the consensus is: MetaFilter is not a soapbox November 28, 2004 10:13 PM   Subscribe

I am new. There is a lot of MetaTalk about politics.

Apparently, "The quickest way to get a label you'll never be able to shake here is to engage in political threads."

For a long time, I couldn't figure out why people freaked out so much about mentions of politics, but I've been reading this thread, and I'm almost three-quarters through, finally, and it looks like the consensus is: MetaFilter is not a soapbox, and your primary subject should be links, not opinions.

That's cool with me, I'm just curious if I've got it properly nailed down.
posted by blacklite to MetaFilter-Related at 10:13 PM (271 comments total)

It seems like it ought to be more complicated, considering the amount of haranguing that goes on about it.

Also, apparently, anything goes in comments to threads, and so one can always make a post and then comment further to it if one has more to say or opinions to share. -- Although some people really seem to freak out when someone mentions politics even in comments.

I'm just trying to figure this stuff out. I apologize for spamming MeTa with more metametapolitics, because I'm sure some people will be unhappy about that.
posted by blacklite at 10:16 PM on November 28, 2004


i am unhappy about that.

(just so quonsar doesn't say it first, because i know he wants to)
posted by The God Complex at 10:17 PM on November 28, 2004


but in all serious degrees of seriousness, you'll never get it nailed down entirely. then we'd have nothing to harangue about.
posted by The God Complex at 10:18 PM on November 28, 2004


... meta metatalk? This has been hashed, rehashed, and hashed some more --- does it really need to be reiterated again?
posted by nathan_teske at 10:19 PM on November 28, 2004


It takes hours to go through all those goddamn threads.

I just thought I would attempt to clarify and summarize it on the front of metatalk so the people like me who might not always have time to read the seven million comments and threads about the nature of communities and dildos and ukraine and politics can see what seems to have arisen from all the discussion.

Maybe I don't have the same mental wiring as the people who live and breathe 200-page threads; I like to see some kind of concrete, concise result from it all, and so I tried to come up with one.
posted by blacklite at 10:28 PM on November 28, 2004


It seems like it ought to be more complicated

As I understand it, these are the reasons not to post politically charged posts:

1) They're divisive. People can agree to disagree most of the time, but confronted with a really partisan post, the conversation tends to follow suit. It's a low level of discourse with a high degree of polarization that makes for lots of pain all around. Most folks here want to foster a diverse community with many types of voices. Staying away from perennial lightning rods like abortion helps with that.

2) Frequently they're not "best of the web" in any way except for their support of somebody's agenda. A news link isn't good content. A shoddy hack-job op-ed isn't good content. But sometimes people get confused about this, because they desperately want to hear what the piece is saying, so they think it's actually great content. It's not.

3) There are better places for it. Don't post news headlines here because news sites are a dime a dozen. Don't post partisan links here because political blogs are a dime a dozen. MetaFilter is a hand-made website with something special going on. Don't just replicate what other sites already do better than we can. And yes, that includes getting your own blog if you have an agenda to push.

4) I guess I covered this, but time has just shown that we can't do these threads very well. With notable exceptions, political threads don't fit our format. Another way to say it is that if you could craft an excellent political post, it still might devolve into festering swamps of shit once loosed unto 20K members. #4 isn't a logical point of reasoning, it's just the voice of experience.
posted by scarabic at 10:30 PM on November 28, 2004


Blacklite, you're pretty much right on, imo. As a new member, I would recommend you avoid making political FPP (but I'm someone who recommends political FPPs are no nos for anyone so take that with a grain of salt).

As others have said, no matter how you think you have it sorted, someone will call you out for something. You're never 100 percent safe. The biggest piece of advice I can give beyond making sure you're FPPs lead to interesting things on the web (not interesting topics) is this: don't get mad when people do take you to task for something. Try not to respond angry or it'll snowball. Most of the people who'll condemn you for such and such (and I may just be one of them) are jerks and in the end what goes on here has little to do with outside/real life. It's just a web site though plenty of people (again, myself included) occasionally forget that.
posted by dobbs at 10:33 PM on November 28, 2004


Kudos to you as a newbie for reading all those threads. Aside from a few silly things here and there, considering there are three-thousand new users, a good portion of them seem like you and are well-intentioned and relatively knowledgable about mefi.

I'd say, however, that a post can represent the poster's opinion as long as expressing that opinion isn't pretty much all there is to it. And, really, a post should always ultimately be judged on its links. They should stand on their own.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:58 PM on November 28, 2004


I would recommend you avoid making political FPP

Oh, I'm not posting this so I can go ahead and make one. I don't think I'll be doing that for a good long time, unless I find something really earth-shattering.


And thanks, EB.
posted by blacklite at 1:26 AM on November 29, 2004


I think that's a good summation, blacklite - for me, alarms start going off whenever people try justifying their political posts with "I was only trying to inspire a discussion". That's probably the main confusion people have about Metafilter - "discussion" of issues is not the primary purpose. Obviously, we're supposed to discuss the cool links, but it should never be about discussion for discussion's sake.

Just because a lot of intelligent, opinionated, political people hang out here doesn't mean the purpose of the site is political debating. A lot of intelligent, opinionated, political people probably hang out at your local bar too, but most of them are just trying to relax and enjoy themselves, and possibly try to get laid, not listen to people on soapboxes. And, as others have said, just because you think the opinion of some hack journalist is the best thing you've read all day, doesn't mean 20,000 other people will feel similarly inspired. YMMV.
posted by Jimbob at 4:27 AM on November 29, 2004


I dispute 3 of the 4 items on scarabic's list.
posted by rushmc at 7:42 AM on November 29, 2004


some kind of concrete, concise result from it all

Ooh, that's a mistake. Most MetaFilter arguments return to the victor, if one is even generally acknowledged, a benefit best measured in femtorobesons. (The "robeson" is a unit of personal accomplishment.) By contrast, every hour spent reading threads reduces your lifetime total by anywhere from ten to thirty millirobesons.

In fact, only Matt has gleaned even as much as one centirobeson from his efforts here. I therefore wouldn't look for much in the way of "results."
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:47 AM on November 29, 2004


The quickest way to get a label you'll never be able to shake here is to put needless multiple paragraph breaks in your posts.

Well, a label from me, anyway.
posted by soyjoy at 7:52 AM on November 29, 2004


We haven't had to ramp up this many people on our little learning curve before. I'm fine with the patience thing.

We're going to have a few more threads asking "stupid" questions about the finer points of Metaquette, and frankly, I'd rather that than the ignorant alternative.

I'm welcoming new viewpoints, but this joint is popular because of the semi-spoken ground rules we've got. They now have to be a little more spoken. It's cool.

Do not stop asking stupid questions. Ever. Try to ask different stupid questions every time, but don't let the sneering varsity class intimidate you.
posted by chicobangs at 8:16 AM on November 29, 2004


...but don't let the sneering varsity class intimidate you.

And if you get invited to their parties, watch out for roofies, and remember, "No" means "No".
posted by amberglow at 8:44 AM on November 29, 2004


What chicobangs said. I think you're doing fine, blacklite. (And special kudos for filling out the "What's the deal with your nickname?" section on your userpage; the rest of you n00bs -- go and do likewise! We like knowing something about you so we can put the boot in more effectively interact with you with greater understanding.)
posted by languagehat at 8:55 AM on November 29, 2004


I agree with 4 of the 4 items on scarabic's list.
posted by timeistight at 8:56 AM on November 29, 2004


That's the idea, and #1 has repeated it over and over, but there's a segment of the population that still thinks firing spitballs at the teacher is cool.
And likes to give atomic wedgies to perceived teacher's pets.
posted by darukaru at 8:58 AM on November 29, 2004


Can we please stop calling people "n00bs" and get on to the important business - Dividing the new users into new folks we like, and the complete morons? "n00bs" isn't even close to being an accuarate classification.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:40 AM on November 29, 2004


I dispute 3 of the 4 items on scarabic's list.

Well, that's what they're there for. Please elaborate, or at least clarify which ones you disagree with.

There's nothing set in stone about political posts. Even Matt rarely articulates any kind of "rules," so I have to consider this one still open for debate, as is newsfiltering. In the absence of clear rules, we grasp after some kind of loose consensus according to which people can be flogged here.
posted by scarabic at 9:46 AM on November 29, 2004


"Also, apparently, anything goes in comments to threads" - No, that's not true. Comments can be - and are - deleted. The 8495 should have been a few comments longer. Those are lacunae only I notice - for that, I've dramatically scaled back my involvement on this venue - 'cept for this, but this is along lines I would pursue anyway.

A road to nowhere : on the discrete charm of Metafilter ( apologies to Bunuel )

There are - and probably always will be - excellent, thought provoking posts and good commentary here on Metafilter. But the discourse is - of necessity, for political reasons - circumscribed to the bounds the lukewarm : as a warm sitz bath of the pleasant, the titillating, and the safe. Truth - in all of it's discomfiting glory - is elsewhere : as all who favor the heat and flash of truth-telling should be.

Here, to be lukewarm is a virtue and - if that contradicts the spirit of this Biblical verse from Revelations (chapter 3, verses 15 and 16) - "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.", the contradiction illustrates the differing and sometimes diametrically opposed imperatives and logic of the sacred and the profane. Here, too concentrated or too much truth telling leads to a sort of collective indigestion - as a sourness of belly and an acidic biliousness of spirit.

Here you would do well to heed the practically minded advice of Aristotle and pilot the vessel of your posts and commentary away from the shoals of extremity - even when the truth lives there : or, your ship will founder on the shoals of Mathowie.

The truth is and always has been a flashpoint of conflict and so a judiciously light seasoning of truth - here on this chautauqua's moderate, well balanced and urbane daily fare of curiosities and ruminations that is Metafilter - seasons the mix and improves digestion.

Gently graze on this valley's sweet clover of moderation : only surly goats gnaw the scrub and thin alpine flora of the high hills and peaks.

As far as guidelines, think of it this way : this is a forum for posts and discussion on everything except that which is contentious. Don't even think of the "political" - for what is or is not "political" ? "Political" posts here - too many or too strong - are frowned upon by many members ( though, for a lack of empirical data, it is impossible to tell whether this is a majority or a minority sentiment ) and, more to the point, by Matt. But to even use the term "the political" is to miss that "the political" can be defined, quite simply, as all that is contentious.

( A creeping erasure : a bit on the "contentious" and it's slide - into taboo, the inconceivable, and the forgotten )

Definition of the "contentious" is inherently political - played out in linguistic and media struggles, culture wars in general, and in armed conflicts, invasions, mass conversions, slaughter, inquisitions, and genocide....and, finally, in the Damnatio Memoriae that was not invented by imperial Rome but has been carried out by conquering peoples and armies throughout known history - as the erasure of Pharoahs, whole peoples, cultures, histories, artifacts and ideas. Eventually, as one side or other prevails in those conflicts, the contentious can become true taboo - as too incendiary to be brought up in polite discourse : or banned, or even extinguished and eventually forgotten unless later stumbled upon, exhumed, and pieced back together from remaining fragmentary evidence by devoted archeologists.

Now taboos - although those who hold them are not aware of them as such - can be, of course, offended ( routinely even ). They are, by definition, deeply felt and their violation typically provokes strong visceral response. But, there is an additional category to note : the unthinkable, those ideas which have actually disappeared from mass public consciousness (if they were ever there) or even from elite discourse for being engulfed or rendered invisible by shifts in underlying societal assumption. Regardless, neither taboo or the unthinkable can be truly political except insofar as they can be be challenged in a public space. In the case of taboo or sometimes the inconceivable (which, stated aloud, can be deeply unsettling even if barely understood) that guarantees majority reprisal, in riots, mobbing, Pogroms and inquisitions to tear the blasphemers limb from limb and cleanse the heresy by fire and sword :

As history of religious "heresy" demonstrates quite well, in all of the dreary chronicles of the savagery of war there is nothing to compare to the studied, savage, grotesque methods of the Inquisition and the religious war. For common criminals or mere dissenters and foes of power there has always been imprisonment and execution, yes - but for those who challenged the Papacy or practiced heretical forms of Christianity, the Inquisition reserved the slow delights of the Maiden and the Pear*.

Now Metafilter is overt - text, and links - so no inquisition, even a nascent or coded one, lurks here ; and, though of course one could deconstruct the text itself or hypothesize secret cabals and insider cliques ( and though the latter might exist to a slight degree) there is no underlying, secret parallel narrative inherent in the blue. Metatalk - the closest thing to an insider narrative - is also open. Inquisitions, here, are neither necessary nor even possible - except by way of mob justice. But - in the end - even that has no force except when backed by the agreement of executive fiat.

Parallels to the Inquisition can be made, yes, in terms of mobbing (also common, along with pogroms, to the Spanish Inquisition) or for a lack of due process. But the closest parallel lies in the manner by which truth - or heresy - can be selectively made to vanish. In the historical Inquisitions, this was by way of great societal conflagrations of torture and burning which sought to root out and extinguish all deviance ( and, in the Spanish Inquisition, most ethnicities ) and dissent by way of the agonized deaths of hundreds of thousands of individuals - crushed, burst, burnt and pierced - as an obliteration of the literal embodiment of truth, or heresy*.

And, that evokes another type of erasure - perhaps an even more extreme type of erasure of public memory, and even of history itself - Damnatio memoriae : "Damnatio memoriae (Latin for "damnation of memory", in the sense of removed from the remembrance) was a form of dishonor which could be passed by the Roman Senate upon traitors or others who brought discredit to the Roman Empire. The sense of the expression and of the sanction is to cancel every trace of the person from the life of Rome, as if he had never existed....The first emperor to be so condemned was Caligula (reigned 37-41), followed by Nero.....Upon passage of the damnatio memoriae, the person's name was stricken from any rolls of honor he may have appeared on (some of them were called memoriae), and in the case of the Roman Emperors so condemned, their statues were destroyed and their name removed from public buildings....A famous example of the concept of damnatio memoriae in modern usage is the "vaporization" of "unpersons" in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four ("He did not exist; he never existed").....More modern examples of damnatio memoriae in actual practice was the removal of portraits, books, and any other traces of Stalin's opponents during the Great Purge."

( Back to Metafilter )

Here on Metafilter nothing so ghastly is needed - the extirpation of heresy can be done with a mere keystroke.

What speech here risks such annihilation ? How could we possibly define such speech and so avoid it ? Well, one could view the boundaries defining problematic speech on Metafilter as an amalgamation of liberal sensibilities concerning the politically correct* together with all speech that causes people here to shout and curse.

So : that which incites conflict. It matters not at all that manipulative members can, therefore, chose to selectively shut down avenues of discourse simply by yelling loudly enough - the transgression of yelling is not a mortal sin, and the opprobrium and punishments meted out to miscreants who yell are generally minor. There are extreme exceptions, yes, to define the bounds of the rule. But - on the balance - a steady stream of polite but blunt truth telling runs far more risk of censure, perhaps, than a continual torrent of carefully calibrated yelling, moderate strength insults, biliousness, and snark :

Even though, nonetheless, Metafilter can be regarded as a museum of the pleasant, the thought provoking, the bizarre, curious and novel : the "best", except insofar as that "best" is not excessively controversial.

One could also consider the metaphor of the highway : far from the madding, mobbing crowds, away from that crush and din : in the slow stillness of the wilds and the hinterlands : in the desert, even, that gives birth to prophets and visions. There, one is untrammeled, free to crash the SUV of the mind through the guardrails of probity and, barring the notice of cops and state troopers, the penalty will be slight ( if annoying ) - scratched paint and dinged headlight cages.

There one can range widely - to the top of mesas, across brooks, past bears and deer - and yet not much risk crashing into or clashing with fellow expeditioners.

But in the city, the press of buzzing, scrabbling humanity demands subservience to manners, to an etiquette that defines the guardrails and sidewalks that delineate the boundaries of the pale.

Drink more than just a little of the passion for truth and your inebriation will cause a crash - you, and others, will surely suffer - your car impounded and seized, your license revoked, your insurance cancelled. Should you later regain your motoring rights, your sober recognition of appropriate discourse will be monitored every moment by the breathalyzer of group policing and groupthink - and, as a convicted troublemaker, you will be fined through interminable Metatalk chastisements for each and every indiscretion that smacks even a little of departure from the traffic lanes of orthodoxy.



Thus : the contentious. Contentious posts make people yell, and Matt doesn't approve of yelling nor, it would seem, of reasoned argument which remains polite but which causes others to yell in response. So remember this - the demands of truth here are subservient to the overall requirements of tone : the tone of Metafilter is thoughtful, yes, and reasoned - but reason and logic - per se - is not the sine qua non here. Comments and posts stand only insofar as they do not incite outbursts of anger, bile, and profanity (whatever that is). Outbreaks of collective rioting tarnish this site's reputation and impede it's acceptance by a wider audience, and they poison the overall atmosphere for many members who - though holding left leaning and non-mainstream political sentiments - feel that Metafilter should be a refuge of sorts, a sanctuary away from those uncomfortable truths which - even though they are not actually present anywhere in mainstream societal and media discourse or on the internet but for a few sites - nonetheless ( or for that very reason ) shatter the tranquility of the blue.

Blue, after all, IS the color of tranquility, and if Matt Haughey had designed Metafilter with politics in mind, he would have chosen a more energetic background color - #660000 or #990000 perhaps.

And, of those here whose ostensible political leanings would otherwise suggest a more welcoming attitude towards uncomfortable societal truths, those who have not devolved into a Ochsian liberalism, those who elsewhere or in real, meatspace life really do practice what they preach but loath the intrusion of the nakedly political here on Metafilter - could we call those Lotus-Eaters ? Perhaps, but then again - all humans need refuge from the noise and clash of daily struggle, a place that is gently soothing - a place where everyone knows your name. A "Cheers" bar of the internet where professors and those who profess, coders and hacks, professionals and autodidacts, blogerati and aspirants, and the earnest and the jaded, can interact and discuss posts that have been carefully parsed from the set of the political, and the contentious, from taboo, which nonetheless somehow range beyond the highways of mainstream orthodoxy - as long as those do not plunge even a little into the dreaded tinfoil forest ( that is tinged with madness and peril, rumor holds) or ascend any further than the foothills that lead upwards to the jagged, treacherous mountains of perspective.

Remember this : safety, and the good life, is to be found not on the peaks or in the wilds but here, on the mild rolling hills and verdant valleys of moderation - where the clever, the wise, the prudent, and the moderately curious come to flock together and graze their minds on a sweet grass that is tender and blue-green.

And that is good.

________________________________


* ( Footnote 1) For the zealotry of the inquisitor, recantations are not enough - though they are a precondition. In the first of the great Inquisitions, that deployed against the Cathar heresy, the inquisition ranged far beyond mere torture - to the methodical rooting out of the heresy through methods which some have argued were the true forerunner of the modern police state. Lists of heretics - extracted by torture - were cross checked with other lists : and the individuals whose names appeared most often were then seized and tortured in order to generate new lists. As with the treatment, by the contemporary American "War on Terror", of suspects apprehended for questioning, the Inquisition held creative torture to be the most expeditious road to the truth - and, as in the "War on Drugs", agents of the Inquisition could seize at will the property and wealth of apprehended suspects or order their families to pay for the costs of subsequent torture. Lack of due process, secret trials, and routine torture - these things are not modern inventions and - although the scale of modern state scientific research into the efficacy of torture methods surely has no earlier historical precedent, this was surely the case for the Papal and Spanish inquisitors only for a lack of comparable resources and insofar as the scientific method had not yet been ( or not yet fully ) defined, nor it's astonishing explanatory power truly understood.

