a pointless post about a pointless episode

Gossip has traditionally not been the subject of a multilevel evolutionary analysis that hypothesizes different utilities of gossip for individuals and groups. Wilson and colleagues (2000), however, designed and administered hypothetical paper and-pencil tests of reactions to self-serving and group-serving gossip. In samples of undergraduates in the northeastern United States, they presented subjects with a series of hypothetical vignettes that varied the interests of the fictional gossiper. Wilson et al. (2000) found a consistent pattern of approval for group-serving gossip and disapproval for self-serving gossip. In one set of varied scenarios, respondents found no fault with gossip exposing cheaters on a test, while gossip that derogated fellow classmates (i.e., competitors) drew harsh reactions. –Utilities of Gossip across Organizational Levels: Multilevel Selection, Free-Riders, and Teams Kevin M. Kniffin and David Sloan Wilson, Human Nature, Fall 2005.

LI has been pondering a pattern that has played out again and again on the blogosphere. While it would seem, at first glance, that people who have generally the same opinions, or the same range of opinions, the same references, and the same cultural level would display the easy ties of mutual affection, the blogging world periodically erupts in knife throwing and taunts.

Yesterday there was a poisonous dustup between a blog I have written for, Long Sunday, and another blog written by a gifted woman, Le Colonel Chabert. LCC split with this group a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, her supposed career, her opinions on this and that, and her comments section have since then been the target of an ugly and astonishingly childish mobbing.

LCC has a sharp and too ready tongue. When she is under attack, she never ever counts to ten. In fact, feeling the sharp side of her tongue would certainly make the blood rush to my eyes. Plus, she has insulted various bloggers I like. But … who cares? There is such a thing as reasoning, as well as throwing plates. On the other hand, she’s a good writer and she is doing one thing that I can sympathize with a lot: she is trying to find her own vocabulary and paths for thoughts which may have their roots in Marx or Foucault or Derrida, etc. History is a nightmare I am trying to wake up from, says Stephen Daedelus early in Ulysses. The same is true of philosophy, which is made by waking up from philosophy. This is why it is always going to resist professionalization. Which is also why, in spite of appearances, the form of the blog is good for philosophical musing.

So, what is the deal? Why did LS descend into a mad frenzy of accusation and counter-accusation, leaving readers astonished?

It is an odd thing about blog communities that lynching by effigy is such a popular thing. Perhaps the sublimation of these darker energies is a good thing, preventing the substitution, for effigies, of real people. Still, LI is against it. We felt the same thing, actually, about the recent lynching of the Red States America blogger. WAPO made a mistake hiring him, because he isn’t that good. However, it isn’t as if WAPO’s collective of opinion givers are geniuses. Anyway, the search was on for something this Red States guy had done in his past, and bingo, it was soon found that he plagiarized a film review for his college newspaper – absolutely shaming, no? It went on and on. Everybody was pleased when his head was put on the pike. Truly, a victory for liberalism everywhere.

So we turned to the literature – namely, this rather sinister paper by Kniffen and Wilson on gossip. K and W begin with some gems they found, in the organizational literature, such as the following:

“In larger industrial settings that are less traditionally studied by anthropologists, Knez and Simester (2001) and Hamilton et al. (2003) found that firms can benefit from the creation of structures that encourage “mutual monitoring,” a state where members of a given unit take greater responsibility for the actions of others in their unit and a prerequisite condition for gossiping (Campbell 1994). In their study of the effects of an incentive scheme that rewarded airport-specific units of ground staff as independent groups, Knez and Simester (2001) found that the introduction of team-based incentives to preexisting units increased performance as measured by the timeliness of airline flights. In a different context, Hamilton and colleagues (2003) found that the creation of work teams and the institution of team-based incentive structures led to an increase in the factory’s overall garment production.”

Ah, that “mutual monitoring” – it is lovely the way one can shake enough academic Comet in the language to wash away unlovely terms, like backbiting, spying, tale telling, informing, betraying, asskissing, and the like.

