Regular readers here know that lots of people, spearheaded by Berlie Parks at the now-defunct Berlzebub, raised thousands of dollars for Chris Izer-B* because they bought her story of having the worst bullous SLE ever known ever (without even using those terms, huzzah!). I’ve gone over and over how it is that Chris never suffered from SLE, especially SLE so bad that 2 minutes of sun exposure at dusk in the middle of winter could trigger an instantaneous flare-up of blisters that fell off and healed in 24 hours. It is the position of this site that Chris never had SLE, and I have certainly met that burden of proof. But even had I nothing to say on the topic, Chris herself proved the case better than I possibly could have.
Chris was blistering in the winter at dusk, but here she is in direct sunlight in June of 2009. Note the short sleeves, naked head and unblemished skin. Here she is in May 2009, cowering in the face of the mighty sun that will cause her flesh to be covered in painful blisters, possibly even causing smoke to come out of her ears. Ooops! My bad. She’s just standing there in the direct sunlight in the middle of the day with nary a hat, nary a blister nor sign of a healing blister to be seen on her naked arms and legs, any sunscreen previously applied getting washed off in the creek. She told people she had a pill or a cream that took her from the worst case of bullous SLE I’ve ever read (seriously, take some time and read for yourself if you’re curious) to being able to frolic in the UV rays that had months earlier kept her a prisoner of her own bedroom. She never had SLE. And to be blunt, the more data I am sent by people who knew this woman, the more I question whether or not she actually received a lupus diagnosis. Increasingly I think the verbiage we need to use for her lupus is that we can’t rule out that it may have been on the table.
(And even though I am linking to pictures Chris put online, do not under any circumstances post them here.
ETA: Several people have spoken up in comments and e-mails regarding the pictures I linked to. One of the first pics I linked to had P3 in a particularly awkward pose. Additionally, linking to the Picasa account means anyone can view the entire album easily and there are pictures there that likely shouldn’t be online. I have corrected this so that now the links only lead to the photos I wanted to illustrate my point. As a person who is childless and was a teenager before the Internet existed, I didn’t take into account how upsetting some of those pictures could be to a young girl who already has a lot on her plate in having Chris as a mother. I also didn’t look at them from the perspective of them being just plain wrong to have online. They seem innocent enough to me but you also never know how people will interpret and use photos of semi-naked children. Given my experiences in the odd book realm, you’d think I would have picked up on that before now.)
But we have the power of hindsight and I have the power of leisure time to spend reading all this stuff (so you don’t have to!). We know she didn’t have these conditions but, in 2007-2008, many believed Chris was suffering mightily. Her antics on Splitcoaststampers as the sickest woman ever show that Chris was and probably still is very persuasive. The people who raised money for her did so because they cared about Chris or were moved by her story. There was also a strange element of atheist versus Christian competition that fueled some to donate. In fact, the whole fundraiser was weird from beginning to end, and I will be discussing it in my usual, long-winded depth, though this time I am carving everything out into smaller entries.
This entry will just serve as a introduction to the fundraiser, but in later entries I will discuss the way Chris manipulated the fundraiser once it was in effect, her judicious use of sockpuppets to verify her stories and to froth up anger, the various people who participated – especially the people who should have known better, how the whole thing was vetted, the strange lack of research on Chris’ part regarding her own well-being, and more.
I think it is important again to remind everyone that no one is foolish for having fallen for Chris’ tales of woe. No one is at fault for being deluded by Chris’ many lies or for believing Chris in her myriad guises. Even if we think Berlie was exceptionally unwilling to see the truth about Chris, the fact will always remain, in my opinion, that he acted in good faith on the basis of what Chris led him and many others to believe. People who were victimized by Chris should never blame themselves for what happened.
This leads me to a difficult conversation. Both Berlie Parks and Calladus were displeased that I considered them victims of Chris Izer-B*. I can see that perspective because there is something insulting about a stranger telling you that you were a victim. People know very well whether or not they feel victimized and my opinion has no place in affecting how they look at this situation. I get that and I respect it, though I did not recognize it initially when I began discussing the two of them.
But that doesn’t change that there isn’t any wiggle room in the facts. Chris never had bullous SLE. She never had SLE. We can’t rule out lupus but we can’t bank on it either. If Chris never had SLE, there are one of two positions for Berlie to be in: he either knew Chris was lying about having SLE and raised money for her anyway or he had no idea she had, by that point, been faking various illnesses online for years. People have different opinions about Berlie Parks but it is the opinion of this site that he did not know Chris was lying about having SLE when he began fundraising for her and he had no idea the number of sockpuppets Chris used and the lengths to which she would go to manipulate people. Berlie Parks offered unasked to raise money for Chris but he did so after reading accounts of her grave suffering. Her socks helped verify her story at turns and stalk her at others. Before he ever offered to raise a penny for Chris, she had created and bolstered the idea that she was a victim who was so continually harassed that Berlie found believable the stories that her own relatives executed NSA-level hacking to defame her and that preachers and antagonistic websites stalked her even as she was so sick she had no idea if she would live to see her own children grow up.
It is the position of this site that Berlie Parks was victimized by Chris because he had no idea the sort of woman he was dealing with before, during, and, curiously, after the fundraiser. The only other alternative is that he knew she didn’t have SLE, and I sincerely think he did not know. He and others may maintain that there is a third option – that Chris indeed had SLE and took a magic pill that ended UV-triggered flared-ups forever – but that is not an option unless you live in the realm of science fiction. Berlie Parks, here and on his own site, comes across as smug, holier-than-thou and nasty, but I can also say that if you ever find yourself in a fight in an alley, he’s definitely someone you want to have your back. He’s a loyal dude. The only thing he did wrong in this fundraiser is believe Chris, and in that he is in very good company. Berlie Parks is more than welcome to comment here, should he choose. Additionally, though I have my belief that Berlie is wholly innocent of anything other than bull-headed loyalty, I encourage others to share their own opinions
With that out of the way, here are the facts: Continue reading