* ( Footnote 2 ) : these have deep historical roots, as those middle class mores and taboos over that which constitutes "polite" speech - which the poor would disdain and the rich, though well schooled in the finery of the social graces, are quite willing to dispense with as necessary ( but usually in private ) when political contingency demands the iron fist.
posted by troutfishing at 10:03 AM on November 29, 2004


troutfishing - We begged you to get counseling. Please, for your friends and loved ones if not yourself, see a doctor. They have medications which can help you. You don't have to live this way.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:10 AM on November 29, 2004


SHUT THE FUCK UP, SON OF BLIGH!
posted by quonsar at 10:12 AM on November 29, 2004


OOPS, THAT WAS FOR TROUT, NOT Y6.
posted by quonsar at 10:12 AM on November 29, 2004


Gently graze on this valley's sweet clover of moderation

Like limiting comment length to under 5,000 words, for instance?
posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:15 AM on November 29, 2004


y6y6y6 - If I needed your advice, I would have asked. I urinate in your general direction.
posted by troutfishing at 10:17 AM on November 29, 2004


.
posted by troutfishing at 10:24 AM on November 29, 2004


I got about to paragraph three before I realized that I was reading trout and skimmed over the rest. (Anyone make it further than me?). What I took from it was that he wants to be able to "speak the truth" (as he sees it), and people who ask that he preach elsewhere apparently want to live life as despots of lies always avoiding trout's bringing of the truth. Like Prometheus with the fire, so trout brings enlightenment to Metafilter, but us unwashed masses are too deluded/frightened/unwilling to accept it. (If he had put some time or thought in the post, he could have brought out Plato's allegory of the cave which clearly makes his point.... and maybe he wouldn't have pathetically misappropriated a Biblical passage).

Or, in other words, trout just textually masturbated while whining that his rants are frowned upon.

I think scarabic's list a good one, and I think he hits on the reasons. Metafilter doesn't do political issues well. Other sites exist for that. Nobody is going to change anyone's minds. All that comes from political posts is one of two responses: (1) me too or (2) you're stupid. Beyond that, higher discourse of ideas, where respect is given both to the opposite side and the right of the opposite side to have a reasonable differing opinion, just never happens here. If we could have enlightened debates, where both sides are given equal time and respect, then perhaps we could do politics better.

Most of the time, equal time and respect to opinions is not offered, so what you get is a cacophony of "me toos" and slanders upon those who disagree with the issue. This is a site full of loud, dogmatic people who thickheaded about their beliefs. So why talk about it? It doesn't add any value to the site (beyond the value garnered by those that get off to this kind of crap). When the point of the site is to allow those diverse and creative people to share something new and interesting, why add in petty political crap? If people are looking for that, then they go read Kos. They don't need it mixed in here.

Things can have purposes. One doesn't need a website to be everything. Let Metafilter be what it is: a place where new and interesting things on the web can be brought to everyone's attention.
posted by Seth at 10:25 AM on November 29, 2004


"'n00bs' isn't even close to being an accuarate classification."

Fuckwits-in-training?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:27 AM on November 29, 2004


Maybe Matt should implement a preview function so we can check for typos. Then maybe I could have caught some of my typos.

Or something.
posted by Seth at 10:27 AM on November 29, 2004


Maybe Matt can implement a function by way of which I can smack you upside your head, Seth. By what right do you of all people have to insult troutfishing?

Trout is obviously going through some difficult times, but he's at least offered things to us in the past. What the fuck have you ever brought but your own sense of entitlement?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2004


All that comes from political posts is one of two responses: (1) me too or (2) you're stupid.

Only when you and your ilk are involved. Many of us are able to discuss and disagree calmly and rationally more often than not.

But don't let me stop you...wank on!
posted by rushmc at 10:32 AM on November 29, 2004


rush. I'd love to see any examples where a balanced and respectful discussion occurs. And something that occurs only 1 out of 100 times doesn't show that it is something we can work towards.
posted by Seth at 10:36 AM on November 29, 2004


Maybe Matt can implement a function by way of which I can smack you upside your head, Seth. By what right do you of all people have to insult troutfishing?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:31 AM PST on November 29


Rights? Where does rights come into this? And why are my rights the most limited?

And if there are rights to be rude, do you have some greater right to be rude to me than I to trout? Do you miss the inherent irony of your post?
posted by Seth at 10:40 AM on November 29, 2004


Seth - since you seem to know a bit from the Bible, chew on this : "false witness".

"....he could have brought out Plato's allegory of the cave which clearly makes his point" - I thought of that but decided it was inappropriate to the task and a bit of a cliche. I'm not holding myself up as any standard bearer of truth - though I do think a few of my points there may have gone over some heads : at least yours, I'd say.

I fart in your general direction.

adamgreenfield - I feel great - How are you ?
posted by troutfishing at 10:53 AM on November 29, 2004


keep in mind that anyone who makes a list of acceptable behavior on any of the MetaSites is really only expressing their wishes. They are tips, not hard and fast rules. Unless it's Matt expressing his preferences. Those are rules. But he is a relatively benevolent dictator and otherwise very busy person, which is where the community's self-policing comes in.

Questions like these, along with the "it's my first post, go gentle on me" pleadings indicate two things:
  • We pile on too much. Call someone out politely and succinctly, then let it be.
  • To our new users, and probably to the rest of the world, we come off a lot meaner than we really are. Realize that the overwhelming majority of nastiness and vitriol you read in the comments and here at MetaTalk is the result of some long standing grudges.
I am as full of crap as anyone else here and have just "expressed my preferences" as well, but please take it in the spirit intended. By all means, post and comment when you've got something to say. The only ones "keeping score" about who's been deleted or said a few dumb things are assholes anyway. Here's a cliche I haven't heard for a while, but it definitely applies here: it's just a fucking website.
posted by whatnot at 10:56 AM on November 29, 2004


Trout, are you okay? That was... unusual. Is there something we can do to help?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:24 AM on November 29, 2004


Yeah, Seth, I do. I do because I speak only on my own behalf, and I have 100% authorized myself to be a snide, obnoxious prick to you, because in my opinion that is all you deserve.

You, on the other hand, have neither sought my authorization nor that of anyone else, and yet you claim to speak for all. Or some aggrieved "silent majority."

Newsflash, bucko: you don't. So include me out of your asides mocking troutfishing, and everything else while you're at it. Any side, perspective, viewpoint or tendency you're a part of I want nothing to do with.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2004


Sethfilter: I fart in your general direction
posted by quonsar at 12:26 PM on November 29, 2004


Spoken like a real fundamentalist, Trout.
posted by scarabic at 12:27 PM on November 29, 2004


Seth, I'd be more inclined to give creedence to your constant complaining about political threads, if you'd do something besides complain.

You want a wider variety of opinions in threads? Terrific. Grow some balls and wade in and post your own. You're like some bleacher creature heckling the ballplayers who's too chickenshit to pick up a bat.
posted by jonmc at 12:40 PM on November 29, 2004


All that comes from political posts is one of two responses: (1) me too or (2) you're stupid or (3) several comments by Seth.

Not counting 143 examples of gratuitous personal attacks and generic histrionics--all politics related--made in Metatalk, he has made 198 comments in the blue with about only 25 made in not overtly political threads: that's close to an 8:1 ratio of the political to the nonpolitical.
posted by y2karl at 12:45 PM on November 29, 2004


If I were Matt, I'd be barring my freakin' windows.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:52 PM on November 29, 2004


I think he's relaxing by fireside, feet up in an easy chair, munching on paprika-dusted popcorn.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:58 PM on November 29, 2004


…counting thousands of five-dollar bills.
posted by timeistight at 1:21 PM on November 29, 2004


…counting thousands of five-dollar bills.

Maybe he sewed them into a cape and is whooshing around his house like a superhero.
posted by jonmc at 1:23 PM on November 29, 2004


I know I would be.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:24 PM on November 29, 2004


Actually, the quickest way to get a label you'll never be able to shake here is to self link your own product in a FPP.
posted by page404 at 1:29 PM on November 29, 2004


Holy fucking shit. I missed that one. That's absolutely the worst thing I've ever seen here. Worse than homepage goatse.
posted by scarabic at 1:34 PM on November 29, 2004


Wow. He really tried to pull it off, didn't he, with some "I think"s and a "supposedly".
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:43 PM on November 29, 2004


scarabic - well I'm not that - although my father was in fact a minister (methodist). But I do try to notice fundamentals. For me, at this moment, one of those involves a growing conviction that I'm being an idiot for wasting my time here - and my own take on the phenomenon of Metafilter as well.

fff - I appreciate your offer, but I'm fine. It was a friggin' essay (and a heavily stylized one at that) and not a cry for help, OK ? - a sort of ironic swan song of my "Metafilter period", a meditation on deletion throughout history, and my own take on the phenomenon of Metafilter as well.

But I suppose that - rather than post such an exercise in obliqueness - I should have just clearly spelled out what was bugging me.

Let me be a bit more blunt then - I wanted to offer a correction to blacklite's assumption that "anything goes in comments to threads" : from my recent experience, that's not true even on Metatalk. That's why in the end why I'm chilling out on my participation on Metafilter. Having what I considered to be a quality post of mine deleted ? - that was a judgement call : one I'd argue with (and did), but still well within the pale. It's Matt's site, and it's his judgement call on what sort of post mix will improve Metafilter.

What sent me over the edge and really blew my trust or interest in this site was when - on that Metatalk thread ( Metatalk 8495 ) that I posted (concerning my deleted post in the blue) in which I asked for clearer posting guidelines - two consecutive comments of mine there got deleted ( they would have been around comment 201 ). It seemed a bit bizarre to me, a bit much. Matt can do whatever he wants - It's his site. But, from my end, I felt that as a basic violation of trust.

I guess I made the mistake of assuming that there were some basic guidelines for comment deletion, that such an extreme measure was reserved for extreme language, threats, or other such illegalities. I was wrong. My mistake.

Still, I wasn't so much sad about the loss of the comments ( even though one took probably an hour and a half ) : in the grand scheme that's nothing, and around the world people are needlessly starving and dying from disease and war. My puny complaint doesn't rate - by at least several orders of magnitude. Rather, the deletions wiped out my sense of trust and pretty much killed whatever residual sense of belonging I had for this faux-community and also felt - at the time - sort of like being urinated on from a distance for the lack of respect implied. In the end it was an insignificant thing but for the symbolism and - yet - it certainly did communicate to me, quite clearly, that it's high time for me to move on.

Is there something you can do to help ? - no, not really. I'd say that Matt Haughey just did me a favor and, were I not still busy washing the piss off my shoes and pants, I'd thank him - at least his site was, for a while at least, beneficial for me.... As compared to the rather dubious contributions of a number of other Metafilter members I might cite - who seem to get their jollies from snark and insults - Matt's a pillar of the community. But, I've been properly disabused of any remaining fantasies I might have had concerning the Metafilter "community" . True communities entail boundaries, limits, ties involving reciprocity and obligation - and, I'd maintain, above all human contact and trust. Metafilter might be much more aptly likened to a cult but for Matt's wise refusal to play into that role. So the site amounts to, in the end, a moderately successful business model which probably generates a revenue stream less than many carwashes, KFC's, or clam-shacks.

But it's not my business model, and so I need to stop wasting time here - and, I probably needed to be properly pissed off to do that. My Mefi time would be exponentially better spent finishing off an absurd number of accumulated unfinished writing projects neglected for the vague, cheap thrill of Metafilter discussion that's come to feel more and more, for me anyway, like a pointless exercise in wankery which eats time and returns snark.

Plus, my typing still sucks.

Well, duh! - Or d'oh! - Compensation isn't in the contract, and I signed on the dotted line of my own free will. What a business model for an internet clamshack! Playing off people's vanity, and for some probably a need for a simulacrum of belonging, it parlays those motivations into an often decent read and a minor cash flow. I've been an unpaid commentator running with a howling, snarling pack of other unpaid commentators who - when a fellow member drops from illness or exhaustion - are all too happy to devour their own.

Whatever. I think I'll go walk my own dog - after that maybe I'll start to clean my basement - it's long overdue. Then, I'll lay some insulation in the attic. Heat's expensive this year. Fundamentals - but without any attached "isms" .

On the balance, I still think Metafilter exerts a positive influence. But no longer for me. The new howling pack will attend to business with all the bounding enthusiasm of one or two years - or more - spent just longing to post and comment in the blue! Good for them. No doubt the site will benefit. For my part - well, my life's mission is not to post more links than Matt or more commentary than Dan Hartung. I've spent far too much time here and perhaps overstayed my welcome. Well then........

Oh - one more thing then, a quote :

"Death told me this:
He razors off 11 days of your life for every MetaFilter minute.
On your deathbed, in a dream, he dangles them in front of you, And offers to reimburse you, if you'll just click 'Accept'.
And when you do click 'Accept' (and everyone always does)
The screen flashes fire, turns black, and says
'Error 404: File Not Found'......."


( Opus Dark )
posted by troutfishing at 2:40 PM on November 29, 2004


Dude, hurry up and leave already.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:57 PM on November 29, 2004


Jesus, Trout. You say that it's a judgement call and you disagree but you can live with the fact that it's Matt's call to make. Then you say it's a violation of trust and pissing on you for him to exercise that call. You finish with an overall condemnation of the community en toto- which must be *ALL WRONG* to the core, because certainly, there couldn't have been anything in your comments that led them to be deleted. You're talking a lot about scaling back your participation and/or leaving. Sheezus. Just try to post a comment under 500 words for starters.
posted by scarabic at 3:02 PM on November 29, 2004


"quite clearly, that it's high time for me to move on."

Which, quite clearly, you are totally incapable of doing. Which is what we're getting at.

I've seen quite a few MeFi flameouts, as have you. But this one is the first (even counting bunnyfire's) where I felt the person should get some medical attention for their own good. Either this is a truely epic troll, or you've gone bonkers. The other option is that you're an idiot, and I don't believe that one bit.

I've been following this all along , yes? Well, I agree with five fresh fish - It *sounds* like a cry for help.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:06 PM on November 29, 2004


troutfishing is scaring the n00bs! (yes, that's me...)
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:07 PM on November 29, 2004


I, for one, will miss Trout.

Have a nice rest, then come back and scare what will by then be a whole new generation of n00bs!
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2004


You say that it's a judgement call and you disagree but you can live with the fact that it's Matt's call to make.

correct, regarding FPP's.

Then you say it's a violation of trust and pissing on you for him to exercise that call.

incorrect. he said this regarding a metatalk discussion about the deletion of the FPP's, in which two of his comments were deleted.
posted by quonsar at 3:34 PM on November 29, 2004


Trout is obviously going through some difficult times

Indeed, and anyone who's been here long enough to remember his better days should avoid piling on and let the man do what he feels he has to do. Trout, if I may -- I'm obviously not going to dissuade you from posting epic comments or feeling ill-used or going off in a huffmobile -- but if you're still here reading -- could you at least try to avoid putting an apostrophe in possessive "its"? That will be one good thing that comes out of all this turmoil.
*whistles "Danny Boy," watches troutfishing zoom off towards his secret underground ice-walled cave*

Come back, Shane!
posted by languagehat at 3:35 PM on November 29, 2004


Bye! Y'all come back now, y'hear?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:41 PM on November 29, 2004


Holy-schmoly Batman.

I've seen some pretty far out last gasps, but trout, you have truly raised the bar. I second (third? fourtherly?) the suggestion to talk to someone -- if I read your recent posts on my sons blog I'd be drinking up all the booze, hiding the ammo and having a good long sitdown with his teachers.

My son is eleven.
posted by cedar at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2004


(Anyone make it further than me?).

I read the whole thing, and thought it was really nice. Have fun storming the castle.
posted by norm at 4:00 PM on November 29, 2004


i expected something much longer/crazier from what i was told about this thread. i have posted longer messages than that on usenet groups. i have posted messages three times that long about dreams that i had or random thoughts that i had after not sleeping for a few days. see ya later, trouticus.
posted by bargle at 4:44 PM on November 29, 2004


As the first author you cited I say go for broke. Matt will mop up. He has no choice.
posted by Cryptical Envelopment at 4:53 PM on November 29, 2004


Trout knows what I think of him from private correspondence. Lengthy, detailed posts and comments: we can all skim those as necessary.

But you can't skim a comment that's been deleted.

Matt: when a comment is deleted, why don't you insert a placeholder? At least, then we'd know that you did it - as opposed to now, when it's gone - and we don't even know it's gone. Or why.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:14 PM on November 29, 2004


wow, not sure what to make of this thread.
So will say; WTF troutfishing :) Bye \!!!/
posted by thomcatspike at 5:15 PM on November 29, 2004


( *per scarabic's comments, Metafilter as community ) stavros - Are you in my community too ? Can I borrow a cup of sugar and a stick of butter ? - I'm going to bake a pie for the church dinner. And, are you going to the hoe-down tonight ? Rita Mae's been asking after you, you know.

stan - are you a part of my community ? Well then, fellow community member, why don't you just shuffle on back to your snark-encrusted lair ? It would be appreciated.

quonsar - good read.

languagehat - I'm not going to engage you now - I like you, and I don't want to vent any irritation your way. But.... an apostrophe ? I know, it's your job - but remember that I'm my own (inexpert) proofreader. You know how well that works. I'm not exactly in a huff - as I said, Matt bestowed on me the gift of annoyance : I need to write in a more structured fashion and not engage in such pointless dalliance on Metafilter or Metatalk (regardless of it's combative and bracing interactive quality) .
_________

scarabic - On bad days here, or on bad post discussions, I see precious little real community ( by usual definitions ). Friendliness, charity, compassion, basic civility ? - those sometimes seem in short supply. If this is indeed a community, wel then, it can at times behave more like that described by Colin Turnbull in "The Mountain People".

" survival becomes a personal affair. Food is no longer shared. Men hunt what they can and eat it far from the village and women collect only for themselves. ...As starvation sets in children and old people die as they are not fed, the tribe becomes known for its cattle thieving among the neighbouring groups. "

Ick. ( and Ik, too )

Metafilter is usually not so comparatively bleak - there are more communitarian, friendly, civil days and posts as well. Still, people like Stan (and he presents a watered down example compared to some ) illustrate my point. Rudeness and snark, common here, is not a community value. In fact, a lack of civility is a corrosive to communities and speeds their breakdown.

[ meanwhile - to address another of Scarabics points - I haven't commented on the Blue in a number of days, more than a single line perhaps. I'm here on this post because it directly cited Metatalk 8495 - and that post of mine addressed much the same overall issue. ]

1) How closely did you read that comment ? I guess it was a lot of text and so an eyestrain. Not very closely, I'd say - you seem to be conflating two very distinct cases of deletion I discuss. One wasn't absolute. My deleted post still lives : as a deleted post, but it's still accessible. But my deleted comments were just wiped, and I considered that uncalled for, and rather uncool. ( quonsar caught this too )

2) "You finish with an overall condemnation of the community en toto- which must be *ALL WRONG* to the core, because certainly, there couldn't have been anything in your comments that led them to be deleted." - You're confusing the "community" with Matt Haughey. The "community" did not make that decision, and moving to the court of popular appeal, I see no empirical evidence presented to show that community opinion was either for me or against me there - although I could argue that a few people with grudges were trying to work the ref.

3) Where is this "*ALL WRONG*" you mention ? I didn't write that - or anything close. I did challenge the notion that a functional community exists. But to doubt it's existence - certainly as something comparable to flesh and blood community - is not to call whatever sort of community Metafilter might actually be "*ALL WRONG*".

Do my comments present such a threat that you feel the need to distort what I'm writing - or don't you see the distortion ?
_____________

y6y6y6 - "It *sounds* like a cry for help." - It sounds almost as if you're salivating over the prospect of a flameout. What curious behaviors will accompany it ? Will I start posting random photographs from my personal life or start talking about how my beloved pet Cockatiel died when I was 9 and so left me forever emotionally scarred ? ( the bird! the bird! *sobs* )

Sorry to disappoint.

Ah, but maybe you're right : by being patronizing you are in fact giving me that help I'm crying out for ! - Because I need to stop pouring energy into this medium - which will be quite fine without my participation - you're reinforcing my conviction and strengthening my self control. Thanks.

[ *must. finish. essays. short creative works. mustn't. fart around. on. metafilter. must.......* ]

rooftop secrets - well, go back to the blue and stop paying attention to the crazy uncle here in the Metatalk closet.

