Your Second Thought For the Day

Mind you, for many of the people for whom the Greek Alphabet gradation of social hierarchy appears important, the working definition of “Alpha Male” seems to work out to “sociopathic assbag.” So maybe you don’t want to be one of those, either.

404 thoughts on “Your Second Thought For the Day

  1. I spend artificial time thinking about these things. Then I spend way more time wondering what artificial time might be, and whether it’s a viable construct.

    … and I do all this without any psychoactive chemicals whatsoever. I may need a better array of hobbies.

  2. Unfortionally in this situations its collary is true, too.

    If you can’t point out the omega in a group you belong too, it’s you.

  3. I don’t recall which con I was at — something in California, such as a Westercon — where Jerry Pournelle was declaiming on his Alpha Malehood, and several women in the room told him, leaving him perturbed: “There is one obvious Alpha Male in this room: Charles Brown.”

    I have many anecdotes of watching Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann openly competing for who was the Alpha Male Nobel Laureate Physicist at Caltech, starting from my first year there (1968).

    I have no claim to Alpha Male. It is a mystery to me how I hooked up with a beautiful woman who is smarter than me, and with more common sense.

  4. This reminds me of an old line I have heard attribute to several people, most often Oscar Wilde
    “Still you pride yourself on an animal faculty where a barnyard animal is your equal and the jackass infinitely superior.”

    You may be an alph male but that still just leaves you in the pack sharing fleas

  5. Ian

    Thank you for the heads up on that; I propose that we continue to use the term in its’ updated form:

    ‘breeder male’

    I suspect that this will not be nearly as popular as ‘alpha male’ but one has to go with the science…

  6. If you feel the need to tell people you’re an Alpha Male, you’re not. Amazing how many people just look confused when I tell them that.

  7. you hang out with a group of people who don’t give a crap about pop approximations of primate social groupings

    They may not crap about pop approximations, but they still run the human wetware that does give a crap about primate social ordering. This ordering is manipulable and oh so important for our happiness. So, there is advantage in thinking about it. Calling a certain position “alpha” is rather like calling a man “intelligent”; it is an approximation which reduces a clustered many-dimensional space into a boolean category. But it is still useful. Most humans don’t think very well about clustered many-dimensional spaces.

  8. I do yoga because I get back cramps and it really helps. The instructor told us about a class she teaches at a gym. She gets a lot of male and female athletes in there. They spend a lot of time looking around to see how they are doing compared to everyone else and then try to beat them.

    I would be tempted to try to fake it and look better then them to get them to work harder.

  9. It’s futile to examine people with more successful behavior, think about how that behavior differs from yours, and improve yourself by emulating it? Let’s hope that’s not true; if it is then your “how not to be a creeper” series was a waste of time.

  10. @John
    “Alternately, you hang out with a group of people who don’t give a crap about pop approximations of primate social groupings.”

    By your definition, Jane Gooddall would be an Alpha. I hope I don’t get deleted for trolling. Couldn’t help myself.

  11. I’ve heard the theory that there are the Alphas, who are in charge, the Betas, who agree that the Alphas are in charge, and then finally the Gammas, who don’t care what the Alphas or Betas think. I didn’t hear this until my 40’s, but I realize that I grew up as a Gamma.

    Oh, and I find it interesting that in your month “away from the blog” you don’t seem to have missed a single day. If this is a blog vacation, what does blog crunch-time look like?

  12. No one is specifically an “alpha male”. One can be Alpha among one group, and Beta among another, and Gamma among a third. Actually covered this type of stuff in a marketing class in college and find it really interesting. Try watching a group of men walk down the street together that don’t really know each other and takes a couple blocks before the Alpha emerges toward the front, Betas back behind, and Gammas just flow in and around.

  13. @Chris: Have to disagree. The Alpha fights for his position and will make sure anyone challenges learns who is #1. See a pack of dogs or lion defending his pride.

  14. As a side question. John, “Assbag” seems to be a new favorite term of yours. It has been all over recent posts. Are you trying to bring it into more common usage? I do find it humorous and encourage you if it is your cause.

  15. Several years ago a guy I worked with posited in every group of techies there would naturally be an “alpha geek.” I pointed out humans are primates, not canines, and drowned him in details of primate species who have no such culture. His eyes got real big and he said he’d learned something. Thank goodness that while growing up I listened at dinner when my mother talked about her anthropology classes.

  16. Ah, yes. I *loathe* how this gets played out in a lot of urban fantasy/paranormal romance.

    And @catvincent is right, the model is on the way out in in terms of describing wolf pack dynamics.

  17. I wonder if people fixated on the Alpha Beta Gamma thing ever think about the Brave New World ranking scenario. Given that the following description from Wikipedia might just be a PUA heaven, maybe they do:

    “Recreational sex is an integral part of society. According to the World State, sex is a social activity, rather than a means of reproduction (sex is encouraged from early childhood). The few women who can reproduce are conditioned to use birth control (a “Malthusian belt”, resembling a cartridge belt holding “the regulation supply of contraceptives”, is a popular fashion accessory). The maxim “everyone belongs to everyone else” is repeated often, and the idea of a “family” is considered pornographic; sexual competition and emotional, romantic relationships are rendered obsolete because they are no longer needed.”

    So there couldn’t be creeping going on because everyone belongs to everyone else!

  18. At the pinnacle of the heap are the narcissistic parasites. The rest of us could easily do without them.

  19. Kilroy

    Both male and female lions defend their pride; I don’t think you are going to do any better with felines as an example than you are with wolves. We’re back to ‘breeder male’…

  20. The guys who obsess over this are usually the ones who also declare their intentions to go Galt, should they be pushed any further. Nevermind their incorrect assumptions that A) anyone would miss them if they did and B) that in an objectivist society, chances are pretty good that they’d be the slaves, not the masters.

    Also: I still have to laugh at the evo psych dudebros who apparently believe that our evolution stopped before we created cultures and societies in which physical size and strength are subordinate to cleverness and cooperation. In any fight between a muscle-bound meathead and a tiny guy with a massive brain, bet on the brain.

  21. Not about breeding. About establishing a hierarchy of command. “Breeder male” only works in cases like lion prides where only one male is allowed around the pride and rest are kept at bay and cubs from defeated alpha are killed. The Alpha/Beta/Gamma amount humans males is very different.

  22. @oldfeminist: Sounds like the guy a couple of years back who wanted to start the “open source boob project” which would allow him to go around cons groping women at will.

  23. Re John at 10:30: But what’s the difference between roystgnr’s point, and the behaviour you’re criticizing in the tweet? I can think of two possibilities:

    1. Some people spend a lot of time putting everyone else into categories, but that is unproductive. After studying only a few people, it becomes obvious what behaviours are good to emulate, so continuing to think a lot about others’ status is a waste of time that would be better spent on self-improvement. This applies to becoming an alpha male, a good athlete, a good parent, whatever.

    2. Studying more successful others is indeed a way to get better at stuff; we really should not criticize an aspiring writer who spends time on literary criticism to determine who the best writers are, and how they do it. This kind of thing would work for becoming an alpha male too, except, don’t do it, because alpha males are assbags; it would be ethically wrong to try to become one.

    Or am I just missing the point?

  24. B for Bandana:

    “But what’s the difference between roystgnr’s point, and the behaviour you’re criticizing in the tweet?”

    Neurotic status anxiety.

  25. Heh, Karina’s second comment reminded me of a book I
    just bought: “I Could Pee on This (and other poems by cats).”

  26. Whever I think “alpha male”… my daydream quickly becomes a Sweeney Todd nightmare in which I’m serving the remains to my dinner guests, disguised as some sort of heavy-seasoned stew beneath puff pastry, because I wound up killing said Alpha Male in sheer exasperation before sundown and need to get rid of the body….

  27. in which I’m serving the remains to my dinner guests

    That’s a rather tender subject. Another slice, anyone?

  28. Kilroy

    You were using the statement that a lion defends his pride as evidence for a proposition about alpha males; since the statement was untrue you do need to find different evidence to support your proposition. And I can’t see any evidence in your subsequent posts to substantiate it.

    Please do indicate your source for your claims about lion behaviour; for example the bit about only one male is allowed in the pride appears to be contradicted by large numbers of observations. Equally, incoming males – note the plural- do not always kill cubs, and lionesses will fight to protect their cubs from incoming males just as lionesses fight to protect the pride.

    Though of course, the sort of people who once joyously claimed that they were alpha males, just like lions and wolves, now have to hastily find some other kind of spurious justification of their special snowflake status, since breeder male doesn’t sound nearly so impressive, particularly if the male hasn’t done any breeding…

  29. They’re driving you crazy, aren’t they? On the bright side, we have officially elected you King Speaker for the Geeks. Wil Wheaton wanted it of course, and Neil Gaiman has flirted with it a time or two (George Martin is not your bitch, etc.) but I think this year, you’ve nailed it down.

  30. @Stevie: you’re being rather aggressive and seem to be trying to dominate me. Are you trying to establish some kind of pecking order between us?

  31. There are now enough wild wolfpacks that researchers can study them, instead of the human-created approximations they used in the late 60s. They’ve apparently discovered that the ‘alpha-pairs’ in artificial packs of zoo animals are just approximations of what, in the real world, we can simply call ‘the parents.’ Packs are basically family units with 1-3 years of juveniles remaining with their parents, and no more based on violent or play-violent struggles for power than most human families. A title which boils relationships down to a simple matter of dominance doesn’t even fit the canines which inspired it, much less tool-using, upright primates.

    Which seems to suggest, pleasantly enough, that those who are concerned with maintaining their status as ‘alpha-male’ would be best served by giving less attention to dominance games and more to being a good father.

  32. Stevie: you think alpha and beta positioning is limited to the sexes? Watch a group of 13 year old girls (creepy) and it will take you about 2 minutes to identify the Alpha.

  33. Kilroy

    I think you need to bear in mind that the entire concept of alpha etc was based on a very crude and reductionist model of the way in which animals, including humans, behave; the problem with it as a theory is that there is bugger all evidence to support it.

    Social interactions between animals, including humans, are a lot more complicated than that, and your take on a bunch of 13 year old girls does not suffice to displace the science…

  34. Whatever the science that began the concept and whatever the theory is, you throw a group of people together and they will figure out a dominant figure, submissive figures, and those that don’t care about who decides whether they get pizza or burgers. This occurs in every social group of humans and isn’t based on any one characteristic. Take our dear leader John for instance, with his celebrity status in some circles, he gets an alpha roll when he’s put in a room with fans. Throw him in with Will Weaton and the higher level celebrities, and he starts takes his cues from bigger stars. Whether you are paying attention to it or not, these rolls form and people slide right into them given the social group. But you can be alpha among one group of friends while a complete beta among another.

    Back in high school, I was one of the typical geeks in the classroom and didn’t play any kind of alpha roll. But I was also captain of the soccer team and was the alpha among the players even though many of the same people would have a completely different roll in a social setting with me. It is not as simple as who can hold the other down using his neck like a pack of dogs or who gets to breed with the most females like lions (thank you discovery channel).

  35. “Whatever the science that began the concept and whatever the theory is,”

    Shorter Kilroy: Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.

  36. @kilroy

    Homonym nitpick: it’s “role” in this context, not “roll”.

    And no, I’d say your theory doesn’t hold, or I couldn’t document plenty of incidences in which my friend/social group spent longer than strictly necessary going “Whaddya wanna do?” “I dunno, whadda YOU wanna do?” “Look, are we eating barbecue or not?” “I dunno; who wants barbecue?” and so on.

  37. What facts? Do you need to understand the theory of gravity to know that you don’t fall up?

    Oo, a “You Know It’s True, Whatever The Science” now followed by a “I’m Going To Invoke Something Everyone Agrees On As A Comparison Even Though The Two Things Have Nothing In Common.” That’s two of five for my Rhetorical Bingo ™ card. Go, Kilroy, go!

  38. You tried to support your ideas by pointing to wolves. People pointed out that real wolves don’t behave the way you say they do. You tried to support your ideas by pointing to lions. People pointed out that lions don’t behave the way you say they do. You tried to support your idea by pointing to girls. People pointed out that girls don’t behave the way you say they do. You now say:

    “Whatever the science that began the concept and whatever the theory is” and “What facts?”

    Which boils down to an admission that you don’t really care what the real world is like, you’re going to stick to your interpretation no matter what. Which must be painful, when you keep slamming up against that brick wall of reality.

  39. The term alpha male has a lot of baggage though, especially since there’s no current consensus on what’s considered a “real man” anymore.

  40. Ya know, by the time you explain all this to a fighter pilot, s/he will have shot you down. All these arguments are so arena dependent don’t you think? And if you go into the other arena where fighter pilots gather, explaining all this will get you zero drinks and all the practice you could want for figuring out it’s time to leave.

  41. And if fighter pilots show up at a scientific conference, no one will give a damn about their time-cube proposal no matter how good they are in a plane. Neatly proving the point that alpha/beta/gamma theory is too damned simplistic.

