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Response From Joe Biel


I recently reviewed the zine I Lost My Sense of Irony In Brisbane here.
Yesterday I received a response from Joe Biel (of Microcosm distro) addressing accusations against him/Microcosm which I reprint here (also followed by my reply and another one from Joe):


hey stuart
   davida sent me your email and since you were plainly asking questions, i thought i could answer.
Microcosm acts as a distro for each zine, like any other distro. While I can see how our name can be confusing, we order finished copies that are printed by the zinester, put them in a box in our house, list them on our website, and send them to the people that order them. 99% of the zines we handle are like this. I don't know where the rumor comes from that we reprint zines without the author's permission and keep the money. Does anyone have some examples of these zines or people that we should talk to about this? This rumor makes it sound like we pull zines randomly off the shelf and make more of them. Moreso, like a nonprofit, we don't have "profit," operate on a mission statement, and publish our financial reports so you can see how we spend our money.
   As far as me personally, I have been described as emotionally abusing my ex-wife during our relationship. It is undeniable that she has been hurt and is scarred by my actions and I am doing my best to make good on that. I have done all of the objective things asked of me as a result and you can find more about this if you google it. Of course things like that are complex and hard to take in. There's virtually no models for how you move on from accusations like this in our community, and so largely people don't want to take action to create community healing, and process publicly.
   hit me up if you wanna chat.
 take care
j

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

hey joe,
   thanks for your email. i'll run your response on my blog if that's ok with you, or would you rather it just stay in the comments of that review?
i always take accusations and that kind of negative stuff with a pinch of salt, especially when it deals with the zine scene. that's why i wrote about wanting to hear the other side too. i found it hard to believe you guys would xerox people's zines without them knowing it. if there are these kind of accusations floating around, where is the evidence?
as for the personal stuff, i don't care about that. it seems petty to dwell on that kind of stuff, it's as bad as the trashy gossip magazines. but i guess the zine scene isn't so different after all - people still like to delve into the 'juicy dramas' of private lives.
  cheers,
stuart

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

   thanks for the response. according to the zine's author, elle, she got her nonspecific info from my ex-wife's blog who cited no examples or offered any details. that seems to be what numerous people repeat about the photocopying, but you raise a fine question. it's a hefty accusation for people to repeat knowing no details and lacking evidence.

   spending several years of my life reading about and taking seriously the accusations against me, i feel like a better person, but mostly i learned that sometimes two people can just communicate very badly to the point that one or both feel that the other is cutting them down endlessly and can have exactly the same results as abuse (low self esteem, no confidence, etc). i am far from an objective enough position to say either way, but the more i learn about personal dynamics the more i want to live in a cave far from such risks!
  take care

j

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