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The Exceedingly Early Retirement of Jack Castle

November 25, 2012

My fellow denizens of the Internet.


I’m sure some of you have taken note of two posts I’ve made recently that were written by “Jack Castle.” In case some of you didn’t realize the fact that these are filed under Serialized Fiction on this blog, let me be entirely clear: Those were all satirical posts using a fake name.

Or at least, I thought it was fake.

I came up with the name Jack Castle long before the initial post. Originally, Jack Castle was envisioned as a radio personality on a conservative talk radio show. However, I was having trouble properly establishing his actual voice though it started to become clearer when I wrote things down. The name was chosen with a little bit of thought. Conservative personalities like to have a sort of “everyman,” feel to them, so a shortened name like Jack seemed appropriate. Castle would allow him to make lots of references to barbarians at the gates (another phrase for liberals, Latino papists, and Muslims), and the planned call-in segment where he would, “go to the walls.”

For those who are wondering the obvious, yes I did a search for the name. Several times. Normally all that came up were a few linkedin profiles. My decision was that as long as it was clearly satire (like it was labeled as fiction), it shouldn’t really cause many problems for these people. Especially since my blog doesn’t get that much traffic. Outside of that time I intellectually wanked about D&D, or I whined about DC not producing enough movies, it’s a handful of people a day. So, who could Jack Castle really hurt?

Apparently, Jack Castle at least shoved somebody (by his own admission), and that person claims the physical altercation was far more violent (that they had been punched in the face).

Earlier this week, I noticed a strange uptick in traffic all being brought directly to the Jack Castle posts. I joked with a friend about how bad it would be if someone was really taking this stuff seriously. After all, it’s mostly a racist diatribe that occasionally incites open rebellion against the government.

On Thanksgiving while riding the J out to Jamaica to catch the LIRR, I had some new twitter interactions from the past few days and started scrolling through them. There was an @-mention of someone asking me about the Jack Castle post, I shrugged figuring if they were really so alarmed over it, they’d explore the rest of the blog and find out it was satire.

As the day progressed, my brother made mention of some article that was discussing the dismantling of Thanksgiving. This is something most people are familiar with as Christmas or Black Friday creep. The supposed article argues that this is some sort of dismantling of America’s major secular holiday. I then suggested that the notion of a Thanksgiving has clear roots in Christianity, and the Age of Discovery. After all, who did you all think you were thanking this whole time?

I then joked that Jack Castle should write a stirring call for Christians to retake Thanksgiving.

This lead us to, for some reason, Google Jack Castle once again. Which resulted in my brother finding this:

That website, with its singular post, reads exactly like one of my blog entries in some sort of horrible Mirror Universe fashion. With Castle’s title as a “Truth Seeker,” my gut response was that someone had actually stolen my idea. Then I noticed the copyright at the bottom that predates my idea for Jack Castle by at least several months (and actual posts by a good year or two).

Now we go back to that tweet I had received, and all that traffic.

The uptick in traffic was from that person tweeting my article as a question of, “I think I found Jack Castle’s website.” Then the tweet was from that person realizing that either I was a crazy person who used a fake name, or that I was satirizing right-wing nutjobs. Clearing things up was easy, because it is just satire though less clearly satire than I imagined.

Especially when you remember that Jack Castle gets into physical altercations with people at protests in support of Israel. Whether the man who allegedly punched someone in the face is actually named Jack Castle, it doesn’t change the fact that there is a that professes exactly what I was writing as satire, as reality.

Literally, with all this stuff about Israel and Palestine in the news I was considering an Israel/Palestine article from Jack Castle. Yes, it would have been supremely offensive and oversimplified a very complex issue. That’s the point though, that’s what these fucking conservatives are doing. Then, lo and behold, it was already written by someone actually named Jack Castle.

Conservative media is a wing of the media that’s so brilliant to take on for satirical purposes because it is exceedingly brilliant. As a friend of mine once said, the far-right is really good at reaching its base and stirring them up with marketing that every ad-man in the world would kill to be able to tap into. His precise example was the concept of, “Death Panels,” when the public health care laws were being debated. No one in the most cutting edge marketing and advertising firms across the globe could have come up with something as brilliant as, “Death Panels.” “Death Panels,” cut right to the fear that was underlying the very notion of healthcare and the government controlling it. Plus, it just rolls right off the tongue. It’s easy to remember, and it’s easy to hate. The Far Right cranks this sort of shit out, every day.

Every God Damned DAY.

Some talk show host in a tiny-ass town in bumblefuck, any-state is coming up with some new ludicrous term for something the perceived other is doing that will stir up crazy people like a firecracker in a hornet’s nest. From coast to coast, and all the states in between, if you just go far enough away from anything resembling a population center you’ll start to pick up these guys on the airwaves. And you’ll be mesmerized.

Knowing this, I set out to make a mesmerizing, ridiculous, over-the-top series of posts from this Conservative Alter-Ego. Yet, barely a few weeks later, here I am staring at this creature who I’m not entirely sure I didn’t forge from the depths of my imagination. Like I said, I Googled Jack Castle before I used the name, and this website’s been copyrighted since 2010 but I didn’t notice it until this week.

He’s not just on the internet though, there’s video of him.*

I’m not sure what to make of this entire experience. I sadly think it means the retirement of the Jack Castle character before he ever really gets his start, though he might be back with a more ridiculous name later. Still, what I think is most intriguing here is how easy it is to forget that political positions we might think of as ridiculous, are probably held by actual, living, breathing people.

Terrifying, horrible, people.



*: Apparently around the 18 minute mark, you get to meet Jack Castle.


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