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Sorrow on Fire: The Clown is Gone


The world is complicated and cruel. I made this post after finding ClownonFire.com had vanished. This is my opinion of that blog and the blog posts. Since then I have learned there is a back story of tremendous hurt. I stand by what I have written in the context I wrote it – a lament for creative talent shredded. At the end I have added links to sites that contain some of the tragic back story that consumed the blog and the blogger.”

Today I discovered ClownonFire.com is now a blank screen. An Internet Dead-end. The place that proudly proclaimed “BECAUSE EVERY DAY IS FUCKING MAGICAL™” had ended the magic. And I am brokenhearted.

This is what I retrieved from the Google Cache for his Final Post:

LeClownEnd

Nothing is forever, and we are driven by our own demons, and ghost, and memories, and sorrowful clowns. Those inner memories and personas make us who we are, make us do wonderful and wise things. And make use suddenly veer of the path into uncharted waters.

I loved reading Le Clown in all his brash, rude, in-your-face, “I don’t give a damn what you think” craziness. There were times when his posts waded through undisturbed piles of feces, unleashing a vast unpleasant stink across the blogging universe. Ah the turmoil Le Clown could stir up with a will place tweaking of the nose. To him nothing was sacred.

Le Clown played the role of Blogging Court Jester to the maximum. Overturning the holiest of  cows in a flurry of sarcastic sardonic dark wit. Yes there were times he crossed the lines of “good taste.” But Le Clown wasn’t here to coddle the cowering, Le Clown was here to cause a ruckus. And in the process make us think about what it was we really valued in life. Le Clown made me angry. And Le Clown made me think.

There were times when Le Clown wrote of the troubled side of life, revealing half-healed wounds, and ugly scars of a lifetime lived, and loved. His posts on depression, on his relationships with his father, his mother and his current family, were tremendously moving glimpses into his life and the events that had shaped his worldview. While my life is quite ordinary and plain compared to the life of Le Clown, I understood and I could really relate  to the emotional turmoil and pain he was describing.

Le Clown made me cry. Le Clown made me remember my own hidden sorrows and regrets. Le Clown opened doors I had long ago nailed shut. Le Clown was a bastard that way. And I loved him for that masterful disregard for the buried past.

Each of our lives are complex layers intersecting with the lives of those around us. When we are born we are imprinted with our first life experiences by those nearest and dearest to us. They shape what we value, and how we value. They shape how we love, and how we show love. The bottom line is the more turmoil and complexity we have in those early relationships – the harder it becomes to be ordinary. Le Clown was far from ordinary.

I do hope this is not the complete end of Le Clown the blogging personality. I certainly hope that Eric, the man behind Le Clown, continues his mad and wild creativity. Blogging certainly isn’t the be-all, end-all ultimate venue for anyone of his wit and talent. More than anything I wish Eric happiness and joy and success beyond his imagining.

Most of all I just want to say to Le Clown, to Eric: Thank You sir.

You made me think. You made me grow. You made me better for knowing you.

Farewell. Adieu. Take Care.

I will miss you, and I will hold out hope that one day Le Clown will reappear and knock over my apple cart just one more time.

carnie

Below are Blog Postings on Another Side of Le Clown

These links are not easy reading, and paint a troubling picture of the blogger behind ClownonFire. It seems Le Clown the blogger, is a very complicated man. It would seem that as much as Eric brightened my world, he brought darkness to other places. The dark unraveling is revealed here at CalamityRae’s Blog (now back online!) in her own words:

 

The other links below add more voices and history to the story.

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42 responses

  1. it’s a year later (than all the posts/comments prior). stuck (as gymorrisun sang: in a prison of my own design) in the desert (yes, and yes) i just now wundurd whut wuzz da clown up (or down) to? and this is/was the first “hit” frum google. and so, what the barkeep said to the Amigos when they came to the bar:

    “the German says to wait here.”

    collectively “hmmmmm.”

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    1. been a year of silence 🙂

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  2. Such a twisted, complicated, far-reaching situation.
    Wonderfully-written post, though.
    Well done.

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    1. Thanks! I did write that post before I knew anything of the undercurrent that was in play. Looking back I realize once again that truth is never completely black and white. It isn’t even shades of gray. It is full spectrum chaos and the patterns we choose to make from that chaos is the picture that becomes etched in our individual brains.

