Friday, June 20, 2014

And Lo, A Pox Was Prounounced, In Tones Of Contempt

     I said it elsewhere first:

     "Once again, Larry Correia, John Scalzi and some nitwit I never heard of much are spatting. In a better world, I'd be able to say, 'Boys! Go to your rooms,' but until I am elected Empress of All For Life, here's a stopgap for the cheering hundreds, specifically those writing comments along the order of, "Yeah! $BAD _STUFF should happen to $GUY_I_DISAGREE_WITH! He's bad and he should feel bad about it."

      "Yeah, y'know what, Bucko? No. Not. This here is the United States of America and people are allowed to be right out there being WRONG, walking around and talking and spreading wrongness and bad advice everywhere. And dammit, that's actually how most of us like it. Oh, we don't *want* to sit next to 'em on the bus, those wrong people who disagree with us, but if it's the last seat left, we will, and most of the time, they'll even scooch over a bit.

      "And unfuck[2] you Left, Right or Center if you don't like that. No, seriously: that attitude is The Real Problem. It's the very same exact damn thing that led to riots by chariot-team boosters in Byzantium. I don't expect it will change, really."

     It's not the Correia/Scalza battle royale that bugs me; they're big boys, armored in their own egos and armed with their considerable language skills.  Like Buckley and Vidal, the disagreement cuts deep and occasionally results in name-calling but it's fun to watch true heavyweight champions in action.  Nope, it's the legions of the unthinking on all sides, blind to nuance and often ignorant of the rudiments of spelling and grammar.  This is much the same crowd who mistake rudeness for blunt honestly, crudeness for heartfelt expression and unsly insinuation for subtlety.  And it's here where I'm accused of "tone-shaming," or of wanting everyone to be "nice" and thinking that would be a way to "fix things."  Tain't so; there is no fixing. We live in an unfixable society, a multicultural wasteland[2] that will never sort itself out, no matter how determined you or that horrible, horrible chap over there want to drive out the Republicans, cordon off Dearborninistan, catapult illict border-crossers back over a newly-built fence or ban Democrats; they're here, they're there, so are you, get used to it.

     --"Get used to it:" Vidal and Buckley did; hunt up their later public spats and they're loathing one another just as heartily and happily as ever, but they're fightin' by the rules: no low blows, no Godwinning, no punches to the teeth.  As a result, you get a better idea what their actual positions are, and can make up your own mind.  The audience isn't throwing roses and rotten tomatoes, either.

     I like Scalzi and Correia[3]; they're no William F. and Gore but they sling words okay and generally eschew groundlessness when the slings turn to arrows.  Oh, they'll strain the other guy's phrase to get a needle in, make no mistake, but that doesn't bother me.

     It's the mob-thinking on the sidelines that frets me.  Those are the guys who are gonna end up makin' me die in a big pile of brass, hoping to buy time for the innocent to get away before the mob-wits rend 'em limb from limb for suspicion of Presbyterianism, heterodoxy, homosexuality or wavin' a Gadsden flag. It's not "tone," it's a habit of thought that runs, "If Great Leader wants to spit on Evil Foe's mailbox, I will wait and spit on his mailman!" not grasping that the poor slob who hauls the mail was never even in your fight.  History has nothing to teach them.  They just make messes the adults have to clean up, sometimes for centuries afterwards.
1. I have to be pretty annoyed to use the word.  And I am.

2. First World Problems: I grew up just outside Suburbia and commuted through the vast wasteland of strip malls, burger joints and gas stations blighting the land; it was decades before I grasped the astonishing prosperity that readily-available inexpensive food, fuel and consumer goods truly reveals.  And thus also the politco-cultural landscape; we've got more Irish the Ireland, more Sikhs than in all of India and so on and on.  By historical standards, the poorest here are rich beyond measure, free as no people before them.

3. There's a third participant, supposedly a little to Scalzi's left, but I don't know his work and in my age and self-indulgence, I'm gonna assume if he's an SF writer and I never heard of him, he can't amount to much.  YMMV.  I'm sure his does.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I like Larry's stuff immensely. I like Scalzi's stuff, too, when he's not being reflexively progressive. (I was a reader of his blog for about three minutes before I said, "Well, so much for that.")

These recent writer wars, though, are a bit much. They're really unbecoming and off-putting, and made worse by the fact that they're due to the progressive faction continuing their Long March through the institution.

Ah well. Perhaps all sides should take to heart the observation once made by a prescient mage: "Fire will cure a case of the dropsy, but a dead-and-cindered patient's no success!"

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Oh, and if they don't get that reference, maybe they'll understand this better:

"Shut up and write!"

fillyjonk said...

"This is much the same crowd who mistake rudeness for blunt honestly, crudeness for heartfelt expression and unsly insinuation for subtlety."

This. This so much. It seems increasingly that people can't disagree on something, and discuss the POINT or the ISSUE without feeling the need to personally destroy their opponent's reputation.

It's ugly and it's dishonorable and I wish it would stop.

And I will add, based on some stuff I have seen in my for-real life of late, it seems there's a trickle-down effect of that stuff: that ordinary people disagreeing about the little things of life are now doing it with giant blow-ups and character assassination rather than discussing their differences and trying to figure out some way to either work through them or part amicably.

I swear this will all end in my becoming a full-on hermit.

Bubblehead Les. said...


Just don't think a lot of us are willing to join you.

Sigh! So this is what it was like when Rome started to fall.

Old NFO said...

Well said, and you're right. It's the side commenters that are screwing everything up. Me? I'm sitting on the sidelines loading mags...

jed said...

Correia v. Scalzi? I haven't encountered that -- might need to go in search of it. Hope it's as good as Michael Z. Williamson v. Scalzi.

Can I blame Al Gore? I mean, he did invent the internet, after all. Seems that all this new capability for instant communication has helped dumb down the discussion quite a bit. Of course, it isn't the only trouble, but it doesn't help -- it's all too easy to pull out the flamethrower when you're insulated by the keyboard, router, etc.