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July 22, 2006

The Magic Boyfriend Speaks, As Ellison?

Maybe Not As Good As I Thought Update: The post will remain, but in the jump. See the BumperStickerist's points before the post.


BumperStickerist objects:

Ace implied that he knew who David the Boyfriend was.

If it's David [name delated], then read Glenn's blog and you'll find David [name deleted] leaves comments that are fluent English with idiomatic expressions. He also blogged in Portugese. I posted examples in one of the previous Greenwald threads here.

For whatever reason, ace is reading 'brazillian' and thinking "Cabana boy' when the boyfriend's father could be Brazillian and has been working in the US. David could have spent the past 25 years living in the US and still be 'brazillian'.

I don't presume to know who the boyfriend is.

My point is that Jane Galt took this as a posting by the boyfriend, and thus thought it exonerated (or tended to exonerate) Greenwald. I think that's jackass-- if this IS the boyfriend, then he has a limited command of English, and could not possibly have written the sock-puppet posts in question.

I wrote in the main post I have no idea if this IS the boyfriend, and I said it could just be a totally different dude calling himself "Ellison."

I'm not thinking "Cabana Boy." I'd like to know the boyfriend's command of English, which I do not. Neither Greenwald nor the boyfriend will assist in this regard, for reasons known only to themselves. People keep thinking I'm assuming that someone from Brazil is a broken-English stereotype. I'm not. But I do happen to believe that, without knowing English from a very early age, and being talented with languages generally, it will be relatively easy to discern a native speaker from a non-native speaker. There is a difference between "fluency" and "native speaker fluency."

If it is true that David the Magic Boyfriend writes in perfect English, then yes, it is possible, from a language point of view, to have written some of the sock-puppet posts. But still not possible to ape Greenwald's style so perfectly, nor preview posts Greenwald will make the next day, nor be as obsessive about defending Greenwald's arguments as Greenwald is.

Is this the Magic Boyfriend? Don't know. That's why there's a question mark in the post.

If it is, however, the Magic Boyfriend, it damns Greenwald. It does not exonerate him, as Galt suggests.

PS: BumperStickerist, do you have any evidence the man you speak of is the Magic Boyfriend, or is it just speculation on your part? Please send me an email either way.

...

Original Post:


I have questioned the exact level of command of the English lanaguage possessed by the Magic Boyfriend. Some have told me that it would not be strange for a Brazillian to be completely fluent in English. I don't doubt that, but neither would it be strange for a Brazillian to not be completely fluent, either.

I have asked Greenwald, through this site (which I know he reads) to provide writing examplars from his Magic Boyfriend, to compare the style to the sock-puppet posts. He has declined.

Jane Galt cites the writings of "Ellison" in this Greenwald thread as tending to buttress the case that the Magic Boyfriend was behind the sock-puppet posts. Why? Because she points out that the writing here seems to be that of a non-native speaker of English.

But Jane is wildly off base here. Because the sock-puppet posts Glenn Greenwald is accused of penning are written in perfect, fluent, fully-idiomatic mistake-free English. She has identified an "Ellison" post, but not one of the suspected sock-puppet posts.

In fact, her quote tends to strongly suggest that Greenwald penned the sock-puppet posts, using the Magic Boyfriend's occasional nom de cyber of "Elllison."

Compare "Ellison" on Greenwald's site, sounding like, in fact, a Brazillian boyfriend:

The problem, David is that everything you are saying that Glen should address, he already has. He explained clearly that Markos cannot and does not exert leverage over a single word he writes or doesn't write, and already explained what Townhouse is:

[Greenwald quote deleted.]

I cant speak for him, but I wouldnt answer you either, you keep ignoring the answers he gave, which suggest that youre interested in accusing, not in learning.

Finally, you want a negative proven. What evidence could exist to show this conspiracy doesnt exist?

Does that read as if written by a native speaker of English? No, it doesn't.

Compare to the notorious "Ellison" post on my site:

Greenwald only has a New York Times Best Selling Book on the Bush Administration and its abuses of power. And he has one of the most-read blogs on the Interent, after 9 months of blogging. And Senators read from his blog at Senate hearings and his posts lead to front-page news stories in major newspapers.

Why would anyone think what he has to say matters? It's not like anyone listens to him. It's not like he's Ace, or Jeff Goldstein, or Patterico, or Sister Toldjah or Glenn Reynolds, or someone who really matters.

Great advice, you super-important bloggers should only to each other and about each other. Don't bother with anyone in the Left because if you ignore them, they'll just go away.

Hm! He seems to have learned to use apostrophes in his contractions. The writing is more casual there than the turgid prose Greenwald favors on his blog, but then, he's usually much more colloquial in comments, both on his own thread and others.

Guys... sarcasm is one of the hardest things to pull off in a foreign language. But this "Ellison" seems quite comfortable with it.

