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February 15, 2007

Dafydd ab Hugh moves on
Posted by Teresa at 04:13 PM * 264 comments

I’ve tried to write about this a couple of times since I heard the story from Michael Bérubé, but I couldn’t do it justice because it makes my brain go all woozly. Patrick couldn’t deal with it either. To heck with artful journalism. Here’s the flat telling:

Dafydd ab Hugh, sometimes science fiction writer, has become a right-wing pundit.

No, really. They think he’s brilliant. They think he knows what he’s talking about. He subs for Michelle Malkin.

(We will now pause to give veterans of the old GEnie SFRT time to quit screaming, catch their breath, and wipe off their screens.)

(Patrick, peering over my shoulder, reminds me that Dafydd is still remembered by the veterans of several online SF discussion venues for having repeatedly trashed the discourse. When Dafydd gets into an argument, which he almost always does, his sheer personal obnoxiousness can be so prodigious that, years later, people still talk about it with awe.)

Moving on to the specific occasion of this post:

Dafydd’s quickly gotten the hang of his new gig. He was being truthless and abusive just yesterday at Big Lizards, doing freestyle smears of Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen—both of whom are far better writers and political analysts than he is—on utterly specious grounds:

Let’s start with Patterico, since his case is the clearest—and the least important in the grand scheme of things, relating only to the execrable Amanda Marcott of Pandagon and Melissa McEwen of Shakespeare’s Sister—neither of whom contributes much if anything to the national discourse.
This is not a line Dafydd should pursue. After all, when Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen landed paying gigs doing blogging for the Edwards campaign, everyone who heard the news and was already acquainted with them did not immediately phone half-a-dozen friends and scream, “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!” and “OH MY GOD THEY THINK HE’S SMART!”
Patterico is appalled that apparently, both Marcott and McEwen actually resigned because they received (they say) “threats” and “ugly e-mails and comments.” I use the word “apparently” accurately, because in fact, we have no evidence whatsoever that they really received anything, or at least not the e-mails seemingly quoted at Firedoglake.
I have many times seen Dafydd refer to having received communications in the mail, some of which were harder to believe in than the hate mail that’s lately been aimed at Marcotte and McEwen. I don’t recall him even once starting out from the assumption that he was required to physically prove that he’d received the mail.

I certainly don’t recall him—or anyone else, ever—arguing the principle that if someone says they’ve received mail, but they don’t immediately provide convincing externally certified proof that said mail was received, you’re entitled to call them a liar and launch into general smears of their judgement and character.

I guess it was all he could think of at the time. That’s the trouble with going pro: you have to keep cranking the stuff out, even when you’re short on inspiration.

What I do recall, quite clearly, is that Dafydd was notorious for making sweeping unsourced claims, and arguing at vast length—but almost never backing down—when the other people present took his assertions apart point by point, documenting their own arguments every step of the way. His usual response was to make more sweeping unsourced claims, and get hurt, angry, petulant, and loud when others were less than polite about them. It was one of the main ways he trashed conversations. Who knew it would turn out to be a saleable skill?

Lefties and liberals make almost a religious fetish out of claiming to have received death threats.
Malarkey. Dafydd hung out online with lefties and liberals for years, and nobody was slinging death threats. Well, okay, there was that one memorable incident where someone made one implicitly, and Yog Sysop actually lost his temper; but that was only a right-left thing if foreign nationals and royalists count. Outside the online SF forums, the main source of talk about death threats is the right-wing media, usually because they’re making them. This is sometimes discussed by leftists, almost all of whom illustrate their remarks by linking to specific quotations that were put up online by the people who made the threats.

But let’s take a more general look at Dafydd’s assertion. If leftists and liberals are constantly making a big deal about death threats, shouldn’t the subject show up on Google Trends? It does: one vertical spike, in April 2004, which is almost certainly the story about 9-11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick received death threats at a time when she was under attack by the right-wing media.

Purely by chance, while I was Googling on April 2004 I found this.

Onward.

They use the claim as a truncheon to attack anyone who disputes any portion of what they argue: ‘here’s some of the mail I recieved from the Rethuglican hate machine — now whose side are you on?’
Fibber.

People who’ve argued with Dafydd have frequently been far more diligent, responsible, and hygienic than he has. I don’t recall a single one of them using death threats as an excuse.

Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen got hit with truckloads of vicious hatemail after Bill Donohue and the Catholic League pretended to be shocked and offended by Marcotte’s language (yeah, right), and revved up the troops. It was a political hit; nothing to do with Christianity. The result? Both of them have quit their jobs with the Edwards campaign—and they and other bloggers will hesitate before speaking so freely again.

I’ve been the recipient of that kind of abuse, though not in that quantity. So has Patrick. You know the nursery rhyme about sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? Not true. It does real damage. Has a PTSD feel to it. Joy is the engine of our spirits, and it takes it all away. You get depressed, and hurt all over. Your own words fail you. The damage can last for years.

That’s the intended effect. It’s meant to hurt—to be so nauseating and dispiriting that the person who’s the target shuts down and stops communicating. It’s not just a matter of triumphing (albeit by grossly unfair means) in the argument of the moment. The underlying message is: We don’t care about what’s right, or fair, or accurate. We care about winning. If you stand against us, you will lose, and we will hurt you as much as we can for having fought us. We will wreck your career, and hurt the people around you and the things you care for. If you cry out, we will hurt you for that, too.

To quote the invaluable Digby:

Now they’ve got Bill “anal sex” Donohue working the NY Times like it’s a cheap whore, braying in faux outrage that he’s “offended” by something that Marcotte wrote in the past about Catholicism. Please. This game has gone on long enough.

Republicans write books calling Democrats traitors and calling for the internment of all American Muslims. They have hate radio shows with listeners in the millions, in which they call liberals cockroaches and compare them to terrorists and child molesters. These same radio show hosts are invited to the white house for strategy sessions and are feted by the conservative press as if they are heroes.

If lying to us has become an industrial process, so has verbal bullying and abuse. That’s the field in which Dafydd is now writing. There’s no question that Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen took a bad hit from Donohue and his fake-Christian minions. They said so when they quit the Edwards campaign. Big Lizards/Dafydd ab Hugh is going after them because they said they got hurt:
The idea, dim as it is, is to contrast the bile the Left spews out with the even more wretched and revolting vile supposedly spewed out by their enemies on the Right,
I’m about as bilious right now as anything Dafydd runs into, and I’m being nicer to him than he was to Marcotte and McEwen. His column is, in fact, wretched, revolting, and vile.

I didn’t use to think he was this bad. I was willing to believe he was such an inept thinker and debater that his wholesale slaughter of formerly interesting conversations was unintentional, and his angry splutterings the habitual ill-judged reaction of a man who was in over his head. I don’t recall Dafydd being this deliberately malign. I think it’s a learned thing he’s picked up from the context in which he now operates. I don’t think he understands that over the long run it’s going to cost him his soul. He really is kind of hapless.

Comments on Dafydd ab Hugh moves on:
#1 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Never heard of him.
His wikipedia article must be out of date,
it leaves one with the idea of "mostly harmless".
Of course, the Guide says that about Earth, too.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Back-when, he was only dangerous to ongoing conversations. It's distressing to see him making such a splash in such bad company.

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:21 PM:

My experience of Daffydd is that he's moderately intelligent. And I'm sad to see him going this direction. It's below him.

#4 ::: Kirby ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:22 PM:

He's the reason I stopped vising the sff.net newsgroups. Single handedly turned a great group of intelligent posters into a never-ending, tedious series of flamewars, and never once contributed anything useful. He's a troll's troll. It's entirely fitting that he's finally found a place where he belongs.

Really, I never thought about it before, but Ann Coulter is truly an Internet Troll operating in a different medium.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Tom, I've been told his IQ's above room temperature, but I'm mostly familiar with him from online arguments, where it's not evident.

#6 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:28 PM:

I have a specific recollection of Dafydd's immediate response to the Oklahoma City bombing: he was sure that it was a plot by radical Muslims.

Water, among other things, finds its own level.

#7 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:32 PM:

he was only dangerous to ongoing conversations.

Hm. Folks say that about me sometimes, so I can't ding him for that. (plus I've never directly experienced it.) That picture of him in the link though, shows him wearing a pro-Reagan tshirt (-10), standing in front of some war porn books he wrote(-1). That's -11 on my tally so far.

#8 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:39 PM:

(Patrick, peering over my shoulder, reminds me that Dafydd is still remembered by the veterans of several online SF discussion venues for having repeatedly trashed the discourse. When Dafydd gets into an argument, which he almost always does, his sheer personal obnoxiousness can be so prodigious that, years later, people still talk about it with awe.)

Yeah, I'll back you up on that.

I mean, he wasn't in the same league with J______, G________, or S_______, but, in his own way, he had a good, honest, naive approach to being a boor that was, at a minimum, heartfelt; and could on occasion sweep one away with the purity of its audacious cluelessness.

#9 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:41 PM:

I think the thing that kept Dafydd from getting this bad back in the GEnie days was the presence of those thoughtful and rhetorically-gifted liberals and moderates (and conservatives) who kept calling him on his bullshit. Without the (reality-based) reality-check available in arguing in a forum where you can at least get some solid opposing feedback, your arguments are going to get more sloppy and stupid.

#10 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Uh, Teresa, just to be certain: are you certain he's gone? (I mean no just further around the bend; fully into RWPtry and out of skiffy.)

#11 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Ah, Dafydd. To think that we knew him when.

And we weren't all that impressed by him back in those days, either.

#12 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:45 PM:

By the way, I think you summed it up with this:

"They think he knows what he’s talking about. He subs for Michelle Malkin."

I suspect he is as sharp and journalistically competent as Ms. M.

(As a final note, I went to a dinner with Dafydd, Tom Dupree, and several others a ways back [when Tom was still editing sf at Bantam]. After the dinner, Tom commented, more of less, than Dafydd "doesn't listen." This appears to be a skill that will serve him well.)

#13 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:51 PM:

He's criticizing Patterico for being too darn reasonable...

My god, they're doing "Good Gop-Bad Gop!"

#14 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 05:59 PM:

OK, he's got a graphic on the right sidebar of his site titled "US War Dead Comparison" with a bar graph showing WW2 at half a million and Iraq at three thousand. I assume the implication is we can't complain about Iraq until there are half a million american dead. Playing number games with real human lives: -10,000.

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Hmm. Time to get out the brain-scrubber:

The one story of his I definitely recall reading involves, ahem, boy-dog love.

#16 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Not only that, but Big Lizards has the ugliest blog design I've seen all week.

#17 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:30 PM:

I think Ken Houghton nailed it. He's as sharp and journalistically competent as he ever was. Just what they're looking for in the flying-monkey world.

*sigh*

He is also, in case anyone was wondering, not Welsh.

#18 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:35 PM:

The one story of his I definitely recall reading involves, ahem, boy-dog love.

Ya know, I wasn't going to say anything, but when I read:

Lefties and liberals make almost a religious fetish out of claiming to have received death threats.

I wondered if the guy might be a little... off.

#19 ::: Amanda Marcotte ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:41 PM:

I certainly don’t recall him—or anyone else, ever—arguing the principle that if someone says they’ve received mail, but they don’t immediately provide convincing externally certified proof that said mail was received, you’re entitled to call them a liar and launch into general smears of their judgement and character.

You forgot the "women are all liars until proven otherwise and even then not" caveat.

#20 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:43 PM:

It hadn't previously occurred to me that Bill Donohue might be only pretending offense. But know that you bring it up, yeah, if he was really as easily offended as he claims to be, he'd settle down into medium dudgeon only while he slept. His blood pressure would be enough to drive the SS Great Eastern, and at some point much earlier in his career would have sufficed to blow his head off his shoulders and up through several levels of ceiling.