K and W’s own study was of a rowing team. The study attempted to distinguish between group-advancing and self-advancing targets of gossip. Interestingly, gossip is extended by K and W to mean something more than ‘news’ – it encompasses a number of behaviors in which the group “self-reflects.” And so we get some heartening tales like this one, of the “slacker,” a disliked member of the rowing team:

“The slacker’s most egregious offense occurred during one of the weeks when practices were being organized two times each day. While this rigorous schedule was accepted by all other members as a necessary sacrifice, the slacker informed his rowing mates one morning that he would not come to the afternoon session because “he was tired.” Since the fatigue of twice-a-day practices was shared commonly within the team, the slacker’s excuse was treated as an insult by his mates. The slacker was routinely the butt of jokes and the target of verbal sticks and stones,
but on this day he was also the subject of personal threats (because rowing teams need to be fully intact to practice since coordination and balance are so integral to boat-level performance).

As we reported elsewhere (Kniffin and Wilson 2004), the slacker’s behavior also impacted the way in which fellow team members viewed his physical attractiveness. When we compared ratings of the slacker’s physical attractiveness offered by strangers and by fellow crew members, we found that strangers rated him as relatively attractive whereas familiars rated him as relatively unattractive. Although Merry (1984) has argued that gossip needs to be consequential to function as a deterrent to anti-social behavior, these results point to important fitness-related effects that accompany negative gossip. Assuming a correlation between perceived physical attractiveness and potential reproductive fitness, the slacker’s inferior contributions to the team’s operations reduced his potential reproductive fitness among familiars within the crew. In the broader social environment replete with strangers, the slacker’s relationship to his team had no impact; however, our finding would presumably have been more important in the EEA when mutually exclusive social groups were not so abundant and accessible.

As one might expect, the slacker did not remain very long with the team; instead, he left after the first semester of our study (i.e., his second semester of participation). Gossip as a social control has two likely end-points: reforming an individual’s behavior or rejecting the person’s behavior. In this case, gossipers intended reformation as the near-term goal, at least, but their actions ultimately contributed to rejection of uncooperative behavior.”

All is obviously for the best in the best of all possible worlds there in rower land, where “rowing teams need to be fully intact to practice since coordination and balance are so integral to boat-level performance.” Culling, culling, culling, so integral to physical attractiveness – if only those damned “mutually exclusive social groups” weren’t so abundant and accessible, in which unpopular and unfit people can lick their wounds and grossly display their happiness.

K and W end their paper with a conclusion that is so dystopianly business utopian that it made me laugh:

“The multilevel selectionist perspective tested by our study contributes to research concerning gossip as well as organizational planning managed by business leaders. The model of gossip supported through this study suggests that when rewards are partitioned at the group level on a scale that permits mutual monitoring, individuals will use gossip as a tool to defend and affirm group-beneficial norms. Although contemporary industrial organizations are more explicitly and intentionally managed than groups prevalent in the EEA, our paper suggests practical benefits to be gained from evolutionary studies of behavior.”

The practical benefits of witch hunting will surely lead us to greater efficiencies, translating into serious elevations in ROI! K and W.’s conclusions converge with the conclusions of another famous researcher, Jonathan Swift:

“Another thing he wondered at in the Yahoos, was their strange disposition to nastiness and dirt; whereas there appears to be a natural love of cleanliness in all other animals.” As to the two former accusations, I was glad to let them pass without any reply, because I had not a word to offer upon them in defence of my species, which otherwise I certainly had done from my own inclinations. But I could have easily vindicated humankind from the imputation of singularity upon the last article, if there had been any swine in that country (as unluckily for me there were not), which, although it may be a sweeter quadruped than a Yahoo, cannot, I humbly conceive, in justice, be a sweeter quadruped than a Yahoo, cannot, I humbly conceive, in justice, pretend to more cleanliness; and so his honour himself must have owned, if he had seen their filthy way of feeding, and their custom of wallowing and sleeping in the mud.”


New York Pervert said…
roger--what is astonishing is that you would defend LCC. She is just as much responsible for this as everone else, and is no friend to the Golden Rule. If you are supercilious and contemptuous of everyone and everything, as she is, there is little wonder people throw the shit back in your face. She's pioneered a no-censoring policy, really the only thing she's done that's better than the LS people. They're all into Deep Communism, ultimately, and you are just seeing what internecine wars at the Kremlin may have been a little like. In any case, she's said as nasty things to people as they've said to her--she's been in no way scapegoated, because she miscalculated the degree of bullying she could get away with.

