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Post 80

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 8:45pmSanction this postReply
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Have you people even been reading my posts about this? How the hell do you slander someone by publishing an article that he himself *said* ought to be published?! The context-dropping being indulged here boggles the mind ... people are leaping from my editorial decision to publish this to the unwarranted (and publicly denied) claim that I agree with the article and second its claims!

Frankly, I feel completely vindicated by Chris Phoenix's post—he is a newcomer with little knowledge of the recent disputes at SOLO, and therefore with no dog in this fight. What he is interested in a site where candor and institutional transparency are the order of the day, and he believes that our handling of this latest dispute has amply demonstrated those two strengths. If some prospective members are scared off because this site's founder didn't shrink from a public accusation of alcoholism, fine. I'm content as long as the Chris Phoenixes keep coming. (And the membership growth numbers just released in Joe Rowlands's latest update belie the claim that these disputes are "destroying" SOLO.)

There is room, as Robert Winefield does, to disagree with the manner in which these charges were made public, namely, by posting them as an official article. For my money, the difference between posting this under "Dissent" and posting it as an article is minimal. And it accomplishes something that a "Dissent" post would not have: bringing the reasons for this split, and the unfairness with which Lindsay is being treated, to the fore of SOLOists' attentions.

Robert, you say that The Management's reasons for doing this are "notwithstanding," but provide no specific explanations of why they lack muster, and instead have made yet another post bemoaning the highly exaggerated "anarchism" of the SOLO Forums. Like a lot of critics, you seem to think that SOLO's higher-ups (Linz in particular) should simply quit the field of personal disputes, and that these situations could be resolved by just pretending that they don't exist. I disagree. And regardless of whether it is fair to do so, those who hear and spread rumors will take silence in the face of them as tacit confirmation of their truth.

Here's what your vision would have prescribed in this case: James's writing would have been quashed, and he would have been moderated or banned, after which I am certain he would have left SOLO completely. Do you really believe, if he was willing to publish this as a SOLO article, that what he had to say wouldn't have surfaced in less public channels? (In fact, as I say in Post 48, I had already heard similar rumors from another person prior to James's submission.) Do you believe that we would have seen the instant and vocal vindication of Lindsay's character that this article prompted? Do you believe the virtues of honesty and justice would have been served by sweeping this issue under the rug?

I am puzzled by what seems to be a widespread misconception—among Objectivists, no less—that a prerequisite for the success of an online discussion forum is the total absence of acrimony, and even more, the suppression of expressions of such emotions by moderators. Now, if such an expression really is irrational, it ought to be called into question, and its author called to account (as Lindsay was on the "Lessons Learned" thread, prompting his immediate and unreserved apology). But dealing with it by having an appointed vanguard comb threads for posts that violate some necessarily-vague definition of acrimony would be to treat posters like children, a policy that SOLOists should rightly resent (and one that, ironically, Robert himself suggests). The *truly* adult response to such conflicts has been elucidated by Robert Davison: if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it.

There is nothing stopping anyone from returning to reading, writing, and discussing philosophy here. Right now on SOLO, there is a lively discussion on the nature of addiction, prompted by the very timely posting of a Szasz quote by Jeff Riggenbach. There were also three articles posted today that everyone can discuss. If these topics don't interest you, you can always start your own thread. Or better yet, submit an article to the SOLO queue which, though adequately stocked, could always use some more quality pieces.

I just can't seem to square the statements of those who say they want to hang out in greener pastures with their propensity to come on threads like this just to cluck their tongues at it. If you think the whole thing is worthless, why spend time and keystrokes wallowing in it? I could understand this frustration if this article had short-circuited other healthy discussions on SOLO. But I don't see that it has, nor do I see any reason why it should have.

(Edited by Andrew Bissell on 8/01, 8:50pm)




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Post 81

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 9:05pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew, I had my doubts about you when you took this on, feeling that you were too much a Linz acolyte...but I have to give you credit, you are doing as well as anyone could in this situation. You came in at a crazy time, and I do not envy you.
I'm sure this is not what you had in mind when you took on the job. I admire your willingness to consider both sides, even if we disagree in the end. It's clear you're siding with Linz, but you've been fair throughout this civil war, and that speaks volumes about you and Linz.



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Post 82

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 9:51pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew,

Let me take a moment to second a sentiment Joe just started.

I want to compliment you on the magnificent job you are doing as editor. The word that most comes to mind with regard to your performance, especially  in light of the present situation, is "professional."

You have earned my respect.

Michael




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Post 83

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 10:25pmSanction this postReply
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Seconded. Andrew, you're doing a brilliant job. How anyone could complain about your decision to post the article is beyond me ... I can only assume that you're right, and they have jumped the gun and not actually read your posts at all.



