Apologizing for Idiotic Smackfights

Yeah, I got into a stupid smack-around on the SFWA ElectionBlog (actually a newsgroup) with one of the SFWA VP candidates, thus showing I have the maturity to lead a major writer’s organization. This is the post where I admit I was a moron for having done it, and make various apologies.

Sigh. Being a grown-up is hard.

Check out other conversations too — lots of interesting topics relating to SFWA, plus a few flamewars to add a special kick.

25 Comments on “Apologizing for Idiotic Smackfights”

  1. Very well said. A more suspicious person might suspect that you acted poorly so that you would have an opportunity to write such an eloquent and sincere apology. Thankfully, I’m not a very suspicious person.

    On a (completely un)related note, where can I send money to start work on those coal-burning Pournellemobiles?


  2. Everyone gets a case of the dumbass now and again. Not everyone can diagnose their own case and treat it promptly and appropriately as you did.

  3. Y’all are drifting off message. There will be no Pournellemobiles unless they are powered by clean-burning Kentucky coal! The important part of this whole debate is that my particular ideas, as supported by anecdotal evidence provided by me, be acknowledged and, yes, priviliged.

    Scalzi, you’d think you’re letting just anybody comment in here. Damned blogs and their damned blog interfaces and their damned blog commentating. Didn’t you get the mimeographed NNTP tutorial I mailed you?

  4. Christopher:

    I did, but I guess the printing fumes must have got to me.

    I agree, a Pournellemobile without clean-burning Kentucky coal is not a Pournellemobile worth having. Death to all other Pournellemobiles!

  5. 1. Gag. Could you be any less self-congratulatory within an apology? Why not just man up and state it siumple. No self-pat on the back as you do it. This is weak.

    2. Give a link to where you fucked up as well.

  6. Best part of that clean-burning is wonderful lunar landscapes…er…moonscapes it leaves for all my brothers and sisters in Eastern Kentucky. Those mountains were just in the way, and with the soon coming tourism to see the great green pyramids, I’m sure there’s gonna be more to do back home than join the Army. Clean coal–get it while you can.

    By the way, young Christopher, kudos on your nominations. Always good to see a Kentucky boy do well.

  7. 2. Give a link to where you fucked up as well.

    At least some of the discussion was on a member-only board, so it’s not linkable.

  8. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, for rizzle.

    Good work. Takes a big man to admit a medium sized mistake.

  9. 1. So was the argument on a hidden area, or not? If not, let’s see it. (That’s what the internet is for!)

    2. If it was in a hidden area, why was the apology made in a different area than the argument?

  10. I don’t know, John. From the outside it looked to me as if someone else in the conversation paved the road, you just walked down it. But, yeah, it was time for someone to be the grown-up.

    Just looking at this slice of the SFWA pie, it appears like there needs to be some antiseptic sunshine applied.

  11. TCO:

    Some of the discussion is in that newsgroup, some of it in private newsgroups. The private newsgroup discussions are private and anyone leaking them is subject to getting his/her ass kicked out of SFWA, so it’s not likely anyone’s going to perform that service for you. As for the where the contentious posts are in the public newsgroup, find them yourself; your fingers ain’t broken, as far as I can tell.

  12. I’m looking. I still think if you are going to apologize (and pat yourself on the back while you do it) that you ought to show where you went wrong.

    Oh…and it’s lame to say that the private stuff is hidden. You’ve already shown with the public stuff, that you won’t link to it. Will make me look for it. Capisce?

  13. This whole debate has been fascinating. I have to admit, as an outsider, that watching the Burt/Scalzi catfight was entertaining in that Jerry Springer kind of way, but I’m glad it’s over. I’m not eligible for the SFWA yet, but I’d always planned on joining when I was — just because it seemed like an easy way to mark yourself as a pro. I’d never actually thought that it was supposed to _do_ anything.

    The good part of this whole thing is that I now know a lot more about what the SFWA does and doesn’t do. The bad part is that it’s left me with a (hopefully) skewed impression on the effectiveness of the organization to the point that I’m not entirely sure I’d want to be a part of it. Still, John’s platform looks like some promising first steps towards making the SFWA something I’d want to be involved with. (Who am I kidding? I’ll probably join either way when I can.)

    One thing that affects me as a wannabe “pro” is the discussion about which markets to let in, and from what I’ve seen it’s great that this whole debate has stirred that up. I can’t be the only writer who checks the market against the SWFA list to see if it’s “pro” before submitting. I’m willing to bet that the SFWA list of pro markets drives at least 70% of submissions to those markets while the “non-pro” markets get the trickle-down. I’m not market-savvy enough to say if that’s the way it should be or not, but it seems a bit amiss — especially when many “non-pro” markets seem to warrant inclusion.

    I’m just glad that sort of thing is getting talked about. Assuming I ever both become a member of the SFWA and build a time machine, I’ll tell my future self to come back to now and vote for you. And, you know…kill John Connor.

  14. Hey — totally off topic, but from when we were talking earlier —

    Turns out it was a 6.7, several injuries and one person dead in Ishikawa Prefecture, maybe fifty miles west of where I was in Matsumoto at the time. Totally wreaked havoc on the shinkansen schedules today, and it’s all over the TV here (dunno if there’s any coverage back stateside).

    Just thought you might be interested. So, hi from Niigata! Send me your address and I’ll send you a postcard if you want.

  15. I’m reading through your catfight now. Pretty funny. I actually agree with Burt’s comments about you being a bit of a shoot from the hip, think something is new type (the comment where you talked about reading BOOT to learn about the military…sheesh).

    But them, I start seeing this stuff about Burt not giving his b ibliographjy (and not having that much published) and having a loan from the org (WTF?).

    Damn…what a mess.

  16. > you talked about reading BOOT to
    > learn about the military.

    I missed that. Is there a book called “Boot”? Sounds interesting. How do I find it? (Amazon and B&N don’t seem to have a book by that title listed).

  17. Christian:

    It’s here.

    TCO: I didn’t need Boot to learn about the military; I have numerous relatives who have been in the military, including my brother, who was in the Gulf War in ’91. I read it to learn some of the specifics of boot camp life. Any one who has read Boot and OMW will know that OMW’s boot camp is not modeled extensively after the one that existed when Boot was written, but it was nice to have useful background.

  18. Dude: I’m still reading through the catfight. That Burt dude is wacked. I don’t want you apologizing to him. What a goober. Mr. multi-millionaire. With a $12,000 loan (payment?) for some program for putting more copies of stuff on the web? And his publications suck. And worse than that. He’s not phlegmatic and upfront, when asked a question. You’re not perfect either. Mind you. But that dude is wacked.

  19. John, I think you can take these guys. I’m pretty sure they’re all armed with are plastic light sabers, and some very light-weight insults.

    I’d say go with the big stick as your weapon of choice. With the stick as a threat, you move forward until to abandon their food supply. Once you have all the Doritos, it’s only a matter of time until they assume a submissive position.

    My only question would be–are you sure you want this gig? From the level of whining and backbiting I could access, the SFWA Presidency could very well be the worst job on this planet.

  20. Nick Stump:

    Well, as I’ve noted in my position and platform statement, it’s not really a job I want at the moment, but I felt obliged to run because it needed more than a single candidate to run, and because I don’t think Mr. Capobianco is the leader SFWA needs right now. I suspect SFWA has great potential to be aggravating (as also noted in the position/platform), but I do think most members also do want it to do useful things. I think I’ll be able to get some stuff done.

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