Having Achieved Its Goals, Eron Gjoni’s Legal Saga Continues

One year and eight months after writing a tell-all blog post designed to ruin his ex-girlfriend’s career (if not her life), Eron Gjoni has made it clear that he is not moving on. In a recent update on his extremely boring intrigues with the Massachusetts appellate court, Eron Gjoni seems prepared to litigate against his ex for the remainder of his natural life, provided he’s given sufficient cash to do it by his #Gamergate backers.

Even though he restraining order against him has been lifted and the criminal charges pending against him have been dropped, Eron persists in suing his ex Zoe Quinn. He seems to have two fairly nebulous goals, 1) to “clear my name a little” and 2) “try to make case law protecting other people (in Massachusetts anyway) from being unconstitutionally subject to similar orders.”

Going through qrios/Eron’s recent postings in KotakuinAction, these court dates seem more like an exercise for Eron’s ego. He takes court date selfies for his #Gamergate fans, and at least once brought a date to court. His lengthy updates/retellings about what exactly Gamergate was and why he needs to keep litigating Zoe Quinn are so distorted and unreliable that reading Eron Gjoni at this point is like reading Humbert Humbert.

Dude, Eron, it’s painfully obvious you’re not over her. Nothing screams “I’m not over this relationship” like continuing to litigate your ex-partner *after* the restraining order was vacated. Nothing says “I am not over this” like complaining to the Daily Dot that you think orders of protection “are kind of a golden ticket you can get in about 5 minutes with pretty much no evidence whatsoever”, and that “the order ZQ opted for is notorious for its potential to be misused as a means of subverting the First Amendment.” But my question is this: Were your 1st amendment rights ever even curtailed?

I mean, think about it. Eron Gjoni has gone on – at length – about Zoe Quinn for a year and eight months now, restraining order or not. In fact, he violated it several times, and never spent a night in jail (or faced any other real penalty) for doing so. What the hell more could Eron want out of his free speech rights? It seems to me they have gotten a lot of mileage.

I am not sure how Eron expects to “clear [his] name a little” by litigation and posting on Reddit when to date doing these things just made his life worse. The court can’t change public opinion, or rule that that Zoe Quinn totally deserved to have The Zoe Post written about her. Nor can they award Eron with the book deal or the movie deal or restore the robotics job he used to have, but lost after publishing The Zoe Post.

It seems like Eron’s life is all about Gamergate now, that he’s prepared to keep holding on to whatever he can to stay relevant and e-famous in those circles, even if it means treating Massachusetts courts like his personal reality TV show. I only hope that his backers figure out eventually that the only people profiting off this circus is Eron and his legal team.


What’s New With Margaret Pless

My treasured readers may have noticed I have not written blog posts this past month. I have never published according to a set schedule (it’s part of the “idle dilettante” thing) but in the past month I didn’t post any, and my blogging output is likely to remain much reduced until at least mid-May.

As some of you already know, I’m currently a Master’s student in Biology at CUNY, having been accepted to the program Fall of 2015. As of 1/25/16 I accepted a job working in the Structural Biology Lab – chiefly in protein chemistry, but my work there also involves some crystallography and other tests. The research specifically focuses on proteins involved in processes of nucleotide excision repair – in plain language, the processes by which DNA heals itself from everyday wear-and-tear caused by exposure to water, oxygen, or UV rays. It’s a critical function to life – without it, DNA would not have sufficient fidelity to transmit genetic information.

That said, the new job can be quite taxing. Obtaining a sufficiently pure protein solution from cell lysates requires about 14 hours of active work – and that’s just to get the protein, without doing any experiments to it. The work is time-bound as well – just like a steak in your fridge, protein in our cold rooms becomes unusable if purification isn’t completed within a few days. I estimate that I spend about 30 hours per week in the lab, which doesn’t include time spent preparing for classes required to complete my degree, or time spent applying for grants & fellowships (so I can receive additional compensation.)

Work in the lab is mind-intensive in addition to being time-intensive. I personally still have a lot to learn about the science and techniques of protein purification, as well as the microbiology techniques my supervisor uses to create the bacteria I destroy in order to get protein. I come home from work tired, and yet I lie awake at night thinking about the laboratory, about what I left to run overnight & what needs to happen tomorrow.

Which brings me  to this blog. This update isn’t a resignation letter – if PZ Myers can find the time to blog, surely I can too – but a heads-up that my dilettantish blogging schedule is likely to become more dilettantish for the remainder of this semester. I have responsibilities to uphold with CUNY which simply take precedence over entertaining Sargon of Akkad’s & his fans’ complaints that Nightly Show writers may read and link to my previous posts. (Or that this high-profile RT might get the attention of staff at Patreon.) These things haven’t escaped my attention, but I’m too busy with these proteins to do much more than Tweet about it.

So, if you’re wondering where I’ve been, and why no blog posts throughout the month of February, that’s the reason. I am, of course, still reachable – per email in every case (mpless@gm.slc.edu) and via Twitter if you’re cool.


Margaret Pless

Mike Cernovich: Potemkin Alpha Male

It’s been about a year since I last wrote about Michael C. Cernovich, the part-time lawyer, full-time Internet bum who’s publicly threatened to sue me (that is, when he hasn’t got me confused with Zoe Quinn.) Back then, I smelled a rat – Cernovich claimed to be a successful lawyer, yet he was seemingly no longer was actively practicing law just a year after finally getting his law license; and the address he gave as his law offices turned out to be a rental condominium in a residential neighborhood. Looking at it on Google Street View, there was nothing about the property which suggested it was really a law office, yet it was Cernovich’s address of record to the CA State Bar, and theoretically the place clients sent this big-shot lawyer their checks.