#21 ::: dantc ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:50 PM:

I think it's awfully sweet that a troll of such magnitude has finally found his people. It does have a certain "reached the promised land" ring to it.

#22 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:52 PM:

Debbie #10: I remember a particular Kit Kerr smackdown to that effect, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Internet was transmitted by beating varied rhythms on hollowed-out logs, and the GEnie SFRT was in its prime.

I swear, this country is looking more and more like a mirror-image (right swapped with left) of Atlas Shrugged every day. Maybe someone should market cigarettes with the hammer and sickle imprinted on them.

#23 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:53 PM:

err, that's Debbie #17

#24 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 06:59 PM:

Ah yes. Remembering the old GEnie SFRT days....

On the "They think he's brilliant" line, um... well, just saw a video of Limbaugh and Coulter attempting comedy. It has scarred itself into my psyche.

Brilliance, as with all things, is relative.

#25 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:23 PM:

Once I got over my initial hilarity and did some digging of my own, I'm starting to wonder: Is Dafyd a real-io, true-lio Right Wing Pundit? Is Dafyd's filling in at Malkin's blog actually a paying gig?

Although I think I know which way to bet, I still hope it is, and if so I hope that the Wingnut Welfare system does as much due diligence ever after in choosing whom to support.

#26 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:26 PM:

You know, that's Usenet for you: I thought, "I miss it so much, because stupid clueless idiots got taken down point by point."

But the fact was, being clueless and idiots they didn't realize that. They just kept at it, and kept at it, until the whole discussion was an endless repetition of, "well, are you going to agree that the grass is green?" arguments. One by one, people got fed up and left.

And they got to rule the roost.

(As for the damage and hurt of these attacks, I know: I was expelled by Italian fandom through one. It still hurts, and it undermined my capacity for emotional self-reliance permanently.)

#27 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:27 PM:

When the going gets obnoxious, the obnoxious turn pro?

#28 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:28 PM:

He once gave a character a memorable line--more or less: "I held the world in my hands and I put it down. Can you say the same?" I still remember it after decades. I didn't know him as a net troll, and I'm sorry to hear about it; I'm sad he has come to this.

#29 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Wow. There's a name from the old SFRT days that my brain had repressed. *goes to find mental floss*

#30 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Alan Bostick@25: Is Dafyd's filling in at Malkin's blog actually a paying gig?

If so, might he spend less time writing letters to the SFWA Forum? I ask, you understand, in the attempt to find any shred of silver lining in this event.


Teresa@OP: That’s the intended effect. It’s meant to hurt—to be so nauseating and dispiriting that the person who’s the target shuts down and stops communicating. [...] If you cry out, we will hurt you for that, too.

Oh, yes. If you dare point out what's being done, you'll be beaten up for that, too, because it's about destroying your will as well as ability to defend yourself. It is exactly analogous to police screaming, "Stand up and stop resisting!" at someone they've repeatedly Tasered.

I watched this be done in a forum I used to love, by people I used to respect. And the soul-killing aspect is that you know that if you speak up and object, you're the next target--and the length of time you hesitate because of that makes you hate yourself. And that's part of the whole dynamic.

#31 ::: Adam Rakunas ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 07:58 PM:

Can't say I'm familiar with his oeuvre, but every time I see the name "Dafydd" I think of this character from Little Britain.

#32 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 08:13 PM:

The thing about being a "pundit" is that all the qualifications you need are a url, some blogging software, and links from other pundits (and given the fact that Glenn Reynolds has an utterly loyal following and an otherwise-admirable blindspot for genre writers, it's not suprising the latter exists).

My only experience with DaH was watching him a panel at Dragoncon in '94 or '95, and he seemed mostly harmless, but also was speaking on a "publishing your first horror novel" panel or somesuch, and not talking about politics.

#33 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 08:50 PM:

I don’t think he understands that over the long run it’s going to cost him his soul.

From the bits of his "writing" you quote, it's already spent...and not for Helen of Troy either.

Skink 33: We don't discuss Orson Scott Card here.

#34 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Dafydd on GEnie was most notable to me for his absolute refusal to accept any scientific proposition under dispute if it did not come in the form of a reference to an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Any journalistic source, no matter how many respected scientists it reliably quoted, were as nothing to him. If he'd chosen to dispute the roundness of the Earth, he would have insisted on a peer-reviewed scientific journal article testifying to it: and where, exactly, would you find one on precisely that subject?

Once I made the mistake of biting, and found him a genuine scientific citation. Of course he denied its validity. The subject was, IIRC, public health statistics, and the journal was the New England Journal of Medicine. This being a medical journal and not a statistics journal, he declared its research on statistics to be scientifically worthless, never mind that public health, a field that relies heavily on statistical research, is covered by medical journals all the time.

Ever since then I've learned to drop immediately any argument with someone who insists on scientific citations to back up basic propositions.

I did learn inadvertently, however, the one way to get this particular troll's goat, and that was to call him "Dafydd Uck" - rude, I know, but it did make him shut up and go away, so it turned out to be invaluable.

#35 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 09:12 PM:

The thing I remember best about Daffy Ap Fool was his highly convenient and very creative memory.


#36 ::: Marie Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 09:16 PM:

#15 and #18 -- I see I'm not the only one who remembers that story (which was, god knows why, inflicted on me in an otherwise very satisfying summer course on sf short fiction when I was twelve).

I know I shouldn't judge a person by one short story, but when I started reading this post, my hindbrain was not remotely surprised.

#37 ::: David Dvorkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 09:41 PM:

I'm not surprised. In retrospect, I can see that he was moving in that direction.

At times, when he was in his sane, calm mode (yes, he did have one!), he could be witty and engaging. I always hoped he would slip into that mode one day and not leave it.

On the other hand, in response to a page on my Web site lampooning Dubya, Dafydd referred to me as "behaving like a cement-headed traitor." I think that was the phrase.

#38 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Once Gregory Feeley posted, without context:

Jesus Christ, Dafydd.

I followed up:

Gregory Feeley wrote:

>Jesus Christ, Dafydd.

Name two people you should never argue with.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:05 PM:

I wonder if anyone can find the archives of the old SFRT, to bring up the virulently anti-Catholic ravings Dafydd used to spew back then?

#40 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:07 PM:

Steve (8), that description makes my hindbrain think he's Dragaeran.

Ken (10), I don't know that he's gone. He's still got an agent.

Debra (11): she shoots, she scores.

Ken again (12): We have a clean-minded bunch here. Everyone read "He subs for Michelle Malkin" correctly.

Amanda (19): "You forgot the 'women are all liars until proven otherwise and even then not' caveat."

Has he taken to doing that? He never did it back on the SFRT. Of course, doing that on the SFRT that would have been a good way to get handed your head.

Anna (26), I'm sorry to hear that. Did you get your prose style back? I've known writers whose voices permanently changed after going through one of those ordeals.

Aconite (30), I hate that pattern. It's one of the reasons I'm such a heavy-handed moderator. One of the nastiest things about it is that it takes the top end off the community of discourse. The more sensitive, intelligent, and engaged the participant, the more likely they are to take damage in a situation like that.

Skink (33), sorry about that. Not your fault.

Xopher (34), thanks. Does anyone ever sell their soul for something worthwhile? Faust mostly uses his powers for cheap tricks. Then there's Thomas More's line to Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons: Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world ... but for Wales?

Jim (36), I remember you having lengthy and vivid opinions on that subject.

David (38), he called you a traitor for making fun of Dubya? I'm shocked. Does the man know nothing? Making fun of high officials is one of our most durable political traditions.

Steven (39): Thank you! I had forgotten that one.

#41 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Jim (40), and there's another thing I'd forgotten. It's age, I tell you. Soon I'll be a poor toothless geezer, and remember nothing except Martha Soukup's clerihew about Greg Feeley.

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:16 PM:

It does come back to me. Dafydd will lie to win an argument, to people who are too smart for that and catch him in it; and he'll think that it means he wins anyway.

#43 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Does anyone ever sell their soul for something worthwhile?

Robert Johnson seemed to get a pretty good deal.

#44 ::: Glen Engel-Cox ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Dafydd ab Hugh, not his birth name. I hadn't thought about him in years. I once had dinner with him in L.A., in the glory years of the GEnie SFRT. I found him gregarious and self-promoting, somewhat full of himself but no more so than any other grasping young SF author of the time (I can name many others). I'm sorry to hear he's embraced the darkside.

#45 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:01 PM:

Teresa: That's when I started writing in English, so you could say that my style changed...

#46 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:10 PM:

Anna #26. Yeah. Usenet has become one of the best examples of What Is Wrong With Anarchy I am aware of. Damn.

#47 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:21 PM:

I don't know -- he sounds rather like an appropriate person to sub for Michelle Malkin, Our Lady Of The Internment Camps.

So he froths VX mixed with excrement -- that makes him rather typical of someone that would defend Donahue's vile behavior.

#48 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Maybe, Scorpio -- but look at comment #40 again.

#49 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:26 PM:

Teresa (41), "I've known writers whose voices permanently changed after going through one of those ordeals."

Two of them were Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, both during the Spanish Civil War; Hemingway arranged Dos Passos's abuse, but participating, and becoming a defender of Stalinism damaged him, too. Afterwards, Dos Passos had his famous conversion to conservative; Hemingway was never as strong a writer. And Orwell's voice may have been the voice of permanent injury in childhood, but he was there, too. I suppose you could say he gained from it, but it marked him. I think the heartbreak took years from his life.

Hunh. I suppose this is one way the political becomes personal. Somewhere there must be an expletive to describe it.

#50 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:41 PM:

#49, Teresa --

It's the Kool-Aid. Makes you go along with whatever stirs the pot most chaotically.

#51 ::: David Dvorkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:54 PM:

Teresa (41), that's a good point, and I should have made it at the time. I think that's when I angrily stopped reading anything he posted, though. I should have stopped much earlier.

#52 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2007, 11:54 PM:

Scorpio (51): Huh. I believe you're right. Still hard to forgive, though.

#53 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:13 AM:

So, back in my college days, I was a member of a science fiction club. We (the club) were invited one year, to volunteer at the SFWA awards being held on the Queen Mary nearby.

A friend and I went. It was generally pretty fun. We sat at a table and handed out badges to attendees. This is a pretty simple process where somebody identifies themself and we hand them a piece of plastic with that very same name on it. Sometimes, we'd shake a hand when we were excited.

One guy walks up to the table and asks for his badge, we ask for his name. He says something like (it's been too many years for the word-for-word, which me and my friend were rather fond of quoting for a while), "Don't you know who I am?"
"No sir, I'm just a volunteer, if you'd just tell me your name, I can give you your badge."
"I was the secretary of this organization last year!"
"Right, well, we aren't even members. We're volunteers, and if you'd just give us your name..."
If I remember correctly, this exchange went another full round before he lowered himself enough to admit that his face was not famous enough to get him correctly identified by the people at the table with the badges.

The faces he made and huffiness stuck with us long enough that we felt a strong desire to look him up and figure out if we should have known him. Obviously, you all know the answer, and when we discovered it, it made the whole situation entirely too comical.

Since authors are you know... not actual celebrities (no offense, right?) the truly famous ones (that went) still needed to tell us who they were. But that guy...

#54 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:24 AM:

#54, Skink Sherry Tepper has a several books that rely on planetary consciousness ... I can think of at least three offhand.

#55 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:03 AM:

My experiences with Daffy mostly considered of him running in complete disorder, throwing insults over he back, whenever he would make some stupid comments (and they were truly stupid) about intelligence matters, or human rights, or the military, or just like in general, and I would call him on it. I once called him a rank amateur in all senses of the word, and he went screaming off complaining how I didn't argue in a civilized manner.

But then Daffy's definition of civilized is everyone is supposed to gather around him in a circle, singing hosannas of praise about how lucky we are to have him shedding his light of enlightment, and that how he is absolutely perfect and is always right and has never made a mistake, while he sits upon his throne, having assumed the mantle of Papal Infallibility...