Quinbus Flestrin - thanks. But for me, the scary stuff ( or scary, possibly true stuff ) is not really scary. It's kind of dreary actually. Boo!

norm - you know, you'd think, for such a nominally literary crowd, that people here would better understand stylized nonfiction : think Lem, Borges (but I'm no Borges). Swift....nobody picked up on the Bunuel reference either - oh well. What the heck do people here read and watch anyway ?

I thought my title gave a lot away - I guess only if one knows the reference. I probably have a weird sense of humor too - first draft Encyclopedia Brittanica boilerplate grafted to slightly surrealist metaphoric illustration is not for everybody.....but - the comedic, satiric touches - Metafilter as the "Cheers bar" ? What's not to get ? Or this :

"There, one is untrammeled, free to crash the SUV of the mind through the guardrails of probity and....range widely - to the top of mesas, across brooks, past bears and deer - and yet not much risk crashing into or clashing with fellow expeditioners." - I guess I need to be more hamfisted and blunter with my satire ?

It's not as if I haven't written weird stylized material before on Metafilter. I guess the idea that I might express a serious concern through a somewhat less than straight narrative - and that I might weave odd humor, sarcasm, and metaphor into the mix as part of the overall package and merely as a stylistic experiment! is just inconceivable to most here.

But, I don't really know why - somewhere between ten and twenty percent of all my Metafilter commentary, I'd guess, amounts to some sort of stylistic exercise or other.

cedar - Well, as a father I'd be pretty concerned to find the sort of material I've written here as a post on a blog by an eleven year old boy too.

But I'm not an eleven year old boy, and I'm not your son - what's your point ? Have you not really not encountered that sort of nonfiction style, or similar styles, before ? Should I start scanning stylistically analogous nonfiction text chunks and posting them here for reference, to demonstrate that people actually do write in similar fashions ? Are you unfamiliar with that sort of peripatetic, historically informed narrative ?

Perhaps you're reading more into my text than is there ( a common trap ). Does my concatenation of themes of metafilter deletions, the Inquisition, and of the "Damnation Memoriae" throw you ? I believe the stylistic device is called something like "advancing/illustrating an argument by hyperbole". ( although the delimiting of the discourse is very real, and the 2004 election is very clearly off-bounds. )

Did you notice the satire I mention, in my comment to norm, above ?

And, surely you know that writers generate material and get inspiration in odd and highly idiosyncratic ways (some odder even then this) ?

Hmmm....
____________

Cryptical Envelopment - I'm confused by that comment (maybe).

Anyway - if all my comments were to disappear from this post (I made a point of saving them this time), or just the part of it contaminated by the disruptive outburst of troutness, that would amount to a weird type of performance art : as a deletion of comments, on a Metatalk post, that reference the deletion of comments, on another Metatalk post, about the deletion of a Metafilter post.

That would be really strange - possible though. Probable ? I don't know, and that wasn't my original intention here. But, what can I do, a poor humble boy from the sticks, do about it ? Not a whole lot except do the laundry, feed the cat, and take out the garbage.

I could type into the wee hours of the morning - but, I'm kind of hungry, and I have to visit my muse go to the bathroom.
______

bargle - ( thanks) I can imagine : "Come on - Ya gotta see! Trout's flipping out and it could be the meltdown of the year!" ( come, see the dancing bear! step right up !......the alligator man!....the painted lady! )
posted by troutfishing at 5:23 PM on November 29, 2004


I will miss the trout. I like the trout. I will say, however, that the solution to Matt's sometimes seemingly arbitrary deletion of comments (it's happened to me in metatalk probably ten times when I go off-topic, which is pretty normal fare here, but I digress) is to put metafilter back into the proper perspective: mostly interesting website that provides some good links and commentary with an overabundance of people who value themselves and their meagre contributions far too highly (this group may include the both of us).
posted by The God Complex at 5:29 PM on November 29, 2004


Also it helps not to think of metafilter as a community, despite the tagline. It's a community only in the strictest, most impersonal sense.
posted by The God Complex at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2004


trout didn't namecheck me, even in 5,000 words. snif.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2004


(for examples of the impersonal nature of the community, see how something as inane as Miguel's chatiness is treated)
posted by The God Complex at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2004


MetaTalk will eat itself.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:37 PM on November 29, 2004


I don't have the time right now to read that entire comment, trout, but fwiw - I am getting that one incident was in the Blue and the other in the Grey. Without rehashing each in entirety, it's possible you were tied off at the end and muzzled at some point. It's also possible that you'd tiptoed over the deep end, as you are dangerously close to doing here, now. I apologize for not giving you a closer reading, but I don't understand what gigantic difference there is between the Grey and the Blue. My point is that if you don't fit here, you shouldn't take it as a personal fault. But you don't necessarily need to fault Matt or the rest of the membership either. You have levelled accusations of violated trust, political lukewarm-ness, illusions of community, etc. At what point do you take responsibility for your own role in any/all of this?

Part ways amicably, if you must. Is that what you think you're doing?
posted by scarabic at 5:51 PM on November 29, 2004


trout didn't namecheck me, even in 5,000 words. snif.

me either. let's go get liquored up and chase broads.
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2004


jonmc, I believe you meant "likkered" there. I think that the correct spelling is always "likkered" when the past tense is followed by the preposition "up".
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:57 PM on November 29, 2004


yeh, yeh, trout, and *BSD is dying.
posted by bonaldi at 6:01 PM on November 29, 2004


MetaTalk will eat itself.

after it gags on a finger and brings itself back up.
posted by quonsar at 6:01 PM on November 29, 2004


don't go, trout.

Metafilter: you can't skim a comment that's been deleted.
posted by amberglow at 6:08 PM on November 29, 2004


As a long time reader of post 8495, I'm curious what posts were deleted. There were a few posts where troutfishing ignores the discussion at hand (whether or not the deletion was justified) and instead continues the topic of the deleted post itself (using the grey as the blue, as it were). I suspect those were the ones that got axed, but don't remember enough detail to be sure.

Troutfishing, you seem like a nice guy. Generally polite, non-snarky, with a strong sense of responsibility. So I say this as a pure expression of opinion, with no intended snark or bile or anything else: reading the paragraphs above gives me the impression of a cry for help. I realize it wasn't intended to come across that way, but it does.
posted by Bugbread at 6:28 PM on November 29, 2004


don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
posted by angry modem at 6:43 PM on November 29, 2004


MetaFilter: Textually Masturbating
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:49 PM on November 29, 2004


Also it helps not to think of metafilter as a community, despite the tagline. It's a community only in the strictest, most impersonal sense.

Sadly this is utterly true. What pains is that, at various moments over time, there have been flashes of something more, but fie on those who permit themselves to come to expect them, for there are too many haters who delight in orneriness and destruction.
posted by rushmc at 7:04 PM on November 29, 2004


C'mon, rushmc. Hate is good. Hate is clean. Hate is honest.
I always know *exactly* where I stand around here, unlike in the "community" of Kips Bay, or Manhattan, or New York, or America.

I mean every word of the above.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:13 PM on November 29, 2004


I don't equate community with people being nice to each other (although that is certainly the most enjoyable way to experience it). The shared interests, shared space, and shared experiences here do the trick well enough for me to apply the term. I've met new friends here, invited some of my best old friends to join, learned, laughed, grown a little.

I have family members who don't know what "LOL" means. There's something lacking in that "community" as well, but I don't devalue them for it. Nor do I devalue the cameraderie of MetaFilter because no one here has ever jumped my car for me. My neighbor could loan me a cup of sugar tomorrow and it wouldn't turn him into a wonderchicken.

This thread is totally fucked. Now we're getting down on online community in general because one person is bitter enough to shove off.
posted by scarabic at 7:15 PM on November 29, 2004


Hate is good. Hate is clean. Hate is honest.

True. But only if you mean this Hate.

As far as community goes, after awhile this site can make you feel a bit like Hiro Protagonist in Snow Crash: a high-living legend in the "Metaverse" but living in a storage locker in the real world. Yes the connections and opportunities for expression and conversation are great and I wouldn't trade 'em away, but let's not mistake it with reality.
posted by jonmc at 7:19 PM on November 29, 2004


I mean that Hate too, yes. Color me Stinky.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:31 PM on November 29, 2004


Sorry about your suicide. I, obviously, am Buddy.
posted by jonmc at 7:33 PM on November 29, 2004


Obviously.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:42 PM on November 29, 2004



Sadly this is utterly true. What pains is that, at various moments over time, there have been flashes of something more, but fie on those who permit themselves to come to expect them, for there are too many haters who delight in orneriness and destruction.


Yes/


I don't equate community with people being nice to each other (although that is certainly the most enjoyable way to experience it). The shared interests, shared space, and shared experiences here do the trick well enough for me to apply the term. I've met new friends here, invited some of my best old friends to join, learned, laughed, grown a little.


Perhaps, then, my problem is that it mimicks actual community far too succinctly, from joy at the ostracizing of others to the sometimes mindless application of arbitrary accepted rules, even those that have little purpose. In addition, unlike a normal community, here you are forced by some degrees to interact on a regular basis with those you find most distasteful.

I am no disputing the ability of metafilter to teach, to expand horizons, or to bring interesting and obscure information to light. Or to make you laugh. I'm simply suggesting that the community experiences you cite are mostly cursory intellectual sparring, and when someone appears to be somewhat distraught over any recent events, he/she is met more often with jeers than sympathy. On the internet, however, this is almost inevitable.

troutfishing may indeed have taken his admonishment to heart a little too enthusiastically, but he's not some annoying troll we've all been secretly wishing away for some time. You may or may not agree with his version of metafilter (politically active, etc.), but I find it hard to believe anyone could discount the tireless effort he put into crafting his comments and his posts. The man is (was?) a link machine and put a lot of care into what he did here, enough to at least deserve, I think, more than the responses here indicate.

But, again, that's why I suggested to him not to expect much in that regard from this place. I agree with rushmc on that.
posted by The God Complex at 7:49 PM on November 29, 2004


(none of which is to say I don't like this place, only that I know what to expect from it and what not to expect. also, excuse the spelling mistakes: i'm in a bit of a rush.)
posted by The God Complex at 7:52 PM on November 29, 2004


I agree troutfishing probably shouldn't be getting the thrashing that he's getting, but: MeFi, while not being a board of likeminded members, is at least supposedly united by the idea that people are here because they find the conditions for being here to be acceptable, and joined of free will. Nobody joins MeFi to swap furry porn or warez, because that's not what it's for. And that's not what it's for because the founder determined the purpose to be for something other than porn/warez. Just as one should not be disappointed with Mefi for not being a warez swapping ground, or disappointed with Fry's electronics for not selling hotdogs, one should not join Mefi and then decry the fact that it isn't a political discussion forum. It's perfectly fine not to like it because your interests don't match, but the normal response in those cases is to not join. Troutfishing may be a great guy, but seems to be unable to reconcile the fact that this is not a political forum, and instead of realizing "I'm in the wrong place", or even "I'm in the right place for my non-political interests, but this isn't the place for my political interests to be discussed", he seems to be focussed (lately) on decrying everyone for not wanting to change Mefi's charter to something he thinks is more important.

I dunno, maybe some people are discounting his efforts, or the quality of his posts. But in 8495 it seems that the majority of people who addressed the quality of his posts evaluated them positively. It's the appropriateness of the posts that's being taken to task.

As such, I am ambivalent about Trout leaving. If Trout wants to continue to use MeFi as an extension of his political blog, I welcome his departure. If Trout wants to address his other interests (besides politics), I welcome his staying. I would hope that's the case with others here as well. The problem isn't who Trout is, it's what he's doing, and if his behavior changed, his presence would hopefully be welcomed.
posted by Bugbread at 8:10 PM on November 29, 2004


Metafilter is better than my real-world community. At least I can tolerate some of you fuckers.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:16 PM on November 29, 2004


Yeah, well said, bugbread. I can understand some of what trout's feeling and why he feels and thinks this way but, in the end, I think he's wrong. What really bothers me, though, is the glee many people seem to have in encouraging his flameout. There's a variety of things that rightly annoy many people about trout, but, come on, can't we all see the difference between his good intentions, his thoughtfulness, and, well, that from people who show neither?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:23 PM on November 29, 2004


"I agree troutfishing probably shouldn't be getting the thrashing that he's getting"

Bullshit. He peed on the homepage after being asked not to. Then he brought his pitty party into three MetaTalk threads. We asked if he was fucked up, he claims he's fine. Which means he's being a jerk on purpose.

Users who insist on using the site as their personal soapbox get trashed here. No matter what the topic. Those that flip off Matt get an extra dose. And troutfishing knows that.

Hell, I got trashed for trying to be helpful too often. And I don't have any problem understanding that. How can troutfishing be so clueless about his shit being deleted? Answer - He's not. He knows exactly what the deal is, but he lacks the character to take it like an adult.

He absolutely and fully should be getting the trashing he's gotten.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:35 PM on November 29, 2004


He's being willfully contrary. But he's not doing it out of mean-spiritidness or a desire to be disruptive for its own sake. And he's not grandstanding, either, in the sense that it's really all about getting attention. I believe that he sincerely believes the arguments he's making. I think his argument is faulty, and I think he's exhibited some errors in judgment, but he's not a troll. He's not someone who deserves to be loudly condemned and gleefully ostracized. He has done nothing to earn real malice.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:42 PM on November 29, 2004


Y6: I'm going to take troutfishing at his word when he says he thought the proscription against political junk was about political "junk", not well put together posts. So the post referred to in 8495, while it deserved to be deleted, would not count as peeing on the homepage. Maybe he did know what he was doing, but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he really believed the word "junk" was being used to mean "worthless stuff", as opposed to just being a synonym for "stuff". If so, then it was a misunderstanding, not pissing on the blue. He then started a grey post to discuss the gap (which, again, is fine). The only problematic stuff I really see is the repeated insinuation within 8495 and a few other places (including, kinda, here) that the problem is that us sheeple don't want to face important issues, instead of that we want to face the important issues, but not every day at Mefi (in this thread he phrased things a bit more carefully than before, so it reads more like interpretation 2, while feeling more like interpretation 1).

So, yes, he's done some bad stuff, and is getting trashed, but, at least from where I'm standing, he's getting a bit more trashed than he deserves.

Then again, while I'm a long-time reader, I didn't start paying attention to individual posters' names until I joined, so his past post history may justify the trashing. If so, please disregard what I said above.
posted by Bugbread at 8:46 PM on November 29, 2004


Blacklite: How's this thread for a massive derail? Doncha love the grey?
posted by Bugbread at 8:48 PM on November 29, 2004


I find it hard to believe anyone could discount the tireless effort he put into crafting his comments and his posts.
Are you kidding? His stuff reads like it was generated by an excessively verbose version of MegaHAL, set on 'self-pitying conspiracy theorist'. It's the textual version of the schizophrenic cat paintings.
posted by darukaru at 9:01 PM on November 29, 2004


"If so, then it was a misunderstanding, not pissing on the blue."

No. There was no room for misunderstanding. Matt deleted several of his posts on the same topic, and gave his reasons clearly. Namely, one post about election fraud was enough, and please don't post another one. How could anyone misunderstand that?

1) Matt says - troutfishing, don't post another election fraud post

2) troutfishing posts another election fraud post

3) The post gets deleted.

Where is the misunderstanding? Seriously.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:11 PM on November 29, 2004


EtherealBabble: "What really bothers me, though, is the glee many people seem to have in encouraging his flameout."

It figures you would see it this way. Your all big on that pop-psych new age babble -- take a look at 'projection' in the official sensitive male (start with the, 'why does Alan Alda get laid and I don't,' section) dictionary. This was you not too long ago. Hell, it is you. Go get in a bar fight or something -- you'll feel better. You'll be bruised and bleeding, but it will be better in the long run. Trust me on this. I do it all the time.

Your (and many other people) being trolled. Quite well. Ain't just trout on that boys hook.

TGC:"I find it hard to believe anyone could discount the tireless effort he put into crafting his comments and his posts."

Oh, so he's a hard working troll, busting his ass day in and day out to bring us the best of the web? You may see it that way. I don't.

The guy is carrying on (at length) all over the place after being asked not to. It's suicide by Matt. He can't just walk away, that would deny him the whole martyr thing so he's going to push it until he has no choice. That's kind of sad.
posted by cedar at 9:14 PM on November 29, 2004


It's the textual version of the schizophrenic cat paintings.
You got a problem with this?
posted by sophie at 9:26 PM on November 29, 2004


Really, though, it'd be nice to have a policy that when someone says they're leaving metafilter, their account is disabled.

One less long-winded paranoiac who seriously equates a college level prank inciting random people to crash a meetup as being fascist can't really be that bad of a deal. Pass the champagne.
posted by angry modem at 9:32 PM on November 29, 2004


SILENCE, ANUS!
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:33 PM on November 29, 2004


Oh, come here, you.
posted by angry modem at 9:42 PM on November 29, 2004


Aside: I would like to take this aside to pat Ethereal Bligh on the shoulder and thank him for learning to make pithier, to the point comments that aren't 8 paragraphs long.
(And I actually mean that in a non snarky way. I've rewritten that sentence a couple of times and it still comes out all snarky. We'll blame y6 for that, ok?)

Not that we can't be long winded in here, and sometimes to good purpose, but damn, trout, at least stop streaming those suckers out with extra spaces and paragraphs and - geez! You may not call what you're doing a flameout but it sure reads that way. It also reads as "Yet Again I Shall Take A MeTa Thread and Make It All About ME and My Issues!" by yet another user. It's been done before. And it always does seem a cry for....well, something, specifically focused on one user who feels their needs above all else aren't being met/understood/focused on. At one level it is something that makes us worry at the person (what's wrong with X? X doesn't normally act like that)....and then makes us also suspect some narcissism is in play (maybe X is really ok but wants to troll us into all talking about him)....

Ah for the days when someone would say "smock" or claim that their mother was a hamster and we would all dissolve into silliness...
posted by batgrlHG at 10:06 PM on November 29, 2004


Metafilter is better than my real-world community. At least I can tolerate some of you fuckers.

What he said. Also, this is good -

Metafilter: suicide by Matt.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:24 PM on November 29, 2004


Just to recap: You all were worried about us n00bs?
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:25 PM on November 29, 2004


Smock.
posted by Vidiot at 10:32 PM on November 29, 2004


dead is right - behind the bike racks at 3 - YOU!

you may find, sir sleuthy n00b, that rushmc and I disagree 3/4 of the time across the board
posted by scarabic at 10:48 PM on November 29, 2004


No worries. Pedro offered me his protection.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:59 PM on November 29, 2004


batgrlHG - you choose to participate in this thread. why ?

I'm talking, and you're responding. So : don't reply to this, and I won't reply in kind to your response.

Simple, right?

Otherwise you're invested and carrying an agenda.

[ more in the EST AM ]
posted by troutfishing at 11:13 PM on November 29, 2004



posted by angry modem at 11:44 PM on November 29, 2004


Aside from the fact that batgrlHG was being nice to me, it seems like she was trying to be nice to you, too, troutfishing.

Why don't you get some perspective on this?

First and foremost, while Matt and many people here have a problem with some of your posting behavior, there's been almost no condemnation of the content of your posts. That really damages your "I'm being silenced because of my views" argument.

Second, a buttload of people have expressed how much they like you.

Third, and related to the previous point, while some people are being mean-spirited about your apparent flameout, there have been far, far fewer angry, personal attacks on you than there would have been for anyone else doing what you're doing. Imagine if it were me.

Added together, this paints a picture of someone who's relatively well-liked by the community that's taken a rebuke far too personally and as a result seems determined to ignore—nay, scorn—the manifest good-will displayed to him in the process.

