The Msscribe Story, Chapter Six
For flyingphoenix, with my love.
An Unauthorized Fandom Biography
Msscribe In The Aftermath
July 2003 - Msscribe and Nimbus
On March 28, 2003, just two days after she was declared a Big Name Sinner by Fermatojam, Cassandra Claire/epicyclical announced that she would go to Nimbus:
nimbus-related postHer new friend and fellow Big Name Sinner Msscribe commented:
1. ) Yes, cucumbers are vile. Christine Nöstlinger wrote a book called "The Cucumber King” about a family who discovers a cucumber-like creature living in the basement of their house. It is a great read, with some very comical, very Germanic drawings. Could be aversion therapy for those trying to kick the cucumber habit. On a positive note: Cucumbers are on the average at least seven inches long…
But Msscribe got to do a lot more than knock back a drink or two with Cassandra Claire at Nimbus -- they were roommates:
As I had suspected, that which was cool about Nimbus was Getting To Meet Awesome People I Had Never Previously Met and in some cases Never Previously Talked To. My roomates were rubydebrazier, evil_erato, ali_wildgoose, jlh, msscribe and sisterpandora and they all and without exception, rocked the party that rocked the body.The word at Nimbus, which I can neither confirm nor deny the truth of, is that Cassandra Claire was staying "in Msscribe's luxury suite" and receiving carefully-screened visitors there.
In less than five months after starting her LJ, Msscribe had made friends with all the people she most admired, become a mod at FictionAlley, been friended by well over 200 people, and become part of the Inner Inner Circle where Cassandra Claire held court behind the scenes at Nimbus. Girlfriend had arrived.
Msscribe's alter ego hgempress shared her own Nimbus report on July 23:
Green bugs.kvader, a mod at GT, had made another post mentioning how overpriced Nimbus was and complaining about being tired of TLC constantly reporting on Nimbus instead of on "real" Harry Potter news. hgempress apparently made an error in posting her link and recorded the fact that she was using Anonymizer for all to see. Msscribe later fondly reminisced to ladymaidmarian, though she denied making this post:
HAHA. That post was funny, but I never posted that. If you could point me to it I'd like to see that thread.
Msscribe took two other actions in relation to Nimbus. One was that she talked to the person in charge of security (ari_o) and requested protection from her stalker Fermatojam, who had once said that he intended to go to Nimbus. She gave Ari Fermatojam's "real name" -- Louis Movello, if she gave the same name Clarabella gave GT -- and his "real IP" -- one tracing to his university -- the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. (I note in passing that Googling "Louis Movello" yields no results, either at the University of Dayton or anywhere else. Nor does he appear in Yahoo People Search, or anywhere else that I can find. Similarly, a Google search for "Clara Mortensen" -- the name Clarabella gave GT -- yields many hits for a female professional wrestler of the 1940's and 50's, but none for a Rutgers University student. "Darlene Hartsford's" plus-size modeling career has likewise created no Google hits, though she does show up as a "crazy homophobic racist ass" persecuting Harry Potter fans.)
The other thing Msscribe did was agree to serve as Publicity Chair for The Witching Hour, scheduled for Salem in 2005, to be put on by the same group that did Nimbus. On the Witching Hour website (now defunct, but captured by the Wayback Machine), the following bio was released for Msscribe (I'm not going to attempt to conceal her first name, since she uses it freely online):
Dionne ______, Chair of Public Relations and Advertising (email@example.com)It appears that the Gryffindor Tower people were worked over by a pro.
I can find no confirmation online of Msscribe holding any of these media relations positions (such as statements or press releases issued by her), except that she congratulated Senator Clinton on her 2000 Senate election on a public message board. I can say, from Googling her real name, that in 2000 Msscribe was working as a Technology Support Specialist at Cornell University (which fits with her having been a volunteer in Clinton's upstate New York campaign). This is also confirmed by this post Msscribe made on Memorial Day, 2003, where she mentioned working on a "joint project with Cornell/E-trade" in the fall of 2001. As I mentioned in the last section, I can also confirm that someone of Msscribe's name is or was employed by the vocational and technical school district of _____ County, Delaware -- possibly in a similar position to the one she held at Cornell? I can also say that once on her LJ, Msscribe did the state map meme, where she colored in nearly all fifty states and said that she visited them all during her career on tour as a professional backup singer (I believe she said she sang for Peabo Bryson). She's been a busy girl. Today, she is described online in various places as a professional photographer, a digital photographic artist, and a photojournalist.