#56 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:30 AM:

I remember Dafydd arguing, and arguing, and arguing, and arguing, and arguing, and arguing, and arguing...

[repeat for several screens worth]

...and arguing, and arguing, and arguing...

[several more screens worth]

...and arguing and arguing, online... and that was just ONE discussion thread!

He was never, ever, willing to lose an argument, or even declare a draw, or agree to disagree. He always won, even if "winning" meant everyone else in the discussion finally simply left in frustrated exhaustion.

If he'd devoted just one percent of the energy he put into online arguments into his fiction writing, he'd have been a much more productive fiction writer. (Not necessarily a good writer; I use his HEROING as a textbook example of a man trying to write a female character, and doing it very, very badly.)

But the story that really lowered my opinion of him was when he sucker-punched a guy at a convention and bragged about it online.

#57 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Every so often I find myself offering up a little prayer of thanksgiving that someone had the good fortune to die before [X event] that would have both destroyed them (physically, financially, or morally) and forever tainted their memory in the eyes of those who knew them. This is one of those occasions, because I can just see the late and not-always-lamented StM falling into the same trap.

#58 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 02:03 AM:

I have not yet read any of the thread.

Fuckin' Scouter (want to annoy "Daffyd", call him Scouter). I recall him from my youth at the LASFS. He was annoying then, and he'd yet to rise to the present level of his incompetence.

When I saw, some month's ago, his name surface, I was gob-smacked, because unlike the Goldbergs, the Hitchens, the Podhertz of the world, I know Scouter, and that they would think him smart just croggles me.

Why this should be, when the Malkins, the Limbaughs, the Coulters and the Yamashita's are praised, I don't know.

I've gotten hate mail, and the odd death threat, and yes, the PTSD nature of it is a valid comment. There's a reader of my Lj, whom I just gave up on, because his, intentional, misrepresentations of my words (and the worse when he does it at a remove, taking my APA writings, and then mistating my positions on his blog; to readers who have not the original to check against) pained me to the point that seeing his name in my inbox knots my stomach.

Hapless is a good word, but in all truth, the malignity was always there.

#59 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Aside to Teresa @41: Nothing to do with the subject at hand, but the line about Wales is absolutely one of my favourite lines from that play/movie.

#60 ::: vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:00 AM:

Oh, him. I read one or two of his Star Trek tie-ins back when I was reading Star Trek tie-ins. I didn't like them enough to go looking for his original fiction.

#61 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:19 AM:

Terry #60: I also knew him in the days when he called himself Scouter. In those days when we wanted to annoy him we called him Scooter.

#62 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:22 AM:

Aren't they wonderful ambassadors for science fiction, these "Daffyds" and "Vox Days"?

Wouldn't you want to read a genre that brings forth such interesting political commentators?

#63 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:47 AM:

But Martin, SF has also brought forth me, Patrick, Ken MacLeod, Avedon Carol, Cory Doctorow, Steve Brust, Jim Macdonald, Jo Walton, Charlie Stross, Lizzy Lynn, and Stephen Colbert -- to name but a few.

Many of the most vicious right-wing commentators have no science fiction in them. Coincidence? You tell me.

#64 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:54 AM:

Stephen Colbert?

#65 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:21 AM:

Umm. Stephen Colbert? Do tell.

#66 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:21 AM:

Well, yeah, Scooter would get him going, but one step at a time.

Gods, how small the world is, and how petty those who get notoriety often are.

#67 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:32 AM:

Teresa(41) Martha Soukup's clerihew? Tell more.

#68 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:26 AM:

#66, #67: he's a fan, rather than a pro; from Stephen Colbert's Wikipedia entry -

"Colbert would later describe himself during [his early teenage life] as detached, lacking a sense of the importance of the things other children around him concerned themselves with. He developed a love of science fiction and fantasy novels, especially the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, of which he remains an avid fan. During his adolescence, he also developed an intense interest in fantasy role-playing games, especially Dungeons & Dragons, a pastime which he would later characterize as an early experience in acting and improvisation."

#69 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 06:00 AM:

65: Paul Krugman has saids he went into economics becuase it was the closest thing to Asimov's psychohistory.

#70 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:26 AM:

And Richard Dawkins, of course, was a great friend of Douglas Adams and is married to a Doctor Who companion.

#71 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:26 AM:

These days I just publish most threatening letters (sometimes with full long headers). Anyone capable of sending you one is capable of accusing you of lying, of claiming false victimhood, etc.

My favorite (?) recent instance (which I didn't have to publish, since the prodigy posted it on Wikipedia) was a muddled blackmail attempt based on the contents of my stolen video camera. (The "evidence" in the camera does not support my correspondent's conspiracy theory but the camera was reported stolen in July.)

The runner-up for my recent fav was the blogger (who has been making nearly daily posts mentioning my name) who called me stupid in the same post as declaring herself to the right of Adolf Hitler.

Even the most patently ridiculous of these hurt; they sap time and energy when one has better things to do and think about.

People do this because they want you to be upset and they want to be the focus of your attention. Some of them do it because they want you to turn tail and get off what they think of as their internet.

I have mixed feelings about singling out DAB for discussion, since there are so many out there like this. Yes, it is disturbing that someone we actually KNOW would get involved with the Dark Side of the Force. I stayed off of GEnie and haven't participated in the discussion lists cited. I remember liking a story of his I wrote about in the intro of a Nebula volume (was it 12 years ago?).

There is a systemic problem out there underlying this general kind of internet behavior, which is that some of the big ISPs will not enforce their harassment policies even in extreme situations. If their customer is a spammer or posts unauthorized imaged off Mickey Mouse, BAM the site is down. But Godaddy requires you to get a note from your local FBI agent to get their Clause 7 enforced, even when the target is a minor and the agressor is in jail. (My favorite line from that conversation was "But he's not in jail for that.)

#72 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:32 AM:

A week from today, at the New York Comic Con, Stephen Colbert will be appearing to promote his forthcoming comic book miniseries, Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen.

Colbert's nerdosity is the subject of this very funny interview by Conan O'Brian which was a Sidelight a while back. Top clip, and start at about 5:50.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:49 AM:

Martha Soukup's clerihew:

Gregory Feeley
shouldn't, really;
we can only trust
if he didn't, he'd bust.

#74 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:33 AM:

Can't remember who wrote it, but I've always liked:

It was with Francis T Laney a
species of mania;
that the life of the fan bachelor
should be naturaler.

Incidentally, to anyone reading this who might have emailled me recently, I've been unable to access my account for several days now.

#75 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Glen #45: Dafydd ab Hugh, not his birth name.

I've always wondered if he picked up that name from being in the SCA at some point.

#76 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:23 AM:

I'm so glad to hear he's not Welsh.

#77 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Skink@54, maybe Chalker's Four Lords of the Diamond books for interplanetary Gaiaology?

#78 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Last night, my sweety looked over my shoulder and saw "the only bigot in the village"s name on my screen and looked on for a moment, before recoiling in horror.

"Sorry," she said "I thought you were on a local freecycle group or something"

You see, since we moved to Wales last year, anything vaguely welsh looking gets her attention.

Since we've been recently succesful in stopping a fraud passing herself off as a doctor, can we stop DaH passing himself off as welsh? It's causing confusion, frustration and despair.

#79 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 10:22 AM:

*wipes off screen*

The Czechoslovakian judge gives the Big Lizards piece a 1.8.

#80 ::: Tucker ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Of course, the nice thing about his blog is that the seriously big lizards are outdated and have been extinct for eons . .

Skink @54: John Varley's Gaea trilogy (Titan, Wizard, Demon) immediately comes to mind.

Jo Walton @78: quite.

#81 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:01 AM:

But Martin, SF has also brought forth me, Patrick, Ken MacLeod, Avedon Carol, Cory Doctorow, Steve Brust, Jim Macdonald, Jo Walton, Charlie Stross, Lizzy Lynn, and Stephen Colbert -- to name but a few.

And Salman Rushdie, which is still a net plus. Excellent political commentary.

#82 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.

I confess, I was actually slightly sad when Dafydd left the Dueling Modems boards, because it meant the place was dying. Even while being greatly relieved. Yeesh.

Jim: Marty Grabien has (or had) archives from the GEnie SFRT.

---L.

#83 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:37 AM:

We don't discuss Orson Scott Card here.

If this is breaking the ban then I will retract the question and apologize. But I'm curious as to why. Is there some sort of history behind this? I mean, I know he's an SF writer with right-wing views, but so is Dafydd ab Hugh, apparently. So I presume there's something more to it than that.

(Again, if the ban on disussing OSC extends to discussing why we don't discuss OSC, then I will retract the question. I don't mean to be rude. I'm just curious.)

#84 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:39 AM:

Stephen...email me and I'll explain.

#85 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:51 AM:

I get a 403: Forbidden from biglizards.net. Are they rejecting any referrers from MakingLight?

#86 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Re #86: Have done. Thanks.

#87 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Xopher, you will have had mail from me too.

#88 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:10 PM:

And I withdraw the question. Sorry if I put my foot in it.

#89 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Stephen 88: received and replied.

Caroline 89: haven't gotten it yet.

#90 ::: Annie G. ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:15 PM:

and from me, Xopher, if you don't mind. (And if you do, please disregard!)

#91 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Caroline, got it and replied.

Annie G 92: not at all. Long as I don't miss my train to Bos[t|k]on[e]!

#92 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:29 PM:

And you have mail from me as well, Xopher.

You could eat well on this at Boskone, you know: some delicacy of choice in return for the OSC/ML story.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Drat! I answered your email before realizing I could get a bribe!

Please, folks, don't declare your intention to email me about it here...kind of defeats the purpose. Just email me.

#94 ::: Annie G. ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Xopher, received with thanks. Hope you didn't miss your train!

#95 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Wow. Just wow.

I remember when I still had a lot of the textbooks from my Asian history studies, and Dafydd would hold forth with something just plain stupid and wrong within my field of study. I'd write up a refutation, and keep at it, and my reward would be his going silent about it. Then he'd bring it up again a few weeks or months later as if the last exchange never happened. I ended up with half a dozen or so text files I could just paste in to save myself some effort.

#96 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem features a planetary consciousness.

#97 ::: Iorwerth Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:42 PM:

#78: I'm not at all familiar with the guy, but going by what people are saying, I'm glad he isn't as well.

About his name: is he pretending to be some kind of hard-core Welsh Nationalist, or was he born with it?

#98 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:48 PM:

I see, from comments above, that some people have reported problems getting at DaH's blog.

I went through the rather limited Wikipedia entry, no problem. Frothing a bit, isdn't he.

I also wonder how long it would be before he noticed anyone editing Wikipedia...

#99 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Iorwerth @ 99:

He wasn't born with it (I don't remember what it was originally, though). Wiki says that his mother is Welsh.

#100 ::: Marc ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 02:01 PM:

I'm surprised that no one pulled up the Sadly,No! piece on the faux Welshman:

http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/002635.html

Whenever I hear his name I think of that picture.
It's mean, I know. But it matches his rhetoric.

#101 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 02:31 PM:

What's up with this category on his WIkipedia entry: "Alternative media (U.S. political right)"

So we're bloggers and the wingnuts are alternative media? What's up with that?

#102 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Glad to see the Sadly, No! link posted above. (Do Brad. Seb, and Gavin have to take some of the r/e/s/p/o/n/s/i/b/i/l/i/t/y/ blame for elevating his profile? Have mercy on their souls.)

My most recent memory of Dafydd (still difficult not to type Daffyd, which would insult a Warner property) is that he was pontificating on the U.S. military. I believe it ended with Jerry Pournelle "conceding" something to the effect of "Well, glad to be informed you know more about our military and its technology than I do."

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Ah, thanks to Marc's link: he used to be 'David Friedman'.

