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Denunciasaurs (and toadies and flunkies and lapdogs and anonymous pitbulls, hyenas, vultures and friends) are hypocrites.
Not evul immoral folk, and thus irredeemable, no -- the common Denunciasaurus-Rex is a simple, bumbling hypocrite, all too human, alas1 . . . all too human to be roasted on a spit, shredded, marinated in blog-spit, pounded to paste, spread on white toast, chewed, spat out, ground in the sidewalk, napalmed, hosed off with bleach, and finally cast off into the hideous punishing darkness of the inner 0-ring of Heck (Ottawa)2.
No, we must pity them for their un-remarked and un-corrected mistakes. We must be tolerant. We must obey our stern internal moral injunctions (e.g., do NOT act like Miss Nasty while pretending to be Miss Nice: "But she started it, the poo-poo head!! She's a fucking immoral piece of shit."3).
The plangent whinging and whining and high dudgeon are unseemly of any pretender to the throne of scholarship or the throne of Micronesia (which the SOLO archipelago brings to mind for all its truck and trade with the world, being the crossroads of reason and passion and all). The revelation of La Perigo backstage activities4 put all of this posturing and fervour in perspective: hypocrisy comes in varied delicious flavours.
('I was forced to be nasty by Events. It's not my fault -- I didn't know I would be caught')
('I disremember. I can explain the discrepancy. How can I remember everything I say in private?')
('Yes, I publish private correspondence. But I have a Higher Purpose!!! I am never immoral myself, in any way: all my errors are undertandable and explicable! I am King [Queen|Empress\Flying Spaghetti Monster creator] of the only moral planet in the universe, cur . . . stupid undergrad, manipulative liar, evul poo-poo head, TOC-infected sub-optimal and unfortunate Jenna Wong-wannabe. I will not engage with the uncivil (except in cases when I am busy or distracted. Don't imagine that I disagree or agree with any comment on my blog. I am strictly neutral and objective. You are banned, cretin.')
('But she hurt my feelings. And my feelings matter. And people are Nasty to me, and I NEVER almost ever except for sometimes am Nasty myself. And I was provoked by secret whispers and she hurt my feelings and none of the other kids will like me if she keeps lying about me. Boo hoo, sniffle, grizzle, snort hiccup sob screech . . . She was supposed to be my frie-eeeeeeend! She was never supposed to tell on ME! She was supposed to support ME! Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo, O woe is me, I hurt so much . . . why doesn't anybody understand?! Now I have to find a new best friend and that's HARD!!! Boo hoo whinge, wheedle, cry, snuffle, cough, load aim KABOOM!!! Hi, wasn't it fun to blow Chrissy's brains out? Wanna be my besssssst frie-eeeeend?! That's a pretty anonymous name you have. I won't ban you if you're nice to me . . . ')
('all of the charges of hypocrisy are themselves hypocrisy, and bad and evul and I won't tolerate them in my comments and send me your secret emails too, huh, please? and all the charges of nastiness are themselves nasty, and you are banned from here, mister, and that's not what I said, you're banned from commenting, and you and you and you and even you if you look at me the wrong way. I'm tired. I write over 5000 words every day of top-flight philosphy. It is tiring. You tire me. You are banned. I'm going away on tour and if you are Nasty while I am gone I might have to spank everybody. I might have to pre-spank you all unless you are very very nice while Auntie is gone. I heard that. You are banned too, mister. I warned you. I don't tolerate stuff around here. And no, NOBODY GETS PIE except ME. Got it? If you don't GET IT, consider yourself pre-spanked, pre-banned, and pre-deleted.')
When an author writes "I . . . [he] . . . me . . . digusting lies,"5 we enter a new rhetorical universe. We leave the universe of 'my esteeemed colleague'6 and the planet of, 'my friend and former associate'7 and plunge into the dense atmosphere of 'immoral, contemptible, scum-sucking poo-poo head.'8 There we stagger about deprived of oxygen and cordiality, barking harsh communications at all others we can perceive.
