A Child’s Treasury of Deletions

Yesterday’s post garnered 800 comments before I put it to bed and I ended up deleting a record number of comments out of it, largely from presumably straight white men enraged at the idea their life doesn’t necessarily suck as much as other folks’ and/or because they ate lead paint chips as children and have impulse control issues (plus a couple from other, calmer folks following up on posts I later deleted, so theirs needed to be deleted too). Whatever the reason, I thought it would be fun to post a compendium of Malletings here for your enjoyment.

So without further ado: The Deletions of May 15, 2012!

Warning: Intemperate language follows.

[Deleted because inasmuch as the author of it admits to not reading the entry at all, anything he has to say will be aside the point for the thread — JS]

[Deleted for pointlessness. Did some site with exceptionally stupid readers just link in? — JS]

[Deleted because being a troll isn’t merit badge-worthy — JS]

[Deleted for garden variety racism, misogyny and assholishness — JS]

[Deleted for trollage — JS]

[Deleted because That Guy is a homophobic moron — JS]

[Deleted because Scorpius was already told he was off the thread — JS]

[Aaaand now Scorpius has earned a place in the moderation queue. Enjoy it, Scorpius! You’ll come out again when I decide you’re not trolling — JS]

[Further deleted because That Guy is nowhere as clever as he seems to believe he is — JS]

[Deleted because That Guy is tiresome — JS]

[Contentless troll deleted — JS]

[People who comment to tell me that they didn’t read get deleted! Because they’re jackassed trolls who have nothing to add to the conversation! — JS]

[Deleted for pointlessness — JS]

[Speaking as a white male, I have deleted the comment because of its abject stupidity — JS]

[Deleted for spittle-flinging assholishness — JS]

[Jackassed homophobia deleted — JS]

[Deleted for teh stupid — JS]

[Deleted for not being clever — JS]

[Deleted for being wrong — JS]

[Deleted for stupidity. Also, to the idiot white guy who posted this to see whether or not I would delete a comment by “beautiful strong black lesbian,” whose previous stupid comment I also deleted, nice try. — JS]

[Deleted because it’s responding to a post I deleted. Xopher, dude. Do you really think I was going to let that comment stay up? — JS]

[Name of commenter changed because pointlessly homophobic; comment deleted because 20 years of being a professional writer makes me laugh at this guy — JS]

[Jackassed assertion presented without shred of proof deleted — JS]

[pointless nonsense deleted — JS]

[Hey, you know what? Enough people responded to Don’s last stupidly sexist post that I didn’t want to delete it. But I can delete this stupidly sexist post! — JS]

[Deleted again for ridiculous misogyny. Don, consider a break from the thread, please — JS]

[Don, if you really have to ask how your posts are misogynistic, it’s probably for the best I’m deleting them as I go along — JS]

[Wow, I’m really getting tired of deleting misogyny in this thread — JS]

[Racist dipshittery deleted — JS]

[Hey, look! I’ve malleted this asshole twice! — JS]

Yes, yes. A busy day for the Mallet of Loving Correction, indeed.

185 Comments on “A Child’s Treasury of Deletions”

  1. I was really surprised (well not really) that the discussion went beyond whether or not it was a good metaphor.

  2. First of all, thanks for posting your original note, and for being willing to spend much of your day supervising a thread that (not unexpectedly) needed close moderation to remain worthwhile.

    On Twitter, you pointed to a graph showing that visits to the blog yesterday were much higher than usual. It’s clear from both the hit count and the comments that a lot of those visits were from non-regulars being referred to the post from elsewhere.

    Anything of interest to report from the referrer stats? (I’d be curious to know what sites or postings were particularly significant in referring folks here, or were particularly rich suppliers of mallet-bait.)

  3. Well, it DOES improve the malleting fu. Sometimes a work-out is necessary.

    But thanks for keeping that thread worthwile. Something about that topic always brings out the underbridgers.

  4. Is it wrong that I want to read comments because they have been deleted, even though I probably would not have read them otherwise? The answer, sadly, is yes.

  5. I didn’t think there was anything THAT offensive in the original post. Surely you’ve said much more upsetting things at various times. Why so much fuss over this one?

  6. John, your original “Straight White Male” was just about 100% dead on. As a straight white male, I am forced to make this observation: the difficulty level for me rises when I find myself defending the higher “difficulty” levels of humans. For example, if I’m caught defending a gay couple, the other straight white males of the world make my life so difficult, sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have started the game. Or if I point out that their “I’m not a racist, but …” comment is racist, my difficulty level rises.

    Perhaps there are two sets of straight white males. Those that take advantage of their privilege to the detriment to all others, and those that recognize it and wish to share it with others.

    That, too, is real life for some straight white males.

  7. John Mark Ockerbloom:

    Well, you’re correct people were definitely coming in from new places, and nearly all the people I had to Mallet were first-timers to the site (excepting the folks whose comments I deleted because they were following up on a comment I deleted).

    I did get a link in from 4Chan, but I don’t actually think any of the people I had to mallet came from there, primarily because if you piss off 4Chan-ers, they tend to swarm. I didn’t have any real flood of people trying to mess with things, just a steady stream of outraged white dudes who couldn’t reason particularly well.


    It was widely linked to and went a bit viral, is all.


    The deletion descriptions make the comments sound more interesting than they were, I assure you.

  8. Scott – because misogynists and racists are incredibly touchy when you point them out, for some reason.

    Scalzi – thank you so much for being vigilant with the Mallet of Loving Correction. I appreciate it immensely.

  9. Bless you for the original post. It’s dead-on, and the fact that you wrote it, and get it, says much about very lucky your wife and daughter are.

  10. I was watching Avengers last night. Did you loan Thor your Mallet after you closed the thread? He was correcting folks all over the place.

  11. If a man grew up in a home where his “parent” did not care enough to stop him from eating paint chips, that is a pretty serious handicap in his life. If I had that sort of childhood, I’d seriously consider trading my race, gender, or orientation for the chance to correct it.

  12. That was some truly prodigious malleting. Do you have to let it cool down or recharge or something after a thread like that? If only we could find a way to harvest energy from it the way we do regenerative breaking in cars…just image, troll malleting for fun and profit!

  13. It was a long slog, because I didn’t pick up the thread until 5pm or so. Sure was fun, though, and totally worth it. I particularly enjoyed watching Ian Ironwood flail away, declaring that if his privileges were going to be lessened, well then By God, he’d take his toys and move to Latin America, where apparently women find his sort of douchbaggery irresistible.

  14. I missed the original thread and I have a question: What’s the point of playing the game on anything but easy mode? If a straight white man can do anything I can do, only better and more easily because the game is biased in his favor, what’s the point of living my life? Why not hit “reset” and leave the game for people who actually have a shot at winning?

  15. I have to ask, is there a real mallet of deletion? It seems like the sort if thing you need for your office in a fire extinguisher case. “In case of stupid, break glass.”

  16. Meg:

    I do have a small physical mallet that someone gave me as a gift. However, I am considering commissioning an actual Mallet of Loving Correction, because, you know. Why the hell not.

  17. Thanks for weeding out that thread. Comment sections tend to be worthless because they get overrun with jerks. Your site is a wonderful exception.