Beyond that, internet pillorying is just a joke anyway. I could say I've been the victim of it many a time, but the problem is taking online communication personally--as if it were not a depleted, one-dimensional thing (unless it goes into real, commercial online magazines, etc.). Even if the people she accuses of being unscrupulous actually are, she has done as much, even if cannot be 'proven' as she was declaiming that she could do by the proffering of threatened emails she was wagging back and forth yesterday (except you can't wag emails, you can't do much of anything well on the internet except write well, so the idea that anything substantial happens on the Internet in the area of 'scapegoating' or 'lynchmobbing' is farfetched, because 'life on the Internet' or 'life in the blogosphere' is so limited that none of those terms means a damn thing in the virtual world, except for those who have lost touch with physical reality.

She is also a big tease, but has very little sense of humour about herself. Finally, she is tough and needs no defense, as all her little 'pitiful Pearl' things are purely Thespian.
New York Pervert said…
'Unfortunately, her supposed career, her opinions on this and that, and her comments section have since then been the target of an ugly and astonishingly childish mobbing.

LCC has a sharp and too ready tongue. When she is under attack, she never ever counts to ten. In fact, feeling the sharp side of her tongue would certainly make the blood rush to my eyes. Plus, she has insulted various bloggers I like. But … who cares?'

In case I wasn't clear, I just disagree primarily in that I think the 'But--who cares?' applies to both sides about equally. All those flames are all about controlling, just fighting over styles most likely.
roger said…
Mr. NYP, I hestitated a bit in putting this up, because I know you don't like Chabert, and she has insulted people I like quite a bit, etc., etc. I'm not defending her as Lenin's wife or Jesus' daughter, but a woman who is doing a blog. It is a piece, it is like any piece -- theatre, music, poetry.

If I was her editor, I'd tell her to put her pen on ice when she was angry. Anger is like pot -- when you write angry, every word is as perfect as it is when you are stoned. There is a red flow. But actually, every word isn't. Mostly, the pull in towards the self is too heavy -- so to other people, it looks out of control and esoteric at the same time.

Anyway, leaving that subject alone and digging my grave deeper: I think that the idea of LS is good. Why not have a discussion blog for people who are into continental philosophy tinged with Marx? The problem, I think, is that LS is perceived as merging an ultra vocabulary with the genteel tradition. I've decided that the mystery of Mr. Peresoza -- the explosive responses he gets -- comes from his own perception of this. To get past it, he puts heavy duty battery cables to the euphemisms -- and usually he does get an angry and amplifying response. I imagine the idea is: here are a bunch of people advocating, say, an uprising of inner city Afro American males who, in their real lives, put infinite screen between themselves and the nearest gangbanger. Etc, etc. So why not throw in a few terms to create a buzz, like dyke, lesbo, white dick, whatever.

However, I think this is a double misconception. On the one hand, academia is no longer the happy hunting ground of trust funders - mostly it is another middle class area. The old sixties profs, with their special deal houses, are all retired or dead, and the only profs that get the perks, nowadays, work in the business school. It is true, an ultra vocabulary sometimes is in too much contrast with reality. Reality is, nobody is jumping up from their theory course to grab a torch and march on the white house. But one has to risk the mockery to some extent to figure out the conceptual structure.

On the other hand, the idea that the language of the street mixes with any of the languages of philosophy, whether Badiou or Quine, doesn't compute to me. I am, at the moment, immersed in graphics novels -- those of Gaiman. I'm thinking about my anti-recruitment chef d'oeuvre. And all the vocabularies are out there, all mixed together.

Anyway, I promise not to write about any more blogshit for a while.
New York Pervert said…
Roger--I am sorry for sounding a bit too strong in the first post, I wasn't nearly as irate as it looks now in just the words themselves. Anyway, I always respect your work here even if I disagree. And you definitely put the manners of all of us to shame--you're sharp but gentlemanly. If I object to something, it is probably because I have some sense that this very nice gentlemanliness may have missed something (I certainly miss a lot of things due to my brusqueness, which was learned in having to survive in extremely hostile environments during many years, which leaves one hardened when one has gotten past the worst.)