  42. @iwright: You do my arguments a great misdeed by so badly mischaracterizing them. This is just one of those concepts I take for granted and am very surprised that other people don’t see it as simply. Kind of like i’m surprised when someone I know says they don’t believe in evolution. What I have not heard is anything to suggest that humans don’t form hierarchies within social groups.

  43. Humans organize themselves into complex overlapping social groups, including hierarchies. You insist on simplifying everything down to the hierarchal portion, which is like summing up evolution as ‘survival of the fittest’. And since everyone on this thread is pointing out that your ideas are oversimplified, I think it’s time you stopped accusing people of mischaracterizing your arguments and instead started looking at the actual studies done on human and other primate behaviour.

  44. You insist I’ve done something which I have not done. And stop trying to get your neck over mine.

  45. @Kilroy

    I read this:

    Whatever the science that began the concept and whatever the theory is, you throw a group of people together and they will figure out a dominant figure, submissive figures, and those that don’t care about who decides whether they get pizza or burgers. This occurs in every social group of humans and isn’t based on any one characteristic.

    As saying pretty much saying what iwright said you said.

    Focusing on the hierarchical — and not even in a way that’s accurate, because who is dominant from moment-to-moment or even if there is one particularly “dominant” person depends on a great many factors. So the moment you say you can tell who the “dominant figure” is in a group of 13-year-olds (of either gender)? Sure, you probably can at that moment. You are saying this is a static issue, when it’s much, much more complex.

  46. Isn’t this whole post about focusing on the hierarchy aspects. And I never argued that rolls didn’t change and evolve over time. Sounds like you are agreeing that the roles exist, but just want to fine tune the definitions.

  47. JVP said “I have many anecdotes of watching Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann openly competing for who was the Alpha Male Nobel Laureate Physicist at Caltech, starting from my first year there” and I just died of jealousy. /cry

  48. “And stop trying to get your neck over mine.”

    I’m not. You’re making claims which are not backed up by facts, and then changing your arguments as people present actual facts. The only person playing social games here is you, and you’re not impressing people as much as you obviously think you are.

    Done engaging the troll now.

  49. What actual facts has anyone presented? And I haven’t changed my arguments, just cited to different examples in support of different points. Trolling would be pointing out that you’d be my Beta.

  50. A useful variation on this: If you spend any real time thinking about who is cool or hip and who isn’t, YOU’RE NOT EITHER.

  51. @CHoldredge: That’s an interesting twist on the old “alpha pair” thing. And it explains why, when my husband and I are in a group of adults who either don’t have children, or have very young children, we come off as Mom and Dad ALL THE TIME. We don’t mean to, but our only child will be 18 in just over a week….we’ve had lots of practice being parental.

    But then, I’m remembering the line from Pratchett’s Carpe Jugulum, wherein Agnes (I think, don’t have the book in front of me, it’s in a box in storage, the story of my life for the last three goddamn years) decides that since Magrat has taken on the role of Mother, Magrat has assigned everyone else a piece of the Child role. There’s a certain amount of truth to that. If you spend your time telling people what to do, and when to do it, and go wash your hands, don’t put that in your mouth, do you need to go potty, put your shoes on, we’re leaving now…..you get quite good at it, if you are going to be a successful parent. And it becomes very easy to slip into the parent role places other than parenting, such as work and social life.

  52. Personally, I’m a Gamma: pure energy and damaging!

    What? We weren’t comparing ourselves to types of radiation?

    Ne-ver-mind!

  53. Speaking of types of radiation, my parents swore that if they had triplets, they’d name them Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Me, I would have been okay with Manta, and my sister liked “Death” or “Sting”

  54. I had to look up “Gamma-knife radiosurgery” earlier this week, and the first thing that crossed my mind was Nick Fury in the Avengers: “That can be harmful.”

  55. I was going to suggest that assbag was getting a bit threadbare. Then I figured with recent topics it was bound to get a workout. How much is too much? Time to break the glass and pull out the trepanned lemur?

  56. Doc Rocketscience says:
    ” …and I just died of jealousy. /cry”

    Welcome to the Name-dropping game. Wikipedia (a close friend of mine) reports that “Name-dropping is used to position oneself within a social hierarchy.” I do not believe that one can become an “Alpha Male” by this means, however.

  57. “Alpha-ness”, like many other human characteristics, is contextual. The same man can be alpha in some cases and gamma in others, whether by choice or not. I’ve taught too many star college athletes who could pound me into dust but were highly deferential in my classes to think otherwise.

  58. Good lord, if my social group had to be a hierarchy, there’d be a fist fight for who DOESN’T have to be in charge. “You decide!” “Aargh, no, you!” “I don’t wanna be the alpha!” “You got to not be the alpha last week!”

    Thankfully the issue doesn’t come up.

  59. “You did not understand my argument. Therefore, I am clearly the Alpha. But, I like your chutzpah, so I denote upon you Gamma status. Kneel before Alpha.” But, at the end of the movie, the rest of us put on a kick ass piece of community entertainment with aggressive hairstlyes and electric fiddle. And then everyone understands.

    People who talk seriously about Alpha/Beta/Gamma as a social hierarchy, especially among males, are arm chair sociologists with degrees from That One Blog Post I Read A While Ago.

  60. Wikipedia (a close friend of mine) reports that “Name-dropping is used to position oneself within a social hierarchy.”

    But apparently if one is too unsubtle in one’s attempts to do this, the effect can be the opposite of what was desired.

  61. I’m going to stand up for the “iota” and “omicron” the two most under-utilized letters in the greek alphabet.

  62. Scorpius, I’ve got kind of a liking for digamma and san, though qoppa’s occasionally useful as well.

    My household had a number of discussions about who would be alpha a couple of years ago when we acquired a three-year-old male rescue cat. Other Cat is female and is skittish around the humans, and while New Cat asserts that he’s alpha when there’s food involved, they don’t otherwise play dominance games that often.

    And if you think being Alpha Male should put you on top of the heap, there’s a heap out back by the garage that you’re welcome to climb on top of. Don’t wear your good shoes, though.

  63. If you walk around playing Dominant Male you should probably consider the very real possibility that many of the people around you are rolling their eyes behind your back.

  64. Over a hundred posts and not much about the “research” that Christians bring to the table. You know, the part about the Man saying that, “…the meek shall inherit…”
    Christianity has arguably done much to curb our tendency to ferocity and alpha sustained blood-feuds and to teach community (which I posit is something we have here) without permanent exclusions unless of course you’re an irredeemable creeper or a flaming assbag.

  65. Christianity has arguably done much to curb our tendency to ferocity and alpha sustained blood-feuds and to teach community

    There are quite a few crusaders who might argue with you on that one.

  66. There’s a fan in Silicon Valley who’s in chip design. He was at DEC when they were doing their “Alpha” chip.
    He had real business cards that said:

    A*** B***
    Alpha male

  67. @ Rich: Unfortunately, the end result of that line of research seems to be interpreted by many self-identified Christians as having the ultimate Alpha Male on their side, and they get to speak on his behalf. “We can all live in peace and harmony together if you just do what we tell you the Big Guy wants you to do” isn’t really that much of a cultural advancement.

  68. Crusaders -they were running on gospel v1.0 weren’t they? If we follow a release schedule like MS (every 3 yrs) we’re a bit further along. But even so we still have the feature that “…the meek shall inherit…” with all that implies for alphas.

  69. @Bearpaw. Yeah, I see that point all the time whenever I see a crocoduck. Must be why I’m inclined towards Buddhistm (aside from the fact that their churches smell better than everybody else’s). They also have such cool aphorisms like the one about the Nail that sticks out…

  70. Keeping up the emag analogy, alphas expend their energy on punching everything in their vicinity so consequently can’t find their way out of a wet paper bag, whereas gammas are the farthest-reaching because they’re less bothered about having an impact on everything they touch. I wonder then who would be the neutrinos, the kindly wandering pilgrims of the universe with zen-like detachment, hoping for the day they get a glimpse of the fabled Marathon Monks of Higgs…? /stretched_analogy_end

    It’s odd though how JC in gospels takes such a distinctly non-alpha line, yet many ended up doing precisely the opposite whilst claiming to be on the same side. Power & dominance – must be an emotional opiate that’s hard to give up. As the saying goes, if you win the rat race, congratulations, but that still only means you’re a rat.

  71. Only a Gamma would worry about whether or not Alphas are wondering whether or not they’re Alphas.

    Get Game, my brothers. There’s enough Alpha for everyone who has the balls to learn.

  72. Get Game, my brothers.

    I’d just like to thank whoever introduced the term “panty-whisperers” for PUAS in another thread. Almost as good as the expression “to have pantsfeelings (usually illegitimately expressed, alas) for someone” (from one of the links). And Skullcrusher Mountain, which I had never come across before.

  73. Whever I think “alpha male”… my daydream quickly becomes a Sweeney Todd nightmare in which I’m serving the remains to my dinner guests, disguised as some sort of heavy-seasoned stew beneath puff pastry, because I wound up killing said Alpha Male in sheer exasperation before sundown and need to get rid of the body….

    That’s fascinating, Laura. It appears your female daydreams about the cannibalistic murder of alpha males are perfectly acceptable to the SFWA President here. Are male daydreams about raping “alpha females” equally acceptable to you, John? Or do we have to kill them first? I suppose it’s technically not rape if they’re dead. I don’t know about the cannibalism, though, and you know, Laura is really making me uncomfortable here….

  74. [Deleted because I can’t tell if it was a joke, in which case it was in slightly poor taste, or if it wasn’t, in which case ick. This may be me being slightly oversensitized at this point in the thread — JS]

  75. For the record, my deleted comment was simply a copy of Laura Resnick’s, only with “alpha male” replaced with “slut”

  76. Cuspidor:

    Because “slut” and “alpha male” are not equivalent terms in any number of ways. Making an argument that they are is an indication of a failure to understand language.

    Which is why this sort of word substitution is often neither useful, nor actually anything approaching clever.

  77. [Deleted because I don’t have patience for VD’s special brand of complete nonsense on this topic. Stay in your own pit of manstink, would you, Vox? There’s a lad — JS]

  78. “served over jasmine rice, and are well complimented by a white wine.”

    A WHITE WINE?!?!?!??? White?
    Dude, now THAT is barbaric.

    Good god, no wonder you got deleted…

  79. C-c-c-c-coward!

    I’ll be bringing this up in the SFWA forum, of course, Mr. President. Your behavior is wildly inappropriate for an official representative of our fine professional association.

  80. Actually, I would like to see you anwer VD’s question. Maybe you can answer it over at his site so you don’t sully your own…

  81. Deuce, et al:

    Guys, I realize you seem to think you’re making a point, but your point is a poor one, and mostly what you’re doing is pointing out that you’re sexist assbags who argue on about the eighth-grade level. I fully endorse your right to be sexist assbags who argue on an eighth-grade level. Just not here.

  82. Sexist?! I’ll have you know, John, that unlike Laura Resnick, *I* am an equal opportunity cannibal.

  83. The Deuce:

    Remind me to keep you away from my barbecues, then.

    VD:

    I’m sure you know just how concerned I am about being label a coward by you.

    Cuspidor:

    The fact I deleted VD’s question is indicative of my consideration of it being worth my time.

  84. The fact I deleted VD’s question is indicative of my consideration of it being worth my time.

    Oh, it will take a lot more of your time now, Mr. SFWA President. I’m pretty sure many of your statements will be deemed completely inappropriate. You should probably consider resigning now.

    See you in the Forum!

  85. VD:

    Well, you have fun with that. I’m sure “Waaaaah! Scalzi deleted my comments on his personal site and said I was a sexist assbag!” will prompt a rush of members to demand my removal. To help you in your task, here’s a link to SFWA’s bylaws. Removal of officers is covered in Article VIII.

    Vandelay:

    Here? Too late. VD’s tribe of sexist assbags came in a little late for that.

  86. If it’s 8th grade logic, then it’s easily refutable. Give it a whirl, John, for Laura’s sake. She needs her dreams of a gullet stained with man-stew vindicated.

  87. “If it’s 8th grade logic, then it’s easily refutable.”

    Probably, but it’s not my job to teach 8th grade logic. Especially to people well past the age of the 8th grade.

  88. Your talk about 8th graders is creeping me out John. Don’t argue with me, or you’ll graduate from creep to complete assbag. That’s just the way it is.

  89. I find Laura’s glib description of her murder and cannibalism fantasy — and your dismissal of it, John — highly offensive. You apparently see no problem tolerating the dehumanization of a certain group, as long as it is not a group favored by you. It’s sickening and totally unbecoming of someone in your position. It is therefore my fervent hope that you are removed from your position within the SFWA.

    P.S. It hardly matters, but for the love of all that is good, stop using “assbag.” It’s really stupid.

  90. Mr. Scalzi,
    As a female reader I would like to ask a quick question since I am curious and a solid defender of the rights and opportunities of my co-patriots.

    Is there a single female term with which it is acceptable to make cannibalism jokes?

    You have allowed a women to make a cannibal joke, but have not allowed several male commenters to make the same joke.

    Why are you reluctant to hold Laura to the same standard as the male commenters?

    That is offensive, sexist and completely intolerant!

