Monday, January 14, 2008

Farewell, Whateveresque

You know, this thread epitomizes why I've pretty much lost interest in Scalzi's Whateveresque.

Normally this is the type of conversation and subject matter I'd be intensely interested in - but this is also the type of conversation that seems to attract self-absorbed asshats the way flies are attracted to the shit buffet. This conversation started out interesting - and then almost immediately attracted the attention of two resident dickheads who expend a tremendous amount of time bashing each other and engaging in ad hominem attacks. And when they do talk about the subject at hand, they engage in pompous pseudo-intellectual pronouncements - the kind people make when they're either trying to start a fight, or when they are more interested in showing how big their reproductive organs are, instead of actually having a conversation. Both of these pompous jerks consistently show a complete lack of respect for any opinion other than their own. It's like being trapped on a bus with a bunch of teenagers.

I despise such nonsense. I've got enough assholes in my life, I don't have to to go looking for them. And I'm tired of having to tell these two idiots to shut up so the adults can talk. Their grandstanding bullshit constantly drives away those that I'd really like to talk to. The forum host doesn't seem inclined to do much about it, and that's his choice of course. But frankly the whole thing just turns me off.

Bill Cosby used to tell this joke: "So I asked this guy, why do you do cocaine? And he said, because it intensifies my personality. Intensifies your personality? Yeah, but what if you're an asshole?"

That's how I often see online conversations. Like cocaine. It strips away the thin veneer of civilization and exposes what's underneath. If you're a relatively decent person, you're still a relatively decent person online. But, if underneath it all, you're an asshole - well then that becomes exceedingly clear online. If, in person, you're the kind of guy who craves the approval of others yet states loudly 'I don't care what other people think of me' or better yet, 'I didn't come here to be liked' then online you're going to be an insufferable asshole who has a pathological need to be right all of the time. If, in person, you're the kind of boorish oaf who always has to be the center of attention, then online you're going to be that irritating jerk who always has to have the last word, always. And just like cocaine, if you're addicted to it - then you've become a liability to those around you. People start crossing the street to avoid your loud, boorish, coked-up assholiness.

And sadly, that's how it is for me and the Whateveresque. The esque is like a club that's been around for too long - it used to be fun, and interesting, and cool things happened there. Then the assholes showed up and started snorting coke in the bathroom and fighting on the dance floor.

It was fun while it lasted and I may look in occasionally, but I'm not sticking around anymore.


  1. I hate it when rotten apples spoil the bunch. Sigh...

    However, I'm now re-thinking my "I don't care what you think about me and my views" post on Whatever. Hmm.

    I know it's not your point here, but it kinda is. I appreciate a well reasoned and adult dialogue, even when I completely disagree with the other person. Especially when I disagree with the other person. Heck, I could be wrong, and if nothing else it gives me insight into the inner workings of people not like me.

    I fear Whateveresque is becoming another example of something devolving to the lowest common denominator. :(

  2. Tania - it's the context of the statement, I think.

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase "I didn't come here to be liked" used as an excuse to act like an asshole. Same with "I don't care what you think." But, there's a huge difference between being self confident, and still being able to respect another's opinion - and acting like an asshole (who secretly really does care more than anything about what people think of him - otherwise why fight so hard to bend people their point of view?). It's the later type that I find utterly irritating.

    For the record I have never gotten that vibe from you, ever. I like people who are self confident and opinionated - and can still allow the same in others.

  3. Jim I think you hit the nail on the head when you say "I like people who are self confident and opinionated - and can still allow the same in others."

    While I tried to engage in the thread you linked initially, once I was personally attacked by one of the assholes, I bowed out with a "whatever" type comment. And I pretty much stayed away - because unlike the two individuals in question, I really don't care what either of them think about me naming my daughter Maureen.

    Although I have to point out that when I did try to "re-engage," the Sarge slapped me down with a PM, which I'm happy to share with all my nearest and dearest:

    "Thank you for your input. It's always welcome -- I certainly never want arrogate to myself the role of thread police. (I like these thing when they proceed naturally as discussions, not attempts at proving how good one would be as a high school debater.)