But you definitely write one of the best blogs--it's completely unpretentious and is the only one that is really like reading an alternative newspaper more than a blog most of the time.

I think I was just trying to say (and, of course, I didn't really have to) that it was complicated, these internecine wars, but clearly there have been problems based on differences in 'style of oppression'. My own solution is somewhat rude, in that I start turning the entities into characters so as to no longer be involved in the fighting itself (I was during the first skirmish when IT was at odds with chabert), and become essentially aloof--again, it is because few people keep a sense of flesh and blood on the net, and I think it a serious problem when there is a sense of real communication which carries with it so few of the responsibilities of real friendship; there comes into being this sleight-of-hand thing that makes the interrelationships appear to be like they were much more than the tiny nano-fragments of electronic person-pieces that most of them are. When they appear to be just electronic entities, they start translating for me as cartoons, characters and fictions, games. This aloofness is my own defense against getting enmeshed in any more internet flaming; it may seem uncompassionate, but I guess I won't expend anything but minimal energy on those scenes, because I think it is demeaning (even though I know that that is prideful of me.)

What springs to mind in this little adventure in fact came to light only in the current mutation: by far the most interesting thing (to me) about the entire narrative was the one thing that brought it into what I see as reality: That there was a legal action taken and explored by opposing parties and this had consequences therefore in the internet relationships. This was also the part that interested some of the others the most too--matters of who might be liable, etc. It broke the spell of something which is often illusion on the internet.

This is one of the reasons the article in NYReview on the Daily Kos interested me--not so much because of their political work per se, but because there the Internet is a tool for work beyond it. My impression is that you do that too, and I can think of a handful of others who know how to use their blogs for something other than Their Royal Blognesses.
winna said…
My work has started doing something called 'feedforward'. It is feedback, which is a polite business way of bitching about things people are doing, but with a shiny new name to make us all think we're not bitching at our coworkers for being slackers when we are. Very Orwellian.

Who has you reading Gaiman? Are they holding your family hostage to ensure your compliance?
roger said…
Winna, wow. Corporations never, ever cease to amaze me. 'Feedforward' sounds like an evil fiction.

Well, I'm not reading Gaiman to improve my mind. But if I am going to reach the 18-25 year old set, I figure I have to figure out what they read. I've also been reading military blogs and crap like that. But, you will be happy to know, I'm cutting this reading with Tom Paine. He's becoming my model of plain writing. Swift, Paine, Hazlitt, Orwell. I can't believe how good Paine is at times. And there is a book I gotta recommend about Paine's bones by a McSweeney's writer named Paul Collins; the Trouble with Tom. Really, it is an anecdote to feedforwardism.
roger said…
OOPS. Antidote. Fastwordism is an "anecdote" from 1984.

Winna, you have given me an idea for a contest to find the worst, vilest managerial idea. UFOBreakfast has been hammering on Seligman, the notable dog experimenter. I thought I'd topped that with Wilson article. But you've topped me with fastforwardism. Surely we are on the brink of an unknown sea.
New York Pervert said…
roger--I think people have tended to forget that the central fact that was revealed in the earlier LS skirmish was not so much that chabert was a 'capitalist currency trader' by career or profession, but rather that, upon relating this, she immediately showed that the entire rest of her persona was capitalist and profit-oriented (or a huge chunk of it was.)

So that therefore she was, in blogging and 'discourse,' if you can call her fierce bullyings that, always (or almost always) trying to make a profit, but rather in virtual terms. She is still doing this, right in the middle of her 'Pillory' performance art. I tend to be a musician even when I'm not being, and when I stay away from the literal form of that too long, I begin to react angrily and project all sorts of things. I suppose the same has to be true of a profit-oriented capitalist, except that the opportunities for 'guilt production within oneself' are obviously much greater, since the symptoms include a professed desire to overthrow capital--in a confirmed capitalist, this is bound to lead to paralysis, pathology and psychosis.