    She is a strong, independent women. Are you insinuating that your male commenters can take your rules but if you were to impose them on your female commenters they would dissolve in tears? Do we need to be coddled? Is this really where we are now? It is like all our work has been for nothing!

    Surely there is an EQUAL term for a female that acts and is EQUIVALENT to a male that meets the standards for an “Alpha”. We have the right to be a FALPHA if we want to. And not only do we enjoy fun banter, we can defend our own when we engage in it. Am I right Laura?

    I demand that you not only recognize this but allow the male commenters (who are clearly only engaging with Laura because they see her as an equal and are treating her as such) to enjoy the fruits of interacting with strong, independent women.

    FALPHAS RULE!
    And Sir, your “assbag” comments are a bit…creepy. Since when is an “ass” ever a bag? And what exactly are you looking to put in it?

    Just sayin.

    Thank you,
    A Strong, Proud FALPHA

  91. MaggieHoulihan:

    “You apparently see no problem tolerating the dehumanization of a certain group, as long as it is not a group favored by you.”

    It’s probably best that you don’t look at this tweet from me, then.

    I have various reasons to be not especially concerned with the plight of the Alpha Male, with respect to Ms. Resnick’s comment, but I of course accept your criticism. If you are a member of SFWA, by all means agitate for my removal.

    Angel:

    “Why are you reluctant to hold Laura to the same standard as the male commenters?”

    In fact, I hold all commenters to the same standard: Mine. Which is, incidentally, not up for review. if you don’t like it, don’t comment.

  92. “I have various reasons to be not especially concerned with the plight of the Alpha Male, with respect to Ms. Resnick’s comment, but I of course accept your criticism.”

    You are apparently completely unaware of your bigotry, John, as is typical of most bigots. The fish rarely knows the water in which it swims. The problem is, many people have justified the dehumanization of Jews and intellectuals on a similar basis. The envy engendered by their disproportionate success and prominence in society made a lot of people not especially concerned with their plight. History came to judge these unconcerned people very harshly. May you avoid a similar fate.

  93. Oh come on, Maggie. Only Laura wants to kill the alpha males. While there aren’t that many, I don’t think she can eat them all.

  94. MaggieHoulihan:

    It’s an interesting world you live in, where a group of men who are supposedly by definition the leaders, may be reasonably compared to a nation of people who spent millennia being dispossessed of land, rights and freedoms.

    And by interesting, I mean “stupid.”

    Thanks for your input, Maggie. You can go now.

  95. [Deleted, not because she disagrees with me, but because she crossed the stupid line, and I told her she was done — JS]

  96. “Because “slut” and “alpha male” are not equivalent terms in any number of ways.”
    I thought the term was a badge of honor? Didn’t they take it back? Don’t tell me all that walking was for naught!

  97. Strangely enough, it wasn’t a woman using the term, nor, to my eye, in a manner consistent with taking it back, which he couldn’t do in any event, as he was using it to refer to women.

  98. …yes, but the whole brouhaha at the end of this thread is about a woman using the term Alpha Male in a derogatory way (all joking about tasting good in a pastry being a compliment and other snark aside). She obviously sees the term alpha male as negative as the move insecure patriarch sees the term slut. Likewise, those who call themselves Alpha male often don’t see it negative–but neither do those who call themselves slut, as the slutwalks prove.
    So, other than the relative numbers in each group, how are they not equivalent?
    (I bet it’s one of the “power structure” or “systemic sexism” things, right?)

  99. Sitting here watching this, I wish I could tell if we’re seeing a sudden influx of dude-bros or sock puppets. And I’m not sure which would make me sadder.

  100. I think you have just undermined the entire plot structure of the soft porn industry that is Urban Fantasy. Patricia Briggs and Laura K. Hamilton will probably be particularly pissed off. This post may even be sexist.

  101. The difference is that being called an alpha male is ostensibly a badge of honor, while calling a woman a slut is meant to shame and demean her. That’s why the two are nothing alike.

  102. Great. Now I want to knit sock puppet dudebros. And all I have here at work are size 50 needles (typically you knit socks on size 0 to size 3, so those would be gigantic dudebros… and nobody wants a giant dudebro).

  103. I think the rule that has been learned today is you don’t try to challenge the Alpha in his own territory and then get pouty when he won’t follow you back to your own site and fight there. This coming from a definite Gamma to this situation.

  104. The most appropriate use of the concept that I’ve heard was from a relative of mine talking about his (rocky) relationship with his son. I later learned he heard it from Robert Blake about Blake’s son. Any way, he said, “I love my son dearly. I’d take a bullet for him. But we can’t live in the same house together because we spend all our time pissing on the same trees.”

  105. Scalzi in a stew? Don’t be ridiculous, Josh. I’d have no problem feeding
    Scalzi to the pigs, but I am very particular about my diet and never eat junk food. Besides, there just aren’t enough spices to cover up what I imagine would be the foul taste of leftist vermin.

  106. So like the difference betwen creep and eccentric, there’s not objective difference, it’s all in the connotation. Certainly, of course, not everyone is receptive to the connotation, given that it can apparently inspire contempt in some potential cannibals.

    So maybe the best mirror image of Laura R’s statement would be something along the lines of “Whenever I think “liberated woman”… my daydream quickly becomes a Sweeney Todd nightmare in which I’m serving the remains to my dinner guests, disguised as some sort of heavy-seasoned stew beneath puff pastry, because I wound up killing said liberated woman in sheer exasperation before sundown and need to get rid of the body…”
    Goodness, that’s creepy–I can barely type that.

  107. Appropos of little, isn’t a pair of pants merely an assbag with holes in?

  108. Scalzi in a stew? Don’t be ridiculous, Josh. I’d have no problem feeding
    Scalzi to the pigs, but I am very particular about my diet and never eat junk food. Besides, there just aren’t enough spices to cover up what I imagine would be the foul taste of leftist vermin.

    “EVEN WITH JOKES I AM A VERY SERIOUS PERSON.”

  109. Jason, as a fan of Major League Soccer, we have come up with classifications of bros. The brodudes are the harmless ones who you’re sometimes embarrassed by but still enjoy hanging out with from time to time, especially when they’re buying the beer.

    The dudebros are– well, dudebros. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, you know it when you see it.

    There is a third type, however, that is malignant and must be excised as soon as it’s found in your section– the douchebro. The biggest identifying characteristic of a douchebro is sexism, homophobia, and throwing $9 stadium beers on other people.

  110. I made the horrible mistake of going over to VD’s site and reading his comments section. *shudder*

  111. >> I think alpha males should have “assbag walks”to take back that term as a badge of honor. >>

    Just as soon as they settle the question of which one gets to lead the parade.

  112. Angel:

    The equal term for women who are alphas is …. alpha. The need for a special, derivative/diminutive “girly” version of the term so that we can be separate-but-equal is nil. It’s a role that can determined by bearing, word, and action, not by what’s in your pants or chromosomes.

    Yeah, I know. Tangential.

  113. Yeah sure, nikisknight, a few marches here and there and now everyone thinks slut is just as positive a term as alpha male.

    In real life, the plan is not the territory. It takes years of hard work to turn “Black is Beautiful” from inconceivable to real. And even today there are many who deny the truth of it and some who still can’t quite make themselves believe it.

    This is a particularly insidious negative form of petitio principii (begging the question) which is the fallacy of “proving” X by assuming X.

    In this form, you “disprove” “we should have X” by assuming we already have X, then proving we don’t have X, therefore we can’t or shouldn’t have X. X in this case is an enlightened view of female sexuality where the term “slut” is not derogatory.

    The underlying hidden premiss here is that whatever we have now can’t change. If people don’t see sluts as just as good as alpha males, that’s it, the end, we can’t have a different outcome ever. As it was in the beginning is now and shall ever be amen.

    Similar arguments are “if you girls are so powerful why are you still oppressed” and “if you can do just as good a job as men why aren’t you making the same money for the same job.”

    The Black is Beautiful example is a perfect counterexample of that. Change can and does happen.

    And no, finding a counterexample where change hasn’t happened or isn’t complete doesn’t prove change can’t happen. It only proves that it doesn’t always happen. Or, really, it only proves that it hasn’t happened yet in every instance.

  114. [Deleted, unread. VD, I’m pretty sure I already told you were off the thread. If not, here’s your notice — JS]

  115. oldfem,
    “X in this case is an enlightened view of female sexuality where the term “slut” is not derogatory.”
    Isn’t it question begging to call your view of female sexuality “enlightened”?
    Yes, yes, I know, that’s beside the point you were making, which is that of course I know slut isn’t equivalent to alpha, and most people don’t think so, but they should and could, if we jettisoned our out dated blah blah blah, which is also beside the point about John apparently being okay with some murderous/culinary fantasies and not others.

  116. Scalzi: Hey, I said I was gamy!

    I never said you’d be gamy, Scalzi. Here you’ve been bashing your sophistic club over anyone’s head for equating distinct (in your estimate) concepts, then you go and do it yourself. Let me distinguish for you. It is your very rotten character that would imbue your flesh with a foul taste. Gaminess is the result of a natural, wild environment. As there is absolutely nothing natural or wild about you, Scalzi, there no reason to believe you’d be gamy – your claims notwithstanding. Vermin doesn’t get a vote on deciding how it will taste.

  117. Honestly, this is all sorts of silly. Laura made an off-hand comment about a dream/nightmare about dealing with an alpha male, and people start trying to equate it to horrible acts of misogyny? It’s not a double standard on John’s part in my opinion; frustration causing alpha male =/= insert derogatory female slur here. Maybe it was over the top, but it wasn’t attacking males in general or viciously, as following commenters seem to be viewing it and retaliating against.

  118. Isn’t it question begging to call your view of female sexuality “enlightened”?

    He wasn’t saying it was his view.

    Vermin doesn’t get a vote on deciding how it will taste.

    Wow, you’re definitely creepy.

  119. Taylor:

    “Sophistic Club” is the name of my next band!

    Also, it’s a Mallet.

    “Vermin doesn’t get a vote on deciding how it will taste.”

    Awww. I bet you think you’re clever.

  120. I can’t believe I’m wading into this, but:

    The term “Alpha Male” isn’t something that was initially used as a pejorative. The term “slut” has been a pejorative for several centuries. Generally people calling themselves Alpha Males, well, are the ones calling themselves Alpha Males. It’s fairly unusual to hear, “I can’t stand John, he’s such an Alpha Male.” But women rarely prefer to call themselves sluts, and are instead called sluts by others. “I can’t stand Joan, she’s such a slut,” is fairly common.*

    So while the original cannibalistic comment refers to an Alpha Male, it’s presumably a man who has identified himself as an Alpha Male – a type of man whose behaviour, in relation to calling himself an Alpha Male, the commenter finds particularly offensive.

    But to change the term “Alpha Male” to “slut” in the original cannibalistic comment changes the meaning of the comment, because it then refers to a woman who has not chosen to call herself a slut, but has been called a slut by someone else – a woman who, in fact, could be any woman at all. Therefore the comment becomes an attack on an entire gender. And that’s probably why Mr Scalzi accepts one and not the other.

    * -I’m thinking it’s going to take movements like Slutwalk several years, possibly decades, to change the word “slut” to something positive, if it works at all.

  121. “Maybe it was over the top, but it wasn’t attacking males in general or viciously …”Unless those males happen to be her dinner guests, of course.

  122. It is your very rotten character that would imbue your flesh with a foul taste. 

    Are you sure you don’t mean “fowl taste” as in chicken?

  123. “Waaaaah! Scalzi deleted my comments on his personal site and said I was a sexist assbag!”

    ISAGN. Going to CafePress now…

  124. “Unless those males happen to be her dinner guests, of course.” Read again for comprehension, please.

  125. “Unless those males happen to be her dinner guests, of course.” Read again for comprehension, please.
    “Hypothetical dinner guests” was implied.

  126. Gosh! This sudden infestation is yet more evidence, if any were needed, that the war hammer is cursed; the long arm of coincidence can only stretch so far, and this is way over the edge. On the other hand, it’s performing a public service so possibly the runes could remain in situ if they promise to cut back on the eldritch eyed small black aliens and stick to skewering people with delusions of adequacy?

    I think it’s probably just as well none of these chaps ever attended one of my seminars. Say what you will, even I would have felt a twinge of guilt when guys start crying because they thought that possession of a y-chromosome automatically meant that they couldn’t lose $250,000,000 on a trade. A very small twinge, admittedly…

  127. “This is the place where you leave the things you think”

    Unless they deviate from the host’s position by a single degree.

    Consider that you spend more time deleting dissension than you do composing the post or engaging your opponents. What does that say about your posturing? It screams that your thinking is ill-conceived, your rhetoric careless, and your position insecure.

    You have lost the legitimacy to comment on “alpha males” by entertaining nothing but the cheesiest, cringing sycophancy in your comboxes. If you don’t want pushback, don’t post provocative items about subjects you haven’t put to the test. Editing for vulgarity and disrespect is one thing. Editing to create a false sense of legitimacy is quite another. No one is fooled by debate tactics with the integrity of a Stalinist “election.”

