william.scherk Posted March 9, 2011 Share Posted March 9, 2011 (edited) My blog retirement is going badly. I feel like a Snowbird in Sun City, except that I am the only camper there. No knocks on the door. No fun outings. Trapped.I have taken to having imaginary conversations with folks I hope might drop in. Like Diana Hsieh. I have been having a conversation with her on the subject of ethics. Or rather, she rants at me from her podcasts and I imagine what kind of conversational neck-lock I could apply. Since she has banned me at Noodlefood comments (unless I choose a sockpuppet, which I find unethical), I no longer have any opportunity for her to read or consider my writing. Thus the neck-lock I imagine. Her ranting at me from a stand-up studio in her compound near Sedalia, me ranting at her from a patio in leafy White Rock. A conversation. A chat. A full and frank exchange.Sadly, the only conversations happen in the dire OO.net chatbox, and in face-to-face confabs at objectivish meetups large and small. There is a real non-communication policy between the various factions, so nobody talks face to face with anybody whom they believe is opposed to them, or Objectivism, or morality or whatever.I listen to Diana Hsieh giving practical ethical tips and fatwas, talking to her dreary pogue co-host, reading the live chatclaque lines off her monitor, and I think how isolated from discourse, challenge and heated exchanges is she. So, what do I think about the smear of issues under the rubric civility? It depends. A writer can be civil, measured, careful -- even kind and empathetic in his stance. A writer can use a variety of voices, from bland to caustic, from screaming to whispers, can be scolding, coaxing, sweet. The voice, the stance and the register are tools.A writer can write towering jeremiads, relentless satires and critiques, vast summary judgements, intricate inquisitions. Tart, pointed insults. Mockery. Invective. Whatever the fuck he wants. He can insult happily and without apology or explanation. He uses whatever tools, whatever potion he has mixed up for his purpose.Insulting language is a sometimes useful, shocking ingredient -- especially when infused with ridicule -- itself a most powerful tool of the rhetorical kit. At its best, insult is unforgiving, unforgivable, and unforgettably true.When I mock the Mad Princess of Objectivism, when I pillory The Vicar of Diddly, when I excoriate flab and laze and whinge, do I give a shit for civility and all the tut-tuts and frets and simpers and sniffs?Anyhow, back to the Mad Princess. Like all the dogmatistas, she refuses to converse. She refuses communication. She has instructed her moral enemies to never approach her or speak to her at conferences. She is mad with the same infection that has blistered and sickened Objectivism for forty years. Exclusion. Shunning. Cultish self-isolation. This is perhaps the most monstrous incivility of all. So generally, I view squabbles about manners and comportment quite as I do chickens pecking aimlessly in their pen.Seriously, it is okay to be uncivil. It is sometimes more than necessary. It stirs up the dank ponds full of bleary-eyed Objectivish toads and flusters the dimwitted clucks. Phil, please use incivility to advance your interests, use it wisely, use it with purpose. As for Princess, I am going to do another nasty edit of a podcast, dolled up with scathing visuals and portentous music.At my OL wind-blasted holiday blogtrailer "Frenzenfoes," where I am semi-retired. Where we can have a conversation about Hsieh, Civility & Humour.Here again is my musical comedy version of Diana Does TheBrandens, which is now number five on the Google results for "Diana Hsieh." And then follows an excerpt from my fiesta of incivilitas, "Universe of Evil" (which Hsieh characterized as raving screed), from March 26 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AQxfyhUwZELinz, I salute you. You rose from the unfunny and untrue accusation of being a drunken raging maniac to preside over the funniest, most entertaining corner of the objectivist universe. And lately, of course, your triumph in attracting Empress Diana to converse with actual mortals (the glorious Holly excepted). Please make her Empress to your Emperor, so she can delete people's accounts arbitrarily until there is no one left but you, her, Casey and a bottle of fine Australian.She is possibly the funniest, go out on the porch and throw up a good dinner funniest of any person who styles themselves an O'ist. If only she could take over from Peikoff as Pope. She is also living proof that people with Asperger spectrum disorder can make fine rulers of all that moves.From boo! hiss! RoR, post 30, in the dreary but evil thread 'Why doesn't Diana like me?':Philip Coates comments on La Mertz over on her popular blog, with some cogent observations. Of course, Diana is also now active on Linz's site.I read Noodlefood with a grim fascination. As a person who is not just yet quite ready to call himself an objectivist, I find I can't look away. La Mertz's factionalism exemplifies one of the 'ick factors' that keeps me from donning the robes . . .My fascination turns to appreciation when I turn my dial to 'entertainment.' Then I imagine La Mertz as Empress of the Objectivist Universe, atop the castle ramparts pouring boiling oil on the evil TOC army below, and later, after reviewing the records of that days beheadings, slinking into bed with his Majesty Linz, and whispering "KASS me, you radical.'At the moment she has got herself in a stew of quite amusing contradictions over at SOLOPassionofbitchingaboutBarbaraBranden, where her toadies gush and Valliant and his demented wife continue to examine the sheets of Ayn Rands 1968 bed for stains of evil.La Mertz finds herself an able match in the quick-witted Shayne Wissler, but cannot acknowledge this because she has only the one eye in the middle of her forehead -- the one and only eye in the kingdom that Sees all, Knows All.I'll tell ya, if she ran for meter-maid in my town, I would move to Costa Rica in fear she would take power and start killing people.As it is, she has her universe, her castle, her king, her fellow maniacs and enough rectitude to fill the Bay of Fundy. Edited March 9, 2011 by william.scherk Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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