  18. You, Sir, are a delight. Thank you so very much for your previous post but even more so, for this one! I am someone who happily cheers when posts such as these, rare as they are, are brought to my attention, but then in a bout of what can only be called extreme, debilitating masochism, always takes the time to read the comment thread afterwards. This often results in much screaming, railing, and gnashing of teeth. Not only was your post far less full of outright douchebaggery than any other I’ve ever encountered, you were kind enough to show us why, and I have yet to stop grinning. Thank you again.

  19. The irony behind it all is how you subtly sold your techno-right winged religious hogwash with this line, “In fact, the computer chooses the difficulty setting for you. You don’t get a choice; you just get what gets given to you at the start of the game, and then you have to deal with it,” without a hint of outrage from this flock of sheep. You digital-bible-book thumping, omnipotent computer-God worshiping lunatics won’t be happy until we are all praying “goto 10” as the solution for every problem that challenges us, and everybody seems quite ready to become part of the global virus without the slightest bit of bandwidth lag.

    It’s disgusting, really.

  20. Fertanish, if you were trying to be ironic, that was hilarious. If you were trying to be serious, that was ironic. Which makes it hilarious.

    Either way, let’s not reheat the previous thread here.

  21. And now we have a new setup line for the punch line, “… and boy, my arms are tired.” I hope you warmed up before swinging, wouldn’t want you to pull anything.

    As for getting a real one, might I suggest this one. You know, with a Hello Kitty sticker added.

  22. I can’t help thinking that when certain SWM hear “You can’t have all the cookies,” their translators change that to “You are going to starve and die like dogs.”

    But thanks for the illustration. I think I will get myself a Mallet of Loving Correction for my birthday. Just in case.

  23. Yeah, after reading this post I’m even less enthusiastic about reading the comments on the other one – because while Scalzi’s original post was thought-provoking, discussions on privilege only go one way. Downhill.

    Stephen Buchheit: the Doomhammer is kinda kitschy, and I say that as a WoW player who has the annual pass and the collector’s edition. For a Banhammer I’d want something with less Orcish “Rar! Me smash!” in it. A little more style, a little less testosterone poisoning.

  24. Brilliant. To the best of my knowledge, that’s a brand-new moderation technique.

    I maintain a Wikia called Onlinemanship that collects specimens of dysfunctional online behavior. Yesterday’s thread has been added to the links for the entry titled Straight White Affluent Male Native-Born Protestants Are Uniquely Oppressed.

    I’d collect Fertanish’s comment as a specimen for Onlinemanship, but I’m not sure what it’s an example of. “Techno-right winged religious hogwash”? Woo.

  25. I did notice you’d been linked to on Reddit in the /feminisms subreddit, which does tend, I’m afraid, to be haunted by the loonie (and very active) Men’s Rights crowd. Sorry.

  26. I felt really bad that I wasn’t going to read and participate in the comment threads after your thoughtful post, but there was no way I was going in there, even with the mallet. Sometimes you have to set limits to preserve your belief in the essential goodness of human nature, and the feeling of well-being that comes from the morning cup of coffee only goes so far.

  27. John Samuel and Fletcher, I was going for irony (visual and cultural). And the jester in me giggles at the visual of John wielding such a hammer (only, say, in a 3x size) and the last thing those being corrected will see before the lights go out is the smiling face of Hello Kitty coming to smack them. So, yeah, kitsch is exactly what the Loving Mallet of Correction should be. It just wouldn’t have the same impact as Mjölnir, a war hammer, tomahawk, or a really big judge’s gavel.

  28. Tracey C.: I was about to make my own “well it went viral and there were a lot of terrible people, must have made Reddit” comment. Somewhat disappointed to find out it wasn’t an unfounded assumption after all.

  29. John, you stated last night that the Mallet’s head had picked up a lovely sheen. What I’m curious about though is the handle: did it not also develope a lovely patina? And how did you clean up and hide all of the E-gore? Doesn’t that ruin clothing?

  30. 800 comments, but how many unique commenters, I wonder?

    Just to tell my story, that thread was my first time commenting. I follow Scalzi on Twitter (though curiously, only recently have I added this blog to my Google Reader), and after a few other sf/f writers retweeted the link approvingly, I had to check it out. And then I had to comment (I’m usually more of a lurker) when I saw people dust off and try to use some bad logic and misreading.

  31. Yeesh – I read through most of the comments of the last thread, and there were quite a few that you *didn’t* delete that I thought were more than mallet-worthy. If anything, I think you showed a fair amount of restraint with some of the more bat-shit crazy commenters. Personally, I got the most chuckles from the clueless folks who were trying to make a point to you about how if you are a SWM from a poor family, you can’t possibly be successful.

    So, speaking as a SWM who appreciates your viewpoint, thank you for posting the article, especially given that you must have known that you would be spending most of the day moderating the comment queue.

  32. For a temporary Mallet, I really can’t recommend this enough. It even has the fading echo on the thunderclap! Also, it’s soft vinyl so you can’t actually hurt anyone with it much, even if you try. I mean, that’s probably true. I wouldn’t confess in a public forum to actually having tested that or anything.

    I can’t help but think of another post of Scalzi’s, and compare even the stupidity of most of the Malleted comments with the sort of crap posts like this one get when they’re written by an author who isn’t a SWM, or on a blog that’s explicitly devoted to issues surrounded progressive issues. That’s not to diminish the post in any way (and it wouldn’t surprise me if our host got some really shitty emails as well); only to reinforce the truth of his earlier post.

  33. the metaphor of the original post was very interesting but had flaws. However, could it be said that malleting so many opposing points be a sign of intolerence itself?

  34. Considering some of the posts that didn’t meet their demise from the Mallet, I don’t think I want to know what was in the ones that did. There was some epic, shall we say, misinterpretation of the OP, but there was also a heartening number of people in that thread who did get it and deserve kudos for engaging in what must be at this point, frustratingly familiar 101ing.

  35. What I found amusing were the people who started picking apart the metaphor in order to demonstrate that it couldn’t be valid because it doesn’t account for every single individual alive everywhere ever in the entire infinite scope of the cosmos. Being pedantic over a metaphor rather misses the point of a metaphor.

  36. @whatever indeed, I dunno. Could it be said? If so, are you willing to say it?

    @Christopher Wright: what’s especially amusing is that virtually all of the complainers were saying “your metaphor doesn’t take X into account” when, in fact, the post explicitly discussed X.

  37. Wonderful brains and fingers. One source of traffic: I was directed to yesterday’s post by a friend on the American Mensa forum on Facebook. Wish I had the time to be a regular here.
    Carol in Chicago.

  38. @Whatever Indeed: he wasn’t malleting opposing points. He was malleting misbehavior. There’s a way to make an opposing point without getting malleted, as you can see by the fact that the mallet rate was only around 4%. Finding tolerance a virtue doesn’t mean you have to tolerate willful pain-in-the-assery.

  39. Somebody needs to make as close a real-life version of a Hammerspace hammer as can be fashioned. I’m thinking it would involve an inflatable and a CO2 cartridge. I’ve always viewed the Mallet of Loving Correction as a Hammerspace kind of thing, only very manly and a bit more elegant than the wooden-headed Mario Brothers kind of thing one normally sees in a Hammerspace hammer.