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  3. Yours appears to be a nice polite blog so I won’t say what my opinion is of Eric. I’m not even interested in the clever analysis, as far as I was concerned he is an egocentric manipulative controlling person. Reading other blogs, he is more than that. However I would like to thank you for the helpful links you have provided.

    While I didn’t suffer any sexual abusive emails from him, I did get my knuckles rapped for daring to agree with him in public because I didn’t worship him sufficiently. I am glad all these other women have had the courage to know write about him, thanks to calamity rae’s very brave post. And quite frankly whether he has his own problems or not, that doesn’t excuse sending sexually explicit personal emails to women and bullying and controlling them. Thereby perpetuating endless cycles.

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  4. I found this, and most other posts long after the real hoopla was dying down… A week later, it’s amazing to me how many people have been hurt, shocked, attacked… etc. I wrote my post yesterday because I’d gotten several private emails asking what I thought, along with my own rising anxiety all week, from the stories. No doubt Eric is a complex man. To call him all bad or all good, would be do deny too many details and facts. He has been a friend to many, and helped a lot of bloggers and people express some very difficult things. He also apparently hurt a lot of people… few things in life are black and white, and when they have a big red nose, you can count on that! 😉 Interesting comments. I have found in my post as well, the comments seem to shed the most light.

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    1. Yep – he is a complex human being with strong sense of self. And that is both his charm and his demon. I am hoping things settle down and move along now. His interaction with Calamity went into the wrong places. I can’t speak for his intentions only he can do that – but on the surface he certainly took things where they should never have gone.
      That being said it doesn’t change my opinion of his creative talent and energy. One can enjoy the art and not like the artist/performer. Charlie Sheen might understand.

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      1. Or Woody Allen… or Picasso… Le Clown would love sharing such good company! Yes, he was masterful at creating a space where many liked to congregate and many important stories and voices were given the spot light. That all remains true.

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  5. I see you included a link to my blog. My post is about my own experiences being married to a diagnosed Narcissist. It was a post that I’d had on the back-burner of my mind for a long time and is not about this particular blogger; although the current conversations about this situation created a tipping point for me to write about my own story in broad terms that could apply to many situations. Many people have used the term narcissism in conversations about this situation, and Le Clown/Eric often made jokes about being a narcissist/ having a big ego. It’s true that I was always a bit wary about his blog because of certain similarities with my experiences. However, what I wanted to contribute was my own perspective and learnings about what Narcissistic Personality Disorder actually IS and what it’s like to be in a relationship with someone who has it. I hope it’s useful to people as they go through life and are trying to figure out what’s going on in troubling relationships. Many people have expressed that it captures experiences they’ve had with spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, parents, etc., and that it’s been helpful for them to understand and cope with NPD.

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    1. I thought you were quite clear in your post you were writing about NPD as a general concept – and not as a specific comment on any one individual. Sorry if I muddied that slightly by including you in the links. I included one other “general” concept link. I just thought your post really really clearly provided a good understanding of what a Narcissistic Personality is like – and how hard it is for them to change. And how hard it is for those that are under their influence to step free from the chaos.

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      1. Thanks. I hope I didn’t come off sounding defensive. With all the line-drawing, us-them, side-taking, unfriending going on, it’s just getting yucky.

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      2. I perfectly understand. I really don’t see the need for any us-them thing going on. But I can see there is some of that going on.
        Le Clown, as a blogger, was someone I found provocative and entertaining. Unfortunately, the man behind Le Clown has demons that need examining. That isn’t unique to him, as we all have demons of some kind or another.
        I have no advice to share, no wisdom to give healing. I’ll muddle through like I usually do. And that is probably what everyone else will also do.
        Meanwhile I have many blogs to read and many posts to enjoy! I will definitely be back to visit your blog.

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  6. Le Clown caused a lot of hurt. A LOT. Yes, he did some good things, like introducing me to other bloggers, but did you read all the comments on Calamity’s post before she took it down due to hate mail she was receiving? HUNDREDS of them. HUNDREDS. And so many of them were people I knew, and had met through WordPress. This isn’t a bunch of ninnies out of nowhere spreading misinformation. It isn’t hearsay.

