Holly Lisle’s Egregious Breach of Online Etiquette

Author Holly Lisle takes exception to my recent declaration that people who want to vote to Bush are either stupid, ignorant or hypocritical, and makes a few of the ad hominem swipes at me she accuses me of making at Bush. My favorite ad hominem at the moment: “But the writer of the post cited above appears to believe he is in sole possession of the truth. That any opinions different from his must be wrong.”

See, now, this is the problem when you swoop in and don’t bother to read the site disclaimer, or, for that matter, the entry directly after the one you’re kvetching about, in which I say “Also, as a reminder — just because I personally believe something doesn’t make it so,” and also, “I allow for the possibility that I could be wrong.” When you don’t read, you miss stuff. But since apparently you can’t rely on people to read more than one thing at a time, allow me to reiterate again, for the thousandth time: This site specializes in my opinion. Take it or leave it. Allow me also to suggest that if you’re swooping in, please look around at least a couple of essays before making grand pronouncements about what I think about the world. Seems the polite thing to do. And you’ll look like less of an ignorant ass.

I’m not particularly troubled by Ms. Lisle’s difference of opinion; just as I’m entitled to mine, she’s entitled to hers, and if she wants to believe that a Vietnam-avoiding, medical-skipping mediocre jet pilot who couldn’t be bothered to fulfill his National Guard duty and whose father-vindicating revenge fantasy takes resources away from actually fighting terrorism and has killed 1000 American soldiers to no good effect is somehow more trustworthy than Kerry, who by all official indications served honorably in Vietnam although she vaguely accuses of him causing POWs to be tortured by his actions in Vietnam, that’s her prerogative. I admit I find the ability to be morally outraged at Kerry’s apparently tenuous connection to torture in Vietnam while apparently sanguine to the 1,000 verifiable American military deaths in Iraq that are Bush’s dance card, well, puzzling (not to mention Abu Ghraib, if we’re going to get all aroused about people’s actions being the causative vector for torture). But since Lisle maintains she’s not stupid, ignorant or a contemptible hypocrite, I’m sure she has her reasons.

No, what really gets my cheese is that she writes an online rant about all this, whacks on me — and then leaves no good way for me to respond directly. The entry has no commenting ability, for one thing, but I can’t get too worked up about that, since I didn’t implement comments here on the Whatever until last year. But she also doesn’t leave an e-mail open to the public. Not even a lousy Web site guestbook. She did have one of those at one point, but apparently took it down because she’s busy writing a book. Well, you know. As someone who will have at least two and possibly three books to write between now and next June, Ms. Lisle’s situation ain’t exactly breaking my heart. I’m especially less impressed with the “I’m busy with my books” excuse since she has time to write 1,700 words of self-righteous “more in sorrow than in anger” twaddle with me starring as her incorrectly-designated spank monkey.

Really, if she’s got enough time in her terribly busy schedule to whack on me for that long, she’s got enough time to peruse an e-mail from my self-same person. If nothing else, it would save me the time of writing an entry with just enough snit and bitch to assure that someone will go running off to tell on me to her, and she will come and take a look, per my Law of Internet Invocation. Honestly, this is so inefficient. All I wanted to do was tell her that I don’t think I’m always right and everyone else is wrong, and in fact, I’ve written words to that effect multiple times on the site. Instead, I have to do this. Don’t you see? I’m the victim!

Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re crying me roughly the same river of tears I’m crying for Ms. Lisle. And to be honest about it, no one is more surprised at how annoyed I am that I have no simple online avenue of communication with Ms. Lisle than I. Ms. Lisle of course has the perfect right to be left alone electronically — if she doesn’t want to hear from the chattering mass of potential e-mailers and online commentors, she shouldn’t be made to, even when one of those potential e-mailers or commentors is me.

And yet, here I am, irritated as all hell. Guess what: I apparently firmly believe that if you’re going to write something about someone online, and put it up for the world to see, if you don’t offer them some avenue of public or private comment, there’s something basically chickenshit about that. One of the great innovations of writing online is that response is immediate, and (once you chop the occasional moron off at the knees) it’s intelligent, compelling stuff — reading to be encouraged, not feared.

