In American crime novels of the "Noir" school there is often a scene in which the protagonist (never hero, Noir protagonists are often as touched by darkness as are their opposites) is confronted by the story's lead antagonist; a master criminal, crooked official or underworld boss. Said antagonist may be, in his way, as likeable or darkly admirable as he is dangerous. He is often portrayed as both genial and powerful, capable of dispensing favors as easily as he dispenses violence and mayhem.
At a high level, such scenes are formulaic: The lead antagonist confronts the protagonist, often in an office setting. The protagonist's actions against the lead antagonist's plans or organization to date are trivialized by the lead antagonist, who may dismiss them as 'amusing' or 'a mere inconvenience'. The lead antagonist then attempts to convince the protagonist that continued resistance to the lead antagonist's plans or organization is unreasonable. While simple, this little literary device has vast utility from a plot exposition standpoint and lends itself to endless variations on its basic theme. Consequently, it is deeply ingrained in popular film and literature.
Last week Mittens suddenly showed up on my virtual doorstep*. And as we engaged in a brief back and forth, I couldn't help but smile as the old noir plot device came to mind.
Mittens: "You keep trying to provoke me. It's adorable. :D Unfortunately for you, I enjoyed your bacon post too much, back in the day."
Mord Fiddle: "Doh! Curse my l33t writing skills."
Mittens: "I mean, feel free to write more blog posts about me, they're off base about the purpose of miniluv, but they feed the ego! Miniluv is primarily aimed at eve-o badposters, not bloggers, though some bloggers may get caught in the crossfire."
Mord Fiddle: "Glad you're enjoying them. The purpose of Miniluv is no never mind to me. Just step back from the bloggers and we're all good."
Now, New Eden is littered with the frozen corpses and broken fortunes of persons who have taken Mittens' words at face value. Mittens' raison d'etre is misinformation and misdirection and it's wise to keep that knowledge in sharp focus whenever he's talking in your direction. With that in mind, let's break this little chat down.
The fact that Mittens side-stepped a private convo and communicated this publicly via Twitter indicates that he is interested in sending a message not merely to Mord Fiddle, but to the larger audience watching Mittens' war on bloggers and to the bloggers themselves. So this is a note meant to communicate at two levels.
When someone announces to all and sundry within earshot that something you've done to bother them hasn't bothered them, you can rest assured that you have, in fact, bothered them. Thus, when Mittens goes out of his way to say in a public forum that my recent posts and chin pussy tweaks have not provoked or otherwise harmed him, the smart money is on the opposite. Mind, I don't think he's suffering some dark night of self-doubt or putting down palace coups over anything I've written. But the protest itself bespeaks a certain discomfort - as if his minions are beginning to suppress giggles whenever they look him in the chin...er, face.
For those not up to speed on their Goon-speak, the "Miniluv" he refers to is the Ministry of Love; both Mitten's enemies list and the ongoing harassment of those whose names are writ thereupon. It is ground zero in Mitten's war on his critics in the Eve Online media. In our little exchange, Mittens tells me that I've got him all wrong and that Miniluv isn't aimed at Eve bloggers. Miniluv, he says, only targets "badposters" in the Eve Online Forums. Eve bloggers on Mittens' enemies list? Regrettable but unavoidable collateral damage according to Mittens.
At first blush this appears to be Mittens doing a walk-back from the original statements of intent, which do not discriminate between media outlets or types. However, at the end of the day it has the tang of sophistry. Most members of the Eve blogosphere and podcast net also post in the Eve Online forums at one time or another. In fact, statistically speaking, bloggers and podcasters are probably more likely to post in the Eve forums than their non blogger/podcaster counterparts. If "forum crossfire" is intended as verbal cover for the continued intimidation of bloggers the full force of my righteous anger shall continue to fall upon him, his chin pussy, and his unfortunate followers.
If, on the other hand, Mittens ceases his intimidation of bloggers (I note, for example, the Goons have not renewed their war on Mabrick's tiny highsec corporation) through overt or covert means, he will have met the first of my terms for his surrender.
In that case, peace with honor in our time may be within reach.
* Fiddler's Note: The exchange occurred on Twitter, but I dislike describing non-avian communications using words 'tweet' and 'twitter'.