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senpai;notes/John Clark

So apparently there are people that don’t like senpai;notes—no, that’s not the right way to start this. However, that being my instinctual response to feeling I need to apologize is very telling. I believe I’ve said this in the past, but senpainotes is an exercise in performance art. Sorta. It wasn’t always that way. That doesn’t make any of my problematic behavior any better but hmmmm. I was going into this intending to say that the most problematic  of Notes’s behavior was performative. But… I’ve always been unhinged Online. I’ve always been impulsive and obsessive. That has always been true of me. So while I had been intending to dismiss my more problematic behavior as elaborate performance art, I’m finding upon just the slightest reflection that I cannot say such things honestly in most cases. That’s just me being me. I’ve always been the kind of guy that won’t leave it be, that doesn’t know when to stop, that needs to have things spelled out explicitly in order to get the message. I’ve always been that kind of fool. Maybe the whole idea about it being performance art is a lukewarm justification that I manufactured to create separation between the real me and my abusive and otherwise deeply troubling behavior online. Perhaps it’s just one of my many delusions. 

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There is some problematic behavior or comments that I can categorically rule out as the product of my performative instincts, and that’s all the questionable little sister stuff. Leave it to me to replicate in my behavior the greatest flaw of the anime closest to my heart. I was wrong to think that people would be entertained by that, and I’m sure that many reactions I perceived as affirmations were really just folks trying to hide their discomfort. I’m sorry everybody. 

I think… I think a big problem I have is that I’ve become so dissociated with the real world. I haven’t had a conversation with somebody my age outside of a classroom in over two years, and I haven’t regularly conversed with folks my age in almost three. Over the past four years I’ve gone through two major nervous breakdowns. The first one was the reason I originally had to withdraw from Notre Dame. That was the first time I hit rock bottom, and it was at that rock bottom that I first watched Monogatari. And no, I’m not gonna say Monogatari saved me, because I spent the following year and a half consistently sabotaging my efforts to get back into Notre Dame each semester, a pattern that culminated in my second nervous breakdown in the late Fall of 2017/Early Winter of 2018. 

If you’re reading this, you probably knew me at that time. During that time I was particularly active on here. I went on a number of “crusades” during that time, a label that’s certainly reflective of my performative embellishments on my problematic behavior. That being said, Mr. Cynical is a rapist by his friends’ own (later) admission. So I’m not apologizing for that. Even so, those “crusades” as I call them, or “witch-hunts” as the folks on the receiving end called them, even though I almost always acted alone, were nothing more than harassment campaigns and they weren’t healthy for me. All notions of justice aside, those harassment campaigns always corresponded to manic episodes I was having, symptoms of the greater mental health crisis I was falling into at the time. I’m not trying to excuse any of my problematic behavior as symptoms of mental illness. My harassment of progrockboy carried on well into 2018. He didn’t deserve any of that, he’s just a reactionary kid who doesn’t know any better. 

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I was under the delusion that I’d be able to convert him, I had fantasies of him going on to become a model SJW in his own right and convert all of his reactionary followers. I really was delusional. I don’t know what to attribute that to. Maybe it’s from spending so much time stuck in my own head. Maybe it was boredom. Maybe those delusions, which trace back to that Fall of 2017, were born out of a need for something to preoccupy me, to distract me from how my life was collapsing during that Fall. I couldn’t face the reality of my deteriorating mental health, so I played at being a hero of justice on twitter dot com. The following Spring, when I wasn’t in school, I had nothing to do, so I think I probably hung onto those delusions as something to waste time on. Now that I think about it, whenever some reactionary would reply to me asking me about my motivations, I always replied that I was just wasting time. 

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More than anything else in that Spring, I spent my time really planting my roots firmly in this corner of Anitwitter, something that I think really solidified when I finally let go of the progrockboy delusions. That was also when I started the summer term, which ended up being my first totally successful semester of college since 2015. I’m confident that I only managed to do it because I’ve finally found a home with the community in this small corner of Anitwitter.

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Old habits die hard though, and, as you probably remember, in late August/early September, I struggled to kick my tendencies as a provocateur. It was only when I thought I had seriously endangered  my standing in this community that I was finally able to kick the bad habit. Though, with the whole Juju situation I was often tempted and sometimes tried to use that to relive past glory, each time I did, I got tired of it before it became a shit show over which I’d lost control. 

I think I can confidently say that I’ve finally really once and for all kicked that habit. At the present time, I have no desire whatsoever to engage in that sort of thing, but I know that may change and I may be tempted in the future. Wait no. I was sure I’d end it here, but reflecting upon my recent behavior, the belief that my obsessiveness only manifests in “crusades” is yet another delusion of mine.

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Actually, I haven’t quit that habit at all. I haven’t learned anything and I haven’t changed. I’m still that same kind of fool, except this time, my foolishness is alienating people close to me. All I’ve retired from is crusades against people I dislike. Arguably it’s even worse now, it’s been reborn lately in my aggressive recommending if Monogatari. 