    (For the two or three Scalzi readers who aren’t familiar with Hammerspace, it’s where cartoon characters get the mallets they use to bop people who offend them. Big-eyed Japanese girls and anthropomorphic animals are particularly adept at accessing Hammerspace. Mallets kept in Hammerspace are usually referred to as “Hyperspace Mallets.” See:


    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HyperspaceMallet )

  40. However, could it be said that malleting so many opposing points be a sign of intolerence itself?

    No. Next question.

  41. I saw several of the posts before they were malleted. There was more than one that was stating opposing views. And yes I will say that some malleting that happens is a sign of intolerence. But that is fine, we all have our own opinions (and that is all they are here) and this is personal blog and not an open forum. I made my point which is all I wanted to do.

  42. JFC, indeed. Of course they were stating opposing views. Are you incapable of understanding the difference between disallowing what they were doing (which Our Host did not do) and disallowing how they were doing it (which he did)?

    That was a rhetorical question, which means you need not answer it. (Which, in turn, since you apparently need things spelled all the bloody way out, means: please don’t.)

  43. (I’m surprised that I’m surprised – meta-surprised, I guess – at the bone-grinding parallel between a refusal to admit the difference between content and style, on the one hand, and a refusal to admit the difference between opportunity and outcome, on the other. Sigh.)

  44. “However, could it be said that malleting so many opposing points be a sign of intolerence itself?”

    Sure, and since it’s been made abundantly clear that idiocy and a clear disregard for the rules as set down in a post and/or the general comment policy won’t be tolerated, why should that intolerance be a problem? I saw several of those posts before they got rightly whacked, too, and they were not deleted just because they disagreed with the OP – there were plenty of comments disagreeing with the OP that weren’t met with the Mallet.

  45. John, thank you for the feast yesterday. Was it Thanksgiving dinner already?

  46. Why do I get the sinking feeling that some malleting might have to take place in this thread? Reheating the discussion is not the point of this entry, granted, but I have a feeling the SWM offend-a-copter is hovering over Whatever, maneuvering for a landing spot.

  47. I’ve been aware of the phenomenon of White People Hurt Feelings for while, but experienced it directly for the first time on Facebook after the Trayvon Martin shooting. It’s simply breathtaking how quickly a conversation about X subject instantly becomes derailed by individual white people’s outrage at being told something about racism and privilege. I really recommend the experience for anyone who believes that employing euphemisms or being tactful will actually help in trying to educate people about social justice issues. The answer is no. Since then, I feel very liberated. No need to try to be diplomatic or polite, because I’m going to get yelled at anyway. I do hold out hope that some of those outraged, hurt reactions are placeholders for a person who is thinking and listening and processing in the background. My experience suggests that may be the case for some of them.

  48. John, despite having once received the MoLC (well deserved I suppose) about a year ago it is one of the reasons I enjoy reading comments here. Anyone can get overheated at times and threads like yesterdays are sure to cause it, particularly when the trogs discover it. Too many comment sections are cesspools because there is no control & others are just me too love-fests because they forbid any disagreement. You do allow lively disagreement but limit the disagreeable bits. There are probably not many people who can devote the time to wield the MoLC like you do but I’m glad you are so good at it.

  49. I see a companion to “Your Hate Mail Will be graded”: Treasures from the Mallet of Loving Correction.”

  50. @Chris 8:41 — Always good to see the Munchkin love. We’ve got an actual (foam) Unnatural Axe at the office; holding it is deeply satisfying.

    @Scalzi: Thanks for a great post and your close moderation of the comments. And thanks to everyone else who made it a productive conversation; I had to stop and think quite often. This kind of post is why Whatever is a regular destination.

  51. despite having once received the MoLC

    You’re not a full member until you’ve been Malleted.

    There was more than one that was stating opposing views

    And there were lots stating opposing views that *weren’t* malleted. The difference was in presentation.

  52. whatever indeed:

    “I saw several of the posts before they were malleted. There was more than one that was stating opposing views.”

    Indeed they were stating opposing views. They were also being assholes. They got malleted for the latter.

    Is it a sign of intolerance? Indeed it is! I don’t tolerate assholes on my site.

    Moral of the story: If you want to express an opposing view here, be polite about it. Because if you’re an asshole, you’ll get the mallet.

    This is, in fact, covered in the comment policy.

    This flowchart may likewise make things clearer.

  53. Maybe time to trade the mallet in for a jack-hammer, or some sort of steam roller?

  54. As a straight white male, skimming through that comment thread just reinforces that small bit of terror I experience whenever I read a post that starts with “as a straight white male”.

    I’m tempted to create a computer virus that goes into everyone’s spell-checker and replaces the phrase “As a straight white male” (and perhaps “I’m not a racist, but”) with “I’m about to say something that not only demonstrates my near-total lack of understanding of the underlying issues, but then reinforces them, in a way that would be funny if it weren’t so sad”

  55. I think “dipshittery” may be my new favorite descriptor for clueless, offensive behavior. I just added it to my spellchecker’s dictionary.

  56. Wow. Thank you for showing assholes the door.

    Also, your repeated use of the word “privilege” in the Straight White Male post has made me doubt the word’s existence. (The longer you look at a word, the more it seems like a jumble of nonsensical letters. That should be a Scientific Law of some sort.)

  57. John-

    Your Mallet hand is STRONG, my friend. Respect.

    Did you pull anything? I know that repetitive use injuries can be a bugger.

  58. I want to note for the record that I did not — repeat, not — leave any responses in yesterday’s thread. Either malleted or unmalleted. The effort involved in restraining myself was considerable. But I’m like the WOPR: I have to engage all the possible scenarios over and over again — Global Thermonuclear War! — before I learn that the game is strange, and that the only winning move is not to play. ;^)

  59. The best definition of the “Hardest” button would have to be the one I heard years ago:
    “Unmarried pregnant black teen age prostitute with a Goldwater bumper sticker on her car.”

  60. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told his biographer that the reason he’s so opposed to affirmative action is that he feels like people use the fact that he was an affirmative action admission to law school against him, to dismiss him: he’s touchy because he feels like people think that he wouldn’t be one of the most powerful people in the world if it weren’t for affirmative action. This is, in fact, transparently obviously true. Clarence Thomas was by no means the most qualified possible nominee for that seat. He wasn’t even the most qualified conservative nominee for that seat. He was the most qualified (almost the only qualified, and at that only barely qualified) black conservative nominee for that seat. But he really, really wants to think that even if he were white and liberal, he’s so clearly superior to everybody else that George Bush would still have nominated him. Telling him anything else really ticks him off, because his self esteem DEPENDS on convincing himself that he earned that seat through his obvious, demonstrable superiority.

    You just told every straight white male, every member of the most powerful minority in America, that they’re ALL affirmative action hires. That NONE of them earned whatever success they have, that they ALL had some or all of it handed to them.

    Unsuprisingly, this angered them — not least of which, the ones who have little or no success. Those, in particular, you’re accusing of having been born on third base … and of having then stolen second. Far far easier, far far more emotionally comfortable, to attack you than to face that fact.

  61. There was a huge number of comments. Well before the end, I was just scrolling for Scalzi’s profile photo. Perhaps I missed stuff I would like to have read but most of it was pretty self similar.