Cedar was right in some respect, wrong in others. As you know from private correspondence, while I have strong opinions and do believe that what I say in public makes a difference, I don't share your obvious firm belief that proselytizing as you do here is important or effective. Your desire to make MeFi your primary platform for expressing your civic opinions, especially as FPPs, is the problem. Your civil behavior, your earnestness, your good-intentions, your erudition and insight...these are not problems. They are welcome, even cherished. that's seven paragraphs, batgrlHG, okay?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:15 AM on November 30, 2004


You have a lot to offer, trout, and you have talent, but I believe that you are suffering from narcissism in the clinical sense to some degree. This has become a bigger problem in the last few months, and it's unfortunate because it is has cast a shadow over your contributions here. You have taken over this thread which was originally a legitimate question by blacklite, to stage a performance, and you subverted your own thread asking about the deletion of your post to repeat your views from the deleted thread, saying yourself " For all the words I've spent here, I could have a nice frame for a 20-30 page journalistic essay." The failure to understand why this is inappropriate is perverse and your defense is delusional. You have said "Old testament prophets were just guys with strong religious convictions and, sometimes, desert visions born out of hunger and deprivation., and I'm just a man.... And. my opinions are nothing except insofar as they are connected to a world of facts and consensual meaning - truths that I can gesture at in a way such that others can follow my thought process.

This image of yourself as someone (a prophet, in fact, despite the negation, because that is how your chose to frame your reference) who brings us Truths that we just can't handle or even barely grasp at understanding is grandiose and delusional, which is why people are asking you to get help. You have not been crucified for our sins. Matt is not Pilate, and MeFi members are not a collective Judas. I hope that a break from MetaFilter will help to restore your perspective, and I really do wish you the best.
posted by taz at 3:29 AM on November 30, 2004


1) Matt says - troutfishing, don't post another election fraud post

2) troutfishing posts another election fraud post

3) The post gets deleted.


Y6, I'm a bit confused, but it may be because I'm missing background on the whole troutfishing issue. The way I saw it develop was:

1) Matt says "Don't post political junk".

2) Troutfishing posts something he thinks is good about politics.

3) Matt deletes it.

4) Trout says "I thought you just deleted junk, not good stuff too."

5) Matt says "Trout, don't post anything else about politics. Some other people may, but you've far exceeded a reasonable amount."

6) Trout complains. A lot.

If I read your post right, Trout posted another FPP after Matt told him specifically not to? Or when Matt told him individually not to in 8495, that was the second time Matt said it to him?

And for reference, I realize that Matt has made his views on polifilter (luckily, views I heartily agree with) known several times. But the way your timeline looks to me, it appears that Trout posted an FPP after he was told not to by Matt in 8495. Is this correct?
posted by Bugbread at 6:28 AM on November 30, 2004


No. I can't find the post now. But Matt specifically talked about not wanting any more election fraud posts before Trout posted the last one. He was referring to the previous election fraud posts he'd deleted.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:40 AM on November 30, 2004


I googled every post by Mathowie in metatalk with the words "election" and "troutfishing", and couldn't find anything. Unless he said it on the blue, or, inexplicably, Google didn't catch it (which would be surprising, as even 8495, relatively new, shows up in Google), I don't have enough evidence to hold it against Trout. Perhaps someone said it immediately before or after mathowie's post, and in your memory you put them together?

Regardless, unless you can link me up, I have no reason to believe that Trout was maliciously ignoring a directive, but just that he may have been ignoring it.

Sorry, a bit of a digression. This thread is not about what I think about Trout. I just wanted to determine if what I said was accurate, apologize if wrong, defend my statement if correct. I'm kinda anal.
posted by Bugbread at 7:04 AM on November 30, 2004


Well, either trout is a raving madman, or I'm a liar, or the whole world is going to blow up and we'll all die slowly in agony.

Between the trouter babbling on at length, me peeing all over him, and you diligently going CSI on this pile of shit, I think we're all three pretty much morons, yes?

As long as everyone realizes that I don't, in fact, give a rat's ass, and I just like making fun of people too crazy to be responsible for their own actions, it's all good to me.

"I'm kinda anal."

Well, welcome to the shithouse Mr. Anal.

I already said I couldn't find it. And someone else in one of the other trout pitty party MeTa threads paraphrased it earlier. So I feel confident I didn't imagine the whole thing. Believe what you want. It seems obvious to me that troutfishing is clearly a jerk, and possibly crazy. It also seem obvious to me that I'm an asshole. As in obvious. But you have fun with your careful investigation.

Look, it's the Internet. People bullshit you all the time here. For all you know Trout and I are the same person. Try not to get too invested in this crap. That path leads to Miguel.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:26 AM on November 30, 2004


First and foremost, while Matt and many people here have a problem with some of your posting behavior, there's been almost no condemnation of the content of your posts.
Does anyone remember a guy called Steven Den Beste, perchance? Because there are a lot of parallels between his situation and this one. Guy continually posts about the same two or three axe-grinding topics. Overly moderates his own threads and any that he participates in. Is politely asked to stop and get his own blog. Acts alternately excessively self-effacing and martyred in Talk. Eventually storms off in a huff to go eat worms. Hell, there's even a happy ending for both parties--no one here ever has to hear from him again, and he becomes the darling of the he-man macho woman-and-Islam-haters club part of the blogoblob.
Granted, troutfishing never wrote anything quite so pathetically revealing as "Anglo Women are an Endangered Species".
posted by darukaru at 7:33 AM on November 30, 2004


blacklite - I'm sorry to have hijacked your thread, but I think it might have much more vividly illustrated the dimensions of the problem. Still - my apologies.
________

taz - regardless of the truth value of your claim, it amounts - in functional terms - to a "shoot the messenger" approach or, alternately, to a tactic of misdirection :

"Look over there! Over there! At the flying pterodactyl!...."

( don't look at the pitiful state of American Democracy )

I can honestly say that I don't know anyone who isn't a little nuts. It's the human condition.

You know, the medicalization of dissent had a long and nasty history in the old USSR - dissenters were defined as "insane" and shot up with drugs, given electroshock, etc. By the time the system was through with them, they often had been rendered crazy : really one of the more vicious types of state repression.

The kinder, gentler version of that - as shown here on Metafilter - is the "you're crying out for help" tactic. Some - I'm sure - actually do believe it too : but it's also a way of discrediting (if not shooting) the messenger.

Returning to the actual course of events -

1) I made a post on Metafilter. It got deleted.
2) So, I made a post on Metatalk asking what the guidelines were. That generated a lot of controversy and - around comment 200 or so - I responded to the "Trout, you're grinding an axe" criticism in this way :

After 9-11, Metafilter became, for a time, "9-11 Filter". People were posting repeatedly about the general issue for months and months. Were they "axe grinding" ? If so, why not ?

Think of the varying magnitude of importance of events : imagine that a comet has been discovered barreling in on a collision course with the Earth, due to hit in two weeks. What happens to Metafilter ? - It becomes "Cometfilter", of course. Axe grinding, or not ?

Now, take things to the utter opposite end of the scale - imagine that I start posting nothing but posts about ingrown toenails, from many different angles (any I can dig up). Maybe I have an ingrown toenail and talk about it at length in comments as well. Axe grinding - Certainly, although a different, analogous name might be appropriate - "fetish grinding", maybe

OK - two opposite ends on the scale of significance. Now : toward which end does discussion of the 2004 election fall ?

There's no objective way to accurately assess significance. The only way is to gesture at known facts :

: given that a) belated, tacit recognition that vote fraud and/or vote suppression swung the 2004 election was made by most major print media publications ( Florida's voter purge list - widely acknowledged as illegal - was, in the end, enough for that ) : about 3 years after the fact. b) even the NYT, in a number of stories and editorials, warned - in early 2004 - that widespread election fraud was likely or even inevitable unless the national electoral process was cleaned up ( they were referring, specifically, to E-voting ). c) widespread circumstantial evidence - statistical, testimonial, etc. - suggesting the strong possibility of pervasive fraud/vote suppression.

[ I also noted that - while the post Nov. 2 election story might be newsfilter, it wasn't "axe-grinding" for the simple fact that, pre. Nov. 2, the election had not happened and posts about possible fraud concerned hypotheticals, and possibilities. Post Nov. 2, real data started to come in. There's a difference - THAT's new, and also news. You can call that "newsfilter" if you want, yes, but it doesn't amount to the "same old" pre-Nov. 2 story. In fact, the significance is perhaps higher - so it's a shame discussion of that is forbidden here. ]

Now - if this IS a significant story, my concern can still be dismissed with the handy, all purpose - "That's just newsfilter" retort. True enough, I suppose. Matt doesn't want a repeat of "2004 electionfilter" or even, maybe, "9-11 filter". OK, fair enough.

So, then significance is irrelevant and we're back to some vague "best of the web" definitions - with, also, the unspoken but clearly enforced mandate : "And don't post on politics.... ESPECIALLY don't post on the 2004 election" . I asked Matt for explicit guidelines on this (even if I were banned, in particular, from political or 2004 posts) - he refused and tried to personalize the matter. So : no guidelines.

Now, Salon - for example - is running a front page piece, by J.K.Galbraith, on the exact topic of my last deleted metafilter post : that's still - some would argue - "newsfilter". Well, maybe.

In the end, what gives posts on Metafilter "juice" (or not) is their ability to grab the reader's attention. Matt Haughey could decree henceforth that all posts on Metafilter must be about origami. That's his right : but readership would fall off very fast (except among the origami crowd).

Different people come to Metafilter for different reasons. In my deleted Metatalk comment, I also suggested, to Matt, that he could attach mini-polls to certain posts to begin to get some actual empirical data on what drew readers ( and members to ) to the site and to specific posts.

That would be work, yes, but also would be a rational approach to get at the question "does x post help or hurt Metafilter"? Right now, we've just got a bunch of clashing opinions on the question.
__________

Ethereal Bligh - more later. But as for your " there's been almost no condemnation of the content of your posts"

(?!) Umm...... are we living in the same reality ? Start here :

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/36774

(there was little flack on my 2nd to last post. That was rather unusual for the subject.)

There was a dense barrage of critical flack on the 8495 Metatalk thread. You didn't read it ? Do I need to round up actual comments for you ?

Also - It's hard to discuss subject material which has been erased, eh ?
posted by troutfishing at 7:36 AM on November 30, 2004


trout - you know very well enough about logic to recognize "Look over there! Over there! At the flying pterodactyl!.... ( don't look at the pitiful state of American Democracy )" as a textbook False Dilemma. Just because people are imploring you to get a grip on your behavior at MetaFilter doesn't mean we're ignoring the breakdown of American Democracy or anything else. Your seemingly knee-jerk dismissal of even the most sincere attempts to help you see what you're doing to your reputation here are disturbing to those of us who generally appreciate your personality and contributions.

That said, I would only add that many of the recaps by people who aren't troutfishing seem to keep missing the fact that what he says sent him over the edge was not a deleted FPP, but deleted comments, an entirely different phenomenon since those can never be retrieved and yes that practice (deleting without a marker) does indeed smack of totalitarianism.

Also, angry modem arguing for anyone's forcible exit from MetaFilter is teh laff riot.
posted by soyjoy at 8:05 AM on November 30, 2004


Maybe we should give trout a break since according to the contribution index he's "been a member for 6675 days", which is more than 18 years! Seniority!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:10 AM on November 30, 2004


8495
bugbread, pal, you're on a slippery slope. Referring to threads by number is...scary.

trout, you're a good man and I love you. But I don't think you've been martyred, and I don't think your viewpoints have been marginalized. I honestly do not know what you want or expect at this point except attention, given that most people hereabouts agree with the substance of what you're trying to impart in these screeds.

I first started tuning out Eternal Blight because of his logorrhea, and though it was his other charming idiosyncracies that really nailed the coffin shut, not knowing when to shut up remains the crux of my loathing for him. You don't really want to go there, do you?

So, lissen, put down that bible and go for a walk in the woods. Air's lovely today in these parts - crisp, sunny, a scattering of high clouds racing before the wind. Do you a power of good.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:48 AM on November 30, 2004


But.... an apostrophe ?

Trout, that was pretty much a joke. The truth is, I don't know what to say to you anymore. I agree with taz and others that you sound very much like you're experiencing some bout of... something... (I Am Not a Psychologist...) that leads you to become increasingly wordy and monomaniacal and paranoid, unable to distinguish between attempts at suppression of ideas and attempts to run a community weblog and unable to rein yourself in so that whatever genuine insights you have might actually get attention; your long rambling comments do seem (in a pop-psych sense) like a cry for help, as condescending and reductive as that must sound. Surely you realize that, as EB says, anyone else in your place would be getting ten times the abuse and very little of the affection. (You can ignore y6 -- when he says you're "clearly a jerk," three of his fingers are pointing right back at himself -- and obviously everyone ignores angry modem.) For your own good, you should either back away from the site for a while or figure out how to engage with it constructively.

darukaru: Very interesting comparison, if ultimately unsatisfactory. I'd practically forgotten the Den Beste flameout.

bugbread: Your interpretation is correct. Ignore y6 (see above).

As for comment deletion, I delete comments on my blog whenever I feel like it, usually because they're spam but sometimes because they're offensive to me or others. Don't like it? Read another site. I can't believe people couch this as a free-speech issue. This is not a country and Matt is not a despotic ruler. He's running a website, and doing a damn good job of it. (Cue charges of sucking up...)
posted by languagehat at 9:28 AM on November 30, 2004


For the record, troutfishing, I do not believe that you display any signs of a psychological disorder. In fact, sticking around to play a few additional rounds of "'You're wrong' 'No, you're wrong'" is more indicative of a disorder than happily going about one's merry way.

I will sincerely miss your contributions, you little well-read pinko.
posted by trharlan at 9:40 AM on November 30, 2004


"...the crux of my loathing for him. You don't really want to go there, do you?"

Loathed by adamgreenfield? Horrors! Threatening that'll get troutfishing on the mefi straight and narrow, you betchya. It's hard to imagine a worse fate.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:49 AM on November 30, 2004


Well, it's true that there are very few people I can think of that I like less than you, worm.

How does that feel? I would imagine you take a sort of perverse pleasure in it, given everything I know about you, but I am truly curious as to why you deliberately cultivate hatred.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:11 AM on November 30, 2004


Metafilter: Welcome to the shit house Mr. Anal
posted by Stauf at 10:13 AM on November 30, 2004


I'd practically forgotten the Den Beste flameout.

classic stuff! people will have to try REALLY HARD to top that one.
posted by norm at 10:28 AM on November 30, 2004


what he says sent him over the edge was not a deleted FPP, but deleted comments, an entirely different phenomenon since those can never be retrieved and yes that practice (deleting without a marker) does indeed smack of totalitarianism.

Are y'all familiar with the definition of the word "delete?" Matt allows deleted posts to live on, and appends a reason for deletion. That's a feature, and a damn rare one across the 'net. Yet, of course, by providing that feature for threads, he opens the door for people to expect it for comments, too. And, carrying things to their (il)logical conclusion, if he doesn't provide this high level of service to any and all kinds of deletions, he is a totalitarian dictator.

You need some real totalitarianism in your life. The only times I've been around to witness comment deletions, they've been pure, 100% shit-extractions designed to let the thread live a normal, underailed life - as much as THAT's possible around here.
posted by scarabic at 10:35 AM on November 30, 2004


Den Beste URLs?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:35 AM on November 30, 2004


EB - wow. 18 years! It's been a long haul, for sure : time for me to bow out and give the young-uns some room to flex their styles.

darakaru - I laughed, thanks. That's one of the more sober ( and funny ) comments I've seen here.

soyjoy - It can be very hard to gauge sincerity - or the lack thereof - by textual communication alone. We really need to hear voices and see facial expressions to get a decent ( comparatively ) grip on sincerity. Comments to the tune of "Trout, you're crying out for help" might be very sincere, but they come off - to me at least - as patronizing. That's probably unfair on my part : I don't fall into any neat category, and - sure - my behaviors could be misconstrued. So - my apologies to those who were sincerely, genuinely concerned for my welfare. FFF did, perhaps, the best job with his mild "is there anything we can do to help?" comment. Contrast that with y6y6y6's approach : "We begged you to get counseling. Please, for your friends and loved ones if not yourself, see a doctor. They have medications which can help you. You don't have to live this way." (y6y6y6) - If my theatrics are deranged, then that response is simply vicious - the "you're crazy" charge seems less than sincere to me, a convenient line of attack. My assessments about various people's sincerity here are based on my history of interaction with them, and y6y6y6 has been, in a number of his recent comments - umm - a bit less than polite to me.
_____

soyjoy - "Just because people are imploring you to get a grip on your behavior at MetaFilter doesn't mean we're ignoring the breakdown of American Democracy or anything else. "

well, I doubt you are. But, who compromises the "we" you're mentioning there ? - That "we" is just a collection of individuals. Some might be, some not, others in partial denial : the usual spectrum.

It can be very hard to gauge sincerity - or the lack thereof - by textual communication alone. Comments to the tune of "your comments are a cry for help" might be very sincere, but they come off - to me - as patronizing. That's probably unfair on my part : I don't fall into any neat category, and -sure - my behavior could be misconstrued. So - my apologies to those who were sincerely, genuinely concerned for my welfare. That said, the "you're crazy" charge has been picked up by others as a convenient line of attack.

To be direct : sanity, or the lack of it, can be - and often is - quite irrelevant to functionality and overall success, financial societal or otherwise. As far as I can tell, there are vast numbers of people I would deem crazy - for their actions, beliefs, or both - running around in mainstream culture and inhabiting positions of influence and power. But, my definitions are my own - and my claim above, to the extent it's true, has certainly held throughout human history.

So - no news there.

That's a story of individual pathologies - most of those aren't actually severe enough to impede people's daily of overall life functioning. In fact, we're moving towards a sort of "pathology for all !" society, where everyone soon will have not just one but - probably - multiple diagnosed minor pathologies. [ We'll soon need a less severe word than "pathology", though, as pathology becomes normative. ]

Your comment, here, starts to get at a different sort of pathology :

"Just because people are imploring you to get a grip on your behavior at MetaFilter doesn't mean we're ignoring the breakdown of American Democracy or anything else. "

well, I doubt YOU are. But, who compromises the "we" you're mentioning there ? - That "we" is just a collection of individuals. Some might be, some not, others in partial denial : the usual spectrum.

So - what if that spectrum shifts in one direction or the other ? What if certain topics become inadmissible in "polite" conversation - especially those which seem to point to ominous tectonics shifts in societal power distribution or intensifying ideological extremity ?

Would - or could - that constitute the beginning of the sort of societal pathology that underlies and paves the way for authoritarianism ?

My question isn't an idle one : it concernsThe Spiral of Silence - which I see as already well underway in American culture :

"Spiral of Silence is an innovative theory of public opinion, developed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. Noelle-Neumann, founder and director of the Allensbach Institute (Germany's version of the Gallop pole)....The phrase "spiral of silence" actually refers to how people tend to remain silent when they feel that their views are in the minority. Noelle-Neumann blames the spiral of silence on fear of isolation. In other words, people who feel that they are in the minority, keep quiet because they fear ridicule from the majority....."Individuals who...notice that their own personal opinion is spreading and is taken over by others, will voice this opinion self-confidently in public. On the other hand, individuals who notice that their own opinions are losing ground, will be inclined to adopt a more reserved attitude." "

There are lots of other models and theories of societal pathology - Peter Loewenberg's, for example ( L's fame as a historian began with his 1971 seminal article in the Am. Historical Review, "The Psychohistorical Origins of the Nazi Youth Cohort"), or James Waller's research into the socialization of average individuals towards being able to commit mass political violence.

The indomitable Dave Neiwert - at Orcinus - covers this material with impressive authority : Neiwert calls it "Pseudo-Fascism" - he's working his interlocking essays on that into a book, I believe. ( I'll buy it ).
__________

Languagehat - you know that realm (above), I believe .

"unable to distinguish between attempts at suppression of ideas and attempts to run a community weblog and unable to rein yourself in so that whatever genuine insights you have might actually get attention" - Well, I DO need to explore different styles, yes. And run amok less, indeed.

And, I need to finish up a lot of writing, too. Not here.

I'm well aware that Matt felt he needed to delete my posts for functional ( rather than nefarious ideological ) reasons. I thought I'd made that clear. But - in a similar fashion to the way Relativity subsumed Newtonian physics - I believe in multiple explanatory modes. I think that Matt Haughey is actually a champion of free expression. The severity of my reaction to his deletions ( besides annoyance at losing text ) was for my sense that his putting the lid on discussion of the 2004 election fits an overall pattern by which dissent and the boundaries of discourse are slowly tightening. I don't think Matt wants anything of the sort and - for my part - maybe I actually accelerated the process a little for being my abrasive self. But I perceive an overall process in play, a gradual shift in the political atmosphere. I could cite facts as well, and the opinions of civil libertarians. We've been over all that territory before.

