those zipfiles I saw some girls who looked like they could have been in middle school, and I still went back for more. On YouTube I became obsessed with rooting out a subculture all about tagging and reuploading young girls’ blogs to sexualize them (research I called it), which led me to do some incredibly stupid things. And it’s true that I deleted those images of children, but I looked at some of them too, and I know I used my own shock and disgust for a hit.

Which shows me that I really do need to tell my whole story, to settle the questions I’ve raised in people’s minds and, especially, to show how a fairly normal and previously decent person can work his way into a mental and spiritual place so twisted that he could do these things. So why am I not telling it?

I have to say, partly it’s just that I’m ashamed. It’s a lot easier to talk about who I was before I sunk so deep or who I’m becoming now than it is to talk about who I was during that wretched time. When I look back at myself then, I often can’t even see myself as a suffering addict but just as a sleazy old creep. But that would be the lamest possible reason not to tell my story. That shame is the reason I should tell it, for my own self-reckoning and other people’s understanding.

Also, I got angry. The public reports of my case were based on the prosecution’s press releases, distorted by cliché-hunting journalists, never checked by research, and filled with innuendo, half-truths, and some flat-out falsehoods. I want to defend myself in anger. I did not post child pornography on You Tube. I did not upload under a screen name referencing eight year olds. I didn’t, in fact, distribute anything illegal, despite the charge I had to plead guilty to. And I never harmed anyone underage.
Excuse me? Who said anything about a "screen name"? The SF Chronicle said it was an e-mail address in which he referenced 8-year-olds, not a screen name. Tsk tsk tsk. With this, the Porn Pinocchio's nose just grew a lot longer, and he really drove home the perception he only arranged with his phantom webmaster to set up that crappy site of his out of desperation to tell people he's not the monster we now find ourselves forced to view him as today. Interesting how he blames the press along with the prosecutor for having it in for him, since a lot of leftists like Jailbird Jones will uphold every far-left accusation against a right-winger, no matter how false the reporting could be (as in the case of Chief Justice Brett Kavanaugh), and only when men like Jones get caught pulling abominations do they suddenly attack the press as being unfair to them. This is some of the most reprehensible examples of their double-standards, and Jones sure hasn't done anything to improve it. As for court documents he speaks of, while there are sites on which to locate trial recordings, here's the problem: how am I supposed to read the legal documents when you have to pay to obtain them?!? Does he really think most people give a damn about his forlorn situation that they're going to spend precious money to download from the US court indexes? And even if it were easy to obtain the files, we may not even be allowed to quote them, because of possible legal issues involved. Besides, if the money paid for the court transcripts could go into Jailbird Jones' pockets, that's one more reason it'd be wiser not to pay for viewing them. If he really wants to prove to everybody he's not the monster many view him as today, he'll present the court reports himself. Oh, and by the way, aren't the prosecution's press releases usually based on court transcripts and related research?

And even if Jailbird Jones never lusted for children, what if he did find visiting violence upon them an appealing idea? Again, let's remember this was a man who defended violent entertainment for children at least 2 decades ago, in the book "Killing Monsters". Today, it's clear what he was really defending: sexual violence against defenseless youngsters. He continued:
But the truth never comes from defensiveness. Everything I just wrote is factually true, but there are pieces missing. All those claims and insinuations were based on something, and they all came back to some sick or stupid behavior of my own. I haven’t wanted to write my story until I felt completely past that anger; but now I’m wondering if I ever will be entirely immune to the old defensiveness. I think I just need to be conscious of what motivates me as I write, be sure that I’m writing from a core truth and not inward from a protective shell.

I’m also very leery of minimizing my wrongdoing. It’s easy, in saying “I did this but I didn’t do that,” to bury the truth of what I did under a snowdrift of what I didn’t. That keeps me from taking responsibility, committing to change, or making amends that mean anything. There’s a religious conviction in that: Sin is sin and repentance is repentance, and unless I hold the full weight of my sins in my heart I’ll be hardening myself against the grace and mercy I need for my regeneration. But also more prosaically: I need to show how a man who knows the difference between right and wrong can so clearly choose wrong; talking about “less wrong” and “more wrong” is just a distraction.
He's not immune to acting defensively, because he did just that last December. He may not be denying he associated himself with illegal materials, but he's still trying to downplay the seriousness of his offenses, where here, the Chronicle report makes it difficult to deny the severity. Jailbird Jones then says:
And then there’s this. I can say frankly that I’m not attracted to children, and that reassures people. But I know men who are attracted to children. They didn’t ask to be. They don’t want to be. They’d like to find a way not to be. But they are. Whether it’s because of events in their early lives or (as some research now suggests) it’s a physiological response that begins in utero, they are burdened with those feelings. Some handle it well, never acting on it. Some handle it horribly, and do horrible things. Others try to handle it in a way that they tell themselves won’t hurt anyone, looking at pictures online (which actually does hurt people, but it’s not so difficult to pretend it doesn’t). The fact of the attraction, the unwanted emotion, is not in itself a moral issue. These people aren’t wrong or inhuman or harmful just because of what they feel.