It is fortunate that Msscribe had a great time at Nimbus making fun of GTers' fics, because around that time a terrible thing happened to her. Someone "outed" her at her workplace.
July 2003 - Msscribe Loses Her Job
Msscribe was in an interesting position after Nimbus. On the one hand, she was secure and beloved, known and valued by many of the most influential people in the fandom. On the other hand, her scope of operations would have to be restricted in the future. For one thing, she had finally met fandom people in person and would begin visiting them, having lunch with them when they were in her area, etc. No longer could she spin fantasies (if that is what she did) about aspects of her personal life such as jobs, nannies, hospital visits, etc. There would be too much chance of getting caught out. For another thing, when she framed GT by posting on their website and H/G LJ communities, she crossed a Rubicon. There were now people in the fandom who knew -- and had concrete evidence of -- what kind of person she was. Her many IPs had been posted and discussed in public posts, the authenticity of her sockpuppets Clarabella and SarahKJames had been brought into question, and there were people in the fandom with a strong motive to expose her.
After the confrontation with Gryffindor Tower, as far as I am aware, none of the sockpuppets associated with Msscribe ever posted anywhere except on his or her own posts (with one exception, which we will see in Chapter Ten). Both of her fangirls faded away at this time, and no longer commented on real people's LJs. Clarabella "went to Atlanta for an internship" (apparently there are no computers in Atlanta) and SarahKJames simply stopped posting. Amusingly, the three alleged Portkey sockpuppets -- Clarabella_21, SarahKJames, and Davis_517, left Portkey within ten minutes of each other, judging by the "last active" timestamp on their profiles:
Clarabella_21: 16th July 2003 - 05:20 PMBut Msscribe's main priority for the next few months would be to keep the fandom's love for her and their hatred and contempt for Gryffindor Tower alive so that no one, ever, would listen to GT's version of the story and consider whether or not it might be true. I don't know what she did to consolidate the love and affection of her friends besides the normal sharing and caring that comprises all fandom friendships, but her actions to discredit GT were all-too-public. Her announcement that she had been "outed" at work and resigned from her job was a step in this direction, plus -- I suspect -- a way to make what she said online more consonant with her real-life personal life.
Because I don't think Msscribe actually had a job at that time. How could she, and still make and animate all those sockpuppets (the icons alone must have taken hours), not to mention writing and publishing fanfiction, posting in her own LJ, writing dozens of comments in the troll-baitings, doing publicity for The Witching Hour, waging virtual war against GT, working on her original novel, attending Nimbus, and being with her daughter and husband? Here is what Msscribe posted about her employment status:
On Dec. 31, 2002, in her Portkey intro post, Msscribe was on leave from work.
I'm 29 (not quite, but getting used to saying it early!) I've got 12 weeks off from work.She didn't know Clarabella yet, but they proposed to meet.
By Feb. 24, 2003, her leave was apparently over and she had returned to work, because she wrote this:
on a happier note, I have the day alone at home for once! Unbelievable! I don't have to work today or tomorrow and the babe is at daycare and the hubby's at work.
On Feb. 26, in the Baby Dykes story, her daughter went to daycare (which she described as "the best daycare in town").
On Mar. 2, Msscribe revealed what she did for a living -- backup singing:
I was just sitting here wondering how many Harry Potter Fanfiction "authors" are actually writers in real life. I can't be included in that bunch, but maybe one day. I'm a singer in real life (backup tracks) but I wonder, with all the talent out there who is actually doing this in the real world.
On Mar. 13, she was apparently still a singer, skimping on her voice practice because Cassandra Claire's fanfiction was simply too enthralling:
I've spent the last two days completely absorbed in Draco Sinister and Draco Veritas so that means all else has gone to Hell. My hair looks like shit. My voice sounds like crap from not practicing enough, and my husband has been hinting at going to the gym (which I take to mean my ass is expanding).