My opinions have probably drifted away from Metafilter's mainstream consensus, yes. Researching the religious right, Nazis in America, recrudescent eugenics, and other similar nasty topics has had an impact on my perspective, sure.

In my life, I've found that the majority of my fears and concerns ( either personal or societal ) tend to be on the mark - I have a good nose for truth I guess, or an intuitive finger to the wind. Now, there's one thing I also know about my overall sense of impending events - while it's generally accurate, my time sense about when those events will happen is foreshortened - or my concern about them is.

That is to say : I pick up on trends and get concerned about them well in advance of the majority ( in cases where I accurately peg developing trends ). This is a function of who and what I am and also is reinforced for the fact that I simply "scan" more than most and also have more conceptual frames built out in my head than many : to which facts and new info can stick.

But people who get too far out in front of trends are usually - in the public mind - seen as nuts. And - you know what - that's a fortunate thing, because if mass public opinion were MORE pliable (and by a few opinion leaders) than it is, we'd all be in a whole heap 'o trouble more than we already are.

________

trharlan - Thanks - you're from the Midwest, aren't you? You learned politeness somewhere - and, a little bit goes a long way. "...sticking around to play a few additional rounds of "'You're wrong' 'No, you're wrong'" is more indicative of a disorder." - yup, although I have a bad habit of arguing points into the ground - I'll admit to a measure of OCD - which is one good reason I need to move along.

Plus, the new members need space to develop their styles and personas. It's only fair. I had my chance.
_______

adamgreenfield - "I don't think you've been martyred, and I don't think your viewpoints have been marginalized" - no, I haven't been martyred. I should have issued some sort of disclaimer with all the religiously based comments - something along that I had not experienced some sort of religious conversion but that, actually, my father was a minister and I had recalled some of that religiously-steeped background as a resource to draw on - as language, and as faith (of a rather different sort than that held by Fundamentalists) - for working against the political goals of the religious right.

And, no - my viewpoints haven't been marginalized. They've been amplified - for a while now - through the graces of Metafilter and Matt Haughey ( who has, I somehow intuit, gnashed his teeth over my posts, comments and overall style many a time but refrained from deletions ). From from being "martyred", I've been more "opinion empowered" than most.

However... even though the marginalization of the viewpoints of at least a substantial minority of Americans has long been true ( Howard Zinn, and many others, have written whole minority viewpoint based histories ) I feel that the situation is getting worse. So, while the ban on the discussion of the 2004 election might not be unprecedented for Metafilter, it is also congruent with a much larger pattern whereby American mainstream media simply does not report on major categories of news - and those categories, I believe are growing. Overall, the trendlines look bad to me - but, you have a background for a deeper appreciation of this stuff.
posted by troutfishing at 10:37 AM on November 30, 2004


[ Damn - a redundant text chunk slipped in there. Sorry. ]
posted by troutfishing at 10:40 AM on November 30, 2004


How does that feel? I would imagine you take a sort of perverse pleasure in it, given everything I know about you, but I am truly curious as to why you deliberately cultivate hatred.

I can't speak for EB, since I'm not him and I don't hate him either, but I'll hazard a theory: most people will accept hate (from anybody) sooner than they will tolerate indifference, since at least it means they've touched a nerve or had an effect.
posted by jonmc at 10:41 AM on November 30, 2004


trout, I'm not so sure I agree that people who scan out further are considered nuts. Some of them - McLuhan, Toffler, even Faith Popcorn - make a living at it.

jonmc: but...that's pathetic.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:42 AM on November 30, 2004


classic stuff! people will have to try REALLY HARD to top that one.

Steven Den Beste did, albeit off-premises:

I paid Raven $200 plus a big tip for a private dance on Sunday. And she gave me her card. Actually, it's a card the club gives them where the dancers can write in their "names" and mark the nights they'll work. And she invited me back – why not? I was a good customer.

Wednesday I returned to the same club. I walked in as she was on the stage, and she recognized me immediately and her face lit up and she said "You came back!" and called me over to the stage and embraced me; later she sat down and talked to me. I again paid her about $200 for private dancing and again tipped well. Later after I'd spent as much money as I could justify to myself (I had more but really needed to stop) I was walking towards the door and she saw me and asked me if I was leaving.

And here's where six years of self-indoctrination to be comfortable being a male person fell completely to pieces. She could have just given me a friendly "Good bye" but she didn't. She walked over to me, gave me a big long hug and a kiss on the cheek.

She didn't need to do that. Nothing forced her to treat me that way. Nothing whatever.

Now I have no illusions about her motivation: it was mostly mercenary (though that doesn't completely explain that last big hug). But it doesn't matter why she treated me the way she did; the point is that way her face lit up upon seeing me when I walked in, that initial embrace, that eagerness to talk to me, that hug as I left – those are the things I need to be happy in life. I need to get that from someone. I need that to happen a lot. I need it daily. I need it as much as I need food or sleep or water to drink.

And I haven't got the slightest idea, not the faintest hint, how to get that without paying for it. (And paying for it routinely is not an acceptable answer.) Because I can only get that from a woman, and I'm surrounded by female persons. The only women I know of are married, engaged, or work in strip joints. Every female who's single that I know is a person, not a woman. I'm not a man to any of them and they don't treat me that way.

It's been 14 years since I last searched for a woman to love, and I was terrible at it then. I'm completely out of practice now and I don't have the slightest idea what to do. There's a yearning, an aching hunger inside me and I don't know how to feed it, because I need a woman, and there aren't any anymore. Just female persons.


From Anglo Women are an Endangered Species

It's not called the U.S.S. Clueless for nothing!

On topic: troutfishing, answering every comment directed towards you is idiotic and counterproductive and your penchant for way too long responses has hit an extreme here. You are wallowing in self-pity. Stay--my preference--or go but cut the fucking swan song. Now. Please.
posted by y2karl at 10:51 AM on November 30, 2004


trout, this is not to be considered an attack by any means, since I like you and more often than not agree with you. (Heck, I even like you in real life.)

But have you considered getting your own blog? One wonderful thing about the blog revolution is that everyone can publish. Actually, I see that you're raising those same questions on what appears to be your own blog, and on Kos as well.

And your continued over-explanations of your motives are seeming to start to grate on a lot of MeFites. And saying things like:

That is to say : I pick up on trends and get concerned about them well in advance of the majority

may be an honest thing to say, but combined with your recent hyper-volubility and extra sensitivity, it's annoying to people. Maybe not everyone on MeFi, and maybe not even a majority. But if you're as perceptive as you claim, you've surely noticed the change in the responses to your posts. And some people are getting irritated -- including, alas, me. That doesn't mean that the same people aren't genuinely concerned for you, because your behavior -- here at least -- has changed lately, and when you're called on it, it just spirals further and further down.
posted by Vidiot at 10:53 AM on November 30, 2004


"I pick up on trends and get concerned about them well in advance of the majority"

You, sir, are bonkers.

A bit too bonkers I think.

I'm starting to think it's all a troll. That we've been had. Good one Trout.

Time to put a bow on it though okay? You're starting to repeat yourself too much. Give us the zinger, 'cause we'll losing interest.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:55 AM on November 30, 2004


Damn - a redundant text chunk slipped in there

Why not email Matt and see if he'll delete it?
posted by taz at 11:00 AM on November 30, 2004


[ Damn - a redundant text chunk slipped in there. Sorry. ]

That's okay. I doubt if anyone noticed.
posted by timeistight at 11:01 AM on November 30, 2004


jonmc: but...that's pathetic.

Is it? That also describes a lot of punk rock music, literary satire, and plenty of other worthwile expression.

If a person responds to you with anger that means you've got them thinking, you've got a response. Indifference means they could care less.
posted by jonmc at 11:09 AM on November 30, 2004


Offsite, you say?
posted by norm at 12:15 PM on November 30, 2004


You need some real totalitarianism in your life.

You need some real clue-ism in your life. I can only say something "smacks of totalitarianism" if I'm living in a real totalitarian society? Well, no, because if I were, I couldn't say that, now could I?

Obviously this was meant in context of, and in contrast to, Matt's thread-deletion policy, with which I was explicitly comparing the comment-deletion policy in that sentence. I'm not the only one who has repeatedly advocated for any marker whatsoever to show that a comment was deleted - this is a far cry from objecting to the fact of comments being deleted.

But, who compromises the "we" you're mentioning there ?

That doesn't matter for what I'm saying. Equating objections to someone's manner of communication with objections to the underlying content is fallacious no matter who is doing it. Maybe out there in the world people are playing that game with you, equivocating between those two, but here at MeFi it seems pretty clear that people are objecting to the one and not the other - at least in terms of your long-winded, nay, gale-force commenting style, which was the topic under discussion.

norm: Fascinating. Really illustrates how the fair-game-for-deletion policy has evolved (or deteriorated, depending on your view).
posted by soyjoy at 12:37 PM on November 30, 2004


taz - you get the "best one-liner" award. You know, I actually did ask Matt to delete a comment of mine once. He did. I was grateful.

y2karl - I'm glad you'd like me to stay, but you know, the incivility of Metafilter is one thing that I won't miss. I honestly hope I haven't made that worse by my concern with a few key topics, and by aggressively defending their relevance or legitimacy. But I'm actually not wallowing in anything. My call - my experience.

You know, you can be wordy at times too. I think it's OK.

y6y6y6 - Like Global Warming, say. I was watching that one back as far as, I think, '90 or '91. I'd check in on the topic periodically to see what was up. Real trend. I wasn't at the front of the pack, but I was watching it pretty early.

But, let me say this - people would generally show you more respect if you showed others more.

jonmc - Yup.

"But have you considered getting your own blog?" - Vidiot, yup. I started one two or three times, in fact. First off, I'm a perfectionist. I'm also very distractible, have too many interests, and find the solo blog thing painfully boring. I'll figure it out ( or not )

"if you're as perceptive as you claim, you've surely noticed the change in the responses to your posts. And some people are getting irritated -- including, alas, me." - There are many types of intelligence. Emotional and social intelligence is not my strong point. It's genetic ( really - a touch 'o the old Temple Grandin ).

But as far as my "spiral" goes, well - last year, around December, I was duking it out on this endless Metatalk thread, for an off color, surrealist remark that concerned a giant image of Osama Bin Laden leering from behind a cloud.

This little bit 'o grey is my last little ( self imposed ) toehold on Mefi, and I'm actually just hanging around, at this point, to work through the withdrawal symptoms ( no Metafilter ? Oh my! ). Plus, it's fun to people watch.

I'll just suck on this dry grey teat for a bit longer, and work through the withdrawal - in a day or two, everyone will have wondered off, bored, for not having found a better "meltdown". Then, I'll twiddle my thumbs.

The clock will tick along, and eventually, the post will get archived. Maybe I'll get a blog, maybe not. Maybe the tree in my backyard will topple over on my antique Mercedes. Maybe not. I'll learn to make pottery. Maybe I'll cut my hair or pick up the violin. I already know that I'll go to see the dentist : he'll fill a cavity or two and, while he's at it, I'll mumble stuff at him about Global Warming and the religious right. "That's interesting", he'll say, and then "you've got to stop talking so I can give you this novocaine."
posted by troutfishing at 12:39 PM on November 30, 2004


soyjoy - I'll check out your logical correction a bit later. You're probably right. ( Or I could quibble some more. ;/ )

Funny - I've used the "style vs. substance" argument with powerful effect before in verbal arguments. So, it comes back around to nip at my heels. Fitting.

As for "gale force" - well, horses gotta run, beavers gotta gnaw and build, and writers gotta write. ( elsewhere. )
posted by troutfishing at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2004


"That's interesting", he'll say, and then "you've got to stop talking so I can give you this novocaine."

That's almost like what we've been saying here. :)

Did you take that autistic specturm test that was posted somewhere in the blue a while back? I was half-surprised to discover that I scored pretty high on it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:51 PM on November 30, 2004


Offsite, you say?

Wow. I, uh... wow. And a self-link at that.

trout: If not self-pity, and the if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck common sense perception says you are, then certainly you are wallowing in self-absorption--you would rather speak than be heard.

You have made enough of a fool of yourself with this carwreck and ongoing gawker's slowdown. Stop wasting your and other people's time. I repeat: Cut the swan song.
posted by y2karl at 12:53 PM on November 30, 2004


jonmc - Yup.

Yup, it's pathetic or yup, the rest of it?
posted by jonmc at 12:53 PM on November 30, 2004


Like all of trout's posts, in the blue as well, I find myself simply scrolling past his overlong crackpot disquisitions. More interesting to look at the slightly risible shadow he's throwing, I think.

Has he said anything worth reading in this wankfest of a thread yet?

I'd be embarrassed for myself if I were you, trout, honestly.

Metafilter: failure to understand why this is inappropriate is perverse and your defense is delusional.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:55 PM on November 30, 2004


/me hugs adamgreenfield

Well, he looked like he needed it.
posted by Tlogmer at 12:57 PM on November 30, 2004


I *did*?

I mean, thanks, but I'm good.

That Den Beste piece is terrifying. Someone actually not merely thinks that, but blogged it? Insane. Insane.

"Female persons don't conform to my expectations of femininity. By the way, I just want to make it clear that I have lots of disposable income. Anglo women haven't been feminine for years. I'm well set for money. Maybe I should try and hook up with some demure little Lotus Blossom? Those Latin women really know how to treat a man. As it happens, I'm rich. I can afford lap dances. Not that I do it often or anything. It's been six years since an Anglo woman looked twice at me, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm fat and have a Star Trek-themed blog. And am rich. It's their fault.

Dykes."

Wow.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:36 PM on November 30, 2004


Oh, also, jonmc, I think your idea of punkrock and mine are a little bit different. It was never just to get a rise out of people for me.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:43 PM on November 30, 2004


That passage is so over-the-top I've gotta wonder if he's being satirical. Or maybe making some kind of half-assed confessional along the lines of "yeah, women aren't just sex objects, but don't you wish they were," or something.

The fact that his intent isn't clear and that people are offended is a sign that the writing failed. or succeded. or something.

Oh, also, jonmc, I think your idea of punkrock and mine are a little bit different. It was never just to get a rise out of people for me.

No, not "just" to get a rise out of people, but it was certainly one of the tools in the box. The genre that spawns songs like "Beat On The Brat," opening lines like "I am an Anti-Christ," and personalities like GG Allin, certainly can't discount the value and fun of pissing in the punchbowl and picking at scabs. I guess you could say it's getting a rise out of people with a purpose, even if that purpose is only to shatter complacency and smugness.
posted by jonmc at 1:49 PM on November 30, 2004


That Den Beste piece is terrifying. Someone actually not merely thinks that, but blogged it? Insane. Insane.

No fucking kidding. He's Comic Book Guy with money. Let's talk about SDB--it's been awhile and even us 11Kers missed that one. Wow.

And I never knew about it until darukaru brought it up--between that and the kavalcade of kitties, he's on my throw a life ring to list from now on.

So, d, where are those kitties anyway ?
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on November 30, 2004


*prays for an extended discussion re: punk rock, between adamgreenfield and jonmc*
posted by Vidiot at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2004


As much as I would enjoy that, Vidiot, I don't think you're serious.



And anyway I'm afraid of the "Get Your Own Blog" people.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:58 PM on November 30, 2004


*prays for an extended discussion re: punk rock, between adamgreenfield and jonmc*

Heh.

Oddly, me and a co-worker were just having a similarly convoluted discussion on where "hard rock" ends and "heavy metal" begins (inspired by last night's reading of (and use of to procure music through perfectly legal means) of this book. We came to a consensus that Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep were the dividing line of Ur-Metal.

I could happily discourse on either subject at legnth out of either side of my mouth if someone buys me enough beer.
posted by jonmc at 2:01 PM on November 30, 2004


Iggy is the crux of all things.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:08 PM on November 30, 2004


heh
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:08 PM on November 30, 2004


stavros - when was the time you said something pleasant ? Are you this nasty in person and to your wife ?

jonmc - sorry there, I meant your anger/indifference distinction. All too true.

EB - I didn't take it. No need. My family is a frikkin' Aussberger's cluster. One characteristic of Aussberger's people ( the majority are male ) is a tendency to lecture. Dr. Aussberger, a Viennese doctor who named the syndrome back in 1910 or thereabouts called the boys he studied "the little professors" for this tendency.

Since the syndrome also correlates - oddly - with high measurable IQ, it's often assumed that Aussberger's people are being intentionally obnoxious. But, that's usually not the case. They merely process the world differently and also tend to have cognitive deficits in areas that don't yet show up on existing IQ tests : deficits in social, and emotional intelligence. My father describes, as a ten or twelve year old boy, being asked to join a softball game and going out to the field to - as he was told - "catch flies". Guess what he did ? ( so he says, anyway. It could be very droll humor, but it would have been completely believable for him )


"you would rather speak than be heard" - y2karl, I'm not commenting here, on this thread, to be heard. If I wanted to do that, I would renege on my pledge to disappear from Metafilter, and start posting more suitable (less political, more oblique - at least) material and stop lecturing and posting such long comments - as the "new, improved Trout".

But, I'm not going to. I can be justly accused of being self absorbed, yes. And, those tendencies get amplified - needlessly so - on Metafilter. So.......

Sorry for interrupting the hard rock/metal discussion.
posted by troutfishing at 2:10 PM on November 30, 2004


Dude, half the people on MeFi are detectably Aspergerian. No news there.

Steven Den Beste clearly more so than most. I bet he rides a recumbent and wears a Bell helmet.

Iggy, dude.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:12 PM on November 30, 2004


So, d, where are those kitties anyway ?

In a 20MB .tar.bz2 on my hard drive. I'm not going to try and host them all in one big page again, but I might be able to put 'em up somewhere.
posted by darukaru at 2:19 PM on November 30, 2004


psst, Trout, just go register a new identity.
posted by norm at 2:30 PM on November 30, 2004


"What's for dinner? Aw mom, not Ass Burgers again..."
posted by norm at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2004


when was the time you said something pleasant ? Are you this nasty in person and to your wife ?

I say pleasant things all the time, here and elsewhere. I'm quite the jovial fellow. Even to you, upthread. But I have little tolerance for fools. And you, my good man, have made yourself that, despite the kind words of many here who have asked you in the kindest possible way to step the fuck away from the keyboard.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:10 PM on November 30, 2004


I'm genuinely curious about something. Many people here have commented in this thread as "defenders of troutfishing" and asked him, very politely in some cases, to stop commenting in this thread. Why?

Why do the "friends of troutfishing" ask him to silence himself in public, in front of the entire MeTa audience? Why not send him a polite e-mail and leave him be? Let him burn out, defend himself, make an ass of himself, protect himself, whatever...why not simply leave his character be? Why have so many "friends of troutfishing" taken his comments here so personally as to almost be embarrassed of him, or for him?
posted by BlueTrain at 3:45 PM on November 30, 2004


bugbread - Blacklite: How's this thread for a massive derail? Doncha love the grey?

I could hear the horrible wrenching sound of the train coming off the tracks when trout posted his two-thousand-word epic comment. But it's okay. It's interesting, at least.
posted by blacklite at 3:46 PM on November 30, 2004


trout blacklite - I'm sorry to have hijacked your thread, but I think it might have much more vividly illustrated the dimensions of the problem. Still - my apologies.

Well, yes, it would have been cool if you hadn't. I guess if you're going to flame out, though, you're allowed to masturbate all over a thread.

I wasn't trying to define a problem, I was trying to define a solution. The problem was defined a long time ago. Having your comments deleted does suck, though, and I like the placeholder for deleted comments idea that someone mentioned.
posted by blacklite at 3:57 PM on November 30, 2004


Perhaps it is all a a big troll.

My family is a frikkin' Aussberger's cluster. One characteristic of Aussberger's people ( the majority are male ) is a tendency to lecture. Dr. Aussberger, a Viennese doctor who named the syndrome back in 1910 or thereabouts called the boys he studied "the little professors" for this tendency.