    Sure, it is upsetting to be challenged to defend one’s positions, particularly when one’s prejudices are thought unassailable by virtue of their dependence on unexamined principles. But since when is being upset or challenged an excuse for pouting in a grown man?

    Matt

  128. Matthew King:

    “Consider that you spend more time deleting dissension than you do composing the post or engaging your opponents.”

    Shit stains are especially hard to get out.

    Also, mind you, it’s not deleting dissension, of which there is quite a lot of all over the site. It’s deleting comments I deem too racist/sexist/obnoxious/stupid to tolerate. This is, of course, all noted in the comment policy, which I assume everyone reads before they post. That these posts may also contain dissension is often correlated — who knew I would hold positions that racist/sexist/obnoxious/stupid people might not like? — but not causative.

    “You have lost the legitimacy to comment on ‘alpha males'”

    Oh noes! Have you come to take away my “Commenting on Alpha Males” license, Matthew? Do you have the appropriate paperwork from the correct State Board?

    Giraffe:

    “Taylor is a she.”

    If you say so.

  129. Matthew King, go read Scalzi’s posts on creepers and the accompanying comment threads for some recent counterexamples of provocative threads with plenty of disagreement. See you back here in about 12 to 30 hours, depending on how fast you can read and absorb and give some serious thought to the difference between what you’ll find on those threads and what you imagine is going on here. Until you’ve read those threads through, you’re only showing your ass here.

    First, though, take a detour to the Site Disclaimer and Comment Policy, easily found in the column to the right. You might have to scroll up a ways.

  130. Matthew King: Deleting people who deliberately misconstrue a statement, feign offense, and then skew the entire comment thread away from the initial post is hardly deleting those who differ by a degree. In fact, note your post is still here, as are the majority of those that disagree.

    Laura made a remark no different from “I’ll kill the next asshole who changes lanes without signaling.” It’s clearly a condemnation of a particular personality type she dislikes. Equating that with “jokes” about raping someone really don’t carry the day, I’m afraid. And it’s hardly because of the “it’s ok to insult a man, but not a woman” proposition put forth by some here. The bottom line, however, is that “his house, his rules” and the rules are posted and referred to prominently.

  131. Mia

    It has been my experience that any guy who thinks he’s an alpha male does indeed suffer from delusions of adequacy, but the syndrome isn’t confined to males, as we have seen in the posts of the females whose faith in the utter awesomeness of their alpha male friends is so low that they turn up to complain about Scalzi being unkind to them…

  132. It’s fairly unusual to hear, “I can’t stand John, he’s such an Alpha Male.”

    I dunno, another synonym for “domineering wanker” or “annoying bossyboots” couldn’t hurt.

  133. Also note that today’s fun was instigated by self-described Alpha Male* VD**, whom John has more than once invited to pedel his tripe elsewhere. Vox fancies himself a member of the single most oppressed and persecuted group in the history of EVAR!*** I’d hardly call the opinions of these two men different by a “single degree”.

    *If he hasn’t actually done this, I don’t know why he’s being coy.

    **As if the allusions in his full moniker weren’t gag-worthy enough, is he shortening it to VD in an attempt to be ironic?

    ***You know, straight white male Christians in the United States.

  134. Bryan Broyles finally brings the conversation back to common sense and not taking this all too seriously, or with fundamentalist rigidity. Sometimes a musing is a musing, or a late 80’s movie plot (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097108/) Now maybe we can have some pi and quiet around here.

  135. Can I be deleted too? I feel left out.

    You haven’t arrived until you’ve been deleted by Scalzi.

    I have been.

  136. —-I dunno, another synonym for “domineering wanker” or “annoying bossyboots” couldn’t hurt.—-

    Let the synonyming begin!

  137. “chi eta nu pi” I’ve been upsilon theta gamma seem to read that straight. Iota get some sleep.

  138. Perhaps someone can help me out here. I’m curious about the overlap (if any) between PUAs, who we seem to have commenting here as AFAIK they’re the main ones who find the concept of Alpha useful, and MRAs. I mean, the naive view would be that MRAs feel they’ve been (ab)used by women (or possibly by feminism in the abstract) and want some payback, whereas PUAs want to preempt all that by (ab)using women (ideally the younger ones who fall for stuff like “negging” or “kino escalation”) from the get-go, but there must be more to it than that.

    Mustn’t there?

  139. Adrian:

    I suspect there might be some overlap, but I think that line of inquiry has the potential for going far off the topic — I think Pick Up Artists are their own squirmy little bag of issues. I’d be happy to hold that for its own entry, somewhere down the line.

  140. @Adrian: That’s more thought than I’ve put into the taxonomy, but I think you’re correct. They’re both entitled-asshat subgroups, but PUAs come off as more smug dickbag entitled, whereas MRAs come off as more self-pitying bastard entitled.

    …there’s a Venn Diagram here somewhere. Venn Douchagram?

  141. Since this seems to be an alphabetical discussion among others, I am amazed you left Thetans out of the soup. They may not be considered “males” but they are “the source of life, or life itself.” Hubbard (June 1975). Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary.
    They really play in a whole different league.

  142. Ah, sorry, John. Yeah, if you could introduce it later, that would be cool. But I’d be concerned about “tone” – some of these folks are a little sensitive. And they post a lot, you’d be at 1000 posts in no time.

  143. OK, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance on this thread but I have reached one conclusion; if I was a “strong independent woman” whose parents had lumbered me with ‘Angel’ I’d change my name…

  144. Scalzi wrote: “It’s deleting comments I deem too racist/sexist/obnoxious/stupid to tolerate.”

    Those of us who do not come pre-convinced of the righteousness of your judgment would like an opportunity to consider what you find “too [anything] to tolerate.” Otherwise you generate an audience of sycophants whose first priority is appeasing the moderator — rather than contributing to a process of discovering the truth. This practice creates confirmation bias that masquerades as support for your opinion. Fallacy ought to be pointed out, as I did. A man who does his homework/is confident in his position does not engage in such fallacies.

    “Oh noes! Have you come to take away my ‘Commenting on Alpha Males’ license, Matthew? Do you have the appropriate paperwork from the correct State Board?”

    Look, I understand it is not practical to engage/neutralize everyone with a divergent opinion who also happens to post on your site, and snap judgments are necessary. But yours is a bad policy, all but a declaration that you cannot engage argument at a certain level. You seek out words to be offended by to avoid the “correlat[ive]” arguments that, as far as we can tell, you cannot handle. You leave neutral observers with no choice but to think you interpret the best expressions against your presentation as “too [something] to tolerate” in lieu of offering a counterpoint. Let us see what you find intolerable, or do you not have faith in your fan-commenters to do some of the maintenance work for you?

    And no, sarcasm is not a counterargument. It is the mark of an adolescent with nothing of substance to justify his indignation.

    Matt

  145. Matthew King–

    I’d hypothesize that your rhetoric hasn’t merited a more “adult” response than sarcasm. Just a theory. Scalzi doesn’t have to allow nonsense on his site, especially if he deems it offensive. There’s plenty of polite dissenting opinion here. Scalzi just keeps the trash down to a minimum.

  146. >> Those of us who do not come pre-convinced of the righteousness of your judgment would like an opportunity to consider what you find “too [anything] to tolerate.”>>

    It’s a big internet. I’m sure you can find the viewpoints you want to consider in many other places. That doesn’t mean you need to find them here, too.

    >> Otherwise you generate an audience of sycophants whose first priority is appeasing the moderator — rather than contributing to a process of discovering the truth.>>

    The reality of the blog does not seem to show your claim to be true.

    Weeding out distracting nonsense is also helpful in the process of discovering the truth, and letting discussion get buried in and/or distracted by nonsense in the name of showing oneself to be open to discussion is a poor strategy, one that, as far as I can observe, leads to generating an audience of trolls, whiners and derailers far more consistently than curtailing nonsense does.

    >> But yours is a bad policy, all but a declaration that you cannot engage argument at a certain level.>>

    You’re confusing “cannot engage” with “don’t want to waste time engaging.” The two are not equivalent.

    I’m only an occasional visitor here, but if this discussion is important to you, I’m sure you can blog your thoughts elsewhere, link to it here and invite commenters to share with you their deleted views. It might be an interesting experiment, to see how much truth you get at.

  147. Matt

    You seem incapable of grasping that every time you post you drop yourself deeper into the mire; all the cliches about entitlement which people living outside the USA regard as typical of people living inside the USA rolled up into one.

    And since when did you become entitled to the royal ‘we’? Over here that’s reserved for the Queen, and she uses it very rarely. You purport to speak for a large group of people without providing any evidence of any kind that such a group exists. A few cranks who are idiotic enough not to grasp that self-describing themselves as alphas provokes derision are hardly going to impress anyone outside the ranks of the cranks. If you want to point to genuine achievements then please do so. Otherwise you are fairly and squarely within Steven Brust’s ditty…

  148. Those of us who do not come pre-convinced of the righteousness of your judgment would like an opportunity to consider what you find “too [anything] to tolerate.”

    Wait, your demand is to come to Scalzi’s blog and be given the freedom to do things he finds offensive? Do you let people in your house who are going to crap on the carpet?

    But yours is a bad policy, all but a declaration that you cannot engage argument at a certain level.

    If someone starts shouting racist and sexist nonsense, does the person they’re shouting at have some obligation to answer them reasonably?

  149. By the way, I do love the fact that being able to see people say “You delete the comments of people who oppose you” actively invalidates that point.

  150. Oh John, Please do respect the ability of your readers to judge the merit of the arguments being made which you deem self evidently ridiculous. At the very least its an exercise in free critical thinking. It must just do them good to dust off their intellect from time to time and sharpen it up.

  151. Spectator–

    Meh, I view Scalzi’s malleting of idiocy as an added value of the space here. We can all see racism and sexism and homophobia just fine, but it doesn’t merit rigorous response when it’s flat ridiculous. Not having to slog through that nonsense is a perk of reading Scalzi’s blog, and one of the reasons the comments section here is one I actually read, rather than avoid entirely as I do with many blogs.

  152. >> Wait, your demand is to come to Scalzi’s blog and be given the freedom to do things he finds offensive?>>

    His demand seems to be that if he doesn’t trust Scalzi’s judgment, Scalzi should not actually use his own judgment about what stays and goes in his own blog. He should let Matthew judge.

    This seems a bit like me saying that if I don’t trust Matthew’s driving, he should let others drive his car as they choose, rather than doing it himself.

    >> If someone starts shouting racist and sexist nonsense, does the person they’re shouting at have some obligation to answer them reasonably? >>

    The whole argument that “if you don’t engage with XXXX, it’s tantamount to admitting that you can’t” is a thirteen year old’s argument, really. It removes all control and places it in the hands of anyone who says, “Prove it,” regardless of what it is they want proven, whether it’s that you are too brave enough to pull the fat girl’s braids or that you’re not too stuck up to hand over your lunch money.

    But since the argument boils down to “If you won’t roll in dogshit, you’re admitting that you can’t,” it rings very, very hollow. And Matthew believes fallacy ought to be pointed out, so there we go.

  153. Yes, but what does that tell you about the regard in which he holds his audience, given he doesn’t even give them the chance to See the arguments before decrying them as Douchespittle, or whatever portmanteau of unpleasant things strike him at the moment. Personally i’d rather be able to smash an argument myself for its assertions and merit (or lack thereof) than reflexively look to another to say “yea that’s really stupid.. Right?” I think the folks commenting her aren’t the total followers he gives them credit for being.

  154. OK, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance on this thread but I have reached one conclusion; if I was a “strong independent woman” whose parents had lumbered me with ‘Angel’ I’d change my name…

    Oh, I don’t know … there’s fluffy New Age angels, who are fairies who got religion, and then there’s your olde tyme Angels who have flaming swords and righteous wrath and whatnot – think “Jedi who have the power of flight”, for a rough idea.

    Mind you, both the Angels I’ve known have actually been boys, pronounced An-hell, so what do I know?

  155. Spectator–

    Actually, I think it says he has great respect for his readers. He takes time out of his writing schedule to moderate the comments so the reading experience isn’t full of awfulness and stupidity. It’s not that he thinks that they need protecting, but that they deserve effort.

  156. Matthew King:

    “Those of us who do not come pre-convinced of the righteousness of your judgment would like an opportunity to consider what you find ‘too [anything] to tolerate.'”

    Ah, but see, I don’t have this site for anyone but me, and I don’t particularly care whether you’re convinced of the righteousness of my judgement. This is why I continually note to people that they don’t get a vote in the running of the site. So this particular argument of yours is particularly useless here.

    “But yours is a bad policy, all but a declaration that you cannot engage argument at a certain level.”

    Well, no. It’s definitely a declaration that I will not engage an argument at a certain level: The level I find it too sexist/racist/obnoxious/stupid to bother with. There’s a subtle difference there. You may not agree with the level at which I make that decision, but ask me if I care.

    “sarcasm is not a counterargument.”

    It is, however, an indication that I don’t find the statement worthy of more serious discussion.

    Spectator:

    “Please do respect the ability of your readers to judge the merit of the arguments being made which you deem self evidently ridiculous.”

