pissing off the world one person at a time

I have an affinity for celebrity deaths. I subscribe to a service called Death Beeper, in which I am alerted via email when a celebrity dies. I read books about Hollywood deaths from the past and present. I have visited cemeteries that are the final resting places of some silver-screen luminaries. In my vast collection of celebrity autographed photographs, I even have some now-deceased personalities. I have created illustrations and related the stories of some of these illustrious characters in my blog. I have included so many (and have plans for more!), that my blog has a “Death” category.
On April 28, 2008, I posted this illustration and an accompanying story of Peg Entwistle. (HERE is the original post.)
Hooray for Hollywood/That screwy, ballyhooey Hollywood
Peg was a little known actress whose claim to fame was committing suicide by jumping from the “H” in the Hollywood sign in 1932. I had heard the story of Peg Entwistle a while ago, but I was reacquainted with it when I recently read Ken Anger’s Hollywood Babylon. I posted my illustration and story on my blog and on Monday Artday, an illustration blog to which I have been a regular contributor for almost a year.
On May 10, almost two weeks after my original post, I received this email from a gentleman I’ll call “Peg’s Guy” because I do not wish to give him or his website any publicity or credibility.

Your drawing of Peg is sick. Your use of my research without giving me or my website credit is very uncool, not to mention against the law.
If you took it from Wikipedia or the Internet Movie Data Base, you still need to credit me as I am 99% of the source…this is a provable fact.
As the Entwistle family’s authorized biographer and the owner of the Intellectual Property Copyright regarding all original research of Peg Entwistle, I am asking you to amend the blog to reflect accuracy and a credit line disclosing where you obtained my research.
“Peg’s Guy”
Peg Entwistle’s Biographer
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com

He also left this comment for the same illustration on the Monday Artday blog:

If you are going to use my research–either from the Wikipedia and Internet Movie Data Base bios I edited, or from my website, please at least get the dates correct.
Also keep in mind that Wiki editors have been distorting dates. I have given up trying to reason with them. Please go to my site and read the truth.
Peg jumped on Friday, September 16th, not the 18th. Sunday the 18th was when her body was discovered.
Also, that drawing might have had a bit of class had the smart-ass “artist” not thought blood splatter was “artistic.”
She still has a family that cares about her, you know…the blood is way, WAY OUT OF LINE…total jerk thing to do. Don’t you have feelings?
Remember, giving research credit is not only fair and polite…it is the law, as original research is the intelectuall property of the resercher…99% of what you have here about Peg is my original research and came about only through very hard work.

I replied to his email this way:

Thank you for your email.
First off, as an artist, I am entitled to draw what I wish in anyway I see fit. If you feel any of my drawings are “sick”, that is not my concern, that is yours.
I saw your website when I did my research and I saw your copyright notice, so I used nothing from your content.
I used several sources, including (but not limited to) Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database, as well as sections from Ken Anger’s Book “Hollywood Babylon”. I edited and pieced together the passage that accompanies my drawing (using my own words in parts) from these various sources.
I make no money from my blog. I post for my enjoyment and for the enjoyment of those who view my drawings, no matter what sort of feelings my drawings evoke.
I will be happy to credit you and your website if you tell me how and where you would like to be credited, However, I will not edit or amend the copy and I do not appreciate being threatened.
Thank you again.
JPiC

Forty-two minutes after I sent my email, he replied with this:

Thanks for the reply–
First of all, I did not threaten you…if you read my e-mail again you can clearly see I said “asking.”However, I can prove, without any doubt, that your copy is nearly word-for-word exactly as I have edited the Wiki and IMDB. You can see on both those sites that my name is attached to the bios (in Wiki’s case, it is recorded in many edit “History” files going back to last year).
The IMDB has 2 bios–one from a guy who wouldn’t know Peg Entwisle if she was standing in front of him–the second bio…mine..is the accurate bio.
The dates, and original text data as I wrote them on both Wiki and IMDB bare this all out. Also, I can prove easily my research apart from the usual inaccurate crap that Anger and other writers have “researched.”
The “Fair Use Doctrine” comes into play and that is fine for limited paragraphs copied exactly, but not for original research. If you search the web and every book and newspaper article you can find regarding Peg, you will find they all share the same basic info.
My research is telltale in that I culled information unique to any writer. No one found what I have found…this includes all the TRUE dates of what happened when.
Kenneth Anger is a fool and I have proved that the topless woman in his first “Hollywood Babylon” IS NOT Peg Entwistle…in fact, it isn’t even a “Bruno Bernard” image as he would have readers believe. (Bernard never signed photos “Bruno of Hollywood,” only “Bernard of Hollywood,” and he didn’t even come to America until 1937—that’s just for a start as to showing the liar Anger is!)
I would not want to attach anything to what Kenneth Anger says!
I only wish for my research to be acknowledged. I understand your blog and what it is about. I’m saying that you have no right to publish my research without permission–even by re-wording it–anymore than I have a right to take you drawings and tweak them with a different color here and there.
If you won’t amend it and are willing to credit me at the bottom of the piece with something like “Original Content and Research Culled from [name and website removed by JPiC],” that is all good.
If not, I only ask that you at least allow me to tell you of a few errors you have (such as the fact she did not jump on Sept 18th, but rather on Friday the 16th) and that you correct them.
The whole point of my forth-coming book and Hope Anderson’s documentary is to tell the world the truth about Peg Entwistle–to rescue her memory and her family’s embarrassment from the tabloids that have made her a freak.
We have the same goal…I don’t like your drawing of her, but the goal was to inform. I only ask credit for my information which, again, as you will clearly see from an honest look at all that was out there before I came along, is far removed from the piss-poor research as well as the lies and myths.
Thanks for the consideration.
“Peg’s Guy”