To wit, she once wrote that the European rich are not any more willing to give up any of their wealth than the American rich--but they 'can be forced.' She included that she would have to be forced too. This is pretty clever, but it seems to me that she is in the process of being forced to part with some of her capital, if only on the internet (but I hope it is not only there.) What's clever about it is that it then appears that she'll be forced, but somehow willingly. But we see that she is not at all willing.

She has produced a very unhealthy situation in which there is a combination of the real-world warfare and the sort that the addictive internet games like World o' War produce--but her games are supposed to be treated as of such a more serious nature than the ones that are officially called games, that an intenable set of circumstances is formed in which a combination of Real and Virtual cannot always be distinguished. She has actually succeeded in trivializing all questions of racism and anti-
Semitism into a kind of test or game; determining if someone has a trace of racism is far more important in her corpus than an extreme brutality. And though I once thought her exhaustive studies of Katrina were useful, the part that she's introduced as 'original' mostly comes across as barren and with passion only for the general thrust of what she was already addicted to.
T. V. said…
Mr. Pervert:

Let's kill her. But aloofly.
Vermin Direct, LLC said…
At Vermin Direct, LLC, the brand managers who kill people, we would be delighted to join in the animus directed towards Colonel Chabert.
T. V. said…
She is an evil unrepentant bitch!

When I imagine the triumph of Jodi Dean and the revolutionary Bartleby Lacanians, coolly smoking in their Heather jackets as Chabert's heels kick in the air--why, the world seems entirely redeemed by the blood sacrifice. Violent love! We are almost made horny. Zizek will deliver a speech in praise of Ayn Rand! The coherence is structured like the unconscious!

To make an omlette, my friends. To make an omlette.
New York Pervert said…
Mistah T.V.--Arpege is currently in London where she is 'in a situation in which she cannot smoke.' Also, she never ever speaks to anyone without their speaking to her first (I don't know is she's noted that this is the polar opposite of the British monarch.)

She told one client that, as a result of this cigarette deprivation, she was not sure her legendary patience would hold out if he kept being 'full of shit,' as she had previously informed him that he knew himself to be.

But Jodi Dean has won no victory. I am working to cast Roseanne as Ms. Dean in '69 Chabert Way' unless her fee is too prohibitive. Otherwise, the great Kaye Ballard of cabaret comedy fame will be approached with kid gloves. She ought to be flattered, but she won't be, because Ms. Ballard, American National Treasure, wouldn't do Svetlana Alliluyevah Stalin if they offered her the pahht.

I am a big fan of yours, Mistah T.V., and hope you get a job if you want one.
T. V. said…
Kaye Ballard!

Mr. P., you are more fabulous than I had suspected. I shall reconsider my libidinal investment in this matter.
roger, you win the 'plausible deniability' award.

Patrick, I have no idea what's made you so angry; I like that you show it though and you are forgiven. And just because I don't talk to the posse without their addressing me does not mean I don't talk to anyone without their addressing me first. The problem with the posse is they are completely mad; they can't run a blog without calling lawyers and police. Just keeping properly witnessed records of Matt and Jodi's insane emails and plotting cost me a small fortune - my lawyer is not cheap. People who decide to try to ruin someone's life over irreverent blog comments are to be avoided, it seems to me.

So roger, you are not keen on bloggers. What about teachers? Are teachers evil too?
roger said…
LCC, Hey, does this award come with some bucks? at least a statuette, maybe of Nixon hunched, his hands waving v signs in the air.

I don't know why you say I'm not keen on bloggers. I am -- which is why I said I liked reading your blog when you are on point, as you often are. But I am not keen on the Livejournal, high school thing. I think that if you are going to have a feud with LS, LCC, you should engage in it at a much higher level -- Fred Allan versus Jack Benny, or the Jets vs. ... what was the other gang in West Side Story? Less legalistic pointmaking and instant responses, and more cold, thought out bomb throwing. Your famous Teevee post, for example, was such a bomb (although I didn't know it at the time -- and I still don't quite understand why anybody would have been upset by it).

