Will Shetterly on the Election

Posted on November 4, 2004
Filed Under politics | 12 Comments

I barely know author Will Shetterly. I’ve interviewed him and his wife a few times, and have had a few pleasant chats with him. Thus far, he has the advice for dealing with the election that makes me feel the best and most motivates me to pick back up and carry on.

The worst? John Scalzi and his moronic post that “Anyone still paralyzed by liberal depression at midnight, Monday November 8 will be summarily brained with a plank”. How about this – why don’t you bite me. I missed the election returns where Scalzi won the race for boss of me. Don’t tell me that it’s OK if my emotions are on your timetable but not otherwise. That’s just dickheaded.

Update: Read the comments, as Scalzi responds. Note here that what I’m describing in this post is not philosophical but empirical. Shetterly’s post lifted my spirits and motivated me to move forward and heal. Scalzi’s brought me down and made me think “You, John Scalzi, should go piss up a rope” and to continue seething. This is all about the ROI here, and ways not to motivate. Scalzi might think he’s helping, but I found it highly counterproductive.

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12 Responses to “Will Shetterly on the Election”

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  1. John Scalzi on November 4th, 2004 8:14 am

    “How about this – why don’t you bite me.”

    I doubt you taste very good.

    Anyway, you miss the point. I didn’t say you should table your emotions after Monday, midnight. I said you should make sure you’re in *action* after that point. Be depressed if you must, but don’t be paralyzed. Bush and his folks are not going to wait around to implement their agenda.

    I’d certainly agree that I’m not the boss of you. However, I feel perfectly free to be the *judge* of you and anyone else, because people are judgemental and I don’t see any reason to be the exception to that rule. I don’t particularly care if you don’t like that about me or that you don’t like how I express my opinion — call me a dickhead if you want — but don’t use me as an excuse to justify your paralysis in the face of something you apparently oppose.

    If all you’re going to do is be sad and depressed and stay in your hole, then you’re going to be pretty useless to the rest of us. Do as you will.

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  3. Dave on November 4th, 2004 9:01 am

    I think you miss my point as well. Will Shetterly, reminding why it is important to stay strong in the face of this setback, reinvigorated me and made me feel better. Your post, saying “Feel this way at this time or I will hit you” made me take some of my copious anger and transfer it to you. I don’t like directives from authority on how to feel, no matter who they come from. That’s the way the other guys work – “I’m telling you what’s right and how and when to believe it.” We’re supposed to be different than that, and I don’t like you telling me the day and time I am to align my thinking with yours.

    I also think your deciding who and when is paralyzed, yada yada, is nuts. We’ll all heal in our own ways, and come back strong when, where and how we want to. You aren’t the arbitrar of that. We’re on the same side here, but I have problems with the Man, even when that is an individual trying to filll the role of the Man, saying “Respect my authorit-ay.”

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  5. John Scalzi on November 4th, 2004 10:17 am

    Dave writes:

    “I think you miss my point as well.”

    I get your point. I just don’t think it’s a good point.

    It sounds pretty much to me like what you want is a hug and permission to play victimized liberal for a nice long time. I don’t have much tolerance or respect at this point for that kind of inverted self-affirmation. “We’ll heal in our own time.” Give me a break. And while you’re off *healing,* Bush and his pals will be happily perforating the Constitution until you can drive a pick-up truck through it. A fat lot of good all that healing time will do you, then. You’re going to be standing there whining about what a bad man Bush is while the rest of us are going to ask you where the hell you were when we needed you. “I was off healing” isn’t going to be a very good response.

    Allow me to repeat: Don’t use me or how I express myself as an excuse for your own inaction. Honestly: “I have problems with authority.” What a ridiculous thing to say. This isn’t freshman year in high school, and I’m not your school principal. I’m a guy at a keyboard, expressing my opinion. If this somehow equates as “The Man” to you, you really, really need to rethink. “The Man” is going to be in the White House for the next four years. He’s already there. You have no time. You have to start fighting now. If you’re going to sit there immobile, at least have the personal courage to own up to it, rather than pointing to me and what I write as some sort of enabling defense.

    Perhaps Will Shetterly will make you feel all warm and cozy in this difficult time (and why not; Mr. Shetterly is a fine writer), but — surprise! — I’m not Will Shetterly, nor am I in the “warm and cozy” business at the moment. This is who I am, this is what I think, this is how I express myself. You can like it or not; you can respect it or not. It’s all the same to me. I neither need nor seek your approval or respect.

    I’m not the person who decides whether or not you decide to unfreeze yourself from your paralysis, you are. What I did was express my opinion of how much time I think we can afford to take. By all means, take all the time you want. But I’m not going to celebrate or validate you luxuriating in your despair. The time for all that crap has past.