Asperger's syndrome was first described by a German doctor, Hans Asperger, in 1944

The little professors thing might be true, who knows.
posted by blacklite at 4:08 PM on November 30, 2004


So Metametatalk does exist. And I was just fucking around when I asked about that.

Yeah, don't post about politics. Unless it's a post that links to interesting websites about politics. Everybody can read the newspaper, for fucks sake. But there are interesting bits o' politickticktock out there on the internets that even newspaper readers might not know about.

I didn't read this thread.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 4:11 PM on November 30, 2004


y6y6y6 But you have fun with your careful investigation.

That I will. I do enjoy investigimatin'.

Troutfishing I asked Matt for explicit guidelines on this (even if I were banned, in particular, from political or 2004 posts) - he refused and tried to personalize the matter. So : no guidelines.

No, no guidelines, but an answer that's clear as day:

mathowie The election is over, but how many posts have you made that were related to the vote count since? I don't feel like counting, but in my mind the number is in the neighborhood of bazillion, give or take 2. You're grinding an ax. I let people post in their chosen topic more than once in many cases, but when it becomes a regular thing you do more than once a week, it's time to stop, and move on.

and

mai, my problem is a simple one: what if everyone pushed their own agendafilter? So trout continues posting election stuff day after day, and many, many members follow suit with their pet issues.

What are we left with? Indymedia.org?


Seems clear to me.

Troutfishing Different people come to Metafilter for different reasons. In my deleted Metatalk comment, I also suggested, to Matt, that he could attach mini-polls to certain posts to begin to get some actual empirical data on what drew readers ( and members to ) to the site and to specific posts.

That would be work, yes, but also would be a rational approach to get at the question "does x post help or hurt Metafilter"? Right now, we've just got a bunch of clashing opinions on the question.


The issue, though, and you know this, is not what draws readers to posts, and that's not the only yardstick for measuring "helping Metafilter". If it were, the most beneficial posts to Metafilter would be porn, warez, and arguments about whether XBox is better than PS2. Metafilter is "helped" not just by unique hits but by satisfaction of its goals, and polifilter / grindaxefilter is not one of these goals.


Troutfishing Ethereal Bligh - more later. But as for your " there's been almost no condemnation of the content of your posts"

There was a dense barrage of critical flack on the 8495 Metatalk thread. You didn't read it ? Do I need to round up actual comments for you ?


Yes. Yes, you do. Because I just checked, and here's how the poster distribution looks for that post:

No reference to content:
PrinceValium
Mcwetboy
Krrrlson
Iconomy
Dabitch
Dhoyt
Pardonyou?
Andrew Cooke
LarryC
Xmutex
Stan Chin
GSB
Smart Dalek
Rocketman
Hughbot
XQUZYPHYR
Mr_crash_davis
Steve_at_linwood
NinjaPirate
Angry Modem
Lord_wolf
LionIndex
Amberglow
Adampsyche
Eyeballkid
Squealy
Xmutex
KirkJobSluder
Mono Blanco
JustGary
Madamjujujive
Darukaru
DarkMessiah
PinkStainlessTail
Eustacescrubb
Dash_slot
Tlogmer

The content of Trout's post was bad / election fraud is unimportant:
Flashboy

The content of Trout's post was good / election fraud is important:
Lodurr
Kleptophoria
Loquax
Bugbread
Sidhedevil
Monju_bosatsu
Dobbs
Five Fresh Fish
Pikachulolita
Freen
Scarabic
Ninjapirate
Stavrosthewonderchicken
Languagehat
Y6y6y6
Euphorb
Ethereal Bligh
Mai
Matteo
Naomi
DanOstuporStar
Faux Ami

Hard to tell:
Orange Clock
Quonsar
Cell Divide
Davy
m3dia
posted by Bugbread at 4:19 PM on November 30, 2004


Iggy, like the Sonics and theMC5, is indeed a Rosetta Stone of both punk & metal, but you haven't truly lived as a rock and roller until you've experienced Birth Control's fuzztone and wah-wah drenched cover of "Light My Fire." Truly a monument to the finest kind of wretched excess. In a good way.
posted by jonmc at 4:34 PM on November 30, 2004


Asperger's Syndrome has, indeed, been described as the 'little professor' syndrome.

I think that there are some of us who feel that trout is a smart person who is, for some reason, not understanding why it is inappropriate for him (? don't know trout's gender) to go on and on and on about perfectly reasonable and at times quite thought-provoking things in an obsessively logorrheic manner.

Some of us worry that the reason trout might not be getting this is because of some emotional or neurological issues that could be addressed by a trained professional. On the other hand, we think that it is possible that maybe one more encouraging reminder might, somehow, break the spell. Some of us have, finally, come to the conclusion that this was folly on our parts.

Some of us choose not to get into an email exchange with a) anyone from MeFi, and b) especially those from MeFi who have that much to say that often.

Ergo, some of us offer trout both overall encouragement for his continuing researches and writing, and focused discouragement for his continuing attempts to share those via MeAnything, here in public.

At least, that's why I do it. Others might have different reasons.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:42 PM on November 30, 2004


Troutfishing...I don't know you well, but I have read (and enjoyed) quite a few of your post/comments in my lurking days. I just have one thing to say after reading your multiple swan songs:

It's. Just. A. Fucking. Website.

Seriously.

The virtual world cannot become your sole outlet and source of satisfaction in life. Leave MetaFilter if it causes you so much strife. In fact, leave MetaFilter if it causes you any strife. This is supposed to be fun and thought provoking... nothing more nothing less. Please stop, for our sake and yours. Your lack of perspective baffles and amazes me.
posted by rooftop secrets at 4:59 PM on November 30, 2004


"No reference to content:

...

mr_crash_davis"


At last, my total disinterest for any subject has been recognized.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:12 PM on November 30, 2004


As much as I would enjoy that, Vidiot, I don't think you're serious.

Actually, I'm completely serious. I enjoy both your writing and jonmc's, and I bet said discussion would be fascinating.

We got, what, 28 days left on this thread? Have at it, dudes.
posted by Vidiot at 5:18 PM on November 30, 2004


No fucking kidding. He's Comic Book Guy with money. Let's talk about SDB--it's been awhile and even us 11Kers missed that one. Wow.

I think this is a good example of why it amuses some of us when people cry for the "good ol' days" of MeFi.

I wonder if some of the old nuts might return with signups back. For instance, it has been a long time since a certain Star Wars fan made an account to spam his sites. I wonder if he will pony up five bucks for it.
posted by bargle at 5:28 PM on November 30, 2004


George Lucas spammed the site?!!!? I hear he looks like an E-Wok when he's naked. Shh.
posted by The God Complex at 5:30 PM on November 30, 2004


norm has a really good point, trout--think of it as an experiment--it may just prove the point. (and you only have 5 bucks to lose)
posted by amberglow at 5:40 PM on November 30, 2004


love is a battlefield
posted by bargle at 5:43 PM on November 30, 2004


Also, angry modem arguing for anyone's forcible exit from MetaFilter is teh laff riot.
posted by soyjoy at 8:05 AM PST on November 30


Not really. Disabling accounts for people who say they're leaving can only be the nicest that can be done for people who may have a tendency to have second thoughts from time to time while still wanting to distance themselves from somewhere.
posted by angry modem at 6:11 PM on November 30, 2004


Dude, Vidiot: Right the fuck on.
Presented, therefore, for your consideration:

There's a germ line that runs through certain phenomena in our* culture that, wherever and however it appears, brings the cleansing flame, the rebooting goodness. It's not just about problematizing that which came before and which had gone un- or weakly questioned, and it's certainly not about provocation for its own sake.

Although work in this tradition frequently does invert expectations (a woman as lead singer who's not just there for the T&A? a book with "cunt" and "cock" to be found on every last page? a single black slab of below-grade marble??? rastafarian speedmetal????), these inversions are matter-of-fact. They aren't there to provoke; the provocation arises from their very unselfconsciousness, as if to say, "Well, what could be more natural than this, and why on earth are you even troubled by it?"

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I mean when I say punkrock.

It is the current of integrity and authenticity and fearless self-disclosure that runs through the dead heart of a dead age. Children (admiringly) and the guardians of the status quo ante (reprovingly) mistake its incitements for farts in church and shouts of fire in crowded cinemas, though of course it is neither.

Loud, fast, headlong, self-assembling in real time, not always sure of its footing and never, ever rigorous, punkrock is the secret beauty at the heart of everything dully wrong.

Practical examples.
The Velvet Underground practically invented punkrock. Frank Zappa never came within a thousand clicks.
Magritte? Punkrock, where Dali was a bore and an apologist for tyrants.
Mies - punkrock. Frank Lloyd Wright? You've got to be kidding.
Penelope Houston playing folksongs is more punkrock than Courtney Love could ever be.
A Jaguar E-Type yes, very much so and more so with every passing year, but no Porsche after the 356 will ever again get anywhere close.
Nothing was more punkrock than Julius Erving in, like, 1976, but Dennis Rodman is just sad.
Wearing a Jil Sander suit when everyone else is in shorts and t-shirts is, or can be, punkrock as fuck.
Minor Threat yes, Dead Kennedys no; Russ Meyer very yes, Gregg Araki and Vincent Gallo no and never.

Honesty. Integrity. Self-reliance. Self-knowledge. No bullshit. Wearing your blunders on your sleeve and coming to love them. Becoming exactly who and what you are.

Yes and again Yes.

28 days and counting.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:15 PM on November 30, 2004


*Construct "our" as you will.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:16 PM on November 30, 2004


i would simply like to point out that there is no capital q in my username.

oh, and ROFLOCAUST!1!! angry modem! it was worth the time it took to learn to imitate trout's posting style, no?
posted by quonsar at 6:17 PM on November 30, 2004


Female persons have noticed that men greet each other by shaking hands, so now all female persons want to shake hands, too. Equality at last! I've got some bad news for them: men don't shake the hands of female persons the way they shake each other's hands. Men use a very strong grip..

If I used that same grip on a woman's hand that I use on a man, she'd probably scream from the pain, for I am quite capable of crushing her hand, and that's the degree of strength I routinely use when I shake the hand of another man.


Thank you, Y2Karl, for introducing me to Steven C. Den Bests's homepage. I think I will have chuckling material for days.
posted by Bugbread at 6:48 PM on November 30, 2004


No thanks are necessary. Really. It was a carwreck you'd drive by eventually.
posted by y2karl at 6:51 PM on November 30, 2004


Spiral of silence....Howard Zinn... I'm thinking trout is a cultural studies/speech comm grad student.

"batgrlHG - you choose to participate in this thread. why ? I'm talking, and you're responding. So : don't reply to this, and I won't reply in kind to your response. Simple, right?"

Interesting. Why do you choose to spill your guts in a multi paragraphed manner - and then question me as to why I make a comment? I need a reason? My comment in this thread must necessitate a response from you as opposed to someone who will come and say smock? You're very confusing - another reason everyone seems to be worried over this. And you don't have to reply to each and every response even if the comment is directed to you - but in doing so this post has become a one on one conversation - everyone else and then you responding back. Which you're encouraging. When a community blog gets a thread that's suddenly all about just one person (in the past anyway) everyone has always stepped back (or into it) and tried to figure out what the hell is going on. I will grant that you had the grace to apologize for the thread takeover, but you're certainly not being the height of pleasantness yourself in this.

....EB: that's seven paragraphs, batgrlHG, okay?

Hey man, I don't count them anymore - you moved beyond that ages ago! You can make us crazy other ways now! ;) We all have our phases/amazing powers of annoyance here.

Speaking of which someone remind me - who was it that would step in and announce the smock?

posted by batgrlHG at 7:07 PM on November 30, 2004


this thread is making me miss myself.
posted by bargle at 7:15 PM on November 30, 2004


I'd love to see that wall of self-important blubber try to crush MY hand.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:17 PM on November 30, 2004


Damn good essay, adam. I look forward to Jon's response and the ensuing (I fervently hope) discussion.

Quick question, though: can you elaborate on the punkness of Mies? I love his work for reasons I can't articulate (most International Style buildings leave me flat or strike me as a blight, but his just ... work. Like how you can speed-walk with half-closed eyes through a museum's gallery and pick out the Rembrandts without slowing down, his just are perfectly proportioned and feel right somehow.) But his work strikes me as fairly rigorous, bordering on the formal. (When I'd think of a punk-rock architect, I think of Gaudi. Or Gehry's house.)

And wow, y2karl. Now I feel better about myself:
The previous month had been extremely bad for me (through no fault of my own) with the entire universe spending that entire time shitting on me, and I took a vacation in Vegas and decided that I was entitled spend some extra money to have someone, anyone, treat me extra nicely for a change.
Car wreck, indeed.
posted by Vidiot at 7:39 PM on November 30, 2004


All I did was Google. The U.S.S. Clueless was not new to me but just how appropriately it was entitled was--if anyone deserves thanks, it's darukaru. Bow in his direction.
posted by y2karl at 8:06 PM on November 30, 2004


norm has a really good point, trout--think of it as an experiment--it may just prove the point.
It's been my experience in Internet Land that you can't just change your name and claim to be a new person if you have a particularly idiosyncratic written style--it often reflects how your mind actually works, and you have to work *hard* to do it differently. It's like adopting (or trying to lose) an accent.
Example: someone could probably spot me easily because I overuse em-dashes and parentheticals in informal settings.

y2k, you're making me blush *tee-hee*
posted by darukaru at 8:07 PM on November 30, 2004


Blogoblob and ROFLocaust are my two new favorite internetisms. Okay, back to punk rock and the wild wild life of Steven Den Beste.
posted by furiousthought at 8:16 PM on November 30, 2004


Vidiot: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I contain multitudes, and they all fucking rock.

Mies' rigor was a little too very to fit entirely into my above definition, yes, but it was his own and it was obsessive and he pursued it obsessively. Consider his sadly unbuilt Friedrichstrasse project (of 1921, yet!): it's like the maddening single-key piano line in "I Wanna Be Your Dog," or better yet, like the first three seconds of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" (1964), a gigawatt warning shot across the bow of everything saurian and senescent, a herald of the Good News: change isn't coming, it arrived at midnight yesterday, now go get a late pass. Frank Gehry? Please. All he ever brought was some French defense contractor's CAD software, economic access to industrial-scale quantities of titanium, and an acquaintance with Richard Serra. Not that those are in any way bad things, but still: pfui.

Did we forgive the Kinks for ripping themselves off a year later ("All Day and All Of The Night," 1965)? We did, especially since the results were so gloriously On. But we would've anyway, right? Just like we forgive Mies for his temper, his bullheadedness, his deformation of the Bauhaus legacy and even his shameful lapse into a stance that has been constructed (by better minds than mine) as a flirtation with fascism.

Why? Because we could not have had "Road Runner" had we not first had "Less is more." And "Road Runner" is the conduit through which the godhead flowed, however mysteriously, from Iggy and Lou to Joey and Joe and Johnny and Jimmy, and then to all of us down here in the twenty-first. (It helped spawn Debbie and David and Ian and maybe twenty-three thousand others in the wind of its passing, too, which is a neat trick any way you slice it.)

vidiot, i love you for this.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:37 PM on November 30, 2004


Why? Because we could not have had "Road Runner" had we not first had "Less is more."

Well, Roadrunner certainly was from the first distillation of the Velvet Underground but that thrash sound had been around. The Godz had it, for one. It's called not being able to play your instruments. Then someone turned the primitive into the stylized and voila! the DIY music for the, in any traditional sense, musically incompetent. Which is not to sniff at it--what gives Muddy Waters his power in his first Chess sides is that he's putting so much into what little he can play. The same is true for the punk pioneers.

Roadrunner may be punk in the instrumentation but the lyric, in retrospect, was pure Jonathan Richman and Jonathan Richman's adolescence. And, anyway, as noted before, hippy was less than ten years old when punk appeared. And look how long it has been around. And the dirty little secret is the punk is hippy in the sense that it is the consumption pattern of extended adolescence. How you shop, granola or Doc Martens. An identity established, for the most part, by the consumption of commodities, the acquisition of consumer goods.

One cannot postulate, however, a Punk aesthetic for architecture or Punk rules for art. That's just projecting the zeitgeist of your adolescence upon history in retrospect, the fashion of your youth become passe, like a middle aged waitress wearing her high school beehive well into the shag era.
posted by y2karl at 10:18 PM on November 30, 2004


Me ta-talk: Your lack of perspective baffles and amazes me.
posted by euphorb at 10:59 PM on November 30, 2004


If I used that same grip on a woman's hand that I use on a man, she'd probably scream from the pain, for I am quite capable of crushing her hand, and that's the degree of strength I routinely use when I shake the hand of another man.

I've always assumed that those few men I've met over the years who go for the Manly Handshake are desperately insecure.

Also : I'd like to get in on this rock talk, but I'm sicker than a gutshot dog today, and it may have to wait.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:13 AM on December 1, 2004


It's been my experience in Internet Land that you can't just change your name and claim to be a new person if you have a particularly idiosyncratic written style--it often reflects how your mind actually works, and you have to work *hard* to do it differently.

I don't know about that. Some people (not to name any, uh, flaming cottontail names) have successfully reinvented themselves here. Besides, even if one is really distinctive, if that person has a modicum of reserve and doesn't post ten times a day no one will even pay too much attention.

Also, I am looking forward to a thread in a year or two where some enterprising genius figures it out and then trout can make his triumphant return.
posted by norm at 6:54 AM on December 1, 2004


Actually, The Sonics (and the Seeds, and the Count Five and the Downliners Sect, and the Gants and countless others) were punk before the Velvets were, and in their own warped way, The Dictators were the punkest band of all time. And the Kinks lifted the riff for "You Really Got Me" from "Louie Louie." My version of punk is basically about pissing in the punchbowl of complacency, but my version dovetails nicely with yours.

So while my pantheon certainly includes the people you mention, it does also include Frank Zappa, AC/DC, Ronnie Van Zant, and countless others.

And Deep Purple was actually the first official metal band, not Zeppelin. Jimmy Page still wanted to sound like Elmore James and Scotty Moore. Ritchie Blackmore wanted to sound like Wagner with distortion. Black Sabbath wanted to sound like a steel mill grinding to a halt and feel like a brontosaurous dancing in a tar pit. It was as big a break with what came before as punk. Although punk was always ambivalent about it's past: the same group that sang "Your Generation," denouncing it sang "ready Staedy Go," celebrating it.

But that's enough for now. I'm cold, I'm wet, my back hurts and I need coffee.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on December 1, 2004


Also, there seems to be a lot of talk in adam's essay about what's punk and what isn't, which leads to punk entering it's own standardization and complacency.

I still feel that "farts in church" and "shout of fire in crowded theatres" are important and neccessary shots and the complacency, smugness, exclusion and self-righteousness that seep in everywhere, especially in self-appointed rebels themselves.

This is fun. I get to play Lester Bangs to adam's Greil Marcus or Chuck Klosterman to his Ira Robbins. Or something.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 AM on December 1, 2004


Also re: Frank Zappa's punkness. Unleashing Wild Man Fischer on the hippies is probably the punkest thing anyone could have done. The beauty of unleashing a truly insane person on a sub-society that superficially lionized "insanity" "wildness" and "freedom" and then sitting back to watch them alternately squirm and gawk (yet still utterly ignore the actual beauty) is a prime example of stirring the old fecal vessel, as it were.

OK, caffeine kicking in. Still not sure I'm making any sense. As for this Mies guy, I have no idea who he is.
posted by jonmc at 7:21 AM on December 1, 2004


these inversions are matter-of-fact. They aren't there to provoke; the provocation arises from their very unselfconsciousness, as if to say, "Well, what could be more natural than this, and why on earth are you even troubled by it?"

While the actions of many punkers did indeed spring from honest internal impulses, they were by no stretch of the imagination innocent of the responses these actions would provoke, any more than Elvis was unaware of how his gyrations would affect both church ladies and teenage groupies. When Iggy smeared himself in peanut butter and leapt into the audience, when Johnny Rotten yowled about going to the new Belsen, when Bowie showed up to sing in a dress, and even when Ozzy decapitated a dove, they were all doing what they wanted to do, but they knew what was coming and it only made it all the more sweet.
posted by jonmc at 7:58 AM on December 1, 2004


Damn, this is great. Keep going, guys!