I considered everything that he said in this email and I sent him this reply:

I will be happy to add the line you suggested under the copy accompanying my drawing of Peg Entwistle.
I would like to say that I read your comments regarding my drawing as posted on the
Monday Artday illustration blog. I will quote from your comment:
“Also, that drawing might have had a bit of class had the smart-ass “artist” not thought blood splatter was “artistic.”
She still has a family that cares about her, you know…the blood is way, WAY OUT OF LINE…total jerk thing to do. Don’t you have feelings?”
You certainly are entitled to your opinion. You are free to call me “smart-ass” and “jerk”. Although, I find it amusing that you call me a “smart-ass” and then ask if I have feelings, your opinion of me is totally irrelevant. Your opinion of Kenneth Anger is also totally irrelevant. As a matter of fact, none of your opinions hold any meaning to me. I do not editorialize in my drawings. I interpret facts, to the best of my knowledge and research, in my own artistic manner. I do not pass judgment and I just try to tell it like it is. If my viewers don’t like the manner in which I illustrate, that’s not my concern.
I will acknowledge your research on my blog as soon as I finish and send this email. By the way, the hyperlink in your web address does not direct to your website. I will correct it when I post is on my blog.
Thanks again for your correspondence. I hope you will continue to view my illustrations in the future.
JPiC

I decided to accommodate his request and add a credit line to my Peg Entwistle post. I also decided to further research my sources AND my accuser. I started by doing a search for Peg Entwistle on Yahoo. Considering his claim of being the “authorized biographer of Peg Entwistle”, this gentleman’s website does not appear until page five of the search results. My Monday Artday post appears on page three! He has exuded hostility and angrily questioned, corrected and condemned various websites that dare retell their version of the Peg Entwistle story. He has left profanity-laden diatribes on Wikipedia and the IMDB message boards (which he later recanted and apologized). He was astutely editorialized on informational website everything2.com in this entry (which unfortunately reveals his name). Based on this newly-gained knowledge, I wrote “Peg’s Guy” this email on the morning of May 12:

I am employed at a prominent law firm on the east coast. [Note from JPiC: I actually work in the marketing department of a large east coast law firm based in Philadelphia, PA] I have consulted with several attorneys concerning your claims of intellectual property, copyright, credits and ownership.I was informed that I am fully within my rights to publish the content accompanying my illustration with out giving credit, since the idea is presented in a written manner that is unique to me. I am fully within the Fair Use rules as presented on Wikipedia and I have no financial gain from my illustration blog. Once again, upon seeing the disclaimer on page one of your website, I did not enter and I used a number of other sources.
I have also researched your various postings and comments to various websites. I have noticed a pattern that seems to have the sole purpose of gaining publicity for your own website by means of threats.
Based on this information, I am removing the credit line I placed on my blog two days ago.
Sincerely,
JPiC

Four hours later, I received this one-word email from “Peg’s Guy”:

Whatever.

Comments

comments

15 Comments

  1. Well handled sir. I enjoy both your illustrations, and the explanation of the impetus of them. I get that you have illustrated topics of interest to you and that in your explanation of them, sometimes use other sources to elaborate on those interests. I also agree that when combining your perspective with the sources you pull from, you make the communication your own. In the end, I don’t really care where you pull your resources from, I’m simply entertained by the whole of what you’re communicating to me. Thank you for including me on these e-mails, and please continue to do so.

    -Will

  2. Well done, Josh. I’ve always viewed your posts as fascinating anecdotes accompanied by clever illustrations. Always enjoyable. Far from “sick”, I viewed the blood in your illustration as a symbol of tragedy. And as far as your story goes, like you said, it’s not for profit. Even if it was, it’s artistic expression – it’s not as though Lichtenstein ever gave credit to the comic artists he took from:
    http://davidbarsalou.homestead.com/LICHTENSTEINPROJECT.html

  3. Josh, this whole thing reminds me of the toss up you had a while back with a woman over a portrait. I don’t understand how people continue to attack you with such angst, but I love that you are able to defend yourself as you do. Sharing the process with us is not only entertaining but makes me wish I could handle such situations as you do. Bravo!
    As for the blood spatter, I don’t understand how the family would be upset over the artistic impression you’ve shown to grab the viewers attention and illustrate the story. Your stories always intrigue me and teach me something new. Some tragic, some gruesome, some plain intriguing with mystery and research like no other. You always leave me wanting more.
    Hats off to you, sir!

  4. Holy shit this is awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you.
    From one smart ass to another… I’ve been labeled the “queen of awkward and inappropriate” so its nice to know I’m in such good company. I love your posts.

  5. I thought you might be interested to know that the “Peg Guy” you refer to is known to be associated with and supporting a known con-artist who has been scamming innocent people for donation to get a marker for Peg’s grave for a few years now. She has also been known to threaten people who have called her out on her scamming. They make quite the pair from what I have seen. Feel free to email me if you would like anymore info.

    I enjoyed your picture and am now going to look at the rest of your site. Enjoy your day.

    MissM

  6. Hallo, I have a question for You about Peg and Bruno Bernard’s photo of Peg (topless one). I founded that Bruno left Germany in 1937, but Peg comitted suicide in 1932. How this is possible? I hope You know the answer. Best regards.

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