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I used to be more active on Usenet than I am now. After a while, it
all seems so pointless. Two groups in particular are symbolic of this
new-found apathy: rec.arts.sf.written and alt.radio.old-time. Both are
ones I used to get a lot out of and contribute to (rafsw more than
arot-t) but now seem kind of full of self-righteous assholes. In
either there are certain actions that seem harmless to me that will
bring out the wolves. In rasfw, it is a writer talking about their own
work, particularly the availability of their own books. My low point
with the group was when the Seeing Ear Theater people, a group who
does nothing but good for SF, announced that their adaptation of
Octavia Butler’s Kindred was available via
RealAudio. You’d think they pissed on Hugo Gernsback’s grave! The
prickly hordes arrived to decry this horrible crassness. Nevermind
that 50% of the posts in the group at any time are absolutely idiotic,
off-topic nothingness, usually smart-assed and pointless replies to
someone else’s smart-assed post. THIS wrong must be stopped. I
killfiled many of the hair-shirt, usenet purity crowd around
them. Most of those filters have expired, but I’ve never really posted
much or even read much since then. I have upfilters on a few people
and topics. I’ll read everything Charlie Stross or Lois Tilton or
Brenda Clough or Lawrence Watt-Evans posts, but that’s about it. Most
of it is of low enough value taht I don’t miss it when it is gone.

In aro-t the hot button topic is
mentioning the sale or even *purchase* of anything to do with old time
radio. It is impossible to say “I have this for sale” without a
furor. One might argue that those are off-topic in a non-marketplace
group. OK, I’ll agree. The same people that protest that protest
people that mention buying things! One guy posted information about
a stack of reels he had purchased at on OT Radio convention. The group
consensus was that he was an asshole for talking about radio stuff
when he wasn’t going to post MP3s of them. Nevermind these are on
reels and he may or may not even have the capacity to do it, unless
you post the stuff you are just bragging (actual words used by a
poster.) To this day, I have more killfile entries in that group than
any other.

The thing that bugs me most is the fundamentalism. I don’t believe in
zero tolerance rules, and this is what exists in these groups (or
would, if they were evenly applied but that isn’t even true.) The
atmosphere that this stuff engenders is a generally chilling effect on
conversation. A few years ago, the late George Alec Effinger made a
post on rasfw, and rather than being greated warmly (as such a great
and friendly guy deserved), a group of the same people who got under
my skin during the above replied with “How do we know that is really
GAE?” It was all too ridiculous, even more because GAE had the most
unique voice in posts I’ve ever run across. Everything he wrote,
whether fiction, e-mail or a GEnie post shone with its own weird
light. The only person who could successfully mimic that would be,
well, George.

I probably have posted fewer than once a month since then, almost always
answering a specific question on a narrow topic. Today I posted in
response to a query about Michael Moorcock reading order. I can’t see
ever really hanging out as a social thing there unless I stop hating
most of the residents so much. Hate is a waste of time and resources
anyway, better to just put that heat elsewhere.

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In a little bit, I’ll be going to what I think will be my last WREK
staff meeting in a long time, possibly ever. There is no hard feelings
and I’ll remain around to do technical things for them but I’ve got
other things I want to do now. It wasn’t single handed effort on my
part , but five people turned around this station from a complete mess in
spring 2001 to a solid, always-on-the-air, good sounding and
reasonably healthy organization today. We just finished what we
believe to be the first summer ever without appreciable off the air
time. Only a few hours after a lightning strike. Even in good summers,
WREK was usually off the air overnight Friday and Saturday. I feel
awfully good about my accomplishments of last summer, and the station
sounds great.

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One of the things I want to do some research on is the history of the
last twelve years of Atlanta, before after and during the Olympics. I
lived here for the periods 1985-1990, then 1993-1995 and again since 2000. We were here
for the time when the bid was active, during the building, and now
during the aftermath. It is not pretty. I have found my return for
these last two years to be one disappointment after another. Atlanta
is less friendly than it used to be, even worse on city planning
issues. We wanted the Olympics to become a world class city, and now
we are. We have world class traffic congestion, world class pollution
and world class budget shortfalls. Welcome to the big time, friends
and neighbors. Is it everything you dreamed it would be?

I heard tell today of a writer for the Atlanta Journal/Constitution who did a series of critical stories on the subject. I must look them up. Money was made, but the question
is in whose pockets did it wind up? Six years after an event that
was sold to us as bringing economic benefits, the city is in
terrible financial shape. Our services are being cut, our taxes
raised. Parts of the infrastructure like water and sewer are literally
falling apart and can’t be addressed with any finality because the
city is scrambling to pay its bills. We all know now that the Olympics
is a corrupt organization, with officials who use the goodwill of the
events and the glory thereof to stuff their pockets with money with
both fists. I think potential host cities should be asking themselves
“Do we want to be licking the ass of these crooks and scumbags for
most of the next decade? And if we do, how much of our future are we
willing to mortgage for that privilege?” It seemed so wonderful twelve years ago that
we would get to host them and the reality was really kind of
ugly. Ultimately, the endeavor is like trying to join the rich kid
clique at school by throwing a big fancy, expensive party. They will
come, eat your food and drink your drink, and then make fun of you for
thinking you could be one of them. If you aren’t in the club already,
it’s almost impossible to buy your way in.

I will be searching for the journalism on this topic and post
references here
if I can find any. Meanwhile I’ll be breathing smoggy air as assholes
in SUVs run stop signs and try to kill me every day I live here.