    Presumably hammer space is also where He-Man was really reaching when he pulled a grapnel and a huge coil of rope out of his shorts.

  62. I’m glad I was too busy to follow up yesterday. I would not have been malleted, but I would have been enraged.

    My question however is this: Is this like a croquet mallet or more like a judge’s gavel? The croquet mallet might be unwieldly in close quarters but would have an impressive effect given room to operate.

  63. My reaction was that ‘lowest difficulty setting’ is as flawed as ‘privileged’ but in a different way. It’s useful because it may get some people to think (or maybe not, as various comments demonstrate). It’s useful in terms of getting people to talk (assuming they talk and don’t just bellow. )You are right that ‘privileged’ causes a gut-level reaction. But , I think ‘lowest difficult setting’ (which I just realized should NOT be shortened to LDS ), does too. Even more than the P word, it does suggest that any achievement by a WSM is not of value – and that’s just not correct. I think of the SATs – a flawed test, but not a completely meaningless test either. My son is a WSM. He did very well on the SATs. Not because he was hot-housed into it, or because we hired a tutor or because he learned how to game the test – because he is smart, well-read and worked hard in school. His score is not as impressive as that of a disadvantaged kid, but it’s still worthy of some note.

  64. I wish you would publish a guide or run a seminar or something to teach people how to manage comments. Comments are often the most entertaining part of a published article, but too many sites allow too much latitude.

    In fact most site comments are unreadable due to the horror of hate and general douchiness. In my opinion, it is a foolish naïveté to think you must allow that level of freedom.

    Magazines and news sites in particular need to keep a full time person moderating discussion.

  65. JS: “….I ended up deleting a record number of comments…”

    John, I do sincerely appreciate your relative tolerance of opposing viewpoints, so I will try to make this response to the point and respectful:

    Here is why I think your post struck such a negative chord among so many white, straight men. Most people are going to evaluate issues of “privilege” from a personal perspective.

    I look at my life: I work for a very politically correct Fortune 500 company. Roughly half of our management team is female.

    Both of my bosses are women.

    Then there’s my home life…

    When my wife decided a few years ago that she needed to “find herself” by taking up with her male colleague at her part-time job, I ended up on the losing end of the resulting divorce settlement–even though I had never been unfaithful, and (according to the opinion of both her family and our two teenaged children) I had always been a supportive husband. (I was amused a few posts back when Mythago attempted to school me on the complexities of marriage; I know all about them first-hand.)

    Not to turn this into a Dr. Phil moment–but I have a hard time seeing myself as a male oppressor when I take orders from two women bosses everyday, and the woman who was cheating on me took most of my 401K in divorce court. No, I am not a misogynist; but I don’t feel the patriarchy having much of an impact in my life.

    And when I read your post about how great my life is because I am a man who can ride roughshod over women, I had a hard time squaring your theories with my reality.

    I think that *this* was the sort of reality that got so many “asshole” men enflamed at yesterday’s post.

  66. ‘Just a reader’: One hopes your son is more current with vocabulary and logic than you are. “Lowest difficulty setting” does not at all suggest that any achievement be of no value; it suggests that other people had to face additional obstacles to make similar achievements. This point was was explicated many times in the original thread… you did read all 800 comments to make sure you weren’t repeating what someone else said first, right? (I truly don’t understand why this is not considered standard netiquette. Making the same shallow reply that has already been made is like a multiplier on the stupid.)

    I too did very, very well at every standardized test I took. Certainly my starting position as a SWF helped with that; I am sure that (for instance) growing up in a household that did not speak English would have negatively impacted my vocabulary scores. But like hell am I going to not be proud of my accomplishments, even knowing that I started ahead in the game. Nor does noting the comparatively minor handicap I do have (ADD that wasn’t diagnosed until I was 30 or so) diminish the accomplishments of people who don’t have it.

  67. Why do people think their divorces or their problems getting laid are relevant to a discussion of privilege? Nobody gives a crap, Todd. And John already told you he doesn’t want this comment thread to be a redo of the other one.


  69. Indeed, I see people trying to revive the former thread here. I would like to remind folks I also mallet comments for being off topic.

  70. Even more than the P word, it does suggest that any achievement by a WSM is not of value – and that’s just not correct.

    I’ve now read this observation from several people, and to be honest, I don’t see it at all–unless you’ve bought into that quintessential bit of American mythology that only the achievement reached over insurmountable odds is worth anything.

    What I’ve accomplished over the course of my life so far is not somehow invalidated if someone else of a similar level of achievement had to deal with more disadvantages in order to get there. I am inclined to admire that person because I know how hard I worked, and I know it was harder for them, but that still doesn’t make my own accomplishment any less. This isn’t a zero-sum game we’re playing, and I think life would be less difficult overall if people would stop behaving as though it is.

  71. @todd. You just told us that your harsh reality includes having two female bosses AND an ex-wife who cheated on you. So…me being in any position to order a dude around is just as bad as committing a gross personal betrayal? Cuz that was my takeaway. Yeah, that’s so terrible, having to take orders from a woman. Surely that single anecdote trumps centuries of systemic bias and legislation!

  72. Many, many of the people taking umbrage at being called ‘privileged’ or ‘easy mode’ yesterday were missing the point.

    The point about the P-word is not that every straight white male is fast-tracked to a home in the Hamptons and a seven-figure salary. It’s that, in addition to whatever else is going on in their life, SWMs in Western/American society don’t to have to put up with shit that non-SWMs have to put up with, like racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, etc., which makes whatever you’re doing Even harder. Yes, if you asked baby for water and she gave you gasoline, if someone in Reno tried to kill you just to watch you die, if you walk uphill both ways to school, those are hard things to deal with; “privilege” means that you don’t have to worry about being clobbered half to death for being gay, about being told you just need to find a man to take care of you, about being thought of as stupid, lazy, and a criminal because of the color of your skin on top of everything else.

    “Privilege” does not mean “Oh, you have it so goddamn easy!” Nor is it an attempt to guilt-trip anyone into doing something. It means, “Yes, you have it rough. Nobody is saying that you have it easy. Now, please try to imagine how hard it is if someone in your exact position were not white, not straight, or not male.”

  73. Oops, sorry, Scalzi, it takes longer to compose thoughts on an I-device, pecking out one word at a time, so I missed your last injunction.

  74. You got a link-in from Pharyngula. I’m willing to bet you got some trolls from there too. They’re cultivated for the amusement of the regulars, and sometimes they leak.

    I don’t think my perspective got a say in the previous thread before it was shut down. I feel I have something meaningful to contribute (and of course I could be wrong) but I’ll respect your wishes and not try to re-open discussion here.

  75. Note to folks that as I am traveling I am using the phone to keep up, and its edit function is limited, so if I need to deal with a comment it will go into the moderation queue and will reappear, with deletion annotation, when I am done moving about the country.

  76. To paraphrase Ralph Wiggum, “Whatever! That’s where I’m a viking god!”

  77. So the deletion messages actually make a pretty interesting word-cloud, especially if you remove “deleted” and “js” before creating the cloud (otherwise they make all the other words tiny). I’d provide a link, but firefox crashed when I tried to save the cloud, and also I’m a little murky on whether or not word-clouding part of someone’s post and sharing the result is kosher in terms of it being a derivitive work. But people should totally go look at it in wordle because it’s neat.

