Note: this passage is taken from a longer work I am in the process of composing, on the meta-significance of #Pizzagate. See an earlier-published excerpt of this work here.
|James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping-Pong Pizza in Washington D.C.|
by Andy Nowicki
Consider this summary of one #Pizzagate researcher’s alleged correspondence with James Alefantis. This communication has entered the public record, as this researcher wound up filing a police report concerning what he believes to be terroristic threats against himself and members of his family.
This researcher in question, a young man from Houston named Ryan O’Neal, first contacted Alefantis in January, asking if he would consent to an online interview. At first, Alefantis wrote back to express disinterest in the idea, proclaiming that there was “like a zero percent chance this (the interview) will happen.” However, once O’Neal posted a Youtube video in which he claimed to discover the location of what one of the notorious Jimmy Comet Instagram pictures titled a “kill room,” Alefantis suddenly appeared to change his tune. (A written account of O'Neal's testimony can be found here; the video testimony is posted below.)
|Ryan O'Neal, #pizzagate researcher allegedly threatened by Alefantis|
“Ok man, you win,” he wrote to O’Neal the day after the video was uploaded, prompting O’Neal to think that Alefantis had decided to capitulate and grant the interview he had previously rejected. Then, after asking a series of seemingly irrelevant questions pertaining to O’Neal’s online identity, Alefantis again switched course, becoming openly confrontational. After feigning confusion about who O’Neal was (with the clear purpose of catching his interlocutor off guard), the Comet Ping Pong Owner then dropped a bomb:
Alefantis: He is in trouble.
The abrupt switch from third- to second-person (“he” to the all-caps “YOU.”) displays an exquisitely-executed instance of psychological manipulation. In a mere moment, things go from speculative to immediate, from impersonal to personal, from vaguely ominous to directly threatening. The conveyed message can’t be any clearer: O’Neal is “in trouble,” and the source of this encroaching danger is none but Alefantis himself.
But why? What has O’Neal done that warrants the issuance of such a warning? It is at this juncture, the moment when Alefantis turns “weird and aggressive” according to O’Neal, that Alefantis insists that O’Neal call him on his cell phone, in order to find out the details concerning the nature of the invisible noose tightening around his neck. Frightened as he is, O’Neal finds his fear pulling him in different directions: “I was really scared to call this guy. He already has my Facebook. He knows where I live. Now he’s going to have my phone number. So I’m really scared.”
Still, Alefantis knows how to provide further incentive. After giving his phone number, He writes, “Call me now. You have ten seconds. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Last chance.”
This typed-out countdown may strike us as comical, even ridiculous. After all, what will happen if O’Neal refuses to comply? “Last chance” to prevent… what, exactly? The threat clearly has no true “teeth” to it. But we should note that it nevertheless had its intended effect; the terrified O’Neal promptly calls Alefantis, just as the latter had commanded. And once he called, according to O’Neal, Alefantis truly let loose with harsh invective and very specific declarations of intention to commit homicidal violence.
“He basically said he was going to kill me, kill my mom, kill my girlfriend, and kill my son,” O’Neal reported later, his voice shaking slightly. “He’s going to sue me, he’s going to send me to prison… he told me I had to delete my video or I would die, my son would die, and then he would sue me.. sue my dead body!” (Bolded here for emphasis.)
O’Neal responds to this torrent of repetitive and at times barely-sensical abuse (“he would sue… my dead body”???) with incredulity; it all seems to have come out of nowhere… Alefantis’s harsh words have an immediate impact; instantly O’Neal feels moved to apologize for his ostensible misdoing and to plead with the supposedly wronged man for mercy.
Once more, it may be easy for the reader to scorn O’Neal for knuckling under so rapidly in the face of clearly outrageous behavior. And it may be that O’Neal’s apparent easygoing persona—he comes across as a mild-mannered, slightly daft country-boy-- isn’t especially geared to withstand those who approach him with severity. At the same time, however, we should also take care not to judge him too harshly, considering that Alefantis is likely, as I am attempting to argue, quite adept at modulating his tone to suit his audience, as befits the “middle-management” type of man who rules his seeming betters though blackmail, manipulation, and triangulation.