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Post 84

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 10:35pmSanction this postReply
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I think James Kilbourne made a big mistake in publishing this article and I think Barbara shouldn't have sanctioned what he did. As mistakes go this one was a cropper. Now that some time has passed and I'm more clear-headed, I think Linz was correct in letting it go in. Since no one has presented any evidence that he is an alcoholic, the correct public assumption is that he isn't--also, that the public shouldn't care regardless.

Andrew's doing a great job.

--Brant




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Post 85

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 10:37pmSanction this postReply
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This post truly has, as you put it, Andrew, accomplished something that a "Dissent" post would not have: bringing the reasons for this split, and the unfairness with which Lindsay is being treated, to the fore of SOLOists' attentions.

Casey Fahy


(Edited by Casey Fahy on 8/01, 10:41pm)




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Post 86

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 10:52pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew,

Kudos for doing a very difficult job, superbly.



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Post 87

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 11:21pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew: I'd also like to add my praise for the great job you're doing as editor. What I'm mystified about, though, is why Joe Maurone should imply that your "siding with Linz," as he puts it, is somehow a negative thing. Why shouldn't the editor share the values of the founder?



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Post 88

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 11:28pmSanction this postReply
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I, too, must praise Andrew for his resolve in this storm. He has acted perfectly in his capacity, and it is damn irresponsible of people to make accusations without actually knowing what the hell is going on.

Alec



Post 89

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 11:32pmSanction this postReply
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Derek, I said that to emphasize that even though Andrew is siding with Linz, he was still able to look at both sides fairly.
If you're referring to the acolyte line, I said that to emphasize that I was thought Andrew was something else, and not just someone who shared the founder's views.I was recognizing that I was wrong and that Andrew has a mind of his own.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 8/01, 11:34pm)

(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 8/01, 11:39pm)

(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 8/02, 12:03am)




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Post 90

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 12:18amSanction this postReply
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Great job, Andrew, you get a bonk from me too.  You have been a fine example how one can be loyal yet independent. 



*purr alert*
Michael gets a bonk too.... simply because I love bonking him.  purrrrrrrrrr




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Post 91

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 3:53amSanction this postReply
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Fucking hell. What a hullabaloo about nowt.

 

One earnest but foolish do-gooder gets inebriated on his own pseudo-compassion and everyone starts whining and wailing like old women.

 

First, I do not think that Linz is an alcoholic. I think he is being maligned as a result of a wowserish attitude to drinking by those who accuse him.

 

I know that I am not an alcoholic, yet I love drinking, and I very much enjoy being drunk when the occasion demands. I hate the idea of being drunk when I have things that need to be done, and the last thing I will resort to in times of stress is alcohol. In my opinion, Linz is of the same mould. I do not, and will not countenance people resorting to alcohol in order to avoid their lives. Amongst other reasons, it demeans the drink. (I can't help but think that my photo doesn't exactly support my argument here!)

 

Linz is a heroic figure. He is a creature with phenomenal stamina and single minded purpose. He is also an irascible old man. If he insults you, I suggest that you gather your armour and attack back with as much force as you can muster. Take joy in the opportunity to let fly without restraint. I would be prepared to lose, but good lord, it would be fun to play.




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Post 92

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 5:55amSanction this postReply
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Linz is not an alcoholic. This errant suggestion is a result of Linz candidly conceding that on more than one occasion he had posted invective after having had a few and had regretted what he had written the next day. Such evidence does not an alcoholic make.

The title of this article really pisses me off. "Drooling Beast" refers in The Fountainhead to the tall poppy chopping mentality of the mediocre, the chattering classes but in this context it conjurs up images of a [former NZ PM Robert] Muldoon or a Jake Heke - a human being so drunk as to be out of control of some bodily functions and randomly lashing out at any target that appears before him. To think that such a command of the English language was wielded by such a creature is to evade an obvious contradiction.

James and others who support his article are trying to understand how Linz can explode like he does. Alcoholism is a convenient rationalisation but the real answer is that he is a prime mover, a person who ups and gets things done, that with that much drive and determination and chootzpah he must have the kind of strong personality that occasionally offends others on the same side, that when he feels betrayed by the stance of a friend on some issue, someone who ought to know better, he erupts with the same fury that drives him in the first place. He takes a lot of shit from our enemies - his reactions to what he sees as betrayals or evasions by his friends are understandable.

They ought to be mindful that Linz does not drop the context of those friends good qualities in his overall estimation of them, even if some of his angry posts don't reflect that. And if they can't see it, they need ask themselves how Linz really feels about people like Chris.




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Post 93

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 7:00amSanction this postReply
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Andrew -- Herding cats on the SOLO farm is quite a job. They're rather large cats with, shall we say, large personalities. I appreciate your tough task; keep up the good work!

 

I also agree that more civil -- though not less passionate -- discussion would benefit SOLO, Linz and all of us. So perhaps the Rand phrase "Think deeply to feel deeply" is appropriate here!