    I’m sorry that you lost the blog of someone you thought you knew, but I don’t find it a loss at all, but a relief. He is a sexual predator, and a cruel person, and I do hope he finds help for whatever makes him do the things he has done to people. Again, this is not just my word. This is not just people ganging up. This is the TRUTH that has been buried a long time by people too afraid of him to stand up. I’m not trying to attack you personally, but this did affect me personally, and many people I know, people who had already been abused and then were abused again. So I’m sorry, I can’t understand why he still has supporters.

    I do thank you for showing the other side of the issue too, once you found out.

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    1. Thanks Alice
      I understand the hurt and anger. Really I do. And I welcome you commenting here.

      This is why I added your post to my list of blogs. You shed a whole other light on things. In fact it was after finding your post and reading it I decided I needed to add all the links to story behind the story.
      My experience of Le Clown was as a reader, and one amused by his madness. It now seems that madness had a whole other side I never encountered.

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  7. This is an excellent post that I’m glad to see.
    The full picture of Le Clown is definitely not the one incident that became such a firestorm. He helped a lot of bloggers find their voice. Black Box Warnings was an excellent forum for a whole lot of people to get a whole lot of support, and there are a whole lot of people that think well of him, with good reason.
    People are rarely just one thing. I’m glad you have happy memories of him going forward.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading.
      It is a sad troubling situation.
      I do hope he finds a way to tame his inner demons.
      And I hope those he has hurt do find some healing.

      On the positive side this has made me go read close to 100 new bloggers and some really really amazing writing!

      Which reminds me that this is just a small little slice of WordPress and the world is even bigger still!

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    2. You’re right, Guap. He did help some people. Unfortunately he hurt as many as he helped, it seems. I really am sad to see BBW and TOC have disappeared. They really were great projects and gave people a place to voice their opinions on a multitude of topics.

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  8. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
    ― John Wooden

    Therein lies Eric’s problem and it is ultimately what brought down A Clown on Fire.

    I know the story behind all of this and I, like many others, have my own Le Clown story. What I haven’t read yet is a defense of what he did to Calamityrae. I have read posts like this one, mourning his exit, and this is a very well-written post. I have seen the anger and name calling but no one has explained or defended what Eric wrote to Calamityrae.

    Not surprisingly, I haven’t read Eric’s blog in months nor do I miss it. And I will bet he’ll be back.

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    1. I will admit I made my own post only knowing that Eric had deleted his site and his presence. It was unexpected and saddening.
      People have stopped by to try and persuade and enlighten me. In trying to follow the trail I see Calamity has deleted her own site also…and that also saddens me.
      I can’t say I do know the full story of the final turmoil and conflict. I have now read some of the posts about the last few days. But alas these are now third hand accounts of he said/she said/they said. Which becomes hearsay…
      The truth now muddled into opinion and agenda – so I cannot fully tease out the whole picture. In the end all I get our stories and opinions – much like this my own posting of opinion.
      I only know what I know. And mostly what I know is not much at all.
      And this is what I do know – there was a personal interaction that crossed a line. It doesn’t matter how or why that happened – just that it did. And it should not have.
      What I do hope is that we all find some peace and understanding within our collective selves.

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      1. I think this has touched so many people and I hope we all learn from it as member of WordPress. As I said, you wrote a very nice tribute and I’m sure people appreciated it. I think it’s time to douse the flames and bloig on. I may do a very important post tomorrow on the most popular names from 100 years ago. You won’t want to miss it!

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      2. Sounds intriguing! You have me hooked – trivia is my downfall!

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  9. I’d rather have brashness than the apparently endless supply of anodyne and saccharin homespun philosophers telling us how the world would be so much a better place if we were all just a bit nicer to each other. They make me want to scream, ‘Shut the hell up with your aimless noodlings, you moron!’

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    1. Why can’t we all just get along?

      🙂

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  10. I have to say I never much liked Le Clown, but I can see how influential he was. As for the negative comments? Nobody forced anyone to read a blog. If you don’t like it, vote with your feet and don’t read it, as I did.

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    1. Oh he certainly did have that “get under skin” quality down to an art-form. As Le Clown he was provocative. Sometimes way over the line provocative. Yet he was also deeply thoughtful and moving in many of his posts.
      As you said – no-one makes you read what he is saying. I didn’t like every word he wrote, and I know he left some wounds in his brashness.

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  11. Beautiful post, very moving tribute- don’t know his writing but I hope he is well and finds a new way of expressing his clearly strongly held opinions and view of the world.
    As the great man said:
    Just say what you feel, those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter!