    I am really greatful to all the people who stuck it out in yesterday’s thread trying to educate the folks who actually had some interest in being educated. I was not in a position to bear a hand with that yesterday, but it was gratifying to see so many people working on it.

  78. I missed the discussion yesterday. I’m glad the assholes got the mallet, but I would’ve liked to read some of the better comments.

  79. @Laura H
    I missed the discussion yesterday. I’m glad the assholes got the mallet, but I would’ve liked to read some of the better comments.
    Has some evil fate befallen these comments?

  80. “You got a link-in from Pharyngula. I’m willing to bet you got some trolls from there too. They’re cultivated for the amusement of the regulars, and sometimes they leak.”

    Quite likely. There’s one in particular over on PZ’s link to the OP that I’m rather relieved remained contained, though.

  81. So, I skimmed all the comments on this post and I don’t think anyone else asked this question yet: do you now think that it’s not, in fact, the *word* “privilege” that triggers the oppressed-SWM crowd, but rather, the very concept of being asked to consider that they have unearned advantages, regardless of the words used to express the concept? Because I loved the original post, but I could totally predicted that the reaction was going to be just the same as to any call to check one’s privilege.

  82. David: Thanks! What I like about it is how it showcases the interesting insults (spittle-flinging) and also gives a visual of reasons for deletion (misogyny, asshollishness, pointlessness, etc).

  83. Yesterday’s post went nuclear pretty fast. There were less than 100 mostly interesting, thoughtful comments, so I dared to craft a comment, myself, and by the time I was ready to preview, there were over 250. I don’t know how many there were when I finally posted, but by that time the Mallet had come out to play, so I ran. I was sad to go, because I would miss all the Mallet-y commentary, so I’m really pleased that you’ve chosen to recap, here. Maybe when I have some free time, I’ll go back and read the comments that I missed.

  84. Tim Chevalier: one of the things I found interesting about the comments is how clearly they show the problem with the tone argument. There is no way to say this stuff “politely enough” for people who don’t want to hear it. If you say it snarkily, people will cuss you out and claim your tone is totally worse than racism. Say it as politely as humanly possible, in the warmest, fuzziest terms you can find, and people will cuss you out and claim your tone is totally worse than racism.

    With people who are actually interested in listening, there’s value in trying to explain the concept in an accessible way. When it comes to people who aren’t interested in listening, there’s no such thing.

  85. The Scalzi knows how to troll his disciples > minions > followers > fans > readers, and calibrate his level of famous-ish-ness to where he likes it.

    (Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.)

  86. I second Brad Torgersen’s “restraint mode” and note, for the record I did NOT leave any responses in yesterday’s thread. Either malleted or unmalleted. While I’m piqued by the topic, I don’t have much useful to add; AND THIS REALLY ANNOYS ME.

  87. Hmm, there were several other Malletings of reply comments, but only mine made the list, probably because only mine was in the “dude, you should have known better” category.

    *hangs head in shame*

  88. I got linked to the original post from 4chan. I’m also a Straight White Male.

    I think the problem with the “easiest game mode” analogy is that it suggests that straight white males somehow all have easy lives. Now I know the whole article doesn’t really say that, but I imagine a lot of people who came in read the title and got a little annoyed. I know I did; I don’t like being told by a complete stranger that my life is easy and free of strife. People of all walks of life have difficulties, and having someone tell you that your difficulties are meaningless because someone else has more difficulties is just plain rude IMO.

    However, I read the article and I realized that that wasn’t really the message, but the message was rather “if you got the ‘easiest difficulty’, you caught a break, use your good fortune to help out others.” I agree with that statement wholeheartedly, and I (along with many other people, quite a few of them other straight white males) support feminist and LGBTQ and other such movements.

    I think the big issue that straight white males have with the whole “privilege” thing is that A) they’re being slapped with this label out of nowhere and B) the label is seemingly supposed to emulate some form of oppression. That’s the feel I’ve been getting, anyway, and even though that’s not really the idea behind the “privileged” label, that’s sort of what these people think.

    There’s another, somewhat similar debate in the Transgender circle over the phrase “die cis scum.” I won’t link it, but one side features people who believe that advocating violence against non-trans people is alright, and the other side disagrees. I think there’s a bit of that with the whole “privilege” situation. If you’re a straight white male, you’re privileged; if you’re privileged, you represent everything wrong with society. (Again, I realize that’s not what’s being said, but that certainly seems to be the dialogue some people use, and it seems to be what some straight white males take away from the whole thing.)

    My entire point is that a lot of people on both sides of the whole debate are under the impression that all straight white males are evil, and that’s whats poisoning the “privilege” word.

  89. Cindy Lou Who: there is more truth to your statement than most people know

  90. Todd, just because you report to women and feel you’ve been mistreated by a woman doesn’t invalidate the fact that the baseline you are working from in life is inherently and objectively easier than the baseline that others work from.

    You’re a great dad and husband, good for you. As Chris Rock notes: what do you want? A cookie? You’re *supposed* to be a good dad and husband. Meeting the bare minimum of expected behavior is certainly a good thing, but nothing to go shouting from the rooftops.

    I’ve always been pro-feminist pro-lgbt and I’ve had plenty of discussions with fiery activists from all points on the political spectrum. When someone rails at me about male privilege I don’t take it as a personal attack, because it isn’t. It’s an indictment of the system. It’s only about you if you’re leveraging that easy baseline to keep other people down. If you aren’t doing that, then chill out, offer empathy, and then, brace yourself, actually listen to what they’re saying.

  91. I keep looking for +1 or “like” buttons on people’s comments. Hard habit to break.

    I made one comment, and it was buried pretty quickly. By the time there was anything I could’ve wanted to respond to, two or three others had addressed it far more cleverly than I would’ve. So, I lurked, and laughed my head off at some of the takedowns.

    I like it here.

  92. I think I found something useful to add to yesterday’s conversation that wasn’t in the 800 previous posts: Ernest Cline’s book _Ready Player One_ literalizes this metaphor. The game world in that book in many ways approximates the real world, and to a large extent replaces it, making it very similar to The Real World. One of the main differences is that players can actually choose their “difficulty settings,” and at least one character chooses Straight White Male _specifically_ for that reason.

    Also, this banhammer post was fun to read.

  93. Tim, I suspect John knew that it’s not entirely the word. Rather, as he pretty much stated in the entry, he was hoping the analogy would short circuit the pedantic avoidance responses. For the most part, I think it worked. There were some new forms of pedantry of the “That’s not how video games work” variety. There was some other (deliberate) misinterpretations of the analogy of the “orientation/race/gender aren’t the deciders of difficulty” variety. But mostly there was a lot of “my life sucks, therefore the gay minority women are keeping us all down”. Which, on balance, is progress. I mean, it may be a stupid bad argument, but it is at least engaged in the actual issue.

  94. I’m so proud of myself for having got through 80% of the comment thread last night (and kudos to La Scalzi for reading 100%, and tidying it up so nicely) before my sense of nauseated annoyance began to glaze over. After about comment 500, I was just skimming the first three sentences, noting whether the poster was sane or Missing the Point (in one of only about a half-dozen different ways), and then moving on to the next amusing malleting to improve my mood. How delightful to have such malletings assembled herein to refer back to as I slog through the remaining 20% today.