And compare "Ellison" from Greenwald's thread to this fairly-polished bit of writing from "Rick Ellensburg," from Right Wing Nuthouse:

I love how you criticize the post for being too long and then criticize it for not including enough examples.

I also love how you criticize it for not having enough examples and then ignore most of the examples Greenwald gives.

The article about Barr makes clear that the whole room hated Barr for criticizing Bush, not just one imbecile.

And if you’re not familiar with the way in which even life-long conservative Senators are no longer conservative when they jump out of line, it’s only because you don’t read the papers. Should he have included every instance of that in his single post?

And Michelle Malkin already advocates internment camps. It’s hardly “baseless” to think she would advocate new ones.

And you need to learn to read. Greenwald said that Goldstein and Goldberg would likely support far more extreme measures than the ones already revealed, but that they would likely NOT be without limits at all as to the powers they’d be willing to give Bush (unlike Malkina and Hinderaker). You mock that statement as some sort of contradiction. Do you really not understand the difference between advocating further powers but not advocating absolute powers? Apparently not.

And they just had a conservative event and the whole place erupted in cheers when Ann Coulter urged violence on ragheads and called for the deaths of liberal supreme court justices and bill clinton. Is that conservative to you or a cult?

Hmmmm!!! Well, it seems like the Brazillian-sounding "Ellison" from Greenwald's site is not, in fact, the sock-puppet "Rick Ellensburg" from Right Wing Nut House's. Funny how this sock-puppet just happens to sound like a top-5 law-school-trained American native speaker of English (who is, incidentally, very conversant with all of Greenwald's arguments, unlike the Brazilian sounding Ellison, who can only manage to say "youre (sic) only interested in accusing, not learning").

I cannot prove the "Ellison" posting on Greenwald's site is the boyfriend. Jane Galt cites it as being the boyfriend, without giving her reasons why; perhaps Glenn Greenwald emailed her this as evidence in his defense? Who knows, it could just be a totally different guy calling himself "Ellison."

But that is emphatically NOT one of the posts identified as a sock-puppet post, because we cannot check the IP without Greenwald's help, and I don't think he's likely to aid the investigation. He knows where it would lead.

But assuming that is the Magic Boyfriend-- well, he does post as "Ellison" sometimes. On Greenwald's blog.

In nonstandard, unpolished, error-filled English.

But the sock-puppet posts we are concerned with, posted under a variety of names such as "Ellison," "Wilson," "Thomas Ellers," and "Rick Ellensburg," all come from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo addresses and all sound exactly like Glenn Greenwald himself, not a Brazilian boyfriend who is conversational in English but would never be mistaken for a native speaker.

See, the thing is, had the sock-puppet posts been written in that broken-sort of English, and merely consisted of a brief defense of Greenwald's person -- defending one's man, as it were -- then the Magic Boyfriend theory would be accepted. I'd say, "Okay, well, yeah... that does sound like a Brazilian. Okay, you're innocent, but instruct your boyfriend it's best to disclose his personal relationship with you, or at least his bias, when he defends you."

The trouble is-- the sock-puppet posts are not brief, error-filled, broken-English defenses of Greenwald.

They're written in perfectly idiomatic, educated native-speaker prose. And, furthermore, sometimes they do more than defend Greenwald personally. Sometimes, as in the case of "Rick Ellensburg," they make Greenwald's points as fluidly as Greenwald himself and, in at least one case, make a Greenwald point before Greenwald himself does on his own blog.

They don't read as if written by a non-native-English-speaking Brazillian boyfriend just sticking up for his man.

In fact, they read as if written by a New York Times bestselling author, whose blog has climbed to enormous popularity in just nine months, and whose writings are read by Senators like Russ Feingold.

In other words: they sound exactly like Glenn Greenwald himself.

So, either the Brazillian boyfriend puts on a Hank-Azaria-playing-Adagar-from-The Birdcage act once in a while, and then suddenly drops the pose and writes in native-speaker law-school-trained English. He goes from Manuel on Fawlty Towers to James Spader on Boston Legal at the drop of a hat, depending on his mood.

Or... gee, maybe it's actually Glenn Greenwald writing the sock-puppet posts, just as all the other evidence indicates.


Another nail for the coffin.

Question For Jane Galt: How did this "Ellison" post come to your attention?

Did Greenwald send you an email offering it in his defense? Just curious.

Note: If Greenwald can demonstrate his innocence, why doesn't he?

Why doesn't he respond to questions? All of the information needed to resolve this one way or the other is in his possession; why does he conceal what he claims is exonerating evidence?

It's like the situation of a theft at a store, and the clerk is insistant that the store's videotapes not be viewed. Why would he do that?

Well, you tend not to want people to see the evidence if you have a suspicion what the evidence would show, and that the evidence would point to you.

Not much of a mystery, despite some's desire to contrive it as some sort of difficult intellectual puzzle.


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posted by Ace at 06:12 PM

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