I point with pride to my own commentors, almost all of whom are class acts, and almost none of whom have shown evidence of being either fawning parrots or antagonistic jerks. Even the commentors who don’t actually like me typically leave comments worth reading. I take pride in the fact I trust my readers enough to let them have free run of the place; they repay my trust by making the place a more interesting to be. E-mail is slightly more wild and wolly — people are more inclined to make asses of themselves privately than in a public comment thread — but even then it’s no great hardship to ignore the idiots and engage the interesting. Hiding from that sort of exchange — the innovation that truly differentiates online writing from print — is pretty bogus. Particularly when you go out of your way to criticize someone else.

So, note to Holly Lisle and anyone else who writes online but doesn’t bother to leave a point of contact: Don’t be such a damned coward. Have the tiny sliver of personal courage it takes to allow people to respond to you online, particularly the folks you choose to beat upon. Be a part of the online medium, instead of merely taking advantage of it.

And Ms. Lisle, if you’re reading: the e-mail address is john@scalzi.com. Or you can leave a message in the comment thread. Try it! You may like it.

56 Comments on “Holly Lisle’s Egregious Breach of Online Etiquette”

  1. That was awesome, John.

    Sorry to be so banal in my feedback, but Holly’s been needing to hear something along those lines for some time. I stopped reading her a while ago because I was turned off by the angry swipes she takes at people she disagrees with, and not just public personas, either.

    I doubt she’ll really “hear” what you’re saying, if she reads this, but it needed to be said.

    I tend to label actions, rather than people. Telling a lie does not a liar make, or we’ve all earned that designation. I don’t think she, or you, is stupid, ignorant, or a hypocrite, but I do think that some of what she’s said is.

    That said, even without open email, she’s provided a means to contact her. Just isn’t as convenient for us. Snail mail.

    But I’m going to print your post out and mail it to her. Won’t be timely when she gets it, but at least we will know she’s seen it.

  2. Oh, and BTW, Holly, if you are reading this, you can catch me at Forward Motion, your old cyber-digs. I won their rejection slip contest last year. *wink*

  3. Libbet says:


    Damn! I missed that in my own Google search. I’m clearly an idiot. I don’t think it invalidates the general theory, however, of the need to make communication easy. If someone has a Web page and you have to Google their name to find an e-mail address, they’re not really going out of their way to be accessible.

    Ah, well. I already went through the trouble of writing the entry. Might as well let her come to the site.

    For the record, I have no intention of becoming a bitter enemy of Ms. Lisle — outside of this little interaction I have no opinion about her one way or another (I haven’t read any of her books, either, so I can’t say how they are, although I’ll note that she and I have the same publisher for at least one of our books). She could be a delightful person, or not. I work with what I have.

  4. “If someone has a Web page and you have to Google their name to find an e-mail address, they’re not really going out of their way to be accessible.”

    True, the point still stands. But it could be handy to have for future reference :)

  5. I guess it’s not always so exciting to read what people think of you, huh? Never fear, your faithful groupies will send her plenty of hate mail on your behalf. I speak from experience.

    I also take back my compliment.

  6. Demolition Woman says:

    “I also take back my compliment.”

    Aw, well. Easy come, easy go.

    As far what Lisle thinks of me: Eh. My ego is such that I don’t require everyone to love me, like me, or even think indifferently of me. My wife, child and editor think I’m swell, and that’s everyone I need to worry about. As for what she wrote, I’ve read worse, more interestingly put. If you want to read someone really try to take me apart, take a look at this: http://www.valvis.net/20030531.shtml. He’s even bagging on me as a *writer,* so it’s even more mean. If accusing me of monomania is the best Lisle can do, she’s only middlin’ insulting, which in itself is not enough to raise my blood pressure. She can think what she wants to think. My gripe is that she doesn’t bother to leave me a convenient way to comment.

    I certainly hope no one takes it upon themselves to slag Holly Lisle on my behalf. One, outside the specifics discussed here, I have no beef with Lisle. Two, It’s rude. Three, I hope the people who enjoy my writing think more of themselves than being my mere minions. Based on experiences, I don’t think I need to worry about that last one.

    But to be clear: If you’re planning a vindictive attack on Holly Lisle on my behalf, please don’t. That’s not nice. Any unniceness between me and Holly Lisle should come from me or Holly Lisle. I think we’re both old enough to take care of ourselves.