A couple responses:

I think that "farting in church", "yelling fire in a theater", and "stirring the old fecal vessel" are all legitimate and necessary things to do every once in a while, but I agree with Adam that that kind of transgressive behavior, while a hell of a lot of fun, needs to incorporate the "cleansing flame", as he put it. You've got to have something new to offer, even if it wouldn't -- especially if it wouldn't -- be accepted by the tastemakers of the time. Even if it's unruly passion and one-note guitar solos, because I think we can all agree on the greatness that can reside in outwardly sloppy work.

y2karl, I think that there are a couple of different things referred to as "punk" or "punkrock." And they all overlapped at one moment about 30-35 years ago. We've got the consumer aesthetic on the one hand, and the attitude on the other. (And, on the third invisible hand, the musical genre of the Stooges and the Clash and the Pistols, et cetera.) Now, I'd argue that this particular aesthetic pattern of consumption grew out of a certain '60s and 70's rock-and-roll incarnation of the attitude, but I don't think that they're the same thing. You can treat the studs/safety-pins/Doc Martens look as "punk", because that was how it began: the people who were most loudly espousing the "punk" attitude were the people who were indeed wearing this kind of stuff (most probably for its transgressive shock value, yes.)

But the aesthetic has diverged from the attitude over the years. I find the attitude interesting, while the consumer aesthetic is not...because if you divorce the attitude from the consumer behavior, you're left with, as you put it, "An identity established, for the most part, by the consumption of commodities, the acquisition of consumer goods." (or, as my man Elvis Costello put it, "All the passions of your youth/Are tranquilized and tamed.") You're left with Avril Lavigne, who claims to be punkrock but clearly has no idea of what that attitude means.

Which brings me to the attitude. I'm more with Adam and Jon than I am with you on this one, y2karl, because I believe that attitude (which is what I usually mean when I refer to "punk" or "punkrock") is what Adam and Jon are talking about. You can have punk architecture, and visual art, and other things, because those examples are full of that attitude. The attitude is bigger than the aesthetic. It's why Johnny Cash (and yes, Muddy, and of course Howlin' Wolf) are "punk rock." And a host of other non-musical artists are "punk rock" too, from Bruce Conner to e.e. cummings to Ernie Kovacs to Manet.

Jon: Mies.
posted by Vidiot at 8:05 AM on December 1, 2004


Well, when it comes to people looking in the mirror to make sure their tartan pants look just like Sid's, and who try to pretend that we all still live in London 1977, then yeah, punk can become kinda like hippy.

But at their inception hippies were very punk rock, both in the shit stirring sense and the cleansing flame sense adam talks about. As were Elvis, The Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, P-Funk, John Coltrane, and hippies, mods, headbangers, doo woppers etc. in that they made you stop for a moment and say "wait just a minute. what the hell was that?"
posted by jonmc at 8:20 AM on December 1, 2004


I agree with Vidiot that Mies is probably not the standard-bearer for punk-rock architecture--his muscial equivalent would probably be someone like Steve Reich. His attention to seemingly minuscule detail in making sure in conformed to the preconception of the larger whole jives more with the minimalist movement than with what I perceive as the somewhat sloppy, DIY aesthetic of punk. Although his "less is more" ethos ran counter to prevailing construction norms, and was a subversive "fuck you" in that sense. I also agree with Vidiot's assessment of early (like, pre-1985) Frank Gehry as being totally punk rock. Using asphalt as a kitchen flooring material and having cyclone fence winging off your house all over the place? Come on! Back then, he was really experimental in his materials and solutions to problems and you never knew what he'd do. Now you know exactly what he's going to do, every time, and that sucks (although I think this also because his clients want him to do the titanium flower over and over again). Samuel Mockbee is probably a better choice for a true punkitecht, in terms of materials, aesthetic, and the societal function of his work.

And Frank Lloyd Wright is goddam Emerson Lake and Palmer.

on preview: maybe I should just shutup and let Vidiot type--he's saying it all. y2karl--we're just engagin in a little glasperlenspiel here. No worries.
posted by LionIndex at 8:32 AM on December 1, 2004


Please don't shut up, LionIndex. (But your check is in the mail.)

And I hadn't heard of Mockbee before your comment above, but wow, he sounds interesting.
posted by Vidiot at 9:38 AM on December 1, 2004


Can I say this is the most fun I've ever had here? You guys are rockstars, in the best sense. But where are the grrrls?

And Frank Lloyd Wright is goddam Emerson Lake and Palmer.
Yes! Precisely!

Oh, so many avenues here, so many things to consider.

Here's a thought, y2karl: I remember looking at a book in SF Japantown Kinokuniya, 'bout a year and a half ago. Dag, I should have bought it on the spot, I don't remember the title or even the photographer.

It was a series of portraits of LA and visiting NY and UK "punks" circa 1978. There were maybe a hundred of 'em, and no two looked the same. You had your Hefty bag dresses and your tempera-on-Kraft-paper "suits," your fetish trappings worn over SCUBA gear, your goldplate ultra-Elvis, your hand-me-down biker jackets and your Valley Cong - none of it yet "commoditized" in any way, except as collages of decontextualized consumer detritus. Fat girls in mohair, diffidently queer Chinatown hoods with bad skin and dorks on loan from the marine-biology department looked you dead in the eye, daring you to call their bluff - they knew they were beautiful.

(The tragedy of America: we commoditize what is best in us, cut it with baby laxative and bake it into neat little bricks that'll fit on a Hot Topic countertop in Short Hills, where even the lacrosse team gets to call themselves "punk," and all & sundry learn Blackness from Jay-Z videos. Even the black kids. Maybe especially the black kids. Kids these days - they get thrice-reified fun and probably can't tell the difference. Fuck, America invented fun! Actually, WWII did it. I think speed and cunnilingus might not have existed before Rosie the Riveter showed up for her first day at the Douglas Aviation factory. But I digress.)

Samuel Mockbee, absofuckinglutely. Ernie Kovacs, wow. We're talking about the Main Vein, here. You know who's punk as fuck? Rita Moreno, I shit you not. (Did you ever sit back and consider just what a fudge-punch Electric Company was? It's also where I learned to love public signage.)

But, see, I question any whiteboy's rock where the emulation of Blues is primary, namely Mick'n'Keith and very much including Zeppelin, who've never gotten any love from me except insofar as they spawned the mighty Soundgarden. (What Elvis did was Not the Same: Elvis was like a human crucible in which three parts Robt Johnson mixed with three parts Hank Williams, one part pure teenage white-trash truck driver rut and six parts perfect light from above.) It's the authenticity thing, I guess. The Stones needed the boundary object Brian Jones to create interesting flows, and with his loss they descended into minstrelsy and kitsch. I have nothing to say about Zeppelin.

Extra credit: dissect out and analyze the role of sexuality in annealing disparate trends and influences and making of them something glittering and new.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:46 AM on December 1, 2004


But, see, I question any whiteboy's rock where the emulation of Blues is primary, namely Mick'n'Keith and very much including Zeppelin, who've never gotten any love from me except insofar as they spawned the mighty Soundgarden.

Well, Plant & Page, I'd argue, kind of blew up the whiteboy blues mold by going completely over the top with it (listen to the glorious excess of "When The Levee Breaks"). It's hard to hear now, especially with the overplay and the fact that they've become an institution (although one could say the same of the Ramones), but at the time they were revolutionary in that they took rock away from mellow feild hippies and returned it to seconal and Boone's Farm gobbling cannon fodder kids stuck in the middle of nowhere looking at the excrement of the sixties. They did not recieve a hero's welcome from the rock intelligentsia at first.*

The "blues based whiteboy music thing" actually dovetails nicely with my earlier hard rock/heavy metal theory. Hard rock tended to be at least somewhat blues/R&B based and sex & party oriented (Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Skynyrd, Stones) whereas Heavy Metal (Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult) was, like punk after it. cut from a different cloth entirely: 1 part comic-book Wagner/Tolkien doom, 1 part instrumental pyrotechnic, 1 part white urban/suburban lower middle class frustration and alienation. It was pre-political punk with better chops until money & drugs plowed it under.

But make no mistake, I still love both, since it's ultimately about the music to me. And I also gather that we're coming at this from two different directions, both equally valid, so it's natural we'd have differing views on it.

You guys are rockstars, in the best sense. But where are the grrrls?

In the audience, throwing their undies at us.

*this is also among the reasons I emrace it so tightly. Post-punk rock cant has more or less written off most of 70's hard rock, among other genres, and when something is stated at me too repeatedly, I feel the need to investigate further out of contrarianism. That and feedback drenched solos go well with malt liqour and vicodin.
posted by jonmc at 10:20 AM on December 1, 2004


Likewise with Sabbath and Robitussin.

I'm interested, too, in punkrock-as-difference, punkrock as novelty's point of irruption into a history and historical time unprepared for it. But that will have to wait until I'm back from my errands. Carry on, do, please.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:32 AM on December 1, 2004


also, take away Plant's vocals and "Communication Breakdown" would not sound out of place on a punk album. Just sayin'.

And the Stones best album (Exile) was made post-Brian Jones. It's still unrivaled as a chronicle of exhaustion and bitterness.
posted by jonmc at 10:33 AM on December 1, 2004


The problem with declaring punk rock in architecture and sculpture and bluesmen of the '20s is that you are watering down what punk rock is, or conflating it to be something it is not.

My favorite MC - MF DOOM - could easily be tagged by your descriptor, "punk rock", except I prefer to think of him as "sick" or "ill" or just plain "dope". He isn't punk rock; he's hip-hop, and illustrating these boundaries are useful.

It suggests to me that what you speak of is something bigger than the descriptors you are using. This isn't punk, but whatever it is, punk had some of it. The bluesmen had some of it. Lou Reed had it in spades.

Maybe we're talking about cool, not punk.
posted by rocketman at 10:36 AM on December 1, 2004


You guys are rockstars, in the best sense. But where are the grrrls?

You mean the female persons, right?
posted by tizzie at 10:55 AM on December 1, 2004


The preffered nomenclature is "Breasted Americans."

:)
posted by jonmc at 11:01 AM on December 1, 2004



But at their inception hippies were very punk rock


Just as at their inception the punks were very hippy.

We've got the consumer aesthetic on the one hand, and the attitude on the other.

You mean the nostalgia for one's extended adolescence on the other. Which is what is being talked about here. But... but... we were Different! Yeah, well, get in line--all that decontextualized DIY fashion shit was done by the hippies, too--the very first hippies, that is, mining earlier and better trash piles. All that came later were the commoditized camp followers, in both cases, and that happened in a matter of months, if not weeks.

Johnny Cash is punk. Howling Wolf is punk. Oh, right. Just as much as they are hippy.

Maybe we're talking about cool, not punk.

Not cool--high school.
posted by y2karl at 11:04 AM on December 1, 2004


And before I forget, feel better please, my friend.
posted by tizzie at 11:05 AM on December 1, 2004


jonmc - how much do you think I could get for my "We're the Meatmen... And you suck!" and "Love Canal - It's a dog's life, so blow it out yer ass" albums on eBay ?

[ The punk-rock conversation is going so well that I don't really want to disrupt it. It's a nice thing. So, I think if I feel moved to make any additional comments not directly related, I'll just do them as external links and not disrupt the flow ]
posted by troutfishing at 11:29 AM on December 1, 2004


Arguing over what is and isn't punk is definitely not punk. But you knew that already.
posted by euphorb at 12:35 PM on December 1, 2004


Arguing over what is and isn't punk is definitely not punk

I was thinking this too. It's like the old saw about teaching a pig to sing.

also: listen to the glorious excess of "When The Levee Breaks"

I am unable to hear this song without thinking "I am most ill/and I'm rhyming and stealing!"
posted by norm at 12:52 PM on December 1, 2004


euphorb, norm: A, we're not arguing, and in fact I cannot remember this much sheer glee in any MeFi thread to date. B, what does it matter what shape the signifier takes if we agree on the signified, which we seem to be doing in its major contours?

I call it punkrock, you call it style, she calls it sknnnnng and he calls it cough nomadic. We mean much the same thing.

y2karl: Whoah there, hoss. I don't know how you're managing to overlook everything we've laid before you relating to the essentially inchoate nature of what we're talking about, and its corresponding noncommodifiability. Wearing a Bob Dylan t-shirt is not being Bob Dylan; neither is most "punk rock" very punkrock. Almost none produced after the death of d. Boon, I would conservatively judge.

Not sure where your hostility is located - we're just giving shoutouts to our masters and teachers.

Speaking of which: hip-hop: interesting in that it was almost pure punkrock when it emerged from the South Bronx - although one is tempted to say that Kool DJ Herc was himself merely a vector (I said tempted, don't jump all over me just yet) for Jamaican forms he had witnessed - and keeps getting reinvented as such deep deep underground.

We know that the Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Bam, Flash and Run-DMC were performing a parallel operation to that of Brian Eno (or Kraftwerk, or Phil Spector): inventing an instrumentation from the pieces at hand, in this case turntables and cheap electronics and their own voices, and running with it.

And there's no question that the Bomb Squad's elaborations on the basic pattern deserve recognition in their own right - the parallel here, in rockist terms, is probably Einsturzende Neubauten and through them John Cage.

But in all hip-hop's years since Chuck lost it, tell me: what innovation - Miami bass, Arrested Development's dirty-South stylings, jeep beats, classic SoCal gangsta, WuTangism, crunk, what have you - has appeared as unselfconsciously and as rightly? You tell me, since I'm ignorant of the last ten years' evolution in the music - I'm not about the Cristal and the Navi.

It's got to be deeper than Mos Def. Or even MC Solaar. There's got to be a nomad line here, I just don't know about it and I'm hoping you can tell me.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:52 PM on December 1, 2004


And stav, feel better soon.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:53 PM on December 1, 2004


*adds euphorb and norm to list of people not to have a beer with*
posted by LionIndex at 2:38 PM on December 1, 2004


*adds euphorb and norm to list of people not to have a beer with*

your loss. I was just saying, (if I have to explain what I thought was fairly self evident), that the prime aspect of punk was a gut-level reaction to the excesses and corporate stupidity of pop music. The very act of intellectualizing that process seems silly and pretentious.
posted by norm at 2:51 PM on December 1, 2004


The very act of intellectualizing that process seems silly and pretentious.

Which is what makes it fun. Since I have to explain what I think is fairly self-evident, I think we all know that it's silly and pretentious, but we're doing it anyway just for kicks.

As referenced earlier, glasperlenspiel.
posted by LionIndex at 3:11 PM on December 1, 2004


The tragedy of America: we commoditize what is best in us, cut it with baby laxative and bake it into neat little bricks that'll fit on a Hot Topic countertop in Short Hills

Ok, that was worth it. But don't everyone start hating each other over the different ways you found punk rock. The whole point (to me) is people who feel marginalized coming together1 and making war against a common enemy. An enemy like the one adam described above.

1. Kinda like in that bee girl video, but I'm not going to try to get that in under the umbrella. Though Shannon Hoon's death was definitely rawk.
posted by yerfatma at 3:19 PM on December 1, 2004


The Stones needed the boundary object Brian Jones to create interesting flows, and with his loss they descended into minstrelsy and kitsch.

Just felt this was worth repeating. Italicizing also. Lovely line. Mostly true too, once you factor in this concise corrective:

the Stones best album (Exile) was made post-Brian Jones

I agree that Exile's as good - and as punk - as the Stones ever got. Not just the sound, but the circumstances of its conception - turning rock-god excess in the south of France into a garage-band jam in the basement. Is it because Charlie Watts - the anti-punk, the jazz guy - found his inner punk keeping time in that basement? 'Cause, man, he owns that album, he somehow found just the right balance between his jazz training and the chaos that surrounded him.

[also please add me to the list of those giddily delighted by the nifty left-turn this thread has taken into armchair musicology]
posted by gompa at 3:53 PM on December 1, 2004


I love this place.
posted by sciurus at 4:04 PM on December 1, 2004


There's got to be a nomad line here, I just don't know about it and I'm hoping you can tell me.

If there is a nomad line, it's probably not very interesting. Hip-hop has a whole different ethos: power, money and respect. Lil' Jon is using his album cover to promote his new energy drink. If that's not punk, then fuck punk. Black artists have been exploited for years, hip-hop artists are wise to the game and aren't going to get suckered.

Timbaland is an incredible innovator. So is Dre. Abandon your ideas of purity for a moment - yeah they're playing the game, but no more so than a Renaissance master painting his patron as a godlike conquerer. And by the way, great art is generally very self-conscious - the mark of a genius is that he knows what he's doing.

I don't mean this to come off as bitchy, I just get riled cuz there's so much amazing music - life-changing music - in hip-hop and it gets so little respect.
posted by lbergstr at 4:33 PM on December 1, 2004


Bruce Goff! Jersey Devil would probably claim they are punkers but the claim itself destroys even the possibility of the truth. /punk architect filter

Gehry's best project is still his Santa Monica house. (Just as Venturi's best project was the House for His Mother.) /gehry detractor

I'll take a stab at Vidiot's quest to understand why he likes the work of Mies despite his general dislike of international style work. LionIndex touches on this: it's not International Style work. When FLW's drawings toured Europe early in the 20th century they had a profound impact on European architects. Mies took some spatial ideas from Wright and added two parts of rigor as a classicist and builder -- a true builder in the best sense of the word -- and as such contributed some of the greatest works of architecture that this planet will ever know.
posted by Dick Paris at 4:47 PM on December 1, 2004


lbergstr: But you have the power to change that. Recommend me some tracks to download and you'll have yourself a nice start.

Also, what LionIndex said. Remind me to add you to my list of folks to beer with.

gompa, tell me more about Charlie Watts. I once mistook him for Yoko Ono and, in mortification, have been unable to approach him since.

norm: Anything I've written above is 99% piss-take, and only 100% serious.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:52 PM on December 1, 2004


tell me more about Charlie Watts

Listen to the stumbling-drunk fills in the chorus of "Loving Cup." And listen to the wicked little half-second six-beat roll at the end of the bridge on "Rocks Off" - just after the sort of pseudo-underwater flanged vocals, just before the lyric "The sunshine bores the daylights out of me," which is itself possibly Jagger's finest moment as a lyricist - when Watts brings the proceedings seamlessly from sauntering to full-speed gallop in the blink of an eye. And then revisit any other Stones tune from the point of view that Watts might just be at least as important as Keef to the Rolling Stones sound.

Also bear in mind, throughout, that Watts was a serious jazz drummer who thought he'd embarked on a little pop-band project as a lark. I think you can actually hear his half-bored smirk in the drumming . . . which is almost punk of him, doncha think?
posted by gompa at 5:20 PM on December 1, 2004


Recommend me some tracks to download and you'll have yourself a nice start.

Hrrrm. Punk rap. Well, The Coup's Party Music would be a start. MC Paul Barman. The whole Prince Paul clique's revolt against mainstream rap.
posted by yerfatma at 5:23 PM on December 1, 2004


Also, what LionIndex said. Remind me to add you to my list of folks to beer with.

Actually, referring to the hatas, I said not have a beer with.

Mies vs. International style: I think the International style was a diluted and somewhat impotent interpretation of Mies' work, which as Dick notes, was builderly in the sense that it took the construction of buildings into account in their design and made something beautiful of it. Your standard International style building is basically a cheap bastardization of that, since the details (wherein lies God) of Mies were not really inexpensive to build, although his palate and style generally were. International style buildings became more about economics and cost-cutting than art or social responsibility.

Chiming in with the love for Exile: One thing that amazes me the most about that album is that as good as it is, there's really only one song on it that I've ever heard on the radio--Tumbling Dice. And you don't hear it too often. But, I've never really paid much attention to Charlie's drumming on it--I've more focussed on the guitars or Mick. Thanks for the pointers, gompa.

Though Shannon Hoon's death was definitely rawk.