But... all of this is my idea of your blog's strengths and weaknesses. I think there is nothing wrong with criticizing a blog any more than there is with criticizing a film or a book, and such criticisms don't mean one finds directors or writers evil. Just as I like the premise of Long Sunday -- a collective with interests in continental theory and Marxist leanings -- even though I think the results are sometimes not so great (this, I think, is what you mean by plausible denial -- my on the one hand, on the other handness), I also think the bogus threads hunting you out were as inappropriate as a car chase would be snuck into Bresson's Lancelot. And, on the level of fairness, just as I think you've been very unfair to IT and to Matt, I thought the whole LS scene was being incredibly unfair to you, from the incomprehensible interest in how you make your money to the sort of flying monkey comments you've been getting, with a lot of tongue sticking out.

Likewise, the whole politics of being outraged -- she called me a kapo! He called me anti-semitic! rather disgusts me. Whatever happened to fuckwad and bitch, to dickhead, cunt, and dope? Insults that are wrapped around supposed political and intellectual positions when one really just wants to say, I hate your guts and would like to stick a knife in you and slowly turn it.

Blogs that start listing "people who really bug me" are not blogs I frequent, just because I'm not included in the party. Interestingly, though, (on the other hand, he said), there does have to be a certain personal touch, allusions to one's situation, references even to friends and enemies, but in such a way that it interests the stranger, the one reading you -- why one thing feels exclusive and the other feels inclusive is something I've been thinking about. I don't have a baked theory, yet.
"I don't know why you say I'm not keen on bloggers."

Just imitating someone we both know, to put you to work by pretending to be an imbecile. You're a good sport. Its plain to me you said nothing of the kind, and I was being grossly insulting and annoying to suggest it. I would have thought it beneath your dignity to respond; I think it is.

"I still don't quite understand why anybody would have been upset by it"

I do. There's heaps and heaps of research on this, you know.

Maybe I should post photos of Holbo and apes or whatever; that's always a hit.

I don't care what people say about me, truth be told. Especially those people, whose 'work' is pretty often risible. I like Patrick, he is responsible for some of my most enjoyable blog moments, and am sorry he feels as he does.

But when a bunch of 'radicals' who do absolutely nothing politically decide to bestir themselves to direct action trying to make a stranger lose his job or worse because he is on to them; here we must draw a line.

Sharks. (were the other gang.)

"I thought the whole LS scene was being incredibly unfair to you,"

Nonsense. I mean who cares. I'm not made of pudding. They've been rather more disgusting to Holbo, with the photo thing. But how can you compare this to trying to make someone lose his job? Taunting and humiliating someone they believed might be mentally ill and possibly dangerous? If that's the same thing in your book, well, you all deserve eachother.

Sorry, good reasonable tone and all, no sale.
roger said…
LCC, I criticized in you what I do myself – writing too hastily. After I wrote that comment, I thought of a dozen more things. The most important of them is this: one thing I truly don’t like about blogging is the assumption that we all have an equal talent for vituperation. That isn’t true. There are great love poets and there are Hall mark cards. There are great insulters and there are the guys that immediately think some reference to sodomy is killer. Hazlitt, I think, recommended Cobbett for being a great whiphand with nicknames. Cobbett’s nicknames were branded into the flesh of his victims, and are, sometimes now, the only living thing about them – all those long dead plutocrats and aristocrats. Myself, I have tried to do this – but unfortunately, my insults come with too many references attached. I am not free with my insults. I’m too self referential. It is like I am trying to show that I am smart and I am insulting at the same time. I don’t give myself to the liberating moment, the temper tantrum, the release. It is like I am trying to shit and sing at the same time. So I avoid pure insult most of the time, not because I don’t feel outraged, but because I don’t do it well. On the other hand, NYP is a great insulter. Not the nicknames, but the way the insults open up to fantasy. I can disagree with the object of the insult, but – as energy is delight – I like NYP’s soliloquies. Sometimes they are the best thing on this site.

You, now, have a certain style of offended dignity, but too often you have an in medias res problem – the contours of the offense are alluded to, but there is never the lightning stroke that would illuminate the whole wretched thing. It is like trying to decypher a coded message as a volcano is erupting in the background. The message gets more obscure the madder you get. In a sense, I think your style is like Ophelia Benson's, even though you are miles apart politically. It is like the Danny Thomas act verbalized -- the coffee spit out. I've even tried to imitate that, sometimes.

