I wasn't going to write this post. I'd decided it was a waste of time, and would neither assist Dennis nor enlighten me. But since he decided to drop by again...
A while back, I received a couple of comments from Dennis Markuze. In response, I put up a post inviting him to explain himself, but he neither responded nor posted any additional ravings on my blog. Then, yesterday, he pasted some more of his spam. Mostly, I don't care about this. His comments are so... disconnected... that I can't even bring myself to feel insulted by them. I delete them because they're irrelevant, and life goes on.
But I am curious about him, so I did some looking around. The more I look, the stranger it gets.
For those coming in late, Mr. Markuze is a fellow up in Montreal, Canada. I don't know him; I've never even met him. He spends his time leaving comments on blogs, which is not in itself unusual. What brings his behavior into the realm of the pathological is the sheer volume of his efforts. His posts are long, rambling collections of odd assertions, vague threats, and disconnected links. He composes these things (changing them every couple of weeks, I think in an attempt to avoid SPAM filters), and pastes them into the comments of blogs he doesn't like. For the most part, his targets are focused on science, atheism, or both, but recently he's even spammed some Christian blogs. (I'm not sure whether that's because he doesn't like them, or because he's so busy propagating his nonsense that he barely bothers to read the pages he's targeting.)
People have tried to address him directly: either to find out what he wants, or to get him to stop spamming them, or to challenge (what we can discern of) his ideas. He does occasionally respond - or at least add text that seems to be a direct response to a particular comment from someone else - but unfortunately his responses usually include the entirety of his current rant. Worse, the response (made to a particular individual, mind you) often gets incorporated into the rant, so it then gets pasted into other threads on other sites. To summarize: it's difficult to get any kind of sense out of him, and basically impossible to have a real conversation.
That's not to say that these rants have anything to do with their targets in the first place. As best I can tell, Mr. Markuze has a serious interest in Nostradamus, and believes in the accuracy of his prophecies. Because of this, he thinks that James Randi owes him a million dollars. Also, he is intensely hostile (at least in print) towards atheists and other unbelievers. If he has any point to make beyond that, I (and everyone else I've seen discuss the matter) can't figure out what it is.
Now, I have several theories about why Mr. Markuze does what he does. I first thought that he a spambot - a program that goes to message boards and drops a preset advertisement anywhere it can - but apparently he is a real person. I have toyed with the idea that maybe this was some sort of performance art, but A) he does way too much of it, B) he's been doing this for years, and C) he never talks about the Meaning and Artistic Importance of his work. Another appealing possibility was that it might a sociology experiment, perhaps designed to catalog responses to abnormal behavior; but, again, he's been at it for years. I suppose that's still possible, but it doesn't seem likely.
This brings me to the theory which, I'm told, is pretty much the consensus among the people he's spammed: he's insane. I don't say that casually; accusations of mental illness should not be tossed around lightly, as it's a genuine problem which causes real people an awful lot of trouble and grief. It's just that the more I look, the more strongly I suspect that Dennis Markuze is one of those people.It's hard to explain his behavior any other way.
Most people, when they find out that others may disagree with them on fairly fundamental issue - whether God exists, for example - do one of two things: either argue the point, or shrug it off. At a glance, Dennis' ravings look like he's trying to argue a point, but I don't think that's actually the case. He sometimes reacts, but he doesn't interact, and he posts the same messages over and over, everywhere he can - the online equivalent of standing on a street corner shouting at passers-by. So, instead, I think his posts are more talismanic, designed to protect him against (or drive off) the things that he finds unbearable. This is why his messages include sentiments like, "Atheists - get out of my universe!" It's also why he seldom seems to read the things he's ostensibly responding to.
And this is where the question of mental illness comes in. Based on his apparent compulsion to place these talismans anywhere and everywhere - a behavior which, ironically, keeps him in constant contact with the very things he abhors - I think that Dennis is deeply, personally threatened by the existence of people who don't believe that God exists. Where a normal person might just shrug that off, I don't think he can. Another person might set out to argue that God does exist, but Dennis can't really do that either - because that requires looking at the atheist arguments, and looking at them makes them more real and gives them more (perceived) power to harm him. So he composes the strongest rebuke he can, and he posts it everywhere that he perceives a threat.
If I'm right, this can't be pleasant for him. We're looking at someone who lives in a constant state of fear and revulsion; someone whose only defense lies in typed (and copied/pasted) incantations; someone who is compelled to keep putting them up, over and over, just to hold back the darkness.
Is there any way to get him some help?