    I beg your indulgence and foregiveness for not giving my response in the open. I'm trying to find out something about gottacook's though processes, and I'd rather not taint the result by tipping my hand. So, having said that...

    I too think Poddy should die -- the whole point of the plot was to build up to a tragic end, not to a satisfyingly happy one. That's the only way the correct lesson could be taught. If Poddy dies, the novel achieves its goal. As it went to press, it was just a somewhat edgy young adult (1) adventure story.

    1. You can't really call it a juvenile, even though it relies on a lot of familiar techniques from the Heinlein's juvenile canon. It's just too honest about the adult world in its description of the Vegas-like corporate society on Venus."

    WTF? Tipping your hand?

    I'm not sure what he was trying to prove with this, but whatever it was, I lost interest in engaging him in coversation forevermore when I received this little piece of arrogance. Jeez, dude - get over yourself.

    I've been leaning towards dropping the 'e' like a hot rock, too...mostly because it seems, as you noted, that the lowest common denominator over there really are way too impressed with the sounds of their own voices. Figuratively speaking, of course.

    Looking at how long my response is, I'm thinking I may be a bit too impressed with the sound of my own voice, too...

  4. Oh, I know you get the "I don't care what you think about me" thing.

    People who come along with some innate need to piss in other's Post-Toasties make me cranky. Grandstanders make me cranky. Self-aggrandizing megalomaniacs make me cranky.

    Apparently, I am a cranky woman. But not because of anyone here. :)

  5. Huh. The things I miss by not reading every single forum... Isn't there an ignore function so you can just stop hearing from the people you don't like ever again?

  6. Tania, good :) I hoped you realized that I wasn't bashing your comments, because I really like you and really enjoy your observations and I understand exactly where you were coming from.

    Janiece, I was going to ask you what Sarge said in his PM, then I forgot about it.

    And now that you've shared his PM with us - all I can say is: that's about what I figured.

    I utterly despise people who say stupid or inflammatory crap - then when somebody calls them on it, they respond with "well I was just trying to get a rise out of so and so. I really don't think that way, I was just playing devil's advocate." Again that conversational gambit is just an excuse to act like an asshole and I think it goes a long way towards showing somebody's true colors.

    I once worked for a 1st class petty officer who was majoring in psychology and was writing a paper on something to do with negative motivation or some such pseudo scientific bullshit. And he constantly manipulated those around him with idiotic and inflammatory comments designed to provoke a negative emotional response. He was widely held as a backstabbing, manipulative asshole - and when I called him on it, his response was the predictable "Hey, I don't really think that way, I'm just being an asshole to gather data for my paper." Uh, no. He was an arrogant asshole who regarded all of the rest of us as some kind of lab rats. And obviously so is Sarge E. He thinks he's better than the rest of us poor slobs. And then there's gottacock, who really would have been better served by a handle such as gottarespond or maybe gottahavethelastword.

    It was ok when they both commented only occasionally, but now they show up in every conversation, and it's the same shit every time. Every interesting conversation devolves into a pissing contest between the two of them. Frankly, if they worked for me, I'd make them pull down their pants and do the comparison so we could just get it the fuck over with.

    And they're not the only two, frankly I'm tired of the dickheads who constantly feel the need to make some snarky, smug comment on the whatever - coolblue and Jonathan Moller come to mind - though Scalzi does a fairly good job of slapping them down over there.

  7. MWT, somebody suggested using the "view new posts" function, and that's what I've been doing.

    Plus, like Janiece, I'm attracted to anything regarding RAH - as I was seriously influenced by his juveniles.

    Just once I'd like to have a conversation on the topic without the dickheads showing up and pulling their pseudo intellectual bullshit on the rest of us.

    gottacook's comments regarding those of us who hold Heinlein's writing in high regard made me want to punch him/her right in the face - though I think Janiece handled it much better than I would have. Seriously, I had a Must. Not. Make. Fist. Of. Death. moment and really had to struggle not to respond with flaming vitriol of my own.

