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[at-l] Warning! WF Post

You know, I've never met Mr. Bruce, but I've corresponded with him a couple
of times, and absolutely trust some of the people who have had very bad
interactions with him.  My personal opinion is that he has some big personal
daemons that he's not facing very well.  I don't think he's getting the help
he needs, and that makes me sad... because he is clearly an extraordinary,
if troubled, person.

I don't think that the near constant discussion of Mr. Bruce on the AT-L has
much to do with him at all.  Yes... I'd guess that most of what is being
said about him is justifiable.  Yes... he appears to be infuriating,
hypersensitive, grandiose, paranoid, and mean spirited.  Yes... he sets
himself up as the "one true spokesman" of the AT.  That's all true.  But
when people get together in groups, and particularly when those groups are
similar or compete in some way, there is a tendency to look for an "Enemy".
Having an Enemy is very convenient, for it neatly divides the world into
"us" and "them".  Opposing the Enemy provides a common cause.  The mere
existence of the Enemy helps to suppress differences that threaten the
cohesiveness of the group.

Unfortunately, having an Enemy is also terribly destructive.  It can become
a litmus test for group membership.  And, although the Enemy often starts
out as someone real, under the attention of the group the Enemy soon becomes
larger than life.  Soon, people from outside the group start getting turned
off.  The insistence on accepting the Enemy just strikes them as weird.  But
from the inside this is hard to see because the Enemy -- the Enemy that the
group has so lovingly created -- has become real to them.

My own gut feeling is that the soul of this group dies a little every time
someone posts a diatribe against Mr. Bruce.  It has nothing to do with Mr.
Bruce, and everything to do with us.

My own preference would be that we listen to new "refugees" with compassion.
We can share our own personal experiences in private emails.  And,
eventually, we should let them know why we don't discuss Mr. Bruce on the
AT-L... not because we respect him, or are afraid of him, or particularly
admire him, but because we value ourselves and our community too much.

Take care.

-- Jim

----- Original Message -----
From: "Orange Bug" <orangebug74@yahoo.com>
To: "kahley" <kahley7@ptd.net>; <at-l@backcountry.net>
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 7:40 AM
Subject: Re: [at-l] Warning! WF Post

> I know what you mean and know that there is a bit of a contradiction
> involved because we aren't static. I wonder if some sort of WF FAQ
> would be a reasonable option, or maybe stock numbered comments would
> save bandwidth and breath. (#359 He thinks a 35 pound pack is
> ultralight.)
> Bill...
> --- kahley <kahley7@ptd.net> wrote:
> > I'd agree with you Bill if we were a static group, but we have new
> > members
> > joining alll the time.  There is no mechanism for truthtelling on tp
> > and if it's not to be spoken here, then where?