So who am I to say, “I’m not one of them”? Whatever my motives, I did actual, physical wrong, and that doesn’t allow me to claim to be better than someone whose psyche is bent in a different way but hasn’t done anything more harmful than I have. As I say, I know some of these men, and they’re of the same mind I am: They know they did wrong, they want to be sure they never do it again, they want to make up for the hurt they’ve caused. We’re in prison together and recovery together, and we’re on the same road to sanity and decency. I can’t allow myself to boost my self-worth or curry anyone’s favor by distancing myself from them.
And he knows that as a human being, he's capable of telling a lie, and downplaying the severity of his crime to make it all sound more like an accident. His defense fails to explain why he kept all those obscene pictures in his computer databases, and I'm sure he knows not everyone's going to buy what he's saying here at instant face value. Why, even his attempt to admit guilt at obsession with teen girls reeks of a cheap, ambiguous excuse: if the teens were of a specific legal age - which could be 16 in some states/countries, and 18 in others - and those are the ones he was viewing on video, then to admit to that sounds more like an attempt to employ an easy scapegoat. And the 17-year-old girl he was suspected of having an affair with in Britain would be legal age there, if not the USA. So it sounds like Jailbird Jones is trying more to scapegoat the whole "sexy teen" notion than to admit he as a man is the one who has to act responsibly. I think the British have a figure of speech to describe his approach: "fobbing off". And all this time, Jones doesn't even acknowledge some of the earlier hints at his mentality in his comic work, not even what he put in the 5th issue of the Guy Gardner solo book.

I'm not a scientist or a true expert in psychology. But while I don't deny sex addiction and pornography have their serious downsides, I must conclude Jailbird Jones is only taking his positions against them as a means of trying to cast off blame on the perfect scapegoat, here being sex, and worst, far more than violence. And that's exactly the problem with his whole argument, right down to how he tries to make it sound as though he's "different" from other serious offenders now incarcerated. Is he trying to make himself sound special? He obviously never saw an episode from Ironside, set in the very city Jones lives in, where Raymond Burr told a criminal at the end of the story, "no one is special in prison".

One more item to check is this one from February 12, 2021, where he does admit he took drugs, and also notes the following about his writing career:
Then came success. I sold my first book at 24, sold my second at 25, starting writing for National Lampoon at 26. By my early thirties it seemed like I couldn't turn around without another prize jumping into my arms. My friend Will and I created a monthly comic book, then Twentieth Century-Fox hired us to turn it into a movie. I was hired by Joel Silver to write an animated feature, then by Warner Brothers for a live-action rewrite and a TV episode. Marvel and DC Comics kept throwing series at me: Justice League, Green Lantern, Batman miniseries, spinoffs of the Avengers and the Hulk. Grove Weidenfeld bought my first solo book on a summary and a sample chapter. I said yes to everything, disappeared into the work, thought I had everything I ever wanted. And I tried so hard not to see that it wasn't making me happy anymore.

The work suffered, of course. I still wrote some good things, but I cranked out garbage, too. My screenplays weren't getting made, my comics were getting canceled. I knew, at some level, that I was hurting my reputation and heading for a professional crash, that I was neglecting my marriage, that I was working in anxiety where there used to be joy. But I couldn't bring myself to slow down. Every thought of letting work go brought a terror I couldn't understand. My answer to the terror was to take on more work. The more the writing failed to meet my needs, the tighter I clung to it.
Well gee, ain't that honest to goodness, considering how dishonest he's being about his criminal offenses with computerized activity. Obviously, he wasn't as good as he must like to think he is. That's why his film screenplays never got turned into celluloid, and his comics like Wonder Man got scrapped. (Did he ever say how disappointed he was that Simon Williams was put in limbo during the Force Works premiere? Not to my knowledge, which suggests he never respected him to begin with.) What's really irritating about Jones is that he has all the markings of an untested writer who got certain gigs much too quickly, probably because the editors found his political bent all too appealing. No wonder GL suffered as it did when he was writing it. Just because he began in the indies doesn't mean he's qualified for such major assignments, and he absolutely wasn't. Another something irritating about Jailbird Jones is that, like many other deranged people, he's unfortunately still very intelligent, and uses that as a way to try and convince everyone he's "knowledgeable".

Anyway, the post he wrote on Dec.18 must've really backfired on him, earning negative reactions as it should (well, let's hope), because last time I looked, Jones' phantom webmaster hadn't updated the site for at least a month; the last update being March 12, where Jones told he'd been moved to a housing unit for drug users to do more research. Was that an excuse so he could slip quietly away from sight back into the prison crowd again? I have no idea, but if he realized his sob-storying wasn't working, then he'd do well to put it all to bed and just serve the remainder of his sentence till he's released. Even then, he'd do well to stop acting like he's only half-guilty, and above all, stop acting like a moralist, religious or otherwise.

The site on which his writings appear says he's working on a new book, the proceeds which will go to victims of sex addiction and exploitation. But given how much his attempts to water down the severity of his crime show through the seams, that's why I'd strongly advise everyone concerned: DO NOT buy his book, assuming he really is working on one (for all we know, it could all be a Ponzi scheme). There's already plenty of legitimate charities that can donate to victims of sex offenses, and it doesn't have to be done through Jailbird Jones. Most felons of his standing would keep quiet and remain out of the public eye, at least until they complete their sentences. But Jones seems so desperate to prove he's not as evil as he was accused of being and convicted for, and all he did was make even more of a fool of himself as a result. Let's hope he'll just vanish back into the prison facilities where he belongs, and not act preachy as he's been doing anymore. Because the signs of evasive dishonesty in his posts only make clear he hasn't really learned his lesson.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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