  8. I'm still checking in with the "View new posts" thing. Hell, I wouldn't want to miss the next Fooey-U thread and the Meez avatars was fun. I had a lot of fun on the contest to get my IMDB meter through the roof.

    Regarding the asshats. I'm actually looking forward to one of those wars breaking out on a thread where I've got sufficient knowledge to really slam one of the fucktards. You just know they'll be there and you just know they'll be obnoxious.

    BTW, the tactic I hate the most is where they post a string of blockquotes and then respond individually to each and every one.

    Anyway, I'm gonna stick with it. I'm sure one of us will let you know if there's something over there you oughta see.

  9. Nathan, yeah the block quote thing really gets on my nerves and our favorite dickhead is the king of that particularly obnoxious technique.

    I'll check the 'e' every once in a while, but I've taken it off my favorites list. I assume that if there's something particularly interesting somebody will let me know, or not.

    It's too bad, because I really enjoyed it at first. But now that the asstards seem to have the majority I've just lost interest.

  10. I think it was Jeri who said that as soon as the commenters used the "quote block" technique she disappeared like a rat from a burning ship.

    Good advice.

  11. I think we need to come up with a brilliant hoax to run there...something that'll get the easily overheated...well, overheated.

    This is gonna take some thought.

  12. (sigh)

    Yeah, it's frustrating. Every time something interesting comes up, big furry jerks come in and mess it all up.

    Hey! Here's an idea! Jim can start a forum, and if big furry jerks come by, you can tell 'em "My house and you ain't allowed in. So piss off!"

  13. Now don't start thinking up more stuff for me to do, Michelle. I'm already married - which mean I've already got somebody to think up endless things to keep me occupied :)

    Nathan, you know, I like that idea. A lot.

    Something like: what if Robert Heinlein got Ayn Rand pregnant while they were both in the Marine Corp and she opted to have an abortion in order to salvage her career in the gay special forces? Naw, that might be a little too obvious.

  14. What I had in mind was something along the lines of creating a fictional news story, complete with a link to some faked up news page or something. Maybe its about some discovery or some event somewhere. I don't know. But it has to be totally fake and totally believable. It also has to just beg the asshats to tell us how much they know about this nonexistent thing and how everybody else is wrong and on and on and on.

    Oops, Ya think the guys who created Piltdown Man were just trying to bait somebody?

  15. I agree with your assessment, Jim, but I still go back and check it a couple times a week. Sometimes if there's an interesting enough thread I'll even comment.

    Nathan, I like the hoax idea. I think perhaps something along the line of a lesbian giving birth to a clone of RAH, then losing custody to her military girlfriend.

  16. And THAT's what happens when I don't read the whole thread before posting. Sorry, Jim, for copying your idea!

  17. Hehehe.

    You guys are my kind of people.

    I'm so happy our little group is devoid of the assholery.

    Of course, if one of the jerk-offs appeared in one of our threads, I'm thinking they'd probably get the WWE Smackdown treatment...I know I would not abide that kind of hijacking over at Hot Chicks.

    As opposed to the Nathan Variety of Hijacking™, which usually just leads to hilarity, I mean.

  18. Jim,

    Once you get a forum set up it runs itself--especially if you designate others to be your bouncers.

  19. Hijacking™

    We're going to talk about chocolate now!

  20. Mmmm.... chocolate.

    I have The Best Brownie Recipe ever.

    My last co-worker said I could do whatever I pleased as long as I brought in brownies on a regular basis.

    Also? "Chocolate" candy bars? Yetch.

  21. Chocolate candy bars yeck?

    I assume that doesn't mean Milky Way bars? Because those rock, like crack.

  22. I'm a Skor fan, myself.

    Hmm...chocolate and Toffee...

  23. Yeah, Skor, I can do that.

    Hell, I'll even eat those 'chocolate' bars in an MRE, not as a first choice you understand, but any port in a storm...

