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[at-l] Mean-spirited Diatribe, WF and at-l
- Subject: [at-l] Mean-spirited Diatribe, WF and at-l
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim and/or Ginny Owen)
- Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2001 17:50:08 -0000
Bob Cummings <email@example.com> wrote:
>Wingfoot has the annoying habit of kicking people off his list -- at least
>some of whom don't deserve to be kicked off. But I don't recall that he
>publicly makes anything like the mean-spirited diatribe i read on this list
>in reference to Wingfoot
I wasn't gonna mess with this cause I don't have lot of time right now, but
y'all have pissed me off greatly. So ---- while I don't mean to pick on
Weary, his post just happens to be handy - and applicable.
First, if you look at the original post and consider that it may have been
(and very probably was) meant as humor, it makes a lot of the carping and
complaining about it look at least as mean-spirited as the original was
taken to be. If you think it was mean-spirited, you might best take a look
in the mirror and figure out where your sense of humor got lost. Lighten up
If Pat had put that kind of post on at-l, I think it would have generally
been regarded as faintly amusing - and maybe on the edge of odorous. But
c'mon - on atml?? WF is rude, crude and insulting toward someone on his
list nearly every day - and usually worse than what Pat wrote even if he had
been trying to be insulting. In general, that's the "tone" of atml - always
has been and I've seen no improvement lately (unless it's happened in the
last month). What sometimes amazes me is that he has any list members at
all. I guess there are those who are just into self-abuse – or don’t have
the self-image or self-respect to tell him where to put it. Not my problem.
WF has yet to learn that you get what you give.
Which brings up the second part -
>There is an annoying tension on Trailplace that strikes me as unfortunate,
>but it also has some quite valuable discussions from time
>to time, which is why I continue to contribute. I learn from
>them, and I hope others get something useful from my contributions.
Not quite – and there are three parts to this. The first is that the
“tension” on atml is generated by WF himself. I won’t pursue that too far,
but historically he’s brought that “tension” into everything he’s done and
everywhere he’s been.
The second part is that those words (or at least the concept) that “I’m only
on atml for the information” has been expressed here and in other places
before. And every time it happens I want to pick someone up and shake them
until their teeth rattle. I’ll keep this short and simple – the Germans
followed Hitler because he “did good things for the country and the
economy”. WF is no Hitler, but the concept is the same. There are a lot
of people who think he’s doing “good” – but have they ever considered how
much damage he’s doing along the way? In WF’s case – damage to the Trail
and the community.
The third part here is that I find it amazing that those who inhabit both
atml and at-l (or those who end up here whenever Trailplace shuts down – and
then leave when Dan gets his act together again) often find some of what’s
said on at-l to be rude, crude and uncalled-for. And it’s nearly always on
the subject of WF. Again – KISS (gotta keep reminding myself of that) -
there are several reasons for that, the first being that WF is not just the
owner and moderator of atml, but a participant as well. And as such, he’s
perfectly willing to insult, put down, denigrate and humiliate other list
members. And yet he allows no open discussion or criticism about himself,
his past, his views, etc. That’s the “norm” on atml – and some of those who
live there seem to think it should be the norm everywhere else, so when
someone here says something about WF – whether true or not, whether in jest
or not – there are those who think it’s out of bounds. Bull. I’ll tell
them what I told Balt Jack one time – WF wants to be a public figure – that
means he’s fair game. It does NOT mean I’ll listen to (or read) lies about
him without reacting to such. I won’t generally defend him, but neither
will I allow the propagation of falsehood if it’s in my power to stop or
correct it. One difference between the two lists is that most of those on
atml don’t even know what’s truth and what are lies about WF because he’s
hidden much, if not most, of his past from them. He's created his own
fantasy world and history - and foisted it on the list. We’ve had this
discussion a number of times – that a remark about WF starts a flame war
because the atml transplants don’t know what’s reality and what’s not.
After the last dust-up I answered half a dozen messages from those who
thought I “must be wrong, because he must have done those seven thruhikes”.
Really??? Sorry, guys, but I was there.
>That it seems to me is Wingfoot's true value to the Appalachian Trail
>community, whereever and whoever it might be.
One more point to consider – I’ve run into WF devotees in several other
incarnations – on other trails - on other forums. I know who they are and
where they came from cause they carry the same aggressive “tension” that
atml carries. They carry an “attitude” and they don’t want to be confused
by facts because their minds are already made up. They “know” about things
with which they have neither experience nor knowledge. They invariably want
to “take the discussion off-line” so they can “educate” me. And they
invariably end the conversation by asking me not to call back – that either
they have nothing to learn from me or that I’m “unteachable”. They rarely
have the intestinal fortitude to face rality - or the intellectual curiosity
or honesty to investigate anything that doesn't agree with their own
peculiar world-view. That attitude, my friend, is one part of WF’s
“contribution to the Trail community”. We can maybe discuss the other
“parts” another day.
>This is not meant as criticism of the AT-List. People obviously enjoy the
>give and take and chit chat, as I do. It just isn't stuff that one tends to
>keep around, longer than it takes >to read.