On Mar. 21, during the hospital saga:
I called Dionne at 4:00 pm today to learn that she had collapsed while in the studio today, and was taken to the hospital. Many of you do not know this, although she is very open about it but msscribe began writing Harry Potter Fanfiction after a bad car accident resulted in her suffering a traumatic head injury, and her therapist told her to try writing in order to help her in her rehabilitation. They aren't sure what is going on yet, but I will post regular updates as I get them. They are hoping that she will wake up soon.This implies that Msscribe worked in a studio (a recording studio, presumably) and clearly states that Clarabella was broke and attending school (despite her earlier Portkey post claiming to work as a magazine editor), which seems to have been a bit of a drive from where Msscribe lived. (I won't even ask how Clara had finals between first meeting Msscribe in January or later and this March post, when Rutgers is on a semester schedule and has finals in December and May.)
On Mar. 31, Msscribe was recovering somewhat from her ordeal:
I'm beginning to feel like myself again. I can pick my daughter up with my right arm now, and I actually did some light housework on Sunday.
On May 23, Msscribe made a post reporting a significant change in her career:
Movin' on up!She had been promoted from backup singer to... a new office upstairs, apparently to reward her for spouting bullshit on the news! In the comments, she clarified her situation further:
I'm a politico now. A PR person for a state senator here, and am not well connected again. *grins* Am still not super cool though, mostly just lucky.Lucky indeed, to go straight from a glamorous singing job to a glamorous political job receiving phone calls from Senator Biden and appearing regularly on the television news! Though her only commenter from the Philadelphia area, mareisse, seems to have somehow missed seeing Msscribe:
Being that I'm from the Philadelphia area, and seemingly clueless, what bill are you talking about. Was it something in the primary this week, or something else?Msscribe, no doubt busy with important political matters, did not answer this question, nor can I find any traces of Msscribe's bill-pushing television appearances on Google. She did find time to pass on inside information about Senator Biden, though:
That's him. Good O'le Joe. And forward your resume if your interested. Don't know if he'll run, but he is considering it. I think he's waiting to see how Kerry does.Another commenter, devulgari, sounded a word of caution...
Are you ever reticent about the possibility of someone connected to your work finding this journal with its collection of... somewhat counterculture related posts?...but Msscribe, seemingly recovered from the trauma of having been viciously stalked, blithely shrugged this off:
Nahhh.Such are the small ironies of internet life.
On May 28, 2003, Msscribe posted at Portkey:
I've met Clarabella21, Shelives 45 minutes away and I want to meet Max Lonewolf who will be near me in July!
Also on May 28, Msscribe wrote in her LJ that Clarabella babysat for her "occasionally":
clarabella21 babysits my daughter occassionally, and so she's posted from my computer a time or two.
On May 30, in Clarabella's emails to Carissa, Msscribe now had a regular babysitter (Clarabella) who came three days a week:
I babysit Dionne's daughter three times a week...
On May 30, 2003, Msscribe did not expect to see Clarabella until she came to babysit for her the next evening:
Did anyone see her LJ before she deleted it? She's supposed to sit for us tomorrow night, so I guess I'll know then.
However, on Mar. 2, 2004, Msscribe wrote on GTer Starbuckx's LJ that Clarabella was a full-time live-in nanny when she wrote those emails to GT:
Clarabella wasn't just my Nanny, you misinformed cunt, she was the person who had to help me get dressed every morning because the entire right side of my body was too weak to do it. She was the person who had to take care of my infant daughter because I couldn't do it. I was in a serious car accident that caused a near fatal head injury and I started reading and writing in this fandom as a way to recover. I wrote a dirty story. I got stalked by a former online friend who we KNEW was communicating with Imogen. Clara decided to lurk on your message boards. She LIVED with me, you fucktard.
Okay, so this is the story... Msscribe was on a 12-week leave after a head injury in an auto accident, which ended by mid-February. At that time, she returned to her job as a backup singer, working regularly, though she sometimes got days off. However, in late March she was hospitalized due to delayed complications from the earlier accident, which must have been at least four months in the past by that time, nearly died, and suffered the symptom of being too weak on the right side of her body to dress herself (though not too weak to pick up her toddler with her right arm), necessitating an in-home babysitter/dresser who either drove for 45 minutes to get there either occasionally or three times a week, or lived with her, depending on which version you believe. However, between March 31 and May 23 -- and despite her severe health problems that did not allow her to dress herself -- Msscribe not only changed careers and got a new job, but she performed so well in her new job (in spite of the fact that she frequently posted on Live Journal during office hours -- though, oddly, her IP was never once logged from a work account) that she was rewarded with a lovely new office.
