Posted on January 21, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 32 Comments
More coming later in the day when I have some real work done, but first: Notes!
* First, hey, I made it home. And it’s good to be here. For three days, after which I travel again. Sigh.
* After a week of working off my Acer netbook, my desktop monitor looks like a stadium Jumbotron. It’s awesome.
* I have a little more than a week’s worth of mail to wade through, which I will try to do today and tomorrow. I’ll do my usual Obligatory Mail Post when I’m done with that, signaling you if you’ve not heard from me and wanted to that you may resend. Please don’t until then.
* Yes, I watched the inauguration, and yes, I teared up. For a couple of reasons, which you can probably figure out. Then I walked about saying “Happy New President Day!” to people. That said, my feeling at the moment is: Congratulations, Mr. President. Now get to work.
* I’m very disappointed that in the previous comment thread, people spent so much time feeding the troll. Really, people: Haven’t I trained you better at this point? Do you really need me to be here and moderate every thread? When someone comes in brandishing several of the Troll Playing Cards™ and slaps them down on the conversational table, don’t you know to walk away? It’s the three-card monte of online conversation: no matter what you say, the troll wins. Please leave trolls alone, won’t you? Even when I’m away? I would appreciate it. Thank you.
Now, off to catch up on some stuff. See you all a little bit later.
What? Poking a bear with a stick through the cage bars is a bad idea?
The problem is the bear’s not in a cage, and it’s not even a bear, it’s a dude in a bear suit, and the bear suit hasn’t been washed in 20 years, and the dude’s been drinking cough syrup for fun.
What? Poking a bear with a stick through the cage bars is a bad idea?
I’m thinking it’s worse to get a bitch slap from Mr Scalzi though.
But what to do when the OP is the troll?
Oh goody, I hadn’t read the thread – now I have morning entertainment!
“That said, my feeling at the moment is: Congratulations, Mr. President. Now get to work.”
Which is pretty much what he said to *us.*
the dude’s been drinking cough syrup for fun.
_That’s_ what the smell was…
Ooh, more practice in troll ignoring!
Well, if you’d just ban Patrick we wouldn’t have these problems…
So you criticize feeding the trolls in one thread, while in the thread immediately before it you poke a big ol’ stick into the cage yourself?
Now, I don’t begrudge you your opinions, but isn’t that just a leeeeetle too much?
So far the commentary has mentioned the Oath and the Music. As a professional writer, I was more impressed by The Address (“… We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders…”), and The Poem (“… take out your pencils…”) and the Benediction “”… the Red Man can get ahead, man….”
“three-card monte of online conversation.”
So full of win.
Re: Trolls, I’m fond of Neal Stephenson’s quote:
“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be–or to be indistinguishable from–self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
That said, sometimes it is fun when you happen to have a little free time yourself.
“When someone comes in brandishing several of the Troll Playing Cards™ and slaps them down on the conversational table, don’t you know better than to walk away?”
Did you mean– know enough to walk away?
The thing that teared me up more than anything else was the kids in the trees.
I was an inaugural volunteer working in the non-ticketed area, way back near the WWII memorial where there are lots of climbable trees. As the event got under weigh, the trees began to fill up with children. There were children of every race and background, varying in age from those barely big enough to climb to those barely small enough to fit in the branches. As the crowd gathered, those in the trees reached down and helped pull other kids up alongside them–kids they’d never met and didn’t know.
They inherited a universe that’s bigger than the one I grew up with. More things are possible in their America than were possible in the America that existed before. And that’s really cool.
Ah, but we’d never get to see you wield your loving hammer of correction if we didn’t string the trolls along a little bit. We’s gots to haz our LHOC!
I almost wrote you a letter. Heck, it says here you read all of your mail, so how could I resist? I was drunk at the time too, so it would have been a wishy-washy boozy letter full of crap you just do not want to hear. Luckily I fell asleep just at the opportune moment and in the morning was too embarassed to proceed. I’m pretty proud of myself for that. Just think of all the time I saved you. (G)
In defense of Bush (yes, I tend to do that, and no, I’m not trying to be a troll), lets remember all the things many of you (Scalzi included) THOUGHT he might do that he did indeed not do.