Fortunately I don't remember much about him from Many Thursday Evenings. A motion to table for 17000 years might be in order, though.

#104 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 03:28 PM:

This all reads oddly like a eulogy.

#105 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 04:59 PM:

dave #87: I have no problem bringing up Big Lizards, neither by googling for it and clicking on Google's link nor by clicking on the link above. Even Dafydd isn't that much of a WATB.

#106 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Teresa #41: Ken again (12): We have a clean-minded bunch here. Everyone read "He subs for Michelle Malkin" correctly.

And then there's the story of the time Bubbles Broxon encountered Roger Ellwood at the Westercon in Oakland in, what, 1975?

#107 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:21 PM:

If you're going over to Big Lizards, it's best to do it from my link -- it's got a 'rel="nofollow"' in it.

#108 ::: jeffk ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Re Aconite @ #30, who wrote

Oh, yes. If you dare point out what's being done, you'll be beaten up for that, too, because it's about destroying your will as well as ability to defend yourself. It is exactly analogous to police screaming, "Stand up and stop resisting!" at someone they've repeatedly Tasered.

I watched this be done in a forum I used to love, by people I used to respect. And the soul-killing aspect is that you know that if you speak up and object, you're the next target--and the length of time you hesitate because of that makes you hate yourself. And that's part of the whole dynamic.

That's how bullies, wife abusers, and child abusers work, and that's what these people are. They're abusers, plain and simple. Point that out, and anyone who isn't totally cowed by them or drinking their kool-aid will realize it. That's what we have to do to break their power and get some of our freedom back.

#109 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 05:43 PM:

"This all reads oddly like a eulogy."

He is with Quetzocoatl now, fighting the Monkey, the Jaguar, and the eeeeeevil Jesus.

#110 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Ah, thanks to Marc's link: he used to be 'David Friedman'.

ah, cripes. it always gets me when raving right-wing types have such jewish names.

you welsh people are off the hook, & us christ-killers are back on it.

/sarcasm

#111 ::: David Dvorkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Miriam! Matrilineal religious identification!

Dafydd not a Christ-killer, after all, because his mother isn't. Always remember that.

He prefers to think of himself as his mother's son rather than his father's son, or something like that, which is why he chose to identify with her Welsh ancestry.

Of course, none of that means anything. He's just an American.

#112 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:00 PM:

david,

yes, that is a comfort. but as far as shanda fur de goyim goes, a jewish name is probably enough.

i mean, jews are allegedly behind capitalism and marxism. & these days we are behind godless-liberal-hollywood as well, of course... i wonder if there are people who claim neoconservatism is an evil jewish plot. probably.

of course it doesn't mean anything. but some people get great mileage out of meaningless things.

#113 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Bruce, #97: I'd write up a refutation, and keep at it, and my reward would be his going silent about it. Then he'd bring it up again a few weeks or months later as if the last exchange never happened.

Ah, that would explain a lot about where he's ended up. Hasn't that been one of the favored neocon tactics for the past 20 years or so? No matter how many times an assertion gets refuted, just keep bringing it up again as if it were unquestioned fact.

#114 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:44 PM:

#114: "i mean, jews are allegedly behind capitalism and marxism"

Also, evolution, the big bang theory, and heliocentrism.

Darn Pharisees!

#115 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Lee@115: it does seem like old times in alt.callahans, doesn't it? It's a bigger world, but the stories seem to be the same. Or almost; nowadays one can get paid for being a net.monster. Being a propagandist means never having to say "I was wrong." I suppose we will also see more suicides from mass flaming; Vince Foster, I guess, was only the first. Chalk up another time when I wish I'd been wrong.

To the broader issue, I don't think it's only the radical right that has put ideas into public consciousness by endless repetition; so far as I can tell this is one way that beliefs become part of the mass consciousness. And I can see there's a lot more thinking to do about that.

#116 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Teresa@p0 - Do you mind if I quote your summation of how the Big Business of Industrial-Scale Bullying works? It surely does match my experiences . . .

Anna@26 - I'm sad to hear your story. Hope your confidence is reintegrating itself. I was a target of opportunity for several months, back when the National Writers Union was worth a damn. The endless factional assault had an effect, and it takes real work on my part, every day, to undo it. Some days I succeed, some days not. Ma domani, domani e un otra giorno.

Thanks to you all. These insights about trolls and bullies and mobs are quite useful to me.

#117 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 08:38 PM:

My 'burnt child fears the fire' reaction to some nasty experiences after raising my head above the parapet many years back, getting involved in local community affairs, is one reason for my keeping an online pseudonym.

#118 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:44 PM:

And, one more thought here. What Donohue is doing is really some new sort of crime--call it trolling for psychotics. The danger is not only hate mail, but bullets. Somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of people in the audience for this virtual "hit", there's someone who might be crazy enough to target Marcotte and McEwen for real-life violence. And Donohue is pointing out a target.

#119 ::: Renee ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:46 PM:

And another Gaia book: David Brin's EARTH.

#120 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Why is William Donohue getting paid more than $300,000 a year to have his 501C3 harass Amana and Melissa? (I was trying to explain to Michael Swanwick and Marianne Porter over dinner why the first thing that occurred to me was to check the Catholic League for Religious Freedom's tax returns.)

Clearly, he's getting paid more than the Pope. What for?

#121 ::: Robert Legault ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:01 PM:

Other sf novels with Gaia characters (sort of):

Enigma from Tantalus, by John Brunner

Bios, by Robert Charles Wilson

#122 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Randolph @120: What Donohue is doing is really some new sort of crime--call it trolling for psychotics.

New only insofar as it takes place on the internet. Don't know about the US, but print media has done its variants of "will no one rid me of that troublesome priest" before.

#123 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 12:46 AM:

Randolph at #120, this is only my pet peeve, but I'm gonna still take the opportunity to ask everyone to be precise in using words like "psychotic." Contrary to popular usage, it is not a synonym for "violent." Since this is a thread about avoiding damaging others with words, I think this is a valid if parenthetical complaint. Now, carry on.

#124 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 02:03 AM:

Jah-eeeze, what's with all the whispering out back? With a topic so verboten that even explaining why it's verboten is verboten, seems like there ought to be a FAQ or something. If apparently asking the question and answering it is considered a form of stepping in the brown stinky stuff, what hope is there for ignorant innocents to keep their shoes clean? Kind of a land mine of embarrassment for anyone who happens to all unknowingly mention The Name That Must Not Be Spake, ain't it?

Ah well. Another slip of paper in the suggestion box.

Upthread, someone asked after the fabled DAH archives. Was anyone successful in digging these up?

#125 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 02:14 AM:

rm@125: all right, then, trolling for violent psychotics.

#126 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 03:50 AM:

That picture really says it all, doesn't it? Not just an obnoxious t-shirt, a Reaganist t-shirt. Not just tie-in novels, VIDEO GAME tie-in novels, and not just video game tie-in novels, but DOOM tie-ins.

And when someone brings it up, I have to mention this: at one point, I and some others were going through a veritable pile of (mostly Star Trek) media tie-ins, trying to find ones worth keeping by virtue of either historical interest (here's a pre-1978 novel about how they all died!) or otherwise-important authorage (these were frequently also in the first category). His author's blurb was largely "I double the letters in my pseudonym without rhyme or reason, and I am not Peter David." I was under the impression, and remain so, that the ONLY reason to have such an "About the Author" is to convince readers that this is, in fact, a thinly veiled pseudonym for Peter David.

At the time, we thought it might well be, and put it in the "hang on to" column. What would one think of a YA fantasy author named "K. Rowl Johnson", whose blurb was, in full, "Spelling it K. Rowl Joanson is fine too, and I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT J. K. ROWLING."?

#127 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 04:08 AM:

Waitaminute: Daffyd "the only wingnut in the village" is David Friedman, aka the only soulmate J^r^dan B^ss^^r found?

Or are there two? (checks wikipedia) Ah, there are.

Friedman is not a lucky name is it?

#128 ::: Fred A Levy Haskell ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 04:10 AM:

Teresa(65): They can do the "fiction" part just fine; where they're lacking is in the "science" part—you just can't write science fiction when you don't believe in science.

And, come to think of it, is it fiction when you believe your own lies? Maybe they're not doing so well with the "fiction" part either....

#129 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 07:46 AM:

And, one more thought here. What Donohue is doing is really some new sort of crime--call it trolling for psychotics.

I've written about rightwing bloggers and I've written about guys with guns who have reputations for killing people for sport. Guess whose followers leave the death threats?

Donohue is using a technique pioneered by the Freepers and by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. The current instance is structureally similar to the LGF assult on the Kerry campaign for advertising on Daily Kos (which was then followed by an orgy of Internet assults on other bloggers as Johnson's "lizaroid minions" gloried in their own self importance). This sort of behavior should be covered by the RICO statutes, but law enforcement isn't up to speed and is too bewildered to know what to do about it.

The way it tends to work is that a fuss is stirred up and then the actual threats tend to be made by a very small group of individuals associated with the instigators. Those making the threats hide in the mob and because they used proxies and dynamic IP numbers, and so they are confident of their anonymity.

Secure in their virtual hoods, they threaten things they are too cowardly to actually do.

#130 ::: Michael Stackpole ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 08:02 AM:

I agree with all that has been said about Daffyd. In discussions on GEnie, I recall prefacing a remark to him thusly: I’m typing this slowly, so even you can understand it.

My fondest memory of Daffyd was shooting his ass in a paintball game or two. (I’m a good shot. He was leaner in those days.)

Best thing about him is that his writing screams for itself…. which is why his career–like his ability to reason–is in remission.

#131 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 08:54 AM:

Miriam Beetle #114: "i wonder if there are people who claim neoconservatism is an evil jewish plot. probably."

Well, neo-conservatism started as a movement among Jewish ex-Trotskyists. For some nutters, that would be enough to incorporate it into the evil Jewish-Catholic-Freemason-Negro-People Who Can Spell Conspiracy to Overthrow the Universe.

#132 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 09:37 AM:

I hate to mention it, but there are in fact Jewish people in Wales.

Also, the "proper" Welsh form of that name is Huw, and the normal Welsh form of that (fairly common) surname is Pugh. Using "ap" these days tends to be a way of staking out a political position -- one it seems unlikely Mr ap Hugh supports. One of the things that tends to irritate Europeans in general (and me in particular) about Americans claiming the nationality of their ancestors as their heritage under the same name is a tendency to forget that the place their ancestors came from has had history since they left, and is now a modern place every bit as complex as the US, and one they don't necessarily know all that much about, however influential their original immigrant ancestors may have been on their culture and upbringing.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Speaking of real Welshmen... Ioan Gruffudd is starring in Amazing Grace, coming soon to a theater near you. I understand it's about the ending of slavery in the British Isles.

#134 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 11:04 AM:
Also, the "proper" Welsh form of that name is Huw, and the normal Welsh form of that (fairly common) surname is Pugh.
I knew a boy at school called David Pugh.

Jo Walton, did you notice that DaH spells his name with ab, not ap?

#135 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Given that his mother is apparently Welsh, why isn't he using her given name instead of 'Hugh'? Or was she a Hughes or a Pugh and he decided to 'fix' it?

#136 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Is the political position "ap Huw" would identify with to do with Welsh nationalism, language, or both? (Or have I managed to guess wrong here?)

#137 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 12:43 PM:

TNH: They think he’s brilliant. They think he knows what he’s talking about.

Not necessarily. You're attributing to the Right qualities that you would be looking for in a pundit. They're not looking for brilliance. They're not looking for expertise.

e.g.: Jonah Goldberg went directly from bringing Ben Wattenberg his coffee to the very heart of the conservative enterprise.

e.g.: Newt Gingrich - third-rank history professor - is considered an intellectual giant on the right. (Newt wears that look of "I'm the smartest guy in the room" because in the rooms he frequents, he often is the smartest guy in the room.)