    If I see a pile of shit out there on the floor, why should I wait to clean it up until everyone’s bent over to have a deep whiff? The longer it’s there, the longer it’s stinking up the place.

    “Yes, but what does that tell you about the regard in which he holds his audience, given he doesn’t even give them the chance to See the arguments before decrying them as Douchespittle, or whatever portmanteau of unpleasant things strike him at the moment.”

    To the extent that I take their concerns into account at all (see above), it means that I am doing them the courtesy of not having to step over fat stinky piles of shit to engage with people who are having valuable discourse.

    To make this more clear: Any argument that I should allow posts I find delete-worthy to exist for a second longer than it’s taken me to decide they should be deleted isn’t going to work because this is my house and I make the rules, I trust my own judgement regarding what is delete-worthy, and I don’t give a shit what you think about that.

  157. Yes, but what does that tell you about the regard in which he holds his audience

    Maybe that he knows they appreciate not having their time wasted by J Random Assbag Entitled To A Hearing Because Otherwise Freedom Of Speech Waaaaah…

  158. >> Yes, but what does that tell you about the regard in which he holds his audience, given he doesn’t even give them the chance to See the arguments before decrying them as Douchespittle, or whatever portmanteau of unpleasant things strike him at the moment.>>

    That he doesn’t want to waste their time.

    >> Personally i’d rather be able to smash an argument myself for its assertions and merit (or lack thereof) than reflexively look to another to say “yea that’s really stupid.. Right?”>>

    I doubt this. I think what you want is for others to engage in pointless argument and bog down actual discussion. However, if you honestly want to “smash” these arguments yourself, you can open your own blog, with completely open commenting threads, invite the malleted over there and have at them to your heart’s content.

    If that’s what you really want, that is, rather than really wanting such arguments to happen on Scalzi’s turf, rather than one where you get to set whatever rules you care to.

  159. Spectator

    I suggest you go read the post and the six hundred or so comments on ‘You never know just how you look through someone else’s eyes’ and then come back and explain to me why you couldn’t be bothered to even contribute one comment on that thread, given that it is directly to the point you claim to be making..

  160. Vian

    Well, of course the poster Angel who claimed to be a strong independent woman could in fact have been a man…

  161. I don’t know why, but now I’m picturing VD and his Cast of Brahs giving each other high-fives and chest-bumps on VD’s blog, telling each other, “Dudebrah, did you see that? We totally smoked ‘im!” I’d take a look, but I have no desire to dive face-first into a cesspool.

  162. Frankly, John being the president of SFWA leaves me far happier than thinking of people with VD’s opinions in charge. I love science fiction, and always have. I’m grateful that the president of the SFWA doesn’t put up with the kind of crap that would have women readers like myself running for the hills.

  163. OK, I was away for most of the day and missed most of the excitement. Good grief, is my initial reaction.

    Anyone who reads Vox Day’s comments here has to be impressed by John’s tolerance: there are still comments from VD on this thread. ANY comments. Ditto Taylor, who’s now been invited off…but I’m amazed that John let any of his (or her) comments stand.

    Of course, it’s also funny (I mean ha-ha funny) that VD, who as far as I can tell appears to enjoy approximately the level of esteem in SFF circles that the Westboro Baptist Church does in society at large, is threatening to bring action against John at SFWA for actions on John’s private blog that have nothing whatsoever to do with John’s role as SFWA President. Yeah, that’ll go far.

    For those without Latin, ‘Vox Day’ sounds like a common mispronunciation of ‘Vox Dei’, which means “the voice of God.” Yeah, that’s what he thinks of himself. I’m going to stop there, because VD is also incredibly vindictive and unlike John I’m not powerful in SFF circles.

  164. “To make this more clear: Any argument that I should allow posts I find delete-worthy to exist for a second longer than it’s taken me to decide they should be deleted isn’t going to work because this is my house and I make the rules, I trust my own judgement regarding what is delete-worthy, and I don’t give a shit what you think about that.”

    So you reserve the right to dictate not only people’s ability to comment, but also the readers right to even be exposed to anything you don’t like, simply because it falls under the purview of your site? Yup, that sounds like an intellectual response.

  165. I don’t know why, but now I’m picturing VD and his Cast of Brahs giving each other high-fives and chest-bumps on VD’s blog, telling each other, “Dudebrah, did you see that? We totally smoked ‘im!” I’d take a look, but I have no desire to dive face-first into a cesspool.

    It was pretty much that, only worse, and my regret is that even plucking my eyeballs out won’t erase the sight of *that* comment thread.

  166. John

    To clarify, I had already posted accepting that Angel is a woman; I was merely responding to Vian’s comment that the only two Angels he knows are guys in accepting the possibility.

  167. “been invited off the thread.”

    Is that like being thrown off? I couldn’t tell because it doesn’t include anything like a direct request, and seems so passive in nature…

    And now you are demanding your readers don’t even TALK to the offending party. Quite the intellectual ghetto you’ve constructed her, John.

  168. >> So you reserve the right to dictate not only people’s ability to comment, but also the readers right to even be exposed to anything you don’t like, simply because it falls under the purview of your site? >>

    In breaking news, my wife and I get to decide what furniture to put in my living room, what snacks are served and who gets invited in, too.

    That this is apparently baffling to you does not make saying so a logical argument.

  169. Spectator will be writing portions of John Scalzi’s next book, because obviously it would be unintellectual for John to insist on authoring it entirely himself.

  170. Spectator, Matthew: You seem to be of the mistaken opinion that Mr. Scalzi is deleting “arguments.” I’ve seen nothing to indicate that is the case…rather, he seems to be deleting offensive statements. If one were to argue, on a relevant topic, and he disagrees, I’ve never seen such a deletion. Given my own sometimes strong disagreement with Mr. Scalzi (we’re at loggerheads on publishing/book sales issues, primarily) I think I’d have seen such a thing. Of course, I haven’t resorted to racism/sexism in my arguments, but I think if I did, they wouldn’t see the light of day. And, given this isn’t “the public square” I’m good with that.

  171. No, but John MAY be writing his own reviews, and writing a cribs notes that must be bought with the book and how to interpret it.

  172. Spectator, I would be much more inclined to take you seriously if you didn’t consistently misspell here as her.

  173. No

    No? Spectator, you show a distressing lack of commitment to intellectualism. Surely, that’s not sufficient for one of Vox Day’s minions. Come on, man, don’t let the Mensheviks get to you.

  174. “Those of us who do not come pre-convinced of the righteousness of your judgment would like an opportunity to consider what you find “too [anything] to tolerate.”

    Let us see what you find intolerable, or do you not have faith in your fan-commenters to do some of the maintenance work for you?”

    You know–I see way too much of this lately. How do so many people get the idea in their heads that they are the center of the friggin’ universe so any whim they have should be met? Were they not slapped down enough by the adults in their life for thinking such things? Or were they pampered and indulged way too much?

    And really, trying to be pseudo-intellectual and snarky is hard to pull off. You need years of practice for that.

  175. Spectator:

    “So you reserve the right to dictate not only people’s ability to comment, but also the readers right to even be exposed to anything you don’t like, simply because it falls under the purview of your site? Yup, that sounds like an intellectual response.”

    There’s at least one word in that comment that you’re not using correctly.

    That said: Indeed, I reserve those rights. You’re perfectly free not to approve. Ask me if I care!

    “I couldn’t tell because it doesn’t include anything like a direct request”

    I’m not responsible for you not reading the thread, Spectator.

    I’m also singularly unconcerned about your opinion of the site. For someone so clearly unimpressed with the place, you seem to be spending a fair amount of time here at the moment.

  176. Call me a mad impetuous fool if you will but I strongly suspect that the chances of Spectator actually reading the “You never know how you look through someone else’s eyes’ post plus the 600 or so comments are around zero…

  177. “So you reserve the right to dictate not only people’s ability to comment, but also the readers right to even be exposed to anything you don’t like, simply because it falls under the purview of your site? Yup, that sounds like an intellectual response.”

    Do the house metaphors mean nothing to you? I mean, would you argue that an intellectual response to a guest who spewed racist and sexist crap in your home would be to let them hang around flinging said crap at the walls and all the other guests until everyone in the house had heard them and had the chance to think “wow, I wish that guy hadn’t been invited, and also now I have to go wash this crap off me”?

    I mean, honestly, we’re exposed to the things Mr. Scalzi doesn’t like every day, often without even going looking for them. Why on earth does he have to let crap-flingers in the door to his online home in order for his readers to be aware that crap is being flung? There are plenty of other houses, and sidewalks, where you can go to observe the crap being flung and engage with its flingers.

    Note: if you do not think that racist, sexist, frankly obnoxious spew is equivalent to crap being flung about, let’s just pretend it’s paint. He still doesn’t have to let it get all over his walls and other guests.

  178. “No

    No? Spectator, you show a distressing lack of commitment to intellectualism. Surely, that’s not sufficient for one of Vox Day’s minions. Come on, man, don’t let the Mensheviks get to you.”

    Well if he insists, I suppose I could find a way to mimic the Great Scalzi. Perhaps a novel of Spacefaring Reptilesbian Cannibals who rise of be the great inequity of the galaxy?

  179. As an aside – what’s the difference between the derailment of a thread and the natural progression of conversation?

  180. >> I suppose I could find a way to mimic the Great Scalzi. Perhaps a novel of Spacefaring Reptilesbian Cannibals who rise of be the great inequity of the galaxy? >>

    Go for it!

    Fix your grammar a bit first, to try to make it coherent, but if you can write and sell a novel, more power to you! Maybe then other people will let you set commenting policy in their blogs. Or maybe you’ll have your own, and will get to deal with people who want you to set commenting policy to suit them rather than you.

    Either way, you’ll have written and sold a novel. That’d be pretty cool.

  181. Well if he insists, I suppose I could find a way to mimic the Great Scalzi. Perhaps a novel of Spacefaring Reptilesbian Cannibals who rise of be the great inequity of the galaxy?

    This doesn’t make any sense. Any at all.

  182. >> As an aside – what’s the difference between the derailment of a thread and the natural progression of conversation? >>

    The one that ends up with metaphorical traincars all over the landscape is the derailment.

  183. I’d wager Specator was the kind of kid who kept putting his hand closer and closer to the fire until it burned him. (i.e. I think s/he’s fishing for a deletion.)

  184. What is the monthly non deletion fee? Everyman has his price or agenda. Alpha male snuff word pictures or cash? I have a paypal account. My opinion to be serious on the matter is everyone has a bias, and most blog rules are so general it is like law making in DC. Make ambiguous rules and enforce them arbitrarily. This has been my experience with most blogs and all humans in general.

  185. Oh, pants, cross-posted with a far more succinct response from our host. Just to note, I really appreciate that here, I don’t have to duck and wade through crap to get to enjoy, engage in and learn from actual, good-faith, intellectual argument. And bad greek letter puns.

  186. Marianne t

    I commend to you “Derailment for Dummies” as the best guide to these and other related questions…

  187. Marianne T.:

    Derailments often start with “as an aside.”

    (ducks)

    More generally, I think derailments often happen when someone intentionally (or unintentionally) offers up a point that’s about their desire to shift the conversation to a topic they find more congenial. As an example, in posts about same-sex marriage, someone wandering in and saying “I don’t believe the government should be in the business of marriage” is derailing because then the discussion becomes about the theoretical role of government, and not about the real-world issue of same-sex marriage.

    And in a larger sense, the natural progression of the conversation can eventually get the thread to the point where it’s no longer on the rail. For example, the last hundred or so comments in this thread, which are more about me Malleting the obnoxious than it is a discussion about the entry. Usually in that case I’ll let people know we’ve wandered far afield and suggest we find our way back to the original topic.

    Indeed, I will probably do that here soon.

    Chris:

    “i.e. I think s/he’s fishing for a deletion.”

    Nah. Spectator hasn’t been overly racist/sexist/obnoxious/stupid, merely unwilling to grasp the concept of “my house, my rules.”

  188. And now you are demanding your readers don’t even TALK to the offending party.

    Talk ABOUT the offending party. This is actually a COURTESY.

    So you reserve the right to dictate not only people’s ability to comment, but also the readers right to even be exposed to anything you don’t like,

    Most of the readers are HERE because they APPRECIATE THIS SERVICE, HTH.

    Rights are what you would have on your own blog, if you could get anyone to post to it.

  189. Spectator: “So you reserve the right to dictate not only people’s ability to comment, but also the readers right to”

    You’re still unclear on the concept, aren’t you? I would like to know the source of your idea that the readers have a right. Since you apparently fancy yourself an intellectual, you’re familiar with providing backing evidence for your assertions, right?

  190. Thanks for the clarity, people. =) I was wondering which category this thread had wandered into.

    As an aside, what did we all think of the Dark Knight Rises? :P

  191. John–

    My point was more that Spectator’s comments have been getting less civil pretty consistently, not that s/he had already crossed the line. Seemed like s/he was searching for it through slow escalation.

  192. “As an aside, what did we all think of the Dark Knight Rises? :P”

    Depends on which theater you watched it in.

    Personally, it was garbage. I haven’t seen a good Science fiction writer in at least a decade. I don’t waste my time on it much anymore. Oh there is one, but most people would never grasp him.

