Note: Some of the below images have been changed due to some dubious claims of copyright infringement.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Wilford Brimley fucked Jabba the Hutt. In the wake of their unbridled passion, a child was born.
Jabba's sail barge was no place to raise a baby, so the child was put in a spaceship, along with enough Slim Jims and pork rinds to see him through his journey, and Earth's coordinates were entered into the ship's navigation system.
Young Phil passed the time training himself in the Ways of the Warrior, which he learned by repeatedly watching the ship's ample collection of VHS tapes.
Eager to share his knowledge with the citizens of his new home planet, he began his literary career. Even more importantly, he opened a Twitter account, which is what first brought him to my attention.
There I was, minding my own business, spamming my shit on Twitter, when I saw a tweet pop up in my notifications...
The intent of his comment seemed to be an attempt at challenging my credibility to give out such advice, but in the most deceitful way possible. The ranking he quotes is for the paperback version of Critical Failures.
As I'm sure most of you know, bookstores don't tend to stock hard copies of books by indie authors, so e-book rankings generally tend to be a better metric for seeing how well a book is doing, as I pointed out in a response to Mr. Elmore, as maturely as I know how..
But I couldn't help but wonder where this animosity came from. Why would he go so far out of his way to less-than-honestly besmirch my good name? What sin had I committed to provoke the wrath of this bearded man-slug, with whom I'd had no previous contact? And most importantly... Who the fuck is Phil Elmore?
It was time to embark on a voyage of discovery. Figuring he had a vested interest in the publishing business, I first looked up his Amazon page. It was then that I knew I'd have to write a blog post about this.
Starting at the top of Phil Elmore's list of contributions to world literature, we have Street Sword.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm about to talk a lot of shit about a book I haven't read. My journalistic integrity isn't worth the $17 price tag for the Kindle version of this book, and certainly not worth the HOLY FUCKING SHIT $90 price tag for the paperback version.
But let's see what conclusions we can draw from the parts of this book that we don't need to pay for.
I'm no cover snob. My own covers are pretty simplistic. But this is just confusing. The title, "Street Sword", would suggest an urban battleground, while the picture is of some hillbilly douchebag posing with a katana in the middle of a forest.
And that boxed tagline. "Practical Use of the Long Blade for Self-Defense"? What the hell is that all about? Is "the long blade" a thing people say when referring to swords? I had to know, so I Googled it. The second listing was this book, which could only mean that Street Sword is an insanely popular book, or that "the long blade is a term which Phil Elmore pulled out of his ass.
For the record, that's the e-book version of Street Sword. If I really wanted to be a dick (like someone else whose name I won't mention), I would have posted the ninety-fucking-dollars paperback ranking.
It's one thing to point out the irony (however dishonestly) of me writing a blog post about the ways in which many self-published authors tend to suck, while sucking so hard myself. But doing so while one sucks so much harder takes it to a new level. That's sucking at sucking. That's meta-sucking. But I digress.
The blurb for Street Sword may be my favorite part of the book (which, again, I didn't read).
"The sword has been a brutally effective weapon for thousands of years, but try to find instruction on using one for self-defense today and you're liable to find nothing but books written by dojo-dwelling, gi-wearing martial artists hung up on ancient traditions and picture-perfect stances."
In other words, people who have some fucking idea what they're talking about.
"For the modern sword aficionado looking for real-world advice, author and pragmatic martial artist Phil Elmore wipes the slate clean with Street Sword. Despite attempts by elitists to romanticize, deify or otherwise elevate it into a mystical artifact, Elmore treats the sword like a tool for delivering force, period. It is a mundane object that obeys the laws of physics, just like any other weapon."
Phil Elmore will spend 92 pages telling you what Jon Snow told Arya in only six words.
"Street Sword will give you a framework in which to use the sword as a functional, practical weapon in today's violent world, quickly providing an understanding of the simple physics involved, as well as concepts like timing and distance. Reading this book won't help you win a colored belt or an Olympic fencing medal, but it may be invaluable if a knife-wielding thug ever comes crawling through your bedroom window one dark night."
Reading this book will help you learn how to be more efficiently murdered with a gun.
Phil Elmore is no unwashed, flea-ridden self-publisher like myself. When you've got the extensive martial arts training that can only be earned by hours of beating the RealDoll you keep in your garage that looks like your third ex-wife, and a license-to-print-money idea like Street Sword, you take that shit to a real publisher. In Phil Elmore's case, he chose Paladin Press, a publishing firm most notable for being sued several times over a book they released on how to murder for profit. Stay classy, Phil!
I've got some advice for you, Phil. And I won't even charge you $90. If you already look like an orc, maybe don't walk down the street waving around a goddamn sword. All of those "thugs" accosting you on the "street" all the time are probably just first level characters looking for some easy XP.
But what if the terms of your parole state that you're no longer allowed to carry a sword in public? Fear not, citizen. Phil Elmore has got you covered.
For a much more reasonable price (that I'm still absolutely not going to pay, because Phil Elmore can eat a dick), you can discover that clobbering a hobo over the head with a flashlight is six pages less complicated than stabbing him with a sword.
As fascinating as his books are, I was still curious about the man himself. Looking him up on Facebook, I found out that Phil Elmore is not only a world class martial artist and author, but he's also a private investigator... in South Dakota?
His regular Facebook account and his Amazon page both have him living in western New York. So why the hell is his Private Investigation firm located way the fuck out in South Dakota? That's a hell of a commute.
In order to solve the mystery, I decided to enlist the help of my own investigative team. Typing in "qualifications by state for private investigator license", I found what I was looking for on the very first hit.
Phil Elmore don't need no fancy dojo to be a martial arts instructor, and he don't need no more than a Perry the Platypus hat to be a private investigator. I'll be sure to update this post when he puts a fishbowl on his head and calls himself an astronaut.
Now aware of Phil Elmore the author, and his other identity as Samurai, P.I., I wanted to find out more about Phil Elmore the person. What makes him tick? What does he care most about? According to his Twitter feed, it appears to be black people, and not in a good way.
Ready for a surprise? He's a big fat fucking bigot. I won't share any of his tweets here, because I don't want that shit on my computer, but wow. Sure, he uses the 'I ain't racist. I'm just a good-ol'-boy callin' it like I see it' shtick, but that's as thickly steeped in bullshit as his martial arts and private investigator qualifications are.
And then I noticed one more little detail on his Amazon page.
I know Phil Emore has no control over who else Amazon associates him with, but I didn't think it was just a coincidence that I was seeing this unapologetic white supremacist's name for the second time in less than three weeks when I'd never heard of him before researching my blog post about the Hugos.
In a fury of wild key-tapping, I raced back to Google and typed "Phil Elmore Sad Puppies". Once again, it only took me as long as the first click to find Elmore's crybaby rantings about how oppressed white Christian males are in this age dominated by SJWs.
After putting all the evidence together, I came to the conclusion that the blog post of mine that Phil Elmore chose to comment on was not, in fact, the first blog post of mine that he read, nor was it the one he was truly reacting to. It's my suspicion that he first read my Hugo Loss post, found it not to his liking, but ultimately didn't want to put in the effort to respond to it. (His Hot Pockets were getting cold.) As we've seen from Phil's martial arts and private investigator careers, putting in effort isn't really his style. So instead, he looked for an easier way to take a cheap jab at me.
How am I doing, Phil? Have I cracked the case?