  95. I’d like to see Teresa Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi go head-to-head in an Extreme Moderation showdown.

  96. @ Bruce Diamond – thanks, I had been curious. Ophelia Benson over at FtB’s Butterflies and Wheels linked to it this morning as well, and I had about a dozen people on my FB feed also posting it, so I think it’s getting some decent traction (then again, I’m sort of a huge geek/nerd and a lot of my friends have similar proclivities, so take that with a grain of salt). I’d like to post it to a couple of nerd social groups I’m in, but at the same time, given the epic scale of yesterday’s thread and the, er, various interpretations therein, I’m not sure I want to get involved in any repeat performances…

  97. For a second, I misread Mallet of Loving Correction as Mullet of Loving Correction, and the mental image made me giggle.

  98. Damn. I missed the chance to post in an interesting thread full of People Being Wrong on the INTERNET!!!111!! If only Dwarf Fortress hadn’t been so enthralling… (Now deleted off my work computer as being deadly to productivity.)

  99. I’m with PrivateIron on this one. You know the comments aren’t worth reading, but there mere absence gives them an intrigue they could never have earned on their own.

    It’s like a Lovecraft story in blog form. Don’t read the comments. You KNOW the comments will only erode your sanity, but like any good intelectual, you allow curiosity to be your ruin. You scroll doooooown… into the abyss.

  100. I feel a concise statement of the post you are referring to should go something like:

    “Life is not fair, and straight white males have the advantage.”

    I really would like to hear where you go with that, because, when phrased like that — and not in some kind of silly, long-winded, but reasonable metaphor — it’s far more straightforward and leaves more room in your posts.

    I guess you could say something about how life _should_ be fair and how people shouldn’t be assholes. I’d like to hear your views on those things.

  101. “their mere absence”, not “there mere absence”. Apologies for failing at all the grammar things.

  102. A SWM friend of mine linked your entry to me because he knew it was right up my alley. Sure, I read your entry, you brilliantly use a gaming analogy to explain something that is really hard to explain to the someones at whom it is directed. But the thing I feel I need to praise you on most is this: I’ve had countless discussions in the comments of my various gender and racial equality-themed facebook posts with a smaller sampling of the types that responded to your blog entry, and I have to tell you that it was incredibly gratifying to see you mallet trolls and school ignorant loud-mouths in the topic of Reality.

    I also appreciate that you pointedly did NOT waste your time or energy educating self-important asshats who demanded that you explain things to them point-by-point and prove their every lazily-constructed counterpoint false, because it expressed my own frustration at that form of privilege expression (you want me to do all the work for you and sell this idea to you with a big pretty bow on it? Big surprise there). You made my day, and while I admit I didn’t know much about you before, I’ll be paying closer attention to what you have to say. I might even purchase and read one of your books (I’m not only interested in topics about racial/gender privileges), fancy that.
    I now have something to refer to when this “privilege” issue comes up in my circle of friends, as it is bound to. Thank you a million pies.

  103. :sigh: That was a good post yesterday, John, and a great job of moderating.

    There were a couple of things I wanted to reply to — and am not — but I have a suggestion: rather than reopening the comment thread, some time when you want to further engage in Extreme Malleting, open another thread, with an example post showing how to make hyperlinks back into the earlier comment thread (the date-time line contains such a link, for those who didn’t notice it.)

    “Life is not fair, and straight white males have the advantage. I’ll disagree. We (I am a SWM) do have some advantages; we also have some disadvantages. If life was as simple as being SWM … but it’s not. That’s what so good about the game metaphor. If that’s all you can see, you have a perception problem as large as mine as a SWM, or maybe larger. None of us gets to see with other’s eyes. Sometimes reality is different than what either of us sees.

  104. Ich bin ein “Straight White Male” too…But please don’t categorize me, analyze me, put me in a corner and put me in any groups.
    The reason, I did not respond to your post yesterday, but I am taking the time to respond to this post today is simple. While I completely agree with your premise as put forth, it is not necessary to paint everyone with the broad brush of cliché. I, myself, am your age, BUT currently completely unemployed, receiving no government assistance, past my 99 weeks, on depression medication, feeling like the whole world is against me. Can I get a job tomorrow? I doubt it. Have I been discriminated against? We can debate it. Are there morons, who do no understand when other people ARE discriminated against? Sure. But don’t paint every “Straight White Male” with the same brush, OK? You me be privileged. I am not.

  105. #1) Some unknown fraction of straight white dudes either refuse to acknowledge that society gives them breaks it doesn’t give others, or realizes it and doesn’t care, or thinks it’s the other way around. This group wears blinders that allow them to see, and therefore argue with, only group #2, while ignoring group #3.

    #2) Some unknown fraction of non-straight non-white and/or dudettes resent anyone who is eligible for those breaks. This group wears blinders that allow them to see, and therefore argue with, only group #1, while ignoring group #3.

    #3) Everyone else realizes that it’s the game code, not the people born into it, that’s worthy of scorn/blame/alteration.

    As long group #2 outnumbers groups #1 and #2, the intergenerational cycle of hate, vengeance and oppression is losing, and that’s what I’d call a win.

  106. Sigh…that should’ve read:
    As long group #3 outnumbers groups #1 and #2, the intergenerational cycle of hate, vengeance and oppression is losing, and that’s what I’d call a win.

  107. @Brad: actually the way to win is to be really, really good at the game. But there is absolutely value in walking away from an argument that one knows is just going to end in tears, so I (without the slightest trace of sarcasm) applaud you.

  108. I’d like to see Teresa Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi go head-to-head in an Extreme Moderation showdown.
    So how do we measure success, signal-to-noise ratio? So what do we do, assign each moderator a forum and a pool of posters, some of whom have been randomly selected to be trolls? Is there a way to insure that the posters keep the pressure on both competitors equally? There needs to be a prize for best unmalleted troll for each forum or something like that. Ideally we should recruit YouTube video commenters.

  109. @htom Ah, my mistake, let me rephrase it.

    Life is not fair. Straight white males, generally speaking, have it easier.

    Note that I’m just summarizing John’s post.

    As an aside, “Gay Minority Female” is hardly hardcore. Even if you’re limiting the pool to first-world countries, I can think of worse.

    As an additional aside, Real Lives 2010 is a game that is, more or less, “The Real World” as described by John.

  110. I am beginning to come around to the view that anyone who utters the phrase “Life is not fair” is presumptively a nitwit, said presumption being irrebuttable if followed by “Get over it”. I say “presumptively” because, occasionally, someone uses that as a statement of regret to mean that we should get to work on remedying the unfairness as much as we can, but most of the time it is used to justify and excuse unfairness, and to insist that nothing can or, indeed, ought to be done to make life fairer – hence “get over it”, which is the PG version of “STFU”.

  111. Wow. I’m impressed with your ability to wield the mallet with such force. Seriously, though, at what point last night was your wife like “OK, put the mouse down, seriously.”

  112. …apropos of nothing, now I feel like “Mallet of Loving Correction” needs to be an actual item in some tabletop game.