  7. Heh. I read that comment on Ms Lisle’s site yesterday, and thought ‘OK, rant coming up, I’ll skip that’. I love reading her writing diary (even if I’ve never actually read her books) but the politics I can’t take so well. Had I known she was linking to you I might have read on. On second thought, maybe not, because I’m not reading it now, it seems…

  8. Heh indeed, Marrije.

    I certainly understand that. I imagine that when I get all ranty and political, there’s a certain not insignificant percentage of my readers who are like, “he’s off his meds again; I’ll come by tomorrow.” And that’s totally fair in my book, especially since I do it myself with some of my favorite writers who happen to also write online.

  9. I guess that is the major problem with posting an opinion in a public forum. You expect both negative and positive feedback, but there will always be someone who takes what you say personally and launches into a blind close-minded attack.
    I have re-read email responses to posts and thought; are they even talking about the same subject that I wrote about or did I just dust off their soapbox for them?

    Politics and/or religion almost always envoke at least one extremist to take a stab at you, but you handled the situation better than I would have.

  10. JamesG writes:

    “Politics and/or religion almost always envoke at least one extremist to take a stab at you, but you handled the situation better than I would have.”

    Well, you know. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, even when it’s not mine. But again, my real source of irritation is not that Lisle has an opposing view to my own, or saw fit to comment on what I wrote: That is indeed the “cost” of writing publicly and one I gladly pay. I like being a motivation for discussion and commentary, even if I end up getting a paddling. My irritation comes from not being able to send her an e-mail or leave a comment on her site.

  11. She seems upset because you characterised every Bush supporter as “stupid, ignorant, or hypocritical” (or a combination thereof). Apparently she’s in category D), None of the Above.

    Except she fits perfectly in the “ignorant” category, if’n y’read what she has to say about Kerry. It’s just a repeat of lies — exposed ages ago — told either by the RNC, Cheney, or the Swift Vets.

    True, you were talking more about people who don’t know what Bush is like, rather than people who don’t know the truth about Kerry, but she definitely fits in the “ignorant” slot here.

  12. (Hey hey 09:12, 09:13, what are the odds?)

    In fairness to Lisle, it’s not like you were denied any right of reply. You’ve got your ‘blog, which is presumably read by many more people than hers is; it’s also a place she’s able to access. She’s come across what you had to say once already, and you hadn’t even mentioned her by name then.

  13. Mark writes:

    “In fairness to Lisle, it’s not like you were denied any right of reply.”

    Clearly not. However, having posts that pass in the night is inefficient. Much easier and more practical to leave an open comment thread or e-mail address.

  14. Having read Holly Lisle’s post, I am still mystified by so-called swing voters who plan to vote for Bush. Especially one with military ties. She admits that, she doesn’t know, “that Iraq was the best place to carry the war on terrorism after we went to Afghanistan.” She ignores the fact that Bush cut benefits for troops and veterans. She ignores the fact that 1,000 soldiers are dead for a war that she apparently doesn’t think was a good idea – a war that practically no one thinks was a good idea.

    She ignores the fact that Kerry did serve, and earned medals for his service, ignoring the fact that a recent investigation by the Navy Inspector General found that they were awarded properly.


    However, Bush was photographed wearing a medal that he never earned.


    So Holly Lisle, and other swing voters, have to ask themselves – do I think that it was worse to throw medals back, after serving honorably in Vietnam, or to do everything to avoid serving, and then wear a medal that you never earned. In my opinion, as someone who has friends and family who have served in the military, I am disgusted by anyone who would wear a medal that they never earned, and am glad that the military prosecutes people who do so.

    Saying that you support the military, and the soldier who serve – as well as GWB, sounds hypocritical to me.

  15. Never mind Holly Lisle — I want to know what you did to blacken the heart of Demolition Woman! That one has the scent of mystery. >8->

  16. Steve Eley writes:

    “I want to know what you did to blacken the heart of Demolition Woman!”

    Well, actually, so do I.

  17. By inference, I’d guess that she’s assuming this is about Hurt Feelings, rather than frustrated lack of communcation ability — so she’s slotted him in the “can dish it out” but “can’t take it” category.

    I’m not, otoh, her; this is just a guess from her single post in the thread.

  18. John,

    I’m not sure if this is the time or place to bring up the following point, but I’ve waited patiently and this line by Lisle:

    “Getting the approval of the UN, building consensus, negotiating, holding peace talks … everyone has been trying this for years.”

    has taxed my patience to the point where I can wait no longer.