To qualify as a RW pundit, all that is needed is shamelessness.

#138 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 12:43 PM:

I was astonished to read one great story by ab Hugh: "The Coon Rolled Down and Ruptured Its Larinks: A Squeezed Novel by Mr Skunk". It's still hard for me to believe that the SFRT jackass wrote that story.

#139 ::: Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Yeah, I figured early on that someone who can't even figure out how to spell (or pronounce) his own fake Welsh name before he adopts it isn't going to be terribly reliable about anything else.

#140 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Mirian @ 114: Oh yes, the jews get blamed for neoconservatism too. You just have to start saying Horowitz, Krauthammer, Israel lobby... (It matters not that much of the US support for Israel is motivated by evangelical Christians' desire to help fulfill the preconditions for Armageddon and Christ's return; that's a perfectly reasonable position, you see?)

Michael @ 132: You know, I swear I remember that SFRT posting. I don't remember the argument, I don't remember the rest of the content, and I only dimly remembered "Daffyd" but I remember that preface to him.

Speaking of loonies, did other Making Light posters get spammed with a "9/11 was a government conspiracy" email this morning?

#141 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Hullo. I've, er, had a full night's sleep now. Would like to apologize for the unwarranted snark and presumption of my previous post, which has been mercifully ignored rather than excoriated. While I continue to be puzzled at it being forbidden to discuss the forbidding of a thing, such that there's no way to warn a newbie about the thing being forbidden without him transgressing first, there are certainly humbler and gentler ways I could have gone about expressing that.

I'm at a con right now, and everything they say about what happens when you haven't got enough sleep or eat at a con is true, I tell you.

OK. Off to devour a hot dog now.

#142 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Clifton @142: t matters not that much of the US support for Israel is motivated by evangelical Christians' desire to help fulfill the preconditions for Armageddon and Christ's return

While it's true that many evangelicals are pro-Israel for just this reason, I find it hard to believe that they have all that much of an effect on the US's support of Israel, which has been ongoing for decades, since before we had an a born-again Christian in the White House.

The US's political support for Israel can be explained by the fact that Israel is a liberal secular democracy in the Middle East, a region which can use all the liberal secular democracy it can get. Our military financial support for Israel mostly dates to 1973 (the Yom Kippur War), when the USSR was backing the Arabs.

#143 ::: Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:57 PM:

I think what was meant is that the current type of "support" the US is giving to Israel, which is different from the previous sort of support, is motivated by the Armageddonistas. It's kind of the opposite of what most people think of as supporting Israel.

#144 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 02:00 PM:

JeffK @ #110 -

That's how bullies, wife abusers, and child abusers work, and that's what these people are. They're abusers, plain and simple. Point that out, and anyone who isn't totally cowed by them or drinking their kool-aid will realize it. That's what we have to do to break their power and get some of our freedom back.

Abusers, bullies, and wife-beaters is a rather harsh characterization of a situation that might well be not nearly so clear cut as all that. One forum's freedom-fighter being another forum's malcontented control freak.

Hypothetically speaking.

#145 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 02:08 PM:

Avdeon @145: I think what was meant is that the current type of "support" the US is giving to Israel, which is different from the previous sort of support, is motivated by the Armageddonistas.

You've lost me. Just what kind of "support" is the US currently giving to Israel that somehow makes the old-fashioned kind of support (which I'm pretty sure we're still giving) irrelevant?

#146 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little wrote at #143:

> Hullo. I've, er, had a full night's sleep now. Would like to apologize for the unwarranted snark and presumption of my previous post[...]

Well, your snark reflected my interior state. Maybe I'm that "silent majority" Spiro Agnew used to go on about.

Enjoy the hot dog.

#147 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 05:06 PM:

I got that spammish e-mail too. I actually looked at it, because it wasn't the usual lottery/'help me'/account-suspended spam. (They messed up their HTML coding, I noticed, and don't know how to use bcc: either.)

#148 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 05:39 PM:

It was Nixon who made a catchphrase of "silent majority".

#149 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Agnew was all about alliteration.

Sorry.

#150 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 06:47 PM:

#139: "To qualify as a RW pundit, all that is needed is shamelessness."

An unswerving dedication to Truthiness doesn't hurt.

#151 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 06:56 PM:

One forum's freedom-fighter being another forum's malcontented control freak.

Hypothetically speaking, that's a good example of the kind of tactic I was talking about: the personal attack designed to both publicly discredit and personally hurt the target, as both punishment and object lesson.

I have too much respect for our hosts to continue this here, since it has been moved from the realm of the general to the specific.

#152 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 07:22 PM:

As I was reading this, a small bell was ringing somewhere. "Dafydd Ab Hugh. Gosh, that's an unusual name. Dafydd Ab Hugh. Have I heard that somewhere before?"
Okay, so back in my early teenage years (up until 14), I used to have this thing about finishing every single book I read. And--though I was heavily into SF&F--I had a pretty good filter, so I usually didn't get stuck with duds. And even if a book was trashy, or had 2-D characters, it'd usually have *some* redeeming feature that would make it worthwhile at the end.
One day, a book came along that was just… off, somehow. It was this really odd time-travel/Arthurian mix. You know how milk goes bad? This was a book that had gone bad. It was weird, but weird in a boring way--or maybe just flat-out boring. I couldn't even make it a third of the way through. It was the book that made me realize some books were so self-evidently bad, it was okay not to finish them. To this day, I have never finished of it.

Its name… was Arthur War Lord.

And lo and behold, in Mr. Hugh's linked-to post, he references himself as the author.

I'm sorry, I can't take this man seriously anymore.

He wrote ARTHUR WAR LORD.

A book so bad, it made me realize it was okay not to finish reading books.

#153 ::: Iorwerth Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 08:02 PM:

#134: Off the top of my head, the only guy I can think of who's changed their name in that fashion is the Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth (no relation), who is renowned as one of the Church in Wales' genuine eccentrics (mostly harmless, though). There are others I haven't heard of, I suspect.

#136: I suspect (but I'm not sure) that the 'ab' is either a mistake or predates the standardisation of Welsh spelling in the 1950s.

#154 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 09:04 PM:

Clifton Royston #142: I find Charles Krauthammer very useful. If he stakes out a position, I normally find that the very opposite of what he recommends, supports, or defends makes the most sense.

#155 ::: David Newgreen ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 09:44 PM:

#128 - If I remember correctly, his Star Trek novels all included references to the events of Peter David's Star Trek novels; so it wasn't just the about the author section. He put a fair bit of effort into convincing a reader he was Peter David.
(I rather enjoyed one of his TNG novels when I was a kid - except the last chapter, which was mostly a bizare rant about the military which had nothing to do with the rest of the story. It makes a lot more sense now...)

#156 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 10:28 PM:

#139: "To qualify as a RW pundit, all that is needed is shamelessness."

#152: An unswerving dedication to Truthiness doesn't hurt.

Back in the 1970s when the world was young, and before RW pundits turned so toxic, George F. Will had a column in Newsweek condescendingly explaining what awful, pernicious, left-wing claptrap the movie The China Syndrome was; the movie was leftist garbage, because the Nuclear Industry Was In Fact Utterly Safe And Everything Was Best Left In The Wise Hands Of Our Corporate Masters.

This column was on the newsstands the morning of the Three Mile Island accident.

I was young and naive, and foolishly expected G.F. Will to either resign in embarrassment, or be fired for incompetent punditry. Of course, he was back the following week, spreading more lies.

I realized that the fact of his being proven to be 100% WRONG had in fact proven his value to his corporate masters: Will would say anything, no matter how wrong; he would say it voluntarily, and without embarrassment.

The RW hate machine has advanced considerably in the years since.

#157 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Scraps wrote at #150

> It was Nixon who made a catchphrase of "silent majority".

Oops. In that case, put me down as a nattering nabob of negativism.

#158 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 01:41 AM:

Skink writes in #54:
I have a related sci-fi question though for those much more in tune with this than I. How common is it for an interplantary Gaiaology novel? Is this a common plot?

I am not quite sure what you mean by the question, but there is an SF novel by James Lovelock, Mister Gaia Hypothesis, collaborating with Michael Allaby: The Greening of Mars.

I haven't read it, but I gather it's thinly-disguised scientific speculation (as SF novels by prominent scientists often are) about terraforming Mars. It certainly involves the Gaia Hypothesis.

#159 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 02:19 AM:

I wrote a lengthy response to this thread, but then I remembered the old adage about why you shouldn't get into a pissing contest with a dog.

#160 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 04:00 AM:

Thank you so much for #134, Jo. You really headed off the discussion from going to an uncomfortable place (from my perspective), and made some informative points too.

I am descended from a person named David Jones and a person named Shmuel Ber Zerebchefsky. Both were equally Jewish and neither was remotely Welsh, but I am sure that if they had done similarly obnoxious things, the reactions would have been instructively different.

#161 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 01:03 PM:

P.S. I'm not following up on my snarky parenthetical, because it was largely irrelevant both to the main discussion here (Daffyd) and to the point I was responding to (yes, some people do consistently blame Jews for every damn thing, neoconservatism not excepted.) There are enough arguments in the world about the relationship between US and Israel, I see no need to turn this thread into another.

#162 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Re: #154 ::: Greg :
"He wrote ARTHUR WAR LORD.
A book so bad, it made me realize it was okay not to finish reading books."

Time to watch it, here -- this gets the dishing into the category of Seriously Insulting.

Even though it's probably all accurate and True, we really ought not go beyond the bounds of civility.


#163 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:

I'm Another one with a similar thought to your "Harsh" post. However, my similar opinion was also followed with the recollection that when said author has been discussed here, Xopher said several vicious (But mostly accurate) things concerning said author's politics, prejudices, and similar.

Then again, Xopher, who said "we don't talk about..." is also not the moderator, so I chose to take his remark as a slightly over-adamant request, which, aside from this discussion of the discussion, I'm content to oblige.

Urk. This is awkward; addressing this to one person means it reads like I'm talking about you, Xopher, as if you weren't part of this discussion as well. Sorry.

#164 ::: JHB ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Lee (115): The Assert--Dodge Refutation--Move to the Next Venue--Reassert Same to Fresh Audience tactic may have a 20-year pedigree among the neocons, but that lawyerly approach to facts has been a Creationist SOP for at least 30.

Except that Creationists were more often willing to concede a point (all the better for their tactics: it made them look reasonable and open-minded to the present audience, and the next audience would hear the original assertion, unmodified by the previous concession, and be none the wiser to the duplicity)

#165 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 10:40 PM:

Even though it's probably all accurate and True, we really ought not go beyond the bounds of civility.

I don't think saying that someone's book is reekingly bad is uncivil. For example, Isaac Asimov, beloved of all right-thinking people (IMNAAHO) wrote a pile of textual shit called The End of Eternity, which was my first experience of reading a bad book by an author I like.

#166 ::: Jon Mann ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2007, 11:40 PM:

<unlurks> If it's not too late, I'd also be interested in hearing about You Know Who and his connection with ML (I assume it's not easily google-able).

#167 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 12:30 AM:

I think this much can be safely said:

Unnamed.

Tor Books.

is not dissimilar to

Robert Jordan.

Tor Books.

#168 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 03:13 AM:

Assert--Dodge Refutation--Move to the Next Venue--Reassert Same to Fresh Audience

My experience on the sci groups was that the worst ones would leave out the "move to the next venue" part. They'd just pop up again in the same place repeating the opening move from the previous iteration of the argument. The fresh audience would just be people who came in late.

The most disruptive cases of this were people who could actually write, and could construct an argument that sounded convincing or at least thought-provoking to a reader who had missed all the previous iterations. Part of what made it disruptive was that it made the naturally peeved reactions from other group regulars seem irrational and prejudiced. To a newbie, it seemed as if this person had come in with a provocative but seemingly closely reasoned argument and had been attacked for no reason. The only way around this that I know of is the compilation of extensive FAQs.