  24. Anything that has "nougat" (whatever the hell THAT is) is yetch.

    That pretty much includes anything in the check-out aisle at the grocery store.

    If I'm going to eat chocolate, then I'm going to eat chocolate. I'm not going to waste calories on anything else.

    (Also, in case you weren't convinced I'm a mutant, I pretty much don't like cake either. And don't even try and give me a store-bought cookie.)

  25. I responded to Sgt. E on one post where he was being insulting, and yes, I used the list of quotes. You may smack me down. /shame

    His reply made me want to retaliate, but, thankfully, I thought the better of it and didn't. I then saw a few further postes by him, and decided I didn't want to see any more of his posts. I added him to my foes list )on the "e"), and now all I see of his posts is a line that says the post was made by him, and if I want to, I can display it. I haven't yet wanted to.

    After this post, I added gottacook to my foes list, and now the post you referenced is much tamer. About 22 of the entries are cut down to a single line. They're mostly grouped, so they're ease to skip right over.

    In you User Control Panel, click the Manage Friends and Foes tab, and then Foes List, then add the usernames you don't want to see.

    Now I smile when I see a post from Sgt. E, because I know I'm not being exposed to his brand of malevolence. I also had to smile when I saw the post offering him hugs. You guys crack me up.

  26. THAT'S what the foes option is for?


  27. Tom, you are now official promoted to the Stonekettle Station status of Dunedain. (that's a major compliment, by the way, courtesy of Janiece Murphy)

    You may have just salvaged the Esque for me. Thanks.

  28. Once you get a forum set up it runs itself--especially if you designate others to be your bouncers.

    Yeah, I think John Scalzi might need some Whateveresque bouncers if he's going to keep up this whole ignoring us due to deadlines thing...

    As for chocolate: Toblerone. :) It does have "nougats" in it but I don't mind them that much. Also, Heath is another good one for toffee. My all-around favorite domestic is Snickers - works great for staving off anaphylactic shock (eating well works better but...).

  29. Heh, and while I was obediently rambling on and on about chocolate ...

    That foes thing was what I meant about the ignore function earlier. Sorry, I guess I should've explained it in detail. Yay Tom to the rescue instead! :)

  30. I understand that without Snickers there would be no scientific advancement - or so I've been told.

  31. Awe shucks, I'm so far behind on blog reading, I missed this party.

    I've just been to busy for any added 'e' in my life -- but if there's a farce thread, I'm on board. Maybe we should get a couple of them going, for confusion sake. :)

    UFO sightings? That would be fun to defend.

    Animal abortions? That would be fun to have a strong opinion about.

    California falling into the ocean, ala Superman -- fun to defend that science.

    Housepet marriages.

    Camera memory card wars. Compact Flash, the one true solid state technology...

    Yeah -- just let me know when the party begins. I'll happily defend the most absurd opinions. Then, when I run for president, my opponents can dig up my craziness online. That'll be fun. :)

  32. I think its hysterical that you guys have been discussing chocolate. I must not know the depths of my evil powers.

    And Shawn's list has promise. The pets marriage thing could work. Fake up an article in a San Francisco paper?

  33. Shawn, good morning. How's the new schedule working out?

    Re: the Entrapment Idea. See I think we have to make sure it's some thing that we know would immediately pull in both Sgt Effrontery and Gottasnark and set them spinning - something like:

    First Lunar Libertarian Church founded in Santa Barbara - based on the teachings of Robert Anson Heinlein. "It's going to be bigger than Scientology!" said church founder Larry "Lazarus" Longfellow. The Church's admitted goal is to once and for all put Ayn Rand and her Rationalist zombies in their place... Additionally the Church is committed to renaming the USMC to "Sea Going Bellhops" in accordance with...

  34. I knew someone once who consistently got seasick on every sea trip he went on (and it was part of his job description to go on a lot of them). He would be queasy up until he threw up, and then everything was fine. He would eat a Snickers bar at the beginning of each trip, as those were the only things that tasted all right going both ways.