  193. John–

    I had no doubt that you would. You don’t seem the type to not mallet someone just because they dare you not to, or accuse you of bias if you do. There’s evidence of that in this very thread.

  194. I haven’t seen a good Science fiction writer in at least a decade

    They’re mostly chaotic neutral.

  195. “Oh there is one, but most people would never grasp him.”

    S/he probably doesn’t like being touched anyway.

  196. Vox wasn’t really offended by Laura’s comment. He was offended because he can’t say the things he really believes about black people and women without being called out for being a racist or a sexist.

  197. I tend not to feel that Batman is sci fi, for some reason. I think it is, but it doesn’t give me that “wow, sci fi!” feeling.

    But no no, I was joking. Talk about the other thingamie. The non-derailing thing.

  198. Jeez, Spectator, just go make yourself a blog of your very own. Then you can let anybody and everybody say whatever they want!

    I mean, as anyone who’s spent more than 10 minutes on the internet could tell you, there’s no way that could possibly go wrong.

  199. “S/he probably doesn’t like being touched anyway.”

    What’s with the “S/he” stuff, I said “him” are you gender confused? Whether or not he likes being “touched” probably depends upon the whom.

  200. David

    You actually went there voluntarily and read it on our behalf? I owe you big time. Should you ever be seized by a burning desire to know, for example, what a credit default swap is I should be only too happy to assist…

  201. Outlaw X–

    It definitely would depend on whom, I imagine.

    I just default to “s/he” when I’m unsure of gender. Keeps from offending when gender isn’t specified. In this case, I was on the phone while posting the comment and didn’t register “him.” My apologies.

  202. You actually went there voluntarily and read it on our behalf? I owe you big time. Should you ever be seized by a burning desire to know, for example, what a credit default swap is I should be only too happy to assist…

    Bless you. You’ll have to read me your explanation–the whole plucking of my eyeballs thing…

  203. Stevie, somewhere way earlier in the thread:

    Actually, I am a hard-core, down-to-the-soles-of-my-boots feminist named Angelle. With an added “le”, no less, for extra femme.

    I find the contradiction useful as it keeps people off balance.

  204. John,
    Well, they said my (phonetic) name three times in a thread. I’m pretty much obligated to manifest under those circumstances.

  205. So, Outlaw, who is this science fiction author you think most people can’t grasp? Murakami? Yu? Banks? Please share with the class.

    I was thinking Rand, but s/he was pretty definite about the gender…

  206. I try to remember to use Spivak pronouns, but frequently they seem to cause more trouble than they save.

  207. Worrying if you have alpha-malehood is a way of attempting to Alexander Haig the entire world. Happening to be more respected in one place does not mean that, by default, you must therefore be just as respected in every other. It seems that there are a lot of people Not Getting That on this thread.

  208. So, that’s who Outlaw is referring to? Fascinating.

    He apparently also “holds the design patent for WarMouse, a computer mouse with 18 buttons, a scroll wheel, a thumb-operated joystick, and 512k of memory”. Makes me feel kind of beta as all I have is the eButtplug (aka “still trying to get a prototype out”).

  209. Outlaw X:

    He’s a member of SFWA, which requires professional sales prior to membership. I can vouch for him being a published SF/F author (fantasy, however, I believe, not science fiction).

  210. “Outlaw X:

    He’s a member of SFWA, which requires professional sales prior to membership. I can vouch for him being a published SF/F author (fantasy, however, I believe, not science fiction).

    Show me then. I read both Vox Days books and neither were SF/F..

  211. “Outlaw X:

    He’s a member of SFWA, which requires professional sales prior to membership. I can vouch for him being a published SF/F author (fantasy, however, I believe, not science fiction).

    Show me then. I read both Vox Days books and neither were SF/F..

    Wow, so sorry you’re unable to “grasp” how to do research on the Wacky Wonderful Web. Tah-dah.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Beale

    Next time, do your own homework, sport.

  212. “Next time, do your own homework, sport.”

    Theodore Beale is not Vox Day you may think it pedantic but it is not me being pedantic it is you..
    Sorry you can’t understand the difference. But I will offer any one on this blog a Challenge, especially Scalzi.. Read “War in Heaven” and tell me what it means. It is two standard deviations above most of the intelligence here.and predicted the future in now which you live. Without the sexual starved woman and super hero nonsense that passes for fantasy literature today..

  213. Outlaw X:

    Theodore Beale is Vox Day, but I understand you to mean the two names are separate and searching on one won’t necessarily give you information on the other.

    Haven’t read the novels. I remember the video game.

    That said, he is a fantasy writer, and a member of SFWA.

  214. Theodore Beale is not Vox Day you may think it pedantic but it is not me being pedantic it is you..

    Could you explain that a bit?

  215. Theodore Beale is not Vox Day you may think it pedantic but it is not me being pedantic it is you..
    Sorry you can’t understand the difference.

    Pedantic is definitely not the word that crossed my mind…

  216. It is two standard deviations above most of the intelligence here.

    I suspect some folks may not be willing to take your word for that.

  217. htom August 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm: “I try to remember to use Spivak pronouns, but frequently they seem to cause more trouble than they save.”

    Well, many people are diacritical of λάβδαMOO.

    (I crack myself up.)

  218. “Haven’t read the novels. I remember the video game.

    That Video game goes with “Rebel Moon” not “War in Heaven. Theodore actually predicted the break down and demise of the EU in a fictional story, it is worth a read. Now it is much easier to see than when it was written almost a decade ago.

  219. “I suspect some folks may not be willing to take your word for that.”

    Most people do, no offense.

  220. What’s to be offended by? But I think you might mean “most people aren’t”, unless “take” is your target there (ghod help you if it’s “suspect”).

  221. What I don’t understand is why the white supremacist evangelicals randomly showed up today, on this fairly innocuous thread, and not any time in the last five days on “You Never Know Just How You Look Through Other People’s Eyes.” That’s completely anti-intuitive. This thread was pretty much petering out into geektastic puns and debatable Wild Kingdom-era pop-science. Weird.

    It’s been an entertaining read, though. I haven’t seen the Mallet wielded so enthusiastically in a good, long time. Unfortunately, the accompanying snark was below my expectations. Scorpius and Greg (+other regular conservatives/contrarians, whose handles I can’t recall ATM) get much better editorial commentary, so I suspect their Malleted comments are also superior to today’s poor showing by our visitors.

    Mmmm. And it’s just occurred to me that I should be transparent that I am not new, nor am I a lurker. I’ve simply solved the WordPress problem, and am now using my base internet puppet, not the randomly shifting weird ones that have been baffling me. Well, I mostly solved it. Teh other computer still thinks I’m someone else and I can be arsed to deal with it quite yet.

  222. @ R7 Rocket August 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm: “Looks like John Scalzi is out of his depth when it comes to sexual interaction”

    HAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAAA

    Wait, let me catch my breath…

    AHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!111!

    Dude, have you seen his beautiful family? I mean… what?! Really. WTF? Smart, funny, accomplished, practical, supportive, fun, bright and shining FAMILY? Are you on crack?

    Weak. 2.7 from the Russian judge. Poor form, unsophisticated execution, and lacking technical skill.

  223. Mintwitch:

    They’re not all necessarily evangelicals.

    They showed up today and in this thread because Vox spent a couple of days winding up his readers on his own blog, this was a thread I hadn’t already banned him on, and they (incorrectly) thought they had something they could bang on with Laura Resnick’s comment. Thus followed a festival of poor logic, bad equivalence and many malletings. As someone else noted, I’m sure they believe they showed me a thing or two.

    R7 Rocket:

    Have to agree with Mintwitch: That was pretty weaksauce. If all you’re going to do here is herp some derp about what you think about my sexual prowess, you should probably move on.

  224. @Xopher: Let him sucker you into linking to the STD’s Wikipedia page. Well, at least no one’s linked to that excrescence’s books.

    First, thanks a LOT for saying I got suckered in. Boy, howdy. Sheesh. Second, are you referring to Seasons of Tumult and Discord, or that antifeministtech guy?

  225. Okay, John’s explained the whys of the apparently sudden influx of juveniles. I was concerned to think that many of them were “readers” and “contributors.” One can hope the Mallet has imparted enough wisdom or sufficient virtual head trauma so as to reduce the assbaggery (which is indeed a fine word).

  226. ” Vox spent a couple of days winding up his readers on his own blog”

    Seriously? I’ll take your word for it. I used to read his stuff (for the lulz) about 5 years or so ago, back before he started mixing mean and nasty into his bullshit. I’m not going back. But, seriously? I guess that explains the impotent threats regarding the SFWA presidency. I know the guy’s got issues, but I didn’t realize envy was one of them.

  227. I’m heading to bed now. Since this comment thread has shown a propensity to sprout assbags on it, and I won’t be here to mallet them, I’m going to go ahead and lock it down until tomorrow morning. See you then.

    Update: Comments now back on.

  228. So does this make the Sesame Street Muppets Alpha-Betas?

    (Except possibly the Count–I guess he’d be an Iota).

  229. I like it Annalee, but easier with the Muppet Show: Kermit definitely the Alpha Male with Ms. Piggy the Alpha female (Queen bee). Fozzie is a complete Beta, and Gonzo as the Gamma.

  230. John – A little tiger balm will do wonders for the sore muscles in your hammer arm. Been hearing the “wipwipwipwip-wooosh!” of that thing throughout this thread. It’s like a Thor sequel up in here.

    That said, declaring yourself the top dog, alpha male, apex predator or which ever term to indicate dominance is a statement best left to pro wrestlers, boxers, and their ilk. It has next to no use for the rest of us.

  231. Ryan

    I disagree as to the usefulness; it enables the rest of us to ignore them completely, secure in the knowledge that they have nothing of value to contribute, which in turn enables us to spend more time engaging with people who do…

  232. I was just passing through. This is not an open forum and Scalzi makes his case for keeping it closed according to whim (to vigorous head-nodding by his readership, the sorriest phenomenon of all — where is your pride? your independence of mind?). I am forced to shrug. The blog title persuades me to agree: Whatever.

    So Scalzi makes his case. I find his case more than weak; it seems to be typical of, if not outright indicative of, a certain kind of opinionator I do not respect, who makes blind judgments without allowing them to be subjected to the test — the kind of test which shores up the integrity of one’s principles/presumptions/prejudices. These tests are often accompanied by language and tone one would prefer not to hear. Who wants to be called an idiot, after all? Idiots, least of all.

    Obviously anyone else who reacts this way to Scalzi has already voted with their feet. What remains are undiscriminating fanboys.

    Those with something to say typically invite criticism, engage it, refute it, learn from it, synthesize it. Those who are looking for simple confirmation of prejudice tend to edit their forums more heavily, and codes of conduct conjure a perception of “impoliteness” from all who disagree sharply. Not everyone can separate his indignation from his disagreement — it’s a difficult skill in the written form. The confident moderator allows latitude for a comment’s rough edges rather than looks for items to be selectively offended by. The harsh words of those with whom Scalzi agrees are subject to different treatment than similar language from a dissenter. Again, whatever.

    Variations on “it’s my blog, and I’ll censor if I want to” miss the point. This is obvious. Of course he doesn’t have to justify himself or his narrow policy, no one would think to demand that, no one is questioning his ability to edit commentary to his liking. All I am pointing out is that this is a shameful practice that any man with a capacity to defend himself should be embarrassed to find himself resorting to. Alas, the internet is a shameless place.

    I have civil opinions about Scalzi’s tweet above. Unfortunately his comment “policy” invites incivility — he compares his opponents to “shit stains” and their opinions to “pile[s] of shit.” When he receives incivility in kind, he cites that behavior as reason to erase their opinion in toto and ban them from further posting.

    I have nothing to gain from seeing Scalzi act with equanimity — I am not a regular reader or fan. Suffice it to know that some of us can meet superficial effusions like Scalzi’s tweetery at any level of his choosing: academic debate club, squabble on the street, encounter in the jungle. Civil or uncivil, dissertation or insult, prolonged engagement or one-line sniping. Men with the chops to offer their argument up for debate, do. Others preoccupy themselves with (hide under) technicalities.

    For someone who throws around vulgar fighting words, it is past ironic for him to scrutinize his opponents’ harshness by policy. The practice is positively incongruous. And when the dissonant noise is filtered away, what remains is a man without substance or conviction. What remains is an almighty bluff, which, when called, forces a big-talking promoter of conventional pieties to retreat into codes and policies and procedures.

    Scalzi, consider my critique charity, and dispense with it the way you do all pointed dissent. If a man has made the habit of erasing certain kinds of disagreement, what’s the chance he can ever learn from disagreement? Low. Those of us who take the time to translate our dissent into the tones a squeamish man can “tolerate” are not invested in improving the quality of our opponents’ arguments via criticism, much less are inspired to engage the patent insecurities of those who threaten expulsion via capricious standards and despotic moodiness. Totalitarian courts always eventually populate themselves with toadies.