In any case, thoroughly mortified as he is by this sudden and furious spasm of terroristic invective, O’Neal meekly pledges to do the bidding of the man who had just announced he would murder everyone he loved as well as himself, before pressing suit against his corpse. But the onslaught isn't over yet.
While O’Neal is still reeling from the shock of this upsetting phone call, Alefantis begins to text him again, instructing O’Neal to delete the offending video in a manner that would cause “no waves.”
At this point, O’Neal makes a feeble attempt to recover his wits and his dignity, texting back, “I am a super reasonable guy. You don’t have to scare me like that.”
Alefantis responds by sending a picture of O’Neal and his mother, presumably taken from some social media site. The chilling unspoken message is clear, in context: I know what your mom looks like. I am one of the most powerful people in Washington, D.C, and with the connections at my disposal, I can find out where she lives. I could do serious harm to her if I wanted to. However, the text message accompanying the implicitly threatening photo is incongruously benign: “Thanks. Feel ok?”
When O’Neal responds, “Not really. (You) just threatened to kill everyone,” Alefantis then comfortingly answers, “No need for all that.” Soon afterwards, he posts a picture of O’Neal’s girlfriend, with the accompanying comment, “Cute.” (Again, the subtext: It would sure be a shame if anything happened to her...) He asks O’Neal to call him again, and promises to be “nice” this time.
Showing himself to be fully aware of the implications of these photos, O’Neal pointedly asks, “Is this you being nice?” But Alefantis has now again morphed into another persona, that of—incredibly enough-- a sympathetic adviser. He assures O’Neal that things “might be ok,” and advises him to “Let me know when you have calmed a bit.”
They talk again, and O’Neal reports that Alefantis is indeed “nicer” this time, but nevertheless assures him that his death is certain if he doesn’t remove the video. Afterwards, O’Neal texts Alefantis that he has removed the video, broadcasting his fealty by adding, “You win by a landslide.” Alefantis answers, “So go to sleep. Thank you for that. It’s appreciated.”
There are many useful details to note about this exchange, but to me the most interesting aspect is what may be called the calculated mercurialism of Alefantis’s demeanor over the course of the interaction. He bounces from a conspicuous display of disinterest (“about a zero percent chance that’s going to happen”) to seeming capitulation (“OK man, you win”), to angry and violent threats, to soothing and placating ministrations, even to the point of apparently telegraphing graciousness after threatening mass murder (“Thank you for that. It’s appreciated.”), all the while still retaining a disconcerting undertone of menace (“Things might be ok,” leaving a whisper of the unspoken corollary, “but they also might NOT, in which case all bets are off..”)
This propensity to be a whirling dervish of moods almost seems to indicate an underlying psychosis, yet it also feels practiced, like an actor on a stage, or more accurately a stand-up performer, since he’s shooting from the hip rather than working from a script, but is still clearly acting, with an overarching goal in mind with regard to steering his “audience,” that is, his mark, towards a particular response.
The effect he wishes to achieve isn’t merely to scare his interlocutor beyond measure—he has greater ambition than that. He doesn’t just wish to intimidate and humiliate his mark; he also aims, perversely enough, to win his mark’s gratitude. He at once plays both “bad cop” and “good cop”—he lets loose with violent threats, then cheerily dismisses the concerns expressed by the one whose life he’d threatened mere minutes before.
It isn’t enough to get O’Neal (the “mark” in this case) to do his bidding (i.e., to take the offending video down), but also, to convince him that, in doing so, he has committed a noble deed for a good and just cause, that due to his obedience his sins have been forgiven, and that he may now go in peace, albeit with a slight sense of dread that the now-merciful judge may in the near future once more wax revengeful and unleash unspeakable carnage upon him and everyone he loves.
#Pizzagate and the Lugenpresse
#Pizzagate and the Lugenpresse