    Not *everyone* has been negotiating for peace. Maybe it seems like a cheap shot, or maybe people are so distracted that it doesn’t occur to them, but no one seems to mention GWB’s record on the middle east *before* Sept. 11.

    Am I the only one who remembers hearing over and over with growing dismay that Bush had no intention of involving himself in the middle east peace process? I’m not sure about Reagan, but I recall Bush 1.0 and Clinton both acting as intermediaries between Palestine and Israel, not to mention the ongoing efforts of Carter.

    Why do terrorists use the *tactic* of terrorism? Not to bring down the enemy; that never works. They do it to gain the attention of a larger power and to sway world opinion.

    It is my opinion that the single greatest contributing factor in the 9/11/01 attack was GWB’s lack of interest or concern over the Israel/Palestine situation. Palestine is the root of Islamic terrorism. For some reason we feel the need to keep sending tanks and planes to Israel to use against Palestinians. The only mitigation we provide is that we at least pay lip service to trying to foster middle east peace.

    George Bush abandoned even that lip service. Muslims saw that as a declaration of open season on Palestinians without any checks by the U.S. That above all reasons is why we were attacked.

    I just can’t believe that no one that I am aware of has brought this up.

  19. JS said: ‘I imagine that when I get all ranty and political, there’s a certain not insignificant percentage of my readers who are like, “he’s off his meds again; I’ll come by tomorrow.”‘

    I, for one, eagerly await the times you forget your meds.

    As for Ms. Lisle, for a non-Republican, she sure parrots the Republican line pretty well. Kerry is a liar! Kerry didn’t earn his medals!! We’re at war with Terror!!! Liberal Media!!!! etcetera, etcetera… She fits the spin to the one in her head.

    I noticed that she didn’t take the quiz, or at least didn’t post her results.

  20. Thinking about a blogger to whom I’d dearly love to send a COMPLIMENTARY e-mail, but he has no public e-mail address, let alone comment facility.

  21. So I guess I am the only one that thinks that GW ignoring the Middle East for a year is a big deal.

  22. “If you want to read someone really try to take me apart, take a look at this: http://www.valvis.net/20030531.shtml.”

    So I went and took a look. Unfortunately, I’ve met too many “writers” like him. My only questions would be: And how successful at writing are you? And how successful at writing is John?

    He even says that “hell [Scalzi] start reciting his publication credits as proof of his excellence.” I don’t know about y’all, but that works for me. That is one mark of the successful writer, that others find your work readable.

    The weird thing is that he keeps calling you a friend. I know he never names you, but friends like that none of us need.

    Tom Nixon

  23. Stephen said:

    “So I guess I am the only one that thinks that GW ignoring the Middle East for a year is a big deal.”

    Nope. It’s just that it’s just another thing for the pile.

  24. For a strange moment, I kept thinking she was writing about Bush when she referred to Kerry and vice versa (ie…talking about paperwork releases and medals of uncertain provenance.)

    She says internationalist like it’s a bad thing. I mean, we only have the one planet so far. (I keep hoping we’ll get more, but it hasn’t happened yet. Same with that Jetson’s future we was promised.)

    I agree with her on the statement that terrorism isn’t just going to go away, but I don’t know why she (for somebody who so faithfully points out ad hominem fallacies) then draws the conclusions that we will A) ignore it with B) a president who is afraid to get his hands dirty and C) by implication, Kerry would be that president.

    I was crying a river of tears, but I think that’s because I was eating pizza with onions on it.

  25. I read Ms. Lisle’s blog briefly, mainly because a lot of writerly folk out there kept recommending it, and yeah, there was some good stuff there. But then there was the sheer kookery — the citing of Ann Coulter as “well researched”, the flogging of some gonzo stuff from WorldNetDaily, claiming to be a “non-Republican” while at the same time spouting on about how colleges are little incubators for liberals and how if you wanna comment on her blog well that’s fine but don’t you dare slag “her President”.

  26. John:

    Let me state from the outset that I don’t like either of the candidates. I think that a contest between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama would provide two far better choices for all of us.

    That having been said, it seems that in the last ten years or so, the concept of the “loyal opposition” has gone by the wayside. (This trend was admittedly begun in the 1990s by conservatives who couldn’t accept the fact that the other side was in power for the moment.)

    I don’t think that anyone is going to argue that G.W. Bush has been our best President to date. Clearly he has been a disappointment in a number of areas.

