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[at-l] Mean-spirited Diatribe, WF and at-l

Bob Cummings <ellen@clinic.net> 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 -

Weary wrote:
>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 
a fight.

Enough - we're going to PA to do some trail work this weekend.  See y'all 
Sunday or Monday.

Walk softly,

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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