  113. Good grief. What a pile of…commentary. Anyway, just a couple of notes, hopefully sufficiently on target for the Wielder of the Hammer. First – this is only the second time I’ve seen a link to this blog among my small Facebook crowd – and there were two (which is a lot for me). So, I would guess that that it really did got a lot of folks who aren’t normally reading here to come on over. Second – I am not arguing about whether SWM have an advantage. I just think the gamer analogy is less than perfect. To Robin – gosh – No. I didn’t read all 800 comments. I didn’t see the posting on the first day, and I foolishly thought I might have something to say. I still think that both the P word and the easy setting are flawed, but in different ways. I’ve been thinking all day about how to explain it, but I haven’t come up with a sufficiently concise and complete explanation for this forum. I might revisit it in a few days.

  114. John, whenever there is a discussion here that requires careful moderation and Mallet-ing, I get this image of you at a Whack-a-Mole table, holding a huge pink mallet that says “Love” on the side of it. Various heads pop up at the table and say things, and the idiots and asses get the Mallet. I’m not sure why it is pink, perhaps that seemed more loving to my subconscious. Anyway, while I rarely post in those intense discussions, I enjoy reading them and your Mallet use.

  115. I have the sudden urge to get one of those inflatable mallets, like from chuck e cheese, and stuff it into a little box on the wall marked with “mallet of loving correction.” Instructions: Inflate…bop…deflate…put back in box. I’d like to see my husband and I try that one for personal debates. Maybe we each need our own….darn it… NOW I WANT A MALLET! If you don’t own stock in mallets, well….

  116. I missed that discussion entirely. BUt I did happen today to read an article about a study about why people behave like vicious trolls on the internet. It seems that the anonymity and absence-of-consequences in internet communication has the effect on such people of drinking WAY to much. (But I still don’t get it. When I drink WAY too much, I laugh at everything, then get maudlin, then fall asleep. I think for alcohol–OR anonymity–to turn you into a vicious troll, you have to BE one in the first place. So the internet’s anonymity and lack of consequences doesn’t really seem like an explanation, after all…)

    Should anyone care to peruse, here’s the link:

  117. The Mullet of Loving Correction is the enforcer you put in on the 3rd and 4th lines when the other team is getting away with stuff against your top lines’ skaters that the ref’s not calling.

  118. Totally with Brad T on this one. Started reading, went and grabbed a beer. Read some more, went to the kitchen for dinner. Came back and hit the post again. Took hold of the mouse, clicked to leave a reply…and the unclicked and walked away. Interesting topic, but I have just enough discipline not to stick my fingers in a mousetrap.

  119. whump: I know “Mullet of Loving Correction” was a typo, but it’s a typo of pure awesome. And probably a MacGyver reference.

  120. ldgilmoure – Ya had to link to that Dr. Horrible song, eh? Thanks for reactivating that earwig in my head. So your punishment is a (quick and sloppy) parody:

    Lyrics to A MOD’S GOTTA DO :
    (sung to A MAN’S GOTTA DO from “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long blog”)

    (The Troll)
    A troll’s gotta do
    what a troll’s gotta do
    Don’t post the post
    If you can’t follow through

    All that matters
    Taking matters into your own hands
    Soon I’ll control every thread
    Your attention I command

    (The Moderator)
    Stand back Everyone,
    Nothin here to see
    Just imminent idiocy
    In the middle of it, me

    Yes Captain Mallet’s here
    This thread I oversee
    The topic needs my saving expertise

    A mod’s gotta do what a mod’s gotta do
    It seems insanity ends with me saving you
    The only doom that’s looming is you stop yelling at the screen
    So I’ll give you a sec to catch your breath

    (The Innocent Poster)
    Thank you Mod-er Man
    I don’t think I can
    Explain how important it was
    That you malleted and banned

    My topic would be haggered
    Be swamped by idiocy
    Thank you sir for saving me

    (Moderator) Don’t worry about it- a mod’s gotta do What a mod’s gotta do
    (Poster) You malleted from above
    (Troll) Are you kidding?

    (Moderator)It seems destiny ends with me saving you
    (Poster) I wonder what you’re captain of
    (Troll) What thread were you watching? (stop looking at me like that!)

    (Moderator)When you’re the best you can’t rest, what’s the use
    (Poster) Now the comments are flowing like rum
    (Troll) Did you notice he threw good posts in the garbage?

    (Moderator)If there’s post needs kicking, stupid comments to defuse
    (Poster) Must?. Must be in shock
    (Troll) I deserved the ban? All my logic be damned

    (Moderator) The only doom that’s looming is you stop yelling at the screen
    (Poster) Assuming no one else is calling for your death
    (Troll) Whaat?e?ver

    (Moderator)So please give me a sec to catch my breath
    (Poster) Please give me a sec to catch my breath
    (Troll) $%&^!!!

  121. heh… according to a couple of people at Pharyngula, Scrotum of Privilege (by your truly: BLUSH!!) was one of the better nuggets of the article. I’ve even been promised to have a punk rock band be named Scrotum of Privilege! (Double blush and preening combined!)

  122. Todd, just because you report to women and feel you’ve been mistreated by a woman doesn’t invalidate the fact that the baseline you are working from in life is inherently and objectively easier than the baseline that others work from.

    But that’s just the problem with this “analogy” and perhaps why so many people took umbrage over it: the “all things being equal” is honored far more in the breach than in the observance, and no quantitative measure is given for how much (or how little) this condition privileges one. If John had gone on to say something along the lines that the (dis)advantage accrued was something like 1.01 to 1 and that all other things being equal held (much) less than 10 percent of the time in the real world, I don’t think the post would have generated the comments it did.

    What the actual figures are is anyone’s guess, of course, but that’s where the controversy is coming from, imho.

  123. I absolutely love your moderation style here at Whatever – it’s personal, perhaps slightly quirky, and allows for some interesting and even passionate discussion while censoring the worst of the assholes. I don’t mind at all that I have to play by your rules to participate. It probably helps that I *like* your rules.

    Also, mythago:

    I am beginning to come around to the view that anyone who utters the phrase “Life is not fair” is presumptively a nitwit, said presumption being irrebuttable if followed by “Get over it”. I say “presumptively” because, occasionally, someone uses that as a statement of regret to mean that we should get to work on remedying the unfairness as much as we can, but most of the time it is used to justify and excuse unfairness, and to insist that nothing can or, indeed, ought to be done to make life fairer – hence “get over it”, which is the PG version of “STFU”.

    I cribbed from somewhere the idea that we should take comfort in the general hostility of the universe, because if life were actually fair we would deserve the horrible things that happen to us. I loved the idea so much that I totally added it to my responses to “Life isn’t fair, get over it.” It kind of subverts the message, turns it into “Life isn’t fair and I’M REALLY GLAD.” I do, of course, also like “and it’s our job to make it as a fair as we can,” but it’s more sanctimonious and less funny. Plus it’s really fun to say “yeah, isn’t it great? I’m so glad I didn’t do something to deserve this chronic illness.”

    Oh, Google Fu has informed me that the original quote is from Marcus on Babylon 5. No wonder I couldn’t remember – I’ve been carrying this idea around in my head for a long time now. :) Belated thanks to JMS.