I tend to repeat myself as well (I've written this comment before) but I like to think that if someone completely pulls an argument apart I'll take some notice of that later on.

#169 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 11:08 AM:

Apropos of nothing, I'd just like to say that there are more lurkers here than any of us has previously imagined...well, unless you see the reader statistics, but it's still fairly astonishing.

#170 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Lenora Rose, Xopher is an old friend, and a long-term regular at Making Light. One of his virtues is that he frequently helps explain local customs to newbies.

Where Robert Jordan comes into any of this is a puzzlement to me.

Here's the deal: Making Light is not a Tor website. Patrick and I aren't wholly owned subsidiaries of Holtzbrinck. We emphatically do not feel ourselves obliged to speak no evil of Tor/Forge/Orb/SMP/et cetera/Pan Macmillan/Holtzbrinck books, authors, or policies.

Do we disapprove of some of Orson Scott Card's political beliefs? Sure. No surprise there.

There are a couple of issues in play. One is courtesy. When your company's been an author's primary publisher for years and years, and you've worked together on multiple projects, it feels wrong to host an enthusiastic discussion of all their alleged errors, moral failings, dubious opinions, typos, suspect leanings, social gaffes, idiosyncratic turns of phrase, late deliveries, sinister acquaintances, and bad neckties. While it's true that people can and will discuss all those things, it would be more humane for that discussion to happen elsewhere.

Nevertheless, be assured that if Vernor Vinge and Greg Bear were plotting together to overthrow the government of the United States, and the only way to stop them was to reveal and denounce their pernicious scheme in Making Light, we'd be on it in a minute.

The other issue is professional discretion. There are subjects we sometimes shy away from in Making Light, not because you guys can't talk about them, but because we're somewhat hampered in our ability to join in. You can speculate and extrapolate and hypothesize to your heart's content about how punctually Weenus Abercrombie is delivering his manuscripts, the amount of editing they require, their overall sales, and why we used that cover painting on the second volume of his series. Sometimes we can talk about that stuff. Other times we can't, which usually means that we also can't explain why we can't.

If you see us hit a line and stop talking about some subject, please don't try to derive a general rule from it. Please don't assume that other people in that discussion committed a social faux pas, either. It's quite sufficiently polite to remember that along with everything else it is, SF/f is also our day job.

#171 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 11:27 AM:

I'm sorry, Teresa. I failed.

#172 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Nevertheless, be assured that if Vernor Vinge and Greg Bear were plotting together to overthrow the government of the United States, and the only way to stop them was to reveal and denounce their pernicious scheme in Making Light, we'd be on it in a minute.

Personally, I don't think that such a plot could be stopped. The best we could do would be to hope that after the coup we would be allowed to live peacefully in some sort of Brave New World-style nature reserve.

#173 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Ah. Teresa explains it all. For which, my thanks.

I personally didn't enjoy the "there's a secret forum rule, you just stepped on it, no, you can't get in the treehouse with us unless you ask for a rope ladder via email" routine.

An author with locally unpopular views? Understood that bit, but not why it might be disabling of discussion.

Who publishes whom is pretty "inside baseball" for me, not something I would have ever thought of in this context.

#174 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Daniel 176: That wasn't intended to be a...never mind. I was attempting to avoid the situation where Teresa had to be explicit about it, an attempt which failed.

Next time I will privately email the person who brought it up. In fact I can hardly believe, at this point, that I was so foolish as to post about it; it only stirred up curiosity where there would have been none had Skink's question simply gone unanswered.

#175 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:06 PM:

I had to go google David Friedman just to make sure that it wasn't the same one I know. Thankfully, it's not. Cariadoc never struck me as the type of troll that's being described. Though it strikes me that the tone of this thread is getting increasingly vitriolic.

#176 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:30 PM:

" . . . in some sort of Brave New World-style nature reserve."

Hopefully the one where Weenus Abercrombie is interned.

#177 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Xopher @172
How many emails were awaiting your return from Boskone?

Teresa @173
...bad neckties.

I thought you guys had all gone smart casual over there, and that that was why I can never buy a suit when I come back!

#178 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Sisuile @178 -- it's the new moon again. Or retrograde Mercury. Or Eris is in a bad mood. I'm quite seriously considering all of these explanations. (I'm even dreaming of anger, arguments, and bad communication these days.)

#179 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Well, to bring up OSC* in a polite, non-publishing, and a more or less non-political context...

Several years ago, the University of Rochester had been hosting a conference on 'Power', and OSC gave a talk on 'The Power of the Story-teller'. This was broadcast on a regular noon-hour show by the local public broadcasting radio station.

I thought it was an interesting talk. One of the ideas was how the stories we tell define how we see ourselves. He suggested that early in the 20th century, typical Americans viewed capitalism with suspicion. When Russian revolutionaries started describing America as a capitalistic society, we picked up on it and chose to wear it with pride (an example of how we were influenced by the stories others told of us).**

At the time, the station typically repeated the noon-hour show later in the evening. I set up to record it, but that evening the repeat was bumped for one of the Bush/Dukakis debates (placing this patch of memory in 1988).

I figured if I made a project out of it, I should be able to find a tape of that talk, or at least a transcript; but I never got around to it.

In another context, a few summers ago I bicycled out from Rochester to watch the Hill Cumorah pagent in Palmyra (a free event, which gave me an excuse for a moderately ambitious ride in warm weather). I had heard that OSC had written the current version of the play. Talking with one of the players who struck up a conversation after the play, I found the play used to be six hours long(!); OSC's re-write brought it down to a lean(er) three hours. I have to assume this has made both performers and audiences happier, and in a small way reduced suffering in the world. To be honest, I had difficulty following the story, but I'd attribute that to lacking the background (IANA Mormon).


* I thought a couple of happy stories might reduce the sense that he was an equivalent to "He Who Must Not Be Named". Both of these notions had been tied to his name in my head for some time now.

** The Russian revolutionaries seemed to have had luck or skill with this sort of verbal judo. They named themselves Bolsheviks, meaning 'majority', before they could legitimately make that claim. Their opposition obligingly adopted the name Mensheviks, meaning 'minority' (talk about letting your opponents frame the debate!)

#180 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Xopher #177, I may be mostly a lurker but I've been here long enough to know that you post here in a spirit of ferocious good will. So I should have been smart enough to understand that you weren't deliberately trying to play one of those exclusionary/clique games, even thought that's very much what it felt like. I should have been smart enough, I wasn't, I'm sorry.

#181 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 05:47 PM:

abi 180: A lot. Way more than I expected, many from people I'd never heard of until now.

Rob 182: Please stop now. I'm asking nicely and saying please.

Daniel 183: Apology accepted. *uses The Force to crush Daniel's trachea* No, seriously, that's OK. I know how it can feel like people are saying things that you know intellectually they can't possibly mean; witness my posts around Valentine's Day, when I pointed out that I know the happily encoupled are trying to share their joy, but that it feels like they're gloating.

#182 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 06:43 PM:

Nevertheless, be assured that if Vernor Vinge and Greg Bear were plotting together to overthrow the government of the United States, and the only way to stop them was to reveal and denounce their pernicious scheme in Making Light, we'd be on it in a minute.

Personally, I don't think that such a plot could be stopped. The best we could do would be to hope that after the coup we would be allowed to live peacefully in some sort of Brave New World-style nature reserve.

We've got a chance unless and until Vonda McIntyre steps in. If she does, we're in the nature reserve so quickly and smoothly we won't even know it happened.

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Hmm...with Vonda's involvement, I'm not entirely certain which side I'd be on.

Come to think of it, "we'd be on it in a minute" isn't exactly unambiguous either.

#184 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Personally, I don't think that such a plot could be stopped.

And I, for one, welcome our new SF author overlords.

#185 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 07:36 PM:

And I, for one, welcome our new SF author overlords.

As long as they get along with the pandas.

#186 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Great. Now in answering Teresa I get to talk about Xopher in third person again. Fortunately, I can manke up for it as I have a thing to say to him (Not a bad one...).

Teresa, I appreciate your attempt to defend him, but truly, you don't have to tell me who or what Xopher is. (Lord, that still sounds snarky and I'm trying not to because I don't feel snarky... please read in friendly tone.)

He's a regular, he's invaluable, and I suspect he's done as much to keep the comment threads going smoothly as anyone who doesn't have actual posting rights can.

I do, however, find a gulf between his usual kindly explaining the ropes to newbies and a flat "We don't talk about that."

I mentioned Robert Jordan because I've seen Patrick politely ask people not to get into Jordan bashing, and especially into unwarranted speculations about the publishing side of his books, in much the same way. It was an example of the same "be courteous" Xopher was trying to convey, but with a person who decidedly lacks the dark overtones of OSC's politics; from what I understand, Jordan is a gentleman. Thus the emphasis was not on weird politics but on, "be nice to the hosts and don't talk about things they'd rather not participate in".

Xopher: Actually, I think if you'd put a short explanation in with your first "we don't talk about that", or shortly after when someone asked "Why?", you'd have saved yourself and Teresa more than attempting to turn it to e-mail would have. The second actually made it look even more like there was some Deep Secret behind it, not a simple courtesy.

I could see you were trying your best not to make it seem so, but the moment you say "Look, I'll explain it... elsewhere..." in front of a crowd, speculation happens. We're bad about that, we human beings.

#187 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Xopher @184: Sorry. It was self-indulgent.

#188 ::: Robert Legault ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 08:03 PM:

If I may just chime in here, as both a former Tor employee and as a longtime freelancer in publishing: We who work in publishing work with many authors. Some, indeed many of them, we like. Some we have more mixed feelings about. And the same applies to our feelings about their writing. And my feelings are different from others'. However, what we do with their books, in terms of editing, production, or whatever, is pretty much confidential. While we might gossip a little amongst ourselves once in a while, talking about such things and actually naming names in a public forum is not appropriate. And that goes as much for people we like as people we might not like. If authors publicly express opinions, we might respectfully agree or disagree with those opinions. But when we know we're going to have to be working with them, that's about the extent of it.

For that matter, I'm sure that if Mr. ab Hugh should ever decide to submit a manuscript to Tor, that he would get the same respectful consideration any other author would.

#189 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 09:27 PM:

Also make sure never to bring up what happened on the banks of the Poko Moko.

#190 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 10:35 PM:

And...remember that thing? In that place, back when we did you know what to that guy? Don't talk about that either.

#191 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2007, 10:57 PM:

Xopher @ 193

Was that the one with the dinosaurs and you-know-what? Or was it the incident after we ate the Pygmy Mammoth with Jumbo Shrimp and Big Snorgul got a little wild and ... never mind.

#192 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 04:22 AM:

The truly amazing thing about whatshisface (and those like him--how did they ever manage to maintain coherence long enough to hook up a modem?) is that they are so desperate for some sliver of personal power, some validation of their self, some recognition of existence that they are willing to waste years of their lives on being obnoxious, dishonest bloviators; they'd rather be hated idiot pundits than admit they might be wrong, think kindly of others and scoot over a little so that they're not always the center of the universe. It's like Satan choosing evil to be his good, only without any poetry.

I wonder what happened to whatshisname to make him turn out that way. Very, very sad.

#193 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 06:16 AM:

#185:We've got a chance unless and until Vonda McIntyre steps in. If she does, we're in the nature reserve so quickly and smoothly we won't even know it happened.

Bruce, I have bad news. It happened last week. We all agreed not to tell you at the time because it would only worry you.

#194 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 06:52 AM:

Xopher said (#193):
And...remember that thing? In that place, back when we did you know what to that guy? Don't talk about that either.

Reuben: Look, we all go way back and uh, I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place and I'll never forget it.
Danny: That was our pleasure.
Rusty: I'd never been to Belize.