#1 Issue a whole bunch of political pardons at the end of his term. The Bush-haters were guaranteeing this would happen, and it didn’t. Not even Scooter Libby. Bush is saying that if Obama wants to put him or his staff in jail, Obama can do that. And Bush deserves credit for that.
#2 Crazy coup theories – Even Scalzi discussed some theories about Bush and the military seizing control of the US and not giving up power at the end of his term. In Scalzi’s defense, he was disagreeing with that theory, but still thought it was credible or common enough to post on Whatever.
#3 Starting new wars with Iran/North Korea/whoever. Starting a war with Iraq was way more than Bush bargained for, and despite dismal predictions otherwise, he never started another one since then. That means one whole presidential term without a new war!
I’ve spent the last several years hearing the anti-bush crazies come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories and unfounded allegations against Bush, explaining how evil he was and all the secret goals he was working towards. In the end though, none of that looks to be true. The only fundamental mistake he seems to have made was to overreact to 9/11. He pushed us into pre-emptive war, allowed some forms of torture as interrogation techniques, repealed some privacy rights in the name of national security, etc.
These things shouldn’t have been done, and he deserves to be taken to task for them. But he was doing what he thought the country needed in response to the threat he saw from terrorism. Not to make Halliburton rich. Not because of secret Jewish lobbying groups. Not for any of the silly reasons put forth over the last several years. He just thought the threat was bigger and stronger than it was, and picked a bad strategy to deal with it.
He was not evil guys. He just wasn’t very good.
Matthew @#19: So we’re supposed to be happy he didn’t totally disregard the Constitution?
Sheesh, talk about your low expectations.
Regarding this point above:
“#2 Crazy coup theories – Even Scalzi discussed some theories about Bush and the military seizing control of the US and not giving up power at the end of his term. In Scalzi’s defense, he was disagreeing with that theory, but still thought it was credible or common enough to post on Whatever.”
I can’t find the post I was refering to in the Whatever archives, so perhaps I am getting a Whatever post confused with a post on some other blog. But I REALLY thought it was here… Looks like I was wrong, so I apologize for that!
And to DG Lewis – I was more trying to make a point about his intentions, rather than his actions. I’m saying that his actions were incompetent, but his intentions were rooted in what he thought was best for defending the country. As opposed to allegations that his intentions were based on greed, corruption, love of war, terms of soul-ownership contract with undead lord, etc.
Yeah, if I mentioned the coup thing it was probably to tell people to take off the tin foil hats.
“Yeah, if I mentioned the coup thing it was probably to tell people to take off the tin foil hats.”
Take them off? Damn.
I guess the super glue was not such a good idea afterall.
I’m saying this as a former Math Professor, not as a Troll or anti-Troll:
Although Barack Obama said in his Inauguration Address:
“Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath,” the number is actually the nice prime 43, as Stephen Grover Cleveland was both the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States.
I blame those damn troll dolls from the ’60s. You know the ones I mean. They made people think trolls were cute and friendly, although in need some training in personal grooming.
Shorter Matthew: “George Bush; not as bad as your craziest fantasies.”
Small comfort, that.
Matthew @ 20: He was not evil guys. He just wasn’t very good.
Indeed, as Hanlon’s Razor reminds us, Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Tho’ I will say that I’d probably choose a slightly stronger word than overreact to explain pre-emptive war, torture, and the repeal of privacy rights ;)
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Thank you! I’ve been sort of vaguely looking for a specific reference to that one for ages!
Jonathan Vos Post @ 25:
I heard a reporter from the Washington Post on the radio on Tuesday. He said the Post noticed the 44/43 goof, called Obama’s staff, and were told that the speechwriters knew the correct number but thought people would be confused by it, couldn’t figure out how to explain about Cleveland without dragging down the speech, so they just ran with it. The reporter was amused that this was the first question the Post had for the new President.
DarcyPennell @ 30:
I think Obama and staff should have gone with the correct number and let people figure it out, rather than contributing to the dumbing down of America. I was like the year 2000/Millennium thing: the new millennium started in 2001, of course. Peter Jennings was asked about referring to 2000 as the start of the new millennium, and he responded that he knew it wasn’t, but it was easier to go with popular opinion on the matter. That kind of stuff drives me nuts!
Hap Aziz @ 31:
And I should have said, “rather than contribute…”