  124. Since I can’t leave it on the original post… While not a wholly bad metaphor, it’s so over-simplified and shallow as to be a strawman argument. I’d go into why and talk about corporate policies for job finding and the extreme amount of protection minorities have over “straight whites” but what possible difference would it make? As a longtime reader, I realize you enjoy stirring the pot just to stir the pot and then call anyone who disagrees a knuckle-dragger and I’d certainly argue that your worldview is skewed given your lifestyle and your choice of profession. You have a good forum for decent discussion and it’s depressing to continue to see intelligent, educated people fall into polarized stupid mode rather than reasonable discourse. Frankly, shame on ya for wasting a good opportunity for real discourse.

  125. This is the part where those of us who were paying attention aren’t reopening yesterday’s discussion. Yay!

  126. @DigitalAtheist – just remember us when we come to you asking that you sign our copies of said future punk band’s CDs. ;)

  127. @the Pint:

    Scrotum of Privelege: Hair we are! is guaranteed to be at least double plat on release day. I have it on good authority that Sharon den Adell may be involved in said project, and an unsubstantiated rumor (of my own making!) also ties Toumas Holopainen of Nightwish into the project, along with Rob Halford of Judas Priest fame… but those are just unsubstantiated rumors at this poin. But still.. Scrotum of Privilege is soooooooooooooo gonna rock the charts. Scalzi, you’ve been served notice for what to put on your iPod… and it is soooooooo your fault and inspired by you and you WILL get top billing in the creds… unless of course the guys at the record company turn belly up and ditch the whole album… bastards.

  128. Well, it was a really interesting and varied discussion, contrary to what some say, and for only 30-odd of the 800 or so posts to be malletted was, I’d argue, actually pretty good. Less than one per cent of the commenters (and their variety of views) were so egregiously offensive or off track they needed censoring. Even less if you take into account those which, while not offensive, replied to something that was. That compares well to any moderated discussion, and given the contentiousness of the topic, is akin to a miracle.

  129. I could have gone my entire life without that Brad Torgersen chair dance, but I think I will survive.

    As a longtime giant inflatable squeak mallet owner, I support that product and/or service. It’s also a rather effective way to end marital strife. It’s hard(er) to stay angry when the offending party brings the mallet over and hands it to the offendee.

  130. David – Great wordcloud. I don’t know what it says about me, but the phrase that jumped out at me was “Scorpius stupidly stupid misogyny guy”.
    Laura Resnick – an interesting link; the Internet anonymity side was summarized back in 2004 by the Penny Arcade guys: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/ (possibly NSFW).

  131. @ Laura Resnick

    BUt I did happen today to read an article about a study about why people behave like vicious trolls on the internet. It seems that the anonymity and absence-of-consequences in internet communication has the effect on such people of drinking WAY to much. (But I still don’t get it. When I drink WAY too much, I laugh at everything, then get maudlin, then fall asleep. I think for alcohol–OR anonymity–to turn you into a vicious troll, you have to BE one in the first place. So the internet’s anonymity and lack of consequences doesn’t really seem like an explanation, after all…)

    While anonymity, real or merely perceived, can be disinhibiting (and that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the inhibitions being lowered), it is dissimilar from liquid courage in one key regard. An inebriated person literally loses control. An anonymous person is still in command of their faculties, and so makes a decision which inhibitions to lower. The implication is, of course, that the inhibitions an anon will dispense with are the ones they submitted to only because of external consequences, whereas someone who’s drunk enough no longer fears consequences they might still expect. I, for example, am very reserved and reticent in real life, and generally not very opinionated. I’m not exactly shy, but I don’t like being an object of attention. Online, I have to reign in my opinionated comments or I wind up making an ass of myself even in my own review.

    @ Tess

    Oh, Google Fu has informed me that the original quote is from Marcus on Babylon 5.

    15% of all the best B5 quotes are Marcus lines.

    Though I’ll point out that the universe and human society are not wholly contiguous, and that fairness is subjective to value judgments (i.e. a human construction).

    @ needin

    While not a wholly bad metaphor, it’s so over-simplified and shallow as to be a strawman argument. I’d go into why and talk about corporate policies for job finding and the extreme amount of protection minorities have over “straight whites” but what possible difference would it make?

    It’s rough out there for a pimp! Keep yer head up.

    Incidentally there is a difference between a starwman argument and an argument that doesn’t explicitly address every possible thing you’d like it to. If I tell you the climate in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not wrong for not being a weather prediction algorithm.

    Frankly, shame on ya for wasting a good opportunity for real discourse.

    *hangs head in shame* That hurts…right here. It’s a heavy cross, being churlishly shamed by a random person on the internet, but I’ll carry it.

    @ DigitalAtheist

    Scrotum of Privilege is soooooooooooooo gonna rock the charts.

    I believe you mean Scrotum of Privilege is soooooooooooooo gonads rocks the charts.

  132. As a guy who bought and enjoyed all your Old Man’s War novels, as well as Androids Dream, I was pretty disappointed when I read such an ignorant and closed-minded post as the one you wrote yesterday. Not planning on purchasing any of your books again, but hey, makes my eternal reading list a bit shorter.

  133. Maybe life *is* fair, but ‘fairness’ isn’t what we really want.

    I’m *lucky* to be a straight white male born in the USA. All the crap that’s happened since is just a karmic balance to that advantage.

    And Nietzsche was wrong, that which doesn’t kill you just makes you *luckier.*

  134. John, please use your internet fu to wrangle Nathan Fillion into sending you a picture of him holding one of those giant inflatable hammers to use as a gravitar for malleted posts. The world needs this.

  135. I love you, John, and we haven’t even met yet. Thank you for taking the time to craft interesting ways of bringing up important topics few people can discuss courteously. (And thank you for education of trolls via mallet. You wield so well.)

  136. John, if you indeed commission the creation of the mallet, will there also be a black velvet painting of it?

  137. There is nothing more politically incorrect than telling straight white men that they’re not as awesome as they’ve been led to believe. No other topic generates more hatespam.

  138. I did note that you also deleted a comment by/MLC’ed Kurt Busiek for responding to a comment you deleted. To which my response was mostly, “HOLY CRAP! That’s two of my favorite writers of popular entertainment interacting.” While I like Jonathan Coulton and Paul and Storm and a number of other people with whom you interact, and I thought the post itself was good and worthy of being retweeted and put up on facebook, etc., nothing quite shocked me like reading a bunch of good replies from Kurt Busiek. It made me go back and re-read my Astro City collections…

  139. Mythago wrote: “I am beginning to come around to the view that anyone who utters the phrase “Life is not fair” is presumptively a nitwit, said presumption being irrebuttable if followed by “Get over it”.”

    But what if it is uttered in response to someone throwing an epic tantrum because, for example, the servers from their favorite long-dead MMO are finally being shut down?

    I submit that there *are* appropriate uses of “life isn’t fair”.

    It just isn’t an appropriate response to, say, women objecting to being paid 23% less than men for the same work.

  140. I’m tempted to emit a few dozen lines of four-letter words, so that there can be a mallet in the mallet thread, but the thirteen-year-old is nearby, and I would not want to spoil her delicate innocence.

    And now she’s laughing at me.

  141. Hey, thanks for collecting all of these. Repeating others, here, but it was my favorite part of the thread, short of the original post.

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