-- Ocean's 11

#195 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 07:57 AM:

I think I may have met the guy who's the topic of the original post. Or at least, I've met his psychic analogue, aged about late teens, British, conservative and sanctimonious with it. Another David, just out of interest. I don't precisely blame him for my giving up the last vestiges of my Usenet habit, but he was certainly one of the people who made it a lot easier to do.

Randolph @ 120 - I'd say it's a new version of an old crime: incitement to cause civil unrest. Or in other words, he's deliberately stirring up a mob. The reason he's getting away with it is because they're not carrying the torches, pitchforks, nooses and placards down the main street of whichever town they're in. Instead, they're writing nasty letters to someone they'll never meet in person (and who is therefore no realer to them as a person than the silhouette people shoot at in a pistol range) and they're safe from reprisals because it's "just words".

I've spent a lot of my life dealing with the proposition that "words can't hurt you". Twelve years of verbal bullying at school; a manager who was very adept at using words to destroy a person's psychological stability; and an internet stalker (he was trying to stop me posting on a particular moderated newsgroup. So each time I posted something, he'd send me an abusive email. The worst of them was over 1500 lines of the same insult repeated over and over and over); I figure I've enough data to reach my own conclusion. My conclusion is the whole thing is so much horse elbows.

The "it's just words" business is a lousy excuse for writing off offensive behaviour. There are a lot of other things which are "just words" - things like Magna Carta, the US Declaration of Independence, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Q'ran, and the legal codices of every single nation on the planet. All of those are "just words" too. Should we give them equal weight with the words of a bully and a coward who acts as part of a mob to verbally assault someone? The words in those documents were written (and often spoken) with as deliberate an intent, and the things they say were just as heartfelt by their writers as the things written by the writer of an anonymous hate email.

We live in a culture where the words of others are *meant* to have an effect upon us, and we can't discard that effect at will. Words which are chosen to hurt generally *do* hurt. They're supposed to.

After one hundred years of psychoanalysis as a discipline, you'd think our judicial systems would be moving beyond the physical bruise as evidence of assault...

#196 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Um, Meg? "Assault" is the verbal threat of violence, "battery" is where the bruise enters the picture...

#197 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Lori @199: Meg's LJ page states that she's from Australia, where "assault" does include "battery."

#199 ::: nk ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 01:18 PM:

I am fan of Dafydd ab Hugh. As a first-time guest, here, I will not be rude. If you wish, you may read my comment on his site for my opinion of this post and the commenters.

(I would have cross-posted it at my site, as well, but the Blogger server is down.)

#200 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 01:46 PM:

#197 -- one of my favorite movies! You beat me to it.

I very vaguely remember a DAH novel with some rather squicky sex between a warrior woman and her recently deceased gentleman friend...hmm, maybe it's time to scour my shelves if it's still there. Or at least my brain.

#201 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Meg @ 198: If he was British, it wasn't ab Hugh, he's decidedly American.

I made the effort to read the comments at big lizards (I couldn't get through the incredible generalisations of the post; being told what I believe; because "all liberals" are this way, when "conservaives" are allowed to be individuals always irks me. I at least try to narrow my sweeping claims to smaller subsets.

The one that got me was the guy who blames Clinton for "stopping the Gov't" for two years. See it was all Bill's fault, because he was having affairs with fellow employees on company time (so it was legit to want to fire him), but the War in Iraq isn't worse than that because Bush was doing his job (not goofing off) as best he could.

So it's just a poor result from a business deal.

Now me, if a guy is having an affair with a fellow employee (which isn't how I would categorize the relationship... there's a big difference between the two, even if taxpayers were paying them both) and someone who does great damage to the company, ruins the brand and runs up huge debts; all while showing no profit.

I know which of those two I'd fire.

nk, if this is your idea of vitriol, I'd avoid Glenn Reynolds, Hugh Hewitt, M. Malkin and Ann Coulter.

Don't even think about looking at LGF.

#202 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 03:24 PM:

I love the way he uses "it was never clear" to mean "I was never able to understand." Interesting use of language.

#203 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 03:31 PM:

#202: What, you yearn so much for attention that you must beg for it? Sad. But since I pity you, here is a dribble of notice. As for Daffy, I have killfiled him years ago. Too much noise, no content.

#204 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Oh, sigh, another piñata. Do we have to? Can't we just ignore him this time?

#205 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 04:44 PM:

The custom here is that
Comments provide content, not
Links to discontent.

#206 ::: P J Evans sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 05:06 PM:

or something incoherent, anyway.

WTF is all that about?

#207 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 05:10 PM:

"...Geographic clues like Italy and Lake Michigan suggest artificiality..."

Huh?

#208 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 05:23 PM:

I think, P J, that it's the incoherent babble of a seriously disordered mind.

#209 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 05:39 PM:

<snark>
PJ, I thought the haiku was perfectly comprehensible!
</snark>

#210 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 06:14 PM:

"We never had any vicious arguments"--DaH

Hunh. I wonder if this man is simply deaf to verbal abuse. I've known people like that, especially from families in which viciousness was the norm. They grow up used to arguments where the volume is set to 8 or 9 and figure that if they're down at 5 or 6 they're doing pretty well, even if everyone around them covers their ears, whenever they speak

Kathryn@131--"Secure in their virtual hoods, they threaten things they are too cowardly to actually do." Some of them are capable of real violence as well--may in fact be RL criminals. We need the equivalent, I think, of net.cops on the beat; to treat threats of violence as the crime they in fact are. Simply responding to documented reports of threats would be worth the trouble.

Meg@198--"incitement to cause civil unrest. Or in other words, he's deliberately stirring up a mob." Different, I think. He's stirring up a mob, and hoping, within the mob, to find the few individuals willing to act on their own. This is new. Better tracking of those individuals seems appropriate and I think also "trolling" for them is itself an act deserving of criminal status. I am dubious of outlawing any speech, beyond stalking and threats of violence.

#211 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Daffy is a habitual liar.

Now that right-wing pundits are generally recognized as a pack of liars, mendacious twits with no expertise in anything, he's joined them. It's a bad case of arriving late at the dance. If he hadn't worn out my patience over a decade ago, I'd pity him.

#212 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Jim, according to the psych column in yesterday's WashPost, people like liars more than they do truth-tellers.

#213 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 08:09 PM:

#201, reading the linked text, the guy does ramble, doesn't he.

I started to get lost after a couple of page-downs.

Blogging has a lot in common with newspaper journalism, especially in the need for clarity--one story at a time, please. From what I see these days, I don't think many contemporary journalists know how to write well, but at least the system stops them from rambling.

#214 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 08:28 PM:

#215-- The last paragraph of the linked article reminded me of Dubya's sister Robin all over again, and the way their parents handled her death:

"DePaulo once conducted a study in which she asked people to recall the worst lie they had ever told and the worst lie ever told to them. In a reflection of how much our perceptions of lying depend on our particular points of view, the psychologist found that many young people reported that the worst lie ever told to them was by a parent who concealed news that someone they loved was sick or dying. By contrast, DePaulo found, parents never thought of such deceptions as particularly serious ethical breaches -- in fact, they saw them as acts of love."

#215 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 11:01 PM:

He really is kind of hapless.

Always has been. This is, after all, Scouter the Elf -- his previous pretentious nom de fan -- we're talking about. Making messes is all he's ever been good at ("Ooooh, hey, what's this? It's really cool!" *crash* "Er, sorry, Dave.") and he takes a sort of pugnacious, infantile joy in it, not unlike toddler playing with the contents of his well-filled diaper. I think he'd like to be good at something more valuable, but being good at making messes is what consistently got him attention, so it's what he does.

What is monumentally bizarre to me in all this is the way all the great irritating doof fanbois of LASFS past are turning into right wing pundits. First Eugene Volokh, and now Scouter. Er, Daffy. I mean Daffyd. Maybe someone will resurrect Laney next.

#216 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 11:39 PM:

"I think he'd like to be good at something more valuable"

It's worse than that--he was, once.

Another one seduced by the dark side...

#217 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:48 AM:

nk @202: Hi. One problem with American politics today is that it's so highly polarized. So, thanks for stopping by over here - take a look around.

I'm sort of wondering why you're a self-described "fan" - would you care to elaborate?

#218 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 06:17 AM:

(Late to the bean-fest ...)

I only ran across Daffyd relatively recently -- in the past couple of years, over on SFF.net -- but yes, he strikes me as the specific subtype of conservative who emulated a sea anemone by switching from a smart free-swimming phase to an anchored phase, and digesting their brain at the same time, in the wake of 9/11. It'd be kind of sad if they weren't so poisonous with it. In D's case, I suspect he was looking for a cause to latch onto and an alien to demonize.

So I think we're catching the brunt of his peculiar pathology because he's found a way to make money from it rather than keeping it to himself.

Which leads me to ask: if for every one with a paid-for column there are a million without ... what does that tell us?

#219 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 07:01 AM:

221: the specific subtype of conservative who emulated a sea anemone by switching from a smart free-swimming phase to an anchored phase, and digesting their brain at the same time

Best marine biology political metaphor EVAR. Even though I think you're thinking of the urochordates (sea squirts). The cnidaria tend to have alternation of generations - fixed polyps give birth to free-swimming forms, which give birth to polyps again. Each generation rebels against its parents.

#220 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 07:31 AM:

"I suspect he was looking for a cause to latch onto and an alien to demonize."

Rather like Chris Hitchens, no? Only he changed causes...

"if for every one with a paid-for column there are a million without ... what does that tell us?"

I don't think there are; publishing is a part of the story. Paranoids seem drive to talk about it for some reason...are we looking at the consequences of alienation here?

#221 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 09:40 AM:

#155 & #136 - 'ab' is a relic of pre-standardisation, yes. You can still see the remains of it in some surnames, eg. 'ab Owen' turned into 'Bowen' the same way as 'ap Huw' turned into 'Puw' and 'ap Hugh' into 'Pugh'.

The only one I can think of offhand that survived in both versions is 'ap/ab Rhys', which became variously Bryce or Price, and a few other spellings.

Referencing something a bit further upthread - it took me at least five minutes to get the reference in 'Dafydd Uck', until I worked out that he obviously wasn't pronouncing it right.

#222 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Ulrika: Eugene Volokh goes/went to LASFAS? Seriously? I have for years been using him as an example of the independent invention of a particular kind of cultivated autism and moral blindness; if I can fold him into the category of "one more example of a way fandoms can go bad", that would be convenient for my taxonomy.

Charlie: I honestly don't think there are a million would-be pundits for every one who breaks into the circuit like Dafydd. I think it's a fairly rare combination of traits, and that many of those who suffer from it end up serving one machine or another.

#223 ::: nk ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Bob, #220:

Thank you, but I would be considered a troll here.

I like Dafydd's brand of conservative Liberalism even though I disagree with him on some issues such as same-sex marriage. We agree most strongly on national defense issues.

As for his work, it is for younger people than me. I am more comfortable with, for example, Roger Zelazny, Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe, John Myers Myers and Glen Cook.

Thank you again for the kind words but my commenting here would be noncupatory.

#224 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Bruce @ 225

Yes, he has a green card on file. I think he dropped out of active membership when he got into college and went conservative.

#225 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Bruce Baugh at 225: "Eugene Volokh goes/went to LASFAS? Seriously?"

Yep, dead serious. As did his younger brother, a few times. This would have been around the mid-late '80s or possibly the very early '90s (i.e. well after your brother stopped attending) and he went both to meetings and aftermeetings. Unlike PJ, I don't recall Eugene ever not having been conservative, however, even back when he was a code-writing prodigy and skill-gimick rally geek.

#226 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:34 PM:

Randolf: It's worse than that--he was, once.

If so, it was before or betwixt when I knew him, and I've known Scouter for a very long damn' time, though I do try to keep contact at a minimum.

#227 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Ulrika, he wasn't noticeably political then. Or at least not as noticeably political as, say, Dr Jerry (possibly because Eugene was quieter). I can't say that we ever discussed politics much, though.