    However, you do sound a bit like the mirror image of some conservative commentators circa 1994. (I personally did not vote for Clinton, but nor did I believe him to be the anti-Christ that so many Republicans made him out to be.)

    Kerry may in fact be the better candidate (and we may indeed have a chance to find out), but the Kerry vs. Bush debate is ultimately one that reasonable people can disagree on.

    Without the Democrats to restrain the dark impulses of the Republicans, the U.S. would resemble a Judeo-Christian version of Iran. And without the Republicans to restrain the reality disconnects of the Democrats, the country would resemble, well–some strange experiment concocted by Ted Kennedy and Michael Moore.

    A bit of perspective is in order. Before you declare George Bush to be the worst President in living memory, I urge you to recite to yourself two words that continue to stir unpleasant memories in anyone old enough to remember the 1970s: “Jimmy Carter.”

    Wasn’t it a blast to wait in line for gasoline, get pushed around everywhere on earth, and endure double-digit inflation? THAT remarkable losing streak makes Dubya look mediocre, at the very least.

  27. Ed trimnell compares “Dubya” to Carter; are you kidding? In every measurable economic factor Carter out performed him, except the inflation rate.This however, was largely out of his control, what with the rise of opec.Clearly, this is the only thing he remembers of that time(todays gas prices are getting kind of high,eh?). Camp david accords? Genuine attempts at mid-east peace?And as we found out later,Iran didn’t release the hostages because they were afraid of Ron Reagan,but because,well you know…..

  28. I was afraid of Ron Reagan. He was senile when he entered office. He claimed that there were no homeless people in America. In a way very much like Bush. They both live(d) in a christian fantasy world where what was “right” (as determined by christian morals) was more important than citizen’s quality of life and wise old white men ran government and business hand in hand and meted out patriarchial wisdom to the great inferior masses. I fear such people; they are capable of anything.

  29. David K. writes:”Ed trimnell compares “Dubya” to Carter; are you kidding?”

    Even die-hard liberals admit that things were pretty bleak under Carter. Why do you think that Bill Clinton put so much effort into that “New Democrat” line? (“New Democrat” was a thinly disguised code word for “not Jimmy Carter.”)

    As for Jimmy Carter “outperforming” G.W. Bush–what about the double-digit unemployment rate AND the double-digit interest rates (as well as the double-digit inflation rate which David K. acknowledges)?

    I am curious about the suggestion that the astronomically high inflation rate of the 1970s was beyond Carter’s control, but the 5% – 6% unemployment rate of 2001 – 2004 period is conclusive proof of Dubya’s incompetence.

  30. I’m willing to rate both Dubya and Carter even on the economy; they’re both bad. I think Dubya takes the undisputed lead in the incompentence race with his performance in Iraq. Let’s recall that Carter, for whatever his other presidential flaws, shepherded a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt that stands to this day.

  31. Carter was clearly a smarter man. Carter wasn’t great but he was partially a victim of his times. GW has masterminded most of his failures. I believe that to be an important distinction.

  32. I just don’t remember the Carter antipathy. Of course, I was three by the time he left office, but my parents were both Reagan Republicans, and while I remember that they were excited about Reagan getting in, I just don’t remember that level of castigation.

    Bill Clinton, on the other hand….oh my Lord. My mother, and we had a huge argument about this while playing a bout of Apples to Apples, puts Bill and Hillary on the same level as Adolph Hitler. Almost. (Apples to Apples is a card game, where somebody tosses down an adjective–we’ll say CRAZY–and everybody else tosses down a person, place, thing card from their hand of six. The person who drew the adjective card, then judges everybody’s card for applicability.) I tossed Adolph for CRAZY, and my mother tossed Hillary, and while I realise she wanted to get the points from winning the adjective, it just seemed a bit extreme to argue extensively about it for fifteen minutes.)

  33. The more I read about this year’s election…

    …the more I agree with John, that I wish it were over already. Too many True Believers, with their Alternate Reality Fields, on either side. Thank goodness that neither set of True Believers will swing this election…but I do wish the ‘undecided’ folk would hurry up and come to a decision.

    Still another forty-some days to go, the pain, the pain…

  34. RE: http://www.valvis.net/20030531.shtml

    That was really harsh. I haven’t read your fiction to evaluate whether its accurate, but it went right for the soft spots. Ouch.