PS -- as I was writing this, I read your new comment. Again, what is this about somebody losing his job, pictures of Holbo and apes? Who lost a job? Who tried to get somebody to lose a job?

This is what I mean by blogshit -- one becomes an outsider. As far as I know, Holbo is writing on Spivak for the LS crowd...

Anyway, I'm glad you say you don't care. Because that goes along with the title of this post.
Well, woggia, there's more here than meets your eye, that's all.

I think though the important question here is: are teachers evil too? I guess you and Matt have convinced me that no discussion can go forward until that question is answered. I have no answer; you don't seem to want to share yours. So I guess what we have is an impasse. Maybe Long Sunday will interrogate this matter in a symposium.
roger said…
Ah, LCC, I thought the question was about bloggers being evil. The question about teachers was answered long ago by Pink Floyd, n'est-ce pas?

Teachers... leave those kids alone!
Sometimes, we just have to look at the classics for answers.
whew, already thought! wrap early then, give everybody the afternoon off. (winkeysmiley)
New York Pervert said…
Roger--I don't think LCC has been at all unfair to Jodi Dean--they've fully earned her ire, and I've already been through their deceitful demeanours and miscarriages myself...

LCC--you do underestimate the importance of superficial civility, however, even if it would be improper to direct it toward Matt and Roseanne Dean. In this, you are like me or as I have been until recently (and, just because it's not going on quite so fierily right now, may well occur again.) It's according to how much we want to be convincing about something, or whether we 'are just dancing for God and are the Majestic Servants of the Dance,' and philistines be damned (I always love it when I can get back to this sort of purity, of course.) On the other hand, it is not nearly always clear that brutalizing is NOT effective either, so we go into our various battles hopefully adult enough to take the consequences.

I'll admit I also didn't know there actually were attempts on lustmolch's job (I suppose you mean lm.) I wasn't aware of any of this behind-the-scenes stuff except once when I was in better odour with one of these LS personnel and heard just about the beginnings of some offline legal action. I suppose this must mean that the 'outing' of lustmolch on the linked sites might have cost him his job. I'm sometimes too slow on the technical and practical end of things--hell, I wouldn't even have mentioned it if Roger hadn't, because it was so embarassing that I hadn't been able to figure it out! As I mentioned over at Mistah Scruggs's house, I'll do sins of omission along these lines, considering that they are not good but not as bad as sins of commission in this particular arena.

Well, you see, sometimes you let the very dense writing and intensity loosen a bit, but even though you say that you want don't want to make things incomprehensible, you very often do. In my case, I don't know whether it is impatience with some of the actual content, though, as I strongly disagree with some of the positions taken. There are ways I end up with some vague article of faith that is like lustmolch's toward you, I suppose, what he often describes as your 'anarcho-' spirit, or something like that. The rages don't bother me at all, since I am not going to get involved with them any further. However, the true NYPervert in me is quite evil and likes them, as you may well be the center of glorious new fictions, but I really just don't think you ought to be talking about Ms. MacLaine's effluvia, now. Why, my dear, I'll have you know, I wouldn't even do that, even though my gripes are very strong against this person: In 1985 I wrote her asking for a grant to write a piece for the Smithsonian Institution and the International Crane Foundation to raise money for the Japanese Crested Ibis, at that time the world's rarest bird, and certainly the most exotic--it lived ONLY in the Korean Demilitarized Zone--and she would NOT fund it! because I told her that the letter in her hands was 'not a fan letter.' Despite all her seriousness about reincarnation of French prostitutes at the time, and then thinking she could do offhand vaunts of juxtaposing unwashed jungle treks in Peru with accusations of 'pissiness' to Liza Minnelli's arranger while pretending not only that she could dance--I mean the woman is DELUSIONAL! She absolutely CANNOT and NEVER COULD sing!