    One is fortunate to attract critics. They shouldn’t be banned: they do a man gratuitous service. They should be encouraged. Mere flamers flame themselves out, and if one has a loyal and independent-thinking readership, the place becomes largely self-policed. Tamping down every actual or potential “assbag” from on-high sterilizes a forum. I realize that this sterility is Scalzi’s professed goal, but that speaks ill of the kind of thinker (and man) he is.

    My charity work is done here. I will express my full contempt in places that can handle it. “There is a a world elsewhere.”

    He’s banish’d, and it shall be so.

    CORIOLANUS:
    You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
    As reek o’ the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
    As the dead carcasses of unburied men
    That do corrupt my air,
    [
    You will banish me?]
    I banish you;
    And here remain with your uncertainty!
    Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts!
    Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
    Fan you into despair! Have the power still
    To banish your defenders; till at length
    Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
    Making not reservation of yourselves,
    Still your own foes, deliver you as most
    Abated captives to some nation
    That won you without blows! Despising,
    For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
    There is a world elsewhere.

    Matt

  233. Matthew King:

    “One is fortunate to attract critics. They shouldn’t be banned.”

    I didn’t ban anyone, actually; I deleted comments. People who had comments deleted here may try their luck on other threads. Hopefully they will do a better job there than they did here. If they don’t, their comments will get deleted again. It’s pretty simple.

    In any event, people don’t have their comments deleted for being critics. They have them deleted for being assholes.

    You have my sympathy that you are apparently unable to tell the difference between the two.

    Although, that being the case, your purported act of charity here looks more like someone vomiting on the floor and saying “look, I have gifted you a feast.”

    Thanks, but no.

  234. Matthew: “Those with something to say typically invite criticism, engage it, refute it, learn from it, synthesize it. Those who are looking for simple confirmation of prejudice tend to edit their forums more heavily, and codes of conduct conjure a perception of ‘impoliteness’ from all who disagree sharply.”

    Ooo, the false choices game. My turn. Did you learn how to set up false choices recently, or do you just not do it well?

    Your “charity work”? My, you do think excessively well of yourself.

    News flash: This place *is* largely self-policing. Malleting becomes necessary only when the clueless and truly offensive shit all over the floor, as happened when VD and his fanbois showed up. You haven’t been malleted, that I recall. Your opinions have been left in the thread and even discussed. Are you upset because your opinions weren’t agreed with? That’s not guaranteed. Refuting was done. You’re not required to agree with the refutations, and nobody is required to agree with your counter-arguments. That’s discussion. It’s been happening. Here. In this thread. Despite your determination to claim otherwise.

    You still haven’t read through the comments on the creeper or ReaderCon posts, have you, let alone the comments on the Lowest Difficulty Setting post? Your attempt to talk down to John about matters you clearly have only the sketchiest knowledge of, most of it demonstrably wrong, looks particularly silly in light of the many fierce disagreements that this blog has hosted. You’re appear to be pouting because John didn’t change his views after considering your opinion and even discussing it with you. Your latest post looks an awful lot like sour grapes combined with “I’m taking my toys and leaving.” Too bad for you. You’ll miss a lot of interesting discussion. Take a look at the Todd Akin thread before you take your contempt to somewhere where it will get the appreciation you appear to crave but did not find here.

  235. I don’t possess the essential prerequisites to be a fanboy but I do get pissed off when people who can’t even spell Coriolanus have the conceit to imagine themselves in that role. Malvolio is a much better fit for Matthew…

  236. For some reason after reading Matthew King’s latest bloviation I’m reminded of Florence King’s observations about that sub-set of Penthouse letter writer that she referred to as “The Prissy Fiend”. Really, boys, if you want to be witty as well as sarcastic try reading her.

  237. Actually Matthew, if you have some sort of “civil” disagreement with John’s tweet to share, then why don’t you share it? I promise you John never mallets actual civil disagreements.
    If, however, you only want to continue setting up false equivilancies in order to prop up a pathetically sexist agenda, you probably shouldn’t bother. Those idiots yesterday who were getting all faux offended by a comment that anyone with half a brain could recognize as a joke didn’t have anything useful to contribute.
    It is really sad to me how many men have been so threatened by these relatively obvious concepts that John has been sharing. They aren’t that hard to understand. They are not attacks on men in general. They are commentary on very specific behavior.

  238. There must be an equivalent of Poe’s Law for this situation. Matthew King’s flounce post could be a screamingly funny parody of a pompous ass flouncing (with quotes from Shakespeare, no less!), if one didn’t know that it’s the real thing.

  239. But Xopher, surely you must pity us poor failed fanboys, doomed forever to be outside the charmed circle because of our tragic lack of boy bits.

    On second thoughts, not…

  240. Xopher

    Fan girl? You cannot be serious!

    Matt doesn’t at any point acknowledge that he is taking to a group which includes quite a few women. All of his references are about males. It is subtle little clues like this which lead one to believe that Matt is infected with an incurable case of VD…

  241. Harold Osler August 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    “For some reason after reading Matthew King’s latest bloviation I’m reminded of Florence King’s observations about that sub-set of Penthouse letter writer that she referred to as “The Prissy Fiend”. Really, boys, if you want to be witty as well as sarcastic try reading her.”

    None of today’s commentators would survive a duel at 50 paces w/ Ms King. While today’s conservatives are drooling over Ms Coulter, Ms King eviscerates every argument at 50 paces, while maintaining a chignon that only Dorothy Parker could love: “With this crown of thorns I wear, what care I for a little prick like you.”

    Ms King self-described as so conservative that she was “to the right of Baby Doc,” and of beauty standards that “I’ve had sex and I’ve had food. I’d rather eat.” VD and minions only wish that they had the wit and strength of Ms King. She was merciless to the puerile and compassionate to the least powerful and absolutely immovable in re personal integrity.

    I had the pleasure of exchanging letters with her, brieflly, back in the early 90s. She was the only author I ever wrote, and she is still a mentor. I raise her banner high. Long live the spinsters; long may the spinsters live!

  242. Mathew King: All I am pointing out is that this is a shameful practice that any man with a capacity to defend himself should be embarrassed to find himself resorting to.

    The confident moderator allows latitude for a comment’s rough edges rather than looks for items to be selectively offended by.

    Tamping down every actual or potential “assbag” from on-high sterilizes a forum.

    Men with the chops to offer their argument up for debate, do.

    I will express my full contempt in places that can handle it.

    Sir, I must perforce thank you for this clearly heartfelt outpouring of COMEDY GOLD. I have never seen anything quite so EPIC. Surely it will go down in internut history. The nuanced range of butthurt, the somewhat tortured posturing, the attempted orotundity, the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger touches…

    He’s banish’d, and it shall be so.

    No! Come back!

    Do it AGAIN!

  243. Nah, he’s a plagiarist.

    Standing on the shoulders of GIANTS. Well, biggish dwarfs.

    Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    I dunno, I can read quite a lot into it, though possibly not what he intended.

  244. @ Adrian: “I dunno, I can read quite a lot into it, though possibly not what he intended.”

    Good point! Perhaps, since the Bard has been introduced, we shall know him for…
    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.

  245. There’s a Shakespeare insult generator? Where?! I’ve always relied on my memory, these days augmented by Google.

    (I was a Theatre major, English Lit minor, so between the two, I had to memorize huge swathes of Shakespeare, to earn my degree. This has served me… oddly, in life. I can also recite the entirety of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales from memory, but only if I’m facing a wall.)

  246. What I find interesting about Matt’s posts in this thread is how they demonstrate the limits of trying to use the alpha male concept in a culture that doesn’t operate with that dynamic and is not in the position of having to be subjected to it.

    Matt tried to assert dominance in each of his posts. Other people assumed he wanted egalitarian discussion and offered it. He ignored everyone but John, presumably because he identified John as the alpha male here. And instead of doing what Matt himself claims that someone “with something to say” would do (i.e., “invite criticism, engage it, refute it, learn from it, synthesize it”), Matt limited himself to instructing, making unsupported assertions, preaching, demanding, and belittling. When those tactics failed to induce John to yield to Matt’s dominance tactics, or to attract followers who would provide validation for Matt’s assumed status as The One Who Knows Better, Matt then yielded, as one or the other male must in a dominance challenge. Since he (and he alone) set it up as a dominance challenge, he was forced by his own paradigm to be defeated if he couldn’t prevail. Of course, he didn’t present his belly or other vulnerable part, so he gets to feel that he did not take a submissive stance. Instead, he did the thing of withdrawing from the field, continuing to growl back at his adversary while backing out of range, continuing to claim alpha privilege (all that nonsense about charity advice and whatnot, which was still expressed from an attempted dominance position), thus showing the adversary and any onlookers that while he was defeated in the dominance challenge, he did not go so far as to take a submissive posture. Classic. Of course, his “I yield but you didn’t defeat me” posturing wasn’t necessary except in Matt’s own worldview.

    It’s too bad. Matt was articulate and not unintelligent Instead of taking on a one-up position and interpreting John’s response as a failure to acknowledge his superiority, Matt could have engaged in an actual discussion, the kind of discussion he claimed to think should be happening here but showed no interest in. Matt could have spent some time reviewing other comment threads instead of writing yet another post asserting intellectual and moral dominance, and this might have led to a more informed statement of his views, even if he still disagreed with John’s choices. In the end, he failed to rally anyone to his cause, he failed to sway John’s thinking, and he was left with making weak accusations and a whole lot of flouncing, wrapped up in a transparent cloak of would-be intellectual superiority. Oooh, Shakespeare, that’s telling ‘em, Matt.

    Mistwitch,
    Ditto on the Canterbury Tales (“Whan that Aprile with his shoures sote,” and so on–done from memory, so I might not have all the spelling correct). I’m not sure I could do the whole thing anymore, though.

    Shakespearean insult generators:

    http://www.mainstrike.com/mstservices/handy/insult.html

    http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/Shaker/

  247. Mintwitch

    Yep! I read combined Honours in Drama and Theatre Arts and Sociology, which is one of the reasons why I was unimpressed by Matthew’s post. He’s guilty of multiple offences of not having a clue as to the play in question, and he clearly fails to comprehend that a group of privileged people pretending that they are not privileged has implications which go far beyond the individual psychological inadequacies of the people making up that group.

    BW

    Yes, I think you’ve got him pretty much nailed; he can’t cope with anything outside his obviously very limited experience, and he can’t cope with what actually goes on here. It’s a pity because he has the potential to make an interesting contribution to discussion, but he’s probably so far up his own rear end that he’s never going to see the light…

  248. BW: Interesting analysis. I don’t move in “alpha male” circles, nor do I know anyone who speaks about such things, so I’ve found most of this thread baffling, but funny.

    This morning, on the way to work, I finally got curious enough to roam over to VD’s site (I Googled his name + Scalzi), and giggled the whole way. Perhaps I should have been offended or something, seeing as how I use girl-pronouns and not boy-pronouns, but I just couldn’t take any of the posts or comments that I read seriously. I mean, until an hour ago, I had no idea that these guys existed, they don’t impact my life at all, but they are very concerned about me, and have very strong opinions about my gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, career choices, home life, and eating habits. Why?

    Are VD and his pals what people mean when they speak of MRAs? And are they all so sad? In my head, I always thought that MRAs were the Iron John guys–you know, the ones that go on weekend retreats in the woods, and sit around getting in touch with their feelings, and complaining about their wives. Then they have a nice, group, primal yell, pack up their Suburbans, and go home.

    That, to me, seems much more interesting than VDs blog. Camping is fun, and educational!

  249. @mintwitch I confess that I feel a certain fuzzy affection for the camping-and-peeing-in-the-woods variety, probably owing to reading the poetry of Robert Bly at a formative age (i.e. fifteen.) But they always struck me as generally harmless and deeply sincere, which is probably more than can be said for VD. Perhaps the MRAs just need a good primal yell and a drum circle or two?

  250. UrsulaV

    I very much doubt it; that degree of venom isn’t likely ever to change for the better. And even Matthew, who showed some flickers of intelligence, had apparently convinced himself that he was Gary Cooper in High Noon so there’s not much chance that reality is ever likely to obtrude into their lives.

    I must take this opportunity to thank you for Bluebeards Wife; I greatly enjoyed it.

  251. BW:

    “What I find interesting about Matt’s posts in this thread is how they demonstrate the limits of trying to use the alpha male concept in a culture that doesn’t operate with that dynamic and is not in the position of having to be subjected to it.”

    I don’t know that it’s anything as complicated as that. It really is a just bunch of folks descending en masse and assuming they will get to establish the parameters of the discussion, and then becoming frustrated when they’re not allowed to do so. That’s closer to the classic behavior of internet trolls than of any recognizable definition of “alpha male.”

  252. Are VD and his pals what people mean when they speak of MRAs?

    I think MRAs are usually more concerned about child support and custody issues, though these lads certainly give off a sense of being culturally under siege by the nefarious forces of peecee. There’s also MGTOW – Men Going Their Own Way (But They’re Not Gay). Lord knows what that’s about. But John wants to save the Great Manosphere Venn Diagram for later.

    I did a rash thing – I ordered Vox Day’s book about atheists. But second-hand, because principles.

    They seem to be reproducing all the posts John deleted for “posterity” and patting each other on the back for their independence of thought, it’s really rather precious.