    Obviously you don’t have to tell us, but what was the fall-out from the post? Were you friends and are you two still friends? Did you change your writing in any way as a result? Or was this just the public version of an argument you two had been having anyway?

    Nosy Nellies want to know!

  35. PiscusFiche:
    “I tossed Adolph for CRAZY, and my mother tossed Hillary, and while I realise she wanted to get the points from winning the adjective, it just seemed a bit extreme to argue extensively about it for fifteen minutes.”

    It’s certainly against the spirit of the game. The whole idea of Apples to Apples is that only one person’s opinion counts. But everyone gets to take turns being that person.

    (In that sense I guess it’s like a blog community.)

  36. Hrm. You know, I don’t allow comments on SYLB either, but that’s because I got fucking tired of cleaning up after all the spammin’ mofos. I’m a little out of the Movable Type loop — are there good ways of dealing with the comment spam problem? I’m thinkin’ there must be, else how would folks like you and the Nielsen Haydens ever leave your keyboards? I’m just a l’il blogger, and I was getting spammed out the keister.

    Then again, I doubt that there’s a lot on SYLB to get anyone’s dander up. But if it were up, my email is certainly available.

    Anyways. If there’s a solution to the spam problem, pass it on!

  37. Barrett writes:

    “Obviously you don’t have to tell us, but what was the fall-out from the post? Were you friends and are you two still friends? Did you change your writing in any way as a result? Or was this just the public version of an argument you two had been having anyway?”

    Jim and I are acquainted by way of overlapping online acquaintances; it’d probably be a little much to call us actual friends.

    The essay I linked you to comes out of a disagreement he and I had in the comment thread to an earlier entry of mine in which I noted that many of the writing skills I use in one field of writing I find useful in other fields as well; his opinion (both in a general sense and regarding my writing) clearly differs. He’s entitled to his opinion; I’m inclined toward my own point of view. Purely as a practical matter, a quick name search on Amazon may give some indication on how each of our writing philosophies are working for us.

    I haven’t changed anything about how I write since Jim posted his commentary; why should I?

  38. Tom Nixon said:
    He even says that “hell [Scalzi] start reciting his publication credits as proof of his excellence.” I don’t know about y’all, but that works for me. That is one mark of the successful writer, that others find your work readable.

    At best that’s a proof of competence. Offhand I can’t think of anything I read because of it’s excellence, I’m not sure I’d even be able to recognize excellence in writing. I do watch Shyamalan’s Unbreakable in some part to marvel at it’s excellence (same for the special effects in Jurrasic Park). But that’s quite unusual for me, and I would guess for most members of the public, and I’m perfectly happy reading crappy writing if it engages me.

    But offhand I don’t recall Scalzi claiming excellence. Not that I’d care if he did.

  39. Andrew Wade writes:

    “But offhand I don’t recall Scalzi claiming excellence. Not that I’d care if he did.”

    I am eeeeeeexcelleeent!!!

    Most of the writers I think of being “excellent” writers are writers whose style is wildly different from mine; Mark Helprin, who I’ve mentioned before, is someone I think is an excellent writer and one I could never emulate.

    I think that a lot of writers who I think of as “excellent” writers are in love with what words *are*, whereas most writers (and I include myself in this category) are in love with what words can *do*.

  40. I’ve posted here just a couple of times … led here by a friend who is also a friend of our esteemed host (that’s Roger Baker, John). I’ve enjoyed it. But I dissent…

    I find this a little … well, self indulgent to the point of mastubatory (loud response: “of course, you idiot, it’s a BLOG!”) Post a rant on your blog? Fine. Fill it with hyperbole and sweeping generalizations? Knock yourself out. But, when someone rants back, post a lengthy and irritated self-defense about how they should have read all your disclaimers, and how she’s a coward for not having the comments enabled? Meh, now you’re losing me. Her throwing a fit over your characterization of Bush supporters exists on the same plane as your criticism itself. The flaws in her analysis, and her failure to take your comments in whatever spirit you wouldl like her to take them, are no more moving than the criticisms of your comments.

    And the notion of her hiding being terrible? Well, if you were just some guy on the street without a soapbox, and couldn’t respond, maybe. But Judas Priest, she was using her fixed-address blog to criticize an entry on your blog, which she linked to, probably assuming that you’d post a response, which you did. I’m just not getting an anonymous poster vibe off of this.

    Well, you suggested you don’t want sycophants. Great blog, by the way.