#228 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:38 PM:

nk, "I would be considered a troll here."

So far you haven't been. You might inspire disagreement, but so far as I know, courteous disagreement is perfectly all right. Generally, the places I've seen Teresa draw the line are at verbal abuse and outright hate speech: openly expressed bigotry and the like.

Now me, maybe I'm a troll.

#229 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:46 PM:

PJ-

If the criterion for not being political is not being as noticeable or loud about it as Jerry, then there ain't none of us is political. If you listened to what Eugene said at aftermeetings, he had strong and vocal right/libertarian political opinions all along, and was quite happy to argue for them. Many of them were quite evidently the result of being a young emigre from a socialist country -- a syndrome I recognized from my own experience.

(Not that Sweden and the Soviet Union are really comparable, but then Eugene and I have emerged from our youthful libertarianism in opposite directions.)

#230 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Thanks, Ulrika and PJ! Wow.

#231 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Ulrika@229--betwixt; his writing shows signs of someone capable of growth and insight. All gone, now, I suppose. I suppose he's found one of those traps in his head, crawled into it, and that's it for the guy.

#232 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Not any of his writing that I've ever read, Randolf. His first published novel was unreadably stupid. I gave up on it at a time when I really did not give up on books; I notice another reader upthread had a similar experience with a subsequent book. I thought it very appropriate when he moved out of attempting original fiction and went on to do the DOOM books, because it seemed a much better skills match.

#233 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Well, that would explain it. I wasn't going to aftermeetings. (Getting up at 4:30am does that to you.)

#234 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 04:19 PM:

Re Eugene: I knew him tolerably well, when he was an active member (he being only a couple of years different from me in age), and I know his brother, because he took up with a ex-girlfriend of mine.

They are both quite political, and always were, it's why Eugene applied to the clerkships he got (a very conservative judge in Pasadena, and O'Connor).

Sasha took a job, for quite some time, as a writer for Reason. Speaking with them on social issues... well it's what put me of "L"ibertarianism, because the tenor of it seems to be, laissez-faire uber alles, and if that means oppressing people, well that's fair... but if you want to do something which interferes (no matter how laissez-faire it is) with my ability to oppress them/exploit my position of power... you need to be crushed.

It's interesting that they both got the "traditional" "White Russian" education (tri-lingual, English, French, Russian, segregated from the larger community; in private schools). Eugene was (IIRC) four when they left Kiev, I'd have to do the math to say for sure about Sasha.

Both of them can be wonderful to spend time with, and reasonable, and persuasive; but ruthless in how they apply their ideals. Abstract ideas trump the ugly facts on the ground. It's how Eugenes seems to have come to his views on the merits of public torture.

#235 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 04:42 PM:

PJ-

Well, perhaps it also explains why I have no face to attach to your name. We were clearly attending LASFS in the same timeframe, but from fairly early on, I tended to avoid the meetings themselves in favor of aftermeetings.

#236 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 08:54 PM:

nk @226 - well, thanks for the answer. This thread is dying out (as all threads do...), but please, feel free to hang around, even if you don't want to add to the conversation.

Now that information is essentially free, the remaining bottleneck is our attention: your answer left me still curious as to why someone would spend their finite time seeking information from DaH.

#237 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2007, 09:06 PM:

nk 226: A Zelazny fan! You can not be all bad. Well.

I really have no idea what 'conservative Liberalism' might be. If you'd care to explain your take on what that means, I'd be interested.

#238 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 02:26 AM:

nk, in what sense are you using "noncupatory"? The only definitions I can find are for the slightly different spelling "nuncupatory" and it means, more or less, a formal verbal declaration; akin, I suppose to nuncio. An idea from a non-literate culture; in a modern context, it applies to an oral will. And if you use words like that correctly, I hope you hang around.

Ulrika, I saw some good things in Daffyd's books; they weren't good books, but I saw something there. Lost now, I guess.

#239 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:33 AM:

Adam (201)

I actually made it to the end of that blog entry, though skimming was required in spots; as it happens it is possible to summarize most of the relevant content by quoting one sentence from the second-to-last paragraph:

I refuse to understand why I cannot like -- or at least be pleasant to -- someone I disagree with.

Yep. That would be the problem.

#240 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 07:36 AM:

When I first looked for this, the top search result was at biglizards
Noncupatory: Impertinent or irrelevant. [prob. From 'nuncapatory', an obsolete term meaning oral or dedicatory, the latter spelling appears only in 'Cat Island', an uncompleted story outline published in Light From A Lone Star (NESFA 1985)]
Noncuperative: A non-recipient of welfare benefits, reputedly all Chaoticists, anarchists, thieves, swindlers, whoremongers. ? from non-cooperative and/or nuncapatory [but see note]; see Noncupatory.

Both entries taken from the Jack Vance Lexicon by Dan Temianka (via, which has a whole discussion thread on it.)

#241 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 09:33 AM:

I think "noncupatory" comes from an early exposure to Jack Vance, who was fond enough of the word to use it fairly often. You'll note that nk lists Vance as one of his favorite authors.*

* He's one of mine too, which is how I know this, of course.

#242 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 09:55 AM:

nk said: I would be considered a troll here.

Just for the record, "troll" does not mean "somebody who disagrees with the majority opinion." It means "somebody who visits a message board with the intention of starting fights and causing trouble."

#243 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 11:10 AM:

The OED definitions are different from those; I don't have access to a good American dictionary without a trip to the library. I wonder if noncupatory is an actual American word, or if Vance made it up to give problems to future critics. It would be like him.

...and here we have, "Paul Rhoads has quoted Jack Vance as claiming that 'noncupatory' was his own invention."

#244 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 12:25 PM:
Well, perhaps it also explains why I have no face to attach to your name

I have no face to attach to your name, and I must scre%^$#@% AD$#@&*
+++
NO CARRIER

#245 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Chris Clarke @ 247

ROFLMAO

#246 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Laurence, while this statement is true:

Just for the record, "troll" does not mean "somebody who disagrees with the majority opinion." It means "somebody who visits a message board with the intention of starting fights and causing trouble."

It is nonetheless the case that many trolls are incapable of making the distinction, and so believe that troll means "somebody who disagrees with the majority opinion."

#247 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2007, 04:45 PM:

aphrael said:

It is nonetheless the case that many trolls are incapable of making the distinction, and so believe that troll means "somebody who disagrees with the majority opinion."

The question of whether or not trolls can recognize their own trollishness is certainly an interesting one. I thought about that.

My final verdict was that it doesn't, in fact, matter if they honestly can't tell that what they're doing is trolling. It's still a problem.

Also, just because a troll says "You only consider me a troll because I'm disagreeing with the majority" doesn't mean that they actually believe it.

#248 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Next example of the right-wing hate machine whipping its followers to a frenzy: 'Terrorist' Remark Puts Outdoorsman's Career in Jeopardy. Or file it under the Perils of Blogging.

I think that every Ameican home should have at least one full-auto weapon. But, nevertheless, I think that hunting prarie dogs with a 5.56mm assault rifle is just plain looney.

#249 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Jim @ 251 - I think it just means that any sort of celebrity, even a niche one (maybe especially a niche one) shouldn't blog without an editor.

Maybe this will make room on Outdoor Life Channel (which must be up in the mid 300's somewhere) for a show about hunting with assault rifles.

Squirrel!
RAT-A-TAT-TAT-TAT-TATplinkplink
No more squirrel!

#250 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Goodness! Speaking of Inappropriate Hunting Firearms: THE WHITETAIL DEER HUNT WITH A MOUNTAIN HOWITZER

#251 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:52 AM:

James @ 253

That wouldn't leave much deer, would it? (Any that survive would, I'd think, move elsewhere.)

Come to think of it, that's the same results I'd expect from hunting prairie dogs with an assault rifle.

#252 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:44 AM:

I kept laughing at how much of the how-to was how not to get caught. I can understand the appeal, too-- build something cool, do something a little weird with it. My own preference would be to build the cannon and then see what I could do with *produce*, though.

#253 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Water, fertilizer, labor, etc., to grow an 800 pound pumpkin: $100.

Military surplus howitzer & ammo: $6,500.

Introducing pumpkin to howitzer: priceless.

#254 ::: nk ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Yikes! That's what happens when you get scared off. You don't get to see your typos pointed out. I meant to type "conservative Libertarianism" not "conservative Liberalism".

Also, the .223 in a barrel of the correct twist is a wonderfully accurate cartridge. Therefore its attraction for serious shooters including varmint hunters. And it follows that since it's our military issue cartridge most rifles chambering it will be military-styled rifles.

#255 ::: Alice ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Dafydds and his Japanese wife Sachiko spreads “nothing but Lie” in Japanese BBS.

http://messages.yahoo.co.jp/bbs?.mm=NW&action=m&board=552019567&tid=bpa5a4a5ia5afipno9tbbh&sid=552019567&mid=1&type=date&first=1
http://messages.yahoo.co.jp/bbs?.mm=NW&action=l&board=1143582&tid=a5a4a59a5ia5a8a5ka1bfa5qa5la59a5aa5jobjbf&sid=1143582&mid=13218

their username is

physics4dummys
oxnardnokakashi

(I suspect they got more usernames to create their fake conversation.)

their web site is introduced in the profile .
http://profiles.yahoo.co.jp/oxnardnokakashi

they used to use “oxnardnokakashi” a lot but once Japanese found out who they are, “physics4dummys” is used more frequently.

“Every Lie” they presents in Japanese BBS can counter aruge by normal references. and Dafydds and Sachiko just keep on ingoring those facts and call everyone “Jihadist” who represents article that contradicts with their lies.

This couple (Dafydds and his Japanese wife Sachiko) is nothing but psycho who lives in a fantasy world.

#256 ::: David Niall Wilson ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Wow...I mean...HOLY CRAP (lol) I was talking to someone about Daffy, and thought, heck, I'll hit Google and see what comes up...and here this is.

SFRT days...I can't recall the number of times he ruined a conversation I was interested in over there...he and a couple of others insured that I spent most of my time on the HWA private area rather than the SFRT - now he's a commentator...that's just ...surreal.

He used to get really mad when I called him Daffy.

D

#257 ::: Deborah Grabien ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2009, 03:18 AM:

I'm betting my husband Nic - who was sysop for SFRT 1 and 4 - would have those archives.

He booted Dafydd from his own topic and Dafydd howled "UNFAIR! BAD! MEAN! PICKING ON MEEEE!" Nic watched in great amusement the only time I ever posted more than one line at GeNie; it was after the so-called election in 2000. I got into "good lord, who is this moron?" mode and reduced Dafydd to stuttering rage. 'twas fun.

It would appear he's still a moron. Colour me unsurprised.

#258 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 11:17 PM:

I read ab Hugh's DS9 novel Fallen Heroes as a kid and enjoyed it; now I know to let those memories stay golden, and avoid revisiting the source text.

#259 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 11:56 PM:

In reference to the sub-thread spawned by Anna @ 26: It doesn't always take a mob. Sufficiently bad treatment by people you're close to can have the same result. What you see from me here is about the best I can do these days. I don't think it used to be so.

All that is sixteen years back. It still grinds my teeth for me.

#260 ::: JM sees pleasantly worded spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 07:22 PM:

I fear Evangeline's best wishes are not sincere.

#261 ::: Stefan Jones sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:42 PM:

Suspiciously vague message; link points to recipe spam site(?).

#262 ::: TexAnne sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 06:42 AM:

Is that Turkish?

#263 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees weirdly appropriate spam ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 10:56 AM:

DaH was arguably a hemorrhoid in human form, but this is still spam.

#264 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 11:00 AM:

Apologies for that previous comment. I let my eagerness to post interfere with careful judgement.

It should read "DaH is arguably a hemorrhoid in human form, but this is still spam."

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