That Ms. MacLaine EVER pretended she could sing is the faultiest assessment she could have ever hoped to have made--and so she then played herself in the miniseries of her shit book, and said 'I am God' at the beach (in Malibu, I guess) and yet this was interesting: she really did say this weakly, as if she didn't quite believe it.
Oh, well, I suppose I ought have told the Michelle Pfeiffer story instead, but I needed to end on the word 'mucus' for a reason. I agree la MacLaine never could sing, and the only film I ever really enjoyed her in was The Apartment, wherein she plays Miss Kubelik, elevator operator and mistress of Fred MacMurray the evil boss.
New York Pervert said…
Arpege, deah--ah yes, turning on that charm again...mais oui, I was just thinking about how sublime Miss Kubelik was, but there was also 'Some Came Running' I was thinking about on the way down 7th Avenue today, just as sentimental a sap as could be with trees all at mid-bloom, i.e., when I was 11 years old I saw this by myself on a black and white set, and I remember when she said 'Please love me!' to Frank Sinatra. And I BURST INTO TEARS! And I thought in Arpege Chabert terms today when I was thinking about it on 7th Avenue: I thought 'Back in those early days, MacLaine had a power of innocence by which she literally went THROUGH the commodity'--because this cornball sissyfied crying was not some ordinary type that built up during the broadcast. I mean to tell you, girl, it just hit me right over the head. I'm so glad my parents didn't see me behaving like this over a goddam movie star...

But you know what else was good in 'The Apartment?' Mrs. MacDougall, the dame in the Xmas Eve bar that Jack Lemmon had to dance with! Nothing, I mean nothing, is as romantic as a lonely Manhattan bar, feeling unwanted and hopeless, on Xmas Eve! ... and then Lemmon gets balls and says 'Esp-ECIALLY not with Miss Kubelik!!!'
I actually used to wear Arpege; for years. Now I wear only Byzance, Amarige or Calèche.

"--ah yes, turning on that charm again..."

I don't recall ever having been anything but charming to you, P, except once when you were going on and on about the 'criminal element' in New Orleans. At least I have always tried to be charming to you. I cannot say this for my behaviour to others, admittedly. But then some people only find tucha lekking charming, and that is quite my aversion.
New York Pervert said…
Chabert--I only found some reference to tucha lekking as a botanical term, upon googling. Delighted that I was able to be so Proustian-nosed about the Arpege. 'Promise her anything...but give her Arpege..'

Appreciate the thought, but we mustn't forget that there are issues in which the personal can no longer be the only thing with which we respond to someone else. In your case, in particular, you go back and forth between what seem like personal and ideological fields in a way that is identifiable and that cannot not be jarring, even if it's inevitable; I probably do the same thing, but without the divisions seeming as clear (or maybe just without knowing it.) There is a way in which you have mostly been respectful to me, I'll grant that. Some of the things about the offline legalisms had definitely eluded me (it now seems ridiculous that they had, but that is the case), for that I can only offer my regret, but now that I understand it more, I'd definitely say that--even if I completely fail to sympathize with much of what unites you and warszawa (warszawa probably represents the part of you I'd have to give up all identity for, and I'm not going to, I've got my own loyalties to tend to) and lenin--your championing of someone's offline welfare with whom you were in more or less direct contact (direct at least in the virtual sense) is very much a bottom line kind of respect thing for me. Also, I didn't forget how you let me and lustmolch use the old AvW site while I was getting through that nearly impermeable aporia in which I (too!) was subject to the sustained condescensions of those 2 persons. This actually makes it into a more precise pattern than I had even realized. (Obviously, Anthony and Adam are not those persons, that's not really serious, I'm friendly with them and you at the same time--hollering is certainly okay, I do it when I've got the energy.) In a different way, Roger has gotten my respect as well, not only by writing superbly; and anything I've said on his site regarding people about whom he does not share this view I must obviously point out 'does not reflect the views of the management.'

Otherwise, I'll say only that things are so complex that I'm surprised when any sense of harmony can be found, much less restored. The TeeVee Thing was NOT that easy to comprehend, and I am sure you were confused too--some of it must have been 'raw materials.' Your tenacity can be very admirable when it is directed in the most precise way to the right target (I'd say this to myself as well, and would add that, of course, we can't always take time out to distance ourselves and figure out things before acting.)