  253. Adrian Smith:

    “They seem to be reproducing all the posts John deleted for ‘posterity’ and patting each other on the back for their independence of thought, it’s really rather precious.”

    If it makes them happy and they don’t bother me with them, then I think that’s just fine.

  254. Oh, goodness, how sweet! Maybe after work, when I’m in the mood for something mindless, I’ll drop in and take a look-see. The internal inconsistencies in the posts and comments that I read this morning are no doubt similar to what they attempted to dribble here, but confirmation could be fun.

    And, John, IMO, the Mallet is a feature, not a bug. Thank you for wielding it with such humor.

  255. If it makes them happy and they don’t bother me with them, then I think that’s just fine.

    I don’t imagine they’ll repost them, but there’s probably a lot more where that came from. Long as your malleting arm’s not tired, I suppose.

    VD’s “Rules of the Blog” sound surprisingly dictatorial, after Matthew’s little philippic I was expecting much more tolerance of opposing opinions. And about his regulars, “They do, however, tend to skew much more intelligent and broadly educated than you’re probably accustomed to encountering.”

    They must be hiding their lights under the Mother of All Bushels.

  256. My wife says that if I’m a Muppet, I’m the Swedish Chef, or Animal. I’m not sure how that translates into a Greek pseudo-hierarchy.

    @Matthew King — I think that John and I disagree on a huge number of things *, but I don’t remember that he’s ever Malleted me for expressing those disagreements. A few times with other deleted posts, maybe. I suspect you’ve not comprehended the rationale for his deletions.

    *We agree on some things, too, which might help. And I don’t call him (or others) names.

  257. @Adrian Smith: I think the term you’re looking for is “circle jerk”.

    John, you will give us a blow-by-blow of the dramatic denouncement and trial at which the SFWA masses, led by Their Hero, finally rises up against your bloggy tyrrany and pulls you from your undeserved perch, right? And If you don’t give some kind of fist-shaking, evil-be-thou-my-good exit speech at the end I am going to be the saddest panda.

  258. @Adrian Smith: I think the term you’re looking for is “circle jerk”.

    Well, it would be, but I entertain (possibly unrealistic) notions of attempting to set up an anti-feminist-troll-whispering operation at some point, and that might be kind of counterproductive.

  259. @ UrsulaV August 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm: “I confess that I feel a certain fuzzy affection for the camping-and-peeing-in-the-woods variety, probably owing to reading the poetry of Robert Bly at a formative age (i.e. fifteen.) But they always struck me as generally harmless and deeply sincere, which is probably more than can be said for VD. Perhaps the MRAs just need a good primal yell and a drum circle or two?”

    You took the thoughts right out of my head! I hope there are camping-and-peeing-in-the-woods varieties, though. I would hate to have my illusions of poetry and male-bonding shattered.

    @ mythago August 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm: “John, you will give us a blow-by-blow of the dramatic denouncement and trial at which the SFWA masses, led by Their Hero, finally rises up against your bloggy tyrrany and pulls you from your undeserved perch, right? And If you don’t give some kind of fist-shaking, evil-be-thou-my-good exit speech at the end I am going to be the saddest panda.”

    Yes! He could do it in the style of Ayn Rand. It would be EPIC. Very, very long, but EPIC.

    Also, Saddest Panda is the name of my new band.

    @ Adrian Smith August 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm: “Well, it would be, but I entertain (possibly unrealistic) notions of attempting to set up an anti-feminist-troll-whispering operation at some point, and that might be kind of counterproductive.”

    I’m sorry, but I’m not quite sure what this means. Like, dog- or horse-whispering, only with anti-feminist trolls? You would train them to fetch slippers and not crap on the rug? That could be a useful benefit to society, but I’m not sure how one would monetize it. Or am I completely misunderstanding?

  260. John

    I’m not sure that I would classify them as the common or garden variety troll; most trolls don’t need other people egging them on before they go and dump a pile of shit on someone’s website. The VD lot seem to be pretty wimpy; perhaps trollet would be more descriptive.

    Adrian

    I think the “broadly educated” is a bit of a give away; I haven’t seen anything which would suggest any of them are highly educated.

    Of course they probably rationalise that as being victimised since all those nasty universities, medical schools and so forth have discriminated against them by giving places to women.

    Htom

    I have no intention of arguing with your wife…

    Mythago

    How about ‘wimpy circle jerk’? And should it come to pass that the long tyranny of Scalzi is ended I want the seat next to you.

    Mintwitch

    Have fun!

  261. You know, I thought I’d just go over and check out the back-patting on VD’s blog and see what all the fuss is.
    I now need a shower and a stiff drink. Talk about an incestuous cluster-f**k –I haven’t read such a collection of self-congratulatory pissing in the wind in ages. Randites and Alphas and Co-Patriots, Oh My!
    No wonder they argued about “creepers”–it was probably too close to home.
    I wonder how many self-described “alphas” just think they’re alphas because they haven’t realized they either being ignored or aren’t even on people’s radar.
    I will admit that now I’m making a mental note to watch what happens at the next SFWA election.

  262. I’m sorry, but I’m not quite sure what this means. Like, dog- or horse-whispering, only with anti-feminist trolls?

    Sort of. I believe TNH may have come up with the term. Engaging trolls before banning them, in the hope of getting some probably-miniscule proportion to find something more constructive to do with their time.

    You would train them to fetch slippers and not crap on the rug?

    On the *blog*, more like. Fetching slippers would be quite another matter. I reckon that a lot of feminist output on the web is aimed at persuading men to become allies. These guys are far too invested in their narratives of emasculation to be ready for that.

    That could be a useful benefit to society, but I’m not sure how one would monetize it.

    Oh, this would definitely be a labour of love, no revenue stream is foreseen. They make me embarrassed for my gender, that’s all.

  263. How does a group of alpha males decide where to eat? Really.

    But, that not-a-joke question reminds me of the alpha male knock knock joke, which goes like this:

    “We’re here.”

    Alpha males don’t knock.

  264. How does a group of alpha males decide where to eat? Really.

    They engage in dominance behaviours until they have a hierarchy. Because There Can Only Be One*.

    *They never made a sequel.

  265. So, there can be a hierarchy of Alphas? Like, the Alpha alpha? What a confusing way to live.

    Sometimes I wonder about the possibilities left untapped in the Highlander universe. And all that they could have done with them. But, then, I’m just happy they at least made the movie.

    How many alpha males does it take to change a light bulb? Two. Two to high five and say “Bro!” while they wait for the beta to finish.

  266. Goodness! I just found The Post That Started The Trolling and read all the comments, and I get it! I finally get it! They are creepers, male and female, who were creeping on Scalzi! Scalzi was not at all hesitant to tell the creeper(s) to Step Off, and now the creepers are butt-hurt. This is fascinating. I have seen inside the mind of a creeper… I feel like I should now apply for a grant. Or maybe pitch a reality/nature show to Fox.

    I still don’t get the alpha thing. By their own definitions, none of them qualify, certainly not VD, so why are they so invested in the concept? I mean, by VD’s definition he should be president of everything, shouldn’t he? And yet, demonstrably, he’s not a leader of any type, so wouldn’t he prefer to discredit the idea?

    Anyway, I now think that this entire episode could be read as a very belated attempt at retaliation, because John actually defended Day’s right to sit on a Nebula jury back in 2005, despite the fact that almost everyone, apparently, thought Day a noxious jackass. Like the proverbial dog that bites the hand that feeds, VD jumped onto the thread and immediately began attacking the only person who was defending his role–although, not, I should note, Day’s ideas.

    The thread is amazing, if you’re interested: http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/archives/006122.html

  267. I still don’t get the alpha thing. By their own definitions, none of them qualify, certainly not VD, so why are they so invested in the concept? I mean, by VD’s definition he should be president of everything, shouldn’t he? And yet, demonstrably, he’s not a leader of any type, so wouldn’t he prefer to discredit the idea?

    I think there’s a kind of Alpha Dream, somewhat like the American Dream. You might be poor as dirt (beta) now, but with sufficient striving, positive thinking and listening to Anthony Robbins mp3s you too could become absurdly wealthy (alpha). No need for any of that socialistic Euroweenie milquetoast wrongthinking which people might otherwise be tempted by.

  268. mintwitch: that reminds my: the name of my Midnight Oil tribute band is “Kangaroos Taste Like Sad”.

  269. Thanks for the link, mintwitch; it was enlightening. I think the probable explanation is that John noting VD’s right to be on the Nebula panel screwed up VD’s attempt to portray himself as the misunderstood genius rejected by all the dull and ignorant mortals because they were incapable of attaining his intellectual level. It’s obviously bonkers but bonkers seems to be par for the course with him.

    Adrien, I don’t think that there is even that level of reasoning behind it. He has no conception of what leadership is all about; he just thinks that the only reason that he’s not emperor of the world is because all those nasty minorities, not to mention the majority otherwise known as women, are ganging up on him to deprive him of his throne.

    Way back in the mists of time I was recruited under the banner headline of wanting to be ‘In Command at 30′, with the additional requirements of being literate, numerate, curious, sceptical and good at problem solving. It was interesting going through the whole recruitment process because it was fairly easy to predict the people who were not going to pass; they didn’t understand that in order to be in command they had to be able to lead, and they didn’t understand that in order to lead they had to be able to persuade people to follow them. Nor did they understand that respect is something you have to earn when it comes to leading a bunch of people; it doesn’t come automatically with the title ‘boss’…

  270. [Deleted because Matthew King already flounced off the thread, and his return added nothing more than further examples of his bad logic. Don’t announce you are leaving the thread if you’re just going to return, Matt. Also, attempting to hide your own misogyny by quoting others is just poor form – JS]

  271. Matthew said:

    ‘the absence of a single word (among the forty-or-so responses) contrary to the host’s opinion since I last posted.’

    You appear to have entirely overlooked my post in which I said, contrary to John’s opinion:

    ‘John
    I’m not sure that I would classify them as the common or garden variety troll; most trolls don’t need other people egging them on before they go and dump a pile of shit on someone’s website. The VD lot seem to be pretty wimpy; perhaps trollet would be more descriptive.’

    You know, Matthew, it would help if you actually read the posts…

  272. @ David

    I noticed that, too. Perhaps Matt was bored and changed his mind. That happens. This is a good place to get unbored.

    @ Stevie: “You know, Matthew, it would help if you actually read the posts…”

    I don’t believe he can. I noticed he referred to commenters as “thinkers (and men)”. I’m not sure whether he means that only men can think, or that men aren’t thinkers. Since he’s a self-described man, and demonstrably poor at making an argument, I’m going with the latter: i.e. Matt is unable to think. It’s reasonable to extrapolate that if he read the posts, it wouldn’t help.

    I believe the quote is, “any gorilla can read Nietzsche; they just don’t understand him.”

  273. Matt isn’t here to make a point, or to say anything, but to provoke a reaction so he can go back among the other would-be alpha-male losers and crow about how “brave” he was here. So I’m not going to point out that he also apparently doesn’t know some pretty basic terminology of blogging…oh wait. OK, but it ends there.

  274. OK, so I may have but the body of a weak and feeble woman but I can spot the big 400 when I see it, and in order to justify annexing it I shall make a modest proposal for the first draft of ‘An Extremely Incomplete Guide to Not Being an Idiot on John Scalzi’s Blog’.

    Read the post(s).

    No, I mean really read the post(s).

    No, you are not telepathic, nor are you omniscient, so read the post(s).

    Reply to the post(s).

    No, I mean really reply to the post(s).

    No, a bunch of stuff you thought up which you thought makes you look good doesn’t constitute replying to the posts(s), unless, of course, the post(s) invite you to post a bunch of stuff you thought up which you think makes you look good, in which case have at it and well done…

  275. Congratulations on comment #400, Stevie. Way to use your power for good.

    I learned a lot from this little incident. I learned that VD and his pals are creepers from way back; I got a glimpse inside the minds of creepers, en masse; my appreciation for the Mallet and its contribution to civil discourse and constructive disagreement has deepened immeasurably; as has my appreciation for our local conservatives, dissenters, and contrarians; and I’ve seen it proven that it’s fruitless to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

    I’ve also noted that the creepers are happy to jump on a thread that is otherwise largely innocuous, but stay right the hell out of threads that are controversial and include hundreds of multi-paragraph, tightly reasoned, highly contentious, but polite, comments.

    All in all, a highly educational week.

  276. “and I am on my phone.”

    You see, THIS is the problem with the current generation of tyrannical dictators; Back in the day all the major broadcast mediums were things like TV or radio or PA systems or loudspeakers or just standing on the battlements yelling at the angry villagers with Pitch Forks & Torchs™.

    Now with mobile phones and all this touchtweet instavines malarky your average tyrannical dictator has to cram all the melodrama and shaking their fist in the face of god and decency into 100 or so characters (including hashtags!), to ensure that the angry peasants can retweet them.

    But what melodrama have we lost? What doomed butthurt goes unsung? For this increasing speed in interaction does seem to do naught but rob the vile of their dying breath, and their audience of the full joy and ceremony of the victory hard won.

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