  41. And by the way, for what it is worth, I’ll be voting against Bush. But I firmly believe that a lot of Bush criticism is psychologically naive — people don’t like being told they are stupid, and many don’t even like criticisms of others (like, for instance, Bush) as stupid. It’s preaching to the choir, which is fine and dandy if that’s all you are trying to do. But I always get the feeling that Karl Rove licks his lips every time someone makes a “Bush is dumb” joke and chortles when they say “Bush voters are dumb.”

  42. Ken writes:

    “But, when someone rants back, post a lengthy and irritated self-defense about how they should have read all your disclaimers, and how she’s a coward for not having the comments enabled? Meh, now you’re losing me.”

    I never said it was *logical.* I just said I found it irritating.

  43. I enjoyed this rant/snark. But I confess, I feel kind of sorry for her and yet vindicated at the same time. I’ve read her weblog before and I think that a certain kind of Bush supporter has a weird psychological block that you haven’t mentioned. (I see it in parts of the professional blogosphere–not just Ms. Lisle.)

    Bush said a bunch of things after 9/11 that some people believed (Saddamn had WMD, was behind the WTC attack, etc etc.) So these people supported the war fiercely. When the war became ugly, and the evidence of deception/admin stupidity was more widely reported, I think it was too painful for some people to accept. I think if they accepted that Bush lied, they would feel terribly guilty about their part of supporting an effort that has gotten Americans killed and endangered. So they can’t see the truth.

    Just my take on it.

    But I have seen Ms. Lisle get all weird about other things, as well, so…hard to say. I think she has a self destructive approach to the internet and a weird inability to fact check in part due to her apparent mistrust of those pesky liberal college professors.

  44. EVM says:

    “I think that a certain kind of Bush supporter has a weird psychological block that you haven’t mentioned.”

    Actually, I have, at least in the context of bloggers:


    “Most right-wing bloggers I read are either generally neutral on Bush or actually sort of dislike him for every other thing except the War on Terror — but their focus on that War on Terror is such that when it comes to it, they’re willing to put up with everything else — the contempt for most Americans, particularly the ones who are not rich, the fundamental disregard for entire swaths of the Constitution, the unseemly theocratic leanings — because they believe Bush’s actions since 9/11 have kept them safe; the entirety of their political thinking, therefore, can be summed up in the words “There’s a War On.” If Bush is in fact shown to have been negligent or incompetent in the execution of this war, what happens is that these poor folks are going to have their noses rubbed in the fact they’ve willingly compromised every other important political position they have in order to put their trust in someone in whom that trust was entirely unwarranted. In short, they’ll look like they’re naive dumbasses. For the sake of their own personal political self-image, they have to defend Bush’s war on terror to the bitter, contradictory end.”

  45. Sorry, didn’t see your previous post. (I’m an intermittent reader). I was just thinking of the three subsets of the Bush supporters you’d listed. But that’s the dynamic I was thinking of all right.

  46. Hey, can I be a fawning parrot?

    I’ve only been to this other blog of yours once before, but Andrea of Unhinged induced me to take another peek. I can see this becoming an additional distraction from work. Perhaps I should set a rule for myself: no unfiltered Scalzi before 6 PM.

    In observing Bush supporters in their native habitat, I have to say I’m mystified by my boss’s attitude, he who calls NPR “National Socialist Radio” and can call Fox “fair and balanced” with a straight face. Bush supporters I’ve talked to seem to distrust Kerry on the basis of the Swift Boat ads and the flip-flop label, fear changing horses in mid-desert, and kind of like Bush’s aw shucks persona. No, it still doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t they understand? Clearly not. Can I make them understand? I doubt it.

    And at the extreme whacko edge of the political spectrum, I saw a black Lincoln last night with a bumper sticker that spelled the name Clinton with a Hammer and Sickle for the C. Let it go, man. Either he’s way behind the times, or he’s picking on somebody else’s senator. What’s going on in that guy’s head? Does he still think that fascism is a pretty neat idea? Or is he just threatened by the idea of Hillary and/or Bill trying to get health care coverage for the rest of the country?

    *Sigh.* I just don’t get it.

    Karen (or, if you like, Skwok)

  47. Electronic Bubba writes:

    “Next time y’all have a bowel resection, make shore they connect the loose end to yore colon and not yore brain.”

    Good lord, they’ve exhumed Josh Billings and found a way to make the corpse type.