MCJ Advent Calendar - Day Seven - The Time Steve Brooks Tried to Co-Opt 9/11 to Make His Site Seem Relevant

Here are two posts from the past that I'm putting up because they represent an anomaly in the history of Magic Circle Jerk posts. This is one of the few times I was genuinely bothered by Steve Brooks. I'm pretty sure there were only two things that actually raised my pulse in regards to Brooks and the Cafe during the time I wrote the site. The first -- as I've mentioned before -- was when the Cafe staff were brainstorming ways to shut down my site and one of the options was to try and report me for child pornography. The monumental cocksucker who suggested this was Cafe staff member, Jon Gallagher. He admitted it was a "long shot," but hey, why not try and get someone arrested on child porn charges because they make fun of your magic message board? Oh, I know, BECAUSE THAT'S FUCKING SOCIOPATHIC. But not a single person on the Cafe staff had any issue with that suggestion. 

Anyway, for the most part Steve was just a representation of a lot of what I thought was shitty about magic and especially magic on the internet, but I was rarely ever actually bothered by him. One of the few other times his shit actually offended me was when he made a Cafe announcement about the anniversary of his site and tried to make some connection to 9/11 in order to imply his site was something more substantial than a trash magic message board. As someone who lived in NYC at the time (although I wasn't in the city itself the day it happened) it was particularly foul. So this was one of the few times I was legit grossed out by the guy, and when I called him a "lame, pieceashit, fucking dumpy little bag of cunts," I actually meant it.

Background: In the first paragraph of the following post, I mention a Cafe member named "Harry." Harry is one of Steve Brooks' alter-egos on the Cafe. Feel free to check out this thread to see how blatantly manipulative Steve was with this alternate account. It's a great thread where Steve has a conversation mostly with himself. Here's a tip: when setting up your sock-puppet account, don't respond to it with a fully-formed post at 4 in the morning a scant 3 minutes after you made your initial bogus post. And try to avoid the obvious pattern that Steve employs here. Whenever the thread dies down for a couple of days, well, here's Harry chiming in with some more bullshit to bring the thread back to the top. And I love that he calls himself "Mr. Brooks." That's exactly the type of formality and respect he thinks he deserves, but can only command from himself. I want to remake Fight Club with Steve Brooks and Harry.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I'm Back 

The Magic Cafe celebrated it's 3 year anniversary last week. Steve Brooks sent out a private message to all the members to notify them of this very special day. Then people could add their best wishes to Steve at the end of this PM and there was a whole string of people telling Steve how great the Cafe is and how great he is. It was impressive. But you know, when you think about it, if the Cafe really has 14,565 members it's kind of sad that only a little over 2% of them could manage to write Steve a few lines to tell him how grateful they were for all the hard work he and his staff do. In fact, it's almost like the Cafe has nowhere near that number of actual members. Oh, who am I kidding, Brooks would never attempt to dupe the Cafe members or potential advertisers. (Well, except the time he created his completely fake Cafe member "Harry" to try and sell his products.)

The anniversary message was Steve's typical idiocy. He's such a poor communicator that he should just keep his fucking mouth shut and just sit there and be fat and consider himself The Magic Cafe's mascot. Like the Michelin man or something.

Here's a bit of his trite bullshit, delivered with a mix of detached elitism and faux-folksy good cheer.

"The Café is not for everyone and was never intended to be. That is what makes the internet such a wonderful place, we have the freedom to choose. Some folks cannot function in an atmosphere of civility, while others are ever so grateful for it." 

Oh yes, ever so grateful, I'm sure they are. Listen, Steve, for the last fucking time, I know you want to set yourself up as a martyr to decency and good taste, but here's the truth: The people who dislike your rules don't dislike that you have rules, they dislike the fact that they are applied arbitrarily. Got it? Some people also dislike that you try to set the Cafe up as some philanthropic enterprise -- Magicians Helping Magicians -- but then push Silver Shifter and other shit on the people there. Trying to make money isn't bad, but doing it under the guise of altruism is kind of shitty.

Here's more from Brooks:

"Four days after the Café appeared the twin towers were attacked in New York City. I can still recall one of our first members giving our members blow by blow reports as he was watching from his living room window."

First off, is this true? Can someone find me this thread? I'm awed that someone --someone in New York City-- during one of the most somber, frightening, and sad moments of their life (presumably), would be inclined to write about what is going on at Ground Zero on The Magic Cafe. A "blow by blow" account, no less. Not only am I amazed that someone would write that, but who would read it? Are there people whose primary news source is the fucking Magic Cafe?


"For news you can trust, stay with the name you can trust...knockknocktheclown."

And look, I realize it's human nature to try and personalize tragedies, and I also understand that Steve Brooks was looking for any way to make the Cafe seem relevant, but is it really necessary to bring up our greatest national tragedy, whose repercussions we're still dealing with, in a gay magic message board anniversary announcement? Seriously, what a fucking asshole. What a lame, pieceashit, fucking dumpy little bag of cunts this Steve Brooks is.

How much nicer would it have been if he had sent out a message that said simply: "Hey, we're happy to celebrate three years of the Magic Cafe today. I'd like to thank all the people who help me out behind the scenes and all the people who post and make this message board great."

Hmmm, well, that says what it needs to say and it doesn't sound completely disingenuous, self-important, and full of false-modesty like his actual message.

It's not my desire to come here and reprimand Brooks and somehow henryhiggins him into being a decent human being. I'm sure he gets enough of that from his wife every time he rips a fart in front of his in-laws or when she finds him eating margarine with a spoon. But the fact that the guy is so lacking in every significant way does make me wonder how pleasant the Cafe would be if it wasn't run by such an idiot. I'd be ever so grateful for that.

Happy Anniversary Magic Cafe! Love, your friends at The Magic Circle Jerk.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Brooks and 9/11 

(This is a follow-up to yesterday's post.)

Someone (and I don't know if he wants to be named, but we'll call him "my lawyer") has found the thread that Steve Brooks was presumably referring to in his Third Anniversary private message to the Cafe membership when he said...

"A lot has happened since then, the world has changed in oh so many ways and so have we. Four days after the Café appeared the twin towers were attacked in New York City. I can still recall one of our first members giving our members blow by blow reports as he was watching from his living room window."

Now yesterday I implied that I thought Steve might be full of shit and that he was once again lying to the members of his "Cafe" in order to give that site some relevance that it doesn't deserve. Was I right? Well, let's see. Is this the thread that Brooks was mentioning? Read it.

Now, if Steve's emoticons are to be believed, he was very angry and very sad on 9/11. But three years later he was comfortable enough with the whole situation to lie about things that never happened on that day. Or as "My Lawyer" puts it:

Note that nobody is giving a "blow by blow"; Brooks himself says he's watching it on TV, and three days later MagicMan says he can still see the smoke. 

I can see how somebody could confuse "one of our first members" with himself, and "blow by blow account" with "nearly three days later." Sure I can. Can't you?

There are those of you who think I'm a bad guy--those of you who think Brooks is a victim. Perhaps you can forgive his shady business practices, self-righteous attitude, and his unending assault on elastic waistbands everywhere. Well just remember how your buddy Brooks tried to capitalize on the death of a few thousand people to make himself and his shitty website seem more important. You may think he's a good guy, you may be happy to take hours out of your week to correct people's grammar for him on the Cafe, but I don't have a whole lot of respect for someone who, for personal gain, tries to draw some correlation between this country's greatest tragedy (9/11) and a tragedy that is clearly a distant second (the establishment of The Magic Cafe).