  35. Don't forget my old nemesis Taustin.

  36. ...I've got a great idea for the 'e' -- if I ever get this review video done, I'll start a thread over there.

    I'll post a note here, so Jim comes to play (or at least be a voyeur).

    Not like that kind of voyeur. You people are sick. Jim is a 14 year old girl after all.

  37. And cute as a button. With a myspace account and no adult supervision.

  38. knew someone once who consistently got seasick on every sea trip he went on

    Me too. Bad thing for a navy man. He'd turn green standing on the pier watching the ships move up and down alongside.

    This provided hours of entertainment at sea. Once a group of my shipmates coated the inside of his gas mask with sardines and mustard sauce. When we went to General Quarters (battle stations - and it was a scheduled drill) an hour later, he slapped his mask on. Turned instantly green, puked in his mask, nearly drowned in his own vomit, floundered blindly out of SSES (our workspace) into the passageway, breaking Zebra (watertight integrity, which set off an alarm, which summoned the Executive Officer, who hated us spooky intelligence types), where he encounter the highly irate XO, who ordered him to remove his mask, at which point he puked down the front of the XO. Mission Accomplished, as the Great Decider likes to say.

    No cable at sea, entertainment is where you find it.

  39. knew someone once who consistently got seasick on every sea trip he went on

    Me too. Bad thing for a navy man. He'd turn green standing on the pier watching the ships move up and down alongside.

    My Dad, who is in the air force, gets air sick.

    Does that count for anything?

    Of course I bet he'd get sea sick to.

  40. Umm. Chocolate. Toffee. Nougat, not so much. Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bars = Yuk.

    When/if a hoax is planned, I will do my part. Heh.

    My family commercial fishes, we can handle ugly seas while covered in digusting fish stench. It's funny how stinky the boat gets after you've been home for a couple of days...

  41. I can deal with practically any kind of stink...except rotten dead fish stink.

    BTW, on today's quote, I would have gone with this one:

    Rudy: Who among us knows the way of the Lord?

    Seth: I have a theory. He's a raving psychotic.

  42. Eh, my idea wasn't as funny after a couple hours of sleep. I was going to post a serious UFO concern I had, citing several potential and likely scenarios.

    Then I was going to block quote myself, and disagree in length.

    Maybe I'll still do it, but for now, I guess I'm gonna like, work and stuff. :)

  43. I'll bet it's funnier than you think - because you're a funny guy. A funny guy who works weird hours and has a thing for UFO's...

  44. A funny guy who works weird hours and has a thing for UFO's...

    You could run for president!

    (hoping someone gets that joke)

  45. Well, yeah, except he'd have to be able to get into a the debate first...

    (hoping somebody gets the joke)

  46. That hot wife will get him into lots of places.

    (somebody who got the joke the first time, and has now made a sexist one of her own)

  47. Well if you're looking for something plausible to start you off with a UFO post, there's this.

  48. Heh - that's actually the story that made me think of it. :)

  49. Nothing to worry about folks, the aliens are not only friendly, but they adhere to our aviation guidelines - red and white flashing lights.

    Plus I'm sure MUFON will have it sorted out in a jiffy.


  50. See what I miss when the company sends me on trips? Threads like this.

    I'm about the same way. A lot of noobs asking the same questions because they don't bother to read the old threads, and the same tired trolls using invective when they don't need to.

    Scalzi even had a post on it from Cory Doctorow's point of view.

    But I did learn about a few new blogs from it, so that's not so bad.

  51. John, I don't mind the newbies asking the same questions. It's the trolls and the nasty folks that I can't stand.

    I always liked the whatever because it seemed to have a higher class of people around. If I want to read flame wars and juvenile nonsense I'd read the comment threads in IMBD.

  52. Yeah, I bit my tongue several times, most notably on Sgt. E's "America is only rich becuase we steal from the 3rd world, and I konw because I've seen it from the window of a Humvee" comments and taustin's suggestion that we put a political commisariat in the Armed Forces. Between those two, I figured the 'e' was headed the MySpace route.


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