Mertz's routine invocations of her fairness and even-handed objectivity (on her blog here, and here, and here*) are revealed to be a sham. As if a raging Borderline patient9, she turns on her closest bosom buddies, she dares not give real love for fear of melting, she feels anguish at real and imagined betrayals, she denounces what once engendered comradely devotion . . . unbeknownst to her, her ability to navigate the social landscape is significantly impaired10.
What kind of friendship did she imagine she was performing in her mentor/mentee relationship with Sciabarra? How many confidences did she extract from him? How many has she betrayed in public? How much is she holding back in the mountain of archived communications? How much is she not telling? Who opened this Box of Nasty Emails?
Her 400 email trove is then as neutral an object as is Sciabarra's opposing trove (in these two camps, a thumping historical record of their mutual communications; in the massive engorged Inboxes of both, a mountain of material for a future objective historian) -- Mertz's +/-400 vs Sciabarra's +/-400.
What can we see of these troves? Not much more than what is squoze out by one of the interlocutors.
I will reserve judgement on these matters until that future day when the material is open to view. Until then, I consider this a messy internal affair of Rand-followers which is really none of my business . . .
This leaves me with the impression of the world as it is: imperfect, full of imperfect people performing imperfect behaviours. I no more indict Diana Mertz Hsieh for her denunciation of Chris Matthew Sciabarra than I do Sciabarra for his stately, scholarly silence in the aftermath11. The are both human, imperfect and yet valuable.
With my sense of life (in which it is I, Me, Mine own universe, My precious self doing the living among a lot of imperfect Them) there is no option -- I cannot see round every corner, down every rathole or sewer, nor can I see into the hearts of all the men and women who stagger about the earth -- I can only be staggered myself by the rank hypocrisy which stinks up the public sphere from time to time.
To subvert a Fahyism, when one farts in public, the only seemly behaviour for other riders on the train is to ignore it (British and French people will allow a moue of distaste to appear on their granite faces, London/Paris often stinking in other ways12; Americans will open a window with a great irrelavant clatter12A; Scots will be stinking drunk and think it their own crepitation -- and giggle13; Brazilians will hardly notice another sewer smell on their grossly-overcrowded Metro14; Russians will imagine that someone has a trove of home-raised mushrooms in a bag somewhere between their legs and will sniff deeply in an attempt to detect its origin15; Chinese will pull up their face-masks and sign inwardly as they watch the stock ticker on the train car -- installed by the Communist Party16; Swedes will not smell the fart, as the train unit has already detected and removed the methane to a collector-tank where it is fed back into the bio-fuel engine17; Norwegians, Icelanders, Faroe Islanders will all think that the party has started and fart themselves. Accordians will appear. Foot-stomping dances will be performed, babies will be conceived18; Canadians will entertain suspicions that it is a secret Yankee** riding the train whose rectal-blurt so befouled the public sphere, and will ask their government to install fart-detector buzzers on every transit seat at an expense of $850 million tax-funded dollars19).
1. [Diana Mertz Hsieh:] "Generally speaking, although I do not take a casual approach to my writings, my basic attitude is that I am perfectly willing to err, even in a spectacular and public fashion. Of course, I would prefer not to do so. Of course, I strive to avoid it. But when it happens, I take it as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a blow to my self-image. In contrast, when I joined Toastmasters back in 2001, I rather disliked being told pretty much anything other than that my speech was wonderful. Although I understood its theoretical function, I was generally averse to criticism. But in that friendly and supportive environment, I quickly realized that improvement required strong and direct criticism. Of course, some forms of criticism are genuinely destructive. Good criticism aims at correcting errors by noting and encouraging some change for next time. My attitude towards the possibility of error and the value of criticism changed for the better, I think."
2. [Scherk:] "Finally, I like that Campbell is open to inquiry, to refutation -- and sets himself an even tone. Although I appreciate the Grand Guignol of the enraged discussant here wishing him to roast in Hell (or Heck, or the Randian equivalent: Ottawa), I still don't know why people are so belligerent and oafish here on occasion."
3. [Mertz:] "Perhaps NS regards both Chris and Robert as obviously beyond the pale. To be clear, I cannot remotely concur with that judgment. Whatever our philosophic disagreements, both have been good friends to me over the years. Along these lines, I should say something about Noumenal Self's comment in that same post about my relationship with Chris. There NS wrote, "Maybe soon she'll turn a similar critical eye to the works of a certain NYU-based dialectical scholar she continues to regard as a friend."