(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 8/02, 7:05am)




Post 94

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 7:29amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Bissell-

I think that you are doing a fine job, however, the publishing of this article was simply inappropriate and wrong.

To wit, it was whim-worshipping, subjective, gossipy and more worthy of the tabloid pages than a website of serious philosophical study. Now the new standard has been set that anything written about an important individual, however lacking in evidence, no matter how foolish the claim, must be published in the name of transparency. Next week I will be publishing an article about how Joe Rowlands is a transsexual sexaholic. I have no proof, and such an article is harmful and should be delegated to the old blue-haired biddies playing bridge, and the entire premise is anti-Objectivist, but you had better damn well publish it because, well, you wouldn't want to look like you're covering up, would you?

Clearly, I am not being serious. Anti-Objectivist and content that lacks evidence and is acrimonious (and this article was all three) is regulated all the time, and Kilbourne should not be rewarded just because he made a baseless claim against a leader of this site. Publishing this was irresponsible despite the fact that Linz wanted it published. Think, man, for yourself, and ask next time whether this sort of material really belongs on an Objectivist website in the name of "openness".



Post 95

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 7:36amSanction this postReply
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The question becomes whether or not those of us at SOLO care to devote any of our bandwidth to the topic of substance abuse.

For me, the answer is that it will be talked about from time to time in the natural course of discussion, but that I think SOLO is mainly about other purposes.

Also, I believe there are a great number of useful and highly developed forums out there that serve the purpose very well.

If SOLO has the desire to present itself as as an intellectual, or philosophical, or political factor, movement, etc. then that is what it should do. I do not think there is room for public airings of this sort, simply because it shows weakness, where it does not need to be shown.

As far as the topic itself, I will excuse myself because what I do is look at the writing. Meaning, Hunter Thompson was my favorite journalist. I am not pro or con partying. I just know what works for me, which generally involves nothing.

The SOLO staff, from stem to stern, are very good at what they do.

(Edited by Rich Engle on 8/02, 7:37am)




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Post 96

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 2:03pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew Bates wrote,
"Alcoholism is a convenient rationalisation but the real answer is that he is a prime mover, a person who ups and gets things done, that with that much drive and determination and chootzpah he must have the kind of strong personality that occasionally offends others on the same side, that when he feels betrayed by the stance of a friend on some issue, someone who ought to know better, he erupts with the same fury that drives him in the first place."


Bullshit. Linz's childish antics have nothing to do with his being a "prime mover." Chris Sciabarra is a prime mover to a much greater degree than Linz can ever dream of reaching, yet he doesn't behave like an infant. Chris doesn't call his good friends all sorts of vulgar names when disagreeing with them, nor does he accuse them of betraying him when they refuse to take his chronic shit any longer.

Rand was a prime mover. She was a very accomplished artist and philosopher, yet she never came close to spewing at her enemies the angry, vulgar crap that Linz frequently excretes upon his friends. You may wish to excuse Linz's rage by claiming that it's merely the temperament of a great achiever, but until he accomplishes something original that comes close to being in the same ball park with Rand, I would hope that he'd learn to stop being so buffoonish as to continually surpass her in rage and arrogance.

I don't like the fact that Linz has been smeared with the accusation of alcoholism. I'm as disgusted with it as I am with Linz's frequent smears of others. But, since Linz has admitted to drinking occasionally, I'd have to say that calling him an alcoholic is much more accurate than are the vulgar names that he gets such a thrill hurling at others here.

Andrew wrote,
"They ought to be mindful that Linz does not drop the context of those friends good qualities in his overall estimation of them, even if some of his angry posts don't reflect that. And if they can't see it, they need ask themselves how Linz really feels about people like Chris."


I think you've got it backwards, Andrew. The issue is not how Linz really feels about Chris, but how much of Linz's shit Chris is willing to overlook. You need to consider that the virtues for which Chris is often mocked by Linz -- his tolerance, dignified calm, and rational generosity toward others -- are probably the only things which keep Chris and Linz's relationship alive.

J

(Edited by Jonathan on 8/02, 6:31pm)




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Post 97

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 5:15pmSanction this postReply
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Just a few comments:

"Drooling Beast" was a bad title for this article, because I can see that it can easily be misunderstood. I was using it in the context of the "Lessons Learned" thread as what Linz called the left. It reminds me that each thing a person writes needs to stand on its own and shouldn't refer back to something unless that referent is very clear.
I have not thoroughly read through all these posts, but from what I can see Andrew has handled himself very well.
I also repeat that I have no quarrel with how I have been treated by either Linz or Joe.




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Post 98

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 6:31pmSanction this postReply
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Then what exactly is your quarrel James?



Post 99

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - 10:50pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew Bissell, Excellent work. (reffering to #80) My respect for you has gone way up, and so has my reguard for the individuals at SOLO in general. Keep it up. : )



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