Looking at my tweets from the past month, this too has been nothing more than a thinly veiled harassment campaign. And what’s worse is that this time, I’ve directed my obsessive energy against folks that I care about and respect. I’m so easily influenced by my own fantasies, and in this case, it’s my fantasy of the idealized Monogatari experience, a belief that everybody can find something of value in the series. I also conveniently forget that people have lives and are busy, or are just so turned off by what they’ve heard about the show that they’re very reasonably resistant to the idea of watching it. All of this just adds up to more delusions. 

At the end of the day people should just watch what they want to watch. There’s no need to mention any show more than once.  Nobody deserves the harassment I’ve been responsible for and I’m deeply sorry for this behavior. Maybe I’m talking out of my ass, but I’ve probably come to identify with the series so heavily that my aggressive harassment of folks that haven’t seen it is likely a manifestation of a deeper craving for acknowledgement and affirmation. 

     And, to bring it full circle, perhaps that craving for affirmation was caused by my inconsistent treatment of senpainotes as a practice in performance art. It’s hard to feel affirmed when the person receiving affirmations isn’t totally you. There’s a definite deviation between senpainotes and the real world John Clark —or at least there was. Now it feels a bit blurry, though it shouldn’t. Maybe it’s just because I live my life so totally online.

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I think I fell in love with Sword Art Online, and specifically the Fairy Dance arc, on my rewatch because of the show’s theme that your real world personality adjusts to conformity with the persona you’ve built online. Well, I say it’s a theme, but Kirito just comes out right and says it, so, yeah. Anyways, that’s something I’ve experienced over the past five months especially. 

There’s also the factor that I’m personally fond of this persona I’ve built under the name senpainotes. Like Sinon, I’ve built this online persona that’s the version of myself I  most want to be, one that I can’t make happen for myself in the real world. SenpaiNotes, the confident and bold hero of justice. Of course, that’s not my image here at all. I blunder too frequently for those ideals to be realized in the ways I want them to be.

“Confident and bold,” I’d like that to remain true of senpainotes, I think it’s part of what makes this special and it’s nice to be this version of myself that won’t come out in the real world, or at the very least, hasn’t yet had the opportunity to. But I’d also like to be SenpaiNotes, the guy who loves his friends and demonstrates it. SenpaiNotes, the guy that goes out of his way to make sure everyone he interacts with is as comfortable as possible. SenpaiNotes, the ally. SenpaiNotes, the guy that puts out compelling original content. SenpaiNotes, the guy that everybody feels comfortable relying on. All of those traits are more valuable than the aggression and obnoxiousness that my ideals have until now mostly been realized as. Those are the traits of folks that are heroes to me when I encounter them in the real world, where I don’t have any confidence in social situations. 

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Of course, I’ve been talking about how I’d like to change so that I don’t alienate any more people, but I’m not entirely confident that I deserve a place here anymore. Now that I’m taking the time to frankly assess my behavior, I’m bewildered as to why you all haven’t abandoned me. I know I would have. I’ve made myself utterly unlikable, and it’s going to be a Herculean task to try to rectify all the horrible impressions I’ve left on people. I’ve always thought I understood why people block me, but now I really do. Its for protection. This community is supposed to be a place where we can all feel comfortable. To those that I’ve already alienated beyond the point of no return, I will make no effort to win their favor or trust. I’ll leave them alone as they wish. As I type this, my overwhelming feeling is that Anitwitter as a whole would be better off if I left everyone alone forever. But if I did that, I mean, this is my entire social life, this place means more to me than anything in the world. I hate to believe that I’m poisoning it for the rest of you. I always see folks tweeting unwarranted self deprecating commentary, but in my case, there’s demonstrable evidence and likely dozens of personal testimonies that can attest that this place might be better off without me. For now, at least, I’m going to try my best to improve my behavior based on others’ complaints and my findings in this reflection. Please never hesitate to tell me how my behavior might be bothering you or making you feel uncomfortable.

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There have been a few folks along the way that haven’t beaten around the bush at all and called me out when I’ve made the atmosphere uncomfortable, and I’m very thankful to all of them.

Damn, there’s so much stuff that I had in my head that I was gonna add. I definitely feel like I haven’t been as totally honest in my self assessment. If nothing else, my use of Monogatari screencaps clearly indicates that I haven’t given up on getting people to watch it, but they’re thematically relevant, so I’ll keep them. Oh yeah. If I’m a liability to you because of my problematic behavior, just cut me off. 



  1. As a veteran of countless usenet wars in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I can witness to how addictive it can be to project the kind of persona described.

    It’s also hard as heck to change that kind of behavior! Again, I know from experience.

    The good news is that it’s completely possible! I will say that I hope it takes you less time than it took me, though! In case you’re curious, I talked about it here:

    “But I’d also like to be SenpaiNotes, the guy who loves his friends and demonstrates it. SenpaiNotes, the guy that goes out of his way to make sure everyone he interacts with is as comfortable as possible.”

    You know that’s possible, right? It’s hard as heck. I have to be hyper aware of every tweet, every post, every comment I make. I have to constantly ask myself if I’m falling into old, destructive habits. It requires focus and determination and dedication. It may require counseling!

    Just speaking from my perspective, I think you’ve defined a good goal and I think it’s worth pursuing.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

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