Did he choke on his own vomit or (even better) someone else's?
posted by LionIndex at 5:47 PM on December 1, 2004


Yes, I know: remind me to add you to my list of folks to beer with.

gompa, you're a great writer. I have always liked "Rocks Off" despite everything, and now I know why.

Dick Paris, I'd like to know more about Jersey Devil. They were kind of the Archigram of the Garden State Parkway, right?

yerfatma, if memory serves, wasn't it the Coup that featured burning Twin Towers on their debut album, circa late 2000? Not sure I'd be able to listen to that with a fully open mind...
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:53 PM on December 1, 2004


there's really only one song on it that I've ever heard on the radio--Tumbling Dice

I've noticed that too and find it weird because that's one of my least favorite tracks. Hoon OD'd.

On preview: yeah, but the cover waas designed before the event. The album came out right around that week. A test of the "No such thing as bad publicity" theory.
posted by yerfatma at 5:55 PM on December 1, 2004


I've noticed that too and find it weird because that's one of my least favorite tracks

Most of the song I couldn't care one way or the other about, but when it gets toward the end, and it's just Keef and the backup vocals singing "You've got to roll me" over and over, it's awesome. "Shine a Light" wins my "worst of" award, though.
posted by LionIndex at 6:07 PM on December 1, 2004


So Charlie Watts. Interesting. Clearly a boundary object in his own right, facing a different tradition and demarcating it from the Stones' blooz just as Brian faced psychedelia and demarcated it from the Stones' hallucidecadence.

But tell me, do: is a "half-bored smirk" as much a commentary on what is being played as, say, Robert Fripp's deadpan? And what are we to make of the infelicities committed on any idea of the authentic by this merry band of tax-exile multimillionaires wintering at Cap d'Antibes?

Is authenticity a concomitant of poverty? Why hasn't David Bowie written anything even halfway presentable since he turned into a silver-goatee'd, Chelsea-creeping art dealer manque? The last time I've been able to sit through one of his offerings was "Scary Monsters," and I wasn't yet old enough to get the junk and whoring references. You know full well all the good tracks on his mid-80s output were Iggy covers; I've always theorized that the residuals on "China Girl" and "Tonight" and "Neighborhood Threat" were his way of subsidizing the man to whom he owes, well, just about everything he didn't rip off of Lou.

You ever seen that picture of Lou leaning across Mick to kiss David? Who do you figure topped whom? I've always wondered.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:20 PM on December 1, 2004


Marianne Faithfull vs. Nico: which persona was more of a put-on, the former's recently-virginal convent girl or the latter's crypto-Weimar chanteuse?

Also, if J.G. Ballard were to write Crash next week, who would replace Elizabeth Taylor in the starring role of Vaughn's "optimal sex-death projections"?
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2004


Just throwing it out there: The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Warning: music video in popup window starts upon entering the site.
Bonus: All tracks they've ever done are downloadable for free from the site.
posted by LionIndex at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2004


But tell me, do: is a "half-bored smirk" as much a commentary on what is being played as, say, Robert Fripp's deadpan?

I won't speak for Mr Fripp, but I'm not convinced Watts is smirking at what's being played as much as the ridiculous grandiosity of the whole apparatus of rock superstardom, you know? Like: dig this guy in the tight pants strutting around like a speed-addled chicken. Does he seriously deserve to make millions of dollars for doing this? Do I?

'Course, I might be projecting . . .

Is authenticity a concomitant of poverty?

Not necessarily. See, for example, the career of Neil Young. I wonder if it's just that there are so few examples on which to model your later-stage career in rawk, and so too many of the first-generation heroes went with the awful, awful flow in the 1980s, and have been fighting desperate, losing battles to restablish their authenticity ever since (Bowie, Lou Reed, even Dylan to some extent) or else simply gave up and became corporations (the Stones).

Marianne Faithfull vs. Nico

A dead heat, that - but neither is any more of a put-on than Mick's lapsed-LSE-student bad boy.

who would replace Elizabeth Taylor in the starring role of Vaughn's "optimal sex-death projections"

Times being what they are, Angelina Jolie gets my vote. Could be worse. Could be J.Lo.

Another talking point: The Replacements. Would we love 'em less if they hadn't screwed up every opportunity they got? Are they great because they screwed up? Or are they simply the greatest?
posted by gompa at 7:10 PM on December 1, 2004


Threads like this always make me wish I could bring in a big ol plate of munchies and just hang out...
posted by batgrlHG at 7:12 PM on December 1, 2004


Just throwing it out there: The Brian Jonestown Massacre

If you've never been properly introduced, where would you start? What, High Fidelity-style, would be the Top 5?
posted by gompa at 7:18 PM on December 1, 2004


Here ya go, Adam. I was at a Badanes lecture some years back and I do have a general appreciation for their method of work. I wanted to be an architectural cowboy of sorts, once. Well, twice. I dreamed of having an office in a UPS truck.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:38 PM on December 1, 2004


But in all hip-hop's years since Chuck lost it, tell me: what innovation - Miami bass, Arrested Development's dirty-South stylings, jeep beats, classic SoCal gangsta, WuTangism, crunk, what have you - has appeared as unselfconsciously and as rightly?

Timbaland.

btw I totally agree on Charlie Watts.
posted by mr.marx at 7:58 PM on December 1, 2004


Very sweet : a jazz funeral.
posted by troutfishing at 8:40 PM on December 1, 2004


Dick Paris: Right on, thanks ever so much. And, uh, don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

gompa: Hmm, excellent question. My fury re: the 'Mats and their self-willed abnegation is always redoubled when I consider the MP3 I have of them covering the classic "I Wanna Destroy You."

It's barely phoned in, from twenty-four minutes past drunk o'clock, and its/Westerberg's failure cleanly registers as an unmissable contempt for the audience. And yet...and yet...hoving around underneath the murk and shite is the all-but-formless outline of what might have been - and if you could trust what you were hearing, you knew it as little short of majestic.

So. "Between thought and expression," indeed. I look down on them for letting trivialities like, oh, alcohol dependency and intense mutual hatred interfere with the transmission of their gift. Is that a fair answer?

trout: If you like. I think you get it.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:57 PM on December 1, 2004


adam: on punk-ethos hip-hop, you're already familiar with the Bomb Squad. Good. Fear of a Black Planet is one of the most important albums of the last 25 years.

Other stuff you should check out: MF DOOM, especially his work as King Geedorah and his debut album, Operation Doomsday. He builds a song off Scooby-Doo samples. The King Geedorah project is built off Godzilla soundtracks and samples. DOOM's collaboration with Madlib (who is hands-down the best producer working in hip-hop today - check out his remix of the Blue Note catalog, Shades of Blue), called Madvillain, is a towering achievement in hip-hop, and maybe the most important album from that genre that's yet appeared since the turn of the century.

They sample accordions, Street Fighter II, Melvin Van Peebles' soundtrack to "Sweetback", Sun Ra, and it's all fronted by a rapper who wears a metal mask and styles himself after Dr. Doom.

On his debut album, DOOM and one of his cohorts rap over the string sample from the end of the Beatles' "Glass Onion", speeding up and slowing down with the beat. There's no message in it except that as rappers, they kick a lot of ass.

Also, Madlib's alias Quasimoto - he released an album called The Unseen that's so rich it would fire the Donald. Check it out yo.

Could be worse. Could be J.Lo.

It's that bad.
posted by rocketman at 5:38 AM on December 2, 2004


They sample accordions, Street Fighter II, Melvin Van Peebles' soundtrack to "Sweetback", Sun Ra, and it's all fronted by a rapper who wears a metal mask and styles himself after Dr. Doom.

Mmm, there is not a got-damn thing wrong with that. rocketman, thanks. I've set LimeWire to work on the case.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:05 AM on December 2, 2004


I hate you all, except troutfishing
posted by matteo at 8:37 AM on December 2, 2004


You could set me on the case - email address is in my profile, and I'd be happy to send you a cheese plate.

Mm.. Food.
posted by rocketman at 11:28 AM on December 2, 2004


Hate to add another level of meta-indirection, but this thread is history in the making. I was there for 8531... I had to scroll back up to the top a couple of times to remember what it was about in the first place.

That said, I personally will miss troutfishing and his gloriously protracted posts. I can't help but crack up every time I come across one. I'll read for a while, then hit the page down key until my finger hurts, then read some more, and repeat for a half hour or so.

Although if trout feels like hanging around, I do have a couple of requests. First, a nice little synopsis (100 words or less) of the previous few thousand words as a postscript would be *great*. Second, the white space preceding punctuation bugs the hell out of me (anyone else?). Could you maybe not do that? You can put extra spaces after, if you like.
posted by justin at 5:01 PM on December 2, 2004


i fucking hate lenny kravitz.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:35 PM on December 2, 2004


greenfield, i'll bet you got that robitussin habit in the military.

here is the wired story on the coup's unfortunate album cover. i have liked what little i've heard. DJ Dangermouse's grey album made me take another look at jay-z. there are some good hip hop recommendations in this thread. since we are a bunch of liberal weenies, we have a love/hate relationship with hip hop.

thanks all, for the discussion and links. I hope to some day be as eloquent about my interests as you seem to be about yours.
posted by whatnot at 8:34 PM on December 2, 2004


whatnot - I'll just say it was not unrelated to the constraints of keeping a security clearance and we'll leave it at that, hmm? ; . )
posted by Adam Greenfield at 8:47 PM on December 2, 2004


Where else does Troutfishing post, on this or (especially) other subjects, and under what monicker? I still think discussion of the 2004 "election" is boringly futile, as is the ongoing discussion of whether it should be discussed here and so on, but man can he intellectuate.

Oh and by the way, "punk rock" is a marketing niche, like "Gothicism" or Sci-Fi, nothing more. And "Rage Against the Machine" shills for Sony, an evil multinational corporation.
posted by davy at 1:04 AM on December 3, 2004


Oh and by the way, "punk rock" is a marketing niche, like "Gothicism" or Sci-Fi, nothing more.
Brrrrrrrnt! Wrong Answer! I suggest you read the thread before posting next time, davy. Nobody said anything about Rage Against The Machine, and nobody needed to.

...an evil multinational corporation.
And here I thought Sony was a humanitarian organization of the highest principle, fiercely dedicated to open standards and free information flow, too.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 6:50 AM on December 3, 2004


Well, the Sex Pistols wouldn't have written "E.M.I." if they weren't fans, right?

(wow, Adam, your name got a space!)
posted by Vidiot at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2004


I think he finally remembered the password for his older account.
posted by whatnot at 8:14 AM on December 3, 2004


Nobody said anything about Rage Against The Machine

I didn't say anybody did. I did however see a few references to the "content" and "meaning" (or the lack of it) of popular music, such as (but not limited to) "arguing over what is and isn't punk is definitely not punk" and "Fear of a Black Planet is one of the most important albums of the last 25 years", and I couldn't resist an opportunity for an obvious snark, which may or may not have been obviously apropos, to wit: it really amuses me that people seem to forget that entertainers entertain in order to get things -- tangible things like sex, free drinks, enough credit to dig swimming pools big enough to drive Caddies into, and so on. A reputation for being "deep" or "edgy" or [insert buzzword here] helps them sell more tickets, CDs and T-shirts, get laid more, etc., and so should be considered on par with "Esther" Ciccone's titanium bustiers. "RATM" was just the easiest example that came to mind: anti-WTO Maoists moving merch for Sony, oh my.

And no, I'm certainly not claiming that that was an original or even particularly clever "insight". I also admit that it was a broad conceptual leap (or something) to make at 4am my time; I'll try in the future to be easier to follow.

So anyway, where besides MetaFilter's archives can I get more Troutfishing?
posted by davy at 6:26 PM on December 3, 2004


davy, try this on for size: the word some. As in "some entertainers entertain in order to get things." The rest can't help themselves, or are doing it for other reasons entirely. Stipulate that, and I can see letting that statement stand.

And, no, I don't know why trout hasn't simply fired up a free typepad/blogspot site.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 6:36 PM on December 3, 2004


davy, try this on for size: the word some. As in "some entertainers entertain in order to get things." The rest can't help themselves, or are doing it for other reasons entirely. Stipulate that, and I can see letting that statement stand.

Okay, I'll so stipulate. It might be entirely possible that some entertainers entertain in order to show off for no other reason than to show off. Of course it might also be possible that us those folks are just too stupid to figure out how to make it pay. If you'll stipulate that '[being] too stupid to figure out how to make it pay' is something wonderful one should be proud of then let's call it even.

And by the way:

MetaFilter is a hand-made website with something special going on.

MetaTalk is, on the other hand, full of crap statements like that.
posted by davy at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2004


davy - thanks, but I think some ideas are irreducible. I'm not saying that mine are, but - as a general principle - the demand that all ideas be squashed down to fit onto the back of a business card can amount to a fundamental dumbing down..... to a Reader's Digesty sort of caricature.

Also - when few words are in play, the incommensurability of language becomes a greater threat.

Those white lines I was using indicate subject breaks. The device seemed intuitive to me - but I guess it wasn't.

BTW, there're plenty of 2004 election material on dailykos - just search the diaries for "2004 election", "Florida", "Ohio", etc.

Adam Greenfield - again, thanks for the support. When did you stop being adamgreenfield ? Anyway - I could fire up a blog any time, but I need to do a few things first : long walks in the woods, nature photography, cleaning my basement, finishing some writing, a cookbook maybe....

And people are dying, unnecessarily and all around the Globe, for countless reasons. I thought I had some sort of handle on root causes for that. Man, was I way off the mark. My earlier judgements have been swallowed up by larger realizations that leave me further adrift - and, that's good.

I'm learning to throw on the wheel and - at the same time - reading M.C. Richards' "Centering" : "...The ordinary so-called religion and so-called science in our day, in the civilization of the West, tend to conduct a cold war of their own. They attempt to coexist and to divide the world between them. There is palpable disunion. This split obstructs the poetic consciousness ; it is a characteristic malady of our society. . . . the inner soul withdraws, goes underground, splits off from the part that keeps walking around. Vitality ebbs. Psychic disturbance is acute.... "

Metafilter - for me at least - was a part of that sort of split. Lacking all the answers ( in conceptual terms ) does not exclude a wholeness of being.
posted by troutfishing at 12:10 AM on December 5, 2004


davy - to answer your last question : when I publish some pieces or, lacking that, if I choose to start up a blob (to eat the world). I deeply appreciate your interest but, at the moment, I'm feeling a bit squished flat - through the wringers of my own idealism.
posted by troutfishing at 12:23 AM on December 5, 2004


[ also : if I really didn't care, I wouldn't be huffing these fumes here in cybersapce. ]
posted by troutfishing at 12:44 AM on December 5, 2004


Keep caring, trout -- but those walks and pottery and photography and cooking are important too.
posted by Vidiot at 11:34 AM on December 5, 2004


Troutfishing posted a few things. In rough order:

the demand that all ideas be squashed down to fit onto the back of a business card can amount to a fundamental dumbing down

When did I say anything like that, about your ideas or anyone else's?

I'm feeling a bit squished flat - through the wringers of my own idealism.

I know the feeling. Or I did till around 1994; now I'm just squashed flat by gravity and aging. I think I'd've fared better if I hadn't cared so much, it ain't like it did anybody any good.

How old are you? I don't mean to pry or disparage, it's just that I think Saving The World is a young person's thang (if anyone's), so I think you must be under 30. Either that or you get good stimulants. Or maybe another theory of mine lacks worth.
posted by davy at 3:01 PM on December 5, 2004


davy - I apologize for that quip : I conflated your posts with someone else's ( justin's ). It was late, and I was tired.

For some, the world is a young person's thing. But not for all. Look at Granny D ( Dolores Haddock ). Indeed - most of effective political activism, in human history, is a later-life phenomenon. In the young, the concern is real but the tools - or the tactics - are typically lacking. ( but not always ).

I don't think so much in terms of "saving the world" but, rather, that all the beauty I see in both the natural and the human world is worth defending.

How I can best do that is an open question in my life. But the impulse - for me - is a major life ethic.

Also, I'm more than a bit older than 30 - and probably less mature than many half my age. You're right on that, in a sense. But, I'd say that the impulses of ideologues who would "save the world" do tend to amount to a disease of youth - for wiser ( or older ) heads don't think in such totalistic terms, and they also are usually more practically oriented. "Saving the World" is a big and fuzzy notion.

What's up with your "another theory of mine" line ? - I'm a bit of an anomaly probably, but theories tend to concern averages. Your theorizing seems astute to me - and even if you think it tends to be wrong, I know that we all have our strengths. I'm good with words, but most of the other realms of life tie me in knots.

I don't think one need feel so squashed by life at 20, 30, 40, 60, or at any age. Aspire to walk across the U.S., for a good cause, at 90 : bodies age and fall apart, yes, but love and spirit can also bind them together.

______

vidiot - yeah, they sure are.
posted by troutfishing at 9:14 PM on December 5, 2004


trout:

First of all, it's not the linebreaks (I totally understood those) that annoy me : it is the spurious space before punctuation (thankfully, largely limited to colons and semicolons) ; it just bugs me in that your/you're, its/it's, i/I, u/you, etc, sort of way. Nothing serious, just wondering if maybe you wouldn't do that anymore...

Second, I did not ask you to reduce your thoughts to a business card or some four word slogan -- I asked you to summarize your thoughts in a few dozens lines of text (and at an average resolution) -- I was saying that your ideas are more powerful if I can get the gist within a page or two of reading metafilter.

A lot of people have been pushing for a trout blog -- I think you should, and I think you should write 20,000 word elaborate posts -- AND I think you should post a few hundred words here with links to the full extent of your thoughts.

I was trying to be joking with my earlier post, and maybe it did not come across: I like you, I like your posts, and I really, really hope you stick around. I am familiar with your work on dailykos, as well.

As this post will demonstrate, I'm a pretty pedantic bastard myself. I have an absurd range of interests, and my friends are regularly inundated with epic intellectual musings. Also, I'm a theoretical physicist, and my first draft of papers tend to be rather overwhelming.

But I've found my friends (at best) skim the epic musings; the reviewers of my papers do roughly the same. My pedantically long writings get "published" but no one reads them.

In my field, we have to write abstracts. The most influential papers and results get published in a page or two in the highest profile journals. Anything of interest has complexity and depth. Anything of interest takes a ream of paper to express, but the world only changes with the advent of an idea or thought that can be expressed with no more than a (entirely inadequate) summary.

I spent much of the time between my last two comments here at a conference specifically dedicated to the work I do. I have too much to do as it is, and 75% of everything there was passed over based on the 10-20 word title -- 95% upon reading the few hundred word abstract.

Want to make the world a better place? First thing is to get me -- someone who likes what, and generally how, you write -- to actually read everything you write. People have lives and interests already. If you want me to pay attention, catch me with the first line, sell me with the first 10%. I'll read, evaluate, and potentially act on the rest. But not until I have a reason to read your work to begin with...
posted by justin at 11:05 PM on December 8, 2004


justin - that was a constructive comment, in the best sense.

Really.

I'm deeply grateful.

Thanks.
posted by troutfishing at 9:26 PM on December 9, 2004


(much later)

I miss troutfishing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:12 AM on December 17, 2004


Wow, I miss a lot these days.

I have to say that justin's comment reflects my own views on the subject since I have much interest, but little time.
posted by john at 6:41 PM on December 18, 2004


Wow, I miss a lot these days.

I can't believe I almost missed this thread. It just dawned on me that I also missed the punk rock era, but that's probably because I went from listening to the Beatles and the Stones and to a long period of opening my mind to previously overlooked genres. That included classical and jazz, with a dabble in country (Willie and Waylon), and a thoughtfully short toe-dip into disco (it sucked).
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:19 AM on December 19, 2004


Civil_Disobedient - Thanks, but everything changes. That sucks, I know. In the end, all attachment exacts suffering.

And - as far as I'm concerned - that's OK : everything changes. So, maybe I'm not even Troutfishing anymore. Life is motion, and stasis is death.
________

SteveInMaine - But, what about the Macarena ?
posted by troutfishing at 11:33 PM on December 24, 2004


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