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  7. John Scalzi on November 4th, 2004 10:42 am

    Dave writes:

    “I think you miss my point as well.”

    I get your point. I just don’t think it’s a good point.

    It sounds pretty much to me like what you want is a hug and permission to play victimized liberal for a nice long time. I don’t have much tolerance or respect at this point for that kind of inverted self-affirmation. “We’ll heal in our own time.” Give me a break. And while you’re off *healing,* Bush and his pals will be happily perforating the Constitution until you can drive a pick-up truck through it. A fat lot of good all that healing time will do you, then. You’re going to be standing there whining about what a bad man Bush is while the rest of us are going to ask you where the hell you were when we needed you. “I was off healing” isn’t going to be a very good response.

    Allow me to repeat: Don’t use me or how I express myself as an excuse for your own inaction. Honestly: “I have problems with authority.” What a ridiculous thing to say. This isn’t freshman year in high school, and I’m not your school principal. I’m a guy at a keyboard, expressing my opinion. If this somehow equates as “The Man” to you, you really, really need to rethink. “The Man” is going to be in the White House for the next four years. He’s already there. You have no time. You have to start fighting now. If you’re going to sit there immobile, at least have the personal courage to own up to it, rather than pointing to me and what I write as some sort of enabling defense.

    Perhaps Will Shetterly will make you feel all warm and cozy in this difficult time (and why not; Mr. Shetterly is a fine writer), but — surprise! — I’m not Will Shetterly, nor am I in the “warm and cozy” business at the moment. This is who I am, this is what I think, this is how I express myself. You can like it or not; you can respect it or not. It’s all the same to me. I neither need nor seek your approval or respect.

    I’m not the person who decides whether or not you decide to unfreeze yourself from your paralysis, you are. What I did was express my opinion of how much time I think we can afford to take. By all means, take all the time you want. But I’m not going to celebrate or validate you luxuriating in your despair. The time for all that crap has past.

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  9. John Scalzi on November 4th, 2004 10:43 am

    Whoops. This double posted for some reason. You have my apologies.

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  11. Dave on November 4th, 2004 4:46 pm

    John, First you made a highly condescending general post in your own house. Now you come here and condescend directly to me in my house, one on one. I don’t need or want this special attention from you. You are making broad, sweeping generalizations that are incorrect because You Do Not Fucking Know Me Yet Are Acting Like You Know What Is In My Heart. You haven’t earned any of that. If you think I’m looking for warm fuzzies, you betray your ignorance of my desires. I honestly don’t expect you to know what makes me, a stranger to you, tick but I do expect you to be big enough to not assume that you do. I beg of you to please stop.

    I thought and think your original post was inane. You might think you are rallying the troops through paternalistic condescension. Count me as a datum unrallied by you. Stop acting like you know that I’m “off healing” or “paralyzed” or whatever bullshit you think you know. That you are so convinced you know it all when you are so far off base is my problem with what you are saying. I just plain don’t want to hear it from you. I have now said my piece, I have nothing more to say to you on this subject. I’m going to put it where it counts.

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  13. John Scalzi on November 4th, 2004 6:42 pm

    Dave writes:

    “First you made a highly condescending general post in your own house. Now you come here and condescend directly to me in my house, one on one. I don’t need or want this special attention from you.”

    Poor Dave. So willing to label what others say as moronic and condescending, yet so very quick to be affronted when others make judgements based on what you write. How horrible for you when others treat you with the same regard with which you have treated them, and develop opinions of you based on the same amount of data that you have used to create your opinion of them. Yeah, that’s pretty damn *awful*.

    Toward being condescending in my own house — well, it’s my own house, and I’ll do as I damn well please in it. I don’t find that particular entry notably condescending; that’s just my rhetorical style. It works for some, not for others. However, it’s unlikely to change, so it’s probably best if you stay away from here on out so your feelings don’t get hurt on a regular basis. As for condescending to you in your comments thread, if this rates as condescension for you, maybe you need to get out more. I admit I do condescension better than you, but maybe that’s something you can work on.

    As for the not rating personal attention, you’re right, you probably don’t. *I* certainly have better things to do. However, when someone gets all huffy about something I write for no particularly good reasons and then writes about it in their own space, I feel obliged to respond, and in the same tenor in which that person wrote. So you may assume, Dave, that I’m treating you with exactly the same sort of consideration that I believe you have treated me, and therefore that you deserve.

    I did like that “You Do Not Fucking Know Me Yet Are Acting Like You Know What Is In My Heart” bit, though. It’s the Capitalizing Every Letter bit which gives it the extra zing. If it weren’t for the fact you’ve been doing pretty much the same thing to me, I might even have some sympathy for you. But you’ve had, and so I don’t. Suffice to say — based on our interaction — you strike me as someone who very much enjoys being One Big Psychic Bruise.

