Finally, an asshole served in full

Bitter, dejected, and fundamentally unsuccessful writer Robert Clark Young has had a pretty bad couple of weeks, and it couldn’t happen to a better asshole.

Young came to my attention first several years ago when he was instrumental in the derailing of a friend of mine’s career over false allegations that my friend stole work from another author. Brad had written an award-winning book, and was set to begin a tenure-track career at Mississippi State when this whole thing hit. Despite clear evidence he intended no wrongdoing and no small amount of support from the actual literary community, his book was pulped and his job offer rescinded. Watching this happen to a very talented friend was really, really awful. (The book was eventually republished — which tells you all you need to know about the plagiarism allegations — and you should read it, because it’s fantastic.)

Young was off my radar for a few years, until this spring. Remember that scandal about female writers having their articles on Wikipedia moved out of the “American Novelists” category and into the “American Women Novelists” category? The writer Amanda Filipacchi wrote about it for the New York Times, which shed a great deal of light on the normally fairly obscure process of Wikipedia editing. She had her article at Wikipedia vandalized and trivialized for her trouble — largely by a pseudonymous editor named “Qworty”.

It turns out Qworty had a host of “revenge edits” to his credit, frequently sliming writers he, for some reason, didn’t care for — including literary giant Barry Hannah, a mentor of Vice’s. When taken in toto, it became clear that the “list of writers Qworty hates” was overwhelming similar to the list of writers Robert Clark Young is known for hating. Imagine that.

The first link contains Salon’s rundown of the whole affair. The second is a drier but no less interesting discussion at a sort of ombudsman site about Wikipedia itself. Read both, and join me in the schadenfreude. Young has no job offer to rescind or recent book to pulp or awards to withdraw, so we’ll just have to content ourselves with the public shaming of a deeply creepy and vindictive jackass.

I’ll take it.

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