Chris Sciabarra has been an excellent friend to me over the years. He has consistently encouraged me in my philosophical work. He was both supportive and challenging in our many discussions about my dissatisfaction with TOC. As my friend, he is worth his weight in gold. Notably, my friendship with Chris does not imply agreement with his dialectical approach to Objectivism, nor with his approach to academia. I have substantial questions about the former and substantial doubts about the latter. Both will surely be hashed out over time, using the same critical eye I employ in all intellectual endeavors. Yet our friendship, which is grounded in far more than a mutual interest in Objectivism, will not thereby be brought into question."
4. [Excerpted from MSK post "Conspiracy Theory":
Giving your opinion about a person who has wronged you to a
friend is in no way “manipulation.” Sciabarra and Maurone
had a friendship that he tried to preserve. Hsieh ditto.
According to the information in her article, she was
embracing sworn enemies of Sciabarra, and Maurone was
embracing her. Sciabarra tried to fight for his friendships
and warn these people he cared about to ensure that they
did not suffer the same indignities he had to bear from
“purists.” Nothing more is evident to me from the excerpts
Hsieh posted – certainly not her own theory of a deadly
single-person e-mail conspiracy against ARI.
Now if you want to understand what real offline
manipulation is, you should get near Perigo during one of
his campaigns. I was – for several campaigns. Here is how
it works. Once someone has posted something online that
Perigo believes in (usually meaning something bad about
someone he wants to attack), he starts e-mailing and
phoning like mad to make sure that people post agreement.
(I never talked by phone with him, though. He requested my
phone number and I sent it to him, but that happened right
when our relationship was deteriorating because I would not
cave in to his pressure against Barbara. I have about 500
e-mails to and from him on file.) He is extremely conscious
of the impact of public agreement and he manipulates that
in the wings quite well. He even says things like “it looks
bad if no one comments,” or “now is your chance to say
[whatever],” or “isn’t [so and so] a sanctimonious twat?”
Yada yada yada.
If you ever wonder how his discussions seem to generate so
much interest, one of the main reasons is his ongoing
“whispering campaign.” ]"
6. [Perigo: ] "Note from Linz—Yes, I'm cheating. This is a reprise. I thought with all the discussion raging here about PARC, ARI, TOC, SOLO, the Brandens, etc., and the TOC Summer Seminar coming up, with me among the presenters, it would be timely to re-run this. It's reprinted exactly as it orginally appeared—no ARI-type airbrushing! Smiling
I have just returned to New Zealand from The Objectivist Center's Summer Seminar in Vancouver. I am feeling the blues that must inevitably accompany a return to the world of nihilism from one of exuberant rationality. Yes, "exuberant"! Yes, TOC! Just as you, dear reader, thought you'd never see me saying that, so too did I never think I'd be writing it. Fact is, the Seminar was a blast.
First, the speakers. I met and heard the world's best-kept secret: a philosopher who is also a stand-up comic (or perhaps that should be the other way round). His name is Fred Seddon. He has a vastly different take from Rand on Kant and Hume, but argues his case brilliantly and entertains uproariously. His presentations are not lectures, they are performances. Though his staple leitmotif, "Did I tell you I like sex?" is arguably overdone, there is no question that this man's comedic talents make him unique in Objectivism.
There was Molly Hays, who delivered solo a presentation on "The Necessity of Romance" that was intended to be delivered in tandem. Her unavoidably absent co-presenter, Larry Sechrest, would have been proud of her. The only question mark over Molly is her musical taste—she kept insisting that Linz sing, even after he obliged her.
There was Tibor Machan, in booming good form as always; David Kelley, delivering a tour de force about Islam; Nathaniel Branden, unmistakably aging but infinitely endearing as he ad-libbed in an unfamiliar interview format; Madeleine Cosman, magnificent and majestic as she swept aside the horrors of socialised medicine and conjured up free market alternatives; Stephen Hicks, suave and sophisticated, aglow from the publication of his new book; Francisco Villalobos, outrageously beautiful but annoyingly reluctant to proffer the empirical validation of the title of his lectures, "Look Better Naked." There were many more, whom it is unjust to omit but whom I cannot include simply because I didn't get to hear them. I walked out of one lecture only, because the speaker was less audible than the one in the next theatre who resonated passionately through the wall and thus staked his claim for my attention. As for my own presentation, I shall leave it to others who were there to post about if if they wish; suffice it for me to say that I couldn't have hoped for a better reception.""