It was one of several details of Cernovich’s life that didn’t add up: why was this high-rolling attorney wasting his time with juicing e-books and blogging? Why did an apparent 2004 Pepperdine Law graduate swinging his credentials around on Twitter seem to have no known record of practicing law? And why did it seemingly take him nine years — until 2013 — to finally be admitted to the California bar? Why pretend his blogging was profitable when his own writings contradicted this statement? Moreover, why was Cernovich so obsessed with projecting an image of wealth, machismo & success on social media, when the facts suggested a far more modest reality?

As a result of my initial post about him, Cernovich threatened to initiate some sort of legal action against me. And I, unwilling to further provoke a guy whom I presumed could litigate on his own behalf for free, decided to put any new Cernovich articles on moratorium.

But in recent weeks I have learned that my fears were unfounded. Cernovich has never sued anyone: although he boasts of having his law blog credited twice in unpublished court decisions, there does not seem to be a single decision from any court in America in which he is credited as acting as counsel — state or federal. He appears to have obtained a law license in 2013 (nine years after graduating law school) yet there is no evidence he did anything with it except posture on the Internet. The closest Cernovich’s ever seems to have gotten to being a practicing lawyer was doing scut legal writing work on contract and blogging about law while being married to a law school classmate. This classmate apparently went on to become an IP attorney with several well-known, hugely successful public tech companies, while Cernovich stayed at home. The financial success Cernovich advertises as his own is almost certainly due to a “seven-figure payday” his ex-wife was forced to give Cernovich from her tech stock awards as part of their divorce settlement. (Michael himself appeared to confirm many of these details in a series of Tweets published and then deleted in the past fortnight.) Yet, in public, Cernovich is more than willing to criticize people who collect alimony.

In fact, much of Cernovich’s personal brand is a deception. Michael advertises his physical fitness as the result of regular workouts, juice diets and “Gorilla Mindset”, but it’s partially the result of testosterone injections. (According to Michael, “the ball shrinkage was 25%, tops.”) His financial success is allegedly the result of his e-book/podcast/men’s websites empire, but it’s likely propped up by the stock windfall Michael took from his ex as part of his divorce settlement. But this money may be dwindling. Nowadays, Cernovich claims to be wandering the globe for “tax purposes”, only briefly visiting the US to promote his self-help books.

Even his diet books are a sham: Cernovich admits on page 1 of “Juice Power!: How to Juice for Healing, Fat Loss, and Lifelong Nutrition” that he juices veg because he dislikes eating them whole, then follows with a lengthy disclaimer indemnifying his recipes.

That said, the recipes in Juice Power! are at least edible, whereas Cernovich’s advice on other topics is either useless or dangerous. Cernovich’s philosophical work ‘Gorilla Mindset’ claims to teach how to control one’s thoughts and emotions to lead a positive life, yet Cernovich routinely loses his temper on Twitter and later deletes the Tweets once he’s calmed down. Assuming the guy who wrote Gorilla Mindset should be the top practitioner of it, you’d expect Cernovich to be a lot less reactive than he is.

But there’s a reason Cernovich goes to pieces so often, seemingly without warning. According to Michael, his mother suffers from bipolar disorder, and Michael himself “had some form of mental illness in [his] late 20s”, which brought him “close to suicide many times”. Though Cernovich claims to have “cured” himself using “N-A-C, proper nutrition, and mindset exercises”, I’m not sure this worked as well as Michael thinks it did. This could explain – in conjunction with his troubles with the law – what appears to be his nine-year, two-bar-exam odyssey to get a license to practice in California.

Michael’s pick-up game is similarly weaksauce. Apart from the aforementioned divorce from a really successful attorney, the “danger and play” dominance technique Cernovich claims women crave may have also gotten him charged with sexual assault. (If you believe Cernovich’s story, he had a devil of a time beating the charges.) Indeed Cernovich’s advice on how to choke your partner during sex sounds like an injury waiting to happen.  Cernovich’s belief that ‘defense soap’ on the D is suitable prophylaxis against STIs is similarly risky quackery; as is his claim that “the best condom a man has is the skin on his dick.” (If Cernovich actually used condoms, he’d know that coconut oil, his favorite type of lubricant, degrades the latex and can cause them to tear.) Cernovich’s loony views on masturbation and “super serum” simply belong in another era. 

Although Michael claims to be a self-made man, he trolls more well-known men, drafting off their fame to get attention. He’s likely not a practicing lawyer, nor is he really a nutritionist, pick-up master or fitness instructor. In reality, Cernovich is a Twitter bug with a resume of Potemkin accomplishments – his financial success is more than likely the result of a divorce settlement, just as his fitness is based in steroid use. His tales of sexual conquest are just that, and Michael’s legal career is a similarly trumped-up story with little to no basis in fact. And considering the numerous misrepresentations Cernovich has already made to burnish his image, it’s hard to trust that anything he says isn’t a bluff.

This is why there is no reason anyone should be afraid of Cernovich or his boasts – nor should they really feel sorry for him any longer, as I have at times. Pathetic as Cernovich is, he also makes it his mission to stalk and bully others, either out of a lifetime grudge or because he thinks it will get him attention and clicks.

Cernovich is a Potemkin alpha male whose success in life is as artificially inflated as his testosterone levels. He bullies people more famous than himself in order to obtain what are by his own description modest pageviews and z-grade notoriety, and says extreme things he doesn’t believe so reactionary dregs will consider buying his e-books. And as he presumably whittles away his savings from the proceeds of his ex-wife’s hard-earned IPO windfall, I expect he will only become more desperate for attention and money.