Okay. Or she was at home playing on her computer that entire time.
So what happened? Well, a few days after Nimbus, on about July 25, 2003, Msscribe posted a sad and shocking story in her LJ. Some spiteful person, presumably someone with a grudge against Msscribe (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, who do you think that might have been?), had sent anonymous letters both to her boss ("the senator") and to her local newspaper outing her as a writer of smutty Harry Potter fanfic.
According to Msscribe, her boss had been very supportive and willing to damn the publicity and keep her on (she was just that valuable, I suppose), but she had loyally resigned so as not to endanger her beloved boss's political career (remember, a copy had been sent to a newspaper reporter as well). She said that she was going to stay home for a while and work on her original novel. She also said that the letters and envelopes yielded no real clues as to who sent them, but she had a pretty good idea (gee, I wonder whom she was referring to?). She never revealed publicly where the envelopes were postmarked -- possibly she didn't want to limit her flexibility on how to respond to future events.
This chilling event made the kind of stir you would expect it to in a fandom like ours. It was Fandom-Wanked by someone who clearly believed Msscribe's story, though they made it sound even worse by implying she was fired, rather than resigned:
Harry Potter isn't real, but YOU are!
And certain people didn't hesitate to openly pin the blame on the GT admins, though Msscribe herself never did so publicly. The GT admins, inured to anything by this time, simply rolled their eyes and yawned.
angua9 says that she came extremely close to openly challenging Msscribe at this time. She made a vow to herself that if Msscribe said ONE WORD about the letters coming from GTers, or even mentioned cockroaches, that she would go public with everything she and Dianora had discovered -- Msscribe's early history at Portkey, Clarabella's different ages and number of kids, the many contradictions in Msscribe's story, the additional IP information from SQ, everything. But she didn't have to. Msscribe never came out and actually said the words "GT." In fact, outraged people were so eager offering help and suggestions, pressing her to call the police, pressing her to sue, pressing her to post scans of the envelopes, etc., that she backed off, downplayed the issue, and soon let it drop. She locked her post almost immediately, and I don't have a saved copy (in fact, I have almost no saved copies from this point onward -- sorry). And there seemed to be a fair amount of scepticism in the fandom -- for whatever reason, possibly because it was so soon after IP-Gate or because it was a bare assertion with no corroborating details, people seemed disposed to be a bit uneasy about this story.
This was true on Fandom Wank as well. The first page of comments was all stuff like "whoever did this needs to be dropped in boiling oil" but the second page took a more thoughtful, cautious turn. Most especially, a person named Illuminati (I do not know who this is, but he or she now sports a pro-H/G icon) started a trend toward scepticism:
Wow, this story is unbelievable. I mean literally unbelievable as in I am having time believing it. Seems like a lot of assumptions are being made about whether or not this story is true and that it is related to some fandom war.The words "GT" or "Gryffindor Tower" or "cockroaches" never appeared in the wank, and Angua was granted a respite from becoming Fandom Enemy Number One -- or, I suppose, Number Two, after the GTers.
She did do one thing, though. She posted this:
I am depressed to see that the whole Gryffindor Hidden Room thing has flared up again while I was gone, and that the long-suffering msscribe has been cruelly persecuted yet again (you'd think the karmic odds would balance themselves eventually).I believe her idea was to send some sort of message to Msscribe that similar efforts from now on were likely to meet with resistance. Or perhaps she wanted Msscribe to visit her LJ so she could log her IP.
Angua did another thing as well -- she started telling people the story. Or, if you want to look at it from a different perspective, she started smearing Msscribe in a whispering campaign. The first people she told were friends of hers who had been added as members of the gt_hidden_room community. Then, seeing that Melissa of TLC had made this friends-locked (but visible to a large number of people) post on July 24, she sent Melissa an email on August 1, explaining what she knew and believed about Msscribe's activities. I suspect that Melissa understandably gave the whole thing up as an impossible job. Angua also made sure that the SQ admins knew. In fact, anyone who is a friend of Angua's -- and I can definitely testify to this -- is at risk of having the whole thing Explained To Them at any time.