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    1. Thank you. Yes I think that is part of the blogging:. realizing that some people use this platform as a stage for expressing part of themselves. Sometimes that gets messy – and then you can choose to engage or just walk away.

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      1. How true! But just occasionally someone posts and it strikes a chord with others who are able to give or receive support, compassion, understanding, help. It is, or should be, a truly democratic, safe, non judgemental and open platform.

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  12. article is quite interesting and hopefully true happiness rays began to warm the hearts of us all, when we can share it with sincerity. Greetings from Gede Prama 🙂

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  13. I mean no disrespect to Anja when I say this, but I would strongly urge people who don’t know all the facts of a situation to discontinue perpetuating things they don’t understand. I don’t mind what conclusion people come to as long as they evaluate the entirety of a situation before doing so.

    I love what you have written here, and I think it’s a beautiful homage to a person I know very well. Despite what some will have you believe, he is a very kind and giving person, and one I am proud to call my friend. I am glad to see that he has touched your life in the same way he has touched mine.

    Rock on, Merlin.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Jen.
      Yeah Le Clown loved to push buttons – and the bigger redder and shinier the harder he pushed.
      He is a complex human being. I just wrote about what I experienced, and my viewpoint.
      I don’t expect it to be shared.
      When it comes to Le Clown I learned early on:
      Your mileage may vary.

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    2. ^^ THIS. Well said, Jen. Merlin, this was a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.

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      1. You are welcome adenrr. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  14. I am not a follower of Le Clown but you are the only person I follow that is sad to see him go. I was first let on to this mans actions (which appear to be much of a bully) through a good friend of mine who wrote about his anger over Le Clown. http://guapola.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/angry-doesnt-describe-it/
    Then I read Calamity’s (I think I got that name right) post and saw her screen shots of his emails to her.
    It breaks my heart if any person is cruel to another, especially because I am a woman who has dealt with abuse from a man in her past. Like I said, I never followed this man but a lot that I did read shows him in a negative manner.

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    1. Hello,

      Oh indeed he crossed boundaries. Willfully and with full intent. I won’t defend his indiscretions and ability to be unspeakably cruel. All I can say is I read much of what he did post and it wasn’t all so provocative and mean-spirited. He is a much more complex human than his sometimes quite spiteful self. I had even posted on his pages that I felt he had gone to far. His strength was his wit and his willingness to cross boundaries and tear down the sacred. His weakness was he didn’t know when to stop.
      I fully understand your view of him – he didn’t always make a good impression. And even if he did, he could make you regret that good impression. Still he is more than that created “blogging persona” – and I think he has a creative and thoughtful side that he needs to show more often.
      I am glad you posted your comment! People need to think about everything Le Clown left in his wake.

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      1. Thank you for the reply. I am honest with saying I have never read anything by this man. Your post just stood out because my reader has been filled with anti-clown posts. I only read a few because a good friend of mine wrote about it all.
        I appreciate you sharing your opinion.

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      2. Merlin, This is a beautifully written post. I don’t agree with you at all but you have written quite a tribute. Eric was very comfortable with pushing the envelope and fomenting uproar on his blog and he did retract a couple of things knowing he had crossed a line too far. What he did to Calamityrae was not part of his schpiel (sp?), it was personal and he was wrong and I believe that is evidenced by his exit from WP and Facebook.

        He is creative and talented and still so broken, which knowing his past is not surprising at all. He could also be very destructive and I think he got to thinking he was too big to fail.

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      3. I think you have summed it up wonderfully. That was the Le Clown persona. It was a game in many ways for Eric to see how off-balance he could make the world.

        I do hope he finds his own inner balance.
        And I hope those that have felt hurt in this tragic affair find some inner peace. So much pain. So much stupidity. Egos are a terrible thing when unchecked.

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  15. You have touched me deeply. Thank you for truthfully, poetically painting a portrait of the man as we knew him here in Blogland. A Clown on Fire isn’t all there is to him, not by a long shot, but even the glimpses he gave us moved so many. I am looking forward to his next iteration, which will eventually, inevitably come tearing through the internet like a comet, and make us all look up.

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on Le Clown. Yes ClownonFire was just one gleaming facet of Eric. I hope Eric does come back – on Fire as always!

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