    I could be wrong; maybe you’ve got, like, tons of inner strength. Perhaps it’ll come out when you’ve had time to heal.

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  15. Chris C. on November 4th, 2004 10:18 pm

    Just to break up the fun here, I wanted to be uplifted by Will’s post but was not. Empathy, hope, patience — these are all for the weak. I say it’s time to rape and profit and join the fun and quit caring about truth, facts or reason.

    Bitterly cynical,

    Chris

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  17. James on November 4th, 2004 10:52 pm

    That whole give and take is absolutely hilarious. Thank you both. I needed the laugh.

    Dave, I am quite impressed that someone like Scalzi (who seems to have quite a blog following) feels the need to respond to your comments. More points to you, bro. If you can get Bruce Schneier to comment on this blog within the next month, I will kiss your ring at Thanksgiving. Seriously.

    John, dude, give it a rest. I liked your “planking people” post, but this little exchange has significantly reduced the impact it had on me. You put yourself out there as if you are prepared to lead, but leaders don’t get into fuss fights. It’s demeaning. Especially, seeing as how I do know my brother, you obviously don’t even begin to understand what Dave was saying. Except, of course, for his “bite me” part. You got that pretty well, I think. Now it is time for you to turn that into action. Or get planked. I’m going to make the deadline for biting Dave Saturday at noon, because it sounds good.

    Chris, let’s go in halvsies. By my calculations, only 2% of Americans benefit from GWB’s policies. That means the other 49% that voted for him are just sheep waiting for the shear. Let’s not disappoint, eh partner?

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  19. John Scalzi on November 5th, 2004 5:35 am

    James wrote:

    “You put yourself out there as if you are prepared to lead, but leaders don’t get into fuss fights.”

    Missed the last election, did we?

    One, I don’t buy into the “leaders don’t get into fuss fights,” because they most certainly do. If nothing else, watch the British parliament in action some time. Two, it’s not *that* hard to invoke my presence: like a lot of raging egotists, I check Technorati and log files to see whose linking, and I frequently pop up to offer my interpretations of other people’s interpretations of what I write. Having a moderately popular site doesn’t mean one should hole up there like a spider waiting for others to come to you.

    Three: I reserve the right to get just as pissy and petty as anyone, because that’s part of me, just like it’s part of anyone else. I appreciate the suggestion I have the potential to be a leader, but if I am so (I personally doubt that’s the best use of my particular skill set, but I could be wrong), it’s better that people have ample evidence of my flaws as well as my virtues. The occasional fly off the rhetorical handle is going to be part of the package.

    That said, if someone is going to label what I do and say as moronic and condescending, I don’t feel entirely terrible about responding in kind if it amuses me to do so. It’s entirely possible I didn’t get what Dave was saying, but it’s also entirely possible he’s returned that favor. We may be two ships passing in the night, with the sailors cursing at each other as they go by.

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  21. James on November 5th, 2004 7:40 am

    Okay, dude, I’m sure you will reply to this, but I am going to post this and be done with you because I suspect this whole thing is more about feeding your ego than anything else.

    First, I didn’t miss the last election. Leaders do fight. They don’t <i>fuss</i> fight.

    Second, I never suggested that you have the slightest iota of leadership ability in you. I said that “you put yourself out there <b>AS IF</b>” you do have it. For a cat who writes often, your reading comprehension is truly suspect.

    Third, as I told Dave, your original post was neither moronic nor condescending. Everything that you have written on this blog IS moronic and condescending. Now go back to obsessively googling your name, little man.

    My apologies to our host and his readers for feeding the troll, it won’t happen again.

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  23. John Scalzi on November 5th, 2004 8:28 am

    Ha! See, now, James, that was fun to read. And yes, I will respond; seems the polite thing to do. Incidentally, when someone gives you reponses you don’t like, it doesn’t necessarily make them a troll, particularly when they are responding in kind to what they’ve received.

    Still disagree that leaders don’t fuss fight, since off the top of my head I can tick off about a dozen examples, my favorite historical example being the time Harry Truman threatened to kick a newspaper critic’s ass for giving his daughter a negative opera review.

    Second, apologies for misinterpreting your comment about leadership. To be clear: No, I don’t offer myself as a leader, I write for the purpose of writing. People are free to take it or leave it.

    Third: No more or less moronic or condescending than our illustrious host has been, in my opinion, though of course I allow you may have a different opinion on the matter. As I’ve said, I have a tendency to reply to people in the manner to which I have been addressed. I understand Dave may not like it, but that’s a point for him to consider the next time he calls what someone writes moronic and invites the writer to bite his ass.

    In any event, our host *did* invite me to bite him. I don’t see how he (or you, for that matter) can complain now that I have obliged.

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