So the fandom was deprived of one potential outbreak of screaming fandom drama, but we were recompensed for that a couple of weeks later, when "Watchful_Entity" dragged itself from the primordial swamp and fixed its eye upon us all.
August 2003 - Msscribe and Watchful_Entity
I will tell you right out that I don't have the slightest bit of real evidence that Msscribe was responsible for Watchful_Entity. I can only say that it fits her pattern and, obviously, suited her purposes. Here is what happened:
On August 8, 2003, watchful_entity was created, declaring itself to be set up to watch the evil ones in the fandom and make sure they weren't up to no good. The LJ has been deleted, but here are some files someone saved. I believe this was the very first post:
Just to clear up some thingsIf this was Msscribe, she had learned from her previous adventures. Watchful_entity never commented on anyone's LJ but its own. It simply friended people, and waited for them to notice and go to read it. Obviously, if you do that, no one can log your IP and make nasty accusing posts about you.
As you can see from the number of comments, Watchful_Entity's victims went wild with delighted outrage that someone was paying attention to them and jumped in for another fun round of troll-bashing. It was like Fermatojam and Pottersginny all over again! People whined about being friended, about not being friended, etc. People debated if it was real or a joke, if real, who it might or might not be, and what its true purpose was. People "confessed" to being Watchful_Entity. Just as with Fermatojam and the GT_Hidden_Room, everyone decided that the best weapon against the Entity was some good hardcore smut, and posted accordingly. Watchful_Entity was deleted and restored several times, creating great excitement and commentary each time. There were endless clone and parody journals created:
entity_watcher, created 2003-08-08 15:56:24Someone even created a community for the watchers: i_am_watching, created 2003-08-09 08:26:15.
There were nine separate Fandom_wank entries about Watchful_Entity and its spin-offs: 2003-08-08 13:27:00, 2003-08-09, 2003-08-10, 2003-08-11, 2003-08-12, 2003-09-05, 2003-09-09, 2004-02-21, and 2004-02-22.
To me, it was tedious beyond belief, but people seemed to enjoy it. Everyone agreed that it didn't much matter if Watchful_Entity was a troll or not, as long as they were having so much fun. As lizardlaugh put it in a comment to one of the BNF Deathmatch wanks:
At least watchful_entity brought the fandom together in an orgy of mayhem, smut, iconage and t00by love. *tear*
All the fun and confusion had a threefold effect. First, everyone was frequently reminded of the Gryffindor Tower people, and how awful, moralistic, paranoid, anti-smut, anti-fun, and mean to Msscribe they (probably) were. For instance, the first of the spinoffs, entity_watcher, (which was made the same day as the original Watchful_Entity and I can't help suspecting it was made by Msscribe to suggest the whole idea of spoof watchers) said this in its second entry:
GT, or not GT?Msscribe might well have feared accusations from people in the fandom who were not part of GT (and therefore wouldn't be dismissed out of hand), but who might be friends of GTers and believe their evidence. The Watchful_Entity, with its spitefulness, illiteracy, and prudishness, seems like an attempt to preemptively discredit such people.
The second effect of the Watchful_Entity episode, besides continuing to stir up resentment against GT, was to continually call attention to Msscribe, as reflected in this thread and this thread at Fandom_Wank:
I am clueless as to why I was friended...but am beginning to wonder if it/he/she friended anyone who is friends with msscribe. Hmm.
Finally, the third effect of the Watchful_Entity brigade was that creating sockpuppets and trolling started to seem like a fun, cool, positive thing to do, a way to "bring the fandom together." So effervescent was the atmosphere that I almost believe that Msscribe could have confessed at that time to creating Fermatojam and Pottersginny and been forgiven simply by saying "I did it for the LOLZ!" For all I know, perhaps she did, privately, to some people. Though she certainly didn't publicly.
However, this lighthearted, good-natured attitude only lasted a few months. The next sockpuppet situation that I believe Msscribe created had a darker tone, and expanded the scope of "bad guys" to include SQ as well as GT.
But I am getting ahead of myself -- I must proceed chronologically. The next thing that happened was something that Msscribe could not very well have foreseen: her enemy destroyed itself.
Legal Disclaimer - Site Map