7. [Perigo:] "Great to see these comments & good wishes - and some fetching new colour photos! Kat in spectacles! All the better to match-make with!
Adam B - how can we know you're what Ashley says you are - a blone cutie - without a colour photo?! Get with it, man!
Sir Edward Hudgins - thanks for your good wishes. The fact that you have signed on will no doubt be reported on Diana's blog. Do you know what you have done?! Smiling
Diabolical - that was a quick emergence from invisibility! "
8. [LapdogOne: ] "You love the smell of your own brain-farts."
9. "Kernberg believes that borderlines are distinguished from neurotics by the presence of "primitive defenses." Chief among these is splitting, in which a person or thing is seen as all good or all bad. Note that something which is all good one day can be all bad the next, which is related to another symptom: borderlines have problems with object constancy in people -- they read each action of people in their lives as if there were no prior context; they don't have a sense of continuity and consistency about people and things in their lives. They have a hard time experiencing an absent loved one as a loving presence in their minds. They also have difficulty seeing all of the actions taken by a person over a period of time as part of an integrated whole, and tend instead to analyze individual actions in an attempt to divine their individual meanings. People are defined by how they lasted interacted with the borderline.
Other primitive defenses cited include magical thinking (beliefs that thoughts can cause events), omnipotence, projection of unpleasant characteristics in the self onto others and projective identification, a process where the borderline tries to elicit in others the feelings s/he is having. Kernberg also includes as signs of BPO chaotic, extreme relationships with others; an inability to retain the soothing memory of a loved one; transient psychotic episodes; denial; and emotional amnesia. About the last, Linehan says, "Borderline individuals are so completely in each mood, they have great difficulty conceptualizing, remembering what it's like to be in another mood.""
10. "Unstable and intense relationships.
People with borderline personality disorder may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not "there" enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will "be there" in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternately be seen as beneficient supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts other reflect disillusionment with a caregiver whose nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.
12. Especially in the Tube/Metro
12. No offence to my American brothers, sisters, cousins, aunties and drunken racist great-grandpas. They are just can-do kinds of folks and they always smell great.
13. Considering their diet of Scotch and stodge, deepfried candyfloss and sheep offal-and-butter sandwiches . . . who could think them wrong?
14. Though the major cities of Brazil share this special scent with other slumb-ringed holes across the developing world.
15. No offence to the Slavs -- their mushroom-hunting skills are empirically-demonstrated
16. With apologies to the Chinese engineers and owners of the German-manufactured Shanghai Maglev, which smells like boondoggle
17. I extrapolate from recent news of the cow-powered train. Not cow-dung powered, cow-powered. Reference on polite request.
18. This is of course, utter nonsense, silly and extemporaneous. I am Norwegian myself.
19. This is too kind to Canadians. The suspect yankee was probably maced and dragged off the train and sentenced to a Canadian re-education camp, but not before being subjected to the horrors of Socialized Medicine, in the form of waiting in a line for 30 years, an appointment with a busy former Death-Squad butcher, then a pitiful lingering death from taxation . . .
. . .
. . . This is an all-purpose reference to the unbelievably quite awful and bad to the max, Mr Evul Stuart Kelly, also known as the Spawn of Satan in the Ur-Objectivist Cosmology. See "I have met evul and he is MSK," as yet unpublished in a refereed journal . . .
* -- Like La Mertz, I am sometimes too lazy to look up references on blogs . . . as she was in her condescending, contemptuous and disproportionate screed against La Wong, which I also will not bother to look up.
** -- 'Secret Yankees': many Americans are indistinguishable from Canadians until they open their mouths.-- (Not because of their barking delivery, but because of their perfect teeth, a result of a superiour dental health system over that of the foul, socialized Saddamite Canadians -- Ed.)