Fact is that the “chit-chat” is nothing more or less than the glue that
holds this list together. If you look in the archives you’ll find a post
that Kahley wrote that defines what this list has done for the “Trail
community” – including weddings, friendships, support for the Place in
Damascus (among others), groups that hike together, Rucks, support for
on-Trail thruhikers (and not just on the AT), trail construction and
maintenance, information about ATC, ALDHA, the Gathering, Trail Days, Trail
Fest, etc. This is a open list and in the 6 or so years it’s been
operating, only one (count’em – ONE) person has been kicked off. And that
action was done with the knowledge and support of the entire list. Even R&R
didn’t get kicked off - in spite of his testosterone surge. And, yes, I’m
happy that he’s still with us.
So – do I keep a lot of at-l posts. Nope. But frankly, I wouldn’t keep any
of what I’ve seen on atml either. Fact is that what I’ve seen lately on
atml is purely boring. And no – I’m not on atml, haven’t been for several
years. But I spent some time reading the archives before (and for some time
after) Dan shut Trailplace down - in fact, until he realized (from
monitoring this list) that he’d left some “backdoors” open to the site. I
find that hilarious because I was the one he accused of hacking Trailplace
at one time – and he tried to sic the FBI on me. But he’s such a competent
list-admin that he can’t even shut his own site down properly.
Just for the sake of clarity, he hasn't been "doing this for almost 20
years" either. His first thruhike was in '85, his last was sometime
*before* '92, and he didn't start atml until "almost" 4 years ago. He's a
few years shy of 20 no matter how you count it - but then it seems he's
always had problems with numbers too.
One last note here for those who think “the less said, the better”, or maybe
“peace at any price”. It don’t work - EVER. It didn’t work in Europe in
the ‘30’s, it didn’t work in Vietnam or Cambodia or Rwanda or the Baltics or
Israel, it doesn’t work for street muggings, it doesn’t work anytime or
anyplace. And it won’t work here. If you’re not willing to fight for what
you believe, then it’s not worth fighting for – and you’ll lose it. That’s
a basic fact of life, gang. Deal with it.
While I agree with Kahley that the “new” people on the list have as much
need for and right to honesty in the information they get here, there’s
another important consideration – the survival of the list itself. Some
time back (more than a few days) I was on a list where some people objected
(with flames) to the expression of anything concerned with God, religion or
spirituality (in any form), anything “supernatural”, any discussion about
anything outside of gear, where to hike (or climb), straightforward “trip
reports” (but without personal expression of emotion) and direct
trail-related information. They irritated me one day – and I told them that
if freedom of emotional/religious/spiritual expression was denied on that
list, then the list was sterile, without reality – and would die an untimely
death. And it did.
At one time we (at-l) went through a number of flame wars – and by common
consent certain words became anathema here. I’ve never been comfortable
with that – and at this point I have no intention of honoring that common
consent anymore. Whether anyone likes it or not – a list that “bans” or
restricts a subject (or word) loses something vital. If there are enough
words or subjects that are banned, then the list is well on its way to the
“list graveyard”. It simply won’t survive. I WILL NOT (or perhaps, no
longer) agree to the banning of the words “cell phone” or “gun” or
“umbrella” -- or “Wingfoot” -- on this list.
One of the things that made this list a vital and viable entity 5 years ago
was our willingness (and in some cases, eagerness) to express our opinions –
on a variety of subjects, in a variety of ways and sometimes with
considerable heat. And that was before WF was even a factor – or even on
email – let alone the “electronic AT guru” that he believes himself to be.
I’m not sure I want to relive some of those flame wars, but I’d rather do
that than have to think about “who will I offend if I write this” every time
I get a burr under my saddle and answer something on the list. I consider
that to be just plain dishonest. If this isn’t an “open” list in every
sense of the word, then I’ve wasted a lot of time, energy and bandwidth here
for the last 5 or 6 years.
I’d say “I’m sorry”, but I’m not ---- I don’t “go quietly into the night”.
Never have, never will. I don't "own" this list, but it's been my “home”
for a long time – a lot of our friends live here (and some that are more
than just “friends”). I won’t just stand by and watch it die. Not without
Enough - we're going to PA to do some trail work this weekend. See y'all
Sunday or Monday.
They chose the name "Falange" for their party because that had been the name
of the Macedonian battle units that had destroyed democracy in ancient
Greece. The Falange symbols were a yoke and a sheaf of arrows. The
Falange philosophy was Fascist. But Fascism, which is anti-intellectual, is
not so much a system of thought, not so much a definable political position,
as it is an emotional disease. It has been different in each country. It is
marked by fear, basically - the fear that breeds hatred and intolerance of
whatever is different, whatever does not conform to the simplest patterns of
behavior, whatever cannot be directly and completely controlled. Frightened
by the problems and complexities of modern life, Fascists seek to simplify
through destruction and control through force. Fascism is a psychological
condition that can be found among people of all countries,
including our own.
--- From : "The Civil War in Spain" by Robert Goldston
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